Hi I’m Jas. I’ve just turned 15 and I started paddling with the ACC in the spring of 2016. Before I joined the club, I really didn’t have that much experience with kayaking. I’d just done a few fun trips on calm water and had mucked about on SUPs on holidays. However, I really enjoyed the little kayaking I had done, so I thought I’d join the ACC so I could do it more often.
To start with I went to one of the club’s pool sessions that they run in the winter when it’s too cold and dark on the river. It was quite odd turning up and seeing 15 kayaks in a little pool! I didn’t really get to do much paddling but it was great for building up my confidence with capsizes. Then, when the next green tide came around (beginners tide), I went out on the Adur.
I must admit, I wasn’t too taken by it after my first session, there was so much gear, so many different types of boats and I was by far the worst paddler on the water. Then, as I was a beginner I had to wait for green tides and so sometimes I had quite a long wait before I could get back in a boat, and the only thing that kept me going was my mum forcing me and not letting me quit!
Then one day I went to an amber tide (a slightly harder tide) and Jenny (one of the coaches) showed me that there was so much more I could do in a kayak. From that day on I have loved it! I started going to every tide. Admittedly I was absolutely rubbish and spent most of the session spinning on my first red tide. I was a right nuisance for Danny (another coach) but he just made it funny and encouraged me to keep trying.
Since starting with the club I have now learnt a bunch of new skills, tried out a range of different kayaks and canoes and have passed my BCU 2 star. And now that the winter is here and we are in the pool again, my new goal is to learn how to roll! I’m making some good friends and am looking forward to maybe going on some of the trips the club does next year!
If you aren’t sure whether to try kayaking or not, I’d say go for it! It may seem difficult at first but hang in there and you’ll love it.