How to get them crazy enough to capsize voluntarily?

By Anja Kruska | Inspiration & Motivation

Six adults sitting for the first time each in a wobbly kayak. How did I get them so crazy that they capsize voluntarily and thanked me afterward for the big fun they had?

I love kayaking since I had my first…kayak lesson in 2000 and I love introducing new people to this marvelous sport. The same so last Sunday morning. Six novices, excited and nervous, at the same time, enter our kayak clubhouse.

We start by choosing a kayak. I love this moment. Legs and the buttocks have to fit tightly to get a good grip on the kayak. Sometimes the knees get stuck under the chin instead of getting into the boat, laughter. Sometimes the hips are too narrow??, sometimes the kayak is too narrow ?. The fun level is rising already; it is all a matter of you presenting it with a tweak and a big smile on your face.

The serious business of choosing life-jacket and paddle follows. You need to have the right equipment to play with otherwise it?s no fun. Clear explanation, some tips and a big smile on your face are all that is needed to give your students a feeling of competence and security.

Ready steady step in and go? oh Dear, how do I get into the kayak now?

Mind you, we use sea kayaks, not the broad battleships from kayak rentals.

We enjoy listening to the interesting ideas given by the students about how to step into the kayak.

Everyone got in. Faces slightly tensed, it does feel wobbly. You forget this after many years of paddling. Then the trick that never fails: while securing the kayak in case it is about to capsize, we ask them to wobble the kayak on purpose, further and further, even until some water seeps over the coaming. And oh wonder, they all find out that the kayak still does not want to capsize further on its own! ?Wobbly? sea kayaks turn out to be quite stable! (If you want to learn more about this read about ?start- and end-stability?). You can imagine how much safer they feel already.

Then the real moment: doing the first paddle strokes. Boat moving. This is the moment I like most with the kayak students and with my clients too. Expressed with a slight smile on the face and a concentrated body doing the strokes.
Like a child starting a new game. They all go forward, one faster than the other, the other more straight than the one, but that does not matter.

Everybody will learn kayaking well, just at her or his own speed. We enjoy the solemn early Sunday morning atmosphere; we spot a duck family?? and you can even meet a beaver once in a while.?Can you believe we are practicing in an industrial harbor, next to the city center?

After two hours of kayaking, paddling straightforward or in curves and doing other tricks, the time has come for another challenge. When you kayak, you don?t aim at capsizing, but you bloody well want to know how to react if and when it happens!

So we explain the purpose, the procedures, and the pleasures, the sun is shining?!

One of us demonstrates and then one after the other is following our example, no hesitation. Your natural instinct helps you too to get your head above the water.

After the turnover, we do the rescue and they all are amazed at how quickly we manage to get them into their kayak again.
?Oh, that?s where you need that pump for!? And: ?Wow, can I do it again?? Or: ?Can I also get back into the kayak on my own, without your help???

Yes, that?s the spirit, no end to what they want to learn and experiment with.



But this morning could have been very different. I could have come out of bed and think: ?Oh I promised to teach a big group the first kayak techniques. I love kayaking, but with these inexperienced people, you don?t manage to kayak much yourself. Now I can?t enjoy a quiet morning on my terrace reading an exciting book.?How would my face have looked like, what would I have radiated to the kayak students?

But I told you I love the adventure of kayaking and I had another great morning teaching it to others.

I am sure we managed to transfer our own fun and passion for kayaking to our students.
Because that?s what they said looking at us with wet hair and cloth:

?Thank you very much for the Fantastic lesson and all the Fun we had!?

Share where do you get your fun from in personal or business life?

  • Such a pleasure to read this… I kayaked a fair amount… not sure I had so much fun doing it, though 😉

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