Happy New Year 2012!

We hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year Year. Term starts again on Monday, so we hope to see everyone back on socials, on the river and at the pool. The first social is to Jester/Sobar, before everyone has to strap themselves to a desk in the library. The next few socials will be a bit more relaxed, so they are a nice revision break.

Good Luck to everyone, see you soon.

SUCC love xxxx

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.

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 Holmyard playing in the surf. Photo: Somerset Dave
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 taking the Burn through a hole. Photo: Chris Vian
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 .

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!

Christmas ’11 Mouthfuls

Those of you who were at the christmas meal will probably have read mouthfuls already – but for those who weren’t (or who can’t remember…) it’s now up with all the others!

Head to the mouthfuls archive!


To All

We have recently had a warning from Woodmill that some of their paddlers have caught Weil’s disease, and they think that it may have been caught from the River Itchen. In light of this the committee has taken the decision to cancel the river session TOMORROW (23/11/11). If you have already signed up then there’s no point turning up as no one will be there I’m afraid. We keeping up to date with Woodmill and we hope the water to be safe again next week. Pool sessions and the social are going ahead as planned yay!

Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis) is spread by animals (mainly rats) urinating in the water, and the bacteria is spread to humans. This occurs through open cuts, ears, mouth nose being exposed to the water with the bacteria in. Unfortunately for us paddlers who are rolling/swimming in the water we tend to expose ourselves quite a lot (no pun intended!). The risk of getting Weil’s disease from moving water (the Itchen is tidal) is even quite unlikely but there is a small risk still there.
The symptoms for Weil’s disease are very similar to that of a cold or flu (high temperature, vomiting, coughing ect.) and usually occur within 7 to 14 days after paddling on the water. If you get these symptoms within that time scale then we advise that you see a doctor and tell them you’ve been kayaking recently. If you did catch it and went to a doctor, they’d give you some antibiotic tablets which would fix you within a week. The only real danger is if it is not caught in time, this can lead to serious symptoms such as organ problems and can even be fatal!

How to avoid it…
Cover any open cuts with a waterproof dressing/plaster, try not to drink river water, try to wash your hands with soap before eating, and make sure you wash after paddling.

This isn’t meant to scare you but as you’re all becoming better paddlers you should start to become more aware of the risks involved with the sport (even if they are small). We’re expecting the possible bacteria in the water to be gone within a week (after the tide has been in and out a few times). We’re keeping in contact with Woodmill Canoe Shop who first flagged up the risk and are keeping us updated.

So anyway don’t let this scare you off, this is a quote from the NHS about Weil’s disease: “In England and Wales the rates of leptospirosis are very low, so there is no reason why you should not participate in freshwater recreational activities, such as swimming, sailing, water skiing or windsurfing”.
“An expert in leptospirosis has estimated that the risk of contracting a leptospirosis infection by taking part in these types of activities is as low as 1 in 10 million”.

If you do want a bit more information then see http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Leptospirosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

See you all at the social on Wednesday!

Stabby Joe x
Safety Sec

SUCC Freshers Facebook Group

If you’ve not found it already, check out the SUCC Freshers Facebook group and Canoe Club page set up so that we can all share pictures, stories and videos from our trips and socials. It’s also a great way of finding people that you’ve met on a session or contacting somebody who might have a quick answer to your question. Don’t forget, you can also email the committee if you’ve got a query that you don’t want to share with the world and someone will get back to you when they can.

See you on the river!