These are notes written to help new members or people just looking to come along.
Kayaking is an amazing pastime which encompasses many different disciplines – from Whitewater to Surfing to fishing from a Sit on Top. Joining the club will give you the opportunity to try many of these disciplines plus have fun, companionship, fresh air and exercise. However it can be a bit daunting at first. The following points will hopefully help you to get started:-
- We are a friendly bunch – If have any questions feel free to ask another member. We were all new starters once.
- Safety – One of the objectives of the club is to ensure that kayaking is open to everyone regardless of age (within reason), gender or ability. However kayaking is an ‘Assumed Risk’ sport (the water is always the ‘boss’) and the number one priority must always be for your own and fellow paddlers safety. Please consider this at all times and when reading the follow points.
- Your first time – before you take a Kayak onto the water make sure you know how to get out quickly and safely in the event of a capsize. If unsure ask someone. It is also a Club requirement that you are able to swim at least 50m in light/wet clothing. Younger paddlers (under 12 years) may be allowed, providing they are accompanied by a parent/guardian who is on the water and who has a minimum of 3 Star level, subject to the approval of the Committee. The parents of any Junior paddler (under 16) must remain on the sea front or poolside for the duration of the session.
- Keep an eye on the website and look at your eMails regularly. This is how the club communicates with members. A particularly useful link is under Trips/events/minutes , and click the Programmes link. This will give you access to a document that will show you what trips are planned for the next few months and who to contact if you want to take part. If you’re a member and haven’t been given access yet then please shout.
- Club Nights
i. Wednesday evenings on Teignmouth seafront. Open to all – Details on the website.
ii. There is often a beginner’s class being run. The more competent paddlers will go on a trip up/down the coast or estuary.
iii. Feel free to join some of the members afterwards in Dicey Riley’s for a drink and sometimes sandwiches courtesy of the owner, Dom .
i. Friday evenings at Dawlish pool. Open to all – Details on the website.
ii. Work on those essential paddling skills that will enable you to progress to taking part in the weekend trips.
iii. Feel free to join some of the members in the Smugglers Inn afterwards.
- Club Weekends – These trips are typically more challenging than the club nights so you need to be reasonably competent in a kayak before planning to take part. The level of competence will depend on the nature of the trip being planned and the expected weather conditions. We also need you to have become a full member of the club. Brief details are always available on the website and you speak to the trip co-ordinator on the Thursday before to discuss taking part. Most of the trips are run on a Sunday but a small number of weekend trips are planned every year. You need to make your own arrangements for transport of yourself and equipment to/from the event:-
- Spring/Summer trips:-
i. Usually on the sea or a tidal river estuary.
ii. A good proportion are suitable for the less experienced paddler. They are great for building confidence and stamina.
iii. You will often need a longer boat (hire one from the club) in order to keep up (long boats go faster with less effort).
- Autumn/Winter trips:-
i. Usually ‘Whitewater’ trips down the moorland rivers but a number of estuary/canal trips will also be run for the less experienced paddlers.
ii. Whitewater is only for the more competent paddlers – if you fancy having a go ask one of the senior members if they think your skills are up to it.
iii. You use a short boat for Whitewater as it gives more manoeuvrability.
iv. As it is colder in winter particular attention must be paid to the clothing you will wear.
Don’t be shy about enquiring to take part but DO be prepared to answer some questions on your level of competence/experience and what clothing/equipment you have. Be open to possibility that the organiser may say that the trip is ‘not for you yet’. This is to protect YOU and the other paddlers. Also be prepared to arrive at the arranged meeting point and still be turned back if for example the sea is unusually rough or the river to be paddled is in spate after a few days of heavy rain. Safety must always be the first concern. There will always be another day.
- Boat/equipment Hire. Helmets, Boats, Paddles, Spraydecks and Bouyancy Aids are all available for hire from the club (first come first served). Be aware that you will be responsible for the security of the kit and boats whilst they are in your possession. You are responsible for arranging transport and returning all equipment back to the clubhouse in a clean condition
- Clothing – In warm weather this is easy as all you will need is a T Shirt or Rashvest, a pair of Swimming shorts and some old trainers. However in wet/windy weather and especially in winter, clothing becomes a serious consideration. Keeping warm (and perferably dry) is essential. The club cannot provide you with clothing so some outlay will be required. There are many different types of clothing available (all at wildly varying prices) so have a good look at what others are wearing and ask them for advice before parting with your cash.
- Buying equipment – Like many outdoor activities Kayaking involves some expensive equipment and all the outlay seems to be required at the start. Our advice is don’t rush into it as you can hire everything you need from the club. It takes time to decide which Kayaking discipline really interests you the most, so try your hand at different things and then buy the equipment that suits your requirements the best. Again ask other members for advice.
- And last of all…… don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Appreciate the wildlife. Bring your friends (or just make some new ones). Bring the Family. Keep an eye/ear out for any social events. Forget about the daily grind for a while and do something different…