“Pretend Al, a 300-pound man, is on your lap. He has been drinking and is leaning in for a kiss. Get him off!” said Cassidy Strode, an alumni member of the Kayak Club, teaching me the preliminary step to rolling a kayak.
Bam. I turned my kayak from a flipped position to upright, using enough force to get the imaginary drunk man off my lap.
“Rolling [a kayak] is kind of like kneeing yourself in the eye,” said Christine Clark, the president of the club and a senior architecture major.
The techniques taught by Clark and Strode helped me as I began learning how to roll a whitewater kayak in the Clare Small pool.
The club holds bi-weekly sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6-10 p.m. Boats and paddles from Grab Your Tackle are provided, so there is no need to bring your own kayak.
“The session is really good if you are having a crappy study day,” said Brittany Smith, a freshman international affairs major.
Fifteen students in colorful kayaks floated around the pool, practicing basic rolls and more advanced tricks. The social aspect alone could help relieve the stress of school.
“I’ve never been kayaking before,” said Anastasia Simes Martinez, a freshman biochemistry major, who was also attending the pool session for the first time.
Simes Martinez and I paired up with Smith and Clark to learn some basic water safety.
Before any member is allowed in the pool they must be able to wet-exit from the kayak.
I was intimidated by the action of being completely under my boat, but it was not difficult. A wet-exit means flipping the kayak upside down and getting out of the boat while underwater.
After passing this test, we got into the kayaks and paddled around the pool.
The next step in learning to roll a kayak was to practice turning the boat from a flipped position to upright, using only knees and abdominal muscles. I got the hang of this quickly, using the advice given to me by Clark and Strode.
“Kayaking doesn’t have to be a competition,” Smith said.
I felt very comfortable with the kayaking club, even though I had never been in a kayak before and was trying something out of my comfort zone.
The season usually starts in March. They will be going to California for spring break, with a group of between nine and 25 people.
“We go where the water is,” Clark said.
Though kayaking is primarily an individual sport, the club is training for a regional competition in April. They will compete against local universities in the Colorado School of Mines Icebreaker Competition. The race is held at the Clear Creek Whitewater Park and includes a slalom, polo, boater cross and rodeo competition, according to the CSM Kayak Club, the sponsors of the event.
For more information, visit the kayak clubs website .
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Kathleen Straney at Kathleen.Straney@thecampuspress.com.