Piggin Paddlers was established around 20 years ago and to this day, the club remains very active. Piggin is mainly a river running kayak club, with a bit sea and surf in the summer months. In the autumn the club usually venture over to Scotland for the bigger rivers. The club would be ideal for an improving beginner, someone with basic skills that wants a bit more river play.
Piggin doesn’t have exact premises, however the club will usually paddle Shaws Bridge as most of the clubs members are based in the North and South of Belfast.
Piggin Paddlers is a very small club in Belfast having only 10 active members. The clubs members are all senior members all being over the age of 36, with a total of 4 members being over the age of 50, one of which is a female member. The club’s membership fees for everyone are only £25 per annum and it is important to note that there are no age restrictions on new members.
Piggin Paddlers has some equipment such as kayaks, canoes and personal gear which are all available for members to use at a charge of £5 per session. Therefore members are not required to purchase their own equipment prior to joining the club, other than their own personal wetsuit. The club is open to all members of the community and although it doesn’t have any specially trained coaches who have taken part in the paddleability course, the club are happy to take those members who have disabilities out on the water providing it is safe for them to do so.
Piggin Paddlers don’t hold structured training sessions on a set date or time, rather the members organise when and where they will meet (usually Shaws Bridge) between themselves. However the club does have some coaches and a 5 star paddler who are able to help ad give advice to other members while on the water. These sessions do not cost anything, only the price for the use of the equipment if it is required. Although the club does not at the moment have any junior members, if any where to join they would just take part in the same sessions as the senior members. Also, as it is only a small club, they do not have access to any pools to carry out pool sessions, therefore beginners are introduced to sessions when the conditions are calm outside on the water.
The club will usually go away on a trip once a year for a week to the Highlands of Scotland for the bigger and better whitewater grade 3 and grade 4 rivers. In order to attend these trips it will come at a small cost to the members as they will have to cover the cost of the accommodation and travel expenses.
Piggin Paddlers is a recreational club and therefore its members come together for the enjoyment of the sport rather than for competition. The club takes part in various disciplines such as River, Sea and Surf Kayaking as well as some open boating. Any potential new members are given 3 free introductions sessions for the club. This allows them to go out on the water and take part in the sport and see whether it is something they would like to take up on a more full time basis before buying any equipment or paying any membership fees.