31st May – Enagh Lough
Session 1: 6pm
This session was fully booked by 11 members from the Healthy Aging Network in Eglinton Community Centre, ranging in age from 52yrs – 90yrs. For a number of them, this was their first time attempting anything like this and it was only natural that there was some trepidation in their expressions when they arrived. After the fitting of the appropriate buoyancy aids and a safety brief and introduction to the art of paddling an open boat, all members were dispatched to the water either in single open boats, with a coach at the stern or they were dispatched in double open boats, coupled together for extra stability. After a very brief period of meandering, it wasn’t long before they were all masters of their vessel and we were navigating the lough in straight lines and their initial concerns and anxieties were now long forgotten. We paddled around the lake several times, admiring the peace and tranquility and the beautiful weather which we were blessed with and there was enough energy in reserve at the end for a race between a number of the open boats. The smiles at the end expressed a feeling of accomplishment and perhaps an appreciation for the fresh air and exercise that was had through their paddlesport experience.
Session 2: 7:30pm
This session was booked by 6 members consisting of two family groups. Each group was fitted with appropriate buoyancy aids and duely dispatched to the water. They were taken through the fundamentals of paddling an open boat for the first half of the session and were then introduced to the Canoe Polo boats and a few of the more technical aspects of paddling a kayak.
3rd June – RVLC Main Pool
This session was fully booked with 14 participants. They were introduced to the technical aspects of the Canoe Polo boats and were taken through the fundamentals of paddling a kayak and all participants were given the opportunity to do capsizes with controlled exits. The final half hour saw them introduced to the sport of Canoe Polo and a game of Canoe Polo ensued. Fathers and Mothers were pitched against sons and daughters and battle commenced! All anxieties were quickly forgotten about whilst the complete beginners focused on getting the ball and scoring against their opponents and by the end of the session our novice paddlers looked like they had been paddling for years. All were enthused by their experience and have asked how they can take it to the next stage.
The club is now working on a club induction and training programme that will allow us to bring new members into the club over the Summer.