Finally all the exams are over and we can get back to paddling!
On Saturday we took a trip to Lee Valley with our newest team member Ottie in order to train for the Youth Freestyle event in Cardiff next weekend. The first session was great as we tried lots of new moves including split wheels and spacegodzillas as well as linking moves together. Once our hour was up, we had a break before jumping on for a second session. We continued playing in the top hole of the course which due to the large number of boats on the water, quickly became the site of many spectacular collisions.

After about half an hour, the sky started to cloud over and within a matter of minutes it was hammering so hard with rain that you could barely see the top of the course, let alone the descending paddlers. Despite this bombardment of water from all angles, our sandiline cags managed to keep us dry until the lightening started and we were called off the water.

Once changed and packed up, we began the long journey down to the squirt spot called Flower Pots in Exeter. Here we met up with Tom Bailey and Ben White for a Sunday of mystery moving. After consuming large quantities of breakfast (all to aid sinking), we headed to the river. Tom and Ben talked over the features of the spot with us, as well as giving us advice on technique before we slipped into the water upstream of the weir.

Ben and Tom make this move look ridiculously easy– they put in a few strokes and the water seemed to part beneath them, causing them to disappear for impressive lengths of time. We soon discovered that it’s not that simple…

Initially we struggled to even get our boats down a few centimetres without either the tail or nose ejecting up into a cartwheel. However as we continued to practice and mimic the experts (alongside trying out hand paddles), the depth gradually increased until sinking to chest height and occasionally beyond wasn’t uncommon. The training we received was fantastic and really highlighted what we need to focus on in order to get deeper for longer– bring on the next session of sinking!

By Jennifer McGaley and Hugh Mandelstam