River Difficulty Tips for First Time Canoers

Thomas Allen Disselkamp studied electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota. For the last 34 years, Thomas Disselkamp has worked as a product development specialist with the 3M Company in St. Paul. An avid outdoorsman, Tom Disselkamp spends his time away from work canoeing and hiking.

Before heading out for the first time, canoeists should learn the International Scale of River Difficulty, a guide used to communicate the relative challenge posed by a given river or waterway. Beginning canoeists should stick to Class I rivers, which are described as slow moving currents featuring few obstacles. In the event that a canoeist falls into the water of a Class I river, self-rescue would be a simple task. Beginners can also consider attempting Class II rivers. These rapids are wide channels requiring only the most basic canoeing maneuvers. A person will not need to scout these waters in advance, though a canoeist should have an elementary understanding of technique.

Any river defined as Class III or above in accordance with the International Scale of River Difficulty should be avoided entirely by novice canoeists. These rivers should be scouted in advance and require advanced skills and techniques to avoid dangerous obstacles. Class VI rivers are defined as extreme rapids and should only be attempted by experts during optimal conditions. The dangers posed by these rivers can be life threatening.

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Understanding the Pros and Cons of the Body Serve in Tennis

Thomas Disselkamp joined St. Paul, Minnesota’s 3M Company as an engineer in 1981 and now works as a product development specialist. When he is not leading project teams and reviewing engineering drawings, Thomas Allen Disselkamp likes to stay physically active. Tom Disselkamp is especially fond of skiing and playing tennis.

When serving in tennis, a player can choose between a slice, flat, and kick serve. However, the placement of a serve is just as important as the spin and pace applied to the ball. A body serve, for example, can be a risky, yet highly effective play at certain points in a match. As the name implies, a body serve does not attempt to drag an opponent wide in either direction, but instead travels directly into the body to handcuff the returner and generate a weak or errant reply.

Any type of spin can be used when playing into the body. A kick serve, or top-spin serve, is especially effective, as the ball can bounce as high as an opponent’s shoulder on contact. While the body serve is an effective surprise, there is a major drawback to this type of serve if the play is repeated over and over again. A player who serves up the middle or out wide has margin for error. A body serve that lands just a few inches to the left or the right of the target, however, will sit in an opponent’s striking zone. Even a properly struck body serve that is anticipated will require a receiver to take a single step before unloading on their return.