I’m now a 3 star white water assessor. This has been a long time coming, I’ve had to do: 4 star WW training, White Water Safety and Rescue, 4 Star WW Assessment, UKCC Level 1 including Foundation Safety and Rescue, UKCC Level 2 Training,child protection, first aid, LTPD crap web quiz, UKCC Level 2 Assessment, Moderate water endorcement training, Moderate water endorcement assessment, observe some 3 stars and run a 3 star. And after all that I’m still not convinced I’m quite as good as I’d like to be as a coach and assessor. Partly because I had my head bashed around. When I wanted to do this last year I went on one of the 3 star observations and left my kit at home, a bit of a clue I wasn’t quite ready in the head.
The assessment I was running was organised by Kate (much thanks) and overseen by Steve L (much thanks). After some introductions I took them on the water and ran through the personal paddling skills with them. I did most of it on both still and moving water. Although it doesn’t indicate it in the syllabus or the training notes the personal paddling skills are intended to be on flat water only (except break in and ferry glide). Well always nice to challenge the candidates I suppose. It’s hard to make the judgement between a good draw and a mediocre draw, being a nice guy who doesn’t like to displease people I always seem to err on the side of being good but I should be a bit more strict. It’s also hard to ensure everyone does everything on both sides which is required. Lots of keep in the head, even if you have a waterproof notebook to take notes. At three star level the personal paddling skills on flat water should be of a high standard so it’s best for the assessor to err on assuming they’re not good enough for the flat water bits.
There’s a requirement to use a throw line in 3 star which wasn’t the case when I did mine 20 years ago. It doesn’t say it needs to be on moving water, neither of my observed 3 stars were but Steve L says it is the case.
The candidates have to show good group and personal awareness on grade 1 water and be led down grade 2. I’m a little unsure of the best way to get them to show good awareness, I think I need to ask them more and do some more challenges on this than I did. Maybe ask them how they’d do a rapid then watch three of them go down a simple rapid with some break ins/outs.
I asked the group to ascent up a simple bit of water because I’m sure I remember seeing it in the notes but now I can’t find it. Maybe my imagination.
3 star is a lot like 1 star in that it’s a bit of an encouragement award so say welcome to canoeing. I’m glad I can now welcome people to moving water with a nice certificate. I wonder what my next challenge will be – maybe I’ll get into surf.