Friday, May 23, 2008

IDW: a student's perspective

Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 3 day open water IDW course. The IDW is the ACA instructor development workshop which is the pre-requisite for the certification examination. Carl lead the course with the assistance of the lovely David Lee, and as always, their leadership was stellar.

We started out our first day in the classroom with some presentations and excercises to discuss our ability to present information and some basic and important topics about kayaking. This indoor time was just enough for me to get to know the group and to quell my nerves. I was a little nervous, but once I got to know everyone I realized that all the folks on the course were really cool and that I was very excited to paddle with them. We all donned our drysuits and headed out. Day one was on flatwater--we practiced our presentations of strokes, rescues, and on water group management skills. It was really nice to be able to exchange some coaching techniques with the folks on the trip, and I learned a lot of really interesting things that I will certainly carry with me.

Day 2 was all day in the Westport Harbour. we got some really nice headwind and a fair amount of current to play in as well. We did a lot of rescue practice and group management work. We talked about navigating through hazards such as boat traffic, the harbour, rocks, docks, and of course, the channel. It was a great day and I was pretty exhausted by the end of it, but I was especially excited for day 3: open water day.

Day 3 was out around Sakonnet Point, for homework we had charted our floatplan, and so we paired off to take turns leading the group from Sakonnet Harbour out to West Island near the Sakonnet Lighthouse, and over to Briggs Marsh in Little Compton, RI. I have paddled around Sakonnet Point quite a few times, but I never get tired of how beautiful it is, it is really stunning, and we lucked out and got a really georgeous day. We played a little in the rocks and caught some nice little waves around West Island. We did a surflanding into the beach for lunch and met up with an ICE (Instructor Certification Examination) group. This was a great opportunity for both groups, and we got to serve as students for the ICE instructor candidates to demonstrate their teaching skills on.

Here I am looking like a dork off the beach after lunchtime. (its cuz i don't have my cool helmut on)

On the way home we hit some big swell, it was a little unexpected, but it was really fun. I was surprised at how comfortable I was in it, I think this was because of the Carl's coaching expertise and the organization of the trip. Each day was a little more challenging and so my confidence in myself and the group increased as the course went on. The swell seems to get larger everytime we talk about it, but all I know is that when I paddled up the swell, the entire length of my kayak (which is 17 feet) was on the face of the swell, and then when I slid down the back it was the same story.

All in all, it was a fantastic course, I had a great time, learned a lot, and built up a lot of confidence both in open water and in my teaching skills.

A big thanks to David and Carl who were fantastic leaders and to the other 6 members of the group who made the course really helpful and enjoyable.

-- Izzy

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