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“It’s just a grade 3 bimble…”

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Yesterday evening at the crack of 7pm I got dragged off to run the seiont, mainly because it was a chance to meet some living legends (Chris Sladden, Franco Fererro, and a lesser known bloke called Pete Woods who’s a definite contender for the title of the best paddler in wales).

Anyway, I asked what the river was like, because I didn’t want to have to reassemble my gus (I’m fitting lateral reinforcement made of strips of old Jefe) so I might take the prelude… I got the eponymous reply “It’s just a grade 3 bimble…” what I hadn’t been told was that it was infested with evil weirs, started with a sketchy grade four rapid round a blind bend and into a tree, and was continuous at the grade for 12 miles, oh and to round off reasons I shouldn’t have been in an open boat it was beginning to flood.

So all the preconditions were set for a bit of an epic…

We started in a big cluster of about 9 of us, rounded a blind bend to see an evil ledge hole with a tree in it, or a massive pourover, at this point my buddy Mike was around a foot away from me he boofed off one side of the pourover as i did the other… and i landed square on his back deck and lost grip on my t-grip as the paddle hit him square in the head.

At this point a very dazed mike pushed me away, causing me to fall over, i fumbled for my t-grip, and rolled up, only to slam directly into a massive downed tree, get sucked under it and swim… after a couple of seconds I resurface and grabbed my kit, by the time they realise I’m not drowning in the tree but swimming, I’ve already made it to the edge and am struggling to get a swamped boat out with no eddies available.

After a brief empty I set off again, catch up and we both appologise for our poor spacing skills. we then reach a stretch of about ten weirs in a row, each progressively bigger than the last, with no eddies in between, at this point I began to realise that an open boat with no bailer and no pump battery wasn’t the wisest choice in the world…

after that there’s a stretch of fast flowing flat past a local fishing club’s clubhouse, the anglers have a long running emnity to the canoists, and so decided to stone us as we paddled past, as one presumably does…

Following that we continued for another 9 miles without another eddy, including two unportagable weirs with massive towback… and got out in Carnarfon harbour, via a ladder, before hauling the boats up a 15 foot seawall, necessitated as the normal getout was nowhere to be seen.

The odd thing is, OpenBoating that river was a poor choice, but I feel I gained from it, I certainly learned a lot about how to deal with a swamped boat, and whilst i can barely stand to support myself today (back and ab muscles are on fire…) I’ve certainly improved my power development, if only because I had too. Morover it boosted my confidence massively (especially after my little incident last week) because despite being in several desperate situations and generally having a pretty tough time, I kept my wits and managed to have a great deal of fun…

I’m sure someone will come and tell me I’m wrong, but having nearly come a cropper to a great many overgrown and fallen trees I’d add “don’t paddle an open boat that can’t bail in the flow” to Nealy’s list of proscribed behaviours when flood paddling.

Written by thekrikkitwars

July 20, 2010 at 11:44 am

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Ynys Môn, Not Quite a Three Mile Island

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This is going to be a near verbatim copy of a post I made on C-Boats, just putting that out there.

A long long time ago, I promised to upload some pictures of my meltdown, after many many excuses to myself I’ve finally got round to it. [though I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with my garden as a backdrop, it’s kind of a state, but it serves my menagiere well enough]

The foam on the ends is for the benefit of the draconian rules at my local swimming pool (opposite my house, as is the menai straits, home to numerous seams accessable by strapping the squirtboat into a trad canoe)

The Meltdown in all its glittery glory

A view of the excruciatingly tight cockpit

And finally the uninspiring looking bottom

Click the pictures for full size.

I’ve learned something of it’s history after I met the creators when I went to borrow the Big Dog OC1, It was made about 17 years ago (so ’92/’93 time) by Valley Canoe Products (who now make sea and surf kayaks, along with owning Big Dog Kayaks and Elephant Gear), for a scottish fellow (whom I think was called Andy) around 3 years ago it was sold to a Devonian nicknamed Duckboy (AKA Adam) who had Dave of Downtime Kayaks (an ex P&H/Pyranha employee, who took on Valley’s squirtboat production) chop it down for better mystery performance, before eventually deciding he didn’t use it enough and selling it to a Bloke from hastings called Andy who’s big into his K1 squirting, and wanted to learn to roll a C1; having accomplished that he sold it to me.

