Eight Fourth Form boys opted for kayaking as a priority time session during the Lent term. Taking place every Monday since the start of term, the boys have developed their skills from complete beginners to confident paddlers, able to control their boat, manoeuvring forwards, backwards, sideways and turning efficiently.

The boys learned how to capsize safely and progressed to wearing a spray deck. In culmination of their training and as an opportunity to put all they had learned into practice; four boys from the group were able to undertake a journey on the Wey and Arun Canal, launching at Loxwood. It was fantastic to see the boys paddling and putting their newly learned skills into practice on a ‘real’ stretch of water. The boats performed differently in the open environment and this led to constant adjustments and need for the boys to ‘read’ the water ahead of them. I hope this is the start of the boys paddling career and I am pleased to announce they all achieved their British Canoeing Paddle Start Award; well done! Read more below from Ned W. as he recounts his experience.

Mr Money and Mr Winterbottom

Monday 14th January was a very significant day, as it marked the start of our introduction course to Kayaking. When we arrived at the swimming pool, we were greeted by Mr Winterbottom and Mr Money, who for the next few weeks were going to be our instructors and motivational mentors.

We started by sitting on the side of the pool being taught how to get into the kayak and did not spend a lot of time on the water as we had to be told how to do everything safely. We were all ecstatic to arrive at the pool the next week, as we knew that we were going to be on the water for the majority of the session. We learnt the basics of how to manoeuvre the boat straight quickly, but whilst retaining stability. Over the next few weeks we learnt how to paddle, capsize, wear a spray deck and rescue each other.

Kayaking in a pool comes with a few challenges, but not as many as Monday 18th March. This is because this is the day that would put all of our kayaking skills to the test. This was the trip down the Wey and Arun Canal. It started out as being really sunny and hot, but as soon as we got onto the water the heavens opened and it teamed down with rain. Luckily the rain did not dampen the spirits of the group made up of four students and two teachers. In many ways it was the same as the pool, just colder, a lot colder, but with the addition of driftwood going under your boat the whole time.

It has been great developing our skills from a measly little paddle in the pool to being able to navigate down a river, or ‘real water’ as Mr Winterbottom calls it. A massive thank you must go to Mr Winterbottom and Mr Money; thank you for teaching us how to Kayak to the standard we do now.

Ned W, Fourth Form