We don’t come out to the river from no-where, we all have our stories that bring us to or away from the waters edge. Last week I had the joy of working with two profound ladies in an Intro to White Water Class. One of these students identified with water, loved it and sought it out at all costs. The other had a more foreign relationship with it, but had learned to work with it more. What both of them had in common was that learning to kayak was on each of their bucket lists!
The first thing you do when learning to kayak, pretty much as soon as you are able to snap that neoprene spray skirt on, is a wet exit. Now, wet exits may be the most overlooked aspect of a beginner class simply for the fact that they are step 1, a prerequisite to any paddling you might do with a skirt on and therefore mandatory for moving forward. However, last week I was inspired to pay tribute to the accomplishment of a wet exit.
On your first day of kayaking, the wet exit is often the one time you are asked to flip over and be underwater. It may be the most challenging moment requiring belief that you can do it and trust that you will get back to air. It is therefore also the most important moment to approach with a plan, work through any hiccups or failure we may have and celebrate in our successes!
For teaching, I like to break things down into three steps. For Wet Exits: 1) Tuck forward; 2) Bring your hands along rim of cockpit to grab loop; 3) Pull grab loop. Now, the 4th step is implied: 4) Get out of the boat, do the thing that this whole process of flipping over underwater is to ensure you are capable of i.e. getting out of the boat safely and back to air.
We always practice it first right side up, but that last final step is impossible to imitate until you are in the moment with gravity on your side to guide you out.
So then, how do you acknowledge for yourself the accomplishment, once you have indeed “done the thing”?
We are full bodied creatures having full bodied experiences. We need to instill that body knowledge in as many ways as we can, and jumping up and down for joy or fists up to the sky do justice to ourselves and our moments of triumph!
What do you do to celebrate your success?
If you also have kayaking on your Bucket List come join us for one of our Intro to WhiteWater classes!