On 8 August 2010 my youngest son and I were awarded our BCU (British Canoe Union) One Star level paddlesport performance award for kayaking with the Bedford Vikings Kayak Club. And what great fun it was getting it!
Great child parent bonding
The experience of learning something new together and achieving an award together was a wonderful bonding exercise between my son and I.
Drew was 14 at the time and actually had a great deal more experience in paddle boating than I had. Several summer’s worth of watery fun at both the Bedford summer sports program and Bedford Modern School’s Summer Holiday Activities had set him up neatly to put me to shame during our weekend course with the Vikings. He really did make it all look very easy!
While my son sped along effortlessly, I struggled to find my balance and ended up taking more than one ducking. It was cold. It was wet. But it was still great fun. There’s something pleasing about swimming in a river while almost fully clothed – although it does get chilly and rather tiring after a while. If you can stay warm and snug in the kayak I’d recommend it! I didn’t quite get the ‘fish award’ that year – but must have been a candidate.
Stay fit, stay safe
In my quest to stay healthy without having to attend our rather drab local gym, kayaking has definitely been top of my list of enjoyable ways to do it.
The BCU star awards are highly achievable and a sensible way to introduce yourself to the sport. Rather than simply fling yourself on the river, knowing you’ve been put through your paces on health & safety issues and would know how to get either yourself or your kids out of the water safely following an accident is essential to happy family adventures on the river.
I thoroughly recommend kayaking to anyone of any age. At the Vikings the age range is from eight to eighty-eight (or thereabouts!).