Am I going to tip over? Will I get stuck underwater? What if I fall off into the water? These are some of the concerns that we have about learning to kayak. Well, I have news for you! You can put away your worries and join Kelly Fellows at Sweetwater Creek State Park for a safe adventure learning how to kayak! You won’t tip over! You won’t fall in and you won’t get stuck underwater. These misconceptions about learning how to kayak are brought to us by the grand images of thrill-seekers driving their kayaks through dangerous rapids. This isn’t the case at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Did you know there are different varieties of kayaks? Me either. The kayaks at Sweetwater are flat-bottom. They are designed to provide you with more initial stability. The waters you will be kayaking are calm and there is little chance of tipping over. As a precaution, you’re provided with a life jacket. So, if you do happen to fall into the calm waters, you have your flotation device and the support of your instructors to help you.
Today, I joined a group of adventurous women learning how to kayak at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Let me tell you, not one of us beginners tipped our kayak or fell in the water! With the help of our instructors and the support of the other women, even the most fearful of the group was able to enter & exit her kayak with ease. The worst part, for some, was simply getting over their fear of tipping the kayak and falling in the water.
Led by our instructor, Kelly Fellows, we learned the basics of paddling in a comfortable and supportive environment. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, despite the challenge of a constant wind threatening to blow us off course! Kelly was informative and direct in her guidance. It was definitely a hands-on learning experience that left me feeling empowered and much more confident in my skills. There was no pressure to rush and everyone was allowed to learn at her own pace.
Once Kelly had all of her students in the water, she taught us how to hold the paddle and began instructions on proper technique before leading us on a short paddle. It was the perfect distance for a beginner. We were fighting a stiff wind, today. What I’m assuming is usually a leisurely trip gave us a little workout. I enjoyed the challenge and not one of the ladies gave up and turned back. Once we reached our destination, we took a short break while Kelly answered questions about issues and concerns. We resumed our exercise by practicing different methods of turning the kayaks. Kelly informed me, at this point, that she would normally have her students hop off of the kayaks and teach them how to get back on without assistance in shallow water. However, this being the first session of the season, the water was on the cold side and we skipped that part of the lesson.
I am extremely pleased with the experience. I am a regular visitor to Sweetwater Creek. After this class, I feel like I can enjoy this park in a fun new way. If you’re looking for a fun, safe adventure to have with your friends this spring, I highly suggest registering for the upcoming classes. After you conquer your fears or address your concerns in the initial introduction class, you can join some of the other paddling sessions the park offers. What a great way to explore this beautiful park just a short drive from Atlanta in Lithia Springs, Georgia.
Upcoming Classes – For Women by Women: Introduction to Kayaking
Sunday, April 13 & Saturday, April 19 4pm-5pm
Join us for an intro to kayaking on beautiful Sparks Reservoir. This program is for girls & women 16 years or older who are able to swim and are new to kayaking. Includes kayak rental, personal flotation device, and paddle. Reservations are necessary at 770-732-5871. Meet at bait shop in Sweetwater Creek State Park. $15 plus parking.
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