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ceufad CYLCHGRAWN CANW CYMRU JOURNAL OF CANOE WALES

Issue 133 December 2018 £2.50

kayak

INTERVIEW: LOWRI DAVIES CANOE WALES AWARDS FREESTYLE WORLD CHAMPS FINDING GINO SURF KAYAK WORLD CHAMPS


Paddler: Paul ‘Cheesey’ Robertson & CW Director Location: Surf World Champs, Ireland Photo: Mark Boyd

W

editorial

elcome to a packed issue of Ceufad – we were snowed under with contributions (and with actual snow when this went to press!). Thank you! It’s been a busy year for Canoe Wales and Welsh paddlesport: new directors on the board (p20), the Canoe Wales awards (p8), and Welsh Government finally showing some interest in the access situation (p4). Welsh paddlers have also been waving the flag on the competition circuit, with one of our directors on the podium at the Surf Worlds (p17), and another throwing it down at the Freestyle Worlds (p26). Never thought I’d write that sentence! So this is a bit of a celebratory issue – with articles on sea, surf, freestyle, open canoe… Welsh paddlers have been putting in the paddling miles this autumn! Hopefully this will continue into next year, and 2018 will be another great year for Welsh paddlesport. Have a very merry Christmas and see you in 2018 for more paddling adventures! Vicky Barlow Editor Ceufad Ed Ceufad

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@Ceufad

ceufad

Ceufad is the official magazine of Canoe Wales. It is produced by members & the views expressed are not necessarily those of Canoe Wales or the magazine’s editor. Ceufad is free to members of Canoe Wales. SUBSCRIPTIONS are available to non-members for £10 for 4 issues from Canoe Wales. ADVERTISING For advertising rates contact Vicky on: ceufad@canoe.wales SUBMISSIONS Articles are always welcomed & should be submitted as Word files, however, typed articles are also accepted. Images can be prints or tiff/jpeg/RAW files (preferably 300ppi). These will be returned. CONTACT ceufad@canoe.wales – 01678 521199 Ceufad, Canoe Wales, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7NU Ceufad is produced quarterly in March, June, September and December. NEXT ISSUE: MARCH DEADLINE: 1ST FEBRUARY Ceufad welcomes all contributions but reserves the right to edit & condense to fill the space available. Design & layout: Vicky Barlow www.victoriabarlow.co.uk


34 Finding Gino

14 Surf Kayak World Champs

contents

British paddler & World Champion Ottilie Robinson-Shaw Photo: Peter Holcombe

32 Powering up a trad canoe

4

CANOE WALES – WATERWAYS & ENVIRONMENT UPDATE

Welsh Government’s access consultation

6

CANOE WALES – COACHING & WORKFORCE NEWS

Updates and info for coaches and providers

8

CANOE WALES AWARDS 2017

Recognising achievement and dedication in Welsh paddlesport

26 GOLD RUSH

8

IN THE FLOW

What’s new in the world of paddlesport

32 POWERING UP A TRAD CANOE

11 CROESY KIDS

Catching up with the young paddlers at Croesy CC

12 Q&A JOSH CHARLES

Meet the paddler who loves a challenge

14 THE LIFE OF BRIAN

Welsh success at the Surf Kayak World Champs

18 COME UP ON THE OTHER SIDE

Greenland skills weekend with Haverfordwest KC

20 INTERVIEW: LOWRI DAVIES

Meeting the newest Canoe Wales Director

22 CANOE WALES CALENDAR 2018

Rip it out and stick it to the wall

24 FUEL THE PADDLING MACHINE

How to avoid the boating hangries Freestyle World Champs 2017 Coach Chris Brain puts on the power

34 FINDING GINO

Greenland sea kayak exped to Gino Watkin’s memorial

30 MOTIVATION PART 2

Are you maximising the effectiveness of your coaching sessions?

Front cover: Location: Surf World Champs, Ireland Paddler: Paul Bramble Photo: Roger Aguirre Smith

Ceufad | 3


yn

tafffech

forg g

r

amlan

WELSH GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION ON mIMPROVING ACCESS TO INLAND WATERWAYS y alwyn

na ch

dulas

t n na

h c a d d w a

y w n o c PRIORITIES FOR 2018

Canoe Wales and British Canoeing submitted in September a joint 40-page response to the Welsh Government’s crucial consultation, supported by almost 1000 responses from individual paddlers using a template prepared by us. Thank you to those of you who took the trouble to send a response.

m

d d u h r severn

cl

1. Continue to engage and promote waterways access with the Welsh Government and other national & local networks & partners

y

twym

WATERWAYS & ENVIRONMENT UPDATE

l a f n cy

a d n o h

w rn vy

lo w er

s a l edu

w d y r t w

The Government has received around 15,000 responses and we expect to see a summary of these in the New Year, along with a timetable for the ‘next steps’. Our full response is available at https://www.canoewales.com/access-to-waterways.

2. As they arise, address individual waterways issues and take opportunities to improve access 3. Publicise accurate information on ‘places to paddle’ in Wales

CANOE WALES AND BRITISH CANOEING RESPONSE TO WELSH GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

4. Begin to build a network of volunteers across Wales, to represent the interests of paddlers and to take action on waterways issues

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Together, Canoe Wales and British Canoeing represent approximately 75,000 members; as well as the interests of the wider community of paddlers in Wales and England. Paddlesport has 1.5 million participants in the UK and is one of few watersports still showing long term growth. Of all watersports activity, 9% takes place in Wales. At least 95,000 paddlers live in Wales and many regular participants travel to Wales from England, so the number of participants already using Welsh waterways is considerable.

s gam i a l du

i n n e s

However, the opportunities available for participation in paddlesport in Wales are still extremely limited. While walkers, for example, have wide access to Public Rights of Way and access land, canoeists have very little uncontested access to inland waterways in Wales. Much of this is due to lack of clarity resulting from the contested legal rights of canoeists (particularly on inland rivers); concerns around public liability (particularly on reservoirs); and concerns about the environmental impact of canoeing.

grw

gw aun

Increased recreational canoeing access can bring money and jobs into communities across Wales; result in more people being more active, more often; increase the diversity of participation in the outdoors; and provide wider societal benefits (including getting people ‘hooked on sport’) – and can play a part in protecting the environment and supporting and protecting local communities – thereby contributing to all the Welsh Government’s well-being goals. There will inevitably be costs involved in improving physical access to waterways and in administering new systems – but we believe these will be far outweighed by the benefits.

e yn

ceir w

ne dd

ely

ny f

mo nn seven ow

er

ye

taff

nt s seio ula risd cor pyrddin

nantbran

llugw

We therefore welcome the Welsh Government’s proposals to extend Countryside & Rights of Way Act access land provisions to the coast and to rivers and other inland waters; while establishing a statutory code and a caveat on all users to behave responsibly. These will go a considerable way towards improving paddlesport access in Wales; delivering consistency in the opportunities available for participation in different activities; providing effective safeguards for land management and the natural environment; and providing significant clarification about rights, responsibilities and duties. However, for these proposals to have maximum impact, we believe that the Welsh Government will need also to address several issues including the use of banks for purposes ‘incidental to navigation’; definitions of ‘commercial activity’; access to waterways for unpowered boats from public land and rights of way; and clearance of obstructions – and will need to give very careful consideration to how the statutory code and caveat should be enforced.

c n werhymney og y

u honddcroesor

We also support, tentatively, the Welsh Government’s proposals to make Natural Resources Wales (NRW) responsible for facilitating improved access; and to provide for temporary diversions and exclusions where circumstances require. However, we are concerned that NRW could suffer conflicts of interest and may not have the necessary resources to fulfil this role; we would expect ‘Access Arrangements’ to be the exception, rather than the rule; and we would expect any permanent or temporary restrictions to be based only on sound evidence of environmental or other verifiable impact – so would welcome the Welsh Government’s assurance on these points.

alyn

In preparing our submission, we engaged our members and the wider UK paddling community, so are confident that this community will support the Welsh Government’s proposals to improve access for outdoor activities if it enacts them in the ways that we have suggested in our submission.

We are often asked, “what is Canoe Wales doing about Access?” If the Welsh Government decides to pursue its proposals for improving access, we expect to be fully involved in negotiating details – which is likely to take up all my time and more!

rhaed

na ntg w

In the meantime, I have been asked by our Waterways & Environment Committee to work on 4 priority areas; and will provide more detail of some of these in future columns. However, there is a limit to what one person, working for one-day-per week, can do! So, we are looking for volunteers to help us take action across Wales...

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

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WHAT NEXT?

The Canoe Wales Waterways & Environment Committee is seeking volunteer members to represent the interests of paddlers in Southwest, Northwest and Northeast Wales. If you’d like to play a part in improving paddlesport access in these areas, please contact environment-officer@canoe.wales to find out more!

w y n r vy

u


y banw

n y r e

lu gg

Lack of  Access  on  Touring  r ivers Fear  of  conflict  on  WW  rivers

Lack of  Access  on  WW  rivers

Distance from  Lakes  &  Reservoirs  (Welsh…

Distance from  Touring  R ivers  (Welsh…

Distance from  WW  R ivers  (Welsh  p addlers…

0

100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900

twrch

yscir

w

el

A little

No of  Responses

Quite a  b it

A whole  lot

rhe i

How frequently,  on  average,  have  you  paddled  in   Wales  OVER  THE  LAST  3  YEARS  on…

gwili

n o i u a d d e n cl

pr

twymm

yn

The Sea

Other C anals

Montgomery Canal

Llangollen C anal

Monmouthshire &  Brecon  Canal

1-­‐4 times  a  month

5-­‐11 times  a  year

ch 1-­‐4 times  a  year

1-­‐3 times  in  total

ceir iog

ebbw

tarrell

irfon

me

upper

r o ys

n einio

Fishing board-walks have been installed across the River Usk between Aberbran and Brecon, above the Llanspyddid rapid. They extend about halfway from the right bank and at low water are exposed and easily avoided. But at medium to high water levels, they could form a lethal hazard, posing a risk of boat pinning and swimmer entrapment. Paddlers should exercise caution when approaching this rapid and avoid directing capsized swimmers towards these planks. More details at https://www.canoewales.com/safety-alert-hazardous-board-walks-onriver-usk-between-aberbran-and-brecon Steve Rayner, Waterways & Environment Officer environment-officer@canoe.wales

Lakes or  Reservoirs

Other touring  r ivers

glaslyn

Conwy (grade  1-­‐2  section)

r

lle d

us

ythllynfi

SAFETY ALERT: HAZARDOUS BOARD-WALKS ON RIVER USK

More than  once  a  w eek

mymbyr

elt e

Taff (grade  1-­‐2  section)

Teifi (grade  1-­‐2  sections)

Usk (grade  1-­‐2  sections)

Tywi (grade  1-­‐2  section)

Dee (grade  1-­‐2  sections)

k

Severn ( grade  1-­‐2  sections  above  Pool  Quay)

Wye (grade  1-­‐2  sections  above  Hay  and  below…

Other grade  5+  r ivers

Teifi (grade  2-­‐4  sections)

Usk (grade  2-­‐3  sections)

Tywi ( grade  2-­‐5  sections)

Dee (grade  3-­‐4  section)

Wye (grade  2-­‐4  sections)

m

ys tw

AND FINALLY...

dol

rhondda

llte

dyfi

0

Other grade  3-­‐4  rivers

100

owen

teifi w clyda Tryweryn (grade  2-­‐4)

200

Conwy (grade  2-­‐5  sections)

300

Glaslyn ( grade  2-­‐5  sections)

400

Taff (grade  2-­‐5  sections)

500

Tawe (grade  2-­‐5  sections)

No of  Responses

600

arddu

700

tyw

800

i

y

e

Fear of  conflict  on  Touring  rivers

elan

wdee

Lack of  Access  on  Lakes  &  Reservoirs

We received many comments describing problems whilst paddling in and around Wales, including 364 from white-water paddlers (over 70% of which related to verbal abuse received from people on the riverbank). We summarised this evidence in our response to the Welsh Government and will aim to publish more details in due course.

Other g rade  2(3)  rivers

y

e w a t iw

Fear of  conflict  on  Lakes  &  R eservoirs

Not surprisingly, white water rivers were the most popular, with 93 different rivers being paddling regularly, as shown in the background ‘word-cloud’. Despite the popularity of Wales waterways for paddlesport, most paddlers reported that ‘lack of access’ or ‘fear of conflict’ prevented them from paddling more often in Wales – particularly on ‘touring’ rivers. Few Welsh paddlers were deterred by distance, suggesting that there are sufficient waterways for paddlesport across Wales if only access to them could be improved.

