A year ago I was just happy to get in a kayak and paddle about a bit in the pool, I didn’t realise it would become so addictive and the thrill of river running and white-water so intoxicating.
My first outing with the club was a bit damp to say the least; it was a paddle at Hertford on Good Friday. I was raring to go and looking forward to my first weir!! Well I got a good look at Two Step weir as I followed the others in the club as they effortlessly dropped down it. I followed , trying to put into practise all that I had been told ,’keep paddling’ ‘KEEP PADDlING!!’ . I dropped down the first step, got splashed in the face with the water, forgot everything, and went rigid then capsized!! But I got down it!! I thought “I’m going to try that again “, telling myself I can do it and stay upright this time, I hauled myself out and emptied my kayak.
Right off I go again, “relax “, I thought, “Keep paddling!”
I dropped down the first drop and then promptly capsized again!!
Oh well! I managed to Eskimo rescue on someone else’s boat and the group continued on up to Tennis Court weir , where I managed another four capsizes , must be a record I thought , but I was hooked.
A couple of days later we had the Easter paddle on the Ivel, which was much more successful. I managed to run two weirs without getting wet!! Though I didn’t have the confidence for the’ big’ drop yet.
August Bank holiday saw some of us at Orton mere messing about in more than one boat and was great fun; I have to say this really boosted my confidence in moving water.
My ability and confidence as a paddler has grown steadily, helped and encouraged by other club members. We have paddled in various locations including Hertford, Offord, Harefield, Nene WW centre, and this has lead to me taking part in two canoe slalom events(competition didn’t even enter my mind when I joined), one at Orton mere in Peterborough and one with the club team at the interclub’s tournament at Cardington. And I also passed my one star award!!
September saw some of us heading to Yorkshire for a weekend paddling on the Tees. This was my first taste of true river running and I think we all had a great time, I thoroughly enjoyed it. This weekend was also an assessment for my two star award, which I was very pleased to pass.
In November a group from the club went to north Wales for coaching and paddling, I found this very helpful. The coaching was first rate, the company was fantastic and the paddling was just testing enough and thoroughly enjoyable.
Since then we have had a couple of good paddles out , Nene white-water centre , Hertford , Huntingdon , Offord culminating in an assessment on the Legacy course at Lee Valley WW centre ,and passing!!
The future holds many plans for paddling this year including a trip to the Alps, can you believe that! I am also looking to do a coaching course in the near future to add to the list of personal achievements.
So as the club poster says “How far will you go??” I never dreamt this far and it has only been a year!!
I would like to say, a massive thank you to all who have encouraged, coached, organised, helped and maybe even despaired during the last year, it is greatly appreciated.