By Tyler Allen | Photo courtesy of Dave Zinn
A 10-year boy old strummed his
kayak paddle like an air guitar, simultaneously
surfing the Yellowstone
River’s famous wave, Mrs. Bubbles.
His teammates from Wave Train
Kayak Team cheered, and I watched,
astounded. The big wave had kicked
me off every time, despite my furious
paddle strokes.
Founded in 1996 by Dennis Steinhauer,
Wave Train Kayak Team
offers Gallatin Valley youth opportunities
to learn and hone paddling
skills throughout summer runoff.
To many, kayaking is a difficult
sport to access. But if you start paddling
as an adolescent, it affords a
lifetime of fun on rivers and creeks
in Southwest Montana and around
the world.
Dave Zinn, Wave Train’s Director,
has taught kayaking from Mexico
to Africa and has run the program
since 2009. Zinn says its objective
is to “provide good athletic output
in an athletic, adventure-based
town, and … promote self-discovery,
growth and increase self-confidence.”
Wave Train gets kids on the
water with expert instruction for 22
sessions over 11 weeks.
This year the program started May 22
and will meet Monday and Wednesday
evenings until Aug. 3. From the
Bozeman Pond to the riffles of the
Jefferson River and the rapids of
the Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers,
participants work on their paddle
strokes, rolls and river running
skills. Eight of the nine participants
are returns from last summer—100
percent return, except for kids too old
for the program. Gear rentals are offered at
a discount through Northern Lights
at the Barn.
This year, Zinn is also offering adult
classes starting June 14. The Junior
Wave Train program begins July 5
and is geared toward 10-15 year olds.
With a long runoff expected, Wave
Train is a great opportunity for
young and old to begin a lifetime of