All posts by Reading Canoe Club

The Annual Picnic Paddle 2019

31st July saw a happy group of us set off for the annual picnic paddle. We took the boats up to Pangbourne early and waited with Stormy for everyone to arrive. It was a cold but sunny start to the day, especially for those who experienced the river a little earlier than anticipated!  Once boats were allocated we set off to enjoy our day, I was lucky enough to share a boat with Alice who kept me entertained with her energy and chatting all day!

We arrived at Mapledurham lock and had fun sinking down with the water, then carried on through to the beach where picnics were enjoyed by all.  Next was the official messing about in the river – luckily it was lovely and warm by then. Nigel and the kids and some of the big kids (adults) swam, sank boats, splashed one another and generally had a good time for a couple of hours before setting off back to the club just as the cows decided to come for their lunchtime swim.  A leisurely paddle downstream took us back to the club where, of course, we ended the day jumping into the river multiple times!  Another successful picnic paddle!

Shepperton 2019 Slalom competition

Another weekend of successes for Reading Canoe Club slalom team!

On 13-14th July, a number of our slalom paddlers travelled down to Shepperton Weir to take part in the annual slalom competition. For some of our paddlers this was their first ever competition and for many others it was the first opportunity to try moving water. Although managing a few swims early on, our junior paddlers fought really hard in their first runs to manage a Reading-dominated score board!

After quite a few of Liz’s bacon butties at lunch, our paddlers were powdered up and ready for second runs, and the results were amazing! After battling the course (and doing the gates in the right order) Peter Skinner bagged himself first place closely followed by Luke Hadley in second and Simon Gosciniak in sixth, both gaining a promotion to Division 3! Also in Division 4, Holly Williams flew around the course improving her previous time by 62 seconds putting her in fourth place and fastest in her age category. Racing for the girls in Division 3, Zoe Neville shot down the course gaining minimal penalties and a massive improvement of 65 seconds!

Over in the boys’ category, George Murphy, Tom Robson and Mark Gutteridge powered through the gates, taking home trophies for first by Tom and third by George. Mark made massive improvements on his time and performed two upright runs despite having a few wobbles earlier on.

On Sunday our paddlers produced equally amazing runs with Tom and George placed first and third once again, this time with Peter on their tails coming 13th in his first ever Division 3 race! Representing the girls, Erin Bonsall also competed in her first division 3 race managing 5th place and making vast improvements! For the Division 4 men, Simon Gosciniak showed his fearlessness speeding down the course and coming home with 3rd place!

Well done to everyone who competed this weekend, it was astonishing to have a Reading paddler in the top three in almost every category! I hope everyone enjoyed their time on the whitewater and are looking forward to more competitions soon.

By Emily Neville

July 2019 K4 Race Day

Hot and sunny – the perfect conditions for a K4 race day. 34 boats were entered across the 5 categories – A (fastest, paddlers division rankings must be 11 or less), B (12-19), C (20-25), D (26+), plus the Rockets.

34 boats in total from 10 clubs, some coming from as far as Nottingham to compete. Reading put out seven and a half crews and gained a 1st in Races D and B, 2nd and 4th in Race C. Ours were the only Rockets, but they showed us all how to race with gusto.

A great day – thanks to all the team.

Highdown Fun Day, July 11th 2019

35 excited Year 7s turned up for our Canoe Fun Day – the first ever hosted by Reading Canoe Club. It was held specifically for students from Highdown School who had completed a 5-week beginner’s course during April/May and June/July (a total of 48). It was intended to be part fun / celebration and part a test out of the skills they’d learnt.

Nigel and Jim were leading the sessions, with the assistance of top junior ‘coaches’ – Sam B, Alex T, Rachel N, Rory T and Joseph B, with Emily Neville demonstrating the slalom. The four teachers attending were kept firmly on bankside, at leastuntil games time.

The 35 were split into three teams – Red, Yellow and Blue – and got started with a sprint relay. That was in K1, K2 or K4, as preferred. Great racing, only two capsizes and the Red team came out on top.

Next up – Silly Slalom. Again a team race through and round the poles, with a bit of limbo and paddle-throwing-through-the-hoop for a good measure, to get a team time, with penalties for touching poles or missing any out.

Final activity was games on the water – tug of war, charioteering, who could cling longest to the top of Nigel’s slalom boat or, if that was all a bit too complicated, simply jumping off the platform for a swim.

Homemade chocolate banana cake and other goodies galore kept the Year 7s’ energy levels up and they all had a fun-charged day. We do hope we’ll see a few of them back as members to learn more skills. It would seem we might, judging from their enthusiastic comments. They were a lovely crew of enthusiastic paddlers and even the few, who were a little nervous at first, got out there and enjoyed themselves.

Thank you to the teachers – Mr Morris, Mr Lee, Mrs Sadler and Mr Walker – who transported the children down to us. They seemed very chilled, with little to do bar some counting!

Thanks to all the helpers, particularly Nigel for masterminding it.

