More from Christine Burris and Bob Burnett
By Christine Burris, Rogue Wave Adventures
On a recent weekend, Bob Burnett and I met 6 students at Pacific Beach on the Washington Coast for a Surf Zone Basics Class followed by a second day of Surf Zone Total Control. Although all but one had taken classes with RWA, three had never paddled a kayak in the surf. It is during opportunities like this that I deeply enjoy my work. Although there are a select few that immediately feel at home with dynamic water, most are apprehensive or intimidated by the waves, the noise or the timeless power of the Pacific.
Our students come to us with all levels of experience and diverse reasons to want this skill. We are privileged to step into a coaching relationship: accepting individuals where they are and helping them build a foundation for stability and confidence in this environment.
Skill diversity was at the forefront for last weekend’s classes. Our group spanned a few months to over 10 years of paddling experience. Even so, all of them looked out at the water with varying degrees of misgivings. We began by immersing them in reform waves in boats without a paddle to develop balance, body-boat connection and an understanding of force meeting force. Although the initial response was trepidation, it’s through these experiences that they overcame poor habits of over-bracing and anxiety-based reaction while fostering a relationship of trust.
By the end of the two days everyone was tired and smiling. At dinner we told stories of great rides, triumphant roll-ups and Marcus sculling through the waves! Via shared apprehensions and celebrations, the group began to surpass camaraderie and develop a sense of kinship in the RWA family.