Part 3 in the series, “What a summer it’s been.”
In June, we teamed up with Bill Lozano of Atlantic Kayak Tours, and Scott Fairty and Trey Rouss of The Power of Water, to offer our second annual Ocean Skills Workshop in Rhode Island. (Yes, that link is to the 2016 workshop; it’s been so great, we’re offering it a third time in 2016.)
We love everything about paddling on the ocean: tides, currents, swell, tide races, marine life, salt water…it’s endlessly dynamic and interesting. Coaching in this environment is like Great Lakes Coaching 2.0. Everything we work on in fresh water applies here, but we don’t have tides and currents at home, and our waves are reliant on wind. It’s like adding a fourth dimension.
Rhode Island is especially interesting as a paddling environment because of the variety it offers. This tiny state has 384 miles of tidal shoreline and 35 islands. (It’s also home to the oldest pub in the United States.) One day, we can paddle in practice current in The Narrows and then rock garden along Thule Cove or land on Whale Rock. Another day we can (conditions permitting) plan and execute the tricky eight-mile crossing to Block Island. We can visit a tide race off Fisher’s Island, or surf at Matunuck Beach. And every day, we all return to a house we rent in Narragansett to eat amazing food, debrief from the day’s experiences and plan for the next day.
It’s an intense learning opportunity for participants, and a terrific community builder. Friendships that form during this workshop enrich the workshop and lead to future trips as well as ongoing conversations. We love the way people bond with one another and support one another during and long after the workshop is over.
The Ocean Skills Workshop is also special for us because we get to coach with two people we consider mentors: Scott Fairty and Bill Lozano. These two have been essential to making British Canoeing (formerly BCU) programming available in the United States, and they continue to help the nascent Paddlesports North America succeed as the Delivery Center for BCU trainings and assessments here. They’ve also played a huge role in our development as coaches, and we’re fortunate to call them friends. Being able to coach together with people you enjoy and admire makes this already terrific workshop even better.