Canoeing and Kayaking comes in many forms and can be enjoyed by all ages, from paddling down a simple flat river with friends taking in the scenery and stopping for a picnic, to surfing at the coast, paddling round islands at sea to playing canoe polo, racing down wild water or taking part in canoe slalom – there is something for everyone and paddlers from KKC take part in them all.
Recreational canoeing : A large proportion of the club enjoys recreational, i.e. non-competitive, paddling. The club organises various trips to venues suitable for all ages and abilities. Regular places for flat-water paddling trips are the Pocklington canal, Frodingham Beck and the upper stretches of the River Hull, all suitable for even the most inexperienced of paddlers.
To many paddlers, white water is the be-all and end-all of kayaking. The majority of slalom competition is held on white-water courses of varying degrees of difficulty, and the opportunities for recreational white-water paddling in the KKC's paddling area are many and varied, although all necessitate some travelling as the water in our immediate surroundings is all flat.
Canoe slalom is one of the most spectacular watersports, demanding skill, stamina and courage. The aim is to run a rapid river course marked by "gates" fast, and without touching.
A "gate" is two poles, suspended over the water. Green and white gates are negotiated in a downstream direction, red and white gates upstream. A touch is penalised with 2 seconds added to the competitor's time. Missing a gate or doing it incorrectly costs 50 seconds - a wipeout in serious competition. Each competitor makes two runs down the course and the fastest run counts.
Spectators at a canoe polo match, particularly if it is the first time they have watched such an event, are usually amazed at the speed and skill of the game, and usually quite alarmed at what constitute legitimate tackles! Canoe polo is played by teams of five (although there may be up to eight on a team squad, to allow for substitutes, etc.) and the basic aim is for them to pass the ball from player to player, by hand, and score in their opponents' goal while at the same time defending their own goal. ( For a more detailed explanation of the game, visit www.canoepolo.org.uk )
Marathon competition is conducted in divisions; the lower divisions can use any sort of kayak (or canoe in canoe classes) but higher divisions use specialised marathon boats, long, narrow and VERY unstable when stationary! Kayaks can also be single (K1) or double (K2) and occasionally even K4; marathon canoes are also narrow and involve the paddler kneeling on one knee whilst paddling with a single-bladed paddle; again, classes are held for C1 and C2.
Kingston Kayak Club has two bell boats. If you would like more information on bell boats see the BCU website or download KKC's press release on the subject.
The club encourages paddlesport through these boats. They would be ideal for Scouts / Guides as they can take up to 14 youngsters. Scout / Guide leaders would need to hold a helm certificate. The Club has plans plan to arrange one locally. This course would be over two days.
Kingston Kayak Club, based in Hull, is only half-an hour's drive from the sea, and for those members living to the east of the city even less, so it is not surprising that some of them take part in sea kayaking and canoe surfing.
One or two club members have real sea kayaks - long, stable kayaks with closed-in decks, extra buoyancy plus storage space and deck lines - but the majority paddle their general-purpose kayaks.