There has always been a good level of mutual teasing between canoeists and kayakers.  With the new BCU paddlesport awards however; the divide between those who paddle with two blades and those who prefer one has become more blurred.  So it was with varying levels of trepidation that a gaggle of MKC coaches took to the water in open boats.

Over 3 weekends in May/June 2011 the 6 coaches undertook a 3 star training and assessment course.  The course was provided by Grahame and Andy from Plumpton College, and comprised 4 days at local river locations, followed by a 2 day self-sufficient trip down the River Wye.

The local river trips were undertaken at the Cuckmere, Medway, Arun and Adur, and there was one main theme to all 4 days: Wind.   The canoes acted as big sails; and we spent most of the first day being dragged downwind.  The conditions made us master the finer skills of trimming and covering our boats pretty quickly, and sailing a canoe proved to be very effective!

By the time of the Wye trip, our Goon, J-stroke and Indian strokes were all looking pretty good, and we were able to enjoy the surroundings and the wildlife in serene style.  The rain came down just in time for a night spent bivi-ing under our canoes, but we were just rather pleased to finally not have to battle against the wind!

5 kayakers made it over to the ‘dark side’ and achieved their 3 Star Canoe award.  This will greatly supplement our ability to provide canoe coaching at the club: look out for courses running soon or ask a committee member if you are interested in having a go.