Monday, 23 May 2016

Intro to Whitewater - Knightwick, 22nd May 2016

Paddlers - Keith, Chucky, Bill, Ali, Sam, Gregg, Dean, Kira, Michael & Kerry (Chief photographer)

The day started for me at around 11:45am, getting our of bed feeling VERY cloudy headed!  Yes, Saturday night had been a heavy one (very unusual for me I know...!?!) A slow trek around the house collecting paddling kit and getting boat out, then realising that my car was in Bewdley!!

A lift over to get my car saw me heading straight to the club to meet Tom from Brighton who had come to pick up some kayaks which we had sold.  A little running around and back home to collect my kit, then back to the club for about 1:15 to find a decent collection of people (including newbies) all eager to head for the mighty Knightwick!

Arriving at the river the level had risen to 0.7m from an indicated 0.64 that morning.  Eyes were wide amongst the new members when they saw a fairly meaty wave at the bottom of the weir face, and an equally big secondary wave!  Eddy-maker in and a quick discussion about what it does and how we use it, then a bit of a safety briefing from Mr Maisey and we all started to get on the water.  I went straight for a little play whilst everyone else warmed up above the weir and paddled up towards the bridge.  I hopped back out and paddled up to join the others just in time for a crashing downpour, so we sheltered under the bridge to avoid getting wet......

Bill lead the way down first and signalling for others to follow, cue more bulging eyes and nervous looks - there may even have been a few squeels whilst approaching the lip!  Everyone started by doing a few ferry glides further down the flow and practising their breaking in/out techniques, for 3 of the crew this was their first taste of a decent sized whitewater feature and clearly a somewhat eye opening experience!  A few swims ensued (Michael clearly gets the award for most tenacious paddler, we soon gave up

After a couple of hours everyone was well warmed up and the improvements were clear for all to see and so the bravery levels picked up too! Gradually everyone was getting closer and closer to the front wave and eventually everyone had a go at getting into it (Even Bill..!) some were clearly more successful than others but the difference from the start of the day was immense - everyone looked a lot more comfortable with the boats and a little less intimidated by the environment.

The standout moment for me though was the look on Bill's face when Kerry lay down and leaned over the water to get the action shots, with Bill's VERY posh camera!

Hiking back to the car revealed that it was nearly 6 o'clock - we had just spent nearly 4 hours on the water!! a long Knightwick session by anyone's standards, definitely Beer o'clock....!

A huge well done to the newcomers on a very successful intro to whitewater day and to Chucky, enjoying his first taste of proper paddling in over 5 months and finding that the shoulder is holding up, if a little sore.  Thank you to all for supporting the day - it was a blast!

See you on the water soon.

Keith - Chairman