search button
newscenter logo
Thursday, December 13, 2018

Follow SDSU  Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook Follow SDSU on Google+ SDSU RSS Feed

Paul Lang at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. Paul Lang at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.

Off the Beaten Course: ENS 124

SDSU offers an array of recreational classes through the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.
By SDSU News Team

Off the Beaten Course is a series that delves into SDSU's course catalog to share unique and non-traditional classes.

Course title: Beginning Sailing
Professor’s name:  Paul Lang

Paul Lang graduated from San Diego State University in 2005 with a degree in parks, recreation and leisure studies (now known as recreation and tourism management). As a student, Lang was a sailing instructor at the  Mission Bay Aquatic Center. His love for water sports and expertise in the subject translated into the perfect job — instructional supervisor for sailing and wakeboarding at the center.

Lang leads the Beginning Sailing class at Associated Students' Mission Bay Aquatic Center. Semester-long watersports classes are offered at MBAC through SDSU's School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. The center offers classes in sailing, surfing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, rowing and windsurfing.

1) What inspired you to create this course?

SDSU students have access to one of the safest and best places in the world to learn to sail through the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. More than 40 years ago, MBAC took over a community sailing program on Mission Bay and it's only natural that we would offer SDSU students the opportunity to learn to sail with us.

2) What can students expect to learn from this course?

This course is aimed at students with no previous sailing or boating experience. Students first sail in a single-handed Sabot and then move on to a double-handed Holder 14.  Our goal is for students who complete this class to be safe, comfortable and confident sailing either on their own or with friends.

3) What makes this course different from similar courses?

There aren't many courses like this one, but we can compare it to the other sailing classes offered at MBAC. The main difference between the different ENS sailing classes is the type of boat or boats used by the class. This class follows a very traditional learn-to-sail progression while students in the Hobie Cat class learn on the higher-performance Hobie 16 catamaran and Laser. Keelboat students are taught on one of our J24s, a 24' keelboat.

4) Is there one day on the syllabus for this course you most look forward to? If yes, why?

Yes! Capsize recovery day — we want all of our students to be comfortable righting the boat after capsizing and it's great to see students realize that it's not as difficult or as scary as they were expecting. This day is also a big confidence booster to beginning sailors. Once students experience a controlled capsize and recovery, a lot of the fear some students have on the water disappears.

5) What’s your favorite thing about teaching this course?

This is an amazing subject to teach because sailing can be a lifelong sport with endless opportunities for continued growth in terms of knowledge and skills. You can sail every day for decades and still learn something new every day. Starting students down a road that can bring them a lifetime of enjoyment is a very rewarding experience.

6) Any other thoughts?

Students who spend their entire academic career at SDSU may not realize what a unique resource they have in the ENS watersport classes offered at MBAC. From one single location we have access to ideal conditions to learn to sail, windsurf, wakeboard, surf, stand up paddle, kayak and row. As an SDSU student, you can learn any of these sports while earning university credit. That's extremely unique and it isn't something that very many students outside of SDSU get to experience as a part of their university education.