Review: February 2015, BCU 5 Star Training San Francisco

A group of 7 student came together for a 5 day training course to improve our skills in more challenging environments and prepare for 4 or 5 Star Award Assessments. Gathering in San Francisco, paddlers from California, North Carolina and Minnesota collected for two classes, BCU 5 Star Training course and Open Water and Tidal Planning, taught by Jen Kleck and John Carmody.

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2013 BCU 3 Star Training for Midwest Club

Nine members of the Inland Sea Kayakers had an opportunity to have BCU 3 Star training by featured coach, John Carmody, this past Labor day weekend.


As a BCU Level 5 Sea Coach (the highest rating in sea kayaking), John Carmody brings a wealth of hard earned and highly revered knowledge along with an understanding of student needs and desires. Weave in compassion for his students and a love for the sport, bring him to the student’s home waters and you get a perfect recipe for learning and growth. To learn more about John and his kayak company, visit his website Sea Cliff Kayakers.


Train for the worst; Hope for the best.

Video review: Sea Kayak Rescues

Review of video: Sea Kayak Rescues

Sea Kayak Rescues DVD

Speed and proficiency is the key to a good T-Rescue in kayaking. It’s best to get the casualty out of the water as quickly as possible to avoid more problems and dangers such as hypothermia, separation from boat and gear, and dangerous obstacles.

Clearly, objectives of this video were conceived before the video was made. As defined on their website, Shawna and Leon successfully made their goals: “ To create a visually exciting instructional film”, “To show current rescue techniques that work in a wide range of conditions that are actually shown in those conditions” and “To use current coaching methodology to set a new standard in instructional films”.

They nailed it spot on. They created a video that was exciting to watch, uses catchy music, placid and tension filled scenes as well as a flavor of their own delightful, yet professional personalities.

To me, the main key of this video is the demonstration of current techniques that are applicable in all settings, calm or vigorous water. Not too oddly, the procedure of T-rescue has taken a slightly new form in recent years and in my observation, there  has been a slow change of the kayak community in the Midwest  to come around to this way of thinking. All industries, kayaking included, need to have periodic standards updates (newer, better ways of doing the same old thing).  Through peer review and very much experience teaching, a few changes have been made to improve T-rescue practice, and Body Boat Blade International brings this out in their video.

When is the best time to view this video? All the time. Each time you see it, you’ll pick up another tip. As your skills improve in all aspects of kayaking, you’ll find yourself in different situations. This video will give you new insights on how to handle rescues in a variety of situations. As an instructor,  I also like to review this video prior to teaching a rescues class.

My suggestions:

  1. buy this video and watch it immediately
  2. take classes and training in rescues
  3. practice, practice, practice

My only regret is that the awesome slides Shawna and Leon use for their talk on this topic aren’t included. If you have the opportunity to see them deliver this topic, do anything you can to get there; even if it means stealing your grandmother’s mule.