Please tell   us  how  much  the   following  factors   prevent  you  from  paddling  more  often  in  Wales:

ls

eden

As part of our survey in preparation for the Welsh Government consultation, 1255 paddlers (74% of whom lived outside Wales) provided information about their paddling in Wales over the last 3 years:

dw yfo swa r llo

PADDLING IN WALES

w fal

g o d e w ly

ogmore

cier yn

na i h alw nty t en g co saw wyr dde yd

r i a f

n e l yg

Ceufad | 5


COACHING & WORKFORCE NEWS COACH AWARD: TRAINEE AND EXISTING COACHES? Ahead of the launch of the Coach Award in January 2018, British Canoeing would like to provide some guidance for trainee and existing coaches. Coaches who already have a British Canoeing coaching qualification which meets the coaching requirement for the group(s) in the environment they are coaching are not required to do anything further.

TRAINEE COACHES Any candidate mid-way through their journey to achieve their Level 2 qualification or Moderate/Advanced Water Endorsements will move into the restructured pathway and can take the relevant assessment from January 2018. We would encourage candidates who do not feel confident with the content ahead of their assessment to repeat components of training (that are considered similar).

COACHES NEXT STEPS I’ve completed my training, what do I do after the changes come into place? Completed before 31st December 2017

Next steps after 1st January 2018

Level 2 Training

Canoe and/or Kayak (Sheltered Water) Assessment Coach Award Assessment (relevant discipline)

Moderate Water Endorsement Training (relevant discipline) e.g. Moderate Water Endorsement Sea Kayak Training

e.g. Sea Kayak Coach Assessment Coach Award Assessment (Advanced Water) (relevant discipline) e.g. Sea Kayak Coach (Advanced Water) Assessment

Advanced Water Endorsement Training (relevant discipline) e.g. Advanced Water Endorsement Sea Kayak Training

EXISTING COACHES Coaches who already have a British Canoeing coaching qualification which meets the coaching requirement for the group(s) in the environment they are coaching are not required to do anything further. We would encourage existing coaches to attend the Core Coaching Module or Discipline Specific Direct modules as stand-alone training to support entry ongoing learning and development and to update their CPD.

IMPACT ON EXISTING COACHES Current Level 2/3 MWE/AWE Trained/Assessed (different discipline)

MWE or AWE Trained (same discipline)

Core Coach Training

Discipline Specific Training

2 days

2 days

Coaches who have already completed various British Canoeing qualifications and wish to access the Coach Award training can by-pass the Core Coach Training and/or Discipline Specific Training.

consolidation

Assessment 1 day

Current Level 2 Trained (same discipline)

Who can bypass the Core Coach Training Coaches who have completed any of the following training/assessment courses can choose to bypass the Core Coach Training if they feel confident with the content: • • •

British Canoeing Level 2 (UKCC) Training OR Assessment British Canoeing Moderate or Advanced Water Training OR Assessment British Canoeing Level 3 (UKCC) Core Training OR Assessment

Who can bypass the Discipline Specific Training Coaches who have completed a 4-day Level 2 (UKCC) Training course can choose to by-pass the Sheltered Water Canoe and Kayak Training if they feel confident with the content. Coaches who have completed MWE Training or BCU Level 3 Assessment (pre-UKCC) can choose to by-pass the Open/ White Water Canoe Coach, Sea Kayak Coach, Surf Kayak Coach, and White Water Kayak Coach Training if they feel confident with the content (when in the same discipline). Coaches who have completed AWE Training can choose to by-pass the Advanced Open/White Water Canoe Coach, Sea Kayak Coach, Surf Kayak Coach, and White Water Kayak Coach Training if they feel confident with the content (when in the same discipline). Coaches who have completed the Slalom/Sprint Discipline Support Module Part 2 (training and logbook) can choose to by-pass the respective Slalom/Racing Coach Training if they feel confident with the content.

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JET MOORE – A YEAR ON THE BOARD One year on from being elected to the Board and well, it has been a very busy time with a meeting every month and plenty of phone calls, emails and talks! Time commitment to the role is big but hopefully worthwhile to our membership. What have I done or played a part in? Setting up sub-groups to the Board and helping them get on their feet. We have set up sub-groups to help give more time to specific areas as the Board meetings are very full and time goes fast. I am involved in the following groups: PADDLESPORTS STRATEGY GROUP We will look at the area I see as the most important one, paddling and paddlers. The aim is to help guide the Board on paddlesports development, whether that is looking at clubs, individuals, recreation or any other area of paddling. The ideas we will hopefully get from being on the ground and seeing, hearing or speaking to you the paddlers (and me, still a paddler!). WATER WAYS AND ENVIRONMENT GROUP I felt that this group would not be able to achieve any results fast but… we have the opportunity via Welsh government to look at the access to land and water in Wales; a complete overhaul of the CRoW act which last time around didn’t include water. We have put together a membership survey and from this produced a very in-depth, well-structured argument to support “responsible and sustainable access to water” with a huge thanks to Steve our Officer.

CANOE WALES NEW WEBSITE! The Canoe Wales new website is live… and is definitely kicking! Ceufad has taken it for a test run and is suitably impressed – it’s dynamic, current and really easy to navigate. There are some great facilities on there such as ‘find a club’, which not only allows you to search by region, but also by discipline. And an Events Calendar with a ‘submit an event’ option, so you can upload your events direct to the website! Some sections are still being developed, such as the Provider Directory, but if the rest of it is anything to go by then once it’s complete the website will be a great resource. And the icing on the cake? Ceufad also received their membership renewal email (well 3 to be exact – there’s no excuse for letting your membership lapse), and successfully renewed online. Happy days.

From this we are looking to build a network of people from across Wales to help the group to develop access to the water, as this consultation will hopefully give a right of passage down the waterways. But there will still be a need to get to the water, and for this we will need your help on a local level. If you’re keen please let us know! After access we will look to work with NRW, BC and others to develop our Codes of Conduct and training for environmental aspect. This is an area of paddlesport that we haven’t pushed very hard this year, however, we as paddlers probably see and care more about flora and fauna than we realise, and to learn about it is very interesting; from an amateur level to full on tree-hugging there is room for us all. What else? COACHING AND THE AWARDS There has been a huge amount of work here, whether this is from our CW staff team or us as a Board, and in my view we now have a great new system, loads of new providers (so fresh ideas and younger people), and an award to cover all aspects and all the people who may want to help in leading or paddling. Again a huge amount of work in the last few months from Paul Marshall and Lee Pooley (British Canoeing). And …? I’ve been paddling, coaching and volunteering where I can to help schools, paddlers and clubs get on the water.

CANOE WALES – OUR TEAM Jen Browning – General Manager MEMBER SERVICES TEAM Nigel Midgley – Senior Development Officer Paul Marshall – Coaching Manager (Consultant) Val Ephraim – Administrative Officer Ellen Roberts – Finance Officer Steve Rayner – Waterways and Environment Officer (Consultant)

PERFORMANCE TEAM Richard Lee – Performance Manager Jonathan Davies – Talent Pathway Officer (North) Serena Williams – Talent Pathway Officer (South) Dan Golder – Talent Pathway Officer (South) Gareth Bryant -–Talent Pathway Officer (West) Tom Power – Head Coach (Slalom) Dan Goddard – Performance Coach (Slalom) Kevin Bowerbank – Head Coach (Sprint)

DIRECTORS David Wakeling – Interim Chairperson Andy Booth – Finance Director Sarah Williams Sonja Jones Lowri Davies Jet Moore Paul Robertson Eryl Richards Russell Scaplehorn

Ceufad | 7


Canoe Wales

W

e’re pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Canoe Wales awards. These are the athletes, coaches, volunteers, teams and clubs that stood out to the judges as deserving of recognition for their remarkable achievements and dedication to paddlesport in Wales.

To see the full award’s report visit the Canoe Wales website: www.canoewales.com, which includes a list of all the finalists. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!

Coach of the Year: Jonathan Davies The judges were especially impressed with the impact that Jonathan’s coaching has had on a wide range of athletes at all levels in North Wales, from grassroots to elite, and the respect and admiration he has from the athletes and parents who nominated him. Some of the comments included: “He goes more than the extra mile with all paddlers and is encouraging and supportive to the individual paddler’s journey at every stage... It’s his life rather than his job.” “He goes above and beyond and gives up his time for every one of his kayakers.”

Super Star Volunteer: Penny and James Wingfield The judges were inspired by the work Penny and James have done to organise the Conwy Ascent, the Winter Llyn Padarn Time Trial Series and various other come-and-try-it and time trial events - in addition to supporting new club members and helping to grow paddlesport in North Wales. The paddlers who nominated Penny and James say it best: “This nomination is to say thank you to Penny and James for all their hard work and dedication to make all these events happen. I am aware that none of these events organise themselves, in fact they need an enormous amount of dedication, energy and time and I am really grateful for Penny and James to give me/us the opportunity to experience such a variety of events here in North Wales.”

Team of the Year: Brecon Canoe Club Canoe Polo Youth Team The judges were inspired by the team’s excellent results, strong team ethic and the development work taking place to ensure the team continues to grow and develop. Here’s what their club had to say about the team in putting them forward for nomination: “This team of 8 players were 2nd in the UK South West Region Junior Canoe Polo Tournament 2017, playing against well-established Canoe Polo clubs from across South West England and South Wales.” “They now look forward to playing at National level for the first time in November 17, representing Brecon Canoe Club and Welsh Canoe Polo. These teenagers set an example to younger Welsh paddlers at club level that commitment to others can breed both personal and team pride and success for now and the future.”

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Awards 2017 Paddler of the Year: Elise Churchill The judges were very impressed with Elise’s performances over the year at international tournaments and felt that her invitation to the Olympic Hopes camp over the summer was a remarkable feat for someone who only took up paddling a few years ago. Elise has also been an inspiration to other young paddlers coming through the sprint programme and this was a major factor in the judges’ decision. Some of the comments made in Elise’s nominations included: “Dedicated and someone to aspire to.” “Amazing paddling and just an amazing person overall.” “She has been hugely self-motivated, travelling all over the place to events -and is now looked up to in the sprint team.”

Club of the Year: Haverfordwest Kayak Club The judges were impressed by the wide variety of activities offered to members and the jam-packed calendar of events, along with the efforts that the club has made to reach out to underrepresented groups and to grow the number of female coaches. They were also impressed with the club’s role in the community, including volunteering to support other sporting events with safety cover. Overall, it was evident that Haverfordwest Kayak Club is a model club which has had an incredibly busy and exciting 2017. “HWKC is a busy, vibrant, welcoming club. Where else can you take part in a range of kayaking experiences, have ongoing free coaching, use of club equipment, a great social life and all for £2 a trip after joining?”

Alan Baker Award: Richard Lee The Board of Directors has voted to honour Richard Lee, our outgoing National Performance Manager, with the 2017 Alan Baker Award for Services to Paddlesport. As anyone who knows Richard can attest, his devotion to our sport and to Canoe Wales are unparalleled and through his influence, Canoe Wales and our performance programme have grown and developed dramatically over the past thirty years. We are very sad to see him move on from his role at Canoe Wales, and it was very obvious to the board that there was no better candidate for this award than Richard. Over the years, Richard has been involved, many youngsters have been introduced to paddling, some have represented Wales, and a few have travelled further afield with the British teams. Some have become coaches, many have stopped paddling while others have re-started with their own children. Some, like Toby Jones, make boats so others can go paddling or Mark Abbott run events so others can go racing. While Richard Lee leaves the employment of Canoe Wales in December, to continue his studies at Bangor University, he will still be around on the river - you may catch a fleeting glimpse of a slalom kayak first thing in the morning at Canolfan Tryweryn or on Bala lake in the evening light – and on the river bank (either coaching or walking the dog with his family). That’s what canoeing does to you. Leaves you with stories, memories and moments. Work hard, expect nothing. Take responsibility, Enjoy yourself.

