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October 10, 2005

While I would have liked to be able to get to the 3rd
annual whitewater symposium on day one, instead of ½ way through
day two, it was worth jetting to for the last day and a ½.

What is it?

Kent Ford
Joe Pulliam
Davey Hearn
Mike the rescue guy
Charlie Walbridge

And more presenting their ideas on a variety of topics,
as well as teaching classes on the water. There are discussions about
the right type of boats to teach people in and teach out of. Lots of great
things happen and I learned some good stuff while here. John Norton was
the key note speaker last night and he did a presentation on the “Whitewater
Industry from an outsider’s point of view” I am taking away
at least two things that I will do differently with Jackson Kayak as it
applies to growing the sport and making it more fun.

We did rolling lessons at the hot springs pool, which
was very cool. Phil and Mary did one while I did mine. The rolling thing
is always an interesting deal. Apparently there is a thing called the
“EJ roll”. That is quite funny to me since my whole deal on
rolling is you get past the beginner roll (what you learn in 15 minutes
or less when I teach you- where you can tip over and roll up in flatwater)
then I teach you to bombproof your roll by getting your handroll, and
roll in any position, coming up without setting up. You can’t watch
someone on the water and say that that is an “EJ Roll”. I
got to teach my guinea pig, Lawrence, how to roll and he got up to phase
4 (setting up underwater and rolling up) in less than 15 minutes and did
his first roll in 7.

We had a great dinner and then hit the Brew Pub for
drinks and good conversation. A group of us hit the local bar, complete
with the toothless old lady on the end, the grumpy welder guy who told
us to “Get the #$^% out of here”, and the Texas hat wearing
cowbody dudes. I spread a little Tennessee tradition with some shots of
Jack Daniels. Good stuff.

This morning I was on the water at 9am. Did I tell
you that it snowed 24” on the pass and the temperatures were quite
cold at 9am? Well, coming from Alabama I didn’t have a drytop and
had to borrow one.

My first class was a combo of strokes and concepts,
as well as how to sell intermediate lessons. Intermediates should want
to take classes, but they don’t think that they will learn anything.
In many cases they are right since many instructors are only advanced
intermediates themselves. It is all about content, not about the paddlers
ability. My coaches in slalom had the content and ability to teach me
things, but they weren’t competitive paddlers themselves. However,
instructors are usually paddlers and if they have the content, they had
better be able to demonstrate it, or nobody that is an intermediate will
pay them to teach.

There were safety/rescue courses given by Mike. Everyone
seemed to really enjoy them. The ACA was there in force with Pam Dillon
the executive director there. Clubs and schools from as far as Alaska
were there.

A student who did the river run with me asked me to
sign a “3 hours of strokes” work paper for his ACA certificate.
I didn’t teach him a strokes class, and I don’t know what
the deal was there. I didn’t sign it and would never sign something
based on hours of instruction. I would only certify someone who demonstrates
their teaching and personal skills in each area with competence, not on
how many hours they took.

Kent Ford was the overall organizer this year and he
did a terrific job.

Next year Dan Crandal from Coloma, California will
host it.

🙂 EJ