I don’t know much about the period between the original owner getting it and when Duckboy bought it, but with Downtime Dave having refurbished it, it’s good as new.

It did have a five inch saddle with a 3 inch thick back block, but I’ve cut that down to 2 inches, with an inch thick back block, and added a lap strap to the existing thigh straps.

I’m currently waiting to hear from Dave if he’ll remove and enlarge the cockpit coaming to accomodate my thighs (currently the knee tunnels really bruise my legs)

A shiny penny to the person who can tell me what my title is all about.

Written by thekrikkitwars

April 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

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Big Dog Force-Turret

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Over the last four days paddling in scotland, I’ve had the use of one of the few big dog OC1’s yet moulded, something for which I need to thank Andy, Jason and Pete lots.

Ultimately, I’m highly impressed.

Fishladder Falls on the North Esk - Paddler: Joshua Kelly, Photographer: Jonathan Dempsey

The boat feels just like a C1 to paddle (with the exception of the occasional splash of cold water), and despite the increased width, hasn’t lost any responsiveness compared to it’s smaller decked brother. I noticed right away that with relatively low gunnels it was actually quite wet running, conventionally that would be  bad thing and I’d spend the rest of this post whining about it.  However I found that the boat ran as well if not better wet, the hull felt a mite twitchy and directionally unstable when empty, but with water anywhere up to the saddle it became rock steady and the tracking improved, without becoming sluggish or harder to boof, past saddle height and the water started to make the boat slow down, as is more conventional of a swamped OC1.

I have had a couple of niggles with it, Firstly on fitting straps I discovered that the saddle was wider than the space on either side, meaning that getting a length of pipe through was impossible, I used two pieces “meeting” in the middle instead but the result was a bit messy. Secondly it would benefit from having a fitted airbag (or a suitable bag cage) at the back as fully inflating the regular airbags provided, meant that anyone who used the footpegs on their furthest back settings had their feet almost pinned into the boat. Considering that I was paddling the second of three boats yet made, I think I can forgive such minor issues.

River Blackwater - Paddler: Joshua Kelly, Photographer: Jonathan Dempsey

Despite taking a C1 with me, I actually found the force turret to be so good as to make my trusty Gus almost surplus to requirements. The only time I needed to be decked was tackling big water on the Lower Gorge of the Findhorn (whereupon I discovered that it was 9km upstream, meaning my intended halfway boat swap was out of the question.)

Sorry about the lack of pictures, I should have some pictures and a brief video of the boat on the Meig in the next couple of days.

Demonstrating the Unique Portgageablity of the Force-Turret - Porter: Joshua Kelly, Photographer: Jonathan Dempsey

Written by thekrikkitwars

April 5, 2010 at 11:46 pm

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Fitting a Bilge Pump to a CU-Fly

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I just finished fitting a bilge pump to my CU-Fly using COTS* parts, Below is a step by step of how I did it, but some comments first:

This was built for expediency, from parts I could get at the chandlers across the road from me, and electronics from maplins; if you take time and have a think, I’m sure you could come up with a more elegant solution for the wiring, or at least make it prettier than I did.

I do feel that using a collection of commercially available Dry Cells rather than an expensive custom order Li-Ion or Sealed Lead-Acid battery as is popular in the US is a good idea though; when your rechargable D-cells finally die, you can pop down to the news agent and grab some energisers to tide you over until you can get a new set delivered.

Also important, as will become apparent, is that the method of fixing the pump down is pretty specific to the CU-fly (though something similar could work in a boat that uses a dagger saddle such as the quake or aftershock). I’m already considering how I’ll do this in the prelude, and screwing the pump to a thin piece of polythene cut from a broken kayak and welding it down, or screwing into a thin piece of WBP or Marine ply and adhering that down with some ABS Slurry (ideal solution for royalex and twintex hulls, not as good as welding for the polythene).

Finally, and given that most Canoeists are pretty good with their hands, this shouldn’t be an issue, please carefully consider what you’re doing, where you’re placing the pump, what the hose might foul on, how the hose is going to be routed, where the wiring is going to go, and what you’re going to attach the battery pack to. Think through it methodically several times and if necessary put all the parts in a “dry run” alignment, before you do a single thing to the boat.

