My Second Paddle Today ...

9 months 1 week ago - 9 months 1 week ago #35451 by Crab Stick
Well after the raft of excellent advice I recently received from people both on and off this forum - I tracked down a local Paddling Club that run a 3 week beginners course and had my first shot out this morning in the rain. For anyone local, I met up with the Currumbin Creek Paddlers, Grant Epple - who was an excellent teacher and gave just the right level of instruction along with setting a few challenges out of the gate.

I will say from the outset that the first Boat we tried me in was the FENN Swordfish ... and it was too tippy for me - so we switched to the very boat I was actually KEEN to try - the Epic V8. Sat down in the V8 and I immediately felt more stable and capable of maintaining enough balance that I could finally begin working on technical matters. Apart from some rudimentary instruction on paddle stroke and technique on the dry - sitting in the boat - when we finally got onto the water, something I really appreciated, was the huge emphasis in tipping yourself in and practicing recovery and remount from a range of situations.

I probably performed about 8 remounts during the hour, only struggling at the very last  remount when I was frankly a bit knackered - but even then I got my sack in the tub after a 3rd attempt. What was hugely confidence inspiring was the various remount and recovery scenarios I was made to undertake ...

1st - Paddling into the middle of the estuary - tip yourself in and then remount.
2nd - Spear throw paddle ahead from boat - tip in ...  swim to recover paddle, then recover boat and remount.
3rd - Launch from beach - push boat out ahead 15 feet and learn to swim with paddle by spearing it ahead then catching up with both boat and paddle ... then remount.

The tide was coming in very strongly today, it was raining on and off and there was quite a bit of wind blowing also - slightly challenging as we went to perform some slaloms around the concrete pylons beneath the bridge. Trying to follow Grant, the current was too strong and before I could safely execute a tight turn I was being blown towards a bridge pylon ... more stress testing. I decided to save the boat 5ft from the pylon - tipped myself in and safely guided the boat away from the pylon with paddle and myself swimming ... got clear with instructor looking on - and then remounted. Job done!

What I came away with today - CONFIDENCE! The boat made a HUGE difference to my experience - I now know that a V8 is definitely the boat I should buy - of course I haven't tried any other boats of this level - but I feel this is a boat I can learn in and grow into. The difference between today and my experience 2 weeks ago ... NIGHT and DAY! I was challenged and it was massive fun ... I have a long row to hoe but I'm now feeling better equipped mentally and physically to move forward, safely - with more lessons and guidance. I'll be cracking on with the Currumbin Creek Club and hopefully at some point can pick up a used V8. ;-)

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