Mark and Kristina Pickard own one of the coolest whitewater parks in the world in Cascade, ID. They also run one of the best river sport clinics around. Kelly’s Whitewater park is not only a great place to train, but it is also an incredible place to learn how to kayak, SUP, or river surf. The Kelly’s Academy allows any kid from 5th grade to 12th grade in Valley County to have an experience of a life time for free! The Academy lasts three sessions each four days long and each kid has the choice to learn either kayaking, SUPing, or river surfing. Some of them choose to try one week of each class and some decide to come for multiple sessions of the same class.
I have been lucky enough to teach the kayak lessons for four straight years now and each year has gotten better and better as each year goes on. This year we had the Dream Team of all coaches which included Alec Tanner Voorhees, Romulus Claiborne Wright III, Clare O’hare, and myself. Throughout the course we teach a whole variety of different skills that range from front strokes all the way to rolling and spinning while surfing. This year almost every student walked away with at least one roll under their belt. We had two classes each day, a more advanced class in the morning and a beginner class in the afternoon.
This year we had more student that were around the same age as me which made it a lot more fun for me to teach. It made it felt like I was just paddling with my friends and giving them tips along the way. There were tons of great highlights from the academy which ranged from teaching someone to roll in like eight minutes to being dared to eat a little dead fish.
This year of teaching was such a fun time for not only me, but also the students who were just looking for something fun to do during the summer. I just want to give a huge shout out to Mark and Kristina Pickard for building such an amazing play park to both learn and teach all kind of skills. Also a huge shout out to Jackson Kayak and NRS for suppling the academy with great gear to paddle in. After the epic three weeks of teaching I am super stoked for next year’s academy.