39EGYTtHRxIslKLPambXIVQ5uLXLWoflphZUrGfi7JY Angle Oar Adaptive Kayaking Equipment page contents E1238296C9AB2A3A16BD08114EFAF308
  • Meg McCall

Adaptive Kayaking: A Blind Paddler's Perspective

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Adapted Paddle Program offered at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) through the Kinesiology and Public Health Department's 307 class: Adaptive Physical Activity.

Dana and Student Instructor in kayak on Morro Bay
Adaptive Kayaking on Morro Bay

Originally founded by Dr. Kevin Taylor, Cal Poly’s Director of the School of Education, along with Jeff and Monica Clark, it was bolstered by a grant in 2001. Today, the program has enough kayaks to permit 12 students and six community members with disabilities to participate in the program each quarter.

I’ve had the privilege of attending several of the adaptive paddling training weekends since 2013, including the most recent session in February of this year. In fact, the program and its leaders have been instrumental in helping fine-tune the design of our Versa Paddle and Gamut Paddle Holder.

This time around, I took the liberty of interviewing some of the community participants, students and program administrators involved in the program to explore their perspectives and learn more about how it all works. This is the first of three blogs stemming from those interviews.

Learning to Navigate the World Blind

One of the participants I met at the February session was Dana Holland, a 53-year-old man born