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Below is an outline and video of our paddle talk.  You'll be expected to be able to give this talk during training, so practice up!

Kayti throws in a bit of personality, and you are welcome to as well. Just make sure you are hitting all the points clearly.

Paddle Talk Outline

  1. Tour introduction
  2. Introduce yourself and have each participant introduce him or herself (if time allows).  Do your best to learn each person’s name.
  3. If the group is a tour group rather than individuals do not have them introduce themselves, as they already know each other.  Guide introductions are still appropriate.
  4. Describe the tour route, possible wildlife sightings and sightseeing options. 
  5. Mention the fact there are inherent risks in kayaking and hiking and that they not only need to pay close attention to the information you are presenting but also that they are responsible for assisting in limiting their own risk.
  6. Ask if there are any questions. 
  7. Ask clients to privately discuss any allergies, medical conditions or concerns with the guides prior to the safety talk.

Paddling techniques 

  1. Paddle
    • Demonstrate how to properly hold a paddle, i.e. ‘the paddler’s box.
    • Describe the parts of the paddle
      • drip ring
      • blade front and back, top and bottom
  2. Paddling/Body Mechanics
    • Use of upper body rotation and torso.
      • explain why use of arms alone is more tiring.
      • over exaggerate movements so that they may be easily seen.
  3. Demonstrate Paddle Strokes (have clients air paddle to show comprehension)
    • Forward paddle stroke
      • show where paddle should enter and exit water on stroke and the depth of the paddle stroke
    • Demonstrate reverse stroke
    • Low brace
  4. Rudder Use
    • Raised for launch/land
    • Provides turning power in tandem
  5. Roles of Paddlers
    • Offer guidance for paddler placement based on strength and size.
    • Generally most coordinated in rear seat
      • Front paddler
        • sets pace
        • foot pegs for bracing only
      • Rear paddler
        • follows pace
        • use of foot pegs in relationship to rudder & steering
          • left foot forward=left turn
          • right foot forward=right turn
          • opposing foot must give to provide slack
          • don’t force pegs
  6. Ask if clients have any questions 

Demonstrate Use of Kayak

  1. Explain the Basic Parts of a Tandem Kayak (Clients are never allowed to use single kayaks.)  
    • Rudder
    • Cockpits
    • Hatches
  2. Getting into Kayak
    • Use of paddle as a tripod
    • Butt on deck first, feet into cockpit second
    • Never stand in a boat!
  3. Sitting in Kayak
    • Three points of contact
      • rear, thighs, feet
    • Feet on foot pegs
      • demonstrate how to properly adjust foot pegs
  4. Attaching Spray Skirt
    • Begin in back, work towards front
      • lean back as leaning forward pulls skirt off
    • Grab loop must be exposed
  5. Ask if clients have any questions.

Rescue Procedures

  1. Demonstrate most likely ways to tip over
    • Leaning or reaching over the side of the kayak
    • Raising arms/paddles high into the air
    • Panicking in boat wake/rough water
      • never stop paddling in rough water
  2. Reiterate low brace
    • Demonstrate while in boat on beach
  3. Demonstrate Wet Exit
    • Remind clients to do their best to avoid panicking
    • Remove spray skirt
      • find cockpit combing
      • run hands forward to grab loop
      • pull grab loop up and forward
    • Push out of kayak
      • remind clients their PFD will bring them to the surface
    • Clients should help partner out of kayak if not already out
  4. Demonstrate assisted rescue
    • Guide and client right tandem
    • Guide braces tandem
    • Guide verbally instructs client how to reenter kayak
      • pull body onto deck behind cockpit
      • using lines and combing for grip
      • kicking feet to propel body weight
      • slide feet into cockpit
      • slide body into cockpit
      • corkscrew body towards rescuer
    • Bilge cockpit and get paddling partner into kayak
  5. Explain what happens afterwards
    • Paddle to shore
    • Change into dry clothing
      • guide carries hypothermia kit
    • Return to launch point
  6. Explain on-water communication signals
    • Always within speaking distance
    • One whistle blast “look at me”
      • used to direct clients attention to guide
    • Hand signals
      • Stop
        • hand up, palm toward receiver
      • Come closer
        • wave hand towards chest repeatedly
    • Remind clients that the group will always paddle as a group and will travel at the speed of the slowest paddlers.
  7. Ask if the clients have any questions.  Also ask clients to inform a guide if there is any relevant health issues the of which the guides should be aware.