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.