Wausau Whitewater

Every year around the middle of August, Wausau, WI invites several Jackson Kayak team members to come and teach freestyle clinics at their world class whitewater park. I am not sure why I keep getting invited back. . . maybe it is my charming personality or winning smile, but it is a blast and I am grateful.

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This year I got to teach both a beginner and an intermediate class. I get them for two days in a row, so I am able to really beat them down day one and maybe teach them a couple tricks on day two. Day one I focus a lot on fundamentals. That means quite a bit of flatwater, reviewing and teaching strokes and boat control. Students are always surprised when they wake up the next morning with sore abs and muscles. I love it. Day two we take the fundamentals and actually start playboating. This progression is usually pretty fast, and I love seeing students who could barely roll on day one able to spin both directions, cartwheel, and even loop by the end of day two.

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Fortunately Wausau has several great features for teaching and playing. Railroad is a fast dynamic feature that will give up huge loops. Little Drop can be a little intimidating for less than advanced boaters, but once you figure it out you can through just about every trick in the book. (Ask John McConville). And the last feature is more forgiving with large eddies and a good spin shoulder for beginners.

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One of the best things Wausau has going for them is the amount of beginner and intermediate boaters they have around there. The best way to grow the sport of whitewater kayaking is to teach, encourage, and keep a smile on this group of people. Hopefully I was able to help with that.

Until next year
Jessica Yurtinus

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