A Letter From The President - February 2018

Implementation of new VSKC Grading Model
During 2017, there was an extensive member consultation and communication process to identify how best to take the Club’s training and associated grading model to the next stage of development. Recommendations from a representative Training Review Reference Group were circulated to all members and subsequently approved by the Club Committee. This information is available on the Club website.
In essence, the Club has decided to effectively align our grading structure with the one developed by Canoeing Australia, and used by most major sea kayak Clubs in Australia. This means that we will be progressively implementing new grades as follows:

  • Sea Kayak Basics (a VSKC defined grade that will replace Grade 0)
  • Introduction to Sea Skills (an AC defined grade that replaces Grade 1)
  • Sea Skills (an AC defined grade that replaces Grade 2)
  • Sea Leader (an AC defined grade, tuned to VSKC refinements as required that will replace Grade 3. This will be our new Trip Leader level)
  • Sea Instructor (an AC defined grade)

We are now moving forward with implementation, and I want to let you know about some important early actions to enable this.
Refreshing Club Instructor Pool
Our current pool of instructors is below critical mass and we are not able to provide enough training and grading opportunities for members. We therefore need more active Instructors.
There are costs involved in training instructors and the Club will be covering this (i.e. training and accreditation), provided the Instructors who are trained meet a minimum contribution towards Club related training (a minimum number of days will be set per annum). New Instructors must also be prepared to actively participate in the design and delivery of a structured training program for all Grades.
If you are interested in being trained as a Club Instructor, then please email me (president@victorianseakayak.club) by COB on 15 February. Instructor training is planned to commence in the very near future. You must meet the following criteria:

  • A current VSKC Trip Leader or a Grade 2 who wants to step up to Grade 3 level (this year)
  • Willingness to meet the minimum annual training contribution requirement
  • Passionate about teaching colleagues
  • Open to feedback and willingness to learn and improve your own skills
  • Effective communicator

Instructor training will be overseen by Australian Canoeing Instructors and assessed by an Australian Canoeing Assessor. The Club is currently finalising these arrangements.
Sea Leader Intake
Sea Leaders lead Club trips. Their contribution is vital in order for the Club to have an active trips calendar. Whilst we have 38 trip leaders presently, we have too few actively leading trips. We need more active trip leaders.
We will therefore also be offering a Sea Leader intake this year. There will be limited positions in the intake. This program will extend over the rest of 2018, culminating in assessment later in 2018.
There are also costs involved in training new Sea Leaders, and the Club will be covering these costs. This will also be on the basis that the Sea Leader meets their own trip leadership accreditation schedule (ie number and type of trips led per annum).
If you are interested in being trained as a Sea Leader then please email me (president@victorianseakayak.club) by COB on 21 February. Sea Leader training will be commenced as soon as training plans are finalised by the Instructor group. You must meet the following criteria:

  • A current Grade 2 (or meets current Grade 2 criteria)
  • Willingness to meet the minimum annual trip leadership contribution requirement
  • Participative and collaborative decision maker/leader
  • Open to feedback and willingness to learn to improve your own skills
  • Effective communicator

Trainee Sea Leaders will be trained by the new Instructors referred to earlier and assessed by an AC assessor to be made available by the Club.
2018 Training Calendar
A training calendar for all other grades will be developed as soon as possible pending availability of resources. The range of training to be provided will be scaled to match the resources the Club has available.

Transition to new Grading Model
All currently graded members will retain their grading as is. Grade 3’s will need to maintain currency to the same standards as Sea Leaders. All grading going forward will be offered under the new model, and once the 2018 training calendar is finalised. Members wishing to transfer their current grading to the new model will be provided with an opportunity to do so as soon as practicable.
We are aiming to implement the new grading model by the end of 2019 (i.e. all members who want to be formally graded will transition to the new model by then).
The Sea Kayak Basics grade will be implemented via attendance at Canadian Bay paddles each month, commencing in March. This will involve demonstrated competent wet exit, training in assisted rescue, forward stroke and boat set up (to VSKC standard). The Trip Leader for these paddles will sign off on these requirements.
Paddle Log 

To line up with recent changes announced by Australian Canoeing, we will be moving to the use of an online Paddle Log App (i.e. for use on smart phones and similar devices). This will eliminate our current paper-based paddle log approach. Use of this App will be mandatory as part of the Club’s new grading model. One option we are considering using is the paddle log app developed by Australian Canoeing, pending resolution of some apparent technical issues (available at https://paddlelog.canoe.org.au/ (click image below) OR  https://canoe.org.au/paddle-log/ (Apple or Android).


Implementation Forum and Support
Pending successful commencement of Instructor training and the Sea Leader intake, an all members forum will be held in March to provide all members with the opportunity to ask questions and get involved in implementation of the new grading model. I will convene this forum and details will be advised shortly via the website.
A range of administrative supports will also be progressively developed to enable roll out of the new model. This is also likely to include more visible forms of grading designation so that members are aware of each other’s grading (eg boat stickers, cloth badges for cags, etc).
As President, I look forward to your active support for this very important initiative. The more members we have participating in the program, the better. There will be ongoing opportunities for members to help shape roll out of the new model. I therefore look forward to building off our member consultations in 2017 into a successful implementation process in 2018/9.
Best regards
Richard Rawling
President, VSKC