AS IF Challenge 2013 Review by Aaron K

ISK As if challenge Saturday October 26th 2013


On Saturday October 26th, I paddled in the bi-annual As-If-Challenge.  This was a great day to meet up with fellow paddlers and practice skills and scenarios that may happen on a day trip to Lake Superior.  We met at Carson’s Bay on Lake Minnetonka.  We had a pre launch talk, talked about the syllabus and then we were on our way.

This particular as-if challenge, we split up into two different groups.  I was in a group with Aras, Malla, Joyce, Pete and Michelle.  We had a relaxing paddle out of the bay, then things got hectic.  The wind was howling once out of protection of the bay.  Our team was trying to figure out where to head while paddling through choppy conditions.  There was also a sail boat race that had just started.  The sailors were clearly having problems controlling their boats and they began coming into the area where we were paddling.  Our observers Michelle and Pete got us out of the way quickly and told us not to worry about our heading until we were safe.

We then headed towards Veterans Park on Big Island. We picked our ranges and paddled that direction.  Once we got to Big Island, came the first challenge.  Our observer Pete pulled me aside and to me to act mildly hypothermic.  I approached Malla and started mumbling.  I also started shaking.  Joyce noticed my shaking then Aras stepped in.  My group quickly realized I was hypothermic and took the appropriate action.  My group did well with this scenario.  We also at this time practiced using the radio and signaling for help.

We then paddled around Comfort Point and headed through the canal between the two sides of Big Island.  I was chosen to be the trip leader for this leg of the trip.  I made sure to look back every few paddle strokes to make sure my group was with me.  Once I looked back and my group was behind.  Our observer Pete told them to stop paddling to see how long it would take me to realize it.  I then decided to paddle in the middle of my group so it was easier as the leader to see what was going on.

Once we got through the canal, we turned around and started heading back to the bay due to the choppy conditions.  These conditions cut the route short but we were still able to practice all scenarios.  On the way back, we practiced towing.  Everybody took their turn and we all towed in a straight line with everyone hooked up to each other.

Overall, it was a great day to go out with fellow paddlers, look at the fall colors and practice some awesome scenarios.  It gave us all a better idea what to look for when paddling in a group and how to be an active participant in a group to keep everyone safe.

When we were all off the water, we met at Jeff and Michelle Forseth’s house for a debriefing.  Michelle made an awesome soup for dinner.  When everyone was done, we talked about the day.  We talked about what the other groups did.  We also talked about what went well, what didn’t and what we all learned.  This was also important because it gave us insight into what the other observers thought as well as the other group members.  This was just as important and practicing on the water.


Aaron Katzner