Ceufad

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9


in the flow

IN THE FLOW CAMPFIRE COOKING

Campfire Cooking is the latest publication from Pesda Press, in which Tim Gent shares his passion for cooking over an open fire. From gathering and preparing the wood, to kindling, lighting and tending the fire all aspects of campfire preparation are covered. Once the fire has been lit and the embers are glowing he moves onto cooking kit and techniques, finishing with a wide selection of mouth-watering recipes. The book is aimed at anyone who may want to cook over an open fire, whether that’s backpackers or canoeists, and Tim suggests different equipment lists and cooking techniques dependent on space and weight. As with Tim’s previous book the imagery is inspirational, and the book is packed with photos, useful information and recipes that you’ll want to cook tonight! Whether you are planning extended backwoods trips or simply an adventure with your children in the back garden, this book will be an invaluable companion. ISBN: 978-1-906095-61-1 RRP: £16.99 This is one of many titles published by Pesda Press that are available to buy at www.pesdapress.com Tim Gent shares his passion for cooking over an open fire. Gathering and preparing the fuel, lighting and tending the fire, cooking techniques and favourite recipes are all covered. Backpackers need to travel light whereas others can afford to take along more equipment in their vehicle or canoe. Tim caters for this and suggests different equipment lists and cooking techniques to cover the different approaches. Whether you are planning extended backwoods trips or simply an adventure with your children in the back garden this book will be an invaluable companion.

ISBN 9781906095611

9 781906 095611

www.pesdapress.com

CoverCampfireCooking.indd 1

PYRANHA RIPPER The Ripper takes the #FastIsFun ethos introduced by the 9R, and combines it with a playful stern for an extra dose of adrenaline. Standout features of the design are generous bow rocker for a dry ride, a highly surfable, supremely manoeuvrable planing hull, maximum waterline for exceptional downriver speed and easy attainments, plus the security of a full plate footrest and a complete array of security points and handles. With enough volume to take on all your favourite runs, in the Ripper you’ll be stern squirting out of eddies, dip turning around rocks, and soul surfing every wave... after all, kayaking is meant to be fun! www.pyranha.com

06/11/2017 10:16

ADVENTURE BEYOND COURSES All West Wales based: 29–30 Nov PLA 9–10 Dec White Water Kayak Leader Training 17–18 Jan WWSR 27–28 Jan White Water Kayak Leader Assessment 17– 18 Feb Canoe Leader Assessment For more details or to book email: fun@adventurebeyond.co.uk

INSTRUCTOR / GUIDE DEVELOPMENT COURSE Adventure Beyond are running an Instructor / Guide development course in Feb 2018. WHY ? Being very involved in the industry UK wide for over 20 years we have a great knowledge of what you would need to have a fun successful career in the outdoors. Our aim would be to develop you as a person to be some of the best instructors of the future and be othering you employment. There is a large need for experienced and qualified people to work in our area and plenty of work for the right people. WHAT WILL IT INVOLVE The below is an idea of the areas we can and hope to develop you in and ideally gain recognised certification in them. Water based – Coasteering guiding / Gorge walking guiding / Paddle sports – kayak inland and sea / Canoe/ SUP/ WWR. Land Based – Climbing/ Hill walking/ Additionally – 1st aid/ IOL practitioner / DofE gold THE CATCH We do have to charge for this course ! BUT if you are good you can earn some of the cost back when working for us during the season. THE COST £ 450 = £5400 for the course (per week) with accommodation, all you would need to do is supply your food £355 = £4260 (per week) with no accommodation POTENTIAL EARNINGS If you are good enough for the summer work then you could earn back what the course has cost you in the summer season, as we need a number of staff. For more details or to book email: fun@adventurebeyond.co.uk

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t’s been a year since I agreed to take on the role of Youth Development Officer at Croesyceiliog Canoe Club, nurturing the young ‘seeds’ at the club which supported my own growth as a paddler. Starting with a bunch of kids that were super keen but with no particular direction – other than a desire to pursue their kayaking dreams – I’ve tried to introduce them to as many paddlesport disciplines as possible, both competitively and recreationally. There have been opportunities to try out SUP, freestyle, slalom, sprint, flatwater races, and polo to name but a few. As a coach it’s fantastic to see this group of youngsters develop. Since our humble beginnings a mere year ago, no fewer than 21 of the juniors have represented the club in some way, shape or form, something of which I’m particularly proud. I’ve even managed to encourage many of their parents to participate in their first paddling events too! There’s definitely some talent there, but it’s also about having fun. “It’s great to see the kids supporting each other at events, they’ve all become such good friends.” A highlight of the year was the sizeable contingent of the club attending the Llandysul River Festival. This is a fabulous event, hosted by Llandysul Paddlers, who work tirelessly to put on a range of activities that appeal to everyone from 5 year olds to grandparents. Activities this year included coasteering, river swimming, rafting, and plenty of the usual kayaking and canoeing. A highly recommended paddling extravaganza! “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, so much so the kids have made sure the date is already in the diary for next year!” Another highlight has been the positive publicity for our sport. Through their own endeavours the Croesy kids have featured in paddling magazines and advertisements for paddling equipment, and even attracted sponsorship from manufacturers eager for future ambassadors of the sport.

Competitively, several of the juniors have progressed rapidly in the world of slalom, representing Wales at the Pan Celtic Games. The club boasts the current J12 ladies, veteran C1 & C2 Welsh champions. Supporting all this has been the invaluable coaching support from Seren Dwr at their weekly training sessions in Cardiff. “James has been buzzing with excitement since his first run down the whitewater course, he can’t wait for next week’s session!” The #Croesykids have been no less prominent on the freestyle scene with regular appearances at the Younguns Freestyle league - gaining notoriety and recognition for being one of the most active hotbeds of junior freestyle in the UK. As well as attending the local freestyle competitions in Cardiff. The newly formed discipline of BoaterX or extreme canoe slalom is possibly the next area of focus, and I expect this season’s local events will boast even more junior competitors, eager to stake their claims on the podium! Inspired no doubt by some of the local paddlers they’ve seen training for the recent ‘Sickline’ race. “As soon as I’m old enough, I’m entering Sickline and I’m going to win it!” The kids were keen to demonstrate their talents in front of one of their idols Bren Orton at the recent Paddle Jam event held at Cardiff International White Water Centre. He was very complimentary of their abilities and enthusiasm, giving the kids plenty of coaching in the time they spent on the water together. So one year on, what’s next for the Croesy kids? Already they have been to most of the whitewater facilities in the UK; and they’ve paddled on Thames weirs and rivers such as the Upper Dart, Tawe, and Ogmore… I guess the challenge for the next year will be to keep the momentum going, providing opportunities to try even more paddlesport disciplines. And most importantly of all, to help develop their potential to the max! Watch out, here come the #Croesykids! Justin Bunn

CROESY KIDS

Ceufad

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Q & A josh charles

Josh Charles loves a challenge. Whether it’s cycling 240km from North to South Wales in 3 days (twice), or trekking 105km in 5 days in the frozen Arctic regions of northern Sweden. If it’s outdoors, pushes his physical limits and raises money for charity he’s in. His next challenge is a circumnavigation of Wales, which he’ll be fitting in around his final year at university in Carmarthen, where he’s studying for a BA in Outdoor Adventure Education. Somehow he found time to step away from the studies and tidal planners to chat to Ceufad.

When did you start paddling? I’ve been paddling now for around 3 years and have completed the British Canoeing 4* training and coastal navigation, with the hope of passing assessment prior to the challenge. I originally started off paddling rivers and using the facilities at the Cardiff International White Water Centre. So you’ve moved from white water to sea? For the past year my love for sea kayaking has blossomed, partly down to the dynamic nature of the sea and coastal areas, as well as the broad beauty of the Welsh coastline and the spectacular wildlife that can be engaged with. The exploration opportunities that are part and parcel of sea kayaking have taken me to places I’d have likely never known existed from the cliffs above. What do your white water paddling friends think of that? I think sea kayaking is generally perceived as an older person’s paddling discipline. When I’ve asked friends and other paddlers about this the response I’ve received is that sea kayaking is ‘boring’, ‘lacks adrenaline’ or they feel intimidated by the vastness of the sea. I can’t comprehend the assumed lack of adrenaline and boredom, especially in bigger swell, tide races and surf, and during times where pods of dolphin pass by, or seals and seal pups nibble on your decklines. That’s what contributes to my love for sea kayaking!

Is this why you’ve chosen the Wales’ circumnavigation as your next challenge? The motivation behind this trip is partly based on the fact that I’ll be the youngest person to attempt/ achieve a full circumnavigation of Wales. From the records I’ve looked into for this challenge they have been set by much older paddlers. Besides being the youngest to attempt the circumnav I also thought it’d be a good way to celebrate graduating from uni and starting a new chapter in life. I mean what better way to do that than paddle around the beautiful country you grew up in and love, in the craft you love? I can’t think either... Who do you paddle with? I’m part of a group called Sea Kayak Cymru (SKC) and we paddle most weekends, in varying locations all around the south and west regions of the Welsh coastline. When I first pitched the idea that I wanted to attempt to be the youngest person to circumnavigate Wales they backed me fully and deemed it fantastic idea! Will any of them be joining you for the circumnavigation? For the duration of the trip I’ll be joined by my good friend Christopher Evans. Chris is a great paddler, is 4* sea kayak leader qualified, has been paddling for around 12 years and was a great persuader in getting me to convert to the so called ‘big boat league’ of sea kayaking. There has been word from my friends at SKC that some of them may join us on a leg of the trip, which would be welcomed! So Chris is another SKC paddler? Yes, but I first met him during one of the north to south bike rides and have trained for many events from half marathons to endurance cycling to triathlons ever since. When I mentioned that I wanted to be the youngest person to circumnavigate Wales Chris was right on board and said how he’d like to join me, as it’s a trip that he’s always wanted to do. It’s been very beneficial to have his input and help with the early stages of planning. We’ve met on multiple occasions to train, and discuss everything from daily

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distances, approximated time for the full trip, to the departure date and even factors such as the most effective food strategy to use. But one factor we both decided upon was that we really want to experience and see the full beauty of the Welsh coastline. Won’t ‘see[ing] the full beauty of the Welsh coastline’ add some extra distance? The plan is to follow the coast fairly close (when possible) so we get that optimal experience and see places that neither of us have paddled by before. It makes the overall trip distance a bit longer but that’s something we’re willing to sacrifice. So what’s the plan? From what we’ve worked out and discussed at this stage, the full circumnavigation is achievable in 21-25 days (weather/conditions dependent). We plan to set out at high water from Llantwit Major on the 15th of July 2018 heading west, with the intended destination for the first night being on the western side of Mumbles; a hearty 60km introduction to the trip. That’s pretty ambitious! Will you have any trip support? Family and friends have already expressed a willingness to help and support from the comfort of dry land in ways such as resupplying us with clean set of clothing midway through, food/supplies etc. 21-25 days is a lot of paddling – how are you going get physically prepared? During these winter months we plan on developing the fitness aspect of the challenge with regular 30km+ training paddles in the more sheltered estuaries and canals. Effectively getting the winter base miles in early (a technique used whilst training for cycling events).

And the trip logistics, there’s a bit of planning to do? We’ll complete extensive tidal planning, well as establishing our campsites, emailing companies and organisations to try and gain further support for this challenge, etc. So there’s still a fair amount of preparation and training to be done. So training, planning … hold on, aren’t you also in your final year at uni? Yes, so all this as well as graduating from university! Finding that balance between getting uni assignments submitted and training/planning for this trip has been a bit tricky so far, but I’ll make the most of any free time between assignments to work on trip preparation. Nothing too ambitious then! Thanks for taking the time to chat with Ceufad and good luck with the training, planning and assignments!

Ceufad

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Life Brian

The

of

Words: Paul ‘Cheesey’ Robertson Photos: Mark Boyd and Mark Aguirre Smith

O

ne week prior we’d hunkered down to wait out the majestic sounding Storm Aileen. This time the Met Office had settled on a moniker arguably better suited to a 70’s sitcom. As dawn broke on Day One of the 2017 Surf Kayak Worlds a storm raged. Brian was in town. At 8:00am the 20 minute hooter sounded signalling the start of the heats. Solid ten foot waves beat their unruly way onto the beach and for those who got out back the surf was all over the place. Over the next few hours, the RNLI jet skis had a field day. Flying around picking up boats that were missing paddlers and collecting paddlers who, after numerous beat downs were for the time being at least, keen to enjoy the feeling of dry land. It was a strong start to a World class surf comp. The decision to venture to Northern Ireland was made two years ago at the last World Championships in hot, sunny northern Spain. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that hosting an event on the cusp of winter in the North Atlantic does, if nothing else, require revising the kit bag and packing extra thermals. But teams and individuals travelled from around the World with 16 nations represented in total. From as far afield as Australia and Argentina to just across the water in Scotland, paddlers were lured easily by two of Ireland’s finest jewels – World class reef surfing and refreshing Guinness. Briefly to explain the formats, competitive surf kayaking is broken down into two categories. International class (IC), with boats over 3 meters without fins and having originally derived from slalom boats; essentially the traditional style. And High Performance (HP), which is pretty much as close to modern surf board performance as sitting down with a cockpit allows. Judging is subjectively done by an objectively chosen panel, who score based on: wave choice, take off position, how close the surfer is working to the breaking section of the wave (read most powerful), and the variety and critical level of manouvers done on the wave. At this level steep take offs, barrels, floaters, reentry turns and aerials are all on the cards. Paddlers compete in rounds of up to four people and have about twenty minutes, with the best two wave scores counting. At the World Championships there are categories for men and women, juniors, and for men; masters and grand masters. The comp has open and team categories, with teams coming from home nations and regions. All this adds up to a lot of surfing and with not that many hours of daylight to run it in, CANI, the organisers, had their work cut out.

