TSC Kayak Section – Paddle Weekend 2015

11999736_10205202220755352_1494321197789124502_oIn order to celebrate a successful season on the water, the kayak section at TSC held a ‘paddle weekend’ over 5/6 September 2015. Club members as well as others were invited to attend paddling events based at the club house. Quite a few folk camped at the club and attended both days’ activities. We also had some guest coaches present who had very graciously donated their weekend to help run the various activities.

In the week leading up to the event we had been monitoring a large high pressure system over the Atlantic, hoping that it would move on over the UK in enough time for the weekend. In the end, we experienced its leading edge which brought somewhat chilly north western winds, but nice blue skies and sunshine too.

Saturday

The day got off to a blazing start weather wise, with what can only be described as one of the sunniest days of the year. Winds were north westerly F3 gusting F5, so an adventure was guaranteed on the scheduled all day paddle trip.

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Saturday’s group ready for their day trip.

Susan Chandler, one participant on the day paddle, shared her experiences –

“Saturday was a great day on the water. It was sunny with a breeze that made the conditions quite challenging! Six people went on a day trip with Gill, Andy, Ramsay and Colin coaching. We went from the club to Port Bannatyne over to the MOD base (on Loch Striven) down to Port Lamont and back to the club via a rather hair-raising encounter negotiating the fish farm nets and cages. Along the way we practised strokes and manoeuvres, and had to deal with strong winds and waves that we all found very exciting and challenging. We were all pretty tired when we got back to the clubhouse but thrilled we had managed to get home and no one capsized.”

In another group several people worked with Phil in the bay practising balance, rescue drills and even some rolling. They all said they had a great time and learned a lot. Fiona Mackay came within a whisker of completing a Euro style roll.

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Saturday’s sunset at Toward.

The third group consisted of 3 novices, one of whom had a lesson with guest coach Dave in the morning. The other two had a sailing lesson with Alasdair Finlay on his yacht in the morning and kayak coaching with Dave in the afternoon. They later conveyed that they had had a great time.

Saturday evening saw a social gathering. Fun was had, with lots of chat, a few drinks in the clubhouse and a bonfire on the beach. The sun had now set on a stunning day of weather and paddling with plenty of happy campers about!

Sunday

Sunday started off quite a bit cloudier than the previous day, with a cool north westerly wind still blowing for most of the day.

Greenland style paddles.

Greenland style paddles.

This hadn’t deterred some attendees showing up ahead of time fully kitted out and ready for the day’s activities!

Sunday’s events included some more wet/rescue practice round at Ardyne bay. There was also a Greenland skills session which covered all things related to the use of the traditional “skinny stick” (history, review of paddles, paddle strokes and rolling) in an intensive 4 hour session. Attendees were given the opportunity to test out paddling strokes on the water (and in the wind) using various Greenland and Aleutian style paddles.

Rolling and balance bracing practice

Rolling and balance bracing practice

After lunch, instruction resumed on the grass, where participants were introduced to recovery technique, focusing on the static brace, leading to the Standard Greenland roll. This was followed by a rolling demonstration at the slightly more sheltered bay north of the club. Those attendees who wished to try out a static brace and/or roll braved the cool water, and a first ever Greenland style roll was achieved by Fiona! A vigorous paddle back to the clubhouse against an increased wind ensured that everyone was fully warmed up on their return.

The event concluded by late afternoon and attendees went home to recover from an action packed weekend. A big thank you to everyone who helped make this special weekend event happen!

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