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Paddlesport Leader Award Case Study: Matthew Garraway

Meet Matthew Garraway, a newly qualified Paddlesport Leader!

I am a keen kayak and canoe paddler. I am a Geography teacher engaged in a sabbatical between teaching roles. During this career break in 2017, I took the opportunity to revalidate and further my water sports instructor qualifications. A colleague (Andy Barclay - Head of Cornwall Outdoors) suggested that the new Paddlesport Leader Award would be an ideal qualification to assist with school groups at the Cornish coastal Outdoor Education Centres. With considerable paddling experience and qualifications already logged (including White Water Kayak Leader and Level 2 Coach training), I opted to undertake the Paddlesport Leader Award assessment only. My Paddlesport Leader Award assessment was conducted by JP Eatock during two separate trips around the lower section of Hayle river mouth and harbour; one trip with windy conditions, the other trip on a tidal flow in the estuary.

On completion of the award this summer, JP invited me to work for him as a freelance assistant with his outdoor adventure company Lizard Adventure. It was great to assist and co-lead a group out of Cadgwith Cove along the Lizard Coast. I now look forward to the main tourist paddling season in 2018 leading people on paddling excursions with Lizard Adventure.

The Paddlesport Leader Award is an ideal qualification for a range of establishments: canoe clubs, school groups (on visits or their activity weeks) and outdoor adventure centres. In each case, the Paddlesport Leader Award enables a paddler to lead a group of mixed ability and with a mixed of type of boat/water craft, in a safe and fun manner on benign, sheltered water. The Paddlesport Leader neatly accommodates various circumstances where paddling skills, training or coaching are not desired by paddlers, such as those paddlers who have newly attained their One Star on a course with a Level 2 Coach at a club, and now wish to explore paddling safely under supervision either on their local water environment in the vicinity of their clubhouse or on trips further away.

Although I do wish to further my coaching qualifications and continue to coach Paddlesport, I recommend the Paddlesport Leader Award for any paddler wanting to lead paddlers in the gaps between their club coaching sessions or courses. Clubs will appreciate having a qualified paddler to safely lead paddlers who are not involved in coaching sessions per se.