Tag Archives: Sweetwater

Putting the “Fun” Back Into Fundamentals: Sweetwater Kayak Symposium 2012, Part Two

By Johna Till Johnson

A short while ago I wrote about the first two days of my experience at this year’s Sweetwater Kayak Symposium in Florida. You can read about it here, but in sum: I learned more than I ever imagined, particularly about the “feel” of handling a kayak. Here’s what happened on the last day:

On the third and (for me) last day of the Symposium, we met up at the Weedon Island Preserve, a nature preserve just outside St. Petersburg. My paddling plans for the day included two courses: “Bracing, Sculling, and Rolling” in the morning,  then “Fun with Foster”, a mysterious course that course leader and kayaking legend Nigel Foster bills as “all the stuff the BCU doesn’t want you to know”. (There’s quite a lot. Keep reading!)

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Edging Into Artistry: Sweetwater Kayak Symposium 2012, Part One

By Johna Till Johnson

Note: What follows gets a bit “kayak geeky”. I’ve tried to keep things straightforward and ensure the story appeals to non-paddlers as well. But just in case I didn’t entirely succeed, consider yourselves warned!

Sometimes it’s best not to know what you’re getting yourself into.

If I’d truly understood the nature of kayaking in the beginning, I doubt I’d ever have taken up the sport.

When I first started paddling, I assumed, like most people do, that the primary requirement was upper-body strength.  And like most people, I was afraid of falling in. Not of actually being in the water (I’m a strong swimmer), but the falling-in part. Or more accurately, the loss of control and panic that hits when your boat tips over and begins to dump you into the drink.

So I figured the two main reasons for taking kayak lessons would be to build up my upper-body strength, and to learn how to keep the boat from ever tipping over.

Anyone who’s paddled for a while is already chuckling, because I couldn’t have been more wrong on those two points.

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