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Despite the window of time chosen for the competition being one synonymous with storms and raging waves, the sea can be a fickle mistress. Like some sort of magic trick the venue, renowned for having some solid walls and superb sections, seemed to go from full-on to flat, in a flash. In the morning there would be surf superb; A frame peaks allowing the World’s best to fly. By the afternoon the waves were small enough for spectators to stand in the shallows next to competitors flailing like beached fish eeking out moves in knee high tremblers. It was hard going at times. However the cream as they say, always rises to the top. And although the sometimes smaller surf suited those whose weight would also let them ride in the next Grand National, the level of surfing was still World class. Early on it was clear that the Basque team would yet again be dominant. The lucky so-and-sos have excellent year-round conditions and a wellsupported coaching structure, getting the team together weekly so it was no surprise they had some brilliant performers. Taking heavy waves and surfing progressively, the standard of all Basque paddlers, men and women alike, is now impressively higher than just two years ago, with three of four HP finalists from the region. The Basque team had paddlers who went on to win, but Australia, or specifically an ex-pat from Newquay (sadly the Cornish one) quite literally flew. Eventually taking wins in three open categories Darren Bason was undoubtedly the surfer’s surfer of the championships. Although he very nearly didn’t make it onto the water, having had to take a saw to his boats to get them onto the plane. With competitors on and off the water all day and changes to schedules occurring, it was hard to keep track. Luckily as well as fielding a strong team of paddlers, Wales did well in their official supporter selections. With an established back row of flag bearing cheer and bringing in new blood up front to make sure the team were on time, our supporters made sure the Dragon was flying and warm clothes were ready when paddlers came off the water. With most of the team coming from West Wales, training at Newgale and Fresh West helped in the tricky beach break conditions. Along with time spent with professional surf board judge Tim Aylett, teaching what sort of moves would score well. The exception to this being our wildcard, Nathan Eades.

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Now living in Peru, home to some of the World’s best point breaks, he had done his best to find crap surf to prepare! Luckily for him Peru won the bid to host the next World’s so he can return to the good stuff. Progressing through the week the field was narrowed down. In the evenings Caleighs, film shows and bands laid on by CANI were enjoyed by large and lively crowds. Unlike domestic comps where you might paddle heats, quarters, semis and finals all in one day, this comp allowed paddlers more time. But you still needed to be warmed up, ready and focused. Having booked accommodation close to the break so you could head indoors, change and relax between sessions, made a lot of difference. Although between the two main houses occupied by the Welsh it was never resolved who made the best pasta. Finals were spread over two days; the open event followed by the teams. In the open Tim Thomas came away with silver in the IC category, the icing on the cake for him as his Ride boats were used by over half of all finalists. Welsh manufacturing at its best. CW director Paul Robertson took home two bronze positions in the master’s category, with Ewen Arkison coming fourth in the masters IC. For the team final the organisers decided to pack up the mobile judging hut and move venue to another beach. As Portrush is essentially a peninsular, this was all of a few hundred meters to the opposite strand and although a little messier, it meant bigger surf than the open finals, so the teams made the most of it. Team Wales equalled our result of 2015, taking the bronze position. Despite some top surfing and fully making use of our super sub, we narrowly missed out on second place to England – boo hiss! But at least they were squarely beaten by the dominant Basque team so everyone was naturally happy for them. And then, just like that, it was over for another two years… As the sun faded and dropped over the calm blue bay… no that’s made up. With rain setting in, competitors huddled at the


famous local landmark of the Giant’s Causeway, itself a thing of myth and legend, waiting to get back indoors for the awards and for many, a well-earned pint of the black stuff. As the wind whipped up the sea for a final time, it was also clear that Brian was also just about done. #WSKCPortrush Suffering a heart attack on the beach just days before the comp started, Californian kayak surf pioneer Dennis Judson sadly passed away. Allowed to leave hospital to watch the finals and attend the awards it’s no understatement to say the sport lost a legend. RIP

TEAM WALES Mens – Tim Thomas (2nd IC), Paul Robertson, Tom Iggledon, Paul Bramble, Nathan Eades Masters – Paul Robertson (3rd IC & HP), Ewen Arkison (4th IC), Huw Jones Ladies – Re Barnard, Rachel Wall, Frances Bateman Juniors – Loyd Jackson, Sam Hodgeson Manager – Andy Bailey.

OUR THANKS To the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland (CANI), for a job well done as of hosts. The World Surf Kayak Association (WSKA), for running the worlds. Canoe Wales, for their paddler support. Ride Kayaks, for the boats and team kit. Tim Aylett, for judging knowhow. Mums, dads, friends and loved ones, for all the rest.

GET INVOLVED The next World Championships will be hosted in July 2019 in Peru, organised by Welsh paddler Nathan Eades. It’s going to be all time! Kayaks Surf Wales host contests, training sessions, and coaching throughout the year and all are welcome – for details check on Facebook or Twitter.

IMAGES Thanks to super snappers Mark Boyd and Roger Aguirre Smith from the USA for some cool captures.

Ceufad | 17


COME UP ON

HOW IT ALL BEGAN Three years ago a small group of members of Haverfordwest Kayak Club, all keen to learn Greenland skills, started meeting on a Sunday morning at St Brides Haven Pembrokeshire. We were all sea kayakers and, for a variety of reasons, wanted to learn a roll which offered less stress on joints and muscles, and we’d found this in the Standard Greenland Roll. We supported, encouraged and coached each other and the HWKC Greenland Group was born! The majority of the group use Greenland Sticks exclusively and we continue to meet every Sunday morning for skills practice (weather permitting) whilst paddling on club trips whenever we can.

Article: Mer Taylor, HWKC Greenland Group

RUN UP TO THE WEEKEND At the beginning of 2017 it was decided to organise a weekend dedicated to Greenland Rolling and Paddling Skills, open to anyone who was interested, whatever their ability. The Scout Campsite at St Brides Haven seemed like an ideal choice for the venue, giving accommodation and beach access. The campsite was booked for the weekend of 15th - 17th September even though we didn’t quite know how the weekend would pan out.

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Then in June 2017, Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson (www.kayakways.net) were in Devon giving Greenlandic Intensive sessions. Three of the group members, Julie Drake, Mike and Mer Taylor, traveled to Devon to receive this world-renowned coaching. All 3 had worked with Cheri and Turner in previous years at workshops in Pembrokeshire. With the Greenland Weekend in mind (now given the name “Come Up On The Other Side” - a literal translation of the Inuit name for the Standard Greenland roll) we handed out leaflets for the weekend to other participants. Amazingly, a couple from Cornwall, who had had lots of coaching from Cheri and Turner, offered to coach at the weekend. This was such a boost. Outside coaches offering to pass on skills and Cheri and Turner were delighted to endorse them - amazing! Fired up, we returned to Pembs and set about finalising plans.

THE WEEKEND

THE OTHER SIDE

T

he weekend of 15th to 17th September saw a unique event for Wales’ kayaking calendar take place in St Brides Haven, Pembrokeshire. Members of Haverfordwest Kayak Club ran the weekend to introduce Greenland traditional paddling and rolling skills to kayakers from across the UK. The traditional Greenland Sticks, unlike the modern euro paddles, are as the name implies, long and narrow. They are energy efficient, ideal for paddling long distances at sea. The rolling techniques are also energy efficient, using body position and not muscle power to roll a capsized kayak. These techniques put less strain on the body. The use of Traditional Sticks is growing and 26 people from all over the UK attended this first “Come Up On The Other Side” weekend.

We advertised the weekend to other local clubs and put details on HWKC Facebook page. Amazingly, the first person to sign up was from the Midlands! Jen is a kayaker and a frequent visitor to Pembrokeshire but didn’t roll. She had watched some of our Sunday morning sessions and had thought, “I could do that” - and she did!! We had people sign up from Cornwall, Manchester, Liverpool as well as Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire. Some came with no experience of Greenland Sticks or Greenland Rolls; others came with some experience and wanting to develop new skills. Some were kayaking beginners, others had years of kayaking behind them. Whoever they were, absolutely everyone gained an amazing amount from the weekend and our coaches, Dirk Sanders and Rachel Kehoe, members of Falmouth Canoe Club, seemed to bring a touch of magic to the weekend with people achieving new rolls - not just the Standard Greenland Roll but Butterfly Rolls, *Norsaq Rolls and Hand Rolls. With 26 kayakers, split into 2 groups on the water, Dirk and Rachel were able to move around and give individual attention to everyone. Each day started with warm up exercises and


land-based drill to prepare us for the water sessions. Mike and Julie ran sessions each day on paddling with a Greenland Stick. Mike makes Greenland Paddles and at the end of the weekend had orders from people who were keen to develop their skills with one. The campsite, set in an old walled orchard, was idyllic even if the weather wasn’t! That might be an understatement as the rain on Friday and Saturday nights was torrential! It was a very windy, wet weekend but this didn’t diminish anyone’s enthusiasm. The 2 cottages on site offered a refuge from the weather, log fires, area for watching DVD’s of Greenland Rolling, socialising, sharing evening meals and eating LOTS of cake (all accompanied by a very fat resident mouse downstairs and a bat upstairs)!!! Happily, everyone was dry in their tents or vans and those learning paddling technique went off to Dale for a more sheltered experience. It was very windy but St Brides Haven offered enough shelter for the rolling workshops.

SUMMARY Everyone asked if we were doing this again next year and, given its success, we think that’s a definite “Yes.” Comments from those attending: “A wonderful weekend, full of fun, achievement, inspiration.” Emma L “Fantastic tutors and their patient, incremental methods I didn’t know what to expect on the weekend apart from paddling with bits of wood and trying to roll/not drown. We (my non-paddling wife and son and me) found the place and all you folks a pleasure to be around - friendly, laid back and passionate about kayaks. We will certainly come again next year.” Paul G “Though aching I’ve enjoyed the weekend so much.” Joe S Friendships were forged, skills developed and Greenland techniques introduced to more paddlers. Roll on next September!! In the mean time, if you’re interested in knowing more, you can contact us on HWKC Facebook page or email upsidedown_ outsidethebox@outlook.com We’ll be happy to hear from you. * The norsaq is used as a tool to accelerate the hunter’s harpoon. It is also used to aid in rolling. Hence it’s alternative name “Rolling stick”.

Ceufad | 19


INTERVIEW

LOWRI DAV Lowri Davies is our newest Director – being elected to the Board at the September AGM. A Welsh girl through and through she brings with her some impressive boating credentials – gold medals in the British and European freestyle championships, podium finishes in most of Europe’s extreme races, and first descents in Mongolia and Georgia. She’s also a BC Level 5 coach and owner and head coach at FlowFree Kayak Coaching. Somehow she managed to find time to chat to Ceufad while in transit to the World Freestyle Champs in Argentina…

Thanks for taking a break to answer these questions! The most obvious one first –why (and when) did you get into paddling? My parents paddled, so I saw them doing it and it looked fun. York Canoe Club (YCC) were instrumental in getting me started and hooked on white water. As for when… I’ve been paddling since I was about 14. That’s more than half of my life… What made you get into competition? In YCC, freestyle wasn’t really something different to generally paddling white water. We all had playboats of the day (Inazones, Redlines, Storms, 007s and Dominatrixes), and paddled everything in them, from local creeks to Scottish waterfalls. When there was a wave or a good eddyline, we stopped and flailed about trying to pull the tricks we saw in the VHS videos we watched on repeat. We saw there was a “Peak Challenge” event coming to our local WW course, Teesside, and went along. It was amazing fun and I met some of my heroes, who were really encouraging. Sam Ellis and I were encouraged to go GB Freestyle Team selections that year. We both made the team as juniors for the World Championships in Sort. The rest is history!

