Something that intrigues me when speaking with other sea kayakers is what appears to be a heavy reliance on swimming pools for skill development. I want to say right up front that I'm not against pools. I can see that for some they are useful with rolling instruction etc. No doubt the warmth and clarity of the pool will allow folks greater comfort and focus when playing with techniques etc. But here's what I don't get! If you learn things in a pool you certainly must practice what you learned immediately and regularly in the real world. Sooo...you must then have proper immersion gear to be safe and comfortable while doing so... But how many paddlers wait for a few pool sessions a year, claim they are skilled, then never practice in the cold water? A lot I think.
The reason for this post is that I get into these debates with folks who say they want to learn, but absolutely have to have a pool. Do Greenlanders teach in pools? What did native folks do for centuries without chlorinated heated pools? I am very skeptical of these people and wonder if they are really interested in becoming kayakers? To me sea kayaking means playing in cold water, and it scares me to think that some folks only rescue experience is in a pool! My opinion is that anyone who really wants to learn these skills well must get the gear and practice in the real world, only using pools occassionally. Let's not forget that you need to perform all these skills fully outfitted in your gear etc. I can tell all you new folks that you absolutely do not need a pool to learn to kayak! I for one have no interest in teaching in pools. 47 degree water with a dry suit or top and a scull cap is no big deal. Go for it I say. The whole thing just seems so strange to me -
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- Over reliance on swimming pools.