Chilean Paddle Expedition, 2014

Alzar School | 21.02.14

DonMatias Camping

The spring 2014, Chilean paddling orientation  trip was designed to give new and experienced boaters a fun, exciting paddling and cultural experience in Chile. I feel overall the trip was a success. Jeff Judkins and I worked hard to create a plan that would be suitable for all skill levels, and I believe the expedition did just that. It also allowed our students to step into LOD roles, and kayak beautiful rivers of the Andes mountains in Chile.

When faced with an immediate issue of missing luggage, I think that our group recovered nicely and adapted our plan smoothly. Though our original plan had to be changed, I think it couldn’t have gone any smoother. I felt our students did a nice job of understanding the logistical issues presented and they felt empowered to deal with the situation, despite their desperation to paddle according to the original plan. One day later we were back on schedule and headed to the Nuble river.

This amazing  river is an ideal location to have an introductory paddle expedition. With a pool, a small river pond, a calm stretch at the base camp, we were able to introduce kayaking, hone existing skills, and facilitate a swift water skills session with the group in a safe and encouraging environment. And the weather was great. This area offers suitable paddling section for all paddler types. With three sections of difficulty our group kept on the lower stretch from the Balas to the Don Matias campground. The water was low, almost too low, but we bounced our way down.

I feel like the students are off on the right foot to becoming life long boaters as we pushed the idea and comment that kayaking isn’t just about the river, but rather, its about the people/friends you are paddling with.

Here is our short Video capturing the experience. Click HERE.

I like this group. I see a lot of potential in them. I think our process of education works. I think the group was well informed of the plan and everyone filled their roles very well. It takes a lot of work and our team buys in and it benefits all of us, most importantly, the students.


Sam Goff