First Paddle

OPAF First Paddle, Adaptive Kayaking Set to Launch in Michigan

April 15, 2010- Waterloo, Iowa – OPAF is set to launch another First! First Paddle, adaptive kayaking for amputees and those with physical challenges is set for its inaugural clinic on Sunday, May 23 at the Michael Jones Pool facilities of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. First Paddle will introduce or re-introduce amputees and those with physical challenges to the fun of kayaking. The inaugural clinic is sponsored by SOAR (Special Opportunities in Advanced Rehabilitation).

First Paddle will offer an introduction into kayaking and give instruction on techniques as well as adaptations to make each experience great. Clinic will be lead by American Canoe Association Certified instructors and assisted by local kayaking enthusiasts. The clinic is the dream child of Chris Casteel, MSOP and Prosthetic Resident at Advanced Orthopedic Laboratories. Chris and his group of kayaking enthusiasts have gathered together to make First Paddle a reality. Chris attended the First Dive Intro to Scuba Clinic in Seattle with the AOPA National Assembly in September of 2009. There the idea for First Paddle was born.

Clinic will run from 12 noon to 5 pm on Sunday afternoon in the pool. Instructors, volunteers, equipment and refreshments are all provided. There will be a limit of eight students for this clinic. Clinic participants are encouraged to wear swimwear as well as bring dry clothing as you will get wet! There is a nominal fee of $20 per participant to help cover equipment costs. For more information and for registration, please contact Chris Casteel at 734-552-9225 or or contact the OPAF office at 980-819-9404 and .

Upcoming First Paddle Adaptive Kayaking Clinics

More events coming soon!

Press Releases and Media Coverage

What People Are Saying

Ypsilanti, Michigan 2015
“I will continue to try out new things! Thanks for organizing this event!”
- Nagamani Mundru, Participant
“I learned a lot about proper kayak and Paddle combination as a T5 para. Reach more participants through hospitals, therapy center, independent living and radio.”
- Bryan Wilkinson, Participant
“Wish the pool had a chair lift at the edge.”
- Tim Dore, Participant
“I did not participate in activities, but enjoyed meeting and learning what amputees can do.”
- Barb Rebel, Observer
“Good chance for amputees to meet, plus I learned how to get in and out of the pool.”
- Peter Wolte, Participant
“Parking was rough—long walk. Thank you ALL for all giving of your time and letting people try something new”
- Mike Sonoc, Participant
Ypsilanti, Michigan 2014
“My daughters and I enjoyed this event. I gathered good information and great support.”
- Lee Ann Hagey
“I’m so happy!!!”
- Louis Flory, Instructor
“I came from Indianapolis.”
- James Goff Jr. BOCP
“First Clinics exceeded my expectations!”
- Evan Mathias
“Please come back next year!”
- Orlando Harris
“More marketing necessary to get the word out that we host this event.”
- Stephanie Turlo, EMU student
“Thanks for the opportunity! I had a blast learning to scuba dive and do more kayaking, even as a volunteer. Great Event! I will definitely be recommending to others.”
- Katy Blaherski, Student
“Huge thank you to all volunteers and sponsors.”
- Chris Casteel, MSOP, CTO
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