Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Calling All Paddlers: Tune Up for Fall Paddling Season

NOC's nationally known Paddling School is offering an early-booking discount throughout August. Why? "Because paddling in the Fall is awesome!" if you ask Tosh Arwood, Paddling School manger. Arwood went on to explain there are fewer crowds in the Fall than during the summer rush and that you'll be surrounded by beautiful, colorful fall scenery.

In plain terms, this discount means you can save 15% when reserving a multi-day course or a private instruction course in September or October if you book it before August 31st. That's perfect timing for most paddlers since the fall is often the time for releases on some of the Southeast's most challenging rivers like the Gauley, Cheoah, Tallulah and big-water releases on the Ocoee.

Take your skills to the next level and enjoy the thrills and beauty of creek boating.

World Class Instructors

NOC instructors like Andrew Wilmott can make a lasting impact on your paddling skills. Andrew has been teaching kayaking at NOC for 17 years now, and attributes his love of teaching to his students.  "It's about the people.  It's not just about kayaking, but the community of the sport and the relationships built around it."  Andrew, along with many of our instructors love to share the experience of learning to kayak with guests.  "When someone is in 'Truck Stop' eddy, nervous to run Nantahala Falls for the first time, I put myself back in their position when I was first learning. I get into that mindset to go through what they are going through at that exact moment.  It's all about sharing the experience and reassuring the guest they can achieve their goals if they want to," explained Wilmott.

Andrew instructing a multiday course starting at Lake Fontana
Multi-Day vs. Private Instruction Courses
NOC offers a variety of programs to fit each guest's needs, time and budget. For this blog, we contacted two guests who have taken a multi-day course or a private instruction course to see how their experience with NOC's Paddling School played out.  Chris Mahannah took a 5-Day Learn To Kayak course while Steve Pack chose the Private Instruction.

Five Day Course Experience
During a multi-day course, the instructors concentrate on advancing skills through gradual progressions and building a relationship between kayaking and the guest. Mahannah enrolled in a multi-day course with his buddy, they both had very limited experience in whitewater kayaking.  They chose the multi-day course because they thought they would benefit from having more time on the water and simply had the time to do it. Mahannah had two goals before beginning this course: 1) to learn to roll and successfully do it in fast moving water, and 2) to comfortably and safely navigate a river. "I had no clue there were so many strokes and so much involved in moving in and out of eddies," explained Mahannah when talking about his experience. Throughout the Five day course, Mahannah paddled the Nantahala, Pigeon and a section of the Chattooga.

When reflecting on his course Mahannah explains, "On day four, our instructor let us take on some faster moving water (part of the Chattooga River), and it was a blast.  Andrew Wilmott was a super cool instructor, who taught us a lot and adjusted the course to our desires."  Depending on how many people are in a multi-day course and how smoothly everyone progresses determines which rivers the class will get on. Mahannah's final feedback was not uncommon for the Paddling School to receive: "I learned a ton about kayaking and had a blast doing it.  Andrew was incredible, the food was great and the gear was top notch.  I would definitely take another course!"
Roll Practice at Lake Fontana
Private Instruction (PI)
NOC's private instruction service is very focused on a paddler's personal goals more than any set curriculum. NOC's most experienced instructors use their veteran know-how to diagnose problems and offer suggestions for individual student's abilities.  Steve Pack has some experience paddling, but due to his geographical location he never progressed pass being a class II paddler.  He moved back to Western North Carolina in 2009, making it easier to paddle and start learning again.  Pack explained that he signed up for private instruction because he "wanted an honest evaluation of [his] paddling skills with feedback on what [he] needed to improve." With a one-on-one course, all of the attention goes to the guest.  They can choose what they want to do and work with an instructor that determine how to get the most from the course.

When deciding between a full and half-day course, Pack went with the half day. "I chose the half-day PI because I felt I could accomplish my goals in this time frame. I also viewed it as a first course in a series of instruction," said Pack.  This is a popular route as well, many guests book their first PI as a step in a series of courses.

Pack learned a variety of skills that will improve and prolong his health in paddling.  Previously he stated he did not fully understand key skills and techniques of paddling resulting in strain on his elbow.  Tosh Arwood, Pack's instructor, "had the ability to accurately judge my limits and push me past them in a manner which challenged me and build confidence," explained Pack.  In a PI the instructor really gets to know the guest during the time they are together.  They learn how to take their skills to the next level in a time efficient manner.

A private instruction course below Nantahala Falls.
If you are in-between levels and are not sure what course to take, give our reservations office a call at 888.905.7238. They can assist you on selecting the right course. Or, you can visit the Paddling School's website for more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment