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25 September 2007

Canary Wharf and a tsunami

A lovely paddle on the Thames tonight from Wapping past Canary Wharf to Greenwich and back. The moon was spectacular and the river seemed calm and serene until out of nowhere the tsunami hit us.

I heard a shout of 'wave' and looked over my shoulder to find Canary Wharf obscured by a wall of water. The wake from a fast ferry had reared up suddenly over the shallows while we were idly chatting but, for the sake of the one member of the party who it got the better of, we'll remember it as the Canary Wharf Tsunami!

Moon over Canary Wharf (click to enlarge)

Six paddlers, 10km, 1hr30.

18 September 2007

Loads of strokes

For the final week of our beginners course we were back in general purpose boats and concentrating on technical strokes: sweeps, draws, forwards and backwards paddling, low braces and low brace turns. It was quite a lot of content but the students seemed to soak it all up enthusiastically as it was nearly all new to them.

We had two coaches and split the ten students into two groups for some of the session which made coaching in the dark much easier. Then we brought everyone back together for a good game of polo in which everyone got stuck in using their new skills.

Students: 10
Coaches: 2 x L2
Coaching hours: 1.5

11 September 2007

All the boats

My grand plan last week had been to kick off the beginners course with a multi-disciplinary introduction to paddle sports, in line with the latest BCU philosophy embodied in the new star awards. In the event, the second week proved a better time to introduce different craft.

Before the group arrived I selected a variety of boats including sea kayaks, general purpose boats, a river runner a play boat and an open canoe. This immediately generated interest from the group in what each one was for and we covered much of the theory section from the old star awards in just talking about the different designs.

On the water I found that the sea kayak I had selected was a bit too tippy and we had some early rescue practice but otherwise the plan worked well with most people swapping into something different at least once.

We did not cover as much technical stroke work as we normally would in a second session but I think we had more fun and broadened everyone's horizons.

We finished up with everyone trying an exhilarating high seal launch from our ramp.

Students: 8
Coaches: 1 x L2, 1 x L3
Coaching hours: 2

6 September 2007

Beginners week

Once a month we run a three week beginners course at THCC and Tuesday was the first session of our September course. We had a group of eight enthusiastic new paddlers and I coached the group with our L3 coach.

I had a new plan for the session to coincide with the introduction of the new BCU star awards but got held up by the tube strike so that by the time I arrived there was no time to implement it. I'll try again next week.

We reverted to our normal beginners session and made good progress helping people with the sometimes tricky art of paddling in a straight line. We finished up with some fun and games and, of course, a capsize drill.

Coaching hours: 1.5
Students: 8
Coaches: Me plus one L3