Siska Currents Course Report
by Elizabeth Purdon
The first SISKA course of 2021 was held on Saturday January 9 after the club received approval for a group of six with our COVID -19 precautions. Students Raj, Paul and Rebecca were led by instructors Jennie Sutton, Dorothea Hoffman and Elizabeth Purdon. We departed from Gyro Park heading for Ten Mile Point around 10:30 following a short beach talk. The paddle was planned for a high tide of over 2.7 meters and for a building ebb. Jennie did her usual impeccable planning, and the conditions were as expected. Unfortunately, Dorothea had to leave at lunch time due to an urgent situation in her basement.
We started on a gentle ebb, first learning to break into the flow using a low brace on the downstream side. We found that good forward speed was required and crossing the eddy line at the top of the eddy was best. Sometimes a sweep on the upstream side was necessary to get turning. The angle of crossing the eddy line varied as the current changed. “Showing our butt towards the flow” felt the most stable. Then, we practiced breaking out of the flow back into the eddy, again using a low brace and showing our butt to the flow that is now going upstream.
We then worked on ferrying across the building current. Again, the angle of leaving the eddy changed as the current increased. We practiced finding the right amount of edge and angle so that ferrying across the current was almost effortless.
After a couple of hours, the students were truly able to play in the current, hitting different eddies and working their way upstream. Things got exciting when one keener got sideways to the current between two rocks, requiring a manual moving of the kayak from a participant on shore. However, no damage was done, everyone stayed dry and Jennie’s record of no swimming students remains intact. Our students were outstanding, and a good time was had by all.