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Seven Rivers Paddling Introduces A World Of Adventure On the Water

By Pamela Sosnowski

One of the best ways to savor the beauty of the New Hampshire coastline and waterways is from the seat of a kayak. Since 2013 Seven Rivers Paddling (SRP) has been introducing kayakers of all ages and abilities to an up-close view of the wildlife and scenery the state has to offer.

"Most of our trips we see bald eagles, great white herons and osprey to only name a few," says SRP's owner and lead instructor, Peter Sawtell. "Throughout the trip one of our excellent guides will teach you about the history of the water way you're on as well as talk about specific ecology of the ecosystem you are paddling through."

Some of the state's ecological gems that SRP takes tourists to include Portsmouth and Rye from Odiorne Point to the back side of Newcastle Island, and a trip on Lamprey River which leads to Newmarket. Another path is on Dover's Cochecho River where kayakers have been known to spot kingfishers, eagles, and other water-based birds of prey.

Sawtell has been kayaking since he was 12 years old, and grew up exploring the seacoast of New Hampshire. After a career in early education as a kindergarten teacher and after school program director, Sawtell worked at Portsmouth Kayak Adventures where he developed a kayak program for kids, leading guided tours 7 days a week until he worked for the United States Air Force, leading sea kayaking and whitewater rafting tours for new and returning guides. He opened Seven Rivers Paddling in 2013 to continue introducing his love of kayaking to others.

Kayaking also offers fitness benefits. Says Sawtell, "Paddling with Seven Rivers Paddling you will learn about balance, stability, and four key strokes for kayaking." All tour participants are provided with a life jacket and all other equipment as part of the price and will also learn about the historical significance of the river they're traveling on, as well as surrounding towns.

During the summer months, SRP runs a week-long paddling adventure camp for kids ages 6 to 8, and 9 to 14. Each child learns basic paddling techniques, balance, rescue skills, water safety, navigation skills and more in addition to team building activities. The camps are held in five New Hampshire locations and help build confidence, communication, and empathy in kids.

In addition to tours and camps, SRP also offers kayaking classes to help kayakers gain more confidence in the water, learn specific skills, and advance to the next level of expertise. The Fundamentals of Kayaking course helps students master paddle strokes and learn new ones, as well as practice rescue efforts, whether on themselves or other participants.

In Coastal Paddling, they learn how certain knee and hip movements can provide more stability in choppy waters and how to make the ocean's tides, wind, and currents work to their advantage.

SRP strives to make kayaking an enjoyable, educational, and fun experience for children, adults, and families of all ages.

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