Sunday, 24 May 2015

Scottish Women's Paddle Symposium 2015

Ready to roll with my trusty Joe O paddles.
This year's multi-discipline symposium at Findhorn included whitewater paddling, open canoeing, sea kayaking and Greenland rolling. As everyone dispersed each morning to their launching points and to set up shuttles, we decided to stay close to our base . The strong breeze and occasional squall and cold shower,characteristic of the cold Scottish Spring weather this year, made our decision to stay close to our base at the village hall an easy one. An ideal location for all day immersion with the ability to retreat indoors when it all became a bit too chilly. 

Having the pier walls to observe from was really useful - looking down at body position gives a better mental picture of what you are trying to do.
Outdoor classroom - photo Kirsty Murfitt
The onshore breeze which meant a human anchor (Anne) was necessary to keep the kayaks from running aground on the beach during practice. The tide ebbed through the day within our comparatively sheltered little basin, but we ran out of water and grew too cold to continue at about the same time... 
Shore based Kirsty took some great images throughout the two days...

photo - Kirsty Murfitt
Starting off with the Avataq..

Deborah moves on to just holding the paddle...

 Once folk had discovered how important flexibility and body position is they understood how decks and BAs restrict movement, and decided to try rolling without a bouyancy aid 
- with dramatic results 

With avataq and BA...
Photo: Anne Young                  
and without...
Photo: Anne Young.
Everyone achieved a lot over the two days, learning to brace and butterfly roll in conditions that were less than flat. Its great fun to help folk make the short journey from watching a demonstration and thinking "Yeah right! No way I will be able to do that" to floating about happily in a brace position, capsizing and opening up into a brace without using a paddle... and then realising it looked effortless because it feels effortless when it works. If these paddlers take their Greenland paddling no further than that I do think it will have altered the way they think about their relationship with the water, and immersion, when they are paddling.

Now looking forward to a slight rise in sea temps for Paddle Orkney, then balmy Bute in August.