Sunday, March 22, 2009

SAU Spring Cleaning 2009

It was a long drive home: I just returned from the so called "Spring Cleaning"-weekend workshop of the German Seakayak association "Salzwasserunion". The Spring Cleaning is a training Weekend on the Isle of Wangerooge for (to be) instructors, tour-guides, and experienced seakayakers. This year the main topic was "group control in demanding conditions". Here are my first impressions of a great weekend. More on it later this week. Marieke, Rebecca, Nico and I were the four Dutch NKB-participants on the Spring Cleaning.

The workshop started on Friday afternoon on the crossing from Harlesiel to Wangerooge with role plays on group control. The members of the groups received secret instructions to make life hard for the group-leaders. Instructions and roles changed multiple times during the crossing. All this took place under a fantastic sunset and evening sky on a calm Waddensea. The last leg in darkness under a starry sky.

Saturday's program consisted of exercises on managing rescue situations on moving water, followed by an extremely wet event: a competition on manoeuvring, rolling, swimming with the kayak and re-entry on rough water. Exposed to water temperature 5 degrees, air temperature 8 degrees Celsius and wind blowing 4-5 Bft - one of the moments you really appreciate a good drysuit!
picture made by Christian Harms

Sunday the leaders of the groups were tested under real life conditions: the mission the leaders got was to guide the groups safe to the mainland, while the tidal current was still outgoing and the wind was blowing NW 6 Bft. A demanding task (and a fun sea to paddle ;-)!

Thanks to Bernhard Hillejan for the organisation!

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