*Commercial Off The Shelf


  • Bilge Pump (I chose a Rule 1000 Model 20A, because the local chandlers sells them cheaply)
  • 0.5m Hose (same size as your pump outlet, I had 1 1/8 in)
  • Outlet Plate (again same size as the pump outlet)
  • Stainless Steel Pipe Clips (These need to be of an appropriate size for the hose)
  • 4*Short Brass Screws
  • Peli 1050 Micro Case
  • Sub-Miniature Waterproof Toggle Switch Cover | Order Code: JR79L
  • Sub-Miniature Toggle Switch A | Order Code: FH00A
  • 3*Race Pk Lead Male | Order Code: JG04E
  • 4*Race Pk Lead Female | Order COde: JG05F
  • Universal In-Line Fuseholder | Order Code:PC78K
  • 11/4in 31mm Quickblow F 1.1/4 QB 5A 10 PK | Order Code: GL81C
  • Gland 5 – 8mm | Order Code: JR76H
  • 8D Battery Box | Order Code: JG74R
  • Soldering Wire
  • Duct Tape
  • Epoxy Resin
  • Silicone Sealant
(Order codes are for Maplins)


  • Hole-saw (this needs to be sized appropriately to the outlet plate, I used 32mm)
  • Drill bits (if you’re using the same parts as me, you’ll need a 14mm and an 8mm bit, a 5mm bit for pilot holes might be a good idea too.
  • Drill
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Posidrive Screwdriver
  • Heatgun
  • Junior Hacksaw
  • Soldering Iron
  • Wire Strippers

Step-by Step:

Steps 1-8 are mounting the pump and hose, Steps 9-19 are making the battery assembly; these can be considered totally separate, and done out of order if desired. Steps 0 & 20 are the most important!

I suggest that you read this several times to confirm you understand what’s going on before you commit yourself by ordering parts or stuff like that.

Step 0:

Think very carefully about where you’re going to lay everything out, because almost immediately we’re going to start cutting holes in the boat.

Step 1:

First we need to make the hole for the outlet plate, using the hole-saw.


The Hole


The Holesaw

Step 2:

Attach the outlet plate.

Outlet Plate

Outlet Plate

Outlet Plate Fitted

The Outlet Plate Installed

At this point I should explain that the Rule 1000 splits into three parts,
the base (which includes the inlet), the nozzle (which includes the outlet),
and the motor. The other popular choice of pump, the Attwood Tsunami splits in two:
 the baseplate and the pump unit (which includes nozzle, outlet and motor in one).

Step 3:

Make the relevant holes in the pump base to attach it to the pedestal, Because I had self tapping screws, i just measured the distances, marked it out and screwed through.


Baseplate, with 4 symetrically spaced holes.

Step 4:

Screw the Pump base onto the pedestal.


Baseplate attached to pedestal

Step 5:

Warm the hose up with the heat gun (if your hose is nice and flexible, you may not need to do this)

Step 6:

Attach the (now flexible) hose to the barb of the outlet plate and secure it with a pipe clip.

Outlet Inside

Hose Attached to Outlet Plate

Step 7:

Put the second pipe clip onto the hose (loosely, so it can slide), and attach the nozzle, attempt to mount it onto the baseplate; if necessary, rewarm the hose, or detach the nozzle and trim the hose down with the hacksaw, once it mounts comfortably on the baseplate, insert the pump unit and clip in into place; then tighten the pipe clip.


Nozzle attached to Hose.

Now for the wiring bit... Remember to keep the Positive and Negative sides of the 
circuit properly denoted by colour, Black for Negative, Red/Brown for Positive.

Step 8:

First we need to attach a female connector to the pump leads, so strip about 3/4 of an inch of wire on the connector and the pump leads, twist the two together and solder them lightly together, once the solder is cool, cover both joins with a thin layer of silicone sealant, let that set, and wrap the whole thing in duct tape.

The end result of the conections.

Step 9:

More drilling now, we need to drill two holes in the lid of the peli case, one for the toggle switch and one for the cable gland. Chose where on the lid you want these, and drill through (do this on an offcut of wood or something & use gentle pressure, if you push too hard and drill through quickly you risk cracking the plastic, my drill bits had small pilot bits ahead of the main bit, if yours don’t, it may well be useful to drill a small pilot hole first with a quite narrow bit [5mm or so]).

