Well, gang, I bit it off for myself to grow in several channels as a kayaker in this momentous decade mile-stone year. I called it, "10 New Year's Resolutions for 2010." It's about the middle of the year, so time to see how I'm doing on my commitments.
1. Take someone under your wing- The idea here is that a team's strength is an average of it's members individual strengths. This being the case, more experienced paddlers can help boost others as they take the uncertain steps in "stepping up." As I get to know runs better, I can help assess whether a given run is an appropriate next step, and then help stair-step down the run, breaking up the difficulty, anticipating hazards, saving energy with knowledge of lines and portage routes.
I have done a bit of this stretching of my wings to make more room underneath and would say that it has helped to refresh my appreciation of local rivers as well as making it so that members of my paddling community feel more confident and experienced to go and take on more new rivers. Check!
2. Give money to AW- I just got my renewal in the mail today and plan on sending that thing on its way. I have also been enjoying the AW journal magazine that comes with membership. www.americanwhitewater.org
3. Carpool- My car getting more and more jacked up has definitely helped me stick to my resolve to carpool! Coloma filling up with more paddling talent at the start of the summer has also helped. The community is strong and many missions have been co-ordinated.
4. Clean up the River- I just paddled out a rusty can that I found on Royal Gorge. I also scored some sweet mining tools on the Slab Creek section of the South Fork American! Even when you can't clean up your lines, you can clean up the banks!
5. Run new lines on familiar Rivers- I definitely got some new lines with the sweet spring flows we had with Chili Bar at around 6000 cfs for over a week straight. There is some USDA Grade "A" boof to be had in "Meat Grinder" over the tops of the big boulders in the middle.
6. Hoot and Holler- I have found that yelling when people land off of drops helps heighten trip awareness, looking around and making sure that everyone is accounted for. Plus it helps get fired up for obvious reasons. I have even tought this skill as part of introductory kayak classes.
7. Stretch in the boat- I especially like folding forward into a tuck, trying to touch my toes while drifting. This helps stretch my ham-strings and improve the reach of my forward stroke.
8. Playboat in the Creek Boat- I have been working on my rail-grabs as well as paddle-twirls. Yesterday, during an attempted high-five to a friend on the bank in the middle of Autobahn on the South Silver, I drove my Habitat out of the water. In the evolution of species, stepping out onto dry land was a pivotal moment. Could the same be true of the evolution of freestyle kayaking?
9. Backpaddle pools- I have done this once in a while, but not with any measure of routine or discipline. At least I've done it once, which is more than I can say for my last resolution item...
10. Use a Theraband- I have not done this even one time, even though I have several. Nobody's perfect and I'm obviously not someone to take on as your Guru. I'll think about picking one up sometime between now and December.