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29 March 2007

Open boating course part 3

Another session with Gary from KJO on Shadwell Basin running through Two and Three Star open boating skills.

25 March 2007

Level 2

Today was my assessment for the BCU's Level 2 coaching award. Despite having been previously advised during training that I met the required standard and just needed to log the requisite number of hours, that word assessment made me a little nervous.

It did not help when the anticipated guinea pigs who we were to coach did not turn up. Consequently, we had to make do with training each other and our assessors. Anyway, after some cold rescue practice in the Thames we finally completed the practical session and warmed up over the theory and debriefing. Happily, everyone passed.

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22 March 2007

Open boating course part 2

A second session on Shadwell Basin with Jacko and Dennis from KJO. Unfortunately, the dark hindered the session a little but I did get some good one on one with Jacko in the boat on my J-stroke.

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15 March 2007

Open boating course part 1

Over the last few months I have been avidly reading Bill Mason and teaching myself some open boating skills but I was also keen to get some coaching and tonight we started a three week course at our club. The growing interest in canoeing, as opposed to kayaking, was evidenced by the turnout of ten eager students on a dark and chilly March evening.

We spent a couple of hours on Shadwell Basin looking at a number of strokes and for my part I concentrated on off-side and cross bow strokes. At the end of the session we did some rescues and practiced climbing back into the boat unaided from deep water. I had previously been frustrated at my inability to do this but some simple instruction in a better technique (climbing in to the middle of the boat) made it seem easy.

13 March 2007

Beginners' river trip

From time to time our club runs beginners' trips on the Thames Tideway. These have to be carefully co-ordinated with easy tides and the availability of our Level 3 coach but it is well worth the effort as paddling on the Tideway offers such a unique perspective on London and seems to be quite a highlight for those who take part.

Tonight's tide was especially good in that it turned at 20:00 offering us assistance both to and from Tower Bridge. I was not surprised when, on arrival, some of our newly fledged river paddlers started taking photos. Tower Bridge illuminated with floodlights is spectacular, especially when you are almost underneath it in a kayak. Those of us who paddle regularly on the river are sometimes in danger of taking it for granted but this was a reminder of what a privilege it is to paddle here.

The group comprised twelve paddlers: eight from our two star group, one L3 coach and myself and two other experienced paddlers assisting.

Coaching hours: 1.5