Wildwaterweekend oktober 2013

In het weekend van 5 en 6 oktober 2013 konden de nieuwe Okawanen voor het eerst mee op trip. Hieronder hun verhalen.

Dag 1: Maddy

Dit verhaalt volgt nog na de tentamens :)

Dag 2: Joaquin

The first day I was really scared to death when I was floating on my boat for the first time, I always felt so safe in the pool, if I tipped I just had to swim to the side of the pool, but the river was new. It was so different here, on the river; there is no side of the pool anymore, just the side of the river where you don’t have a border where you can push yourself up. The current hitting the boat felt really weird; there is this massive constant force that just wants to take control of your stability over and over again. Pedaling against the current for the first time is one of the moments in my life that I felt so powerless and so insignificant, it didn’t last long until I kind of figure it out how to keep control of the boat, or at least some sort of control, and then I begin with the new challenge of hitting the rapid.

The second day, in a Dutch proper way, we started breakfast at 8:00 with bread, butter and other companions for the bread. At 8:30 we were hitting the road to the river of that day, the setting was really different from the one of the first day, now it was a man made river, it had a lot more rapids and the track was a smaller, this was a great thing, meaning that we could just ride it over and over again.

The river was in the middle of a little town in Germany, there were other people doing kayaking already and some little kids, that did a lot better than me, with their parents were doing some learning also. The good news was that here we had a bathroom to change our clothes so no more public voyeurism for us, and also a warm bath was waiting for us.

The first part of the river there was this little dam from where the water latter flow to the rapid, is was very quiet and peaceful, at the beginning some warming up in the dam took place, paddling through the poles that hand from some cables, I believe that are for a more serious training, they had color and numbers. Some especial rules were given about how to pass through each of it, and the warming up was over.

Just when I was about to hit the first rapid I felt a little bit of fear, it looked a lot more scary than the ones the day before, I took a deep breath and I move through the current, “Just keep paddling and everything is going to be alright” I keep thinking in my head, my kayak just hit the lower part of the rapid and I felt how all the surrounding water just rush over my boat, but buoyancy did his job and I came back to the surface in less than a second. “Go to the eddy” I thought and I quickly tipped a little bit my boat and I started paddling toward the eddy current. With this first experience I knew it was going to be a fun day.

Other of the challenges of this river was the stone in the middle of it. There was this huge stone in the middle of the river right in the rapid, splitting the water in two, probably the water would automatically moved you apart from the rock to a side of the river, but I was not there to figure it out. I just remember the lesson, choose your side soon and paddle to it. It was a little bit scary because you are going fast toward the rock, and it looked very big, but I think that at the end nobody did struggle with the rock, oh wait, yes Polo did swam at the rock.

The experience was really good, the rapids (man made) were distributed in very good position each rock, the velocity it was good for a beginner level and some of the more experienced were able to surf in the river, and I felt so jealous of my lack of skills, hopping that soon I will be able to do that also.

Like the day before I did some struggling with the eddy current, but the new advantages of this river is that you are offer the opportunity to try over and over again, this because the length of the path, until you have the feeling that you can manage the task and the increase the level of difficulty until you will struggle again.

Kayaking can be very difficult at the beginning, but it fun all the time. I am very glad I did join Okawa, and I am looking forward to the next trip.

For the rest of his story and some pictures/movies, check his blog (in Spanish).