Have you ever signed up for a class, looked at the syllabus and weather report and asked yourself “What did I just set myself up for?” That was my first thought after seeing the forecast and looking at the FSRT syllabus. Thoughts of backing out and hoping for a refund ran through my mind. I’m glad I pushed those thoughts out of my head and stuck with the plan.
On Saturday I, along with 5 other OOPSters and 3 new Alder Creek employees, participated in the FSRT (Foundation Safety and Rescue Training) course taught by Paul Kuthe and Karl Andersson. The weather was much better than expected and these two took that intimidating syllabus I mentioned earlier and turned it into a fantastic day on, and often in, the chilly Columbia River .
We started the day behind the closed doors of Alder Creek tossing throw bags into (more often “at”) the cockpit of a target kayak and then honed our tossing skills after lunch in a parking lot. Lots of laughter here; so many things to learn about simply tossing rope!
On the docks we learned how to save a struggling swimmer and scoop them up in a canoe before taking to the water in a variety of vessels with the intent of falling out to be saved and returned to our boat by someone else in our group. Learning to empty a canoe across the deck of a sea kayak was a fun part of the day. So was working out how to swap boats in the middle of the water without anyone getting wet!
The afternoon saw us doing towing practice. We started with races to see who could get to and tow away another paddler the fastest using our tow belts. This progressed to more races using contact tows.
We followed those games with self rescues in the variety of boats Alder Creek provided. Canoe self-rescues certainly was an eye-opener. Just when you think you know how to do things … .
Our day ended with the fabled Hand of God rescue … but from the dock. A kayaker rolled over and we jumped in to pull them upright. Works like a charm. Whew! Talk about trust!!
If you’ve never tried any of the skills described here from anything except your own kayak, you NEED to take this course. More to the point, you WANT to take this course. As Charles Congdon put it in his listserve blast, “Yes, this is a formal class that will make you a better paddler. But it’s also some of the most fun you will have in the water since you were a kid.”
So dang! Now you’re thinking to yourself that you missed the opportunity to get this incredible training … except you haven’t!!!!
If you’re sorry to have missed all the fun this past Saturday, you’re in luck. Alder Creek is going to repeat the fun on April 4th when they’re teaching the FSRT again. So what are you waiting for? Call Alder Creek (503-285-0464), sign up, and get out in the water to play with other paddlers, laugh, and learn something new and useful; something that will help you be a more valuable member of a paddling group. There are still some spots open, and if you hurry you might be able to grab one of them. With your 10% OOPS discount from Alder Creek and after applying for and receiving your reimbursement from OOPS you will only have to pay $90 (General members and inactive Trip Organizers/Instructors) or $45 (active Trip Organizers/Instructors) for this amazing, $125 course taught by two of the best instructors you’re likely to meet.
Many thanks again to Paul, Karl, Alder Creek and all the other hardy participants of the day!
Oregon Ocean Paddling Society member