Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are you ready?

Setting safety on the California Salmon. 
One of the things that all of us love about the river is that it's constantly changing.  Thousands of years ago, the philosopher Heraclitis observed that, "You can never step in the same river twice."  This dynamism makes paddling on the river--whether in a kayak, canoe, raft, or stand-up paddleboard--so joyful and interesting.  Of course, this constantly changing, dynamic environment also has dangers.  How many times have you come around the corner in your "local rapid" to find a new piece of wood, a downed tree, or, even worse:

To that end, on July 7th and 8th, the Community School will be offering an Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Course, to help prepare private boaters, guides and trip leaders for just these sorts of situations.  With a mix of classroom instruction, hands-on practice, and exciting rescue scenarios, this class will aim to leave all the participants prepared for whatever difficulties they may face on the river.  Even if you're an ultra-conservative and responsible boater (like we all strive to be), if you spend enough time floating Idaho's beautiful rivers, you will need these skills--whether for yourself or, more likely, for another party of river users.

Participants who attend the class will receive American Canoe Association Swiftwater Rescue Level 4 Certification.  Here are the details:

Dates: July 7 and 8
Time: 8 AM - 5 PM
Location: Community School, Big Wood River, Salmon River Day Stretch
Cost: $150 per participant
Prerequisites: Must be 16 years old, in good health and overall fitness, possess solid swimming ability, and be comfortable swimming in moving current during river drills.
Course Capacity: 15 participants
Instructor: Dane Stevens, SWR Instructor, SWR Level V, ACA Whitewater Instructor
Co-Instructor: Elliot Jacobs, SWR Level IV, ACA Whitewater Instructor
Contact:  Elliot Jacobs, ejacobs@communityschool.org
Minimum Gear Requirements (email Elliot if any of this is a problem; we have some gear that we can loan out):
  • Clothing suitable for extended swimming in cold water (wetsuit or drysuit)
  • Helmet 
  • Suitable River Footwear
  • PFD (type III or V)
  • Throw bag, 15+ft of 1 inch tubular webbing, 2 prusick loops (P-cord with diameter smaller than throw bag rope diameter) and 2 locking carabiners
  • Whistle
  • Boat and Paddle
  • Lunch for both days
To Register: You can find a registration form at the Community School Summer School!

See you on the river!

Tuning it up for Spring!

Well...that pretty much says it all.  If the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is any indication, boating season is well underway!  Idaho classics like the Lochsa, Middle Fork, Main Salmon and Payette are all at prime levels.  The trouble with spring kayaking, however, is always the transition.  With ski season, there's a good chance that you get a few days on your skis before you head out into the steeps.

With kayaking, however, we typically get in our boats for the first time each year to something like this:

Running "Pair-A-Dice" on the Murtaugh Section of the Snake River.
Fortunately, pool sessions at the YMCA pool give us the opportunity to get a few rolls in before we jump out on the river.  Community School Outdoor Leadership Academy students have been really taking advantage of these roll sessions, along with many members of the rising 9th-grade, who are all super fired up about kayaking the Main Salmon River next year.

Here, Outdoor Leadership Academy student George shows perfect form on the sweep roll.

In addition, these pool sessions provide a great way to introduce new paddlers to the sport, and to pair them with locals who want to teach.

Good coaching equals good rolling!  Schley and Moffat teach rolling.

One of Pierson's first tries.  He's rolling now!

Adam Majors has been running these roll sessions, and plans to continue them throughout the summer.  The cost is $8 for YMCA members, and $15 for non-members.  Check it out: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 PM.