Nov 24

Loop trip 21/11/15

On quite possibly one of the coldest days of November, the intrepid EUCC set forth to paddle the loop. After the traditional faffing and a cheeky stop at Sainsbury’s, we (not so swiftly) arrived at the get in. The need to get changed quickly was evident in the bitter cold and once kitted up, all (except Sam in a shorty wetsuit) were fairly toasty and ready to hit the water. Some more experienced members paddled the steps of the upper whilst waiting for the shuttle and the rest went for a quick race and huddle to keep warm.
Once everyone successfully got on without swimming, we started with some coaching in ferry gliding and breaking out, before heading downstream to conquer the rest of the famous Dart Loop. With some fresh swims early on, we trekked down to the main features, with most surviving until Triple Step, which resulted in several swims from some experienced as well as the lesser experienced paddlers. Once rescued by some of the many other paddlers on the river that day, we set off down to spin dry which was successfully conquered by all. All followed by a quick get change and more huddling.
With only one swim compared with my last record of 3 swims on the loop, I left a very happy paddler. Hoping next time, I can try a river roll and get my swim count down.
Overall, another fantastic trip with lots of fun had by all, even on a freezing cold day!
– Louise

Nov 18

The adventure ball

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The 7th of November was EUCC’s annual adventure ball; a masquerade-themed, black-tie event taking place in Crealy adventure playground- an opportunity to dress up like adults and act like children. After weeks of preparation and advertising both on Facebook and on forum hill, about 160 tickets were sold for the EUCC tradition. Everyone gathered at the bar in the Lemmy at the (very early) start of the night, before loading onto buses and heading to Crealy.
A hog roast (with a veggie option of course) was provided part way through the night to revive everyone’s energy levels. After eating and possibly another drink (vodka slushies proved popular) everyone headed back to the adventure area to run up and down slides and race across obstacles.

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At the end of the night music was put on for everyone to dance to, including classics such as Macarena and Low.
All the bruises and cuts and burns from the slides were definitely worth it and the night was summed up in a completely non-biased comment from EUCC social sec, Niamh Percy; “Probably the best ball on campus!”

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Nov 15

First polo match of the South West League

On a cool brisk October afternoon the EUCC Suckling Otters (formerly known as My Face) had a challenge. After only 3 training sessions it was time for the band of fearsome warriors to be entered into our first real Kayak Polo tournament of the year all the way in Cheltenham. A long bus journey allowed our warriors time to plot, scheme and develop ground breaking tactics to ensure immediate victory. A brief pitstop at a substandard Shell garage allowed us to fill up on cheesy Dorito goodness and before we knew it, it was time. Both our minds and now our bodies were ready for what lay ahead. Upon arriving at the pool a quick scramble ensued to ensure everyone was in the necessary boats and before we knew it we were thrust into our first game. After a quick passionate team talk by the vice-captain it was time. Unsure of the rules, fascinated by our peculiar helmets and still in awe of the goals we’ve never seen, let alone practised in before, the whistle blew.

If our passion was representative of the score line I would be telling you an inspiring and heart-warming story right now. Unfortunately it doesn’t. After being unable to score and losing 4 of our 5 games things got desperate. It wasn’t until the last half of our very last game things began to change, with a cracking display of skill by McAdams (EUCC’s girls’ team vice-captain) on the wing, the ball was suddenly in my hands in the opponents’ half, I glimpsed up. It was quite a distance I thought, although admittedly with ex semi-professional kayak polo players from the other team quickly encroaching upon me I didn’t have much time to think. Weeks of hardcore practise (well not really) led to this moment, I threw it. It was a goal. An almighty roar of happiness erupted by our single fan (a fellow EUCC member) and their mum in the stand. With only a few minutes left, we felt confident. Before we knew it however the Attacking badgers had scored. Not one, not two but three more goals. All seemed hopeless.

With seconds remaining McAdams and I charged into the opposition half and before we knew it were in front of the goal with McAdams on his usual wing with the ball. Drawing in the defence he once again managed to get the ball into my hand, being right beneath the goal it was always going to be an awkward shot but after a couple of seconds of composure I threw it, I slowly watched the ball leave my hand and hit the back of the net before I was plunged into darkness. What had happened to me I thought? Am I dead? Am I in heaven? No. I realised I had been binned (for those whom are unaware, binning is the act of pushing a fellow player who is in possession of the ball beneath the water.) Having only been kayaking three weeks a roll was unlikely, bailing (the act of leaving one’s boat when it is beneath the water) in such a small boat (I am 6ft5” after all) would be difficult and a hindrance to the rest of the team. In this moment of uncertainty I felt a nudge on the side of my boat, it was another kayak preparing for a T-rescue. I grasped the mystery boat and returned to the surface, curious to find the identity of my saviour.