Photo:Haley McKee

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Not long after winning the 2006 Euros you set up FlowFree Kayak Coaching. When did you see coaching as a career? I went to University in Aberystwyth and did a Software Engineering Masters. While there, I was heavily involved with the canoe club and did a lot of coaching and leading. My course involved an industrial year, in which I worked for IBM in Hursley, near Southampton. It just so happened that I won the 2006 European Championships the week before I started that placement. A few months later I was also selected to go on the British Universities Kayak Expedition to Siberia and Mongolia. Despite IBM providing a perfectly good placement, with interesting work, nice colleagues and perks such as flexitime… I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to spend the biggest chunk of my life doing. I set up FlowFree with my brother upon my return to Uni and built up the business, my experience and my qualifications while finishing my Masters. What’s your proudest coaching moment? Oh my, that’s a tough one! I’ve had so many. The most memorable ones are when people overcome their fears or preconceptions, and/or I am able to help open the door to a big long term change in their paddling, coaching or even wider life.


VIES Photo: Peter Holcombe

Proudest paddling moment? Winning the European Championships is pretty hard to beat, but there’s been some cool first descents and epic days of exploring the rivers of South America that have challenged me and I’m proud of how I took them on. The days that stick in my mind usually involve having a massive smile on my face and sharing that moment with good friends. Any moments you’d choose to forget about (that are printable!!!) Many! Mostly, if I’d rather forget it, I probably already have. OK, I’ll throw you a bone. I was demoing how easy a line was on the Soca to a group of kids from school canoe club. My 2 litre bottle of water bounced out of the central pillar strap and rolled to one side of my boat as I landed a drop on edge. I flipped over, then failed every roll attempt as the bottle acted as a counter weight rolling about in my boat. I swam to cheers and faces of horror from the kids. Their response was a mixture of “I’m not doing that, it made Lowri swim!” and “Oh, so that’s the worst that happens, that’s OK then…”

Thanks for sharing that! It seems like competing and coaching keep you pretty busy [the weekend of the AGM where Lowri was elected she was at HolmePierre Pont - winning the British Champs and European Open]. What made you become a CW Director? I’m a strong believer that you shouldn’t complain about something without doing something to change it, if the possibility is there for you to do so. There have been times in the past that Canoe Wales has been led down paths I felt were detrimental to the organization, and the sport within Wales. So, I’m stepping forward to be part of what I see as being a wave of change across both Canoe Wales and British Canoeing. Fresh blood, positive vision and good people from a variety of backgrounds

getting involved to shape the future. It is important to me that the board reflects as much of the membership demographic as possible: recreation and competition; coaching and clubs; professionals and volunteers; North and South; male and female¬¬. I think I can help broaden that make-up, especially by being a voice from North Wales in an otherwise entirely South Wales based board. What direction/changes/developments would you like to see made to Canoe Wales? I would like CW to be actively promoting the real fun of paddling; and for the paddlers within Wales to feel they have an organisation there for them with the same love of paddling that they enjoy.

Photo:Haley McKee

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2018 EVENTS: ASK ANGLESEY SEA SYMPOSIUM CF CANOEFEST (HAY ON WYE) MW MAWDDACH PADDLESPORT FESTIVAL GC GEMAU CYMRU TF TRYWERYN FEST LRF LLANDYSUL RIVER FESTIVAL CPF CIWW PADDLEFEST MRR MONTGOMERY RAFT RACE TT TEIFI TOUR LOCATION: WORLD SURF CHAMPS, IRELAND PHOTO: ROGER AGUIRRE SMITH


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LOCATION: RIVER WYE PHOTO: MAL GREY

LOCATION: WORLD FREESTYLE CHAMPS, ARGENTINA PHOTO: PETER HOLCOMBE


FUEL THE PADDLING MACHINE Article: Dave Janes

Fuelling ourselves during a day out paddling we can often rely on the easy £3 meal deal. Our bodies are our vehicles; we need to eat and drink to keep the engine running. We can all recount experiences when we have had ‘low energy level’ and have become ‘hangry’, cold, anxious, had a decrease in concentration and coordination. Some or all of this combined will lead to a decrease in performance, with potentially dire consequences. I have been training seriously for Adventure Races and triathlons for the past few years, and I want to share with you what I have learned through this first-hand experience and my extensive research. Working as an expedition guide and full-time paddling athlete I have seen that nutrition makes or breaks our experiences. That said, everyone is different. Not just in the way that as paddling enthusiasts we are naturally a little bit ‘different’, but that what works for one may not work for all. The following is what I have found works for me, and I hope you use this information as a basis to experiment for yourself.

PRO TIP

“All previous DW winners have used different nutrition strategies, some just gels and some just natural simple foods. Take time to find out what works for you.” ROB KING. 4 time DW finisher and expert DW and Marathon Coach

WHAT WE NEED

HYDRATION

When it comes to a long day paddling, we need to start with full energy stores. It can take up to 48 hours for the body to convert the food we have eaten into useable energy. So while I’m not suggesting that we need to ‘carb load’ before every day paddling, we can ensure that we consume regular amounts of carbohydrate throughout the day preceding our paddling trip. After about 2 hours of ‘exercise’ our stores will start to become depleted and the energy going to our muscles and brain will reduce. It is key that we replenish what we have used sooner rather than later and not wait until after that difficult surf landing to lunch, or use lunch as our treat for a hefty portage. Burning the fuel is not going to start when we get on the water, but everything leading up to us getting on the river – changing, unloading, shuttling and getting to the water - are all using up our energy. In one hour of activity we should aim to consume between 30-50g of carbohydrate. For context, when I race Ironman triathlon I need to consume 70-90g hourly. In simple terms that equates to either:

We should all be aware of the importance of proper hydration. Our muscles are almost 70% water so if we are short on fluids we will start to feel it. A rough amount to work off is between 500ml and 1lt of water per hour, sipped at leisure. However, if we over- or underhydrate this will affect the balance of the electrolytes we need to transport glucose around the blood stream. A lot of our 3050g of carbohydrates won’t make it to our muscles. Too much water, and we dilute what we have; too little, our body can’t handle so we urinate out what we can’t use. I don’t suggest we all go out and spend on fancy sports drinks, some orange squash will be enough to maintain what we lose through sweat.

• 2 sports gels • 2 bananas • 8 Jelly Babies • A chunk of flapjack • 1 Mars Bar • 100g of dried apricot • 5 Jaffa Cakes

THE PRICE OF CONVENIENCE What will ring true for most of us is our Special Value Meal Deal probably doesn’t do the job. Mine picked up today contains a chicken salad sandwich, a packet of cheese and onion crisps and a small bottle of orange juice. Looking specifically at the carbohydrate content, as that is the good stuff we need to perform to our best: we have on offer 46.4g in the sandwich, 17.1g in the crisps and 26.8g in the juice, a total of 90.3g. Although a substantial lunch on days in the office, using our country’s most popular quick lunch may not sustain our performance for a whole day.

This is a lot of food especially if we add up a full days paddling.

CARBOHYDRATES – A DEEPER LOOK Although in very simple terms we need carbohydrates to perform on the water, carbohydrates can also be split up into the categories “slow” and “fast.” Slow carbohydrates raise your blood sugar levels at a gradual pace and give

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your body a steady stream of fuel. Fast carbohydrates enter your bloodstream at a fast pace and cause your blood sugar to spike and dip. The simplest and most accurate difference between the two is the sugar content. If you feel the dentist won’t approve then its safe to say it’s a fast carbohydrate. The trick to all of this is being able to understand these basics and match our carbohydrate intake to our activities. Simply put, the harder we work the more energy we need and the sooner we need to replenish it making regular intakes of fast carbohydrates appropriate. There are a few simple ways to determine if we are in need of fast carbohydrates or not - see below. This can be either sustained efforts or quick bursts of energy but recognising that we are using more of our precious carbohydrates is going to be the key to unlocking the nemesis rapid at the end of the day or give us the juice to make the long drive back home. This level of energy exertion isn’t reserved for hard-core white water paddlers but applies to all of us in what we do. Whether it’s a few quick bursts to catch a wave on our favourite downwind paddle, the adrenaline of dropping into the Serpents Tail on the Dee for the first time or even the heightened stress of having to deal with a rescue late in the day. Having some energy ready to go when it’s needed is key to maximising our safety and performance on the water.

TACTICS Finishing the day with a full store of energy may seem an absurd idea, but it puts us in the best shape to deal with occurrences at the end of the day, and even the day after and the day after that. Expeditions and multi-day courses or paddling holidays rely on what you have stored the day before. If you ever have the joy of a WWSR course I can guarantee the afternoon of the second day is more like a nursery after lunch than a paddlesports safety course, and this mostly stems from finishing the day before running on empty. When we eat is more important than what we eat. This relies on some good planning and maybe making up our packed food the day before in order not to be rushed in the morning. The idea of snacking and grazing throughout the day with maybe a slightly larger snack or hot soup at lunch will allow us to take on the amount of carbohydrates we need without feeling heavy-stomached. Putting in some thought and creativity into our river food can

allow us to get away from the convenient expensive foods with little extra than the specified carbohydrates and some crazy chemicals, and open us up to the world of home-prepared and cooked snacks. Not only better for us nutritionally but nicer on our wallets allowing us some spare cash to spend on our non paddling spouse or, more than likely, the latest shiny offering in your local kayak shop.

PRO TIP

“I always keep snacks on me so I can eat regularly and keep my energy levels topped up.” LIZZIE NEAVE. Former World Champion and Olympic Slalom Paddler. Rafting World Champion

WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW? So, we are all different, needing different types and amounts of carbohydrates at different times. When you next go out paddling try to take a measurement of your heart rate at differing times. If your heart rate exceeds that calculated in step 2 you are working at 65% or more of your maximum heart rate and intake of some fast carbohydrates may be required. 1. Before you go paddling calculate your estimated maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 2. Multiply your estimated maximum heart rate by 0.65. 3. When paddling, measure your heart rate at different times by taking your pulse for 6 seconds and multiplying it by 10.

PRO TIP

“As a leader if I eat too much for lunch, soon after my ability to paddle hard and rescue if needed are reduced because I feel sick.” LEO HOARE. Multiple Level 5 Coach and BC Coach Educator

Record your results and it may be enlightening to see the spikes in our exertion throughout the day. With some results we can begin to make more informed decisions regarding the type of our nutrition. For me personally my heart rate shoots up and down all day long so I try to match my nutrition with enough slow and fast carbohydrates. The world of homemade trail mix is a simple, quick and variable snack for us all. Here are the contents of my trail mix for a normal day out on the water. 2 handfuls of Granola Cereal 1 handful of Puffed Rice 1 handful of Dried Mango 1 Handful of Dried Pineapple 1 Handful of Peanut M&Ms This I normally include with some soup or warm stodge in a flask and a bread roll or two. This works for me and I can make up a week’s worth of river snacks in sandwich bags so I start the day prepped ready to rock and roll. When you discover what nutrition works for you, stick to it and you should see instant results in performance on those long Welsh days out we all love.

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GOLD RUSH FREESTYLE WORLD CHAMPS 2017

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Words: Ceufad Photos: Peter Holcombe

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In November 160 of the world’s best paddlers gathered in San Juan, Argentina for the Freestyle World Champs. Athletes from 27 nations were there to compete for 7 titles, and team GB was one of the main contenders, with defending squirt World Champion Claire O’Hara and K1 Euro Open Champion (and Welsh paddler!), Lowri Davies. And they had to throw it down on a feature that (allegedly) played to the strengths of the British paddlers... Described as a ‘beautiful mixture of Nottingham’s inlet gate and the troll hole’, the championship feature was in the White Water Park on the Rio San Juan, 18 miles from the city. This World Championship hole soon gained some paddling admirers, with defending C1 and K1 World Champ Dane Jackson predicting that someone would crack the magical 2000 point barrier at this event. However, this popularity meant that in the training sessions the rides (and queues!) were getting longer, with up to a 30 minute wait between rides. To beat the wait (and the heat) Team GB became nocturnal – training at night when it was quiet and cool. So, would all their nocturnal activity pay-off, and would they bring home the goods?