Step 10:

Secure the cable gland into its hole, using a thin layer of epoxy resin on both the body and the securing nut to make a tight seal. Having done this insert a male connector lead through the gland, and secure it in place with epoxy, once the epoxy sets, seal both inside and out with silicone sealant.

Step 11:

Solder a second male connector to the one inserted though the gland, this time you only need to cover the join with duct tape (or insulating tape if you have it) because it will be inside the case.

Step 12:

Solder the positive end of a female connector to the positive end of a male connector.

Step 13:

Solder the negative end of the female connector to one of the contacts of the fuse holder.

Step 14:

Solder the negative end of the male connector to one of the ON poles of the toggle switch

Step 15:

Solder a short length of wire to the central (neutral) pole of the toggle switch, and the other contact of the fuse holder.

Step 16:

Insert a fuse into the fuse holder and close it.

Step 17:

Remove the retaining nut from the toggle switch, and leaving the washers in place, coat with a fine layer of epoxy (take care not to foul the inside of the mechanism) and insert through its hole; take the waterproof switch cover, bed the O-ring into its groove, and screw it down firmly on the outside of the toggle switch.

Step 18:

Seal the inside of the toggle switch with silicone.

Step 19:

Solder a female connector to the Battery Holder, take care to attach the leads to the correct polarity terminal, and to avoid any short circuits caused by stray strands of wire.

Battery Assembly

Inside the Battery Assmebly

Step 20:

Connect it all together and test. periodically spraying some WD40 or another light, water-dispersing lubricant into the connector which is external to the battery assembly would be a good idea.

Written by thekrikkitwars

January 4, 2010 at 2:04 am

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Less Than Random Ramblings [of a canoeist, of course]

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This weekend just passed I attended the inaugural “Team North Coaching Symposium”, It was excellent and Gareth Field and His team of volunteer (coaching) coaches deserve a great deal of praise.

I learned a wide variety of things, and none of them are what I expected to pick up.

  • I expect too high a standard as the “baseline” of abilities.
  • Related to that, I also expect people to have a relatively low level of aversion to risk.

Right, it would seem that the group of paddlers to whom I was first “apprenticed” were both deceptively good, and very adventurous. Going to uni has only exacerbated this, I frequently find myself telling others to “harden up” and the people who form both my core social group and the focus of my paddling efforts are all of this simmilar mindset, however well each member of the group is doing, the pressure is on to take the next step and become even better.

On further consideration, the majority of people will reach a level of paddling which they are satisfied with, and will never want to exceed this. Whilst I feel very strongly that it is a shame for them to miss out on all the cool stuff I get up to, and aspire to; a fresh perspective gained this weekend, has finally brought me to realise that there is nothing Wrong with not wanting to push yourself, if you enjoy where you are and accept the limitations of that position.

Now for the biggy, I had until recently assumed that this level would be the hard side of grade 4; I would have saved years of puzzlement if I’d looked harder at the people I passed idly and realised that it’s probably closer to grade three and not too pushy or continuous at that. I now understand equally why so many people I’ve met over time have been alarmed at both the casual attitude of the groups I’m in, peer group paddling it seems can be perfectly safe and break lots of the fundimental “rules” of safety, so long as you all know each other well and are switched on enough to handle situations pragmatically; If you’ve never experienced this I’m sure it looks terribly irresponsible and dangerous.

  • My personal skills are comprised of very solid techincal work, and scrappy fundimentals, held together with a tenatious roll.

Since ditching the training blade, I’ve continued to work on refining techniques, moves and “set pieces”; I haven’t devoted any time to getting fully accustomed to my boats and to differences in simple issues like forward paddling, edge control, balance and core stablity. Much of it has come naturally, but it’s no use having a picture perfect boof, if half the time you’re falling over on the run in because you didn’t commit enough to your offside (this has been a common theme for me). Had I done any of this prior to my trip to Uganda, rather than impulsively taking my C1 at the last minute, I would have got rather more out of it, and might have achieved some more of my personal goals;

Thats Life, EY?

