Learn to Sea Kayak With Our Beginners’ Lessons

TSC Open Day 2016If you have ever wanted to learn how to Sea Kayak, now may be the time. We have sessions for beginners commencing Wed 1st June 2016 for 6 weeks of sea kayak coaching.

In these sessions, you will start to develop the key skills required to control a kayak in the sea. Learn about forward paddling strokes, reverse paddling strokes, side paddling strokes, recovery strokes, turning, edging, and rescues.

If you are interested, then fill out and return a club membership form from our membership page and select the option for 6 weeks of kayak coaching.

Open to everyone aged 10 to adult. We have a range of sea kayaks suitable for different sized people from children to adults.

We hope that you will join us on the water!

Kayak Section’s Final Night on the Water 2015

DSCN9540a_800The kayak section’s final Thursday evening session for 2015 was held last night. The sailors had finished their season the previous week, so we were able to play around in the wind and not have to look over our shoulders for yachts and dinghies!

Twelve of us made it out for this session, most arriving early to make sure we had enough time on the water. We had some south easterly F3 wind to play in before it dropped at around 7.15 pm. There were lots of happy faces tonight as people perhaps reflected on how much they have improved over the course of this summer. The excitement of the occasion had clearly gone to Phil’s head as he proceeded to dig out his seldom seen Greenland paddle and roll with it!

Following on from the on-water session, we held a short meeting in the clubhouse to discuss future plans. First on the agenda was the organisation of a work party to clean kayaks in readiness for storage. This will commence on Sunday 13 Sept at 11 am. Any members who can help out with this would be much appreciated.

We are unfortunately running out of daylight for evening sessions (sunset was at 7.45 pm and we are losing 15 minutes of daylight per week). This summer has seen 2 sets of 6 coaching sessions run between May and September, with 10-12 members participating in each set. This has been done without any incidents and with everyone getting something out of it, so all in all it’s been a good summer for the kayak section. We can now look forward to moving indoors to the pool and onwards to spring and the 2016 season.

Many thanks to all who contributed to make this season on the water a success.

TSC Paddle Weekend – Junie & Lesley’s Experience

As part of feedback from the 5/6 Sept. “Paddle Weekend” we asked attendees for feedback. We received the following from Junie and Lesley who attended TSC on  Saturday 5th.

“What a fantastic day!! We spent the morning sailing, courtesy of Alasdair and his beautiful yacht.(The Moody 336) We learned quite a bit about how it all worked and how important the safety aspects were, plus had a turn behind the wheel. Truly a fantastic experience. Later in the afternoon, we went kayaking with David and John. Again, well delivered instruction, fun, a great way to keep fit and brilliant way of seeing the landscape.

The sun shone, the people were lovely and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Thanks so much Toward Sailing Club!”

Best Wishes Junie & Lesley

(Images courtesy of Junie)

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.


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.


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.


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 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!

Kayak Coaching Session Restarted With New Group

Kayak fitting at TSCThe second set of six weeks sea kayak coaching started last night at TSC for a new set of club members and one or two returning members. The skies were mostly blue for a change and the sun was out, but we had some F3 westerly winds to deal with before they dropped off to a more manageable F2.

The super keen new attendees arrived early allowing us to complete the paperwork ahead of schedule. They were then fitted out with sea kayaks, paddles, BA’s and decks before being taught good forward paddling technique while sitting on the grass in the sunshine.

Kayaks on the water at TSC It was a well attended session with 11 new attendees and 4 coaches/leaders, even so we were all able to get out on the water by 7.30pm giving everyone a chance to experience a full hour of paddling.

After a short spell getting a feel for their kayaks in the shelter of the harbour bay (which fortunately was just an hour and a half past high water), we headed across the bay in F3 dropping to F2 westerly wind induced waves. Everyone seemed to cope admirably, and we had zero capsizes. Well done everyone! We then returned to the harbour before indulging in a spot of edging practice.

Moody July Sunset at TSCFor late July, last night had less of a summery feel to it. A low pressure system sitting to the north west of Scotland was pulling colder Arctic air down, and this coupled with the sun starting to set at 9pm certainly made it feel slightly autumnal. Which is not what most of us living here who have been waiting for summer to arrive want to hear!

Kayak Coaching Sessions – Attendees’ Thoughts

We have just finished the first six sessions of kayak coaching at TSC. There will be another six sessions starting on 23 July 2015 for a new set of people. The sessions certainly got off to a wild, wet and windy start on 28 May when we were met with F5-6 westerlies and rain, however, the other 5 weeks were fortunately more forgiving, and we even had one night where everyone got to experience some F3 waves coming in at the bay. Group sizes varied from 7-10 people with an an age spread from children to adults and an experience spread from novice to some experience, all of which were catered for by our mix of coaches and leaders.

So we asked the question: how did the attendees feel about these first six sessions? Here is what they had to say:

TSC Kayak Coaching“It’s been a great experience. I like the way the plan for the evening was explained in advance, and everyone was included. I don’t think anyone could have felt as if they weren’t part of the team.


I am looking forward to some wee paddles over the summer.”


– Frances


TSC Kayak Coaching“I have found the sessions to be invaluable. They have run on schedule and on time each evening. The 90 minutes in the water feels like a good choice, anything less would feel too little and anything more would be too tiring as our bodies adjust to the sport.


