Creek boats, river runners, playboats, slalom boats, slalom C1, duo, OC1, sea boats and rafts… they were all there from LCP.
The Crana Canoe weekend is the second biggest paddling event in Ireland. Adrian Harkin of ‘Just Kayak’ came up with the brilliant idea and it’s now in it’s 5th year. It has been on the LCP calendar for the last few years and individuals have attended from the start.
15 members of LCP went up to Crana, some stopping for some river fun on the way. Most of us stayed at the local youth hostel which can accommodate us all, plus a few more student types.
The weekend is made up of races and coaching sessions, with time to play about and run the river in between. The River Crana is a perfect spot for this as there is water for everyone, from the Grade 4 drop (The Claw – renamed Primrose Falls for the more faint hearted), a longer Grade 3/2 section down to a flat section at the bottom with a nice playwave and quieter waters.
The coaching is some of the best you will find in the country and the white water paddling and safety skills are always up to date. Benny Cullen and Dave Carroll remain club favourites for coaching and it was great to hear them comment on how our club is progressing, as they have had us as a group for the last couple of years at Crana and Paddlefest.
To start the racing Jake and Ali entered the Div 1 slalom and Liz entered beginner slalom. Richard Hobson was in the sea boat race. All got medals! Well done!
The second day always starts a little more slowly, following the usual visit to O’Flatherty’s Bar the night before… But after a curative bacon sandwich the real entertainment begins with the boater x races. Some entered the intermediate boater x which runs down the middle and lower river. There are a lot of paddlers but it builds the atmosphere as you have to wait on ‘the beach’ for your turn. Everyone had fun and this is a race of avoiding rocks and other boats. There were a few swims, but only a few bruises – we need volunteers for next year as there is a ‘most stitches award’ to try for!
While this was going on, others got some practise in ready for the Advanced race. Running the Claw is hairy enough, and there was lots of discussion about running it left, right or down the middle but whatever you chose there were always plenty of people to cheer you down. Some did it so many times it was like having breakfast (Owen, Ali, Jake!).
During the Advanced boater x, where 4 or 5 paddlers all aim for the one good line down the Claw, we watched many of our club members take on some of the best in the country. Ali came second in the junior advanced. We then watched Tim and Richard sail over in the their OC1 boats, Richard stopping to admire the water more closely than he meant to. Steve got slightly munched in his play boat, but should have an award for the longest breath held on a grade 4 drop, whilst wearing a Yak helmet.
Some got wiped out by others missing their line and we were glad to see such efficient safety cover that is recognised as part of this event. On that note, LCP were also asked to do some safety cover over the weekend, which is a compliment to our reputation as a club.
In the midst of this there were some epic runs in the duo – the two Paddy’s getting down without any mishaps and Owen and Derek storming the gorge section, doing a ‘Derek’s Liffey Brace’ as they went under the bridge. The final event of the day was the Raft Race. Borrowing a raft, LCP put together a motley crew. They did themselves proud and were just pipped at the last. There was fun to be had and I doubt this will be the last we see of this crack raft team.
If you haven’t been to Cranafest, GO. Whatever boat you paddle or whatever level, you will receive a warm welcome and find something to take part in. There was plenty to watch and the tea van was very upmarket from last year with delicious brownies!
Well done to everyone that went from LCP. I think we left our mark, again. See you there!