Signing up for a kayak course in the Columbia River Gorge could entirely change your life.
You’ve seen images of the classic Pacific Northwest rivers, you’ve heard how paddling over waves can feel like riding a roller coaster through paradise, you are ready to sign up.
However, few people understand how important it is to have a supportive and successful experience. The quality of instruction, equipment, and service can make learning easier or completely ruin the experience.
At Wet Planet we have begun to develop specialized kayak courses that bring together people with a common interest. By teaching the fundamentals skills and techniques of whitewater kayaking through a common element – such as a group of all women or yoga practitioners – the shared experience becomes one of support and encouragement helping students to feel more comfortable on the water.
All Women Kayak Course
Heather Herbeck discovered a long time ago the difference between paddling with guys and paddling with a group of ladies. Like most female boaters, she learned to kayak from her boyfriend (now husband), almost always finding herself to be the only girl out on the water. Hanging out with groups of guys, Heather has developed her skills to an expert level.
However, when she began meeting more females in the sport, and chose to kayak with her girlfriends more often, she learned something new.
Heather realized that the supportive and encouraging nature of kayaking often allowed women to push beyond their comfort level even more. The playful, silly, and lightheartedness of other female boaters helped her to relax more in her own style, and to never compromise having fun out on the water.
Taking this idea into her professional instruction, Heather has created all women kayak courses and retreats that use this very principle.
Whether focusing on play boating on the Tieton, mental training on the Klickitat, or having fun with Anna Levesque’s Girls At Play tour, the women’s clinics at Wet Planet help more ladies feel strong and confident in their kayaks, always remembering that kayaking is fun!
Integrating Yoga Instruction with Beginner Kayak Course
Entering a new sport through an existing physical activity can help make foreign concepts and ideas easier to grasp and implement.
The practice of yoga has infiltrated nearly every pocket neighborhood in Portland, Seattle and the small towns in between. Yogis are beginning to realize the stability, strength, and calmness obtained in a yoga class can extend into every day activities, such as doing the laundry or walking to the bus stop.
The core awareness, the mental focus, and the full-body activation she experienced on the mat helped her to take on harder rapids with more confidence and grace as she progressed in her own kayaking.
Taking these principles, she has created a specialized 2-day beginner course for yoga practitioners. Integrating concepts of breath and alignment, Susan helps new kayak students relate to the strange and awkward movements of beginning kayaking through basic yoga principles that already make sense.
Using yoga as a bridge to help more people get into kayaking, Susan is excited to create more specialized yoga immersion and kayak courses that target specific skills and explore new and exciting rivers in the Columbia Gorge.
Intermediate Kayaking Course University Group
Barriers to kayaking don’t just happen in the first few days. Often paddlers reach a plateau in their progression (suddenly “losing” the roll, always botching a certain move, never able to shed fear).
Paddlers often look to paddling clubs or friends for suggestions and guidance. Yet, not everyone can diagnose the problem, or understand how to break through a bad habit. Going beyond this plateau often requires some form of professional intervention.
The University of Washington kayak club signed on and for a whole day Wet Planet instructors Todd Collins, Heather, and Susan, helped these kayakers better understand the new challenges of intermediate kayaking.
By taking a lesson with a group of friends, each participant learned something new to share with the entire club. While one student may have focused on proper eddy turns, and another on the boof stroke, the individualized attention helped everyone focus on their specific problem. Students were surrounded by friends, but also received professional advice and suggestions to push them beyond their problem.
However, the best part is that each of the group members can now return and share that knowledge with the rest of the kayaking club.
Taking a group kayaking course can also make kayak instruction more affordable.
At Wet Planet, we hope to help everyone find a way that makes recreating on the rivers easier and more satisfying. Whether through a kayak course, whitewater raft trip, or international outdoor adventure, our trips are created by passionate outdoor and river professionals.
We hope that everyone can find a way to the river through Wet Planet.