Archive for March, 2010

River Ouse - Lewes to Hamsey Weir March 2010

Trip Reports, news No Comments

Despite me forgetting it was Mothers Day when I arranged this trip, I was pleased and relieved to be joined on a lovely sunny Sunday by a small but elite group of paddlers for this trip. We parked up and got changed appropriately enough next to Harveys brewery.

We paddled upstream with the tide, and met an iceberg on the way

We arrived at Hamsey Weir just before the tide turned, with a small wave on the upstream side of the weir.

This photo is whilst we picnicked and the tide is just about to turn. The Weir is almost invisible at this point.

Anyhow, picnicking commenced on a lovely grassy bank and it was almost too hot in the bright sunshine!

We made our own simple entertainment. Laughing at Zack, who fell in!

and playing an impromptu game of polo

Then, after a quick session on the strengthening wave, now on the downstream side of the weir, we set off back to Lewes.

Back in Lewes we met up with Tobin Debbie and Issac for a quick beer, before the trip back to MKC. A nice paddle that well definitely be repeating in the summer!

Martlet Marathon Runners

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At the the Club AGM it was suggested that it might be a good idea for those Club members running in the Brighton Marathon to raise some money for a local charity. Peter Brett & Cliff Dargonne - both long-standing members of the Club have decided to run for the charity AMAZE and they would encourage any other members signed up to run (and not already committed to raising money) to join them. To make things easier Pete has set up a Just Giving page in the Clubs name (  with the following information:

Were  Martlet Kayal Club and we have a team running for Amaze in the inaugural Brighton Marathon: please dig deep and donate now.

Martlet Kayak Club is a small but lively club based on the seafront in Brighton.  We provide facilities, equipment and training to promote and encourage participation in canoeing and kayaking. As a local club, we are raising money for a local charity; Amaze. Amaze provide much needed help and assistance to many families of children with special needs and disabilities in the Brighton & Hove area. Amaze is designed as a one-stop-shop giving information, advice and support: their volunteers give practical help in navigating through the education system, claims for benefits and just coping. They also help administer the Compass card scheme which helps with subsidised access to many local leisure facilities.

Adam is one such child with special needs. As a lively, fun-loving boy he is no different from many children; but, with a chromosomal disorder, his development follows its own path. Adams parents Pete & Jacquie have found the support Amaze provide to be so very useful and they hope that you can join in helping to give something back.

Pete hopes that other runners will sign up and run for Amaze. If youd like to do so please contact him at [email protected] and he can add your name to the team listed on the site. Team members can then fundraise using their own name on the Just Giving sign in or ask people to go directly to  (n.b. the Martlet Kayak Club bit is case sensitive).

If you are not a runner then please consider supporting the Club members who are taking on this considerable challenge by visiting the Just Giving site and making a donation.

As well as raising money, this will also help to raise the profiles of both the Club & the charity - particularly if anyone is thinking of running in fancy dress! Also, any ideas for updating the the Just Giving site with a photo or two are also welcome - just email Pete.

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!

River Ouse - Lewes to Hamsey Weir and back

news 1 Comment
(Placid water / Grade 1!)
Sunday 14th March 2010
Meet at the club - need to have boats/kit loaded and ready to leave at 9.00 am
Paddlers need to be comfortable paddling at the Wye trip sort of distance. Paddlers will also need to have warm kit as the weather is still bloomin cold!
Spaces are NOT limited, but if you wish to come along , please let me know in advance to help me put you in touch with others to arrange car shares.
Please inform me (in confidence) of any relevant medical condition you may have before commencing the River Trip e-mail me on [email protected]
Access Point - Bridge on Phoenix Causeway A2029 on water by 9.40 am
(link to map showing bridge  #mce_temp_url#)
Directions - Go around Lewes on the by-pass, through the A26 Cuilfail Tunnel, turn immediately left at the roundabout on the Phoenix Causeway A2029 and then first left again (before river) and this leads to a car park by the Health Centre. Drive through this car park to the Health Centre/Doctors Surgery where its usually quieter to park on a Sunday.
We shall paddle upstream with the incoming tide, taking the main route to the right of the island, stop at the weir for playing and lunch break and come back when the tide turns. Depending on how cold it is we may come back via the scenic paddle! ( i.e. to return around the other side of the island!).
I believe there may be a Pub in Lewes that we MAY end up in for hot food, drinks and a chat afterwards!!!!
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