Confluence Kayak Pool Class 2: Getting comfortable underwater

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the beginning kayak pool classes offered by Confluence Kayaks. The pool lessons are taught over three two-hour sessions, and are designed to get you comfortable with kayak basics like strokes and the all-important Eskimo roll. The first class taught the wet exit and basic kayak strokes. Tuesday night, I participated in the middle class, where we started working on the hip snap and the T-rescue.

The T-rescue is important for learning to get comfortable with being upside down in the water, and working on getting a sound hip snap that will be the foundation of the Roll. In a T-rescue, after flipping upside down, you bang the sides of your boat with your hands, alerting your partner that you are in trouble. Your partner can then steer her boat into yours, and you can push down on the bow of your partner's boat to roll up again.

Part of what the T-rescue teaches is to keep your head against your shoulder as you roll. If you lead with your head, your roll will fail. Your head is the heaviest part of your body, and needs to come out of the water last. Our two instructors, Dave and Alex, patiently encouraged us to keep our heads on the bow of our partner's boat as we came up, just to learn to relax, before snapping the hips up to get the roll going.

That is, of course, easier said than done. When you get underwater and are hanging upside down in your boat, you have to fight to stay calm in the alien environment. One friend of mine suggested practicing blowing bubbles as you roll, as it mimics breathing to keep you calm and also forces you to keep your head down.

By the end of the class, I found it easier not to just roll upside down and hang for a bit, as I worked to get comfortable with being upside down.

Next week, the final class will teach bringing the paddle into play and doing the roll.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.