Below are articles writen by kids about their kayaking experinces at Camp Shohola

Summer Kayak Camp

It takes more or less fours hour drive from Camp Shohola to New York’s Fire Island. The Long Island resort community provides some of the best surf conditions on the northeast coastline. This past week the Kayak and Tripping staff took 5 lucky Working Senior campers to demonstrate their skills on the 5-foot swells banking of the New York shoreline. Kayak instructor John Allen exclaimed that Working Senior, Eric Spannhake demonstrated the best improved skills of the entire group. Kayak surfing demands dynamic paddling skills to access the best waves. Then the kayaker must learn to watch for which wave conditions present the best “carving” possibilities. “Carving” is the learned skill of paddling behind the wave in order to position yourself to “lean” effectively into the wave to acquire the best “hang time.” According to John Allen expert kayak surfers must demonstrate an acute eye for the proper wave dynamics and then acquire very tough balancing and coordination instincts to surf with the kayak. Joining Eric on this trip were other Working Seniors Marc Shinn-Krantz, Justin Von Schmidt, Jamie Ayers, and cabin 16 senior, Alex Hecker. Tripping staff counselor Phil Tolley represented the Tripping staff on this ocean sojourn.

Camp Kayak

by Kenny Swingle Cabin 14

In kayaking, you will have lots of fun and you will learn how to do some tricks. Also, kayaking will help you to strengthen your upper body when you paddle. You will get to go on lots of fun trips. You will also get very wet because you can very easily flip when surfing of going down rapids. Always remember to duck your head when you flip. If you want to know more, then take this exciting class.

Kayaking Camping

by Sammy Chavis Cabin 7

If you like getting wet and speeding with wind blowing against your hair, kayaking is just for you. Kayaking at Camp Shohola is a very fun water activity. You will learn how to roll, go speeding against rapids, and much, much more. The teachers are very nice teaching you everything you ever need to know about kayaking. You also get to play games like water polo except with kayaks. You could also go on trips involving the kayak into “awesome” water. Experience a thrilling adventure by kayaking.

Kayaking Camps

By Keenan McAuliffev

Don’t forget your skirt, or you’re doomed in the wild ride of Kayaking. Kayaking is a thrilling experience that uses our strength of mind, body and technique to help us along in the water without capsizing and getting stranded in the middle of the lake. Kayaking is an adventure itself because everyday is a new quest. The training Kayaking gives you is not only for the water, but also for life. For example, practice hard, keep going, don’t give up, etc. Overall, Kayaking is a journey floating around, waiting to be found by you and me.

Kayaking Camp

By: Hector Vazquez

Camp Shohola has several popular activities, such as ropes, rugby, sailing, skateboarding, and others. However, one activity has remained consistently popular; kayaking. Considered the best activity in camp, kayaking offers kids the opportunity to explore new things. In the past teachers like Pedro, Alberto, and even Tom Daniels handled the class well. Now, Shinky, Jordan, Izaak, and Chris Wright are the only counselors left. That is why Working Seniors, like Edmund, JuanMan, Tom Melton, and Hector Vasquez (ME) had to put in an extra effort to help in the class.

Paddling is an essential part of a kayaker’s ability to perform. Once someone can paddle well, he can start trying T-rescue rolls. When he has covered those, he can try a harder roll called the Eskimo roll. This roll involves flipping back over with your paddle only. For more experienced kayakers, hand rolls provide an excellent challenge. They involve a lot of hip movement, and strong determination. This year, hip-rolls have been performed by Shinky, Edmund, and Hector (ME). To do a hip roll, you must have an amazing hip movement, because you can’t use your hands or your paddle.

Kayak polo is another big part of the kayaking class. Overall, kayaking has to be one of the best activities in camp, because ot the counselors, working seniors, activities, and opportunities. I strongly encourage everyone to give kayaking a try.

Kayaking Trips

Every year at Camp Shohola the tripping staff takes the campers out on the river to put their Kayaking skills to the test. The more advanced kayakers conquer river in the class III range, while beginners can have their first white-water experience on the swift Lackawaxen. The most advanced can take the play boats out for a spin and surf them on the standing waves that appear on most rivers.

Kayaking trips range from a half day to a full three-day experience. The Delaware and Lackawaxen Rivers are the destinations for most of the one-day trips. These rivers offer an array of class I and II white-water. Many of the younger campers go out the first time on one of these rivers.

After a couple time on one of these river many campers choose the venture on to the more difficult Sacandaga River. This is a three-day trip during which the campers run the river 4 times, often stopping to surf the huge standing waves. “The Sacandaga trip was very fun. It really allowed me to work and my surfing and river running abilities,” said participant Matthew Schnall.

