Cushendun Maritime Festival

May 24, 2009

I was really lucky to have the opportunity to assist the splash and dash session ran by Ardclinis. I am gutted that it was on the same day as the sea kayaking race and the raft race but to be honest I’m not that competitive and probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it. There will always be next year!!

I was really nervous about the idea of working with Ardclinis and also the kids. No point finishing the coaching course if I don’t enjoy doing the coaching!

The festival itself had a great turn out with exhibitors including the Coast Guard, Ambulance and Fire Brigade. My First role of the day was to ensure a model of the life boat didn’t get swished out to sea!!

The first group of 6 hit the water with Damian leading the session. I very soon realised that in a splash and dash session the main thing is water confidence and making the kids enjoy themselves. Damian coached me through the whole session, questioning me throughout the session as to what the paddlers were doing wrong and how to correct. For me the day was totally invaluable.

I had my sea kayak on the top of car all day and had been itching to get it out onto the sea. Before we had packed up a few nice waves appeared and John, Matthew, Kevin and myself went out for a surf. It was another bailing session for the first while but eventually I was managing to stay on the surf. John gave me a telling off about my braces and spent 5 or 10 minutes rocking me up and down having me high or low brace to save myself!! Was the best days craic I have ever had.

The whole day was totally rewarding- It was so nice to see the kids leaving so happy after the session!


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.

The Craic…

May 18, 2009

Well its been a while since I have posted anything of interest- the last few weeks have been manic to be honest! Dissertation handed in, impromptu trip to lower lough erne, exams, and now freedom to paddle every day. I don’t know myself now!

The Lower Lough Erne trip was fantastic, my first real trip out in albert! We paddled to Devenish first and had a wee look arounf before heading up to Castle Archdale, checking off all the wee islands on the way up. One of the islands was in full bloom of bluebells which was so beautiful. Passing the Manor hotel we were entertained by a sailing regatta. Definately a trip to do again.

Just last week I was out again with CCKA paddling from Portballintrae to Portrush, via the Skerries. It wasn’t really off to a good start when I decided to follow the more proficient for a bit of rock hopping and managed to go for a swim (thanks Steve, for fishing me out). The rest of the trip was amazing. I have never seen such beautiful coastline and I never ever realised that it would be right on my door step. Dunluce castle from the sea- outstanding, whiterocks- equally, if not more outstandig. I was a bit apprehensive paddling out the Skerries, I had never ever been that far away from the coast (or the harbour before). The Skerries were beautiful, a seal and a million or so birds came to great (and poo) on us.

On Sunday I took my two sisters to the have a go day in Portstewart. They had a great day orienteering and shooting arrows at targets. Their day was made when Steve (from xplore outdoors and fisher of Michelle fish!) took the pair of them out sea kayaking. Its great now to have two sisters so very keen to kayak however I apparently have to purchase 2 more sea kayaks and gear to take them out!!

My mission this week is too work out how best to fish from my kayak without swiming and without having to drill big ignorant brackets onto my boat.!!

Group picture

‘Have-a-Go’ Day Sunday 17th Portstewart Strand

May 16, 2009

If you fancy a challenge and the opportunity to try an exhilarating
mix of outdoor activities come along to Portstewart Strand.
The ‘Have-a-Go’ Day will be a great chance for all the family to try
canoeing, orienteering, surfing, archery, blow-karting and lots more!
Go on. Have-a-Go!
Portstewart Strand BT55 7PG 11am-5pm

Car admission : £4.50 free national trust members

Link to flyer

Goals for summer 2009

April 27, 2009

I think it is pretty obvious that my heart lies deep in the big blue ocean. I am so smitten with kayaking I actually dream about rolling. I probably spend more time obessing about kayaking than I do studying for uni, which is quite concerning.

I am feeling healthier, not drinking and nearly off the ciggies too and all this I accredit to kayaking.

So I have decided to set myself some goals.

3B’s? Body,Blade and Boat.
Body – get as fit as possible to do well at kayaking. I am just about recovered from the weekend now, that is not natural to be so exhausted.
Blade – Perfect and be able to teach all the strokes I know to date.
Boat – get into as many boat as possible. If someone offers a go, I am forbidden to say no.