The content has also felt good, getting in and out of the kayak, paddling technique, paddling in a straight line, turning on the spot, long radius turns and course correction via edging and rescues (assisted and self).


The coaching and on hand support at each of the sessions have been excellent. I have felt I have been in the company of people that are knowledgeable; I have also felt safe being on and in the water given the expertise to hand each night.”


– Jamie


TSC Kayak Coaching“It was a fantastic experience. This course catered for a wide range of ages and also for paddlers who had some previous experience as well those of us with no experience at all. At all times I felt included in the group and the atmosphere was friendly. The coaches were very experienced and supportive.


Having at least 2 coaches meant that everyone who needed a bit of extra help was able to have sufficient ‘one to one’ instruction which was a big bonus in a large group. As a more nervous paddler I always felt safe and found myself trying things on the water which I would have normally avoided. I think this says a lot about the calibre of the coaching.


All in all I would highly recommend TSC to anyone who would like to give the sport a go!”


– Karen Mc



TSC Kayak Coaching“From the start we were advised that there would be no backing out if it rained! The weather was suitably varied which was ideal for learning about paddling in various conditions. The tutors and support team gave us a clear idea of what was expected of us, and each week fears or insecurities were mastered. For me and my daughter it was something we could do together that would take us outdoors and give us both physical and mental exercise.


The one unexpected aspect of kayaking is that it is a real stress buster – you really have to focus on what your whole body is doing, especially in choppy water. Your feet, legs, core, and upper body are constantly adjusting in reaction to external forces on the kayak. This focus means that the time on the water completely clears your head of other pressures. The final week of the 6 week block saw us all capsizing and being rescued, not everyone’s idea of fun, but a vital part of our safety training, and it is actually so much more enjoyable than you might expect. I can’t wait to get back out on the water.”


– Karen K



DSCN8204a_1000“What a great experience joining the TSC Kayak section, 6 week training course. With professional coaches and supportive helpers. My confidence grew every week and I now feel confident and safe out in the open water with my sons and friends. Everyone from novices to experts, willing to help make the experience, enjoyable and fun and one on one coaching to improve techniques. I’m fully confident my 13 year old and 12 year old sons are safe out with me and learning more and more, every contact we have with the skilled coaches and members of the Kayak section.


I joined to be part of a club, with like minded people and to encourage more to join. As a new member of TSC I have been welcomed by everyone in all sections of TSC and invited to take part in other activities. Such a welcoming bunch of sailors, surfers and Kayakers all round good bunch of people.”


– Robin


Kayak Section Coaching Session – 02 August 2015

TSC Sea Kayak CoachingThe sixth session and final one out of the first coaching block had all attendees doing a recap of skills followed by an evening learning assisted rescues. There were varied levels of nervous anticipation in the air from participants at the thought of getting wet.

Kayak rescue practiceThere had been some heavy showers during the late afternoon after what had been a very warm day. This had made the air turn quite a bit cooler. We had progressively darker clouds hang over us for all of this session, creating very dim conditions, however, there was not much wind present so it was ideal for a rescue session.

Kayak rescue practiseAssisted rescues were demonstrated first which consisted of participants capsizing, wet exiting and then being rescued using the heel hook and roll in style method. The group showed admirable courage as they took turns at immersion despite the presence of lots of small moon jellyfish swimming around! A few even decided to repeat the experience. When not capsizing and being rescued, paddlers kept warm by doing some forward paddling and practising skills they had learned over the previous 5 weeks.

Oligarch super yachtCoaches also demonstrated self rescue techniques and required equipment (pump and paddle float).

The evening was also marked by the presence of Mr Abramovich’s  super yacht ‘Eclipse’ nearby in Rothesay, the Waverley passing, a porpoise sighting, tea, cakes (thanks to Karen), a sunset (after the dark clouds parted) and a lot more fun than most expected when everyone first heard the words ‘wet rescue session’!

Toward sunsetCoaching now takes a break for two weeks before the next block of 6 weeks starts up for another group of club members. Informal paddling sessions are planned for the folks that have been through the coaching so far.

Kayak Section Coaching Session – 18 June 2015

TSC Sea Kayak CoachingIt was with some reluctance that we all prised ourselves out of the clubhouse on Thursday night for the kayak section coaching session. Outside, the heavy drizzle, west to north westerly winds and temp of only 10C had left us all feeling like spending a night back home on the couch in front of a warm fire instead – and this is meant to be mid summer!

The forecast was for F4 gusting F5 W/WNW (but dropping) and if this had this been the case we would likely have had to cancel the evening. However on arrival, the conditions looked more F2-3+ and on inspection, the waves did not seem too big to deal with, so we made the decision to go ahead with kayaking – even if it meant me wearing my fleece under layers and winter hat!

TSC Kayak Section CoachingWhen on the water, we found that we had some nice conditions to play around in. For many, this was their first exposure to waves of any significance, and much to our delight, most people seemed to handle them very well. These were fairly typical conditions, frequently found around our local shores, so it was perhaps a lesson to all in what to expect when out sea kayaking.

Working on strokes, turning and paddling forwards into wind, cross wind and downwind was on the agenda. By the end of the night there were lots of smiley faces. A big well done to all the club members who participated.