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By Erik Rasmussen

Path Of The Paddle

Sunday 11th April 2010

I was part of a small group that headed over to Shepperton Lock today for a paddle of the single bladed variety.  Not to be confused with kayaking (its closed deck relative), canoeing (or open boating as it is often called) is a rapidly developing discipline of paddlesport in the UK.

Being first and foremost a kayaker, it’s not often I get the opportunity to go open boating – but each time I do, I like it more and more and today was no different.  Not least because under the expert coaching of Owen Burson some of the intermediate strokes that have eluded me for so long have started to come together as well as nailing some new touring strokes – I particularly like the Knifed J Stroke.  The investment in a kneeling mat probably also had a lot to do with it too :-) .  Clearly I’m no Bill Mason (an absolute legend in the canoeing community) but I feel I’ve made great progress and keen to do more.

In the afternoon with the sun shining we put our new found strokes into practice around Desborough Island (3.3km in total).  It is easy to see why open boating is considered to be such an elegant way of exploring the water and enjoying the wildlife and scenery (parrots in our case…).  The only mistake we made was allowing Bunny to set the pace…

The open canoe was invented for journeying and given CKC’s touring remit (and the successes of the day) I’ve now started to turn my mind to organising an open boating trip / expedition in the near future.  After what has felt like a very cold and drawn out winter it seems the timing of setting up the club could not have been better!  Here’s to a summer of trips and expeditions, be it of the double or single bladed variety!

Phil

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