We all know that coaches know everything about kayaking, right?

Well,,,,, up to a point.

We do know what’s needed to get you onto the water safely, how to paddle, sometimes in a straight line and get you back home again, but even those who think they know everything can learn from the best.

So some of us coaches recently took a busman’s holiday to Southwater Park in the leafy Surrey Hills and got some coaching.

It was presented as a rescue session with first aid thrown in. Skills we all hope never to have to use, but good to have them, just in case.

(If only navigation had been part of the course as 66% of the vehicles got lost on the way.)

It started with theory but we all knew there was going to be a lot of exertion, immersion and submersion later in the day.

Leon raring to get onto the water

After an early lunch we got down to the wet stuff, practicing T-rescues, rolls, emptying kayaks, leg hook re-entries, Y re-entries, cowboy re-entries from every conceivable craft to what felt like anything that floated.

My canoeing skills are, to put it kindly, limited so when it came to rescuing said craft, from a S.U.P., the results were comical. But thanks to our great coaches, Rhys and Graham, not fatal.

The culmination of the day was when Safi played the part of unconscious casualty, (not victim, at least not yet,) and we all had to rescue him.

He survived, but it was not pretty.

Despite some trepidation, we all had a fabulous time on a spectacularly sunny day and came away having learnt a great deal. We also swore to practice these essential skills more frequently, so that if we ever do need them, we operate like a well-oiled machine.

If you want to learn or practice these and other skills you should come to our Wednesday evening pool sessions. See Safi and the website for details. It’s a wonderful resource that we should all use more often.

And finally, although this is not my swan song at CPCC, you will be seeing a bit less of me in the coming months. I have retired and intend to do what they always tell much younger people, i.e. that the world is your oyster, starting  my odyssey in New York’s Hudson Valley, then on to Tuscany, Byron Bay in Australia, and of course, Chiswick.

See you on the water somewhere. Leon

Leon towing not one, but TWO kayaks, away from an accelerating pedal boat

Smiles throughout a multitude of rescues.

Michelle keeps a low profile and Sarah tows from a SUP


  1. Nice one Leon! Fun piece on serious skills… And as for the stars of the pics: Glen – you make a convincing casualty. And Safi – you make a great Superhero. (International Rescue – eat your heart out.)
    Finally, one small piece of info for you, Leon (absolutely unrelated to kayaking – so, forgive me, other readers…) Remember, during a pub stop two Sundays ago, I mentioned a romantic poet who wrote about the Crimea that moved a friend’s poetry class to tears…? I couldn’t remember who the poet was. Well, it was Byron in his epic Don Juan. He, of course, was also a great traveller. So, Happy Roaming Leon. See you soon. Matthew

Comments are closed.