I’ll admit canoe is not my basket so my objective for this summer is to get to 3 star standard in open canoe. Why do something I dislike? Well my guess is I only dislike it as I am crap at it. I am quiet happy to jump into any kind of kayak now but I still have hang ups with open boats.

I also intend to make myself a paddle as I have discovered that i struggle with a lot of the club paddles as I cant pull them through the water. Square tipped paddles are out for me so I will have to make a beavertail or ottertail to help me with that part. Also I need a short paddle being the petite little parcel I am.

Ok I think thats enough goals for now, I will review in September!

BCU level 1 coach training – day 2

April 26, 2009

Shattered again !! I thoroughly enjoyed today! I seem to have gotton over my fear of open canoe although my strokes are a bit watty – but I will work on that.
First up we covered some skills attitudes and other qualities a coach should have followed by the “coaching session”.
For my warm up I had my “students” take off their buoyancy aids, and hats place them in a pile and have each team race to put on their clothes again!
I have realised that a lot of this coaching malarkey is about having confidence, in doing the stroke and projecting it to your students. I had to cut my teaching short due to lack of time but I think I did ok in the time I had.
There were also a million and on acronyms to remember

How many do you know??

The safety session caused me some problems or rather rescuing a surf kayak/playboat is difficult when using a sea kayak – it was nothing to do with the weight of the person in it honest!
The leaders of the course were great giving practical guidance on how to effect the best rescue manuoever without damaging the lifeboat!!

So whats my next task? Planning a lesson on “stopping at speed” in a kayak including warm up and a game!
I also have to review my skills as a paddler and what I need to do to improve me to improve my coaching.
Somewhere I have to attend the foundation safety and rescue and a first aid course so I still have a bit to go yet!!

BCU level 1 coach training – day 1

April 26, 2009

BCU level 1 coach training – day 1

Account Paddle Log

I am exhausted, so much so, that I am eating my dinner and typing at the same time! So what have I been up to today??
Well first off I trundled up to the uni watersports centre and nearly had my eye taken out by a stray bungee cord. Luckily my big hard head took the rattle – so much for trying to do a good turn to unload a kayak!
Like all training sessions it started off with the mundane “class room” style stuff- all very important but seems rather like being back at school, only with a host of boats around you and a rib being used to prop up the “blackboard”.
Things covered :-
*The remit of a level 1 coach
-Taster splash and dash sessions
-Coaching 1 star
-Coaching and Assessing paddle power start (power- kids, sport-adults)
-Sessions ran only in sheltered water
-no more than 6 students per instructor
-coach in a range of craft including
* canoe
* Kayak, straight running, flat hulled, sit on top

• Technical
• Tactical
• Physiological
• Physiological

• Body
• Blade
• Boat

• Power transfer
• Posture
• Connectivity
• Feel

*Yucky risk assessments

The practical sessions were more fun however I soon realised that my open boating skills lead a lot to be desired – more practice needed. It was fantastic getting to try out all the different boats and see how PPCT affects forward paddling!
My home work for tonight is to plan a session on how to teach “turning a canoe” using the IDEAS principle. Included in this must be a warm up.
I best get on and get it started, I have no idea where to start!! Might retire early with the BCU handbook for some inspiration!!

Albert comes home!!

April 23, 2009

Well I am over the moon, I have my first sea kayak!!! Now I have to work really hard for uni and justify the purchase!! I am also very lucky to be going on the level 1 instructor training this weekend, things are so exciting in my life atm!!

Exciting times!!

April 22, 2009

Well, I have bought a kayak- or Albert as he shall be known from now on. Albert is a RTM Ysak and I am very excited. I am picking him up tomorrow after class.

I will post some pictures when i get him tomorrow, I have to keep typing my dissertation tonight otherwise I wont get out to play for a couple more weeks 😦

Pretty little Kayaking things

April 17, 2009

I love this website, Guess who will be sending out loads of kayaking chrimo cards this year??? Cards, t-shirts, mugs and lots more I am going to have to fight to keep this student loan in the bank!!