SEA LEADERSHIP PROGRAM MAKING WAVES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Paddle SA Education is currently conducting a Sea Leadership Program. Training has involved on water sessions on strokes, rescues, towing, rolling and emergency response in a variety of sea environments. Off water sessions included hazard and risk management, equipment trends, trip planning, the structure of the Paddle Australia Qualification Scheme and exploring online resources.

Initial sessions were conducted on flatwater to assess competence of trainees and included a full range of kayak control skills, rescues, rolling, hazard and group management.

Rough Water training was conducted at Pt. Elliott, a perfect location with areas of rough water, rocky coastline and surf.

A full range of skills were covered including edging, leaning, capsize with various self and partner rescue techniques, rolling and towing of an incapacitated paddler. Hazard identification and risk management were an important part of all training.

Preparation included how to capsize safely in surf, wet exit and swim with kayak to the safe zone behind the breakwater. As planned capsizes did occur and rescues were practiced and more advanced paddlers practiced rolling. Lastly the group enacted towing of an incapacitated paddler from the centre of the bay back to a safe beach; a complex task that got everyone involved!

Suitable methodology to introduce novice sea paddlers to the surf zone was conducted at Middleton. Skills for the day included strong forward and reverse strokes, timing the impact with breaking waves, bracing strokes and side sliding on broken waves, edged sweep strokes and fast 180 turns, capsize with wet exit and self rescue, rolling and deck carries of swimmers. Trainees worked with a buddy.

The final training was a crossing from Cape Jervis on the “mainland” to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. This area is exposed and it is rare to get calm days but we scored a beauty with favourable winds and sunny skies. Training included the effect of tides, group management, communication, navigation, emergency response and equipment.

The 20Km crossing was completed in a little more than three hours and we arrived in Penneshaw in bright sunshine and landed on the white sand beach through crystal clear water.

Winds peaked at 20 Knots during our journey back to Cape Jervis and it was cold! It was a challenging slog into the wind and rising seas- needless to say we were all pretty tired when we reached Cape Jervis.

On the beach we were greeted by a Marine Safety Compliance Officer. He had many questions relating to the safety of our trip and the gear we were carrying as we were in “Unprotected Waters” during the crossing. The officer was happy that the group was carrying all the prescribed safety equipment…an important part of the training!

For further information on Paddle SA Education training programs see: https://paddlesa.au/about-paddle-sa/

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