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Professional Instruction? - PLEASE READ THIS!


Dee Hall

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At the general meetings we held last year, the attending members expressed that they liked having NSPN bring in professional instructors like they have in the past. Assuming that these instructors charge what they need to make a living, which will generally be between $90 and $150 for a day, what kind of instruction do you want to take?

Some options might include:

Introductory strokes and manuevering

Advanced strokes and manuevering

Rough water training

BCU training and assessments

Instructor Development Workshops

Greenland Strokes and Rolling

Rocks, Ledges, and Surfing

Also, I am interested in knowing why you wouldn't be interested in taking advantage of instruction through NSPN. Unless you are Buddy, in which case I already know why;-)

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...and I guess I'm one.

I ~like~ the club to offer professional and/or celebrity professional and/or highly qualified amatuer (like BCU- and ACA-trained coaches, the Pond Scum, etc) instruction.

Don't ask me ~what~ topics -- for me, what's appropriate for my level, interests and needs at the moment; for others, ditto. That's something we can work out as we go based on members' interests(*) and what the pros are offering. So, everything on the list sounds potentially good to me, and there's probably more.

OK -- I did it.

--David.

(*) If we want a meaningful survey of the membership to help figure out what to offer at a particular time, it probably has to be at least a bit more systematic than this -- but that can come later.

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My interests are pretty much the same as Bob Budd's.

Greenland Strokes Maneuvering / Rolling -- more interested in strokes and manuvering, rolling if it's advanced.

BCU training if Greenland

Rough water training

Rocks, Ledges, and Surfing - very interested in surfing, not so much in rock gardens.

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If we get only a handful of responses, it would be safe to assume that there is a lack of interest on the part of NSPN members in having the club organize instruction.

Organiziong instruction is one of the things that takes the most amount of time for board members and if there is a lack of interest, then we could stop lining it up and have more time to paddle!

So, if you are interested, speak your mind now as this will influence what we do next year.

Suzanne

Edited to add:

If you would like to send your response privately to me, the board will take that information into account also.

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Advanced strokes and manuevering

Rough water training

BCU training and assessments

Instructor Development Workshops

Greenland Strokes and Rolling

Rocks, Ledges, and Surfing

Navigation -- intermediate and advanced

Boat repair -- on and off the water

Boat customizing

Picking a kayak

Kayak expeditions -- how to prepare for and do one

Weather -- how it works; how to predict it on and off the water

Forward touring stroke -- refinement

First aid for kayaking

How to teach bracing and rolling

Kayak photography

GPS use for kayaking

and more...

But really... almost anything! I won't take them all -- but then, we won't offer them all either ;-)))

And yes, many of these could be taught by knowledgeable and/or certified amateurs inside and from outside the club. That's fine too.

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Advanced strokes and manuevering

Rough water training

BCU training and assessments

Surfing

Expeditions

I would like to learn the above (and probably more) from anyone willing to teach them, but if it takes bringing in a professional instructor, then i guess that what it takes. I took part in an informal rough water workshop last year, and gained a lot from it. Esp when Adam's rear hatch opened and he started sinking! I'm not against paying for instruction when needed, but i think a lot could be put on by the club in which the cost was only for materials (Nav Wkshp over the winter).

My $0.02,

Alan

CD Andromeda - red on white

Riot Boogie II - purple/white

Dagger Id 6.9 - blue/black

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I am interested in professional level training and willing to pay for it but it has to be on the ocean. The Karen Knight/Bob Foote class would have been more appealing to me if at least one day was spent on the ocean in real conditions applying the skills taught in the previous days class.

With that said the types of classes I would be interested in are:

rough water training

rocks & ledges

surfing

first aid

expedition planning

(these last two obviously wouldn't require being on the ocean)

David

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I'll premise this by saying that I am a new boat owner and a relatively novice paddler, and my perspective is largely influenced by both facts.

As a new boat owner, the costs associated with getting myself properly outfitted have been a lot higher than what I had originally planned. Thus, I am always looking for a bargain and $100 for a one day class seems rather expensive, especially if there are 10 or more folks in the class. As much as I would prefer to keep it in the club, a commercial outfit charges $250 for a four-day training program and seems to be a better deal (at least for beginners).

