Archive for the 'events' Category

The Not the Royal Wedding Celebratory Paddle

events, news No Comments

Ardent royalists that we are, members of Martlet Kayak Club decided to celebrate the marriage of Wills & Kate by paddling the River Ouse past the site of the Battle of Lewes. This was the event at which the royalists, led by Henry III were soundly defeated by Simon de Montfort in the year 1264.

The loyal band of Martlet paddlers met at Barcombe Mills at 10.00 am resplendant in regalia suited to this joyous occasion. Boats were decked out with pennants; red, white and blue bunting; union flags and even heart-shaped pictures of the happy couple.

Some people even wore tiaras, although paddling a banana was perhaps going a bit too far!

Before setting off Sanne & Sarah had a pre-trip cup of royaltea, complete with table, table cloth, teapot and matching bone china. (plus chocolate fingers!!)

We are thinking of making this a prerequisite for all future Club trips & including the necessary equipment on the Club trip kit list. Meanwhile the BCU is currently considering introducing a 3 Star Open Canoe (Buffet Car) Award. 

Fashion Note: It is rumoured that Sanne & Sarah were rather miffed at not being invited to the actual ceremony but - undeterred - they rose to the occasion and dressed accordingly. Sanne was wearing a charming full-length black evening dress.

And Saras pink dress perfectly matched the Spring day. 

At 11.00 am the party of 18 paddlers set off downriver; Andy paddling an ex- royal canoe (or was it royalex?). Against all expectations, it was a warm, sunny day. 

Frequent stops to discuss the hot topics of the day; such as the wedding guests

The Wedding Breakfast was held in a field by Hamsey Weir.  

Having recently acquired open boats, Andy & Paula were able to really up the stakes on the picnic front; wicker basket, tarten rug, matching napkins - the lot!

The rest of us had to make do with champagne, strawberries and a cream tea.

After lunch it was a short trip down to Lewes. 

Although it did appear that one or two people may have overdone the champagne! 

We arrived in Lewes at 2.00pm to a 21 gun salute and, having shuffled the cars, quickly retired to the pub to continue the celebrations.

Many thanks to Clive E. for organising the trip; it was a great day out. 

2011 Surf Kayak Academy

coaching, events, news, surf 1 Comment

Its that odd year again so it means its time for us to run our surfkayak academy again. Similar format to previous years;
* Coaching and classroom at the club with some surfing when we can.
* Trips to local breaks when its on.
* Training with Glyn Brackenbury at Skern Lodge on Aug 13/14, England Team Coach and proprietor of Surf Kayak Skills website. This will be a pretty special session as its being held as part of a series to fund the England Teams defence of our World Crown this year, and well get a visit from other members of the team.
* Surf trip sometime in the Autumn TBA.

What you need to know;
* This is pretty much open to anyone who wants to get into kayak surfing and has a workable roll (or intends to have one by the middle of Summer!). We tend to run in a couple of groups; beginners and more advanced riders so all are welcome.
* There will be some cost to the participants of the trip to Skern, although I have obtained some funding from the committee to assist members who havent attended a funded surf academy before. Overall costs will be kept down, but Ill be able to be more specific once I know how many are coming.

If your interested or want to know more, get in touch with Marc before the middle of May.

Snow Coaching at Hollingbury Golf Course Dec 2010

events, news No Comments

It was great of Chris to turn up on the frosty slopes of Hollingbury to give us some expert tuition in the dark and dangerous art of  snow kayaking.Here, we see a sequence of his moves.


2. Off ye go.


 4. Hold on.

 5. A bit to the left.

 6. Spin

 7. A jolly good run.


 Danny & Clive

Heres a video of Captain Chris doing a fine sequence of 360s:





























Martlet Winter Sports Team in Action

events, news No Comments

 A couple of days of heavy snow at the start of December enabled the Martlet Winter Sports (kayaking) Team to get out on the piste and practise some of their moves. The opportunity doesnt come along very often so, after trekking in on foot from Fiveways, the kayak sledgers were soon making  good use of the sunny conditions out on the slopes of Hollingbury Golf Course. 

When kayak sledging, it is always a good tactic to get the local kids involved. 

For the price of a ride down the slope, youngsters will lend a willing hand to carry the boat back to the top of the slope. 

Just like on a river, scouting the best route down, between obstacles, is an essential skill. 

Crew boats are a popular feature of this sport. 

If a little terrifying at times. 

And, once again, there are more hands available to carry the boat back up the slope. 

There was some intensive one to one coaching during the session. (A new Level One Coach in action.)

Snow boarding Kayaks was also fun.

But it was a hard job finding the footrest.

The key was firm concentration.

And a good Stern Rudder.

Roll on the next snowfall.

