Playing as a way to develop skills on the water
We have used party surfing for years as a fun way to develop and fine-tune boat control. It turns learning into a game that is highly interactive and fun for everyone. It is also a fun game that can be played with both kids and adults.
Step one: Find a bunch of friends to paddle with that like to have fun.
Step two: Find a wave or hole that will fit at least 3 boats in it.
Step three: Someone starts surfing and then the next person joins in, and then the next person, and so on and so on.
Step four: When you fall off or are knocked off, paddle back to the eddy, get in line and get back out there.
This game can also be called King of the Wave (or hole), which refers to the person that stays out in the feature the longest being KING.
We have found that you can get a bunch of people playing this and it can go on for up to 30 minutes, at which point most people are exhausted and need a rest. People are smiling and cheering and laughing the entire time and don’t realize that they are actually enhancing their paddling skills; - learning better edge control, so you don’t zoom into someone, getting comfortable in areas of the wave/hole that you don’t usually go to, playing with side surfing to make room for someone else.
We also play “feet out to the takeout” near the end of a lot of paddles. This involves sitting in your kayak with your bum in the boat and your feet out front. No skirt on. At first, we just paddled flat water. Once that was mastered we threw in some slow moving water and a few eddies. At a recent trip to Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Idaho, Hunter upped the game and successfully surfed on a small wave! This game definitely enhances your balance and overall boat awareness.
If you are a bit hesitant and just getting started, then just try party surfing with one other person or begin with feet out in the slow moving water nearest to the takeout. You will be amazed at how much fun it is and how your skills develop without you even trying.