Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kayak in the Pool

“Whoa! I could like, die," said Sophomore Jeremy Anderson. "That wouldn’t be any fun."

That's a thought that some people may have when they wonder what it would be like to kayak on Lake Superior. Anderson has seen people out on the lake and decided to try it. He’s glad, however, that he decided to learn the necessary skills first.

Maybe you’ve seen kayakers out on the lake and wondered where you could learn to do what they’re doing, but you don’t want to look stupid trying to figure it out. Or maybe you’ve seen kayakers on Lake Superior, and wondered why they’re not scared to death of tipping over and getting lost forever in the cold, dark water. Well, there’s a group here at UMD that can help you get past those fears.

The Kayak and Canoe Club meets at the UMD pool in the Sports and Recreation Center every Monday afternoon from 3-5:00, and Thursday nights from 9-11:00. Your first session is free. The group averages about five to 15 people; the busiest night being Thursdays. Freshman Elizabeth Shmikler, who has canoed a lot before but hadn’t tried kayaking, has been to three of the club’s meetings so far.

“The instructors are really nice guys. They’ll help you out."

There are six certified instructors, which makes it easy to get individual help when it is needed. A few of the participants in the club’s activities are also quite knowledgeable in the art of kayaking, and are eager to help out.

“It’s one of those things that gets in your blood, and you want to explain it to people," said Laura Schroeter, a junior who is also a kayak guide in the Apostle Islands.

The first time you go to a kayak meeting, the instructors teach you how to roll your kayak and to get back up again. Then they’ll teach things like play boating (tricks), and how to go over small waterfalls.

“Sometimes the guys will put on shows. It’s pretty cool," said Schroeter.

The club will take beginners out on a river, but if they want to do well, it’s suggested that they have at least two sessions in the pool first.

“The learning curve isn’t too steep," said Scott Ewen. “Kayaks are kind of spinney, so it can be hard at first, but you learn something new every time you try."

The Canoe and Kayak Club is also going to be co-sponsoring a big fall event for Friday, October 5th. It’s called the Reel Paddling International Film Festival. It will be held on campus in Bohannon 90. Ewen, one of the officers of the Kayak Club, is pretty enthusiastic about the upcoming event.
“There’ll be about six hours of film showing, and there’ll also be awesome door prizes," he said.

Tickets are on sale now for this event. For more information on the club, and its events, call the Recreational Sports Outdoor Program at (218) 726-7128 or e-mail them at

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