CCKA Family paddle 5 March 2011

March 5, 2011

Another beautiful spring morning for a paddle down the Bann.  Five open boats and two kayaks took to the water at the University watersports centre.

Robin Ruddock as usual was a fantastic guide for the trip, pointing out all the local areas of interest enroute and a quick lesson or three in local wildlife identification.

The water was calm and not a wisp of wind – hard to believe winter was just a few weeks away.

We stopped of for coffee just along side the path which runs to Portstewart beach it wasn’t long before the natives popped past for a wee look see.  I was quietly worried that I would be talked into giving beginners lessons to the bunch but it was apparent they weren’t interested in paddling they were just nosey.

We continued a bit further to the coastguard cottages where the trip ended 😦

cant wait to get out again!! Oh I mean tomorrow – 2/3 star training at Portrush !! Its great to be back at it!!


Paddle the Bann 22/04/2010

April 23, 2010

Ok Ok I know! Its been a lifetime since I have posted anything on here!!  Well what have I been at? Work, started a PhD, got romantically attached and well did very little kayaking!!

Fresh start now alone with a fresh paddling season!  My first outing was with UUC and CCKA last night and what a beautiful evening it was.  The “other half” towed along assuring me he had “paddled once or twice before”  as we travelled into the Uni.  In total there was 9 of us, Gary a coach from CCKA (I’m sure its 3 or more!) Heather, Matt and myself (level 1coaches), Steph, Roy, Clare, Elaine and Jason.

Before even getting on the water, we couldn’t get boats- the powers that be had decided to chance locks to the doors and then not give us the correct key!!  After a mere 45 mins of flaffing about we eventually got on the water.

We travelled from the watersports centre heading the direction of the Barrmouth. I dont think I have ever been on the Bann in such a calm and beautiful day.  Even so it was apparent by the wobbles Jason had never been in a “kayak” before and it was “them open boat things” he had been in.  After 15 mins or so he was paddling like a pro!

Everyone had a great time – including the seal who followed us down stream for most of the way.

A beautiful evening – may there be many more

Whiterocks skive 2, 9/9/09

September 9, 2009

Now its hard for me to rise out of bed on a day off but, when there is a paddle on offer well thats a different story!!!

I met up with Andy at the whiterocks, portrush for 9am and I will admit i was a bit scared and questioned my reasoning.  Lots and lots of beautiful waves, big waves that is and bigger than i  had ever been out in.


Andy was first off the beach and was straight out through the white stuff and caught a lovely wave on the way in. Jealous, yes! Alot to aspire too – yes!


So attempt one at getting out, fail, on beach.  The waves were well powerful.  I loved to see if there was some way of getting out but it was just a tumble drier session for me.  After a few tries to get to the green I decided to play about in the mosh pit at the beach.    Managed a few nice slides back to the shore with minimal spillage.

I retired to the shore to watch Andy and realised that my lack of strength, heavy paddle, tiring arms and my fear were limiting me.  Surveying Andy I watched him perform an amazing sommersault nose over tail.  I’m not sure how intentional this was but I hope someone caught it on camera!!!


Andy gave me a go in his nice little valley surf kayak with an equally beautiful (light and short) Robson paddle.  Totally different boat in the surf!! Nice  bit scarey for me punched though the waves well and I was able to edge it a lot better than the wee uni boat I was in.  I want one of them paddles – so easy to get speed up compared to the log I was using.


I am totally exhausted now!  Ready for a big soak and to scrub the sand outta the mop!!

NI Surf Kayak Hosts the NI Open, 12th Sept 2009

September 8, 2009

Woohooo Back on the water

September 8, 2009

After what seems like an age (3 months)  I finally got out on the water yesterday. 

I met up with Andy at the whiterocks, Portrush, but the surf was well um wasnt’y

It seemed like such a shame not to check out the other beaches in the Port.  West was rubbish with the east looking slightly better, that was until we got the boats to the shore….


After a couple of hours and rather small and infrequent waves we decided to call it a day.


Fingers crossed tomorrow is a bit better 9am start grrrrr

Kayak withdawl symptoms

June 20, 2009

No kayaking, no canoing, not swimming no nathan!! Bah humbug to work. On a happier note, I passed my degree with a 2.1 and I will be in NI for the next 3 years doing a Phd aka more paddling 🙂

Surf tomorrow please sea gods puuurrrleassseeeee. I need to paddle bad, I even looked at the Bush today in Armoy thinking I could paddle as far as my dads in stranocum, hmm – not on your own my deary!!

Paddling Home, Ballintoy to Ballycastle 4th June 2009

June 5, 2009

I dont think I have ever got home so quick from Belfast! Work sucks but is more than compensated by my desire to paddle!!  The paddle was from Ballintoy to Ballycastle, having consulted Robin I was to remain in B/C to take drivers back to the start point.  I was panicking a bit about this paddle as the last time I was out I went for a wee swim and I had a look at the sea and it was um interesting.  High tide was to be ~10pm so leaving at 8pm i kinda reckoned  this trip was going to be fun and wet.

I was only out of ballintoy harbour when I started to feel sea sick, John paddled out with me a bit, talking to me tryin to get me to chill out a bit.  Paddling when you are stressing is a disaster, you are so uptight and rigid.


