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Women's Training 2014

Sunday August 3rd

There were quite a few weary attendees as several people had spent the week end at Leopallooza. Isobel was the only one with a noble reason to be tired having just returned from completing a half marathon. The sea was in a poor state, low tide and vicious rips so we headed off to the sea pool. We started with a warm up swim which was followed by board rescue races. There were speedy pick-ups and return paddles with people jostling for position in preparation for competition. We ended the session with unconscious patient recovery practice on rescue boards. Nic’s expert demonstration was well-mimicked so everyone nailed it.

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Sunday July 20th

We were lucky again to have task master Simon put us through our paces on the rescue boards. There was a decent chop at low tide with some fair sized waves to build confidence. We practised ins and outs paddling around a buoy trying to negotiate a close turn. We then focussed on “bunny hops” to improve our speed through waist high water before leaping on the boards to paddle. We were not great at this so we had a go on the dry land to get the hang of it. Some (especially Isobel) looked like graceful ballet dancers. Back in the sea we made better attempts but those of us (me) who are less fit found the bunny hopping so exhausting that we had to stop for a rest before “leaping” onto our boards, thereby destroying the advantage the bunny hops gave us. A work in progress.

Simon went off to collect in his buoy and returned to shore expecting to continue with some other punishing practice but everyone had departed for the showers!

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Sunday July 13th

It was a lovely evening but there was a big surf so we headed to the canal for some ski training. Simon gave us a demonstration to help us understand the various techniques involved using wing versus flat blade paddles. We had a mixture of double skis and singles all speeding up the canal to Rodd’s bridge. On the way back Simon sat on the bank whilst we paddled past, making our best attempts to paddle correctly whilst he gave us individual tuition to help improve. This was a great help and each time we go it is obvious that people are finding their balance and improving on the skis.

Ever the perfectionist Simon also gave us instruction in knot tying to improve the efficiency (prevent the faffing about) when securing the craft to the trailer.

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Sunday June 29th

Mini ran a great session this eve. We all paddled out from Crooklets on boards and over to Summerleaze. Then in 4 teams we ran in and out of the water 5 times which definitely raised our heart rates. Following our wades we got back on the boards and paddled over to the breakwater, parked the boards on the breakwater slipway and swam over to Chapel rock and back. Then back on the boards we paddled back to Crooklets where we had to negotiate the shore dump. Paul Cottle was doing his best to direct us from the beach away from the worst of it. Unfortunately Helen wasn't watching and got a munching!

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Sunday June 22nd

Mel, Gemma and Ella ran this session which had everyone completing a swim and board paddle on a buddy basis from Crooklets to Summerleaze and back. People also completed the final sections of their surf and board level 2 awards.

Congratulations to the following who gained their surf level 2 and board level 2 awards:

Alison Stubbs

Rachel Ellis

Helen Cottle

Marilyn Botham

Jackie Diffey

Michelle Teague

Jayney Henwood

and to the following level 2 surf award holders who gained their board level 2 awards:

Isobel Waterhouse

Nicky Gowan

Jess Lynes

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Sunday June 15th

The aim this week was for to complete part of the assessments for the level 2 surf and board competency awards under the scrutiny of eagle eyed Horace. An ideal knee high surf meant that conditions were comfortable and everyone completed the 400m swim well within the 15min time limit. Supporting patients with a tube was also carried out confidently due to the good practice completed in previous weeks. This was followed by a board paddle out and around a marker with compact 360 degree turns executed and a return trip back to the shore in a gentle swell. Newcomers on taster sessions also enjoyed the surf swim and some individual tuition on rescue boards. We then had a play around in the surf before deciding conditions were good for a leisurely paddle from Summerleaze to Crooklets in the wonderful evening glow. The shore dump on Crooklets had abated quite a bit so everyone easily negotiated the ride back in to shore, what a lovely way to spend Sunday evening!

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Sunday June 8th

Paul ran a great session in the pool starting with a board relay race including a log roll half way back. He then gave us a very romantic demonstration on how to do an unconscious patient pickup on board using his wife. What followed involved a lot of heaving, bruises and a lot of laughing but everyone had it sussed in the end. We then went in then sea to practice porpoising. That proved to be a battle against the rip.

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Sunday June 1st

Thank goodness Sam managed to get us another trailer as 20 women turned up to training all very keen to get paddling. Quite a mission but eventually two loaded trailers with skis and rescue boards secured with plenty of knitting and several newly invented knots went off to the canal.

Sam started us off with a quick reminder of paddling technique and we launched and filled the upper basin with several craft (sorry fishermen).

Sam’s confidence in us was somewhat optimistic as he had chosen all of the very wobbly racing skis for most of us to use which led to quite a few dips in the canal. At least the more stable skis and the doubles will feel like barges in future. The K2 kayak was also used and felt wonderfully smooth to paddle under the expert charge of Nic.

With Horace shepherding we all made it to Rodd’s bridge and people swapped skis and boards for the return leg. Mel made this an opportunity to catch up on all the gossip with various people paddling rescue boards far too leisurely.

