Tonight’s roll clinic was yet another frustrating water logged experience.
I was hoping that the kayak angel I had got practice with last week would be there again, but sadly he wasn’t and I was stuck with the instructors from UNCA. Look don’t get me wrong, these guys aren’t stupid and they know what they are doing to a certain extent but they just aren’t helping me like I need. The instructor I was with last week was hands on and helped me understand the mechanics and he just had a better suited teaching style for me.
I find this ever so frustrating because I really want to get my roll but I am stuck in this rut. I don’t know where to go from here! I don’t know how to correct what I am doing wrong and the student UNCA instructors are just doing nothing for me.
On the bright side I found a boat that fits me better than the Pyranha Stretch. The need for a new boat comes from the fact that the Stretch is just so angular and the walls are nice and high. I needed to find something a little easier to roll. It took me and one of the instructors, Bryan, multiple trails of about 5 different kayaks before we finally found one that fit me. My hips are just so bloody wide that everything is too tight for me. So out of pure desperation, Bryan threw me in a Liquid Logic Hoss. At first I wasn’t sure if it was going to fit because of the hip pads that were in it, but once I got them out, the sucker fit wonderfully.
I found it much rounder compared to the Stretch and roomier. I really enjoyed this boat. I would have enjoyed it more if the seat hadn’t been broken, but it was definitely an improvement in the right direction. I find this promising because I am thinking about buying a Liquid Logic Gus. So maybe it will fit like I am hoping.
After all the frustration of failed roll attempts and broken seats, I finally decided to call it a night and try out the Bellyaks that were there tonight. For those of you who are unfamiliar with bellyaking, it is similar to a kayak in built but you lay on you stomach and paddle like you would if your were swimming. When I got on one of their demos I almost completely fell in love with the feeling of how I was sitting in the water. It was so different and, for me, relaxing. Granted I struggled for a bit to make the thing go straight but after messing around with it I started to get the hang of it. I definitely want to do it again and try it out on a river. Cause if I still like it this much than I have found another whitewater sport to love and do!
I have always wanted to learn how to whitewater kayak ever since I had discovered what it was. I just never really acted on it until this last Wednesday when I went to the UNCA roll clinic.
The struggle started way before I even set foot in the pool. I knew how to get to the UNCA campus but I honestly didn’t know where on earth the student Rec center was. So I get to campus and for about 15 minutes drive around aimlessly trying to find a sign or something that indicated the roll clinic. Just when I was about to give up, I saw someone lugging a kayak down a ramp. Of course I freaked and found the closest parking space an ran after the kid with the boat. I don’t think I can relay the feeling of relief I had within that time span of 8 minutes.
The minute I stepped into the pool room I felt the excitement building. I wa finally gonna start my journey with whitewater kayaking! I only had to pay 7 bucks to participate. The program had all the gear I needed and quite a few awesome instructors. I ended up being helped mainly by this girl Drea. She was really laid back, friendly, and definitely knew what she was doing. She got me fitted in a boat (a Pyranha of course) and then talked me through the beginnings of rolling.
There were a ton of people just messing around and getting some practice rounds in. It was so cool to watch all the people at different levels doing their thing. Although probably the coolest thing I saw was this older gentleman with his whitewater canoe and rolling it. I never knew you could do that!!!!!
I can honestly say that I did improve over the two hours I spent in the pool. I only had to do three wet exits and my paddling has improved ten fold from my last kayak experience. I personally think half my problem with the roll is my inability to keep my head down so it is the last thing that comes up right.
I can’t even wait till next Wednesday, I want to learn so bad!!
The Tuckasegee, also called the Tuck, is a little class II river that is far from impressive when you raft it. Great for families with small children that just want to float down the river with a few splashes now and then. That being said, I have heard from many of my friends who took the kayaking class at Montreat College, that is it a really cool river to kayak on. Especially for beginner kayakers. So hopefully when I learn how to kayak, I will be able to experience the Tuck in the best way possible!!
Take some time and please vote on your preferred kayak brand for creeking! Please, leave any comments on other brands not included in this poll! This is just out of pure curiosty and I hope it bring to light some of the advantages of specific brands and which one seems to rock the creeks! Also leave comments on why you chose a particular brand! Thanks guys!