Friday, April 6, 2007


If you're reading this blog, you probably already have some idea that I'm trying to pass a test. You also probably have no idea what the test is about since it's a bit obscure. I'll try to shed some light....

As a professional kayak instructor, I've been following an internationally recognized certification scheme for kayak coaches. The governing body is called the British Canoe Union, or BCU for short. I have already achieved the highest award for personal sea kayaking skills (5 Star), and I have achieved the rank of Level 4 sea kayak coach. I now seek to pass my Level 5 coach award - the highest possible. To a very small group of kayak instructors in the world, this is a big deal.

If I pass the exam, I will be the first American (male OR female), to attain this award. There are perhaps only 25 or so Level 5 sea kayak coaches in the world (only 3 of those are women). My "tutor", Fiona Whitehead (more on her later), was the last person to pass the exam and that was about 3 years ago. When I asked her how many had taken the exam since then (hoping the answer would be "none") she said, "oh, 6 or 7". So, the standard is quite high and it will be a considerable accomplishment if I pass. If I don't, I will be among the ranks of many excellent coaches who aren't quite among the best in the world yet!

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