Why You Need A SUP Class First!
It's a common interaction:
Client: "Hey, I just got a board and I'd love to go on the river with you."
Me: "Great, what's your experience with paddle boarding?"
Client: "I've been on one once, they're soooo easy. I'm athletic it's not hard at all."
Me: "I would recommend we develop your paddle stroke technique on flat water first to really dial in these skills so as we transition to moving water it is easier for you."
Client: "No thanks I just want to paddle the river..."
I will credit this lady in the photo with me <-- Reta Boychuk Owner of CANRVRSUP, with helping me understand the intricacies of the river and how much responsibility lies upon our shoulders as instructors when we take clients on moving water.
After training for two years I still feel like there's so much to learn even after I completed my River 1 SUP Instructor.
Now that I have the ability to take you on the river, here's why I can't just for "fun".
1. Pre-requisite for river paddling courses: ADVANCED SUP SKILLS OR EQUIVALENT
This means you should have knowledge of advanced paddle strokes such as a draw stroke, cross draw etc. How to move around on your board and how to self rescue easily and many times over if required.
2. Paddle Canada lists these as requirements for me to take you on the river!
Since I am using Paddle Canada's insurance not an independent providers, if something should go wrong on the river and I didn't confirm that you had these skills I can be held liable for injury or death.
3. "Fun" trips or common adventures..
After sitting through a two hour waiver clinic with Paddle Canada I had my eyes opened fully to the legalities of the world and it is a harsh reality. IF I take you on the river even as friends if something should go wrong and I am negligent in your injury or death I am still responsible for it even though it is unpaid.
The reasoning is that I am the most qualified professional on the water. Therefore I am still the implied leader.
With this in mind I must pick paddling partners carefully for fun adventures that are not covered by any insurance.
4. Why is it so expensive?
I've never added up the cost of courses, travel and training that I've partaken in. Driving to Cochrane up to six times a year, Trail, BC., Invermere, BC., Kamploops, BC., and many places between it was not a cheap endeavour. On top of this taking Swift Water Rescue Technician and First Aid to ensure I am capable of dealing with worst case scenario situations on the water.
5. What you will learn is more than just technique.
The biggest compliment I have received is just how valuable taking a class was, how they never imagined there could be so much to learn about paddle boarding and that it was worth their time and money.
6. I'm sure I know how to paddle, can't I just sign up?
Please send me a video of your paddling prior to going into a river paddling class and I can evaluate if you're ready. Provide examples of a draw, cross draw, sweep and forward stroke.
If you're not sure what those are it could mean you actually don't have the skills you assume you have. It is unfair to others who have taken classes to progress to the point that they are ready to enjoy the river.
PLEASE I'm so happy to discuss paddling, safety and trips. It is my passion. Reach out, we can find an answer to your paddling inquiries and if I don't know I will find the answer for you!
Sending you Love N SUP!
Owner Paddle Athabasca
Paddle Canada River 1 SUP Instructor