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8 March 2008

Today, the year twos attended the One star Canoeing course in which we were taught the basic canoeing skills. The course would be held over two days and today was our very first lesson.

We arrived early in the morning at Water Venture Pasir Ris, eager to begin. The course started off with the instrutor briefing us on the basic rules of safety, and how to handle a kayak properly. We were taught things like the names of the different parts of the kayak. There is the bow, the stern, the deck, the portside and starboard, the deck, and many more. Before this course, many of us were ignorant of the fact that there were so many parts to a kayak! Now we know that the kayak is not only a simple boat, but one designed this way for a reason. Every part of the kayak is important for it to be able to function properly.

We carried the double seated kayaks out to the sea for hands on practise. The double seated kayaks were really heavy, and impossible to lift alone. However, we worked together and managed to heave those boats all the way out to the beach. Just like the instructor said, many hands make light work. From this simple task, we see how true these words are indeed.

After all the heaving and pushing, we had to complete a basic swimming test before the kayaking could actually begin. It was relatively easy, as all of us were swimmers, and therefor we completed this section with ease. All we had to do, was to swim a distance of fifty metres, out into the sea and back, with the aid of a life vest. After ensuring that we were all able to swim, the instructor began the practical lesson. He gave us a short demostration on how to hold the padddles, how to launch the boat into the water, and the basic strokes, such as forward stroking, backwards stroking, emergency forward stop, and emergency backward stop. Then we had to pair up, and take the doubles out to sea to practise these strokes. It was fun really, drifting out in the open sea. We all enjoyed ourselves throughly. In the doubles, we had to excercise a certain coordination-both parties had to paddle in time. We decided that the person seated behind would give timing so that both persons were able to paddle together at the same time.

We mastered the basic strokes in a jiffy, and after that, we stopped for a lunch break.

After the break, we were "re-engergised" and ready for the ultimate test, paddling in a single kaykak. We were first given a theorical lesson on how the single kayak worked. Basically, it was about the same as the double kayak, except for the fact that it was made of plastic instead of fibre glass, and had a few parts that the doubles did not have, such as the toggle. For a start, there was the footrest that we had to adjust to match our height. One good thing about the single kaykak was that it was really much lighter than the doubles. (to our relief)

The strokes to be performed on the single seated kayak was about the same as the double seated kayak. However, it was not the strokes most of us were worried about. It was the capsize drill that scared us.

Finally, it was time to face our ultimate fear, the ultimate test, the test of courage. (at least for us first timers it seemed that way) The instructor went through the steps with us, then it was time for us to perform the "feat" ourselves.

The drill consisted our a number of steps. We were all afraid at first, about not being able to do the drill well, getting stuck in the boat, all sort of fears. What if we could not surface in time? However, determined to pass the test, we all attempted it bravely. Some of us got it right the first time, some of us took a few times to perform the drill correctly. Although not all of us could do it right today, although some of us would have to be retested next saturday, everyone still attempted the drill bravely. Although we could not make it, at least we tried. That at least is something to be proud of.

Overall, this course was an enriching one for us year twos. I must admit that it was rather challenging, the capsize drill and all, as compared to the year one orientation kayaking programme. Yet we were able to gain many new skills and knowledge on kayaking. It was also interesting, a fun day spent under the sun. It was definitely a great oppuntunity for us be introuduced to water sports, and to enjoy water sports.

Next saturday will be the second and last lesson for this one star kayaking course. Let us put in our best and make this whole course a succuss! Jiayou to everyone! We can do it!

Love DHS guides :D

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