September 18th to 20th 2015.
After torrential rain earlier in the week, our kayakers were treated with absolutely beautiful weather, calm seas , sunshine and most importantly warm water!
Most of the paddlers met up at the Bankes arms in Studland on Friday night, to sample their hospitality, finalise plans for the weekend and check out the menus.
We met on Knoll beach, Studland on Saturday and started the day off with a social paddle to Swanage bay, past the chalk cliffs of Old Harry and Ballard Down. There was plenty of opportunity to explore the stacks and caves. On the return leg, we hosted the kayak race, which was a rather relaxed affair.
We arrived back at Knoll beach for lunch, after which the Harpoon games began. There are two competitions. Length, where the longest throw along a measured course wins, and Accuracy, where you aim is to hit a target 10 metres away.
After lots of practice and some puzzled looks from those on the beach, we had some good results. In real life, at least two of the competitors would not go hungry!
We had a break and then started the rolling competition. This was a pre- determined sequence of kayak rolls, designed to mimic situations that could have caused a capsize as you hunted seals on the ice cold Arctic ocean. Competitors had to roll back up after capsizing on their right and left, leaning forward and backwards, with the paddle behind them, or only held by one hand, using the throwing stick for the harpoons and finally with no paddle or if their hands had got tangled in a harpoon line ( Known as a Straightjacket roll!)
Time was also devoted to teaching
As the sun sank lower, we packed up and headed for the warmth of the Bankes Arms and then to our overnight accommodation.
We woke to a mist shrouded shore and the Barfleur ferry noisily groping its way across the bay to France. We welcomed new paddlers and decided to have a short warm up paddle to Old Harry and the Pinnacles before renewing the rolling completion.
There was plenty of time to practice and learn new rolls. Paul Rutherford from Seaborne was demoing some new Tiderace kayaks and these were put through their paces by our competitors.. Including a synchronised rolling demonstration by Steve Godfrey and Jackie Ward.
One of the competitions was speed rolling, with the number of rolls in 10 seconds being counted. The maximum was five, although this tended to make you very dizzy!
The final part of the day was spent with the Greenland ropes competition. There are two parts. A low rope course, where you sit on two ropes, similar to a swing and practice ‘capsizing’ and rolling back up. There is also a high ropes competition, where strength and flexibility are tested to pull up and over a rope, two metres above the ground. There are enough variations to test the most agile paddler.
1st place – Steve Godfrey – Now known as ‘The Great Kayaker’
2nd Place – Alan Trevarton
3rd Place – Maria Gawler