For four days, kids from Hood River and Portland, Oregon and White Salmon, Washington learned how paddling a kayak might be the funnest way to spend summer vacation.
This year’s summer kid’s kayak course at Wet Planet helped 9 kids discover a new way to play outside and explore the rivers of the Columbia River Gorge.
Becoming a kayaker is not all about drilling techniques and pushing through fears. Really, it’s all about having fun on the river. During the four day kid’s kayak course, participants not only experienced the river from the seat of a kayak, they also learned to look at water with the eyes of a river runner and have fun no matter what.
“It was fun to watch them overcome their initial fears and gain more comfort in the river environment,” comments Lori Turbes, assistant instructor for the kayak course. “The kids are excited to learn more about kayaking and continue to work on their skills.”
Under the guidance of lead instructor Heather Herbeck, (leader of the winter kid’s kayak series) and assistant instructors Curt Joyce and Lori Turbes, the group was broken into smaller pods according to age. By doing this, instructors targeted specific learning styles of the individual participants, ensuring that everyone had a positive experience.
From crafting “foamy boaters” and building rapids in a small creek to riding down the whitewater in a raft with their families, the course’s main goal was to make kayaking a fun activity.
The course took students over to the Klickitat River to experience the thrill of moving water and even some class II rapids. Students were able to seal launch their kayaks into the river and even go for a swim.
On the lower portion of the White Salmon River (from the Castle to NW Lake), Curt helped each student feel the rush of surfing their first wave in a kayak. From the back of the topo-duo (a 2 person kayak), Curt steered each student safely into the wave, edging back and forth for that momentary feeling of surfing bliss.
Getting kids out on the water helps kids get outside more. Kayak instructors at Wet Planet believe that the river can help teach lessons that can’t be learned in a classroom or on the television. For kid’s, a connection to the river could mean a healthier and happier life for years to come.
Join us for our next kid’s kayak course, or beat the winter blues and come out to the Hood River pool this winter for our kid’s winter kayak course.