A few quotes from the students on what they thought of the course:

This was a great experience and the chocolate banana cake is delicious”

It should have been longer. Epic, loved it. A longer week course.”

“I really enjoyed my time here.” “It was the most fun thing ever!”

I had lots of fun today. Very nice food, good games on the water. Great staff too. Overall it was a great fun experience.”

It was the best experience ever”

Fun Day 2019, July 13th, by Erika

We had the perfect conditions for the Club annual Fun Day: not too hot and not too cold, slight breeze and a pretty warm river. And this year even I managed to take part and left other mums to do the scoring.

Four teams of six were completing in Brian’s championship games and we all had an amazing time. Playing balloon murder, ferry relay, fill the cup game, basketball (on the water), tug of war (of course) jousting, all finished with a nappy swim.

Thank you Brian for running this fantastic and fun-filled event again this year, the kids (of every age) loved taking part.

Interclubs MacGregor Cup 2019

What a weekend of sunshine and racing! What a weekend of results! Team Reading was on top form.

It was great to see our lightning paddlers increase from zero to three – first appearances from Ruth Shephard, Jenna Topham and Jensen MacNab. Awesome racing from all three with the K4 crews gaining a 1st and a 3rd.

Also new to sprints this regatta was James Nelson and Miklos Jnr, progressing to finals in many races. New to the team, but not to sprints was Edgar Boehm in Masters C, who managed a first in every race! Wow! Great points, Edgar.

Bethan D was also on top form, gaining a podium position for every race. Terrific results, Bethan. Georgia Boonham was also on fire, which was lucky as she was in so many races! Particularly impressive was 2nd in her 1000m K1, 1st in her K2 200m and 2nd in K2 500.

Dan A also excelled – 1st in Men’s A K1 200m was impressive stuff; making a course record as a junior was even more amazing. Many congratulations, Dan. Brother Matt, despite rarely being seen in a kayak, scored a trio of 1sts and a 3rd.

There are so many to mention – Evan took 3rd place in every race he was in, Jo Jo and Hannah were delighted to take 2nd in their K2 1000m, Stefan had two 1st places , a 2nd in his K1 500 and 3rd in his K1 1000m. Kat was up for a sprint too, with podium places in all her K2s. Tant was taking no prisoners in K1, scoring a 3rd and a 1st in Masters K4 along with Nigel, Stefan and Edgar.

Sam Glover, back from the Worlds, was 1st in his Mixed K2. The Mixed K2 was a new event. We just want it open to Masters too. Our only canoeist this regatta was Max Kimberley. He gained two thirds and, along with Alex Tonkin, has been selected to Olympic Hopes as a result of this regatta. Many congratulations to the boys.

Many thanks to every member of the racing team, for all those who looked after the babies and toddlers at the event, and to all the support crews and those who volunteered at the regatta. What’s more, there were zero trips to the top of the tower. Amazing. Even more amazing was our 4th place, a mere 4 points behind 3rd place. Well done to all.

Reading paddlers take top awards at the 
Devizes to Westminster 2019 Awards

We were a very proud club to have three teams of paddlers collect awards at this year’s DW ceremony of winners.

The race back in April had been unseasonably warm with low water flow – quite the opposite from the previous year, when the whole event had to be halted at Dreadnought due to the dangerous water levels and flow. The greatest hazard to paddlers this year was heat stroke!

We had five crews and two singles attempting the race this year:

  • Dan Seaford and Alex Lane
  • Sam MacDonald and Rai Ranveer – Junior
  • Nick King and Lisa Munga
  • Vicky Elson Smith and Miriam Mimms Graham – retired due to heat stroke
  • David Mills and Peter David – retired
  • Marc Gutteridge
  • Bethan Davies

Senior Doubles
Dan Seaford and Alex Lane magnificently won Senior Doubles with a time of 18:01:58, over 13 minutes in front of second place.
They were awarded three trophies – for fastest civilian crew, fastest mixed crew and fastest overall K2.

Support Crew of the fastest senior crew went to:
Anita Seaford, Alana Peake, Owen Peake, Peter Stuart, Peter Burbridge, Magnus Gregory – for supporting Dan and Alex.

First Senior Lady
Fastest K1 lady and fastest veteran female Trophies went to Bethan Davies with a time of 19:26:35 over the four days. She was awarded the Black Swan Salver and Longridge Trophy.

Within the Endeavour group (non-competitive), we had Nick King and Lisa Munga racing. This was their first DW and they were delighted to finish the four-day marathon.

Reading CC was very pleased that their paddlers also were awarded the Trans Class Team Trophy for Senior Double, Junior Double and Senior Single teams with the aggregate time of 59:34:15 from Dan and Alex, Sam and Ranveer (time 22:05:42) and Bethan’s times.

In addition, Sam and Ranveer received a Special Commendation award for assistance rendered to a K1 that capsized on the Tideway.

Well done to all crews, singles and doubles. It’s a formidable achievement – just the training is a monumental achievement in itself.