Open Water Skills Training
Bundeena to Jibbon Beach, Port Hacking
21 August 2022
By CATH SNELGROVE
Six River Canoe Club members completed a full-day Open Water Skills training day with Expedition Kayaks. Rob Mercer and Mark Sundin met Neil, Andrew, Darby, Michael, Belinda and Cath at Bundeena for a wet and fun day of instruction.
We all made some adjustments to our forward stroke and paddle grip to achieve greater efficiency in open water before heading out into two metre swells. The stroke adjustments for most of us related to grip width on the paddle, paddle height in the air, using our abdominal and oblique muscles, and getting better drive through the legs to achieve that unbeatable feeling of cruising through the water.
We had lunch on Jibbon Beach—where we were joined by John—which was followed by balance exercises on the back of the kayak throwing rubber balls into cockpits. This exercise was really interesting. One of the aims was to take our minds off the conditions or situations we might find ourselves in (off balance and uncomfortable) and by concentrating on the distraction (the ball throwing) we learned that we could paddle, balance and (mostly!) stay upright in challenging conditions.
We finished up the day with some assisted rescues and some good tips for making our way confidently around another boat while performing a rescue.
The small group training was really valuable, and as always there was as much to be learned in the chat between times as there was on the water. Mark and Rob were really generous with their extensive knowledge and experience related to boats, weather, paddle locations and equipment. The training was rewarding and we were encouraged to paddle with a positive attitude and to give everything a go.
We’re looking forward to another session later in the year when the water temperature is a bit warmer. In the meantime we’re getting out on the water whenever we can to have some laughs practicing our new skills in more challenging sea and weather conditions.