  • My coaching and leading style are geared to operating with compeatant paddlers wishing to further improve, and all of my most successful coaching has been out of remit.
  • My path for progression in the coaching scheme is going to require quite a lot of commitment, and some biting of my tongue.

I had some work experience in “instruction” and teaching absolute beginners, and hated it with a passion, because many realised quickly that they didn’t want to be there, or if they did only as a laugh; I wanted desperately to share my passion for the sport, and get people to as high a standard as my own knowlege allowed, this has subsequently shaped all my coaching experiences, as I’ve actively seeken to work with the people who are trying to push themselves which (as we saw above) fits nicely with my own personal progression thing I’ve got going on.

My path appears to be to take a UKCC L3 training and then use the CPD system to let me build up specific skillsets for coaching areas I’m interested in; a lot of the core information appears to have only tangential relevance to me in most recreational and (potentially) commercial settings; but clearly I’m going to have to take the rough with the smooth and accept that I’ll have to learn about the methods used in training perfomance athletes too; It will probably teach me a couple of useful things.

  • The new coaching scheme is geared towards competition and performance, curiously built off a core more suited to recreation, the further up the scheme one looks, the more one needs to take things with a pinch of salt if not working with a performance oriented athlete.

That’s purely my opinion of course, and I’m happy to anticipate being disproved.



Today’s wall of text was brought to you by the letter φ and the number i

Written by thekrikkitwars

December 1, 2009 at 3:01 am

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I recently received a request to repost my combination rant/essay Canoeing onto a forum for canoeists; This surprised me somewhat… firstly that anyone valued what I was writing; especially as this being my blog I’m somewhat lacksidasical about making it cohesive and easy to follow; and secondly that I needed to tell fellow canoeists that they were indeed equal to those pesky buttboaters and their cheatsticks.

Anyhow, I finally took heed of my own advice; I started to push my limits in a canoe, and frankly I surprised myself(I can honestly say that all of the rapids on the Nile were less technically demanding than a run on the Ogwen at decent levels; just a hell of a lot bigger). So now my kayaks have become a combination of money and other people’s kayaks, I’ve bought a Prelude and it all feels very good.

And that’s when I got an email asking me for my honest opinions about becoming a C-Boater, and to outline the advantages and disadvantages thereof… For expeidences sake I’ve edited the email conversation and put it below, It consists almost entirely of my opinions and experiences and even then fails to encompass the full spectrum of experiences I’ve had.

Anthony: You’re the only person I know that is paddling big volume rivers in C1 and I just wanted to know what you thought to it, have you tried creeking or surfing if so how did you get on with them? Long and Short what are advantages and disadvantages of C1. Trying to find something that is better on the shoulder than kayak but warmer than OC1

Me: The Advantages of C1 are a combination of increases in upper body movement and control over boat trim; With correct technique many moves can become effortless (in appearance at least); and each stroke can be made very powerful, Rolling can become somewhat quicker and more fluid than in a kayak too, in the fullness of time.

The Disadvantages are rather easier to describe; The raised centre of gravity makes the initial learning period somewhat trying as it can feel somewhat like trying to surf a blancmange until you start to feel at home, there are strategies to get past that, but you’ll get plenty of rolling practice. Having a defined off side where bracing & rolling are difficult; and paddling is more limited in range is the major limiting factor of C1, as ultimately, it’s bad practice to swap hands in anything but the most dire of situations. Straps, (which are essential), can on rare occasion be somewhat hair raising, because once you’re already tired and oxygen deprived, finding them can be a pain, though a tennis ball with many holes attached to the release cord can improve that somewhat.

The issue of seating position and outfitting is neutral; as for some people fitting a boat comfortably for them is easy; and others find it hard. It’s all about how individual bodies feel in the variety of variations on the kneeling position the best example of this is that depending on the flexibility of your ankles and knees, you might find that you need a higher saddle for foot comfort which in turn may decrease stability, whereupon you must find a suitable compromise between them.

In terms of how I found High Volume boating in a canoe, it was thouroughly enjoyable and not nearly as hard as I had expected it to be, i did notice that it was somewhat easier to see, lift my nose over things (the seam line of massive stoppers comes to mind), and keep my boat above the water, but the limited bracing range and decreased acceleation made boils and very large waves, more trying than in a kayak.

