The whitewater experience of most students at UVSC is limited to a single magical ride on Splash Mountain at Disneyland. Few students know that the physical education and recreation department offer a whitewater kayaking class that is open to all students, regardless of their major.
The purpose of the whitewater kayaking class is to introduce students to basic whitewater kayaking skills such as paddle strokes, rescues and rolling techniques. Also introduced in the class are hydrology principles that allow students to understand how water moves in a river environment and how it influences a kayak’s movement.
During the first few weeks, the class meets on the irrigation ponds located west of the hall of flags. The still, shallow water provides a safe environment for students to receive instruction and practice skills. Instruction generally consists of an explanation and a demonstration of a specific skill by the instructor. Students are then given the opportunity to practice the skill with other students or one-on-one with the instructor.
Towards the end of the block, the class moves from the irrigation ponds to the nearby Provo River. On a beautiful three mile stretch below Deer Creek dam, students apply the skills learned and practiced on the irrigation ponds. This stretch of river is relatively calm with very few rapids. It is a perfect environment for beginning kayakers.
This semester, the whitewater kayaking course was taught by Betsy Lindley, an assistant professor from the outdoor recreation management program. Lindley has over twelve years of river experience including whitewater kayaking and rafting. "It’s just fun. I love being outside," said Lindley. There is a genuine enthusiasm for kayaking and being outdoors that is clearly visible with Lindley. Her enthusiasm contributes to the enjoyment of the class.
It should also be noted that Betsy Lindley is also very concerned about the safety of her students. In early September, Lindley ended the whitewater kayaking class early when she determined a storm system moving in had become too dangerous. The storm toppled trees across the valley and even led to the suspension of an Orem Owlz baseball game.
Lindley’s decision to end class is in line with the fact that there will always be other days to kayak.
Upon completing the whitewater kayaking class, students can rent the same equipment used in the class. This allows them to continue whitewater kayaking without having to purchase their own equipment. In fact, the equipment is available for rent by any student, regardless of registration in the course, from the Outdoor Adventure Center in the Student Center.
Note: Ray Cheatham is a UVSC student majoring in outdoor recreation management.