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DAY 1

First up was the Squirt comp, where British paddler Claire O’Hara was favourite to take the title, having dominated the event for the past decade, winning the last 4 world titles. However, the challenging squirt venue meant that paddlers were gong to have to be creative with their rides, with no significant seam for the high scoring mystery move. In the men’s event two British paddlers were on the podium, with Alex Edwards taking silver and David Rogers winning bronze. The win went to American paddler Clay Wright, who took his third squirt world title, exactly 20 years after he’d won his first! Despite the challenging venue the 50-year-old performed a 20 second mystery move, which pretty much secured his world title. In the women’s event, although Claire O’Hara had dominated the early stages, in the final round Japan’s Hitomi Takaku moved into the lead, leaving Claire to score close to 1000 with the last run of the competition to take gold. By her own admission her final ride was falling to pieces, and it looked like she’d lost her opportunity. But she pulled it together, producing a score of over 1000 and retaining what she described as her hardest world title.

DAY 2

Following on from the success in the squirt, the British juniors were next on the water. In the K1 junior women, Ottilie Robinson-Shaw produce two excellent runs, qualifying for the semi-finals in second place, just under 100 points behind defending champion and favourite American Sage Donnelley. Fellow British athlete Maya-Ray Cross just missed out on the semi-finals, finishing eighth overall. In the K1 junior men’s event, three British athletes qualified for the semi-finals – Alex Walters, Harry Price and Matthew Stephenson, with Alex matching Ottilie’s second place success.

DAY 3

Britain’s success continued into the K1 men’s senior preliminaries, with Gavin Barker closing in on the 2000 point ceiling and qualifying second behind USA’s Dane Jackson. Fellow Brits Robert Crowe and Alan Ward also qualified, finishing in fifth and sixth overall, with Charlie Brackpoll finishing 16th.

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DAY 4

The British K1 women had a cracking start to their event, with 4 out of 5 athletes qualifying for the quarterfinals. Welsh paddler Lowri Davies put in a strong performance finishing 9th, with Islay Crosbie just outscoring her to qualify in eighth. Squirt world champ Claire O’Hara finished in 11th and Nicky Beeby in 19th. Heidi Walsh narrowly missed out on a spot, finishing in 22nd with 330 points. James Ibbotson was the only British athlete to get through to the C1 men’s semifinals, narrowly taking tenth place.

DAY 5

After a strong performance in the prelims, it was looking good for GB’s Robert Crowe and Gavin Barker in the K1 men’s quarterfinal. Robert Crowe put in a storming run to qualify for the final just behind Dane Jackson. Gavin Barker narrowly missed out on a spot in the final, finishing in sixth place. In the K1 women’s Claire O’Hara progressed into Saturday night’s final in first place, putting her on track to win her second world title of the event. Joining her in the final five was Islay. Lowri made it to the semifinals, finishing tenth overall.

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Ottilie Robinson-Shaw was the only British athlete to qualify for the K1 women’s junior final, comfortably finishing in second. Alex Walters and Harry Price continued the British success – qualifying for the finals in second and third respectively.

DAY 6

The finals started with the K1 women’s junior event, with GB’s Ottilie Robinson-Shaw taking an early lead over defending champion Sage Donnelly. Ottilie had a nervous wait while the other competitors took their final run, but they couldn’t match her score and she took her first world championship title at just 16. A good start to the day for Team GB! In the K1 men’s junior event, two more medals went to the Brits, with Alex Walters claiming silver and Harry Price winning bronze. The title went to French teenager Tom Dolle. Dane Jackson was chasing another C1/K1 double, and his campaign started with the C1 finals. He scored 1210 with his first ride, which remained undefeated, securing the title for Dane. France’s Sebastien Devred took second, and Czech Lukas Cervinka bronze.


With one world title under his belt Dane was the favourite going into the men’s K1 final, and he led the competition for the first two rounds. But it wasn’t to be, with Spain’s Joaquim Fontane posting the highest score, taking the title and denying Jackson the double. Jackson took silver and France’s Sebastien Devred won bronze. Brit Robert Crowe narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing fourth with a score of 1295. Dane wasn’t the only athlete chasing a double world title – GB’s Claire O’Hara had already taken gold in the squirt and had a second title in her sights in the K1. She dominated the final, setting a new world record highest score of 925 points, which her competitors couldn’t match. This was the third time she’d ‘done the double’ and was her tenth world championship title, which established her as the greatest female freestyle kayaker. Fellow Brit Islay Crosbie missed out on a medal after finishing fifth in the same event. France’s Marlene Devillez finished second and Japan’s Hitomi Takaku third. At the end of the event 7 World Champions had been crowned – 3 of who were British! And we weren’t just top of the podium – we were also top of the medal leaderboard, with 7 medals in total (3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze). This was Britain’s most successful freestyle world champs to date, and establishes the team as the ones to beat. With the Euros up next, hopefully we can top the podium and medal leaderboard again!

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POWERING UP A TRA Keep this a secret between us, but when I’m not in a kayak I actually spend a fair bit of time paddling a canoe! You could even go so far as to say that I like it nearly as much as kayaking! Having coached a lot of canoeists on the water too, I find one skill paddlers regularly have an issue with is getting their boat up to speed quickly and effectively. I’m not talking about paddling as hard as you can for long periods of time or breaking any speed records, but being able to change up a gear when you need to charge into that eddy, catch a surf wave or make a challenging ferry glide. With canoes (and their owners) coming in a wide array of styles, shapes and sizes, it is challenging to present a “one size fits all” technique, but many of the key components are similar and could be adapted to a range of craft. The boat I’ve used for the demonstration is a 15ft Venture Prospector traditional canoe. Some people might call the technique described here a “power-pry” others might call it something else, as with most canoe techniques they are often have a variety of names. I find myself being less focused nowadays on what a stroke is called in canoe and more on being effective at making my boat go where I want it to, using a range of appropriate techniques applied at the right time! Let’s start with the some of the key components that will generally make this a whole lot easier. Get yourself on a kneeling thwart as that will generally make things much more comfortable than kneeling over a seat. It will also mean that your trim is likely to be balanced and you will be better connected to the boat. It will also help if you either use kneepads or have some foam under your knees too. Not only will this make it more comfortable but when we start generating some force our knees will stay where they are and we won’t end up sliding down the boat and out of position. We now need to get in a good position to actively engage that body. Sit up straight and rotate your whole body towards the side that you are going to paddle on, this includes moving where you have placed your knees too. I tend to have one knee somewhere around the centre line of the boat and my other knee pushed out to the side that I am rotated towards. Doing this will make it easier to use your body through the stroke and will also make it easier to have a vertical paddle stroke to create more driving force. Now you’re set up its time to create some momentum!

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POSITION Reach forwards with your leading shoulder (you right shoulder if you are paddling on the right as in the photos) rotate your body and plant that paddle in the water. At this point try not to overreach as your paddle will go closer to horizontal and you’ll end up pulling down on the water (creating a lifting, rather than driving effect on the canoe). Make sure that paddle is planted vertically and is close to the side of the boat and that that the blade is fully submerged. As your canoe may be curved at the sides take care not to just simply plant it next to the gunnel. This might mean you actually place it slightly away from the side of the boat. Doing this will help to make sure that you create directional momentum rather than turning the boat

POWER Now it’s time to put the power on! Using your core muscles rather than your arms, drive that boat forwards by rotating your trunk towards the side that you are paddling on. (Think about the position of the paddle being fixed and that you’re moving the boat past it.) As you’re doing this keep the paddle vertical until it reaches your hips. When you are putting the power on you should be transferring the power through your knees and body into the boat, helping you to be more efficient.

PAUSE Once we have completed the power phase we allow our paddle blade to move past our hips and bring our blade into a position similar to a stern rudder. Depending on how you might usually do a stern rudder, this might actually look slightly different. I am going to allow the paddle to jam up against the side of the boat, because in the next phase I am going to use the boat to pry off. To be clear, this isn’t a “J stroke”, the thumb on my T-grip hand is pointing up (unlike when It points down in a “J”) and if you are used to mainly paddling using a “J” you might feel like this is a step back. Trust me, it’s not and you’ll have your canoe flying forwards in no time.


CHRIS BRAIN

AD CANOE

Chris has been kayaking, canoeing and coaching for the last 15 years and runs his own business Chris Brain Coaching, delivering paddlesport coaching, safety and rescue courses and REC first aid training. Chris would like to thank Pyranha kayaks and Venture Canoes, Palm Equipment, VE Paddles and Go Kayaking for their continued support. chris@chrisbraincoaching.com www.chrisbraincoaching.com

PRY With your paddle blade fully submerged and wedged against the side of the boat, it is time to do a little bit of steering, but not to the degree that we might do if we are at a gentle cruising speed. We can use the side of the boat and the gunnel to lever off a little and I typically do that by pulling my front (T-grip) hand across my body a little. When we do this phase correctly it should feel more like a little dab rather than a long graceful correction (as we might do when we are cruising on a canal, etc.). The time spent in this phase is much shorter than we would normally have for a correction.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING … and repeat… ! Due to the fact that we are trying to generate a burst of speed here, our momentum generating “power pry” typically takes a bit less time than our average forward stroke. We also put a lot more energy into it and to make the magic happen we need to probably use about 4 of these to get our boat shifting. Once up to speed, we might go back to using our regular forward stroke (J-stroke etc.), as it would be tiring to try and sustain that level of power for long. We should also aim to use this technique tactically at selected moments, rather than all of the time, for example when we are trying to create lateral speed across the river or getting onto a surf wave. If you’re not sure if it’s working, get someone to film or photograph you. If the photos come out blurry, then you must be creating some serious momentum!

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FINDING GINO Words: Pete Catterall & Vicky Barlow Photos: Pete Catterall

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The history of kayaking dates back hundreds of years to Greenland, where kayaks made from driftwood and sealskins were used for hunting and travel. The kayak was thought be to be unknown outside of the Inuit community until a young British explorer named Gino Watkins visited Greenland in the 1930’s. During his time with the Inuit he learned to kayak and is widely thought of as the man who brought us the sport of kayaking. Sadly Gino never returned from his second Greenland expedition, and his fate remains unknown. In recognition of his achievements a memorial was built at his last known campsite, in a remote place on the east coast of Greenland.

Given Gino’s contribution to kayaking, when Doug and Lara Cooper invited us to join them and Peak UK frontman Pete Astles on an expedition to Gino’s memorial we couldn’t say no! We’ve been together on trips and expeditions before, and seem to make a good team. With just each other for company for 17 days, getting along well is high on the expedition priority list! The 12 months between their initial invite and heading off to Greenland disappeared in a blur of planning, buying new kit, prepping food, sorting logistics and gaining information on the ice pack and weather. Before you could say ‘pogies’ we were off, heading away from the British summer and its ‘warmth’ to the land of ice, ice and more ice! The journey to Greenland took us via Reykjavík, Iceland or as we now call it Reck-ya-wallet, courtesy of €50 for 5 beers! After re-mortgaging our house to pay for dinner we flew out of Iceland and onto Kulusuk, on the east coast of Greenland. And this was a flight that we’d never forget. As we approached Greenland the pilot announced that we had some spare time and that he was going to take the scenic route to the landing strip. This took us along the coast, up berg-studded fjords and over the ice-bound peaks of the icecap. Not only was this a spectacular introduction to Greenland, it also provided a bird’s eye view of the route we were hoping to paddle. Thank you Iceland Air! And although there were blue skies and calm waters, there was also tightly packed sea ice along the northern route that we were hoping to paddle. From our aerial viewpoint the passage looked impassable… however, it would be 7 or 8 days before we’d reach that point and a shift in the wind direction could carry the ice clear of the coast. We crossed our fingers as we flew towards Kulusuk.

