This was the first year of Club Fest. It was held on the 26th and 27th of June at Share Holiday Village Fermanagh. Over 100 paddlers participated and an excellent time was had by all. Some clubs arrived on the Friday night to camp for the whole weekend; everyone else arrived on the Saturday morning. The weekend’s events started with an all day paddle from Crom to Share. It was amazing to see 100 paddlers, including 37 children on the water having great craic!
When we arrived back at Share the children went banana boating and the adults relaxed at the campsite in preparation for the barbeque at 7pm. It was a very social evening and it was lovely to see so many families within each of the clubs. Many of the paddlers went on a “club crawl” and after a few drinks many new friendships were formed.
On Sunday morning the clubs offered a variety of coaching sessions which were of great value to all who participated. The sessions included;
Sea Kayaking (Belfast Kayak Club)
This was an introduction to sea kayaking which everyone really enjoyed. The participants got to try new boats, see different types of equipment and learn new skills.
Canoe Polo (Mid Ulster Canoe and Kayak Club)
This was a very fun session where juniors and adults learnt the basics of Canoe Polo and had a splashing time doing so.
Open Canoe ( C3 Craigavon Canoe Club)
This session included an introduction to tandem and solo canoeing. The participants learned new skills and lots about trim due to the windy conditions.
Canoe Slalom (Canoe Slalom Northern Ireland)
This was an introductory session to Canoe slalom. The participants were able to try out the slalom boats, gain new skills and put this into practice around the poles.
Freestyle ( CANI)
This session was run twice, firstly for those who had signed up and then for the canoe slalom paddlers. Niall and Kevin had some squirt boats along and some C1’s which gave everyone the opportunity to try out new boats.
Games for Kids ( Lisburn City Paddlers, Boots and Paddles and Blazing Paddles)
This session was excellent! It was really good to see so many juniors in various crafts taking part in different games both in boats and in the water. It was obvious to everyone that they were having great fun as the shouting and cheering could be heard from miles around!
Surf Kayaks and Waveskis (Northern Ireland Surf Kayak)
This session was an introductory session to Surf kayaks and Waveskis. Harry run the seesion all morning which give participants a chance to have a go at any stage. Everyone that had a go, had great craic on the Surf Kayaks and Waveskis, a few paddlers also learned how to roll them.
The sessions finished around 2pm and after everyone said their goodbyes we all packed up and headed home.
I have already started to receive emails about the weekend;
“Just a word of thanks to both you and the many that helped organise and participate at this weekend Club Fest. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience!!!!! I would wish to tell others that were unable to attend that these events are relaxed, very enjoyable and highly recommended. As a result I very much look forward to attend any future recreational paddle events. I would not be a traditional open boat lover but after this w/e I see the whole event with a different set of eyes. Please forward my appreciation to all the Craigavon guys who tutored my open boat session on Sunday…..they put in a great coaching effort for all at this event…….Cheers Ciaran, Tony and Connaire!”
(Tim Harding ICP)
I would like to say a very big thanks to everyone involved and to all of the clubs. Hope to see you all at Club Fest 2011!