I’ve also been Creeking today which so far proves more of a mixed bag, we did the Upper Upper Llugwy (Browns Falls) which was so very shallow, steep and narrow that I was frequently unable to get enough grip with a single blade to control my boat with confidence; though that was a fairly extreme burnbashing (or should that be Nant bashio?) example; On a more sane note running the Ogwen at what can be described as a stout medium, or maybe even high level, was absolutely fine… and took much less effort than I imagined it would, and  I would highly recommend the experiance to anyone willing to try. Not actually sure how helpful me response has been; so do fire back with more questions.

Anthony: Very useful What I really want to know is do you paddle these things because you feel you get a better performance, is it more fun or do you do it (as I suspect) because it is even harder and therefore more satisfying when you get it right?

Me: In all honesty I started paddling C1 because I found it much easier to pull most of the playboating moves; this has now evolved somewhat and I’ve found that I’m naturally more at home in a C1; I wouldn’t say it was easier or harder, but the approach that you use to paddling rapids is often very different to how you’d use a kayak, and to me at least this way of paddling is more enjoyable.

That concludes today’s wall of text.

Written by thekrikkitwars

September 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm


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The White Nile was rather good, and quite large too.

I liked it, the style of paddling that comes from such high volume whitewater really suited me, although it showed that not bothering to fit a hip hugger and higher backrest was a massive mistake; More on that in a moment. First a pretty picture.

Paddler: Joshua Kelly, Photographer: Alistair Gray

So as I was saying, before I went out to uganda, I rebuilt the C1, and thought a bigger backrest would be sensible, but I had no foam and no time, so I reassembled it and hoped for the best. Unfortunately every big wave or hole I struck whilst inverted dislodged my from my saddle and left me sat on the backrest, which made rolling harder, at the point where it’s normally already pretty nasty, this resulted in two swims (exactly 4 weeks apart) from taking a beating in a big crashing wave/hole, and then finding that with each attempted roll staying upright and getting stable got geometrically harder.

But the carnage isn’t over just yet, I had been somewhat excited at the prospect of collecting all of my runs on headcam, what i didn’t count on is that by attaching a peli-case with a recording device on top of my dashboard would actually make rolling the boat nigh impossible (out of 3 possible rolls, I took 29 attempts and rolled once) I didn’t experiment with the headcam unit again which is a shame, as I’m sure that if I’d located the case so that it didn’t touch my straps it would have been fine. But no-one wanted to rescue my sorry arse again. And finally I paddled into the nastiest eddyline I’ve ever seen with no deck or straps, said all manner of profane things about my own intelect and dissappeared for a long time.

I’m waiting to grab more pictures from people I paddled with to spice up this post (at which point I’ll add some more prose too, if that’s more your thing.)

Written by thekrikkitwars

August 1, 2009 at 1:38 am

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You talk to people about canoeing, at least people already heavily involved in whitewater and they tend to do one of three things: assume you mean kayaking, realise that you’re talking about whitewater canoeing and assume that you’re obviously some sort of god (nothing could be further from the truth) or take a very negative stance.

Of these, the first I can do nothing about; it’s all the fault of the man that wrote “1000 miles in the Rob Roy canoe” just over 100 years ago now, It’s the second and third which aim to address.

There is some sort of assumption that whitewater canoeing is somehow harder than kayaking, to my mind it isn’t, just different coming to a canoe from a kayak makes the canoe seem difficult merely because it doesn’t respond as you expect. Equally coming back to a kayak after several months of paddling a canoe exclusively can feel equally frustrating, being a c1 paddler is independent of the majority of factors that dictate technical ability. A significant portion of your ability to run harder whitewater is in confidence, understanding the water and quick decision-making than your ability to actually paddle your chosen craft making it somewhat craft independent, assuming you’ve taken the time to round off your basic skills in the particular craft you elect to paddle their capabilities are essentially equal.

That addresses both stances to some extent, the latter requires some elaboration however; as the camp which is negative has a number of subdivisions: the “I don’t see the point” brigade, the people who are unaware of the capabilities of C1 and consider it inferior, and the people who object to you being at all different because it doesn’t fit their worldview.

