This summer, Heather Herbeck and Erinn Keas had a blast teaching kayaking to the newest generation of whitewater boaters at Wet Planet! Our main goal for this four day camp was to introduce our students to the sport of whitewater kayaking while still having fun! We had six energetic boys from the ages of eight to twelve who were excited to jump right in!
Here’s a sample of a day’s schedule for the camp:
9 am – meet at Wet Planet
9.30 – 11.30 am Morning Kayak Session
12.00 – 12.45 pm Lunch and Free Time at Wet Planet
1.00 – 3.00 pm Afternoon Kayak or Pool Session
3.15 – 4.00 pm Project/ Arts and Crafts Time (example: work on writing a blog for their camp experiences)
4.00 pm Departure
On day one we introduced all the kayak equipment that the student’s would be using for the rest of the camp. Once our wetsuits were zipped and PDFs and helmets buckled we picked out our kayaks. After finding the perfect boat, we hopped in the pool so the students could get comfortable in the water. We had a blast playing games in the pool, using the games to introduce basic skills and help with spatial awareness. After we taught the boys how to stand up in their kayaks, we then worked on sinking the kayaks to the bottom of the pool. The next activity we went over was how to wet exit. Once they boys exited their boats they were then taught how to empty them. Heather explained, that being able to empty your kayak, or “self rescue”, is an important component when it comes to whitewater kayaking!
For our afternoon project, Erinn asked the boys to draw a picture of their dream kayak. After they were finished, they then had to explain to the group why their kayak should be put into production. We were thrilled to see everyone’s imaginations at work!
One of the student’s, Jason, thought a harpoon should be attached to the bow of his boat. He explained that this harpoon could shoot out and attach itself to rocks and then swing him and his kayak into the eddy behind the rock. He exclaimed, “This would be perfect for kayaking because people will never miss catching an eddy ever again!” Nick had the awesome idea to add a rocket jet to the back of his kayak. “This way I don’t have to paddle when I’m tired.”
On the second day we went kayaking at “The Spot” on the Klickitat River. We asked all of the students to write about what they learned and about their favorite part of the day. Birch stated,
“On our second day we learned how to use a paddle. That was by far my most favorite thing! I also learned how to use my blinkers or by it’s real name tilting and paddling to make a turn.”
Beren’s favorite thing about day two, aside from going on adventures along the river bank, was to paddle on the river itself! “I like kayaking and getting splashed by the rapids! It was kind of scary but not too scary!”. Jose really enjoyed learning how to swim through the rapids, and he also enjoyed learning how to paddle through them.
On day three, we all went to the Mouth of the Hood River and paddled down towards the Columbia. Orion loved working on his wet exit in the moving current. He was also very excited to work on his blinkers and turns! Later that afternoon all of the student’s were given a chance to tie-dye their own special Kid’s Camp Kayak T-shirts.
On day four, all of the student and their parents went rafting on the Lower White Salmon River. Once the rafting trip was over there was an award ceremony and pizza party. After everyone was stuffed with pizza we let the students show off the new skills that they learned over the past four days.
Overall this was an amazing four days! All of us at Wet Planet are happy to have introduced these six boys to such a phenominal sport, and we’re excited to see them on the river soon!