Kayak clinic teaches how to navigate waters (Video)

A family of four attends a kayak class to learn how to paddle the water as a family.
  • Coastal bend paddlers club

  • Looking to join a group of local paddling enthusiasts? The Coastal Bend Paddlers Club meets at the boat ramp in Riverside Park about 5:15 p.m. every Thursday. For more information, contact Club President Charlie Kouba at 512-940-0412 or by email ...

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  • Coastal bend paddlers club

    Looking to join a group of local paddling enthusiasts? The Coastal Bend Paddlers Club meets at the boat ramp in Riverside Park about 5:15 p.m. every Thursday. For more information, contact Club President Charlie Kouba at 512-940-0412 or by email charlie.kouba@classicnet.net.

When the Ingrams took off down the Guadalupe River on Saturday afternoon, they looked like pros in their tandem-style orange kayaks.

From matching sun hats to the way they guided the boats through the river, it was impossible to imagine the family of four had completed its first kayaking lesson that morning.

"We're pros now," 8-year-old Tyler said after completing his first lap around the pool.

Once a year, Victoria Parks and Recreation Department hosts a four-hour clinic at the municipal pool on North Ben Wilson Street.

"We really want to boost interest in Riverside Park's river because it is underutilized," recreation specialist Sarah Hamilton said. "The clinic is an opportunity for anyone in the surrounding area to come out and learn how to paddle."

The $10 clinic teaches people how to paddle in single-person and tandem-style kayaks and offers water safety tips and information about specific gear needed when kayaking.

The class is taught by kayak experts with the Coastal Bend Paddlers Club.

Mandy Ingram, 34, said that when she moved to Victoria a year ago it was hard to find activities she and her family could do together.

Back in Seattle, where the family is originally from, kayaking is huge, and Mandy Ingram said living in Victoria inspired her to catch on to the trend.

Before dropping $400 for a boat, she said she wanted to bring her family out to the clinic and try it.

"It's a little wobbly, but it's really comfortable," she said after trying the kayak for the first time.

Mandy Ingram was a submarine hunter in the Navy for 10 years, and her husband is currently stationed in the Coast Guard; neither is afraid of their children in the water.

Her husband, Jason Ingram, 35, has paddled a few times recreationally and said the water sport is perfect for his family.

"Families are all doing separate things," he said. "Kids are on the couch playing video games. Parents are somewhere else. This is the way it should be."

Tyler and his brother Chase, 7, said paddling was a lot more fun than playing their video games and that they could not wait to get back on the water.

"It was fun," Tyler said. "I loved it, and I just want to keep going."