River Ouse - November 2010

Trip Reports, events No Comments

On a bracing November morning we joined Mick Orpin and some other paddlers from Arun Canoe Club for a local river jaunt. It was a lovely sunny cold morning and we had a brief respite from the wind on the days before and after.

Rich paddling one of MKCs open canoes

Off we set, paddling with the tide past Hamsey Weir, then returning as the tide ebbed.

Next local river trip The Arun on 21st November - see your email for details!

Embrun, French Alps. July 2010

Trip Reports, events, news, white water No Comments

After a late night ferry crossing, 1 car, 2 people, 2 bikes and 2 boats arrived in Calais ready for an adventure.  Dropping by Paris (only 300km away) seemed like a good idea, so we spent the early hours driving round the empty city.  By the time we arrived at the Eiffel Tower it was dawn and we made our way south just as the morning traffic started.
2 hours of sleep later and several more hours of driving we hit the alps!  A glass of wine or two before putting up the tents and we had arrived.
The next day more happy campers came and we tested our boats out on the nearby lake, before taking on our first Alpine river – the Durance – the day after.  The Durance was great – turquoise blue waters, birds of prey wheeling overhead and Big and Bouncy Wave Trains the whole way down!  In fact it was so good that we did it again on the Tuesday!
On Wednesday people went their separate ways:  Some of the crazier paddlers headed off to tackle the Guil gorge section (one part of which Andy apparently decided to do on his head).  Other (perhaps even crazier) people flung themselves and their bikes down the mountain in full body armour.  Sarah and I decided to go to Italy for an icecream.  It seemed like the safer option, but rally car driving skills were required to negotiate the narrow winding mountain passes.  We climbed to over 2800 metres, saw 10 marmots and a camel, and sampled 3 flavours of icecream!  Success!
Back on the water for the next couple of days, we were joined by Niki and Bill from York Canoe Club.  On the Thursday we did the Upper Guil – with lots of eddy hopping and fantastic views of Chateaux Queryas as we neared the get out.

On Friday we headed for the Ubaye, where we pretty much all practiced our swimming and boat retrieval skills!  But any nominations for swimmer of the year were more than compensated for by the surrounding mountains, non-stop rapids and paddling (or swimming) through the gorge and under the Roman bridge.
We headed to Embrun that evening for Mussels night and stumbled on some traditional French dancing.  The rather heighty Duncan dancing with the rather less tall 6 year old was quite a sight to behold.
Saturday there was still time for some more downhill mountain biking and walking before Martina and I set off back on the long road to Calais.  It was hard to leave the Alps and all the others still having fun.
All in all, spectacular scenery, fabulous company and great paddling!
Andy (said casually) ‘Sanne, is that your table on fire?’
Sarah being picked up by her BA by a French raft guy and then, realising it wasn’t one of his rafters, cast like a sack of potatoes into the eddy
Waking up to coffee and fresh pain au chocolat every morning (even when we were sleeping on the side of the motorway) – thanks Martina!

So Same time, same place, next year, anyone?

Pier to Pier Swim - Safety Cover

events, news No Comments

Each year MKC is asked to help provide safety cover for a variety of water based events. One such community event we have traditionally supported is the Brighton Swimming Clubs annual Pier to Pier swimming race. Our paddlers paddle from the club to the start at the West Pier and escort the swimmers on their swim to the Palace Pier. This year a lot of our regular paddlers were away either on their own holidays or at our increasingly popular Alps trip.

Saturday arrived with flattish seas and sunshine, near perfect conditions for the bib swim. My main concern for the event was paddlers getting sunstroke!

and theyre off! The first wave of Male swimmers enter the water.

Clive waits patiently to follow the Womens wave 2 minutes later!

Pre-race banter by Safety Cover Veterans Clive, Graham, Cliff and Graham.

Newer members got their first experience of providing Safety Cover. Georgie and Harry taking a breather before the race begins.

A big thank you to all members who gave up their Saturday morning to help Brighton Swimming Club. I hope you all enjoyed the event. Rob

Martlet Open Day. Sunday July 4th

events, news No Comments

 Whilst a significant portion of the known world celebrated Independence Day, the rest came down to Martlet Kayak Club, to take part in our Open Day. A large number of members came down to the Club to help and, as early as 9.00am everyone was busy getting out boats & equipment, putting up the banner etc and generally getting prepared for the day.

This was just as well as, by 10.00am, there were already large queues of punters forming - all keen to get on the sea in a kayak. It was a hot sunny day, which attracted even more people, but it was also quite windy and the wind strengthened significantly during the day. This made it a lot harder for novice paddlers to get afloat and stay upright. Our carefully laid plans to send people out from the beach in small groups - each supervised by a coach - were quickly abandoned as it quickly became apparent that the youngsters in particular were having great difficulty in coping with the conditions. Plan B was to supervise the paddlers one-to-one, with Club members wading into the sea and walking the paddlers out through the surf and keeping their boats headed into the waves. This worked well until the tide came in and water started getting deeper. The vision of our esteemed chair accompanying a member of the public out to sea, swimming after them and determinedly hanging on their boat as the waves washed over him, was a sight to see.

