Local kayakers getting ready for warmer weather and spring snow melt
With warm weather right around the corner, many people are honing their kayak skills before the 2013 paddling season. The Boise area is expecting some warm weather this weekend and, with that, there is a possibility some of our snow may melt.
Die-hard whitewater paddlers wait all winter long for the rivers of Idaho to rise with the spring snow melt.
In the spring, especially March and April, river flows can become comparable to the medium levels seen in the mid-to-late months.
But there's one problem -- the water is very cold.
Experts advise recreationalists going out on the rivers to be aware of frigid waters that could lead to hypothermia. They advise kayakers, canoeists, and rafters need to have the proper training and equipment to be able to upright their capsized vessel in the event it overturns in the water. A quick overturn could prevent the paddler from being exposed to cold water for any length of time.
Kayakers call it an "Eskimo roll." To execute a “roll” the recreationalist needs lessons and plenty of practice. Paddlers can also benefit from wearing winter paddling gear. Typical winter gear includes a drysuit, gloves or "poogies" (similar to gloves, except the person's hands and paddle are covered by neoprene) ear plugs and a helmet liner. Some paddlers prefer "poogies" because there's direct contact between the user's hands and the paddle shaft; compared to using gloves -- which also work great as well, experts say.
So, regardless of your abilities -- whether you're an advanced whitewater kayaker getting ready for the spring snow melt or have never been in a kayak -- there are a few different options to get you ready for "the river." If you’ve never been in a kayak or it's been a long time since you have, then attending a "roll" class might be a right for you.
For Boise State Recreation members, there are drop-in kayak roll sessions March 6th, April 3rd, and May 1st at the campus Aquatic Center. These sessions don’t provide any instructions, but there are plenty of opportunities to get in a kayak and have your friend show you paddle strokes, how to pull your spray skirt (the tunnel and skirt which seals you into the kayak cockpit) and swim or even let you try an "Eskimo roll."
If you’re looking for a little more instruction there are instructional kayak roll classes every other Sunday and Monday at the two YMCA Boise locations, 1050 W. State St. and 5959 N. Discovery Place. Dates for 2013 roll sessions are provided on the events calendar at payetteriver.org. The site also features river flows for all you whitewater enthusiasts.
(photo courtesy: Phil Morrow - South Fork of the Payette River)