Monday, 23 November 2015

See Lisa roll. Roll Lisa, roll.

I'm chuffed. On Saturday afternoon we headed to the Gatsien rapid on the Vaal River for my first river session in my Bazooka white water kayak. We had the kids with us on sit-on-tops plus two visiting German kayakers (Jan and Stephanie). We weren't the only ones out there. With water levels up, there was a fair party happening on the water.

Not where we were paddling... just a view of part of the river on my way out of town on Sunday afternoon.

Celliers started off showing me some paddle strokes and then we went across to an eddy so I could practice my rolls - especially as I only learned last weekend in a swimming pool.

BOOM - up I came. Yee-haa! I did it again. Yay!

Then we messed with some ferrying into the current. We started with a strong one and I had two swims - I came out at a funny angle and didn't even try to roll.

And then Celliers told me something really useful. He said that if I capsize in a rapid I'll be in a lot of turbulence.

"Just wait," he said. "It will get calmer and then roll. Don't even try in the current and turbulence."

A little while later I was playing in the main stream, crossing from one side to the other. I haven't quite got the hang of 'edging' the kayak - tilting the downstream side down (lifting the upstream side up). I flipped over.

I could feel the turbulence and I just waited, paddle in my hand.

Within seconds it was calm and I got my paddle into position but just as I started to roll I hit more turbulence. I waited - upside down in the water and folded over close to the boat.

It calmed again and in one stroke - BOOM - I was up. And there was cheering from the bank behind me.

Super, super cool.

It seems that in messing around at rapids there's a lot of bobbing and sitting on the water that happens. Really not good for my constitution. I felt a bit green. I've only ever raced down rivers so I've never been river-sick. Bobbing on the water isn't my thing. I'll need to take some anti-nausea meds for this - but maybe I'll adapt?

I'm not in town this weekend, unfortunately, but my full-time move happens in a week today. I'm itching to hit the water again.

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