Arriving in Kulusuk we were greeted by a super efficient luggage service (it was dumped in a big pile by the edge of the landing strip), and by a blast of cold Arctic air. It may have been August but the warmth of the summer sun was severely depleted this far north! We slung our gear and headed off on a boat to Tasilak, a small town perched above a bay full of icebergs, and beneath a ridge of 1000m peaks. This was what we had come for! We spent the day sorting and packing gear, then unpacking to check that we’d really packed it. With a brief interlude for some Polar bear protection advice from Keith Hampton and Mike Devlin. They had just finished their trip and we were hot-boating with them. As the sun dipped briefly below the mountains we were packed and ready for a 17-day sea kayak trip of a lifetime. Day one started with a boat ride; we squeezed our kayaks and kit onto a small fishing boat and spent six hours alternating between staring at the amazing scenery and nudging the captain awake. The journey really helped us get a feel for the region and what we were in for, with eagle-eyed Lara spotting a huge humpback whale just metres from our boat! Our dozing captain dropped us off, and motored off into the distance. The silence drifted in and we are alone, just a small team with all our food and equipment squeezed into our P&H Scorpios surrounded by a vast wilderness of mountains and ice. The first few days on the water were spent readjusting our perspective. The air quality was so good and the scenery so gargantuan that everything looked a lot closer than it actually was. Paddling towards the Kund Rasmusun Glacier it seemed to be a couple of kilometres away, but was actually closer to 15km. This became quite

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a good guessing game throughout the trip. It was slightly surreal being able to see such detail from so far away – like upgrading to binocular vision! The conditions were clear and calm, and it was fantastic paddling. Camping was on any flat bit of tundra that would hold 3 tents, which sometimes involved lugging the kit quite a way. On the second night we had carried it high above the fjord to a spot overlooking the Kund Rasmusun Glacier and were sitting drinking tea when the glacier started calving. The face split directly in front of us, a massive iceberg pulling loose, booming and exploding as it rolled, sending a 6ft tidal wave down the fjord. This was our first episode of ‘Greenland TV’ which we watched every night, and there were some equally impressive episodes! One of the most surprising things about the fjords was the noise – the icebergs were constantly fizzing, cracking and popping, a nonstop orchestra of sound. The slightly larger pops and occasional booms had you looking round to see which iceberg was on the move. With such clear air the sound travelled exceptionally well! On day 4 we were greeted with a thick sea fog. We were heading for the (very) small Inuit village of Sermiligaaq, and hugged the edge of the fjord to keep our bearings. As we paddled along the fog receded, first revealing the mountain peaks, then the rocky shores and finally the mirror-like water. It was a pretty impressive start to the day. Sermiligaaq was a very rustic place with a shop and few houses, but as always very friendly locals. The kids wanted to try our gear on and sit in the kayaks, and I couldn’t help thinking that the adults thought we were mad for using a style of craft that they had abandoned years ago in favour of an outboard engine! It was like sea kayaking was a new thing!

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From Sermiligaaq the plan was to start our journey north up the more exposed coastline to find Gino’s memorial. It was at this point that we’d see the ice and know if our plan was a goer or not. After buying a few treats to top up our supplies we paddled round a small headland to start north. Unfortunately we didn’t get far. The sea ice we had seen from the plane was still really packed in. We zigzagged through to a landing spot with a vantage point. If we could get high maybe we would see if the water was clear further north. It wasn’t. It was ice as far as we could see. Doug checked the weather to see of there was any sign of a northerly wind that might get the ice moving but there was nothing in the forecast. So plan A was out of the question. However, although this was our main objective we weren’t too disappointed as the stable weather meant clear skies and no wind, and it wasn’t as if there was nowhere else to paddle! Plan A was re-worked and we decided to head south, to link up the 2 big paddling areas in this part of Greenland. As we paddled off towards clearer water we heard the sound of a humpback whale blowing out as it surfaced just to our side. And then the distinctive black arch rolling through the water. We knew we were still on for a great trip! The plan was to paddle from Sermiligaaq through the network of fjords, visiting a few more small villages, and get up close to the Greenland icecap. We’d finish back in Talisak in 12 days. The scenery continued to amaze as we paddled across wide fjords, along narrow channels and even surfed on a perfect green wave! Mountain ridges towered above us, with glaciers hanging high up amongst them. Towering rock spires, hidden bays, and vast amounts of icebergs, which are like snowflakes – every one is different and equally beautiful … well apart from the ones that are streaked grey with morain and dirt, they’re not so pretty!

We fell into the evening ritual of finding a campsite, sorting gear and putting up tents. We even developed a campsite rating system based on how many thumbs Doug held up when he was out reccie-ing. Most nights we were treated to a ‘Doug-double-thumbs’ campsite. Because of bear activity in the area we cooked away from the tents, stored food in the boats overnight, and set up a perimeter trip wire alarm. However, the only things to trip it were the superinquisitive Arctic foxes, who seemed to enjoy chewing the wire… and Pete’s socks! These initially very cute creatures quickly turned into ‘little sh*ts’ or at least that’s what Lara called them as they tripped the alarm for a third time! Most days were pretty calm, but occasionally we were treated to a few hours of strong headwind, which meant you were either frozen as you sat in the Arctic blast or boiling as you paddled hard against it! Sometimes it was a triple thermal day, others a rashie and BA! It was a harsh, beautiful unspoiled wilderness. Speaking of the unspoiled wilderness… Until the 1940’s and WWII the Inuit people hadn’t encountered war or violence between communities. Their first encounter was when the ruling Danes were being attacked by Germans during WWII. Because of the strategic value for flying anti-submarine patrols over the N Atlantic, the US Army air corps built the Bluie East Two airbase near to Ikatek. This included a 1.5km runway, hangers, dozens of vehicles and over 20’000 oil barrels. The majority of which were abandoned at the end of the war. A visit to the airbase is quite surreal, as it’s both amazing to see the rusted vehicles and the history, but heart-breaking to see the pollution that’s still evident over 70 years later. The vehicles and buildings are rusting into the ground and oil seeping out of split and abandoned barrels. A ugly scar on a pristine landscape.

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The next bit of civilisation was Tiniteqilaaq, a small fishing village nestled on a narrow strip of land between two fjords. A smart place for a fishing village as the chances were that one of the two fjords would always be open and navigable. A pretty unique location. To demonstrate this point, the fjord we paddled along was ice free, rough and windswept. When we topped out at Tiniteqilaaq and looked across the neighbouring fjord it was a completely different ‘sea-scape’! Flat calm water studded with a maze of massive icebergs. We were stunned into silence. They ranged from housesized, through department-store, to full-on shopping-mall monsters. We had to cross the fjord the next day, through what looked (and sounded) like a demolition site. It was at some point on this crossing that Doug coined the phrase ‘MFI’ or ‘massive f-ing iceberg’! We paddled along close to shore to find a camp spot – rated a ‘Doug-double-thumb-and-crazed-grin’. Greenland TV put on a great show that night - a view across a berg-filled fjord to the high peaks and the icecap beyond. We just sat in wonder... each hour the light would change and the contrast of white icebergs and shadows would give the place a new beauty. The SLRs went into overdrive. We awoke early (well, some of us did) and opened the tents to see the view was the same, and that our crossing would be once again be a mix of delight and terror as we dipped between the bergs, hoping that they didn’t roll or break on us. The advice is to stay 2x the height away from them. With this icy forest we were lucky to be a paddle-length away from some of them. It was like Russian roulette! Three hours with Doug out front finding the way through the maze, we arrived at the entrance to Johan Peterson Fjord; our passage to the icecap.

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Johan Peterson Fjord is another massive fjord, combined with Semelik fjord it calves more the than a quarter of all the icebergs that are produced in Greenland. Bergs that looked like mountains ranges (there was a mini Everest!), dominated the scenery as we paddled through the brash ice and onto a small island for our night’s camp. We had been out for 12 nights by this point and had fully embraced the Arctic life. Settling into a steady paddling pace, discussing food, setting up camp, watching wales breach in the distance, wondering which set of thermals smelled the least. Despite the near-freezing temperature we enjoyed quite a few snow-melt showers, and ice-stream baths. The freezing washing water did have one benefit – it numbed you to the mosquito bites, they loved swarming round the streams! The last full day came round far too fast – a paddle back down the fjord and out towards the open sea. As the last stretch was a fairly exposed paddle along the coast to Tasilik we had left a couple of days extra, to allow for bad weather. But so far so good; we’d only had one evening of rain and a few afternoons of wind. Other than that blue skies and flat water. Maybe we could stretch this last section out over a couple of days? We stopped at the abandoned village of Ikateq to take a break and look around what was now a ghost town. Most of it was in ruins, with the exception of the chapel and adjoining schoolhouse, which where both in immaculate condition, with the books still on the desks as if the children had left that morning. A family of kayakers had stayed the night there and seemed a little uneasy – they were sea kayaking and had hired all their kit which seemed to be in pretty poor shape. The kids looked cold and the parents were keen to gather info from us, as they would be paddling some of our journey in reverse. It sounded like they had

had a fairly traumatic paddle from Tasilik, with leaking spraydecks, and crappy paddles. The waves were big and they couldn’t find anywhere to land so they had paddled pretty much into the night to reach the village. They were definitely having an adventure! And so came what would either be our last morning, or the start of 2 very easy days paddling back to Tasilik. We set off, looking for a mid-morning break-site, so we could have lunch number 1 and check the weather forecast. While we broke out the oatcakes Pete A broke out the GPS. It had a weather forecast service that had turned out to be really useful. It wasn’t good news. The wind would be picking up that afternoon, reaching around force 6 by the morning. And that set for the next few days. So two days became one pretty hasty day, and possibly one of the hardest! As we paddled on, with just the Atlantic between us and Ireland (we could have straight-lined it home!) the wind and swell picked up. We had to make it back to Tasilik in a day as these conditions were only going to get worse. Strong winds and a good swell made for an exciting last day, with Vicky taking a slightly longer route to avoid being side on to the waves (she reckons she learnt a lot on this trip!). As we rounded the headland the familiar shoreline of Tasilik bay came into sight, with calm water ahead of us. After the excitement of the coast, we all eased up. I’m sure we were all paddling slowly to put off the end of trip for as long as possible. It had all finished a bit sooner than we’d anticipated. Our 350km journey through the fjords of Greenland had exceeded our expectations. The scenery, wildlife, people, ice… Greenland had given us all the gifts that expedition paddling could give. This is a truly special place, and is where our sport emerged. The good news is that we have an excuse to return – to try for Gino’s memorial again!

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2: T R A P N IO T A IV T O M NING R A E L D N A N IO T A MOTIV

Needs-supportive coaching behaviours have an impact on motivation. Sian of ‘Psyched Paddleboarding’ coaching on the beautiful Llyn Padarn. Photo by ‘Two For Joy Photography’.

A LEARNER-CENTERED APPROACH TO COACHING

A QUICK RECAP OF MOTIVATION AND PARTICIPATION

In part one1 we looked at how to create learning environments that lead to self-motivated, happy, healthy, individuals! Now we will look at whether the same learning environments, particularly autonomy supportive environments, could also help those we coach to learn more effectively. Most of you will be familiar with the term learner-centered coaching, but what does it mean, and why is it important? In this article we will look at some of the most recent learner-focused research into coaching sports skills. We will then explore how this relates to the coaching behaviours and learning environments that support motivation and participation, and how these behaviours can also promote learning through the support of autonomy.

In the first half of this article we learnt that the satisfaction of a learner’s psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness can increase their motivation. This will increase their self-determination and result in them being more likely to choose to carry on participating in an activity. The exciting part for us as coaches is that our needs-supportive coaching behaviours directly influence whether a participant or learner thinks that their needs are being satisfied. This in turn influences their level of motivation and selfdetermined behaviour. We concluded that a Needs-Supportive (NS) coach will provide choices where possible, structure sessions, give rationale for activities, and acknowledge the feelings and perspectives of their learners. They will provide opportunities for initiative taking, give non-controlling competence feedback, and communicate using noncontrolling language. They will also avoid using controlling behaviours, rewards or promoting ego orientated involvement. This means that an NS coach is doing quite a lot!

Most of of you will be familiar with the term learner-centered coaching, but what does it mean, and why is it important? These articles have been written primarily for coaches and coach educators who are very experienced and already have a good working knowledge of the subjects covered. The aim of the series is to add to that knowledge by looking at up to date, evidence based research, in the fields of motor learning (how we learn new movement skills) and coaching. Each article can be read on its own, and can be enjoyed and understood by experienced coaches and learners alike.

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CAN MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS ALSO EFFECT LEARNING? Intuitively, this seems like a really silly question to ask, because, it would seem to be an obvious “yes”. Even without any short term learning advantages from an NS learning environment, practice conditions that increase self-motivation (selfdetermined behaviour) will also increase

the likelihood of continued engagement. And we know that becoming skilful requires a considerable amount of continued engagement!3. So, even without any short term learning benefits, creating NS learning environments is really powerful and important. However, a substantial amount of recent evidence suggests that providing NS coaching, particularly autonomy support, can also result in significantly better learning in the short term9. This article will explore this exciting concept using the example of structuring practice schedules. We will look at how and why giving your learners ‘choices’ could not only increase their motivation and commitment, but also improve their ability too.

