Sometime in November, I had the idea to take the Pyranha Team Van to Portugal and film a short promo video advertising the new Shiva model.
Portugal because I’d seen photos of a stunning set of granite waterfalls and with plenty of other potential given the right conditions. Portugal also seemed like a good idea for the video as we were far more likely to get good light than in Scotland, plus it has the added bonus of not making a video or a series of photos instantly recognisable.
I costed the trip up and put a proposal to Pyranha and was given the green light to board the long ferry! The next task was to assemble the team of available, creative paddlers.
I think it’s a fairly accurate observation that as one gets better at kayaking, one also gets better and more knowledgable at all the skills at the periphery of the sport. For example wilderness first aid, steep access (climbing/abseiling), repairing equipment, car camping and taking photos! But I think you will also have a particular interest in one area that will make you a specialist. Good team selection may well take this into consideration.
On my recent trip to Papua, I went with the only people that were mad enough to come with me. We each took a role upon yourselves and developed into that. I took the responsibility for the wilderness first aid and emergency extraction. My work demands good first aid skills and emergency planning so it wasn’t a giant step for me but I did feel I had to undertake further training and gather advice to do a job that ultimately was good fun, confidence inspiring (unless I was the one to get hurt giving me flash backs from Saving Private Ryan when the medic gets hit “tell us how to fix you”) and good for future trips. On this trip I asked Tom P to take responsibility for a larger, fuller first aid kit for the truck because he is very knowledgable and interested in this subject but I could have equally asked anyone else to fulfil this role because of the calibre of the team.
To develop as a rounded kayaker, I reckon one can take advantage of less formal trips where you can be take responsibility for one of the skills mentioned above and take the time to learn about that aspect from others, books or just trial and error (less applicable to first aid!)