To try and address the above camps;
I don’t entirely know that I can prove a point to whitewater canoeing over whitewater kayaking to the people that don’t see the point, I can only say that they would also struggle to justify the point of whitewater kayaking to someone who didn’t see the point of that beyond the fact that it’s enjoyable to them.
The people who are unaware of the capabilities of a canoe often overlap with the people who object because it’s different making a little harder to address, what I will say is that in the hands of someone with the right level of technical ability a canoe is capable of practically everything a kayak is (with the exception of making some of the tougher attainments and other moves requiring a constant application of power in a given direction, it is often worth noting that a fit C1 paddler will still be able to make moves that unfit kayakers cannot). The notable difference being that for every canoeist at a given skill level there will be many more kayakers, when you start to look at the bleeding edge of whitewater paddling there aren’t many paddlers at all, making people like Louie, Dooley, Paul Danks, James Weir, Stephan Pastch and Brian Miller seem particularly exceptional. It isn’t that a given canoe is incapable of everything that an equivalent kayak is, simply that there are far fewer paddlers skilful enough to make the boat perform that well.

The people who object simply because it’s different I have little time whether it’s because they genuinely can’t cope with seeing a slightly taller one bladed figure, out of some sort of misguided machismo making them feel the need to preserve a perception that what they’re doing is the best, or some other altogether less predictable reason I’m not particularly bothered, just remember no one is asking for your opinion on what they should paddle or how.

I’ll eventually write something self indulgant about my current transition away from buttboats to the darkside (“Incidentally we do have cookies, just sign this paddlle blade in your own blood”) stay tuned.

Written by thekrikkitwars

June 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

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Hell Yeah!

Photos to follow.

Written by thekrikkitwars

January 25, 2009 at 9:00 pm

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At some point in this article I’ll probably state opinion as fact, this doesn’t mean it is fact, or even that I believe that it is, simply that I’m so entrenched in my opinion that I can’t foresee something would make me change my opinion.

Well I might as well start with the thing that’s been eating many (including myself) in the coaching world, the UKCC system. Right from the first time I entered the coaching system, it was my opinion that it was simply not stringant enough. For instance the L1 course was essentially useless because only people with minmal paddling ability used it as a mount point for the coaching scheme, but they weren’t coaching… the old name of Supervisor was more apt for their intended role.

Now I did come from a competition based club, so I saw first hand what “real” coaching was. Don’t get me wrong anyone giving up their time and money to “spread the word” about paddlsports has my utmost respect… but having seen the difference a basic understanding of what coaching was all about made to teaching recreational paddlers, I’m willing to believe that the new training will benefit the “Club Coaches” lobby in ways they currently don’t realise, maybe that’s misplaced optimism, Maybe people will realise that you don’t need a piece of paper, you need confidence, a sense of fun and a real passion for your sport; Only time will tell.

Now for some things, mainly observations, which in their half baked state in my mind, leave me to pose questions to the reader…

It has thus far been my experience that a person is particularly suited to coaching paddlers at certain levels in their development, and that whilst they may develop their ability to coach outside of this area of interest, it is always this that they will be best at. Is it better that people stay within their area of interest until they are a developed coach, or that they push themselves to do the things they find hardest? Not just in terms of the coach developing, but in terms of the paddler being coached… their learning is not expendible or reversable.

Further to this, One often finds a strong affinity for and understanding of one or two areas of paddlesports, It suddenly becomes easy to enthuse about these areas, and to enable people to learn the related skills. It is obvious that from the coaches point of view coaching in these areas is a Good Thing, and also from the paddler reciveing the coahcing, but is having a mix of coaches with diverse interests and coaching themes going to work for a club… I say this as the nature of the UKCC Schema and especially the CPD modules, is most likely to leave most people putting themselves into little boxes.

Finally what mechanism is in place to ensure that people have actually learned, because its all fair and good having people taught all this theory, but is there a mechanism to ensure that the have learned it? Without that, we will still suffer from substandard coaches slipping under the radar, devaluing the upheaval of implementing the new system.

I’m fairly sure that some of what’s been said will be controversial, and that there are no definitive answers to my questions, I’ll be interested to hear what you think in the comments box though.

Written by thekrikkitwars

September 20, 2008 at 12:00 pm