After my ww trip back in March on the Murrumbidgee, I decided I’d get a ww kayak that I could use mainly for surfing and also for the occasional ww trip as and when they came up for me. With my new kayak, a Dagger Axiom 9.0 , I decided to take a lesson at Penrith White Water Centre to improve my marginal ww skills. My first lesson was a 2 hour lesson with Adrian C in May. We both thoroughly enjoyed the challenge with numerous rides down the last rapid and progressing to putting in a few times with about 1/3 of the ww course remaining and riding the rapids. We took on board the tuition from our instructor and grew in confidence. I went away from that session knackered but keen to progress. I think that ww kayaking isn’t a competitive interest to my sea kayaking but complementary. It is teaching me balance in more aggressively moving water and also rolling under pressure. These are handy skills for the surf zone and in or near gauntlets or simply in rough capotis. And the physical exercise can’t hurt either.
I headed out to Penrith again last week for a second private lesson. I was by myself this time, no one to watch and learn from other than my instructor. My instructor was a pushy SOB who said I could practise rolling in my own time but I was his for an hour. He basically said I was ready and wanted to take up on the entire course. Well I was nervous but a sucker to try anyway so I nervously let him drag me up the escalator. During the time of the lesson, we did all of the usual stuff the more accomplished paddlers take for granted – riding rapids left and right, in and out of eddies. All of this was exciting to me as I still consider myself very much a novice ww paddler. The more accomplished probably think all of this is so easy. Even so, I came away with a grin from ear to ear. As I progressed during the lesson, I remember commenting to my instructor that the river seemed to be slowing down a bit. As I grew in confidence, I was finding I could react quicker, put myself in the positions that my instructor advised me to and dare I say it, even plan ahead. So instead of simply trying to stay upright as I fall down the course, I was becoming more able to slide in and out of the eddies and control my path and descent… at least a bit of the time. More training to go.