SHELBURNE, N.S. – The Shelburne Kayak Festival is seven months way, but it’s never too early to prepare.
“People feel that if they can roll their kayaks they will feel safer out on the water,” Matt DeLong, lead kayaking guide and coach at Candlebox Kayaking in Shelburne, said.
DeLong is hosting a four-hour kayak-rolling and pool session Feb. 1 at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre in Bridgewater.
“Rolling takes muscle memory,” DeLong said. “It’s not a hard thing to learn if you’re a little fit but you have to be comfortable being upside down in the water, and that can be a little bit challenging for folks.”
The session starts with what is called a ‘wet exit,’ which is getting out of the kayak when you’re upside down in the water, and then getting back into the kayak after exiting.
“They get themselves onto the kayak by straddling it, and then get themselves back in the cockpit,” DeLong said. “Or they can use a friend to assist them to get back into the kayak. These are easy manoeuvers but are important to learn.”
Some people will need more than one four-hour session to learn to roll, and others will need less.
“When I was first learning I took multiple sessions to learn but I’ve had other people learn in 15-minutes.”
DeLong has kayaked for 20 years and says he loves it.
“For me, it’s a sport you can continually grow into because there are so many facets to it, whether it’s touring or white-water kayaking,” DeLong said. “There are all kinds of different ways to kayak. Kayaks are probably the most versatile watercraft out there.”
It also helps that, besides good kayaking along the South Shore, there’s also good white-water options in the Roseway River and Medway River.
“Where we are here we have limitless touring options, limitless surf and tidal features, and white-water as well,” DeLong said.
DeLong says becoming a competent kayaker takes time.
“It all depends on how much time you put your butt in the boat,” he said.
And kayaking doesn’t need to be expensive.
“If you buy all new gear it can get expensive but there’s a pretty good market for used kayaks and gear in the province as well, so it doesn’t have to be that expensive.”
For more information about upcoming courses call Candlebox Kayaking at 902-637-7115.