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  Washington Kayak Club
Fun and safe kayaking through trips, education, skill development, and conservation

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From the Prez

Published on 5/4/2014

By Dave Ortland

Last Sunday I went on one of my most memorable WKC trips, around Cypress Island with a stop at the spectacular flower show on Strawberry Island.  I have since been reflecting on the great scenery, fun, challenge, and camaraderie that we had though out the day, and I would like to share why I think it was the epitome of what a WKC trip should be.
  • The trip offered challenging but fun conditions.  We experienced wind, weather, waves, and current, some for the first time at this level.
  • There was a mixed set of skill level, with the more experienced providing safety backup and demonstration of techniques.
  • Trip planning and execution, as is required in an environment of strong current, was superb.  Conditions, course, and progress were constantly assessed and adjusted in a collaborative manner.
  • We had a new trip leader and mentors providing support.  The trip leader was nicely acknowledged (bravo team!) and well rewarded with refreshment afterwards.  Hopefully she is now addicted and will plan many more such adventures!
  • We all learned something – about following seas; the interaction of wind or terrain and current (tide rips!), the amount of ferry angle required when crossing a strong current (and what happens if you don’t!); how towing is the best way we can help one another; what it feels like to go through a frothy tide rip (no big deal!), etc., etc.  You can’t learn any of that in a classroom.
I feel this is the primary mission of WKC – to safely provide first-hand experience on the sea and river; to have a culture of mentorship.  It requires the highly skilled to be willing to play and teach with the less experienced, who will then be the next to pay it forward.  I think our club’s willingness to do this in the classroom AND in informal settings is what makes WKC unique.


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