Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lake Macquarie Paddlers.

Waking up to a clear cool morning on the banks of Lake Macquarie - it was the perfect way to prepare for a weekend of solid training with the Lake Macquarie Paddlers.....

Across a wide age range and from many walks of life, this group were one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic that I have met.

Injury prevention and efficiency were hot topics. Who wants to give up paddling due to strain injuries?.... and who doesn't want to go little quicker?

(Photo Chris B)

Regardless of how well Sharon paddled, the playground equipment wouldn't budge......!

(photo Chris B)

With the aims of the morning session explained we hit the water to refine the forward stroke. After a series of exercises and challenges, we finished the morning with a "peer review".

I believe there is lot to learn about your own stroke by developing a constructively critical eye for other peoples technique.

Having your mates analyse your paddling is sometimes a real test of diplomacy and with some paddlers, I feel more like a referee than a coach during this activity.

Fortunately, with this group, humour prevailed and by lunchtime, many could not only feel the difference in their own paddling but could see the difference in their buddies.

(photo Chris B)

We proceeded from boat control skills to wet exits (planned and unplanned).

Along the way we found out what happens when you tilt your boat and what happens when you tilt it too far.
Initial apprehension about capsize was soon forgotten and people started to relax with the idea of edging their boats and bracing.
I made my usual pronouncement :" If you don't fall in you aren't trying hard enough!" and the group rose to the challenge. John even declared himself the "unbalanced boater"after stalling during some very committed turns and braces!
It was a warm weekend so it was easy to promote kayaking as an immersion sport.

With practice and a little more training I think The Lake Macquarie Paddlers will be adding some coastal trips to their calendar.
There is an adventurous spirit in this group and the skills and knowledge they are acquiring will soon see them crossing the Swansea Bar and extending their range to the open sea. When they paddle out of their beautiful sheltered Lake onto the ocean swells for the first time, their preparation and teamwork will make a real difference.

Special thanks to:

Alan and Ingrid for organising the weekend and valuable advice on how to tailor the training.

Owen and Anne for hosting a hearty barbecue on Saturday night.

John for his enthusiasm and positive write up of the weekends events.

Chris for his excellent photographs and the artistic images of a kayaker.

And; Alan, Anne, Chris, Don, Frank, Ingrid, John, Malcolm, Neil, Owen, Peter, Ray and Wayne for giving the weekend their full commitment and enthusiasm.

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