This summer I came across the opportunity to work as the lead instructor for ex-pro paddler Todd Anderson at the Columbia Gorge Kayak School in Hood River, Oregon. Without too much thought I took the job, and since have been enjoying every bit of working as a kayak instructor. A typical summer day in my shoes starts by waking up and making my commute to Hood River. Once at the CGKS's waterfront location on the Columbia River I load up our vehicles with gear depending on what the day holds; Zydecos and Pungos for recreational tours, Torrents for beginners to whitewater, and Nomads and Mambas for those hoping to hone in on their whitewater skills. For a recreational tour, whether it be in the middle of the day, during a sunset or under the full moon, we'll travel to the nearest wind and current free location and casually explore that body of water, for sit on top whitewater tours or "ducky trips" as we call them we'll travel to the Klickitat River in Washington and route our clients down a number of class II rapids and depending on the group one class III at the end of the day. My favorite classes to teach, however, are the two-day whitewater progression classes. In these lessons we spend the first day instructing our students on paddling and rolling technique. With an ambitious and athletic group our students will be rolling and eddy hopping by the end of the day, while with others just having a better understanding of the river and basic maneuvering skills is a large accomplishment. On the second day, the students get to apply their skills from the previous day in a down river environment on the class II-III Klickitat River. Catching eddies, ferrying across the river, and working on basic paddling technique makes the second day a full one, but I haven't had a group leave yet without feeling better on the water and being more drawn towards whitewater. At the end of the day I travel back to our waterfront location, wish off the students with encouragement to spend more time on the river, and hang up the day's wet gear.
I couldn't ask for much more than being able to make money from inside my kayak, but to on my drive home from work get to rally the class V Green Truss section of the White Salmon River makes me feel complete as a kayaker.
If you're just now getting into paddling I highly recommend that you to take a lesson at your local kayak school, and if you're an experienced boater looking for an opportunity to pass on paddling skills you've obtain through the years consider kayak instruction, it's sick.
See ya on the water,
A student's first rapid
Scenery's not too shabby either
Still with time for afternoon truss laps with my brother