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Friday 27 November 2020
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Midwest Kayak Clinic circuit

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I spent 3 glorious weeks in MN, visiting family and instructing kayak courses and clinics. The Midwest kayaking community is something very, very special. Paddlers get amped up during the freezing cold winter months, awaiting the spring run-off to charge hard in their kayaks. With almost 1/2 of their year unable to paddle, due to frozen rivers or lack of water, they find ways to get into their kayaks. Whether it’s flat water paddling sessions on the lake or weekly indoor pool sessions, they know the importance of getting into their kayaks, because come prime season . . . they are rallying hard, knowing there may only be a short window of opportunity.

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My best friend Rachel in a Rogue boat.

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So, this energy that they have is special. It’s pure and humble . . . all they want to do is kayak because they absolutely love the sport! This energy is what kept me wanting to learn more and more when I first started out learning in this paddling community. And, this energy is what keeps me wanting to come back spring after spring to share my passion and refill my energy and enthusiasm that they project while on the water.

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Me and my best friend 🙂

This last May, I led an ACA Instructor Trainer course and 7 new instructors got certified to teach in the MN/WI/IA area. It was a great 5 days with these paddlers and I’m positive that the Midwest paddling community is going to benefit greatly from these leaders.

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Following this course, I taught 2 beginner/intermediate courses on the Kettle River near Sandstone, MN. This was one of my first rivers and I remember being “that beginner” – scared to death of all the rapids, especially the infamous “blueberry slide”. These clinics were amazing. I met new paddlers in the community and connected with old friends. One of the most special aspects of the clinic was that I got to teach one of my best friends from High School how to kayak . . . SO MUCH FUN!

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ACA course going through the wet exit.

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 Nora Whitmore (Midwest JK ambassodor) – I couldn’t do any class without her help; Lori and I (We are all Midwest roots)

With the Midwest clinics wrapped up, I am looking forward to a summer of travel and teaching more extensive instructor courses as well as clinics, from Iowa to my local community. Here’s to a great summer . . . see you on the water.

Heather Herbeck
Team JK