 In the end, over 100 people took part (the vast majority local) and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience, despite the conditions. In fact many people enjoyed themslves more because the conditions were a little bit challenging. Hopefully a number of them will return and get involved inthe Club.

The Open Day was part of Brighton & Hoves International Festival of Sport Take Part. (The Paddle Round the Pier was going on at the Hove end of the beach.) This was a new involvement for us but it seemed to fit with the celebration of sport & physical activity rather better than with the May Fringe Festival which we have participated in previously. So many thanks to all the helpers, we were in danger of being overwhelmed by numbers early on in the day and we desperately needed the help of every one of you. Whilst it is invidious to mention names, Paula did a great job as the initial contact who had to sort out eveyone as they arrived: Trevors team did their usual amazing (and back breaking) work getting people afloat and back ashore; and Martina took on the role of Beach Marshal, injecting some much needed German organisation & efficiency (as evidenced by their football team nights previously) into sorting out the hordes pouring down the beach towards the sea.

We finished a little early at 1.30, as the wind & waves got stronger and, after hauling all the boats & equipment back up to the Club & putting it all away, we enjoyed a celebratory barbeque outside the arches.

Hard work, but an enjoyable and very successful day for the Club.


Sundae Paddlers conquer Beachy Head

events, news, sea No Comments

Sunday June 13th

In their never- ending pursuit of the ultimate ice cream sundae, four members of the Sundae Paddlers Group extended their search to the Beachy Head area this weekend. Avoiding the double temptation of an ice cream van and a small cafe, right next to the launch point, the group set off from Seaford at 10.15 on a 15 mile return trip along the coast. It was overcast as we set off but we soon encountered one of the forecast sunny intervals that amazingly lasted for the whole trip.

 With the tides in our favour, we quickly passed Seaford Head, Cuckmere Haven & the Seven Sisters. En route we were overtaken by the Newhaven Lifeboat & we could watch them in the distance, carrying out a towing exercise with the smaller Eastbourne boat.

Pausing for a quick break at Birling Gap, we continued past the cliffs at Beachy Head to the lighthouse. (Has anyone else noticed the uncanny resemblance to the Lyons Maid Zoom rocket lolly?) The lighthouse is now unmanned and was being serviced by a tender from a large Trinity House vessel anchored offshore.

 Returning we sampled the ice cream offered by the cafe at Birling Gap - well worth the climb up the cliffs via the staitcase tower. Then, arriving back at Seaford at 3.00pm, a celebratory 99 was enjoyed by all at the little cafe by the Martello Tower on Seaford Beach.

Quite a strenous paddle for those of us who havent sat in our sea kayaks for a while; but a classic trip. The sun was out, the tides were in our favour, the white cliffs were at their best and even the winds were kind. Two ice cream stops in one trip! What more could you ask for? Watch mkcgooglenews for the next Sundae Paddlers adventure. Chris C.     

2009 Martlet Surfkayak Academy 3 and 4* training

coaching, events, news, surf No Comments

As part of Martlets 2009-2010 Surf Academy we headed down to Bude back in September for training with former World Champion, Simon Hammond. The group was divided in two, with some being trained to BCU 4* level others to 3*. But the primary overall aim of the weekend was to learn how to be safe in the surfzone and to have FUN!

Luke Davies, who was in the 4* group, and Sarah Hampton, who stayed at Crooklets with the 3* crowd, each put together a report to tell the rest of the club about the weekend.

Lukes Story

As the climax to Marc’s surf academy, which ran through the summer, some us went down to Bude to participate in former world surf kayaking champion, Simon Hammond’s, 3* and 4* surf training courses. Luckily for us, the weather was on our side the whole weekend and the swell was ideal for learning (about 1-2 foot, clean).

