Whitewater Rescue Technician Course

Monday, May 19, 2008

This weekend I decided to fork out the money and earn my Whitewater Rescue Technician certification.  I had wanted to do the course for a while, but it was a three-day deal that usually ran during the week, which posed a few problems for those of us with rigid work schedules....

So when I found out Rescue 3 International (through Esprit Rafting)  was running a level 1 WRT certification over the long weekend, I jumped at the opportunity.

The course consisted of three days of ropes, knots, swimming and crossing whitewater, rescuing accident victims from moving water, freeing pinned canoes and kayaks, setting up mechanical advantage systems for freeing water craft, or setting up cross-river zip-lines, on-scene management and other basic rescue skills.

It was an intense weekend with pretty cool and rainy weather.  The water in the river was still cold, however despite the miserable weather, we all had a great time learning and developing our skills, and the course was worth every penny!

If anyone is in a position where they teach whitewater sports, run more technical whitewater or even take less-skilled boaters down rivers, this course is imperative to ensure a safe and successful trip.  I am now confident that I can take any of my friends or students out on the water and react quickly and effectively to any situation.

No pictures - I was too busy learning!

May Mini-Bus

Friday, May 16, 2008

As Ryan Whetung says:  "There's nothing MINI about it!"

I heard that this huge wave was in and made the drive from the city to check it out before my Victoria Day long weekend.  As per my usual routine at Bussy, I paddled over and got out to work the rope.  I like to take my turn on the rope first to watch others getting on and to take a good look at the wave before I try it myself.

Being the rusty paddler I am this spring, I worked the rope for a while and then decided to just take pictures.  I had broken my paddle on this same wave last year, and it was still pretty chilly.  I just didn't want a swim and was getting over a brutal cold.

The wave was as awesome as it always was, and I stayed until almo
st dark before heading to my cozy home in the Burg that I don't get to spend that much time in.

Valleyfield Whitewater Course and Cornwall CReW

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I have held a special place in my heart for the Cornwall Crew for a while now, even though I have never met them. This group of paddlers range all ages, all backgrounds and all skill levels. I have heard nothing but amazing things about them from fellow paddlers who have worked clinics and went on excursions with this group.

Cornwall is a very interesting town. I had the opportunity to live there for three months while on a course at the Navigation Canada Training Facility, and this was when I first finally got to meet Robert Zwanenburg at a local coffee shop (which boasted the best coffee in town!).

I was extremely impressed with Rob's vision of "Family Paddling", and even more impressed that he could organize and maintain a club of this magnitude in a town with no whitewater!! This club includes Rob's wife, son and daughter, along with many other children and adults of different ages and abilities in the Cornwall/Alexandria/Valleyfield area. They travel all over to New York state, the Ottawa River, the Rouge River, Valleyfield, Palmerfest, Champlain Bridge, all while maintaining family cohesion and improving on their skills as a team.

Their club website has all the info you need: http://www.cornwallwhitewater.com

Robert mentioned that the club was meeting at Valleyfield after work today, and even though I was getting over a brutal cold (complete with sore throat and sinusitis), I decided to meet up with them and see what this whitewater course was all about.

After driving through two cities rush hours, I finally made it to the Valleyfield course. It wasn't what I had expected at all! Here, nestled between the loading bay for a Zellers and an old folks home, was a gem of whitewater, slalom gates and play holes! I got to meet Rob's family, other CReW members, and watch some slalom boaters practise their skills.

We spent some time up at the top holes, spinning and looping, before making our way down the course. The course was a great little spot for paddlers of all levels, and I really enjoyed experiencing it and meeting the CReW! What a great after-work session!

Taking a break...

Monday, May 5, 2008

So my job has kept me from travelling and kayaking like I usually do, and will continue to do so until the end of June. It has also kept me from spending time with my friends and family. So although I had originally planned on going to Cheatfest, I owed some time to my friend Geoff and we decided to make a road trip to Jay Peak in Vermont for one last weekend on the slopes. Yes, you heard me correctly. Snowboarding in May!

The decision was also made due to the fact that Jay Vermont was only 3.5 hours away from home, and Cheatfest was 8+ hours (and would involve me driving the whole thing on my own!)

I can ski, but especially after my two knee surgeries really wanted to learn to snowboard. So donning my kayak helmet, a new pair of goggles and boots and borrowed board, bindings and poofy jacket, we were off for some fun on the slopes and some snowboarding lessons!

My first run down the mountain took about an hour, and I spend a lot of time on my butt. Ow! But I soon figured out how to balance, and by the end of the first day was surfing down like a pro! Okay, not a pro, but upright. Which is good for Jen's muscles and tailbone!

So here's a little kayaking intermission of Jen's first time on a snowboard.