First Term Roundup

With one term already finished, the phrase ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ certainly springs to mind. What a first term it’s been, a brand new crop of Freshers joined us in October and have proved to be fast learners and even better partiers. Here’s a quick run-down for what we’ve been up to for the last few months.

The term started with some taster sessions, designed for new students who want to see what kayaking is all about. The sun was out and the cags were off as hundreds of students got on the water over the weekend. We played loads of games most of which ended in everybody swimming simultaneously. Just what we like to see.

Taster Session
Tom leadng some games on the taster weekend. Photo: Rob McWhirter

For our first trip, we packed our buckets and spades and headed to Perranporth beach in Cornwall. We won’t go into detail about the revelries that ensued but rest assured we partied hard. As for boating, despite the weather being typically British and some members being rather worse for wear, everybody got stuck in and there were some good waves to be had if you persevered. The new Varuns got great reviews in the surf; that extra bit of length really helping out in the messy conditions. The Freshers, most of which were new to kayaking, also seemed to be enjoying themselves despite some truly spectacular wipeouts.

George Surfing
George Holmyard playing in the surf. Photo: Somerset Dave
Freshers at Perranporth
A long hard day in the foam. Photo: Andrew Sylvester

Since then we’ve been on the rivers.  At high tide Southampton’s River Itchen provides a good opportunity to practice flat water skills whilst at low tide Woodmill Weir(more commonly known within the club as ‘The Itchen Death Gorge‘) provides a friendly little playspot; good for beginners to get some ferry gliding practice and the more advanced boaters to practice big freestyle moves for NSR, such as the paddle twirl.

We’ve been on white-water trips every other weekend. The Usk, the Tywi and Wye and the Dart (twice) have all been reasonably scrapey but we’ve made the most of what water there has been.

George Godfrey
George Godfrey taking the Burn through a hole. Photo: Chris Vian
Matt Kelly Upper Dart
Matt Kelly taking on the Upper Dart. Photo: Chris Vian

A few of also managed to sneak in a spontaneous morning trip to the Afon Mellte a few weeks ago. The levels looked good and we didn’t have (m)any lectures, so it would have been rude not to. A good day was had plopping off drops and whilst we were somewhat unconvinced at five o’clock in the morning, the river was definitely worth the early start and long drive. For unorthodox ways to run the drops of this river consult  the photo below and watch the video here .

Mellte, Swgd Clun Isaf Gwyn
A new take on downriver freestyle? Photo: Matt Kelly

As you have probably gathered the last few months have been awesome for us. The Freshers are still incredibly keen to learn despite the increasingly cold conditions, the committee are yet to have a meltdown and the boats that Pyranha have lent us are proving a hit. So what’s next? We’re heading to the Lakes in January, Scotland over Easter and hopefully the Alps in early June –we’ll keep you filled in on how it all goes. And let’s not forget  NSR where SUCC will be out in force trying to catch that Rodeo Rabbit again.

But right now, all we want for Christmas is rain!

Sam Cartwheeling

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