By Amber Marra
As with all sports, the best way to improve is practice, practice, practice. Obviously, the same goes for kayaking and here at Wet Planet we want to give you the opportunity not only to practice, but to do so under the watchful, experienced eye of our amazing, hardworking, fabulous, professional staff of kayak instructors.
Each year, Wet Planet hosts a variety of skills clinics for paddlers that address not only a multitude of skills, but also the different ways folks absorb and retain information.
Most recently, we held a Creeking Clinic on the West Fork of the Hood River. Todd Collins, who has taught the Creeking Clinic for Wet Planet in the past, said the clinic is for paddlers who are comfortable with Class III whitewater and are ready to move on to Class IV.
“Creeking in general means tight, technical, narrow runs that are shallow with lots of rocks and steep drops as opposed to big waves on wide open rivers,” Todd said.
Within the Creeking Clinic, paddlers learn about catching eddies, making tricky maneuvers in tight spaces with fewer paddle strokes, scouting, running waterfalls, getting out of holes, setting up safety for other kayakers, and, of course, “boofing”.
“Keeping your bow up in a creeking environment can be tough to learn, and it can make a huge difference in your success of running a drop,” Todd said. “We’re able to give people a good understanding of skills and practice in a controlled environment.”
Though our Creeking Clinic came and went on June 2, keep checking in with us here just in case we get a wild hair to throw in one more later this year.
AND there is always our Boofing Clinic coming up on:
If careening over gushing waterfalls and totally nailing it sounds like the perfect way to spend your day, well, Wet Planet is right there with you and we’re here to help.
To get the full benefit from our Boofing Clinic, paddlers should have a solid combat roll and be comfortable in Class III whitewater. Drew Austell, one of Wet Planet’s many boofing enthusiasts, said timing, stroke placement, body positioning, edge transitions and lateral momentum all factor into the perfect boof.
“The boof is an often taken for granted maneuver that is highly nuanced and frustratingly elusive. Besides it being a really fun feeling to execute a perfectly timed boof, having a grasp of the proper technique can elevate your paddling style and your capacity to successfully navigate steeper and more technical rapids,” Drew said.
But what about the ladies?! Here at Wet Planet, we understand that girls just want to have fun too, and sometimes that means taking the boys out of the picture. At our women’s specific kayaking clinic, we cover all the basics in multiple rivers throughout the summer.
The first women’s clinic was June 1, but you’ve got chances to paddle like a girl, and join a group of fellow kick ass women paddlers (class II-III) on the following dates:
Sept. 14 & 15
Heather Herbeck, who usually heads up our women’s clinics, says taking more than one course not only can improve your skills on the water, but also “gets you started in a nice network of paddling chicas.”
“Sometimes women will use the excuse not to push themselves when they’re with a group of men when they say ‘well, he’s a guy and he’s stronger,’ but with a group of women you feed off each other and say ‘if she can do that, then I can do that!'” Heather said.
If you’re interested in any of our upcoming clinics or have questions about reserving your spot, make your reservation online or call us at 1.800.306.1673.
Amber Marra is a reservation specialist living the dream at Wet Planet.