10 Months Later…..by Jas

So, 10 months later and I’m still at it!

Infact I’ve been so busy with it all I haven’t had time to write a post about any of it. However, I’m the club Junior Rep now so I figured I should actually do something for the club and update this blog!

Right, where do I start? In these 10 months I’ve found what I really love in kayaking: Slalom.

Now, you may be wondering what slalom is? Basically, in slalom you have a course set up on a piece of water.  Normally they do it on a bit of white water or strong flow just to make it harder. They will set up a number of gates, which are essentially dangly poles tied onto string frames above the course which hang over the water and you have to kayak through them. However, you have to do it in the right order and the right direction. Sounds easy huh? Well, it’s not always easy but it is crazy fun!

slalom

I have now done 4 competitions with the club: Winchester, Shepperton, Harefield and I have literally just got back from Cardington. No two were the same and they all tested different aspects of our paddling while ultimately trying to achieve the same goal.

Winchester was the first competition.  It was a good one to start on as there was no white water or flow at all and it just introduced the idea of doing a course, with only 12 gates. The best part for me was the celebrity judge who shall remain unnamed as he was there as a dad, not as Peter the dad from my favourite comedy series Outnumbered!

Shepperton was a great one for me because I somehow managed to get promoted which was pretty cool. Esther and I also competed (and sat in) the C2 (two-person canoe) for the first time at Shepperton. It was such a fun weekend and we didn’t just utilise our paddling skills but also had a go at judging too! (I got a free ice lolly out of it!).

Next was Harefield which was a weird one. This was the first course that we were really challenged on as a group, and it didn’t help that the flow increased throughout the competition as the club couldn’t control it. Although this course caused me a lot of frustration I’m still glad I did it as it’s all just good practice!

Finally, the most recent competition was Cardington. It’s a man-made piece of white water (the first white water course in Britain) and it was an odd one. One of the main problems on this course was that there just wasn’t enough space to turn a boat and you ended up getting stuck or scraping your boat along the walls. Overall though, it was a fun event and Esther and I even got a promotion in the C2!

Deviating away from slalom slightly: I have just passed my Lee Valley assessment (along with Flo and Kurtis from the club)! Lee Valley is the white water course that was used in the 2012 London Olympics. I don’t paddle on the Olympic course (yet!) however, just its slightly smaller friend, the Legacy course. And now I’ve passed my assessment I can paddle on my own there anytime without a coach.

Speaking of coaches……quick shout out to all the guys at the ACC for being so amazing!!! Particular mention to Danny, Lew and Nick for all their help and support.