What is the AS IF Challenge?
The “AS IF Challenge” is a bi-annual extended day trip event, that has been happening for seven years now (since 2007) has been a fun learning opportunity for many, and quite a few still attend on a regular basis to continue measuring their skills and have a pleasant, fun filled day trip with friends. The challenges are designed to represent possible events that could happen to an adventurer on an extended day trip on Lake Superior.
The origins of this event are based on a true (but not particularly harrowing) story, where two kayakers went on a short day trip of no more than a half dozen miles. During their journey, the weather changed suddennly; un-noticed because the view was obstructed by the island. Fortunately, they found themselves stranded on a nearby island. Unfortunately they had few resources.
After sharing some quality time sheltering in a National Parks Services one-hole-biffy, the weather cleared and the travelers continued their journey home. But while they were getting their “one-on-one time” with each other, they realized they could have planned better. As they shared their experience with me, I too had a realization that things normally taken for granted by some are largely unknown to others.
“Train for the worst; Hope for the best.”
The premise for the AS IF Challenge is to present challenges to participants “as if” they are on an extended day trip on Lake Superior.
The event focuses on learning, practicing and identifying the skills kayakers need to improve in preparation of the upcoming paddling season.
Advisors and Observers
In order to maintain safe situations, skilled and experienced observers are on hand. Their jobs are to hand out mystery challenges and at the same time, their constant vigilance ensures that things are going according to the “plan”. There is a tightly scripted plan, and unscripted scenarios are forbidden; there’s enough to do already. Observers are also a key component to providing feedback during the debriefing, as well as providing ongoing feedback, if requested.
An optional debriefing session..
As with any organized activity, the debriefing session allows for a calmer environment to review and assess. This review is when the greatest part of the learning occurs. Although the debriefing was an optional added activity. the whole group participated and all will agree, this is where they were able to compare thoughts. Treats, soup, beverages and laughter led into a more serious and focused, blow by blow review. Participants would share their thoughts, rationale, and “Aha moments” and learn form the other’s experiences as well.
What Challenges do we present?
It would be unfair to future events to reveal exactly what goes on, but some of the points to consider are:
- Risk Assessment
- Group Skills
- Decision making
- Performance under stress
- Spare paddle
- Map reading
- Ded Reckoning Position verification
- Ded Reckoning calculations
- Ded Reckoning Transit (time & distance)
- Local knowledge
- Travelling amongst motor traffic
Read the participant reviews here: