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

Opening Minds at Cal Poly: Adaptive Kayaking

A group of 20 adults explored the waters and wildlife of the Morro Bay National Estuary earlier this Spring. Some were blind, some were college students, some were long-time paddlers, and still others had cognitive or physical disabilities. The one thing that they all had in common – besides kayaking -- was participating in Cal Poly’s Adapted Paddle Program.

The program brings together college students from the Kinesiology and Public Health Department's 307 class, adaptive paddling instructors, and people from the community with disabilities. In the class, called Adaptive Physical Activity, students study various disabling conditions and the theory and principals of adaptation on physical activities. They then choose from one of three weekend “labs” to apply this knowledge. These particular students chose the adapted paddle program as their hands-on lab.

adaptive paddling

I talked with one of the students, 22-year old Lance Vecchio, about the experience. He explained that the lab entailed two weekend clinics. On the first weekend, students received training from an ACA-certified adaptive kayaking Instructor on kayaking safety (e.g., parts of the kayak, paddling techniques, rescues).

“We came out here, and it was just us -- no participants. We learned how to properly get someone in into and out of a kayak and how to them get back in if they fall out,” says Lance. “Belly, butt, feet – that’s the order.”