Wendy went white water rafting this weekend.
On Sunday it was my turn to acquire some experience river kayaking. And for anybody thinking of taking a course in Norway, I can certainly recommend Hode Over Vann (www.hodeovervann.no). Just watch out: you might get hooked!
For someone who always holds her nose when jumping into water, I really made progress. One of the early exercises involved hanging upside down in my kayak waiting to be rescued… without panicking! This “assisted rescue”, where you use somebody else’s boat to pull yourself up, is a useful trick when you can’t (yet …) do an eskimo roll and don’t want the inconvenience of exiting the kayak and swimming to shore. Actually this won’t be necessary during the World Champs because there we will be using sit-on-top kajaks, but the exercise made me feel much more comfortable about having water in my face… definitely an advantage when paddling on grad II and III rivers!
Perhaps more realistic for our forthcoming trip to France is the art of lying on your back and floating down a stretch of rapids. I couldn’t quite believe that I was really going to do this as we stood on the shore and examined the foaming water, but somehow our instructor, Rune Kalvik, made this seem like a normal thing to do. Indeed it was much less dramatic than I had feared and a very useful experience.
Rune was altogether an excellent instructor and managed to squeeze two days’ worth of kayak course into the one day we had available. Of course, we need to spend more time practicing what we learned, but I’ve never been on any kind of course that has given such a degree of improvement in such a short time! As soon as we had mastered one exercise we moved up a step, and it all happened so naturally that it didn’t even occur to me to be scared. There was no need for discussion, for example, about launching the kayak by sliding down a steep earth bank – obviously that’s just the way it’s done. And when you have somebody as experienced as Rune guarding over you, rapids are suddenly converted from something frightening into a whole load of fun!
See here for some photos of the action: http://youtu.be/oG5Bk_TI4qQ OK, so there are some rather interesting facial expressions along the way – but check out that smile afterwards!
On september 2 we are going to dalafloda and http://kajaktiv.se/ to get the team together. A fun sunday in fast water. We’ll write more about that experience later.