2013-09 BCU 3 Star Training – Review by Dick Roles

3 Star BCU Training Labor Day Weekend 2013

By Dick Roles

Earlier in the year ISK set up a three day BCU 3 Star training session for the long Labor Day weekend (thanks, Jeff).  The trick was to get into the class as there were eight slots and a lot more interest.  I got up at 0645 on the designated registration day back in May, logged into the ISK website and slammed my bid in at 10 seconds after 0700.  Just like sniping an eBay auction in the last few seconds. Success.

Of course, the summer disappeared in flash and it was time to go.  The class was held at Little Sand Bay in the ApostleIslands.  I went up a couple of days early to do a solo trip to OakIsland.  Beautiful weather except for the thunder storms rattling around.

The club had reserved the group campsite and Friday afternoon people started rolling in and setting up camp. The students were Tony, Tim, Mike (Woida), Sharell, Fran, Katie, Aaron, Bernie and myself. The usual suspects. They mostly just go by one name.

Jeff Forseth, Michelle Forseth and Peggy O’Neal were assistant coaches.

Jeff introduced us to John Carmody, our lead 5 Star coach.  John lives in Boothbay, Maine and flew out for this class.  John has extensive salt water kayaking and sailing experience.  He doesn’t particularly care for fresh water (“it feels funny”).  At least you can drink it if you’re thirsty.

We had a good three days.  We started everyday at a civilized hour (0830) with a talk and planning session lead by John and then moved our boats and gear down to the beach.  The weather was very cooperative, unseasonable warm, some wind to work in (most of us wanted more).  John covered just about everything in the 3 Star curriculum but mostly we took what nature gave us.  When we had waves, we surfed, practiced launching from the beach and making the boat do what we wanted in the wind and waves.  When it was calm, John had us working on the finer points of technique.  He has a nondogmatic teaching style that could be summed up as:  this is a technique that I have found works for a lot of people, but if it doesn’t work for you, experiment until you find something better.

We put in three full days with Monday ending with John giving each of us a 10 minute evaluation that was much appreciated.  John Carmody will be back as a lead coach for the Gales Storm Gathering in Bayfield the second weekend of October.  I will see some of you there.

One last thing.  John noted that he had travelled a lot around the country and the world to various kayaking venues.  He has encountered many kayaking clubs along the way and said that ISK seemed better than most.  Something that I suspect is true.  The main reasons for that were mostly sitting around that table.  So thank you to all that contribute to making ISK the safe and nurturing organization that it is.

Dick Roles