It was McAdams, not for the first time that day his assistance was much appreciated. Seconds after returning to the surface and finding my paddle the final whistle blew. Had we done it I quickly thought? Have we drawn a game? A quick glance at the scoreboard revealed the reality – we hadn’t. 3-2 to the Attacking badgers. Despite being close to glory our warriors weren’t phased and before we knew it we were in a local KFC exchanging valiant tales of the evening’s events before heading on our way to Arena (aka Unit 1) to celebrate the matches we had so beautifully lost.

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Nov 15

First Freshers loop trip 31/10/2015

On Saturday, fifteen intrepid kayakers and five quaking freshers descended on Dartmoor to paddle the infamous ‘Loop’, setting out with the promise of a heavy downpour their hopes were soon dashed by lacklustre rainfall, but this didn’t stop them scraping down the three-mile stretch over the course of about four hours. After stumbling sleepily to the cave for a 9am meeting time, the constantly organised EUCC eventually managed to depart by midday. Luckily, the river proved no disappointment, unlike the presence of hundreds of Bath fresh drifting along around every corner.

This trip provided a true first white water experience for both our freshers and the second years new to the Dart, with features inventively named ‘washing machine’, ‘spin-dryer’ and ‘triple-step’ it was always going to be an interesting ride. The first capsized casualty proved to be our own Ben Cockshull, succumbing heroically to the Steps on the borderline of the Upper Dart, while his misfortune continued by getting caught against a strainer in an (almost) romantic encounter with Swales within the next few hours. Josh Manley bravely took to a play boat for the entire stretch, a daunting prospect even for the more experienced members, seeing him briefly at the mercy of the final ‘triple-drop’, although effortlessly rolling out of the waves.

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As a final pièce de résistance, our own captain, Tom Hopkins, was obligated to shoe a pint for a catastrophic swim the day before. This trip presented opportunities for the members to practise rolls including Florrie with her first ever river roll! Providing many of us with our first taste of grade 3 features, the ‘Loop’ undoubtedly proves a requirement for any future confident kayakers and freshers looking for their first real challenge.

Nov 15

Potts Rodeo October 24th 2015

After months of preparation and hard work the day of Pots Rodeo 2015 finally arrived. An early start for committee and some willing helpers meant the day was off to a flying start at Mill on the Exe. With low levels but high spirits, we were ready for a good day. Gradually more and more sponsors turned up, with Yak, Sweet Protection, Dewerstone and Surfplugs all donating prizes and goodies for the day, and the excitement began to build as everything was coming together. With a kayaking entrance from Surrey, the competition started. The categories were set for Beginners, Intermediates and Experts, with heats in each.

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The first heats were the beginners and with some strong performances from EUCC fresh Alex Hammond (Ham) and James Dommett finishing in 1st and 2nd places respectively and Alex securing a pretty sweet Sweet helmet. Surrey University dominated many of the other categories with some pretty quick paddlers against some strong EUCC competition. With Bonney on the microphone and Mark Allen and myself judging, things moved swiftly on to the Intermediates category. With some near misses from some Exeter, again Surrey took the podium finishes. Experts ensued with another win from Surrey.

Following the final heats, there was a mass race of everyone down the river with safety acting as obstructions. With Gemma straddling the duo, no rules and ‘anything goes’ meant that much carnage ensued.

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Proceeding the Boater-X there was a mini Rodeo on the water in front of the weir, where many freestylers showed off their playboating skills and some others showed off their entertainment skills, with many a wet exit.

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After clearing up, it was time for a well-earned drink, food and the prize giving at Mill on the Exe. The extra prizes other than Beginners, Intermediates and Experts went to Ben Anderson of Surrey for bodyboarding down the course and weir and also a team player award for one competitor who stopped to rescue another competitor mid race!

All in all, a great day followed by a great after party, all in the name of a good cause, Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

Thank you to everyone who helped set up and clear up, competed, judged and generally made the day so fantastic!!

 

Oct 19

Freshers Exe trip – 27th September 2015

This was my first river trip with the Exeter University Canoe Club, and although apprehensive with the early start on a Sunday morning, I was excited to get on the water properly for the first time and practice the skills I had learnt in the previous pool session. The weirs and fast flows on the river Exe seemed daunting at first but by the end of the day we had all learnt the best way to glide effortlessly down them and they began to feel like less and less of a challenge. As well as learning the fundamentals of kayaking and being introduced to white water, we also had time to reinforce these skills by partaking in a few childhood classic games with a twist: kayak bulldog, stuck in the mud/river and an aptly named boatacross race. These games allowed us to practice what we had learnt whilst giving us a great opportunity to socialise and have a good laugh with the12074486_10206585096098062_3585827032176943714_nvery approachable club members, new and old. I am really looking forward to the next trip to further develop the skills I have learnt, as well as meeting new people and enjoying a great social day out