For a few months, I’ve been joining a group of paddlers for the ‘evening sessions’ on the Menai Straits. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s we race each other around the bridge pillars, the house on the island or various other features. We usually set off staggered so that the fastest paddlers go last & have to try to catch the ones in front. I was really nervous the first time I went – probably in part because I didn’t want to be beaten! But I soon slotted into my place within the group & have been working on improving my technique, speed & stamina ever since. It’s fun to push myself & concentrate on a different aspect of kayaking. I enjoy it being on the tidal waters of the Straits because there is always some current to take into account, so tactics come into play. I also found it was a great way to get over my nerves of crossing intimidating eddylines in my Rapier 18. When I started racing, I somehow forgot to be nervous as my competitive nature took over and I powered through them! Now I feel pretty confident in the Rapier in choppy or tidal conditions. And very occasionally I get to beat John Willacy & Aled Williams across the finish line (if I conveniently forget that they started after me)!
I’ve got into it sufficiently to want to try wing paddles & tonight was the virgin outing for my new Epic small mid wing. The different shape felt a bit strange to start with but after 90 minutes I was enjoying using it & Aled thinks I was faster. I’m looking forward to using it more & working on rotation! If anyone lives near the Straits & fancies joining it, then come along on at 6.30pm on Mondays or Wednesdays.