Adaptive Kayaking

The LLU PossAbilities Program provide access to the Drayson Center heated swimming pool and coordinates student volunteers and outside instructors for adaptive kayaking. While preference is given to veterans, space and resources are available for other participants through the PossAbilities program. The paddling objectives of the program are to provide a safe and fun introduction to whitewater kayaks and to using them on the river and in the ocean. A number of the volunteers in the program have had training preparing adaptations for paddlers with disabilities and are prepared to assist with special outfitting.

A general course progression is:

  • Introduction to water safety and personal accountability
  • Introduction to whitewater kayaks and associated equipment
  • Learning to exist a capsized kayak in a safe and controlled manner
  • Basic kayak strokes
  • Righting a kayak either through an assisted recovery or using an eskimo roll
  • An outing either to the Kern river or the ocean, putting together and using new skills

The general course format is:

1 evening meeting per week each 1.5 hours long, 4 – 5 weeks in duration. The expectation is that participants attend every session.

Volunteers match up with paddlers to provide 1 to 1 or if necessary 2 to 1 support. Paddlers “gear up,” organizing and adjusting the equipment they’ll be using and enter the heated pool as a group. An instructor will introduce a new topic or skill, and the students and volunteers will work on mastering the skill together. Games are used to incorporate or re-enforcing skills previously learned. At the end of the pool session, paddlers rinse and help store the equipment they’ve used.

The program schedule is organized around the student volunteers’ academic calendar and the hope is to run it year round.

Participants must:

  1. Be 18 years or older or accompanied by an adult
  2. Be able to follow and execute 3 part instructions
  3. Be able to manage all personal care and mobility independently or with the assistance of a companion who accompanies the participant
  4. Be comfortable in the water including: floating on back independently with a properly fitted PFD, turning from face down to face up independently while wearing a properly fitted PFD, and holding breath while under water for at least 15 seconds.
  5. Be able to maintain a balanced, upright position while seated in a kayak, with adaptations if needed. **NOTE** No adaptations providing head or neck support will be accepted
  6. Be able to get in and out of a kayak independently or with the assistance of a companion, following instruction.
  7. Be able to wet exit a kayak independently
  8. Be able to re-enter a sea-kayak or sit on-top kayak following a capsize with the assistance of one other boat. Any additional assistance, if required must come from a companion who accompanies the participant.

For more information on adaptive kayaking please call (909) 558-6384.