If you have a weekend free this summer and looking for kayak training in a very relaxed environment, make your way to the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, located 2.5h north of Toronto in Parry Sound.

For the first time they are offering a series of theme weekends covering a wide variety of topics including Greenland Paddle building and rolling.

Paddle building and rolling is fine and all but I want to highlight two other programs also going on. The first is that I'm teaching a navigation and weather themed weekend coming up in just a couple of days. We will be covering stuff like trip planning, on-water navigation and the basics of weather forecasting as well as getting out and checking out the sights and sounds of Georgian Bay’s 40,000 islands. In the past have you gotten lost listening to a friend trying to explain the wonders of navigation? I will try to sort it out for you. It will be practical, nerdy but certainly not boring.

Another weekend that looks amazing and you should for sure think about attending is the leadership and risk management weekend hosted by Alec and Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin of Have Kayaks, Will Travel Paddlesport Coaching in Chicago.

Over the weekend they will be covering the latest and greatest kayak rescue techniques as well as how to manage incidents on the water. Of course it won’t be all rescues all the time and they will also be working with students to improve strokes and paddling technique. With a small class there will be lots of one on one time. I know these guys love having fun on the water so I know you are going to have a great time.

Looks interesting? You can find more info about the training weekends here.

Published in Events

If you are just getting into the world of SUP and interested in taking a lesson you don't need to look any longer as SUP Professional, Rod Mentor is here to give you a FREE lesson. In just over 4 minutes you will learn to strengthen your core muscles, learn about the spiritual side of SUPping and learn to dress properly for the water.

Even though you will be looking and talking like a pro in 4 minutes from now, actually paddling like a pro might be a different story but hey, that's over-rated anyways.

Published in Funny

I'm really excited to let you know about an upcoming Paddle Canada Level-3 kayaking course being offered at the end of September here in Ontario.

Running September 25-29, the course is being organized by myself and Ray Boucher in partnership with White Squall Paddling Centre and will take place in Georgian Bay (just north of Toronto).

Paddle Canada Level-3 further develops your skills for undertaking multi-day trips in open water conditions. Some of the topics we will be covering include trip planning, rescues, towing, inaccessible shoreline launching, advanced navigation, weather mysteries revealed, risk management, decision making, leadership among peers and other nerdy stuff.

This course is going to be unique in that we are planning to work our way out to a very small set of islands in southern Georgian Bay collectively called The Westerns. They lie about 12 kilometers offshore. To accomplish our goal (and if the weather cooperates), we will work through the planning and the decision making process of undertaking a major crossing like that.

Speaking of the Westerns, they are easily the most remote group of islands on Georgian Bay and very few boaters and even less kayakers ever make it out to.

The price of the 5-day course is $595+taxes. We need at least 4 people to make it run so our cut-off go/no go date for the course is September 15th. If you are looking for a challenge, contact the White Squall office and they can get you signed up.

If you have any questions, please feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We hope to see you there!

 

Published in General News
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:20

Skook Classified: The Journey

CanoeKayak.com just posted part two of their ongoing series called Skook Classified. Episode 2: The Journey is a great little short film telling the story of The Hurricane Riders putting together Skookfest, an invite-only extreme rough water sea kayaking event in the tidal rapids at Skookumchuck Narrows , B.C which took place this past October.

Speaking of rough water, make sure you take some time and check out foampile.com which is a really great website filled with the greatest rough water sea kayaking videos on the net. It’s curated by both The Hurricane Riders and Nick Castro from Active Sea Kayaking.

If you have always wanted to paddle Skook but feel you don’t have enough skills or guts, Nick from Active Sea Kayaking is going to be offering training in April and June of 2013. The multi-day course is focusing specifically on sea kayak surfing and paddling in tidal currents. Nick promises that things will start off gently than build up from there. Sounds awesome.

Check out the quick video below:

Published in Video

Paddling Headquarters Logo

I’m super excited to finally unveil Paddling Headquarters, the next step for Paddling Instructor.

The idea for the rebrand started a couple of months ago when I was looking back through the site archives and I realized that even though there is a lot of teaching resources and “how to teach” articles scattered throughout, the site is much bigger than that. I think the name; Paddling Headquarters is more about what this place really is. A spot for people to come and discover the crazy weird stuff out there related to the outdoor world.

For those who might worry, I don’t have any plans to change the type of content I currently posting. It’s all stuff that interests me so why would I write about anything different? I do have plans to expand the instructor resources available for download over the winter as some of the existing content is getting a little long in the tooth.

So let me know what you think. I’m always interested in your thoughts, story ideas and suggestions.

A very special thanks to goes out to Keith Wikle for the name suggestion, it’s greatly appreciated. You should have heard the duds I was going to name it...

