A while ago I saw Lowri from FlowFree advertise a ‘Looptastic’ course at HPP. Having bought a playboat in lockdown, learning how to loop it has been one of my goals over the last year. Whilst I have made improvements off the back of tips from kind friends, I still have a long way to go. Having considered getting some freestyle coaching for a while – this course looked like the perfect one for me! This weekend my highly anticipated day of learning to loop with Lowri took place and I wanted to share it on here!
‘I have a plan and I need people to do it. I think you could be one of those people…’ This was a message I received from my friend James Ibbotson 3 days before Christmas 2020. The plan? Paddling for 24 hours on the Nottingham loop, our local 15km loop down the river Trent and back up the canal. All in aid of raising money for the mental health charity Mind.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, of course I said yes! Also joining us would be good friends and local paddlers Sam Valman and Matt Stephenson. On the 3rd/4th April 2021, we carried out this plan and managed to raise over £4000 for Mind. This article is a summary of our 24 hour paddling challenge.
When my friend messaged me a couple of weeks ago asking if I wanted to come on a trip to Scotland I thought it would end up being a hiking trip with maybe a couple of days kayaking thanks to the dam releases. It turned out to be the best Scottish week of kayaking I have ever had! On the first day we drive up to Scotland and arrive in the beautiful sunshine at the upper Tummel. In typical kayaking fashion, it turns out we know the kayakers who are already in the layby. We have time to fit in a couple laps of the upper Tummel which I had never done before. It was a lovely little g2/3 river with one bigger rapid in the middle. I was super stoked on our second lap as I managed to get a leany-boof on this drop. As I went down first however, nobody else got to see it! Still, it FELT amazing!
If you don’t already know, I am a massive kayaking enthusiast. I love running white water rivers as often as I can and love a good down river play day. What I really don’t do much of however is actual freestyle kayaking. 6 months ago in a post Christmas – New Year haze, I was tagged in an online post. The post was from GB Freestyle advertising an introductory ladies freestyle day at Hurley, coached by world renowned freestyle kayaking coach Jacko Jackson and previous junior world freestyle champion Ottie Robinson-Shaw. Their aim was to spend the day with 10 female kayakers who had little experience of freestyle kayaking and introduce them to Hurley (one of the best freestyle features in the World). What an amazing opportunity! I put my name down straight away, thinking that is was unlikely I would get picked. So when I received a message a little while later saying that I had got a space, I was equally surprised and delighted! This article is an opportunity for me to share what happened that day and the positive impact it has had on me.
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!
‘Noor waayy are you going to Norway?’ My friend Sam exclaimed when I told him a week before my trip last August. Sam works in Des Mes (my local kayaking shop) and I had popped in to buy some elbow pads. Whilst Sam’s excitement was probably more due to his creation of such a well worded question, it matched my excitement for my upcoming trip. My purchase of elbow pads however was in response to the extreme nervousness I was also beginning to feel.