The paddle out to larry bane was challanging enough for me as I had started to feel a bit sicky and I was petrified as we rounded the headland.  My favourite stroke for the evening was skiming the paddle over the surface- thanks John for reminding me to keep my paddle in the water – thanks to the tips I had received  from harbour to here from John I managed to not go swimming!!


The view of the Rope bridge from the water was amazing!!  I had been looking forward to paddling under it but there was too much swell!! No swimming today!   As we paddled on, I realised that my forward paddling has changed, I didnt seem to be tiring as much.

The coastline was filled with caves, cracks and the most amazing wildlife, its hard to believe  I have never seen this part of the coast before, despite living here.   Kinbane head was a real treat – as was sneeking “under it”.

As we continued along the coastline a little seal popped up to great us!!  If you ever have the opportunity to paddle this bit of coastline do it – from the sunset to the different perspective of “my local” you will not be dissapointed.

(I didnt manage to swim either!!)

Level 1 Coach in Paddlesport day 4, 31st May2009

May 31, 2009

Arms brown, legs white, got to love two days paddlin in the lovely sun! 

Today I had to give a lesson on paddling in reverse canoe stylee!  I actually was looking forward to this lesson. Canoe isn’t my bag, or wasn’t.  This course has forced me to embrace the canoe.  I even found myself asking Hugh about suitable paddles for me as I know that paddle size has been detrimental to my performance in all my previous canoe sessions.

The group I have been “coaching” have been great craic throughout and even though they are 2* paddlers and above they all took genuine interest when the strokes were being carried out by the other would be coaches.  My session went very well with no major critisim – all good all good!  It is a real buzz when you have done a few games with students and seen that they are learning and enjoying wat you have created.


Before the course rounded up there was a future planning session- where do you see yourself going and what do you need to get there, well…

* my technical skills need worked on, I can talk rubbish and play games, I need to perfect the paddle —-3* in kayak and canoe what a task I’m setting myself

*I plan to make a compedium of strokes for quick reference based on the fundementals – body, boat and blade.

*my “bum in boat” policy still applies – if someone offers me to go out, to try a new boat or something new,  I am forbidden to say no (work permitting, have to pay for the habit after all!).


I had never coached before doing the course and to be honest I had never really planned to be on this course- I wanted my two star then, I had planned to paddle along at my leisure, maybe ticking off star awards, maybe not.  The coaching opportunity arose and I was convienced it was the right thing to do by a few members of the uni club.  The uni club at Coleraine had no coaches and have been depending on the amazing coaches from CCKA and from Xplore outdoors to take us all through the 1* and 2 * tests.


The training included coaching to coach, various models of learning and lots of on water time either carrying out rescues, demos or being assessed.  It was  very intense and I was glad at the end it was over two separate weekends rather than 4 days of slaughter!!

It was quite strange watching as myself and other participants change from being nervous and unconfident in the first week to becoming leaders in the final day.  I am really proud of everyone on the course for doing so well and passing.  I  want to thank CCKA tutors, Robin, Robert and Keith for their time and mentoring and also Hugh and Harry for their invaluable coaching tips.

I would certainly reccommend this course to anyone even pondering the idea of coaching.  As I said before- I never planned to coach  I just want to paddle, now I have done the course I  want others to share the fun I am having paddling!!

UKCC level 1 certificate in Coaching paddlesport – day 3

May 30, 2009

I am exhausted, relieved and (now) no longer hungry.  Bit of advice to anyone planning of doing this course- make sure you dont have to work in the evenings post course- it will probably kill you.

The day got off to a good start, getting out of bed that is to see a beautiful big sun shinning.  There is nothing as miserable as being herded to do rescues in the teaming rain bah.  The course started with Keith reviewing the last weekends worth of course followed by the harsh truth that this was assessment weekend!! 

Everyone did very well on the coaching assessment today.  It was great to see everyone progress fom very nervous the last weekend to being competant coaches this week!! Well done everyone.

The wind gave everyone hell during the rescue session, especially the poor canoes.  Towing, X-rescues and haulling fat swimmers to shore were all part of the assessments.   I will be honest, I hate doing them but the same as the open canoe once i am competent I probably wont anymore.  I met an Soter just the other night who told me he didnt want to take his sea kayak out as he didnt know how to do any of the rescues.  I dont blame him, i learnt the hard way- fall out then be fished out.  I have offered to take him through all the rescues, I would hate for anyone to get into trouble on account of me being to selfish to show them.

The last part of todays assessment was the dreaded test.  Everyone frantically crammed before hand and as the test commenced you could smell the tension in the air (it could equally have been the stench of the Bann water all of us were now christened by!!).  Everyone passed with flying colours!!

One more assesment on the coaching tomorrow and then fingers crossed there will be a new load of level 1 coaches on the water!!  Paddling backward in a canoe for me eep!! Best crack on and get my lessson plan done!

Portna cannal, Kilrea 25th May 2009

May 27, 2009

This is a place holder for the lovely little outing Julie, Marting and myself hadwith Robert to help us brush up on our open canoe before our UKCC 1 assessment this weekend