Having been a dedicated member of Jersey Canoe Club for many years, I have been involved in lots of activities, from leading club paddles to mentoring 3 Star paddlers in leading club sessions to gain experience for their Moderate Water Leader Awards. I’ve also been involved in coaching during club pool sessions, working on technical skills of fellow paddlers.
For many seasons I worked for a water sports company based in Jersey. This gave me a lot of experience working with inexperienced paddlers, as I led groups on coastal paddles. I was also able to work with the Combined Cadet Force to develop their skills, as well as providing in house and site specific training for new members of staff. More recently I have worked with Jersey Youth Service, introducing children to various paddlesports. This has increased my leadership experience from sit in and sit on kayaks, to also include bell boats and Stand Up Paddleboards.
Such as First Aid scenarios and other situations you would not normally have a chance to practice when leading or coaching a group.
By separating the training and assessment and making it a prerequisite to have paddled in a variety of coastlines, sea states, sea areas, allowed me to go and practice my skills in variety of different countries and tidal zones. I managed to find a Sea Kayak Leader training and a Coastal Navigation course being run in Gozo, a small island just out from Malta, allowing me to spend a week paddling in the warm clear waters of the Mediterranean.
Another aspect of the Sea Kayak Leader Award I enjoyed was the opportunity to do more leading of experienced paddlers, which was a little bit different to what I had spent the previous couple of years doing.
Since completing the Sea Kayak Leader Award I’ve become a more relaxed leader, not always worrying about group position and staying on top of each other, allowing the group to spread out slightly more while remaining within a safe distance. I think this was the key point that I took away from my Sea Kayak Leader Award is to relax and trust the group’s ability, which will in turn make for a much more enjoyable trip for myself and the group paddling.