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intermediate paddlers 3 days
Bob Foote 2005
Monday, July 11, 2005 to Wednesday, July 13, 2005
length: 3 days
difficulty: intermediate

organizer: Cline/Bonnie
participants: Beth Baskin, Bonnie Bliss, Geoff Kee, Keith Nunn, Kevin 'Dr. Evil' Brown, Liam Nunn, Peter Farr, Stephen Farr, Steward Rich, Gord Miller, Bob Foote, Karen Knight

Although not an "official" VVCC event, most of the participants were from our group and repeats from last year's clinic. This year we were joined by Steward and Gord from Ottawa. We were also lucky enough to have Karen Knight accompanying and helping Bob, wonderful meals provided by Beth Baskin, and entertainment by Liam and Stephen. The river was at a good level throughout the course and the bottom lake stayed fairly high.

We started with a day on the lake above the dam as always. This year's focus was on boat control and power on both sides, so forward strokes, both on-side and off-side, were primary on the agenda. Since I had been working diligently on what I learned last year, I thought I was going to have an easier time this year. I couldn't have been more wrong. While I was on the right track, I still had a long way to go. Even then Bob added some more elements to my stroke and, on the infrequent occasions that it all came together, it was amazing how much power those simple changes added. The cross-forward drills were exhausting and humbling, but there was marked improvement made by everyone in the group. The cross-forward sweep makes a pretzel look like a straight line and uses muscles I had never engaged before. We finished with rolling practice, and then back to camp for an great dinner. By 9:10 that night everyone was in their tents and sound asleep.

The next day was spent working in current near the bridge and below Cave Eddy. Precision ferries and S-turns were the drill of the day. Even after all of the work the previous day, we were all still having problems with our forward strokes, so it was back to the flat, this time the long recirculating eddy in the lower lake. We spent some time doing laps past Bob and Karen until we were back on track, then into the waves for work on the stern draw and pry.

The last day started with forward strokes as reinforcement, then back to the bridge section for more ferrying and some attainments. The afternoon was spent on rolling and then surfing with more work on the stern draw and pry, two misused and misunderstood static strokes. Those who could roll were "encouraged" by Bob to do so in the outflow current into the lower lake, while he offered corrections and improvements.

As a bonus, Bob was very kind and spent some time at lunch working with my son, Stephen, on rolling his Aftershock. To my chagrin, after 15-20 minutes of instruction, Stephen was able to roll. He needs to work on consistency and technique, but he did succeed in rolling then and again later in the afternoon. If there was ever any doubt of Bob's ability to teach, this should be proof.

posted by: Peter Farr

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