CRMS kayaking introduces students to the wet and adventurous world of paddling while having boatloads of fun. Kayakers will learn how to navigate the nearby rivers and build confidence by controlling their boats in chaotic situations; they may even choose to take these new skills to a competitive level.
Students paddle between two and four days a week in the first and fourth quarters. Competitive paddlers attend weekend competitions in the spring. Historically, the school holds the Crystal River Races, the oldest high school kayaking races in the nation, adjacent to the campus in early May. In June of 2015, CRMS hosted the Junior Nationals.
Kayaking at CRMS is designed to teach students of all abilities. Students learn basic skills, kayak safety, and equipment and water evaluation. When ready, kayakers have the opportunity to take these skills to advanced levels.
Recreational kayakers at CRMS get onto the water as quickly and often as possible. In each situation, instructors provide safe experiences for athletes to learn and receive feedback for further advancement. There is a high emphasis placed on safety and river rescue from beginning to advanced levels. Techniques such as how to roll the kayak and how to perform a “wet exit” are high priorities. Paddlers are taught how to be self-sufficient. They learn how to be aware of river hazards and use proper techniques to deal with them, as well as being aware of swimming hazards and how to perform self-rescues.
Kayakers get to paddle right here on campus. CRMS is home to its own kayaking pond. In the winter season, this pond is used for ice hockey and broom-ball and is festively decorated with holiday lights; in season, the pond provides calm water for kayakers to practice and perfect techniques and safety procedures. Kayakers can then take these skills to the next level on the rivers adjacent to campus – the Crystal and the Roaring Fork. With these two rivers skirting campus, CRMS has three miles of river to practice on within walking distance so paddlers can get on the water as frequently and efficiently as possible. Within a 30-mile radius of campus, CRMS kayakers can paddle on a total of 150 miles of river. The Glenwood Whitewater Park also provides another outlet for training and practice.
Competitive kayaking is for those interested in training for kayaking competitions who can demonstrate a base level of competence in all areas of kayaking – slalom, down-river, freestyle, river running, instruction, and river rescue. Kayakers will compete across the state, with most competitions held near campus and in Golden and Durango, Colorado.
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