Slave River Freestyle Clinics

Sunday, July 30, 2017 (All day) to Friday, August 4, 2017 (All day)

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Slave River Advanced/Intermediate Clinic   Fort Smith NT, July 30 - August 4, 2017

The clinic has two goals: to show people the river, and to make them better paddlers. Accordingly, most days are split into about half guiding and half coaching . On such a large river, standard safety concerns need to be modified. The main modification is that most rescues are mid-stream rescues, and partly because of this, I have decided  that this year we will stick to a 3:1 student to instructor ratio (with 4:1 allowable for minor emergencies). Last year we planned a 4:1 ratio, but ended up with 3:1 most days, and that ratio was great. It led to superior safety and personalized coaching, as well as making the group highly flexible if a few paddlers wanted to explore more or less challenging lines.

Coaching sessions can be highly individualized , and the instruction we provide is world class. We’ve had people surfing their first waves during the clinic, and we’ve had people getting training and coaching before making the Canadian Freestyle team.

The river provides a huge variety of different types of feature, and the 3:1 ratio allows us to provide a really diverse experience that challenges everyone while still providing support, no matter what their skill level. This means not only having some flexibility in which waves we choose to surf, but also some flexibility in what rapids we run. Our instructors will be Natalie and Leif Anderson, Conor Flynn, and Hayden Voorhees. Two of us are 2015 US Freestyle team members.

The one skill requirement for customers is a solid roll. Swims on the Slave are a major inconvenience, and although we can safely deal with swims due to our small class size, we would rather spend our time coaching and having fun. Solid roll required - for more information

Slave River Advanced/Intermediate Clinic Fort Smith NT, July 30 - August 4, 2017

Lodging is included in the clinic. Come stay at the Anderson kayak hostel! It will be tent camping, but there is water, a kitchen, refrigerator, bathroom, power, internet, and a spacious screened deck to hang out away from the bugs. There will also be a chance to play paintball across the street for a small extra charge. The clinic is 5 days in total (4 full days + 2 half days), and the price, including lodging, is $750 CAD (paintball price not included). Because of our strict adherence to a 3:1 ratio, we are currently only planning 9 student spots. Leif and Natalie will trade off as instructors because we have a newborn baby. A 50% deposit will secure your spot. If there is a high demand, we may bring in an extra instructor. The first half day is the afternoon of Sunday July 30, and the final day is a morning half day just before the first Paddlefest event on Friday August 4. Stick around for Paddlefest! If you are in the clinic, you can extend your stay at the kayak hostel through Paddlefest for free. Solid roll required - for more information

Slave River Advanced/Intermediate Clinic   Fort Smith NT, July 30 - August 4, 2017

To give you an even better sense for how the clinic works, here’s the schedule from 2016:

Sunday PM: Meet up with first arrivals. Head to Playground for Slave safety talk, midstream rescues practice, and do some hole coaching.

Monday AM: split group between Playground and Chico (trade off to avoid lines). Coaching on wave surfing and hole boating, with video feedback as needed. On the way back, one group surfs the Edge (not to mention any names, but whew! There was some excitement there).

PM: Far side Mountain run (Molly’s Nipple for some). Sambucha, Flipper.

Tuesday : full day Cassette run. Small group splits at TSN/Carb, regroup for Dubya wave, where we hang out working on surfing basics until just before lunch. Then we paddle down through Alarm Clock (cautious paddlers)/Rockem Sockem (macho paddlers) to Rollercoaster. Lunch and long surf session at Rollercoaster.

Wednesday : Another cassette run. Video analysis of forward stroke during the paddle in. Larger group splits, with one pod each going to Outrageous/Dave’s Demise, Can o’ Beans, and Dubya. We all meet up for lunch at Rollercoaster, and again have an afternoon session there. Paintball that evening.

Thursday : River exploration day. We make an expedition to Pelican, and the whole group is deemed ready for the ferry through the runout of the main rapid. On the far side, we have lunch then run Pratfall and the Mosh Pit. We then paddle down to Mountain Portage, where we split in two halves. One half runs Turnpike, the other half runs Molly’s. Rendezvous at Forgotten Waves, re-shuffle the groups, and run Avalanche and Sambucha. Regroup below Land of the Giants, and the three most motivated paddlers go get one quick ride on Chico and the Edge while the rest make their way to takeout.

Friday AM: Rapids of the Drowned, Monstah Scheisse wave. We paddle up from the bottom to keep logistics simple (and minimize exposure), and rotate through the complicated eddy sequence in groups of three (+1 instructor). At lunchtime, the group is turned loose to either keep surfing, paddle back into town, or head across the river to join the paddlefest flatwater friday picnic.

Friday PM - Monday AM: Paddlefest!

Solid roll required - for more information