NI ExplorerRoss MillarKelly Hargie
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Welcome to our new canoeing blog packed full of exciting and informative canoeing stories. This blog will be a one stop shop for anybody interested in canoeing. Industry experts will be guest blogging on the best ways to get involved in canoeing plus giving their own advice into the best places in Northern Ireland using our unique canoe trails. Meanwhile CanoeNI.com staff will be keeping you posted on all the events and competitions both serious and not so serious!

For your definitive guide to canoeing in Northern Ireland visit www. canoeni.com

Open Day with Antrim Boat Club

Posted on August 18, 2021 @ 11:29 AM in Canoeing

Arriving at a water sport open day can initially feel slightly daunting. Your mind tends to tell you that not only are you surrounded by seasoned pros, and you are literally the only person who won’t be able to do the activity, but that the activity itself is going to be way beyond your capabilities.

In reality, an open day is literally for beginners. There are going to be plenty of people in the same boat as you (ha!), excited to dip their toe (ha!) and feeling like they haven’t a clue what to do.

That’s where clubs come into their own.

Water sports clubs have a structure that understands the needs of people that are trying a sport for the first time. So, when I arrived at Antrim Boat Club who were running an introductory open day as part of the #GetWet campaign, it took only a minute or two before a friendly member stopped to ask if they could help.

“I’m here to try the gig boat?” I don’t really know what a gig boat is, but the girl smiles and tells me where to wait.

A short time later we’ve met our crew. Katie, Michael, Fintan, Rachel and Deirdre are an amazing advertisement for their club. They’re like the cast of a cool TV show, each with their own unique style and approach. After helping us on board, we pushed off from the dock and set out into the belly of Lough Neagh.

The departure was a lesson in itself – the gig boat needs rowed, and at probably 30 feet long with a relatively small crew, that means a BIG row. It’s a full body movement, synchronised by Katie who took the lead for this section of our trip.

Whilst a small part of me felt bad that I wasn’t pulling my weight (again, literally – water sports really lend themselves to these sayings) it was hard not to fall in love with the feeling of heading out into the water with a crew that really knew what they were doing.

A few minutes later and everyone swapped places on the boat to raise the sails and Michael took over the command.

He explained this group had been sailing together for years abroad and had competed (successfully on numerous occasions) while representing Northern Ireland.

I got sucked into the joy of sailing as Michael explained all of this, particularly as we got further out from shore and the relaxing swell of the Lough rocked us gently back and forth. The rest of the crew were able to relax as well now, sitting down for a chat and a laugh while Michael continued to explain the various parts of how the boat worked.

For a beginner, he explained, it would all be relatively straightforward to start. They would do just as we were doing – coming out with a crew and watching what they did, but mainly developing a love for the feeling of being in the water. Gradually, you will be given small jobs to do – help to row, hold a rope etc. – until you feel comfortable with those. After that, there are any number of things to go on to learn and specialise in, from tying knots to hoisting sails, to directing the operations.

It genuinely was fascinating, and this from someone from land locked Omagh where a water sports club seemed like a foreign concept.

After a while, the weather was beginning to make its presence known with a couple of warning rolls of thunder. Even that though made for good fun, as the crew laughed at my no doubt slightly concerned face.

Getting off the boat, I was left with no doubt as to why someone would want to join a group like Antrim Boat Club.

Their base of operations is a lovely secluded bit of land that lends itself to some incredibly dramatic sunrises and sunsets. They have a club house, currently being renovated, with all the facilities you could imagine (including a very reasonably priced bar) and great connections with all of the other local groups involved in the water.

If you want to give yourself a treat, please try the club out. Contact them on Facebook, explain that you’d heard about sailing and you’d like to give it a go and I promise, you’ll not regret it.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Get Wet This Weekend

Posted on June 9, 2021 @ 3:37 PM in AdventureCanoeingBeaches

As everything is finally getting back to normal, it is time for you to get out and experience something new! This weekend is the perfect time to GetWet, and with a range of events taking place, there is something for everybody! The GetWet campaign encourages everyone, no matter how much experience to come out and dip their toe into the water (sports).

