So, I have been talked in to doing my Level 2 BCU Coaching Award for which I need to be a competent 3 Star Paddler in either kayak or open canoes.....Gulp. I must be crazy! I am at best a recreational, flat water paddler, put me in a kayak and I get a little tetchy to say the least, put me in a kayak on Grade 1/2 moving water and that tetchiness turns to blind panic. So, open canoes it was.......
......and this was a challenge in itself as back in the Spring I had never successfully paddled an open canoe on my own in any direction other than in a circle, repeatedly. I needed help, and a lot of it. But as luck would have it I am a member of Wyedean Canoe Club and therefore have access to some pretty superb open paddlers. Roll up Bob and Mike, my saviours.
My first trip out was with Bob. It was cold, very sunny, the river was high and there was a very keen wind. 2 Star is supposed to be on shetered, non moving water!!!! My first task was to paddle upstream for about 200 metres. Easy yes? Errr....no. It must have taken me about 30 minutes and it was exhausting. It was at this point that I thought maybe I had taken on too much. But Bob, being Bob was patient and kind and a damn good coach too. After the initial wobble (literally) it started to click and against a very fast flow I paddled upstream, in a straight line, managed to ferry glide, do turns and even learnt how to do support strokes. It was like a light had switched on inside me and I was hooked. I had fallen in love with open paddling.
With this new found confidence I roped Mike in to a a river trip from Monmouth the Redbrook. The river was still up so it was a swift journey which ended in the necessity to do a clean ferry glide across from one side of the river to the tiniest, weeniest landing point you can possibly imagine. I was nervous. But, I did it, and not only did I do it but it was easy and Mike got a photo!
The last thing I needed to do some was rescues - cue getting wet and cold! But at least Bob had to get wet too!
So, with my 2 Star Award safely tucked under my belt it was on to the Level 1 BCU Paddlesport Coaching at Cardiff International White Water Centre. I was shitting myself, I was convinced I was going to be the weakest paddler with the least experience. However, it would appear that I wasn't, and not only that but apparently I am a better paddler than I give myself credit for (don't believe it though). It was a great course and WOW the venue was amazing (I hasten to add I did not go on the white stuff....maybe next year....).
So, with 2* AND Level 1 tucked under my belt and I was super happy! But apparently that isn't enough for I am now working towards my 3* Open Canoe Award and Level 2 BCU (Open Canoe) Coaching Qualification in the next month. I must be bloody crazy.....