Posts Tagged ‘Sea kayaking’

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

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?

2 Star Assessment

April 4, 2009

Despite the wind the two star assessment went ahead today. I was a bit apprehensive due to this and also because of last week being buffed about so much.

Needless to say it was the Avocet I chose today, no point learning to paddle something new while doing the assessment.

Today a lot of things came together for me.

  1. Bracing – couldn’t have done today without it. You could see the wind move the water and could nearly have the brace ready to go before you got a wallop. I was chuffed, no unintentional fall ins. It was Steph got the wrath of the wind today, one gust got her wobbling and the second took her. Thanks to whoever rescued her today (sorry I forget who it was!)
  2. Draw strokes – right first time J super gluing your hand to your forehead actually does work, as does looking where you are going, imagine that! I would have never have believed what the coaches were telling me was correct before!
  3. Turning- Sweeping and edging. It was impossible to do without having your head around these today.

I definitely need more reversing practice but to be honest it’s the same in the car and I have been driving for 10 years. It’s probably because I am female. I did make it across the harbour in reverse but it took a while and a few looks of concern and coaching from Rab!


So it appears I have a pretty little slip which I need to send off to CANI now with some money J What next???? Well I need to get out more and gain more confidence on the water. I want to manage a roll, even if only one and I am applying for the coaching. I want to share the love of kayak/canoe with everyone now!!

I am still in hunt of my new soul mate, I tried one kayak after the end of the assessment that was for sale but again it felt like wrightbus had made it. I would never have been able to lift it onto a roof rack and the cheeky thing chucked me out when the wind came!! Does anyone make sea kayaks for 5ft females???

Sea kayaking 21st March 2009

March 21, 2009

Weather, perfect, sea calm, 16 or so paddlers in Portrush Harbour rocked!!!

I am such an impatient little madam, I want a boat of my own now *stamps feet*. I have to have patience, try more boats, save up a few more £’s then get the little baby of my dreams J

What did we cover today:

  • Fixing a keel
  • Towing systems
  • Bow rudders

I also practiced more braces and I didn’t fall in today!!! I really need to work more on my draw strokes (including skull and draw?).

I was in a little blue kayak today, kinda of inuit style, with a sea (small) cockpit. It had no foot rests which I thought would be a problem but actually was find once I worked out how to shift my body weight about and use my knees. Although it wasn’t as stable as the Avoca??? (which was more flat bottomed) once I got used to it I found it quite nimble and easy to wiggle in and out of the bouys. I also had a paddle about in one of the big double Kayaks with Julie. I think these need to be appreciated for what they are. They are not single kayaks and should be taken at a more leisurely pace. Although more difficult to fling around once a bit of team co-ordination kicks into place we were flying, so to speak.


I’m off not to buy a dry bag and something to make a paddle stay fromJ Assessment next week J Did I mention I didn’t fall in?


Sea Kayaking 2

March 14, 2009

14 March 2009

I know I left house at 8:30 this morning and it took me until 1ish getting home, (-1 hr for travel made a good days play out on the water!!)

Thanks Richard from CCKA for fishing me out today during the draw stroke lesson and well done to everyone else who braving in the roasting water of Portrush Harbour carried out rescues!

Things covered today

  • Trimming the boat and packing
    • Heading towards the wind, heavy stuff in front of boat
    • Heading away from the wind, heavy stuff in the boot :p


  • Launching
    • Off a slip way “reverse” out



  • More Turning,
    • sweep strokes, use the length of paddle to extend stroke and give more leverage
    • Reverse sweep strokes to help get you around!


  • Draw strokes


    • Keep head and body straight above the boat (otherwise you will fall in, like me again-don’t lean to far over!!)
    • Create a “window” with your arm then do the stroke
    • Put knew up on side of stroke to give more support


  • V-pushes
    • Single, front and rear of pushing boat
    • 3 kayaks, 1 pushing 2. This is useful for lost paddles, seasickness, hyperthermia, injury or other distress.


  • Rescues
    • Assisted rescue
      • Rescuer moves to overturned vessel
      • Ask if paddler is ok and tell them to hang onto boat and paddle
      • Hold onto other boat, instruct paddler to move to bow of your boat
      • Park your own paddle
      • Paddler hangs onto bow (legs and arms round adds stability)
      • Move bow of boat at 90 degrees to your boat
      • Hold toggle of boat and move arm up hull, this allows easier turning
      • Turn boat and slide up across in front of you
      • Turn boat over to remove water
      • Turn boat again and refloat with bow opposite to direction you are facing
      • Take paddle off the floatee


    • In no surf
      • Paddler can move up between boats
      • Paddler lies back holding onto both cockpits and throws legs into his/her own boat
    • In surf
      • Paddler moves to outside of his boat
      • Paddler pulls self onto the rear of his boat with rescuer stabilising boat
      • Paddler turns around in boat, towards rescuer ( helps stabilise boat)


  • Help to replace, spray deck, give back paddle, check paddler is ok. (Their fingers will be cold after the splash so dexterity will be limited)
  • Rescue any floating stuff (of which where should be nothing as we are all sensible and know to TIE EVERYTHING DOWN IN BOAT before heading out!

Sea Kayaking 1

March 7, 2009

Today was my first day out in the “real world” – sea!!! Totally different experience to paddling in the pool I was a bit unsteady and managed to take a couple of plunges eep (thanks to Rob for fishing me out twice in 5 mins!). What a fun couple of hours!!

Things covered today
* falling in! capsizing and rescue
* sweep strokes for turning (wide strokes, face direction you want to go)
* Edging, to help with turning (knee up opposite to sweeping side)

I think my most important lesson today was that foot rests are adjustable and should be adjusted before going out!! I forgot when i was swimming about banging the bottom of my boat and waiting to see if i would be rescued!! I was more excited about getting into the sea and popped out twice!! Maybe next time I will wait in the kayak for long enough to be rescued!!