So its been a long dark winter with the light evenings looming its time to reflect on what has been.
The past 6 months of shortened days and dark evenings are the hardest time for any outdoor enthusiasts with cold weather and darkness dropping motivations to an all time low.
The willingness and effort to stay focused really shows how far people will go for their sport.
White water kayaking has generally been seen as a winter sport this means paddling when everyone else is hibernating enjoying the warm fires and comfy sofas, we are out looking for ditches and rivers with water to enjoy.
Luckily for Irish Paddlers the weather doesn’t really hit any extremes so by layering up you can stay on the water all year round.
Days off waking up to fresh winter days with bright blue skies and high suns make for some of the greatest days on the water really respecting the daylight.
Once the weekdays come and its back to work the darkness becomes our enemy limiting time on the water and pushing us to our limits.
The dark evenings mean getting out is difficult. Its too dark to get out to the river and only a few spots have floodlights
One of these is WWKC with sessions scheduled evenings the wave has generally stopped working so this really only offers flatwater training but with limited lighting its best for slalom or polo training on smaller courses.
Indoors polo training and pool sessions is what keeps many sane, time in the boat in a warm environment is super helpful for training and learning, building confidence in a safe comfortable environment will benifit people hugely when they hit the rivers again
Another spot we have is Sluice with the purchase of some high powered bike lights set up around the feature offering access to the wave during the darkest hours.
Over the past winter we were unfortunate to have had abnormally high flows for much of the time this left no feature at Sluice as it was washed out over the past few weeks it returned to a surfable level again which has meant time back on the water.
I was lucky enough to get a few days paddling in the UKs artificial courses at the end of 2013 paddling Cardiff, Lee Valley and Nottingham in an action packed three days this was possible as with most of my paddling because of the friends I take with me, For myself the reasons I paddle is because I love it and I love the friends I have with me, Paddling for me is a social sport theirs nothing better when your having a great time on the river than looking over and sharing the eddy / river with some of your best friends.
I’m lucky that my friends are easy going and also love their paddling this is the biggest motivation to paddling on days where its easier to hibernate.
I hate to feel like I’ve been beaten by the darkness but the increasing frustration has led me to believe I’ve been bet this past winter.
But knowing the hours and days I’ve put in on the water on days off during the past 6 months makes me feel better the feeling that I paddled more than the previous winter and already this year ive paddled more of my freestyle boat then in the whole of 2013 really makes me think positive and then knowing that the light is returning and I’m motivated to get back on the water with daylight coming its an exciting time knowing the hour is about to change and the days are lengthening from here on, in our favour
So in reflection the quantity of paddling may have been limited this past while but the quality of both my paddling and the friends I’ve shared that time with has been outstanding. The darkness is purely an inconvenience and the time I’ve spent on the water I feel I well and truly beat the darkness this past winter
so I guess il see you everyone back on the water soon
it doesn’t matter what craft, just get out and enjoy.
if you didnt see it here our short clips “Dropping Off”