This is the way to get into paddle sport. PPCA runs one of these courses every month from April until September or October, depending on the weather. They are held on a Saturday from 9.00 am to 3 pm. We also run a couple of Thursday night courses over 4 consecutive weeks. You need no prior experience just a sense of fun and to be reasonably fit as it will be an active day. You need to be able to swim with a Buoyancy Aid on and not to be frightened of the water environment.
Who can do this course?
This course is open to all from the age of 10. No upper age limit as long as you can manipulate yourself into the boat.
A British Canoeing qualified coach or coaches will be instructing you and keeping you safe, aided by a small number of helpers from the club, who are seasoned paddlers. We love doing the Introductory courses as we are keen to introduce you to the many and varied joys of our sport. At the end of the course you will get a PPCA certificate enabling you to claim your Free two sessions.This certificate is the gateway to discovering and developingyour skills in various types of paddle craft. You will have the opportunity to come to 2 Tuesday night PPCA training nights to find out what the club has to offer. On club nights there is training for two and three- star awards and also a recreational paddle.
The sessions are all run from our sheds in the Mountbatten Centre ( remember to register your car with Mountbatten reception staff on arrival to avoid getting a hefty parking fine from Parking Eye. )
You will be provided with a windproof cagoule, correctly fitting buoyancy aid ( BA), a helmet if required and a spray deck. We advise that you bring a wet suit if possible or neoprene trousers and a fleece or water sports top to add if it is cold, (with advance notice we may be able to hire a wet suit for you.) If it is really sunny then board shorts or old track suit bottoms may suffice. Wet shoes or boots are ideal, but a non- bulky pair of trainers will do nicely. You will need to bring a towel and change of clothing with a warm jacket as we promise to get you wet! Also bring a packed lunch as we may go on a short journey and picnic, but warm food and drinks are available from the Mountbatten Centre later in the season. Cold drinks and a snack to take on the water are a good idea especially if you are young as you will need to keep your energy up.
You will have the choice of the latest models of kayaks so there is one to suit every shape and size. We spend some time making sure that you are correctly adjusted in your kayak and feel comfortable. If you are very nervous, do let us know and we can ensure that you have a very stable, less responsive craft. Although you will spend most of the time in a general-purpose kayak you will get an opportunity to try out sea kayaks and open boats i.e. Canadian canoes.
What will you be doing on the course?
After some time just getting used to the feeling of being on the water in a kayak, we will give you basic instruction and demonstration of paddling forwards and backwards in a straight line, (harder than it sounds ), turning strokes, steering strokes, how to move the boat sideways over a short distance and how to stop the boat. We will also show you how to get into the boat from a pontoon and how to get into the boat from the water. This learning will be interspersed with games which take your mind off thinking about what you are doing and encourages self- discovery. We will show you how to empty a swamped boat and to safely get out of the boat if you accidentally or on purpose capsize. Many people worry about this, but it is very easy, and it is closely supervised.
We hope that after you have completed the course that you will have had so much fun that you want to join the club so that you regularly paddle. I did my introductory course 12 years ago because I wanted to get into white water kayaking. I am now a veteran of 11 seasons on the rivers and for me, nothing equals the thrill of running a difficult rapid or drop well. Other friends have gone on to develop their sea kayaking and doing multi day trips in Mexico, the Greek Islands, Norway, Greenland or around our own spectacular British coast. Others love to kayak surf which is very exhilarating and yet others just love to come along every Saturday and go for a club paddle with friends, sometimes seeing dolphins, seals, basking sharks and sunfish. Rock hopping and exploring sea caves and narrow passages is great fun. The best bit is you are doing this with friends and surrounded by experienced paddlers who are on hand to help you out if you capsize amongst the rocks or surfing into the beach.
There is a strong and growing group in the club who enjoy open boating, they meet on Friday nights in the summer, and train on Tuesday evenings in canoes.