As a novice, many of these programs are beyond my current skill level and, in many ways, I wouldn't necessarily know which skills I have to master first before heading on to the more advanced classes. Also, I expect that I would not be able to master a skill just by attending a class -- time in the boat and on the water is the only way to really improve. So, while I was interested in the upcoming classes that deal with maneuvering, until I really am comfortable in my kayak and have had a chance to practice a bit more on my own, I don't know that I would really feel like I got my money's worth from the course. I know I'd learn a great deal, but to shell out my $100, there is a certain amount that I would want to accomplish that would be above and beyond what I can learn at a skills night -- and to a large extent, I think the specialized professional instruction is a better investment for a more experienced paddler who is trying to take it to the next level but has the basics down pat.

If the club offered a soup-to-nuts course at a competitive rate, I would certainly be interested. But at my current level, the distinction between a "professional" instructor and a knowledgeable and experienced paddler who is willing to show me the ropes is not really enough to justify the added expense.

That's the initial reaction from this particular novice!

Erica

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You make a number of excellent points, Erica. I think it's true that professional centers do a good job of the initial instruction that takes you from the start to a place where you can participate in trips and start to learn effectively on your own and with the help of fellow padddlers. That is essentially getting you to what NSPN would call Level 2 paddling skills. NSPN does not, as a rule, offer effective instruction at that level -- our trips almost always assume Level 2. While work in our skill sessions occasionally does dip below Level 2, that's not really their strength.

In fact, well-trained instructors (trained in ~teaching~ kayaking as well as doing it themselves) are just as important at the start as at the more advanced level, probably moreso. Bad habits learned early can be really hard to break (I speak from experience!)

So, this "survey" is indeed probably not for you, and you shouldn't feel bad about that. It's more about whether NSPN is going to continue to offer more advanced instruction (starting roughly with Level 2) from professional and/or certified instructors, and if so, exactly what topics and teachers.

For you, as I said in the thread you started earlier, the best combination, IMHO, is a solid professional foundation plus work with fellow paddlers. As you get that foundation, come to skill sessions, go on trips you become qualified for, and start to interact with the paddling community to practice, refine and advance your skills. But also, IMHO, continue to get high-quality professional instruction at all levels.

Your point about $250 for a four-day sequence is also on the mark. If it's a good outfit, that's an excellent price, and well worth the money. That alone should get you to a solid level 2, certainly with some practice on your own. Many NSPN paddlers started that way.

Out of curiosity, where are you looking at such packages? People here will probably be very happy to recommend centers and discuss plusses and minuses of specifics. I doubt they will feel any reluctance because of "losing" you as an NSPN "customer". In fact, quite the opposite. A paddler with some good instruction behind them is a happy paddler and a great addition to the club!

--David.

PS: Your point about costs higher than you expected is also accurate -- and a painful reminder for us all! Luckily, the delights of heading out on a gorgeous day trip to a stunning place in a kayak, and handling it well is a fabulous payoff that makes it all worthwhile... as long as they don't repossess your car and make it hard for you to get to the launch site ;-))).

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Hi, David --

We're definitely on the same page. ERBA offers a four week program that is designed for the novice paddler. It includes information about boat fitting and selection, online resources, certifications, gear and other odds and ends and is designed to teach newbies technique and rescues -- it also focuses on paddler safety and preparing for trips. Here's an outline stolen from their website:

Day 1 - Introduction to kayaks, equipment and basic strokes (forward, reverse, sweep, stern rudder, edging, wet exits and basic rescue), weather/tides, getting comfortable in your boat

Day 2 - Review day 1 strokes, intermediate to advanced strokes (various draw strokes, high/low brace, more rescues, intro to sculling, bow rudder, low brace turn), discussion of on-water safety, resources for the kayaker.

Day 3 - Practice/refine strokes/rescues and cover any missed skills from previous 2 days, kayak safety continued, basic navigation, trip planning, gear review

Day 4 - Off shore paddle conditions (group/weather/ocean) permitting, group management/etiquette, emergencies, practice skills and finish discussing any topics

I was spoiled silly by my first experience with my own boat -- which took place last night at the Mystic Lakes skill session. The Fabulous Dee Hall is a wonderful instructor and I learned a tremendous amount . . . even if my brace attempts were terribly ugly!

I will follow your advice and continue to participate in the skills night but also take a comprehensive professional course. I am still learning the kayak lingo (it seems like a completely new language), but I now know enough to know that there is a lot that I don't know at all! This was all so much easier when I was borrowing someone else's boat -- but boy is it fun having my own!

