Wow. The ACA Level 4 Whitewater Kayaking course, taught by JR and John of Sundance Kayak School, exceeded my expectations. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect – but my week on the Rogue River with them turned out to be a great time.
Although I’ve been kayaking for well over a decade, this was the first formal instruction I’d ever received. I learned so much! It was humbling to go back to basics and learn things like proper techniques for basic paddle strokes, correct body posture, and how to use the right stroke at the appropriate time (stern draw vs. sweep). Just working under a trained coach with a keen eye and an excellent teaching style was awesome!
I also learned new teaching techniques, such as keeping it simple. It’s important to meet students “where they are” instead of pushing content. And it’s more important for students to feel like they’ve accomplished something – such as ferrying across a river – than for them to master the perfect ferry angle (if there even is such a thing). I also learned about river etiquette and how to pass this on to students.
After taking this class, it’s hard not to wonder “what if”. What if I had taken such a class at the beginning of my kayaking career? Who knows? - maybe I could’ve even competed. More exciting to think about is all the young people in India just starting out their kayaking careers. This sort of training could help young paddlers eventually compete on the world arena. It would be amazing to be able to provide such training to them. The Expeditions India team is currently brainstorming ways to do this...
Finally, the Sundance Kayak School folks have been great. From their early emails assisting us with lodging recommendations to their warm and welcoming attitudes toward our whole family – they were tremendous. Thank you, Team Sundance, for everything. We’re already looking forward to paddling with you in India!