 

ST. AYLES SKIFF ROWING FOR BEGINNERS

The St. Ayles skiff rowing for beginners is the perfect taster for you to get into rowing. Held at Killyleagh Harbour, catering for two age ranges over two days, we can guarantee you will find your new love for water sports.

 

The open day will last one hour and will consist of basic land-based training to get you prepared for the water. You will then finally get out on the water and give it a go for real. The session will then conclude with a recap of everything you learned on the day. It doesn’t stop there, as they encourage you to come back and train with them for Skiffs on the Lake, Skiffie Strangford and or for Skiffie Worlds which takes place in June 2022 in the Netherlands.

 

The St. Ayles skiff rowing for beginners takes place on Saturday 12th June between 1.30pm to 5.30pm for those 26 years and older. Sunday 13th June between 2pm and 6pm caters for those aged 11 to 26 years old. Check out our website for more information, or PM Killyleagh Coastal Rowing Club on Facebook to book!

 

YOUNG PEOPLE AND CHILDREN TRY SAILING

On Saturday 12th June, Lisnaskea Boat Club is hosting an introduction to sailing session for all young people and children. The day will consist of a 90 minute introduction to sailing, from learning how to rig in preparation for launch, to steering a sailing boat out on a course on the water. Do not worry, as a qualified instructor will be with you along the way, as well as a safety boat if you happen to get into any difficulty. You will also be kitted out with a wet suit and a buoyancy aid. This introduction is the perfect way to get into sailing, especially from a young age!

 

The event will take place on Saturday 12th June, with sessions from 2pm to 3.30pm, and 5.30pm to 7pm. For more information check out our website, or to book contact waveridesireland@gmail.com or call Hugh on 00447894076574 or 00353838201664.

 

 

SCULLING FOR WATER ENTHUSIASTS

Lagan Scullers Club is hosting a sculling event on Sunday 13th June. The event is the perfect way to try your hand at sculling and see Belfast from a different angle by sailing down the Lagan. Firstly, you will practice on the rowing machine to understand the parts of the rowing movement for 30 mins. You will then be entrusted to control the boat by yourself out on the water for 50 mins, however the instructor will be nearby to keep you right. Sculling is a very intense sport, with swimming ability and water confidence required. Once you get the hand of things you’ll be for the Olympics in no time!

 

The event is for anyone over the age of 12 years of age and is suitable for families. However, places are limited so if you don’t get booked for this weekend, there are other dates in June available! To find out more information visit our website or contact lscullers@hotmail.com to arrange your session!

 

 

ST. AYLES SKIFF COASTAL ROWING FOR 16 TO 60+ YEAR OLDS. 

Dundrum Coastal Rowing Club are hosting a coastal skiff rowing event. The day will consist of an hour taster session on Dundrum Inner Bay. This is the perfect opportunity to try out coastal skiff rowing, starting with the basics. You will be guided by experienced rowers and coxswains. With all equipment provided, you are encouraged to come and experience the world of skiff rowing, as well as enjoy the beautiful coastal views.

 

To find out more information check out or website, or to book your spot, contact wgkendall51@gmail.com . Another session will be held in late June if you are unable to get this weekend!

For future Get Wet Events, check out www.getwetni.com

 

Kerry Kirkpatrick
Kerry Kirkpatrick  Assistant Marketing and Events Officer

A true North Coast water baby, happiest when on the beach.

Get Ready to Get Wet in 2021!

Posted on May 20, 2021 @ 4:50 PM in AdventureCanoeingBeachesLocal Outdoors

Get Wet NI

 

The average person would have jumped at any opportunity to get outdoors in a fun setting this time last year, let alone doing it with other people and the ability to learn a new skill! Covid-19 has fundamentally shifted our relationship with the outdoors and created a new appreciation for the ability to do things, to enjoy ourselves and savour life.