The Kayak tripping program is a very special part of Camp Shohola that allows the campers to have great experiences. The trips are open to all, from the most inexperienced to the most advanced kayakers. Trips allow Camp Shohola kayakers to take their Kayaking ability to the next level.

By Matthew Schnall


By Jean-Paul Pretat, cabin 14

Kayaking, in my experience, is awesome. In kayaking class, Rodrigo and Tom teach us to do a variety of things. To make sure we can do a wet exit, Tom uses his enormous muscles to flip our kayaks over. We learn how to do sweep strokes, bow rolls, and, if you are ready, how to do an Eskimo roll. We also engage in many fun activities in kayaking class. The first is polo, where you are attempting to put a ball in the opposing team’s inner tube. There is also a game where you raft up in a circle with your classmates and two people get out of their kayaks and go around in a circle and race each other back to their kayaks. Kayaking is always a class to look forward to at Camp Shohola.

Kayak Summer Camp for Kids

By Scott Gaynor, working senior

We recently went on a kayak surf trip. Our destination was Long Island, New York. We headed to Fire Island, a popular surfing beach. We arrived around lunchtime and ate. Then we walked to the beach and started surfing. When surfing in a kayak, it is more difficult because the waves flip the boat over easily. At first it was hard to stay up. When I flipped over into the fifty-degree ocean water, I preformed a water exit and swam back to shore to start again. The first campers to go in flipped fairly quickly, but sooner or later, we got used to the two-foot swells. We surfed for three hours.

After our first day of surfing, we all went back to our campsite and cooked chicken and veggies for dinner. The next day, we woke up early and ate eggs and sausage for breakfast. We got to the beach around nine in the morning. Justin, one of our counselors who lives in the area, called his father and asked him to bring us his boogie boards. Since there were more people than kayaks, the extra people used the boogie boards to pass the time. Aussie Rob used to boogie board back in Australia, so he was the best out of our group. He could do a lot of tricks, like 360’s and standing up on the board.

Later that night, we went to the movie and had a nice time in the town. After one more morning of surfing, we drove back to camp Shohola. I enjoyed our trip.

Kayak Adventure Camps

The Tripping staff and the Kayaking staff joined forces this past week to take eleven campers on a four hour drive to upstate New York. On the first day the kayakers paddled the Sacandaga and Hudson rivers. The Sacandaga is rated a “level three” river. Professional kayakers measure the challenge of a river’s rapids on a scale of one to five “levels.” The Sacandaga essentially presented an intermediate challenge. On the second day kayakers and bikers joined forces to go white water rafting on a 17 mile stretch of the Indian and Hudson rivers. The boys rafted for over six magnificent hours. They even went cliff jumping from a ledge overlooking the mouth of the Indian river. On the third day kayakers returned to the Sacandaga for more level three rapids. The kayakers were Julian Root, Max Silva, Alex Lass, Jean- Paul Pretat, Jeff Sutton, and Jesse Moy. Veteran counselors Tom Danielis (Czech Republic) and Jon Allen (England) led the kayakers. This is Tom’s 5th year and Jon Allen’s 4th year working with the tripping program.

The bikers, on the other hand, pedaled the horse trails that wind their way all through the park system. The bikers were led by two first-year counselors, Mathias Wilhelmsson (Sweden) and Phil Tolley (New Zealand). Mathias explained that the bikers pedaled through the creeks, over and under the covered bridges. They even biked over obstacles of natural sandpits that dot the region. Having arrived late in the afternoon of the first day, the boys only biked about three miles. On the second day they biked for more than 10 miles. On the third day they went white water rafting, and on the fourth day they biked an additional 4 miles before packing up all their gear for the 4 hour van drive back to Shohola. The bikers were Kenny Swingle, Jeff Sadri, Matt Adelman, Milan Cimera, Ivan Goldensohn.

Rolls and trips

Kayaking is a fun class, taught by Triin Sokk and ‘The Hammer’ (John Hammer). Once you master the basic skills of the water exit, you can paddle all the way out to Blue Berry Island and back. In the lake, you can do Eskimo and barrel rolls and many other fun things. You can also go on fun trips to places like the Delaware River. If you didn’t kayak this year, learn next year!

Ian Slater

Camp for Kayaking

By: Juan Jose Jimenez, Working Senior

Kayaking is definitely one of the best classes that you could take from the waterfront. This month we did all sorts of fun things in the class, like learning how do do water-exits, rolls, paddling to Blueberry island, and going off the diving board in the kayak. This is definitely a class worth taking. When I took kayaking for the first time, even though I wasn’t very good, I still thought that it was one of the coolest things that I have done in my life. When I could finally do all of my rolls, I stared to go white water kayaking and surf kayaking on trips, which was some of the most fun that I have had. These trips are only available if you take a kayaking class. So if you want to take an XTRERME class, kayaking is for you.