After getting down to Bude on Friday and spending the night at the Backpackers Lodge (and most of the evening in the pub), Marc, Ben and me kicked off the surfing, early Saturday morning (which meant getting up at 7!) at Crooklets beach in central Bude. Marc was trying out a new, secret prototype boat and me and Ben got a chance to warm up (and wake up) before the course started.
At 10, Simon and the others met us in the car park where the 3* group and 4* group split up. On the 4* course, we proceeded to learn about leadership risk assessments on the headland above Summerleaze beach and choosing where to surf (in Simon’s garage).
Following the theory we ventured off to Sandy Mouth beach, where the 9 of us on the course quickly invaded the rather small break, initially practicing rescues but quickly progressing to learning about take-offs and identifying where to catch waves from, due to the surf quality. The first few hours were pretty chaotic with a fair amount of bad etiquette on the whole but very fun with everyone getting used to the conditions.
After lunch, the tide was out allowing a lot more space and more breaks for us to surf on, with Simon addressing the etiquette issues and teaching us about positioning on the wave and edge control. However, not all of us seemed to have got the idea of surf etiquette, with a non-Martlets member of our course being run-down by a well-known club surf kayaker!
At 4, Simon, who was being aided by fellow Shoreline instructor Paul Rudderford, concluded the day, rounding up what we had covered in the hot, afternoon sunshine, leaving us the uphill walk back up to the car park. Everyone then reconvened at the local pub for dinner and the evening, allowing everyone the chance to try Charlie’s tricks, which fortunately ended without injury!

On the Sunday, we all began at 10 (no one had the energy to get up any earlier after 6 hours surfing the previous day!), at Sandy Mouth. We began the day learning about bottom turns and top turns and just general practice but were interrupted by angry lifeguards who were worried due to the large number of kayakers in the swim zone…. However, this gave us time to cover the leadership aspects of the course and splitting up into two groups, actually having a go at dealing with made-up scenarios. These varied from straight capsizes to paddlers paddling off to other breaks and arguments with surfers, but all gave the leader a better idea of what to expect and gave us a chance to learn from each others leadership styles.

In the afternoon we had several hours to put into practice all that we had learned, with some us trying out the new club HP composite boats (the bright, glittery purple ones!), which gave Paul enough time to take a swim in Marc’s boat to many people surprise and amusement. We concluded surfing at 4 once again, being given our feedback by Simon and Paul and ending a very enjoyable weekend.

The course was a great experience and gave all the participants a much better understanding of surf kayaking with many thanks going to Marc on the organisation

Sarahs Story

I was fortunate enough to partake in the 3* Surf Kayaking Course back in September when the weather was gorgeous and the sea a little warmer. Having not done much surf kayaking at all I found the course invaluable. It built my confidence so that I am now ready to ‘go and get a trashing’ (as Dai put it) on Brighton beach where the less frequent surf just isn’t as friendly!

The first exercise of the course was all about getting the feel for the waves. Well, there weren’t really any waves – it was too calm. So we had to ditch our paddles and practise bongo sliding in the gentle and shallow break. This really helped me get a feel for what was happening as well as allowing me to gain confidence. Next, we went out a little further where there were now some small waves and practised bongo sliding, surfing along the wave and the beginnings of bottom turns. It was fantastic fun – I don’t think I stopped smiling all weekend!

After lunch in the glorious sunshine the waves had increased a little in size and were perfect for practising our new learnt skills. We headed around the rocks to the next beach. After scaring off one lone surfer we had the place to ourselves. The waves were perfect. That beautiful aqua-marine face inviting us to surf. That is, all of us apart from Sanne, who, in her tank, decided it was preferable to swim. Our half-gorgeous instructors (guess which one of them that was ladies!) taught us or at least, attempted to teach us, how to top turn. I think I managed it once! Others were more successful, particularly Kelly in her snazzy surf boat.

The day finished with a Cornish ice cream and a visit to the nearby public house. It would have been rude not to. We all managed to survive Charlie’s evening entertainment – mainly by spectating rather than by participating! Therefore we were fit, ready and smiling in anticipation for our second day.

The morning started with a few beach explanations – one of our instructors drew diagrams in the sand and explained surf etiquette (that’s right – you can’t steal another person’s wave). He then made a huge mound of sand and put my kayak on it and we had to practise top turns, leaning down the wave. Then out to the sea to practise. It was again fantastic! I loved every moment of it!
Over lunch we were given a written test to complete. Some of the questions were general surf-kayak knowledge; like naming a few brands of boat. Others were more technical; reading/drawing a weather chart with high and low pressure and explaining it, knowing where the wave height is measured and what this means.

In the afternoon we had to demonstrate our rolling abilities – unfortunately I only managed half of one but everyone else was fine. Then we were meant to practise taking our boats and paddles back into shore in case you ever capsize and don’t roll. However, due to a significant rip tide taking one boat out to sea and one of the instructors having to chase after it this activity was cancelled!

Once changed and dry we headed up to the house for individual feedback from the instructors. Although I didn’t get my 3* on this occasion I was really pleased with everything I learnt and the brilliant time that I had. I have a few things to work on (top turns and my roll in particular) but I now have the confidence to give it a go and I can’t wait until the next Bude trip!

Thats the first two steps of the Academy now complete with some new 3 and 4* paddlers. Next, the group will be off to Skern Lodge for a weekend of surf safety and rescue in April!

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