Grass roots racing!
Paddle 4 Sport league finished its first year of competition on a high note this December at the Foyle Paddlers annual White Water race. Ninety one paddlers from 14 clubs attended the event which had six classes and with competitors raging in age from 14 to 60. Near perfect water levels produced some well fought events as well as the usual excitement and laughs of spills and swims through the ‘Fisheries’.
The League was initialled by clubs and is managed by clubs. Its mission is to generate healthy local competition and to encourage paddlers of all abilities and ages to take part in races on both a recreational and competitive basis. Categories and classes for each event are set by the convening club with age classes running from U10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and open (-45), masters (-65) and veterans.
The league has two key areas of competition, one being individual competition and the other being a club competition that aims to reward club participation on all levels of ability.
Over the course of the year 301 paddlers have taken part from 29 clubs coming from across the Island of Ireland. The youngest participant was under 10 and the oldest well over 70. Perhaps the highlight event of the year was the Share Slalom run at Ballyconnell in November. As part of the official league calendar the day saw 108 paddlers, coming from as far as Dublin and Donegal to take to the water for a Slalom completion with 3 divisions. Also included was a white water Canadian doubles timed event, a white water rafting timed event and a scheduled doubles sit-on-top event – unfortunately cancelled due to the large numbers attending the day; short winter days cut short the programme!
The 2014 calendar included 3 flatwater and 2 sea distance events, 2 slalom events, the Mourne WW race and a Polo event. The 2015 calendar is currently being finalised but potentially being extended to include a canoe sailing event, a flatwater sprint event and possibly Freestyle and Boat-a-Cross.
If you’re keen to get involved check the news on facebook at Paddle 4 Sport – Club League.
Proposed dates and Events for 2015.
|February||28th||Newry & Mourne||Slalom||Shaws Bridge|
|June||7th||Foyle paddlers||Foyle Marathon||Foyle|
|27/28th||Share||Multi Event Canoe Rally||Share Centre|
|August||2nd||Just Kayak||Sea Race & Sailing Race||Moville|
|September||TBC||TBC||Lower Bann Sprints||TBC|
|October||11th||Newry & Mourne||Flat water||Newry Canal|
|December||6th||Foyle||Mourne White water||Newtonstewart|