Posts Tagged ‘Causeway Coast Kayak Association’

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!!


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

Kayak surfing, Easter Sunday 2009

April 12, 2009

What a day! Was at Whiterocks in Portrush today with the hangover from hell- lesson learnt. The CCKA gang were already there and took delight in my suffering.

After a quick briefing from Matt about getting out through the waves and avoiding going through as the wave breaks I was off. Cleary Matt felt that I was spending too much time dry and introduced the concept of catching waves and the importance of the stern rudder. Stern rudder in the side that you want to go- but it’s best not to turn the boat back into the wave again- woops, out of the boat and a smug look on Matt’s face. It wasn’t the first and wasn’t the last of the day.


I spent the remainder of the day in the breaking surf and tried to catch a few of the smaller waves. I think that surfing will be good for me, especially the rolling and being under water. I guess the next time I will be a bit more adventurous and head out a bit further. I am really looking forward to my next day out but I appear to have wrecked my wrist, no doubt from some of the tumbles I took out of the boat. Perhaps I will get my dissertation finished now if I can’t go and play boat!


Oh and I have purchased a roof rack J the rubbish thing is that the seller doesn’t appear to know that if you advertise a postage price to the UK that Northern Ireland is included in that! To be continued….

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?

Paddle fun begins!

March 7, 2009

I have recently discovered kayaking and canoeing 🙂 I am part of the University of Ulster Canoe and Kayak Club and go out with the Causeway Coast Canoe and Kayak club.

To date (7/03/09) I have paddled in the pool (kayaks), passed the 2 * part of open canoe 🙂 (28/2/09) and just started sea kayaking (7/03/09).

I would like to thank the CCKA trainers for there patience with me and continued “fishing out” duties without which I would probably been drowned ages ago!