Last week I did not write a blog piece because instead I was involved with a paddlers virtual get together where I had been asked to share some stories. (The video from this can be found on the Paddling Pals Facebook page.) These stories very much revolved around my own friendship group that I kayak with. So this week I wanted to dedicate a blog piece to talking about those people who are so important to me and also explain a long running joke within this group of ‘Team Del’.
As I am sure the rest of the UK paddlers will agree, it has been sad not being able to go white water kayaking over the last three months due to Covid restrictions. I am lucky to live in Nottingham however and so have been able to do lots of flat water paddling since restrictions eased just over a month ago. Whilst I have really enjoyed my flat water sessions, it is not quite the same as white water kayaking. So when it was announced this week that my local white water course Holme Pierrepont would be opening up again it was of course met with great excitement. With careful restrictions in place, all sessions have to be booked in advance to limit the number of paddlers on the course at any one time. So I booked on for this weekend and have let the excitement build up since!
For the last two weeks I have written posts on how to become an independent boater, i.e. someone who doesn’t need to be led down the river. I came up with three main steps that I personally thought were important in moving away from always being led down a river to being able to peer paddle. I outlined each step in a separate blog piece. My first piece was on the importance of being safe. My second piece was on the importance of being able to choose your own lines. My third and final piece is going to be on the importance of friends. Kayaking is a unique sport in that it is really hard to go kayaking without other people. Unlike other sports such as running or cycling, kayaking is much more reliant on being enjoyed as a group. I accept that some people prefer to solo kayak and this piece isn’t meant to be a discussion of that choice. Instead I want to go over the benefits of having a strong friendship group in kayaking and why it is important in helping you to become independent.