Published in Boring Site News

An interesting story is coming out of the UK this week. On the 19th of April, seven sea kayakers were out paddling in very rough seas when they got into trouble and had to be assisted by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

What’s interesting about this is that they were all advanced paddlers and several of them were sea kayak instructors.

From the RNLI press release:

Initial reports indicated that there were people in the water. When the lifeboat arrived on scene it was quickly established that three people, one of which had been washed out of his kayak, were ashore on Porthmelgan beach. It was decided that St Davids inshore lifeboat should be launched to escort two of them back to Whitesands while St Davids coastguards brought one person to Whitesands in their 4x4.

I wanted to do dig more into this and went to my trusty UK news source, ukriversguidebook.co.uk/forum. There I found a forum thread with a more detailed report and discovered that the incident actually took place during a BCU 5* assessment.

Taran Tyla posted the following:

The incident happened on a 5 star assessment I was attending. One of the Guinea Pigs was struggling a bit with the conditions & had capsized a few times which were quickly sorted out. After one capsize it was decided that he should paddle into Gesail-Fawr, the last get out before St Davids Head, he was doing great considering he had a boatful of water but unfortunately he capsized again just before Penllechwen & got swept past that headland minus his boat.

Just prior to this I was told to tow his boat onto the beach which I did. This left the swimmer, assessor & the other 5 star applicant heading around St Davids Head whilst myself, two other Guinea Pigs & the Assessors assistant landing on the beach.

There is more to the story and you should read through the entire conversation thread. Taran also posted a detailed report on his blog with some amazing photos of the sea conditions, riding home on the rescue boat and close-ups of one of the damaged kayaks.

I decided to highlight this incident not to pass judgement or play the old, you-should-have-done game like so many currently are in the forum. I wasn’t there and not positive that my decisions would have ended up with a different result. What this is is a good reminder that that incidents can happen to anybody. Even when you are on the water with some of the most highly trained instructors in the world.

Update 9:30pm: Reading through the thread since I posted this, Douglas Wilcox has brought up a couple of very interesting points in his comment on the forum and is worth a read. I agree with his point that peer review of all incidents is critical in making sure that we learn from our mistakes so the patterns don’t repeat again. Here is the link.

Photo credit: Taren Tyla

Published in Industry Stuff

Low Tide Turnagain Arm

If you are like me there is a very good chance that you struggle to explain to your students the basics of how tides work.

To help solve the mystery, the gang from Minute Physics produced a very cool video that explains the basics so simply that that my 10 year-old could understand.

Also, if you have also got an extra minute why don’t you learn why some rocks on the shoreline are round while other rocks are flat and perfect for skipping across the water.

Who knew that gravity affected our lives so much? I didn’t.

Flickr Photo Credit: Low Tide Turnagain Arm / Travis / CC BY-NC 2.0

Published in Teaching

Hands-on CPR Video

We all know First Aid or CPR instructional videos can me more boring than watching grass grow in the middle of winter. To help get the message out about the new hands-only CPR technique, the British Heart Foundation enlisted the help of Hollywood tough guy, Vinnie Jones to show us how to do it properly.

If you want more information on hands-only CPR, head over to the American Heart Association’s website, handsonlycpr.org where you can also have the pleasure of watching an extremely boring instructional video in the tradition we have that we have all come to love (and hate).

Thanks to my buddy Mike for the video tip.

Published in Funny
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 15:57

Learn to Paddle a Big Canoe in 10 Easy Minutes

Voyageur Canoe Tour

David Wooldridge from Ridge Wilderness Adventures in Maple Ridge, British Columbia assembled a really well done instructional video specifically for Big Canoe paddling.

Over the past couple of weeks I have seen a large uptick in the number of Big Canoe videos released. By large uptick, I really mean I went from seeing zero big canoe videos to 3 in the past month.

As you might know, Paddle Canada rolled out their Big Canoe instructional program this year and what’s happening is the newly certified instructors are developing teaching resources for everybody else to use.

Creative Commons Licence on Flickr by tlindenbaum.

Published in Teaching

American Canoe Association Logo

The American Canoe Association recently unveiled a new resource for instructors called the Journal of Paddlesports Education or JPE for short. Aimed towards certified instructors, the JPE is filled with a wide variety of articles related to sea kayaking, whitewater, and canoeing instruction.

So far the collection is pretty decent. I really liked the article, Teaching and Learning Paddle Sports by Mike Aronoff which is filled with a hodge podge collection of thoughts and ideas around what makes an effective instructor.

Even thought some of the articles could be edited down for length (heaven knows I ramble!), the JPE is off to a great start in producing a list of technical, “how to” industry resources.

Also, I do appreciate that they have applied an Attribution Creative Commons license to everything on the site which means you can use the resources for anything you want as long as you give proper credit to the original author. You can even use the material for your commercial use which is very generous indeed!

Check out the Journal of Paddlesports Education.

Published in Resources
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