Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Watersports in the spotlight: Kayaking.



Most people will have kayaked at least once in their life, whether it be at a team building day, or at a residential trip away with school. Kayaking is one of those water sports everyone knows about. Even if you haven't been in one.
I had never kayaked before. But I knew all about it. Having dreamt of doing kayaking in Scotland's lochs, or out at sea, or even a trip down a river. Kayaking was something I always wanted to pursue.
Luckily, with my degree, I have had the opportunity to do some kayaking, and loved it every bit as much as I thought I would.

The History of The Kayak
Kayaking was first created by Inuits, for hunting. These kayaks where of a wooden frame, covered in sealskin. They where very similar in the fact that there is a tiny hole left for the paddler. Other users of the kayak often used fabric to cover the wooden frame, and it wasn't until the 1950's that the material changed to fibre-glass and now to plastic.
John Macgregor (nick named Rob Roy) was the reason this craft was turned into a recreational hobby instead of just a tool to hunt with. He designed his first canoe, (also named Rob Roy) after the Inuits and set up the first canoe club where kayaks and canoeists where able to pursue this fantastic water-sport. It wasn't' until 1936 that kayaking became a part of the Olympics. Now when people think of kayaking they think of the white water sport, or sea kayaking.



My Experience Kayaking
I couldn't wait to start kayaking, I've always loved the idea of it. My first week of kayaking was great, and filled me with confidence but it was also tough. I have no upper body strength and my arms where killing me by the end of it. We learned quite a few different strokes and movements, and how we have to use our whole body to move the kayak; not just the paddle. The next session was out on the moving water, at Stanley. Where there is enough diversity that we can all be doing something similar to our skill level. A few weeks prior some of us had been camping here. (You can read the post about my camping experience here)
Being on the moving water was completely different, but I preferred it pretty much instantly. It backed up literally everything I had learned on the still water but without giving me as much time to think and get it wrong, instead my brain had to quickly put in action the techniques I had learned, which concreted the learning. Having done sessions in the pool, I also had the few techniques I learned from there in my bag of knowledge.
My last class session was back at Stanley. The snow had fell in the catchment area the weekend before so the water was baltic. We again went over all the techniques we had learned, putting them into practice, and of course, as it was the coldest week so far, this was also the only week I had capsized by accident. I couldn't feel my hands, and they felt like they where stuck in the position of holding a paddle.
Since then a few of my classmates and I decided to go down to practice kayaking at Willowgate Activity Centre. I got up to check the temperatures that morning and it wasn't going much over 0 degrees. When I arrived the pond was frozen over. We spent a morning thrashing the ice in our kayaks, and it was so cold my hair ended up being frozen! Thankfully this time I didn't capsize, or I would have been very grumpy on the drive home.

All in all, my kayaking experiences have been wonderful, and I've really loved being on the water. Its definitely a something I can see myself doing as a hobby in the future. 

Keep an eye on my page if you like water- sports, there are a few more boating posts coming. Feel free to subscribe by email on the right hand bar ---->

Until next time,
Jade- Your Introvert Adventurer