Erica

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I'd be interested in the following;

Advanced strokes and manuevering

Rough water training

BCU training and assessments

Instructor Development Workshops

First Aid in the wilderness

Thanks

Walter

Impex Assateague

Emerald Green/White

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the wish list includes....

the grand poobah of persnickety - derek hutchinson...hell, even if he just comes and chats, it's worth the price of admission.

forward stroke class (how bout clinton? he's relatively local down in ct)

solo - wfa - can't do enough of this stuff...it'd be nice if we could talk with them and see if they can't conduct the course as it would pertain to our on water stuff. or have we done this already this year? i don't pay that much attention!

and last but not least....how bout some weather stuff? could we inquire with the coasties or the coast guard aux to find out if they'd conduct a primer on marine weather forecasts - where to get them, how to read and interpert them and what they mean to us as kayakers? probably there'd be a big benefit there and it's a topic we've scarcely ever covered.

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The skill sessions are terrific, being on the water with such enthusiastic and effective people is a real kick.

I like the idea of workshops and would attend many; the money seems quite fair.

It would be nice to see: rough water training, navigation (Boston harbor would be a great site) common problems on touring trips weather kayaking emergencies

tom

black epic

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Weather is one area that we have barely addressed. I'd be all for a course on it.

I'd also like to see offerings on:

- Rough water - having basic rough water skills can be a lifesaver, even for people who don't intentionally seek out rough water paddling. Perhaps holding it in an attactive area like Wood's Hole would spur interest.

- Kayak Photography - if there's a suitable instructor available. Many of us have dabbled in it, but I suspect that there are techniques, equipment and skills we haven't thought of.

- Kayak Fishing - Perhaps Adam could put together a primer on the subject? Basic gear, boat outfitting, fishing seasons/locations/techniques, handling the catch, etc.

- Kayak Camping - How about an overnight session that would start with packing/organizing, paddle to a campsite, set up camp, discuss cooking and LNT protocols, and so forth. A practical learning experience.

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>...NSPN does not, as a rule, offer effective

>instruction at that level -- our trips almost always assume

>Level 2. While work in our skill sessions occasionally does

>dip below Level 2, that's not really their strength.

>

While our trips start at level 2, the lake and pool practice sessions strongly encourage those looking to acquire level 2 skills to attend and get comfortable. We have spent a fair amount of time at the last couple of Mystic Lakes sessions with paddlers in new boats, and we had fun doing it! Please come one and all!

>So, this "survey" is indeed probably not for you, and you

>shouldn't feel bad about that. It's more about whether NSPN

>is going to continue to offer more advanced instruction

>(starting roughly with Level 2) from professional and/or

>certified instructors, and if so, exactly what topics and

>teachers.

>

This survey is for everyone who is or might become a member of NSPN. We want to offer whatever professional instruction is needed by a significant market within the club. If it is introductory paddling, then introductory paddling can be taught.

-Dee

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i think the world lurched just then! :)

the photography thing is a great idea....where would we even look to get someone to present that....hmnn, hey jonathan r - any idea's? as i recall you were a photo bug, yeah? the only guys i can think of are carl t and nick s from ct - they both take some pretty nice photo's. we could probably ask them to come up and chat it up and it may not even cost us anything - sort of an interclub cooperation thing....of course if we could give em a place to crash, a nice paddle (merrimac mouth on ebb, here we come!) and eat that'd always sweeten the pot.

camping? brad? jonathan r - you 2 listening? can anyone think of better folks to present that?

fishing from a kayak? people DO that? so besides quint from the jaws movie (and pretty sure he can't make it) adam would be the goto guy.

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If anybody is interested in working on a kayak photography workshop, let me know. I recently had a brief e-mail conversation with Gary Luhm (http://www.garyluhm.com/) and he expressed interest in coming east at some point, with such a workshop on the agenda. Someone would probably have to line up more than just NSPN to make it work for him.

--David.

Sample images of his below; more on his web site...

https://home.comcast.net/~gluhm/kayaking/hshore84.jpg

https://home.comcast.net/~gluhm/kayaking/yakov.jpg

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The ERBA curriculum looks quite nice -- complete, and with lots of room to practice and refine. It should get you to Level 2 and maybe beyond. You should definitely try to get in some practice between classes on the skills being presented. NSPN lake sessions would be a good spot for that.

Depending on how quickly you pick up these kinds of skills, the Week 2 topics are mostly pushing into Level 3 territory, and you may find it hard to digest them very well at first. That's OK... they will at least plant seeds for further development, again something fellow paddlers can help with... as well as further courses.

I see that ERBA instruction is headed by a BCU-trained coach. That's a good sign, and is becoming more and more common across the country.

--David.

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