COACH-LED OR LEARNER-CENTERED? Within more traditional sports, as well as adventure activities, deliberate practice has typically consisted of coach-led sessions. In a coach-led session the coach defines the learning environment and provides the technical and information processing content considered necessary for developing skillful performance3. The guiding research paid little attention to how coaches could support the needs of those they coached11. In fact, motor learning research did not consider motivation at all until recently. There appears to have been an assumption that in sports settings people are already self motivated. Motivation was, therefore, something that was only important if an individual did not have any at all. (And then, only to get people active who needed to be for health reasons.)


Preparing for a coaching session. Will it be coach led or learner centered? Photo by Marianne Davies

Recently, there has been been a change in focus. Both researchers and practitioners have moved away from considering movement learning as just being an information processing challenge. This wider view has resulted in an approach that is more learner-focused. A learner-focus not only considers the task constraints of a movement skill, but also the environment in which the skill is performed, and most importantly, all of the nuances (including motivational ones) of the individual who is performing it6. This wider view has resulted in an approach that is more learner-focused. This learner-centered focus has resulted in a growing number of studies that have examined the effects of individualising the learning environment. Interestingly, the most consistent finding is that individualisation is most effective when the learner is encouraged to have some autonomy. So, instead of the coach choosing how to individualise all aspects of the learning environment, for example skill difficulty or progressions through practice schedules, the learners are supported to make their own choices within defined and structured frameworks.

LET’S LOOK AT AN EXAMPLE STRUCTURING PRACTICE SCHEDULES One area that has shown a compelling amount of support for the learning advantages of self-pacing is the structuring of practice schedules11. Structuring practice typically involves the manipulation of the level of Contextual Interference (CI) during practice. If you are not familiar with CI and the CI effect, there is a short explanation at the end of the article. What is involved? Explanations for the CI effect focus on the effortful exploration of task constraints by the learner, including both motor (coordination of limbs, joints, muscles, and neurons etc.), and perceptual (interpreting visual, haptic, kinesthetic, acoustic, and other perceptual information). This involves the learner gaining coordination of new movement patterns (low CI), then being able to link them together and to the perceptual information that affords them (medium CI), and then to adapt, re-organise and execute them quickly and skillfully in dynamic environments (high CI). In other words, supporting the progression through the stages of skill acquisition.

The amount of challenge to the learner at any time is influenced not only by the practice structure but also the nominal difficulty (how complex the movement is regardless of who is performing it) the functional difficulty (a combination of nominal difficulty and the learner’s level of skill), and the individual characteristics of the learner at that time. This again reiterates that the individual inherent features and needs of the learner are important and integral to the learning process4. As you can appreciate, this can add up to a huge amount of individual variability. In many traditional coach-led sessions, everyone would move on to different skills and levels of complexity at the same time. This could mean that some learners may have found it too easy while others may not have managed to be successful. Too easy and they are potentially not learning, and may get bored and switch off. Too hard may lead to too much variability in motor output to develop functional movement patterns4. Not being able to develop functional movement patterns could lead to frustration, lack of confidence, and negative feelings. More skillful and experienced coaches will individualise the complexity of practice for each person they coach. However, as a coach they are still defining and setting the practice schedules for each individual. Surprisingly, there is no evidence that this would negate the benefits of allowing the learners some autonomy to chose themselves. In my own recent research into AS learning environments, the only thing that the autonomy support group had in common regarding their choice of practice schedule, was that it was totally unique to them.

GIVING THE LEARNER CHOICES Let’s go back to our list of NS coaching behaviours. How can a coach provide choices, give rational for activities, provide opportunities for initiative taking, and promote a mastery orientated involvement? One way is to allow those they coach to choose their own level of skill difficulty or practice schedule complexity. This is known as ‘self-pacing’. The coach has a responsibility to ensure that the range of tasks and levels are appropriate, well structured and have the opportunity for progression. They also need to ensure that the learners have the information they need, and the skill level necessary, to make their decisions9.

Running a simple drop in a tandem canoe. This can be incorporated into a circuit. A great way to set up medium levels of CI that can be easily adapted. Photo courtesy of Lizzy Harrington.

Running a drop in a complex environment. If this was part of a set circuit, or repeatable set-piece, it would still be a medium CI practice schedule. The high skill level of the paddler could make the functional difficulty lower than the simple drop in the tandem canoe. Dan butler nailing a boof on the Soana River, Val Aosta. Photo by Richard Watson.

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HOW CAN GIVING THE LEARNER CHOICES IN PRACTISE SCHEDULING ENHANCE LEARNING? Differences in challenge levels What is different when a learner chooses their own level of challenge or complexity? Surely a good coach knows best? If we consider the diversity of ability and the needs of individual learners, we could surmise that it may be nigh on impossible for coaches to work out the perfect levels of complexity for everyone they are coaching. The learning advantages of selfpaced, learner-centred practice schedules could be due to the learners’ experiencing optimal levels of challenge throughout a session11. This assumes that they will choose appropriate levels. Differences in decision making The increased learning may also be due to changes in the way that the learners attend to, and process, task relevant information. By having a choice, the learner is forced to attend to, and focus on, information that they think they need in order to make decisions about which skills and schedules to use, and when to change8,12. Not only are there likely to be differences in what the learners will attend to, but also how they process the information. These changes may result in processing that is more active and engaged, and which will ultimately promote independent learning. Skills such as reflective practice, observation and analysis, and effective goal setting are likely to be involved.

An autonomous and skillful learner having fun and going on adventures in the wilds of Snowdonia. Photo by Matt Tuck.

Differences in motivation and independence Developing independence through choice will increase confidence and have an impact on motivation. This would hopefully also increase the confidence to practice between coach supported sessions. The confidence to practice and learn independently is very important to truly become skillful. Finally, choosing their own level of engagement and progression could support feelings of competence satisfaction and mastery. By having a choice, the learner is forced to attend to, and focus on, information that they think they need in order to make decisions. Learning to learn All of these reasons are likely to have an influence and will help people to become skillful learners as well as skillful performers. Becoming a skillful learner includes developing the ability to become more resourceful and innovative, and taking responsibility for one’s own learning.

NOT JUST PRACTICE SCHEDULES

Running a river where you can’t plan your movements in advance. This is a good example of a high CI practice schedule. Darren Joy paddling with great skill in the Grand Canyon. Photo by Glyn Brackenbury.

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Many other studies have explored the effects of giving choices about aspects of the learning environment that are not related to task complexity or practice schedules. We will not explore them in this article, but it is worth noting the breadth of what has been studied. This includes; the order in which different skills are practiced, how long learners practice for during a session, when and how they receive feedback, when

they see demonstrations, when they can use assistive devises (such as ski poles), and the colour of balls and other pieces of equipment9. The findings from all of these studies show that providing the learner with choices, even incidental ones, like practice order and the colour of equipment, still enhanced motivation and lead to superior learning11. What is evident, is that the field of motor learning is no longer ignoring individual and motivational factors.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR YOU AS A LEARNER-CENTRED COACH? In part 1 we concluded that our needs supportive coaching behaviours influence a learner’s perception of their needs satisfaction. Importantly, we discovered that this directly impacts their level of motivation and self-determined behaviour. In this article we have looked further into one aspect of needs support. That of autonomy support. One way of being an autonomy supportive coach, is by providing appropriate and structured choices to the learner. This influences not only the motivation of those you coach, but also their learning. The mechanisms for improved learning appear to be rather complex and due to changes in functional movement pattern development, processing and motivational factors11. These include: 1. Differences in effort may influence learning if the learner remains at an optimal challenge level throughout practice sessions.


2. Providing choices in AS learning environments may encourage the learner to be more focused on monitoring and evaluating the relevant information needed to make judgements and decisions7. It is worth pointing out here, that these decisions should be about movement outcomes and supporting procedural knowledge. 3. Learners may also process the information that they attend to differently. 4. This may require the development of supporting skills such as reflective practice and (mastery) goal setting. 5. A simple motivational explanation of the influence of autonomy support as a mechanism for learning, would be that it is likely to increase the satisfaction of basic needs. This would lead to more self-determined extrinsic or intrinsic motivation. 6. The ability to choose when to change or remain with a particular practice schedule or level of task difficulty, may enhance motivation due to increasing perceived competence support and satisfaction1. Hopefully reading this will give you the confidence to experiment with how you set up your coaching environments to support both motivation and learning. Remember that using autonomy supportive coaching should help you develop competent autonomous learners, not just competent performers.

REFERENCES: See last edition of Ceufad for this article 2 Davids, K., Button, C., & Bennett, S. (2008). Strategies for Structuring Practice. In K. Davids, C. Button, & S. Bennett, Dynamics of Skill Acquisition: A Constraints-led Approach (pp. 164-167). Champaign, US: Human Kinetics. 3 Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & TeschRömer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363-406. 4 Guadagnoli, M. A., & Lee, T. D. (2004). Challenge Point: A Framework for Conceptualizing the Effects of Various Practice Conditions in Motor Learning. Journal of Motor Behaviour, 36(2), 212-224. 5 Hooyman, A., Wulf, G., & Lewthwaite, R. (2014). Impacts of autonomysupportive versus controlling 1

DEVELOPING YOUR NEEDS SUPPORTIVE COACHING. If you interested in learning more about how you can develop your needs supportive coaching there will be a CPD module available early 2018.

WHAT IS CONTEXTUAL INTERFERENCE? Contextual Interference (CI) is the term used to describe the different levels of intra and inter-task interference created by different practice schedules. A low CI practice schedule would be ‘blocked practice’, where the same skill is executed over and over again. With blocked practice, there is no interference from having to re-organise movement coordination from a different movement pattern between subsequent attempts. This allows learners to plan, execute and adapt one movement pattern until they are able to perform

it. Medium CI includes ‘serial practice’ schedules (like on the water circuits) where skills that are likely to be performed by being linked together, are practiced linked together. Serial practice schedules allow the opportunity to pre-plan, repeat, compare and reflect on subsequent attempts whilst maintaining practice conditions that are adaptive and realistic. High CI is ‘random practice’ where there is no opportunity to plan or repeat and compare responses. This allows the development of quick decision making and skillful execution of learnt movement patterns. The CI effect is a term used to describe the fact that optimal levels of complexity (interference) promote learning when it is assessed as performance in retention and transfer tests. A very big thank you to everyone who proof read this for me. To Rosie Cripps, Sam Davies, Sid Sinfield, Greg Spencer and Matt Tuck.

MARIANNE DAVIES MRes. (Distinction) Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons), Sport, Health and Physical Education Marianne has been a coach and coach educator for over 20 years as well as conducting research in motivation and learning. Her main interests are equestrian activities climbing, and paddlesports. Mdaviescoaching@gmail.com Copyright remains with the author

instructional language on motor learning. Human Movement Science, 36, 190-198. 6 Jang, R., Reeve , J., & Halusic, M. (2016, January 26). A New AutonomySupportive Way of Teaching That Increases Conceptual Learning: Teaching in Students’ Preferred Ways. Journal of Experimental Education, 84(4), 686-701. 7 Keetch, K. M., & Lee, T. D. (2007). The effect of self-regulated and experimenter-imposed practice schedules on motor learning for tasks of varying difficulty. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport(78), 476-486. 8 Post, P. G., Fairbrother, J. T., & Barros, J. A. (2011). Self-Controlled Amount of Practice Benefits Learning of a Motor Skill. Research Quarterly in Excercise and Sport, 82(3), 474-481.

Sanli, E. A., Patterson, J. T., Bray, S. R., & Lee, T. D. (2013). Understanding selfcontrolled motor learning protocols through the self-determination theory. Frontiers in Psychology, 3(611), 1-17. 10 Smith, P. J., & Davies, M. J. (1995). Applying contextual interference to the Pawlata roll. Journal of Sports Sciences, 13, 455-462. 11 Wulf, G., & Lewthwaite, R. (2016). Optimizing Performance through Intrinsic Motivation and Attention for Learning: The OPTIMAL theory of motor learning. Sychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 1382-1414. 12 Wulf, G., Clauss, A., Shea, C. H., & Whitacre, A. C. (2001). Benefits of Self-Control in Dyad Practice. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 72(3), 299-303. 9

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Ceufad Winter 2017  

Smash the winter blues with the latest issue of Ceufad!

Ceufad Winter 2017  

Smash the winter blues with the latest issue of Ceufad!

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