Spent the weekend at a Paddle Canada Flat Water Instructor course (PCFWI) with South Island Sup. Brian did a fantastic job setting it up and running six of us through the curriculum. It was fun to relearn the basics, everything from gear selection to the basics of the forward stroke, how to stand, how to prone paddle, towing, reading the weather, the three t's; training, take essentials, trip planning. It was all in there. We spent the first morning going through the paperwork, lesson planning and general logistics before heading out into a bit of a head wind in Cadboro Bay. We managed to get ourselves over to Loon cove tucked in by the Marina. The boats had all of their flags out, I guess it was opening weekend and a pass by was scheduled. It was spectacular to see them all out there, a hundred plus boats sailing on by, every iteration of sailing water craft you can imagine was out there, in all of their regal. And we had a front row seat, board, standing and watching as they glided past, content, almost surreal.
We spent the bulk of the morning re learning the basics in Loon cove before a quick break and a trip out towards Flower Island, with pivot turns looming, it was time to get wet. It's funny because the water isn't all that cold, in fact in a dry suit you're often quite happy to get wet, it's the first time that gets you, after that you're fine. Everyone did a grate job learning pivots, Catherine got the foot position pretty much right away, Bella, was back on her board giving it a go, falling in and straight back up. I could see Connie getting ready for a swim, she knew it was only a matter of time but she managed. David and Simon were spinning around in circles, taking periodic swims, and loving it. Brian had a huge smile on his face, he simply loves seeing people out on the ocean.
On day two we headed to Thetis lake, the weather wasn't cooperating on the ocean, having a lake to head to is fantastic. Victoria has endless options for paddling, in virtually any wind condition. It wasn't a warm morning to start out but it got better throughout the day. Again we started at the beach going through lesson planning, I had prepared my notes on forward stroke, edging and safety gear early that morning sitting in my favourite café, it was fun to think through. I have a bit of a different take on the paddle stroke, how to stand, no twisting, rather leveraging with your hips, a much "straighter" approach, almost as if sitting in an outrigger, short fast strokes, up the front, hands stacked, feet thrusting the board forward in unison with the stroke, coordinating the timing is key. Head up, shoulders back, don't over reach, gentle grip, as if holding a crystal wine glass stem, as compared to a hammer. Foot position is critical, in fact I should have started there, toes slightly out, knees out, engages the glutes, and secures each stroke, against, twisting. It's the foundation of feet, butt, blade. Paddling is a dynamic movement within this set piece.
Needless to say it was a fun lesson to teach, we used a common lesson flow, IDEAS, introduce the concept, demonstrate, explain, action (get the group trying it) and summery. It was fun teaching a group again, especially as it pertains to something I love to do, paddle. Everyone did a great job, from draw strokes, to pivot turns (again), foot position, towing, the whole gambit. It was interesting watching the different teaching styles, everyone with their unique personality and take on instruction. I was quite impressed, in fact I took notes, from introductions, to conveying concise information, and the subtle things, humour, attention to details, group dynamics.
All in all it was a great weekend, Brian did a terrific job, the course flow was easy to follow, extremely well organized, fun and informative. I am looking forward to doing more courses with Brian, instructing and just simply being out on the water.