On Saturday 4th February Cranleigh’s Devizes-Westminster Canoe Team had their first taste of competitive racing. The Weyside race involved racing a 12-mile course from Guildford to Godalming and back. This internal race is one of four races the Team need to complete to ensure they are ready for the final challenge over the Easter weekend. Parents and supporters were on hand to offer encouragement when needed and practice feeding at portages to keep the pupils’ energy levels up. Compared to last year conditions were horrendous with dropping temperatures and sections of the Wey River actually frozen. This meant each pair had to portage at each frozen section and run with the boat on their shoulders. Upstream from Farncombe to Godalming the river was completely frozen which resulted in the pupils racing only 11 miles.
Many pupils were recovering from winter colds and perhaps had less energy as a result, but the effort they put in to complete the race was admirable. Due to illness Phil Parker stepped in and paddled with Will Osborne whilst one of our assistant coaches paddled with Oli Froy. Many thanks must go to Christopher Mann, Richard Allon-Smith, Pete Morley, Kathy, Tom and the Wey Kayak club for hosting this annual event.