BCU 3-Star Assessment
As I continue to develop and hone my kayaking skill-set, I decided to put myself to the test and take a BCU 3-Star assessment. BCU (British Canoe Union) is probably the gold standard for kayak skill certification and training.
While it was personally rewarding to have an independent third-party validate my paddling skills, the opportunity to kayak around Narragansett Bay and on the Atlantic Ocean was worth the trip alone. While up-state New York provides some rock gardening opportunities, its nothing like what can be found on the ocean. From the changing tides to the large ocean swells, there is a level of complexity the Great Lakes and the Adirondacks will never be able to offer.
The assessment was also rewarding because it provided me with some critical feedback on my skills that need improvement and gear that needs upgrading. It also proved to be an opportunity to get introduced to more significant coastal play and surf kayaking. While upstate New York is beautiful and Lake Ontario can be dangerous on windy days, the combination of tidal fluctuations, currents, and waves requires greater dynamic ranges of skills, and a level of respect, that is simply on a higher level.
If nothing else, this weekend has fueled my desire to step up my game and prepare for the BCU Sea Kayak Leader (4-Star) award. This will likely a couple of years down the road, but that’s fine. It will give me time to continue to improve while getting out on longer trips in more complex and challenging conditions.