Great team work in packing up and unpacking back at the club finished the session, thanks Sam and Horace, once again everyone smiling.

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Sunday May 25th

Persistent icy rain was not encouraging but despite this 17 women braved the sea pool to be coached in rescue techniques by Horace, assisted by Gemma and Katharine.

The session started with some length swimming followed by tube rescues. Whilst seeming straightforward the approach to the patient is key as it is common for someone in difficulties in the sea to be panicking. Various releases were also practised.

This was followed by work on board rescues; everyone is now proficient at picking up and returning with a conscious patient in flat water so the next step is to progress onto rescues in the surf.

The session was rounded off with a board relay race which was won by Liz and Lou who had earlier lulled everyone into a false sense of security by being the only ones to fall off their board.

An early hot shower was in order as everyone was very cold however it was difficult to get away with complaining as there was someone else in the pool casually swimming lengths wearing only jammers.

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Sunday May 18th

We had the promised lovely weather, sunny and warm with very light winds. The tide was mid height on the push at Crooklets with quite a decent swell. We had the amazing Simon Hammond again instructing us in rescue board paddling.

We had a discussion about the rips and the banks at this stage of the tide making a plan for getting out through the waves.

The emphasis tonight was on practising four different ways of forging through the surf: the roll, the press up, the pop and lunge and the push down. We were all successful and 17 women on rescue boards all sitting quite a long way out the back was an unusual site. We didn’t hang around out there chatting and avoiding going back in because Simon had mentioned a long surf swim (honest).

We made several trips in and out and it was good to see people controlling their boards well on some sizeable waves. By the time we were getting out there was quite a ferocious shore dump onto stones which was tricky to negotiate and some people nobly sacrificed themselves to a few bruises in order to protect their craft. Well done!

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Sunday May 11th

It was blowing a hooley so we retreated to the sheltered waters of the canal. Loading up the trailer in the wind was challenging in itself.

We were under the tutelage of Paul Cottle who, after a vigorous warm up (having not delivered a 10+lb baby, he didn’t understand our reluctance to do star jumps), reinforced our lessons on paddling technique: “spear the fish, drag the fish, release the fish”.

We teamed up on double skis and made fast time to the end of the canal with the following sou’ westerly. It was more of a battle on the return. Helen and Lou were so warm they decided to have several swims. One of these was meant to be in the privacy of the reeds but the loud shrieks blew their cover.

Back in the basin and with improved confidence we practised speeding up to a sprint pace before making attempts to swerve around an imaginary buoy. Better matching of paddling meant smoother acceleration and whilst not exactly turning on sixpences improvements were definitely made. Simon Hammond who was around at the time to give advice very flatteringly said that I looked like a body builder! How lovely.

Planning for much better weather next weekend.

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Sunday May 4th

After a sunny day is it was a pleasant evening with little wind and the sea mid tide so ideal conditions for a session in the sea. Today's session was all about rescue board practice.

To start us off Simon Hammond provided excellent tuition teaching basic techniques and as there was a building swell we played around in the shore break catching waves and practising knee paddling. Finally everyone was completely exhausted and grateful that Simon had called us to the shore anticipating a hot shower and a beer. Instead he announced board relays around him including a “food whisk” turn and everyone to go twice! Simon said he is a fan of relays but we were beginning not to be fans of his.

Races were completed quickly, despite the grumbles and Jackie Diffey enjoyed it so much she took a longer route almost via middle beach.

Following a hot shower (well, mine was luke warm by the time I got in) the session was rounded off by drinks in the Crooklets. Conversations had to be held at shouting level because it was so crowded and it was good to see so many club members back in “The Marine” ...... we should start playing “Clap-trap” again. (You have to be quite old to get that reference to the old name for the Crooklets Inn.)

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Sunday April 27th

A brilliant first training session in the new season to get us off to a promising start with 19 women joining in including 3 new members.

It was a lovely evening which was unexpected after a dull and windy day so we loaded up the trailer with every double ski the club owns along with some single skis. Thank goodness Mel was there!

We enjoyed a leisurely paddle up to Rodds Bridge and back to the lock gates.

Nic instructed the more experienced paddlers explaining different paddling techniques according to the different types of paddle. Meanwhile Simon Hammond provided excellent coaching to the beginners introducing them to paddling in ski kayaks. They made it to the end of the canal pretty swiftly and fortunately were sitting safely on the bank when Simon went into a comedy routine.

Apparently Simon is seeking PC euphemisms for “fat”

Disappointingly there were no swims in the canal so we’ll have to get the more wobbly skis out next time.

Back to the club and when all equipment was put away the evening was topped off with crimson sunset over the sea.

Next week depending on conditions we may be doing some ins and outs in the sea or board paddling in the pool. It is still pretty cold so a top tip is to bring a swimming hat to prevent “brain freeze”.

Also as it will be bank holiday Monday (so hopefully no early starts) a drink in the Crooklets Inn after training may be in order. Even if you don’t make it to training join us in the pub around 7.30pm.

Please remember we’d love to see any parent/helpers who would like to try a couple of taster sessions. We meet at the club at 6pm on Sundays.

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