#42. Lago Martignano, Italy, 2016. Photo Carlo Picchio
Some say that you should never stop learning. And they're right! Even something seemingly as simple as canoeing, with all of its skills, disciplines and traditions, would be exceedingly difficult to learn and perfect in a lifetime.
Most people I meet assume that I learned my paddling skills from my Dad, and it's true! He taught me so much about paddling but my learning didn't stop there.
Over the years I have had the extreme privilege to take courses from, and share knowledge with some of the best instructors out there. People like Paul Mason, Mark Scriver, Karen Knight, Harry Rock, Kevin Silliker, Rory Matchett, Ray Goodwin, Charles Burchill, Danny Peled, Garret and Alexandra Conover, Kim Gass, Priscilla Haskin, Dave Woolridge and so many others, covering skills like whitewater, flatwater, freestyle, poling, big canoe, SUP, safety, and how to effectively teach these skills.
What I took away from my time with these great teachers - apart from their overwhelming passion and love for what they do - was how much I didn't know. Evolution is natural, and canoeing is no different. Paddling skills, and especially how we teach them, are always changing and improving and it is my job as an educator to keep up with these changes and to also share my knowledge too. This is where a national organization like Paddle Canada can help by developing and promoting standards and curricula, and supporting instructors.
And of course we need students willing to learn! Now I know that we Canadians believe that we're all born with the paddling gene embedded right in our DNA and that is all that we need for a great canoeing adventure. But one look at YouTube tells me that is definitely not the case! So, whether you have many miles and years of paddling under your boat, or you are brand-new to the sport, I want you to consider taking some kind of canoeing course this summer. I guarantee that you will learn something new, and well...how cool is that?