Archive for the ‘Assessments’ Category

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!

Foundation Safety Training

May 20, 2009

How many ways is there to rescue a kayak? 1 basic principle and as many ways as there are kayaks!

Despite the seriousness of the training the craic was mighty as usual with Robin and Rab! Its apparent I can’t throw so I guess that’s something I need to work on. I really enjoyed being out in albert tonight, we must be bonding well!

Getting Rab lumped onto the back of my boat to rescue him worked well, trailing him along however wasn’t (he must have had too much dinner this evening!). The most important thing I picked up tonight was never ever approach a panicking swimmer- otherwise you will more than likely end up swimming too!!

The “all out” rescue gave the group a great opportunity to work as a team to get back into the boats. It was my favourite part of the evening (despite it being freezing). I never realised that righting a sea kayak was as easy. I managed to right alberty myself and with the help of Martin bailed back in. Using a sling to get people back into a kayak is very a very useful too and I see potential for using it for loads of other things.


Below is a link to the trainers notes for this course- I highly recommend it for everyone regardless of whether they plan to coach or not. It really gives you a greater appreciation of how to perform a rescue on a variety of different crafts.

Julie sees stars!!

April 9, 2009

I am so glad there is no KFC anywhere near Ballycastle. I did contemplate a Chinese on way home but the “nutritionist” I am to become kicked in so I cooked instead.

Talk about ready to eat my arms and legs off!!


So enough about the feed me monster, today is all about Julie, who trailed me kicking and screaming away from my revision so she could have a swimmer for her two star award assessment with Robin. 7pm is a cold time to start paddling, especially when it was as windy as tonight. High tide made the harbour look a little scary but there was no need for any unintentional wetting of the wet suit before we hit the water. I was in the wee blue boat again which Robin attached pretty deck lines to, a wee paddle park and some nice foot fests for shorty. I love that wee boat, it kind of feels wobbly but you just have to use your hips more. I can’t remember name of Julies boat (leave in comment Jules?) but it looked like it was unsinkable.


It was great going over all the stuff from the assessment again without having to panic about “did I pass”, I could see the terror in Julie’s throughout it. Reversing today was a million times better, even with the wind; I guess you have to use the wind in conjunction with your strokes to move. It’s also a million times easier to steer if you have a bit of momentum up, and then correct using sweep strokes if you go off course a bit.

The rescue section of the assessment was interesting from my point of view although I have to say Julie did a sterling job. Communication is key. First off I thought I was being rescued by Eskimo method first, not deep sea from boat. So I waited, ran my hands up boat etc then thought, poo something has happened, better bail out….. This would have been ok but the spray deck was mega tight and fun to get off. Once I had that drama by I realised that my big arse was having fun getting out of the ickle cockpit of the boat, cue the “somersault move” out of boat.

It’s quite amazing the stuff that goes through your head when you are under there, it’s quite warm too, nearly homely if you had a cup of tea.

Anywho, Julie got me hauled into my boat then it was Julie splashing time J Bad me firstly tried to impale Julie’s hand with the bow of my boat (thanks bob for Robin adding the tennis balls to the end of the boat) then once we nearly had her in her boat she plonked back in again oops second time lucky! I really seen the importance of a quick rescue tonight, we drifted very far across the harbour.

Before returning to the slip it was a wee tour of the harbour, around the life boat. Omg was it choppy, I loved it, well after the initial omg, don’t fall in again. I was laughing like something demented. I seen Robin look around at me a few times, I guess he thought I was screaming.


What a fantastic night J Well done Julie on achieving your 2 star, and thank you and Robin both for having me along tonight, it really helped consolidate a lot of things for me.

Thanks to Paul for taking the pictures (More Pictures to follow soon…)


Grrrr get out of my harbour

Grrrr get out of my harbour

Huh? What do you mean we have to get in a kayak?

Reverend Julie gives the pre- 2star blessing?

3* Surf kayaking Course 13/14 April ’09 with Steve Bowens

April 7, 2009

It appears I am caught in a whirlpool and can’t get out, deeper and deeper I am getting!! 

ok less of the dramatics in short Steve is doing a course Easter Monday and Tuesday and I need 5 more people to go, cost TBC but if there is 6 in total it will be cheaper so….

Day 1
0930 – meet at the watersports center (East Strand Portrush)
1030 – on water session 1
1200 – lunch
1230 – surf forecasting and equipment
1330 – on water session 2
1500 – safety & rescue skills and techniques
1600 – review and finish

Day 2
0930 – meet at (East Strand Portrush)
1030 – on water session 3
1200 – lunch
1230 – rules of the road, safety and equipment
1330 – on waters session 4 (practical skills 3* assessment)
1500 – goal setting and future surf development
1600 – review course


Rolling isnt essentail but I am told it is less exhausting if you can ( i need to learn to roll urgently then!)

so yeah leave me a comment on here and I will get back to you.