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Iowans get crash course in kayaking on Manchester whitewater course

MANCHESTER, Iowa (KWWL) — Being safe is a big part of enjoying time on Iowa’s lakes and rivers.

That’s why Buchanan and Bremer County Conservation teamed up with Crawdaddy Outdoors to hold a crash course for whitewater kayaking in Manchester today.

They say more people are getting out on the water in kayaks for the first time in recent years. Today, beginners got a one on one lesson in skills to make them better prepared.

The day started with the basics, learning how to turn, balance and get in and out of the kayaks with ease. Crawdaddy Outdoors Owner, Darrin Siefken says proper gear and boat control are important before getting on moving water.

“Be familiar with the stretch of river what are the potential hazards out there, are there dams are there trees down,” said Siefken.

KWWL Reporter Ashley Neighbor got in a kayak as well. According to Siefken and Buchanan County Conservationist, Sondra Cabell balance is an important factor before trying out a whitewater course.

“It takes a little bit of skill to do some of the white water course, not a tremendous amount here at Manchester but it’s just a new skill that a lot of new people feel uncomfortable doing on their own,” said Cabell.

It was time to hit the rapids, focusing on using your paddle to maneuver through each drop.

“Control your boat, make sure you’ve got the proper path or direction that you want to be on the river,” said Siefken.

It’s not as easy as it may look and there may have been some spills. However, that’s the fun of it, says participant Herb Klatt, “Just coming down the rapids, trying to stay upright.”

All participants were wearing life jackets and whitewater helmets Siefken said both are incredibly important, “None of us ever plan on drowning but none of us ever plan on getting in a car accident. But that’s why we wear our seat belts, so we should wear a life jacket because you never know whats going to happen.”

Siefken always recommends checking the water levels before heading out. He says both the US Geological Survey and the Iowa Flood Center have good information regarding levels and flows.

He also recommends getting familiar with what conditions are like at different river stages and make a note for next time.

To find recreational opportunities in a county near you head to my county park.

Crawdaddy Outdoors hold several classes a year including indoor classes near Waverly and Cedar Falls. For details head to their website or give them a call.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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