Paddlefest 2017

It was great to see Paddlefest return for 2017.  It was held in Derry/Londonderry area with the Everglades Hotel as the central location.  It kicked off on Friday night with registration and an outline of the weekends paddling activities.

On Saturday morning everyone met back at the Everglades to meet their coaches before heading off on their various sessions. The emphasis of Saturday’s sessions was on developing technical and tactical skills. Coach update sessions looked at how to coach these skills, focusing particularly on fundamentals and rescue skills. These sessions took place at the Loughs Agency, which was an excellent facility used throughout the weekend. Sea sessions were launched from Shrove and were delivered by Mike McClure, Keith Fitzsimmons, Emma Thompson and Catriona Woods.  The whitewater open canoe and kayaks headed to the Derg and the Owenkillew, led by Matt McKnight, Jenny Kilbride, Marty McCann and Hugo Dale. Lots of positive feedback was given for the Saturday sessions and for the coaches who delivered them.


On the Saturday evening everyone returned to the Everglades Hotel for dinner followed by a raffle and an overview of the CANI strategy.  Jenny Kilbride shared her “10 Stories from 20 years in kayaking” slideshow and it was safe to say that everyone was engrossed.

Sunday’s focus was based on safety and leadership and this was developed through coach updates, practicing and skilled trips. John Vance joined the sea coaches who returned to Shrove for their Sunday Session. The whitewater paddle set off on The Mourne River. Oisin Hallissey and Peter Mulhall delivered coach update sessions at the Loughs Agency covering rafting open canoes, stand up paddle boarding and coaching the mind.


CANI have received a lot of great feedback, both via social media and through email. Here’s an idea of what some people had to say about CANI Paddlefest 2017…


I had a ball at Paddlefest, lots of new skills learned that now need to be practiced. The level and quality of coaching was exceptional. I found it very inspirational to have female coaches at such a high level to aspire to, both Emma and Catriona were fantastic.  Jenny’s talk on Saturday night was brilliant, and as a female paddler it was also very encouraging to develop my own skills. Looking forward to the next one already.”  – Sandra F.


“I Just wanted to personally express my thanks to the whole team that made this weekend.  I really had a great day on the white water session.  Jenny/Marty (and Chris) made it a really great experience. They were very knowledgeable/relaxed/open/engaging and most of all enthusiastic throughout the day.  As always the people make the experience.” – Niall L


“I absolutely loved paddling with Emma and Catriona, it was great to see strong skilled female paddlers, it’s something that is lacking within our own Club, great to have a level to aspire to, but also really see female paddlers of that level and get tuition from them also…  Basically the weekend left me wanting to paddle even more and improve to be the best I possibly can.  I thought it was well organised, location in my opinion was great, especially with the Loughs Agency facilities.  A massive thank you to all at CANI who made the weekend possible.”  – Courtney G


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