Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Over the weekend, we took a couple of classes with John Carmody of Sea Cliff Kayakers: surf on Saturday and navigation on Sunday. Rebecca and I met Nate at John’s house in Boothbay Friday night and pitched our tents at “Camp Carmody”. The weather wasn’t looking favorable for good surf at Popham Beach, but we reasoned that one way or another, we’d get out there and learn something. This would be my second class with John, who has since become a BCU Level 5 Sea Coach. That's John (below) in a Delphin with Seguin Island in the background.
This might not seem like such a big deal, but there have been times when we’ve found ourselves in waves or needed to launch or land in surf, and I found it far easier and less intimidating than Rebecca did- only because I’d taken a surf class and had a little more practice. So all these classes add up to some time, money and effort, but it’s tough to put a price on the result.
As the day progressed, John critiqued our performance on the waves, giving us suggestions after every couple of runs, as well as more detailed discussion when we took breaks on the beach. Much of it comes down to more effective flatwater skills- edging, stern rudders, braces- and having the presence of mind to apply them in the waves at the right time. Then there’s positioning yourself on the wave and maintaining the right speed to stay on it. The small waves were good for this sort of practice.
On Sunday, we were joined by several more students for the navigation class. We’ve had a little navigation instruction, but it seems there’s always something new to learn. One of the students, Ed, is a beginning paddler seeking expert advice from the very start. I had to admire his foresight. As with all of this instruction though, what we really need now is more practice.