It’s been busy couple of months here at Sweetwater. Although the white water season is just starting in the UK, it is coming to a close in Sweden where I’ve just been running coach and guide development programmes. I was staying in Are about 2hr’s drive from Troheim Airport on the Norwegian boarder. After a good sleep I met up with the team to discuss the program and their personal goals over a traditional Swedish breakfast. The main aim of the program was to identify a progressive range of training environments to aid the development of river running and steep creaking skills whilst also exploring the latest coaching methods to suit.
40 minute trek to the river – the snow made the longer hikes easier as we could sledge our boats and equipment. Part of our morning brief was about essential equipment to meet the demands of wildness and steep environment paddling. As you would imagine the Swede’s are no strangers to wildness boating, we discussed the various considerations and possible solutions before heading out for the morning hike.
The main objective of the first day was to look at the skills that have the most effect on our ability to successfully read the river environment, adapting to its demands and applying key strokes where they really count the most.
After a great grade 3(4) warm up working on creating lines, and new eddy in and out techniques we moved on to practicing Boofing Techniques – working progressively towards laying the foundation for successfully running larger falls. The group explored various techniques and strategies to suit a wide range of river features and objectives.
Once we had the foundation of a good boof we shifted focus towards running larger falls, working on different methods of creating a window of opportunity that allows students to develop and enhance their techniques in a safe and structured manner.
After taking the group through various approaches and processes of running waterfalls we put it into practice. Here I am demonstrating a method of animating key shapes and timings during the coach demonstration process.
From this point on the river step up a grade proving some quality grade 4 and 5 paddling. As we entered each section of rapid we discussed and applied the process of future adaption. This is a process of preparing for the challenges ahead by using one section to rehearse ‘ must make ‘ moves for the next more challenging section.
I would like to say thanks to the team of coaches and guides for their great hospitality, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the river with all.