Up the river with a paddle

Erika Puch

SRWC members learn kayaking skills at clinic



If a kayak is overturned, tapping is a signal that someone is in distress.

Students and Recreation and Wellness Center members learned this and other safety precautions and skills at the beginning kayak clinic held recently in the rec center pool.

The clinic is comprised of two different three-hour sessions. In each session, kayakers learn basic skills such as how to properly sit in the boat and maneuver it using the correct strokes. All gear is provided.

“I try to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible,” said Jackie Newman, who teaches the clinic.

Newman said the clinic is all about safety. She added that every skill is taught in steps so clinic participants can build up their confidence.

“The best way to learn is to take the class,” Newman said. “There are many ways you can hurt yourself if you do not know how to use a kayak.”

Although kayaking does take strength, Newman said it is more about fitness. Several of the skills learned in the clinic requires kayakers to have correct body positioning.

“It’s all in the hips,” Newman said.

Newman teaches students and members a technique called a T-rescue. The T-rescue is a wet-exit technique in which kayakers flip themselves upright using their hips with the help of another kayak after theirs has been tipped over.

“It’s a head game,” Newman said. “If you think you can do it, you probably can.”

Freshman marketing major Rachel Bahm said she took the class because she will be working at a Boy Scout camp over the summer and wanted to gain more experience in kayaking.

She said that the most challenging part of the clinic is the T-rescue.

“It is one of the things I’m afraid of, but it’s something I need to know,” Bahm said. “I didn’t know a whole lot before the clinic, but I feel better now teaching it to younger kids.”

Bahm, as well as other clinic participants, spent the majority of the clinic practicing hip snaps, a warm-up that trains the body how to control the kayak. Hips snaps are an essential skill kayakers must master to successfully perform the T-rescue.

“The best part of teaching is when people think they are not going to do something, and then they do,” Newman said.

The clinic is offered four times a semester. There is a fee of $2 for students and members. For more information about the clinic, e-mail [email protected].

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Erika Puch at [email protected].