It is the perfect time then, to GetWet – a campaign intended to introduce people to watersports in a fun and educational way. GetWetNI kicks off from the end of May with a series of free or much reduced cost taster events throughout Northern Ireland, and will run throughout the remainder of the summer. Below, we’ve listed just a few of the ones we think you might be interested in! But feel free to check them all out on our website, GetWetNI.com.

Girls in Angling

Camowen Community Anglers are running a free session on angling at Altmore Fishery in Co. Tyrone on Sunday 30th May.

 

All equipment is provided for you on the day, you just need to bring your own wellies and waterproof gear. Better still, the organisers are running a competition and have prizes to be won throughout the day! If you’re interested in attending, it runs between 11am and 3pm; just drop them an email to camowenanglers@gmail.com

Quoile Yacht Club Taster Events

The Quoile Yacht Club in Downpatrick are running multiple taster events that include dinghy sailing, paddle boarding, canoeing, and cruising. If this doesn’t get you excited, we’re not sure what will! The day is suitable for anyone from the age of 8 up (with under 16s requiring a parent or guardian to be present), and will be lead by qualified instructors.

Again, this event is completely free so you’ll never have a better opportunity to experience these incredible watersports than this. Sessions run between 11am and 12:30pm, 12:30pm and 2pm and 2pm and 3:30pm, and you’ll be able to speak to members and officers of the club throughout the day as well.

To get involved in the day, simply email info@quoileyachtclub.com and indicate your preferred session time, how many people are in your party and if any are under 18 and provide a contact mobile number for yourself.

 

Sculling for Water Enthusiasts

Lagan Scullers Club are offering the chance to try your hand (both hands actually, and your arms… also your legs) at rowing in the Lagan, again providing an amazing opportunity to both develop a new skill, get some good exercise in and also see Belfast from a completely different perspective.

A little bit of ‘water confidence’ is needed for this course as, to reduce physical proximity, you’ll be in a single boat, with a coach in another boat just alongside you to keep you right.

The sessions themselves are limited to only 4 places per day so the spots will book up fast. With only four places, it means you’ll be receiving a significant amount of training over the two hours (one of which you’ll spend in the water, the other out of the water). You’ll get to see the variety of boats on offer, try the rowing machine, learn the different rowing movements and then – how to control your boat on the water! These sessions are £10 and will run every Sunday throughout June. To book, email lscullers@hotmail.com

 

Try Kayak Racing

Belfast Canoe Club are the only club in Northern Ireland currently offering tuition in the Olympic discipline of kayak racing. Running on Sunday 6th June and Wednesday 9th June, it’s a fast moving, exciting and energetic sport that the people who do it live for. You’ll not be tackling any rapids in this session though, don’t worry. Instead, you’ll be on the placid water of Lough Henney, outside Lisburn which is uniquely suitable for this sport.

During the session, you’ll learn the difference between kayaks and paddles used for racing and ‘normal’ kayaks; the principles of paddling fast as well as then an hour’s coaching on the water.

The training is open to everyone, but the club have advised that their equipment is generally not suitable for children under the age of 10. A maximum of 8 people can attend per session and competent paddlers and those interested in getting involved in racing will have the opportunity to join the club.

To book on, email belfastcanoeclub@gmail.com with your choice of date.

 

Re-Discover Watersports at Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club

This is another extravaganza of different water sports discipline and absolutely not to be missed out on. CSBC are welcoming people to come along to try out sailing, standup paddleboarding, canoeing and sea swimming, all under the eye of qualified instructors and with all equipment supplied. The sessions will run across two days, on Friday 18th June and Saturday 19th June, between 6pm and 8pm both evenings and between 1pm and 3pm on the Saturday afternoon.

In addition to the fantastic watersports opportunities, there will also be a BBQ with firepits on the club patio on both evenings, and the clubhouse bar will be open.

If you’d like to book on, you can do it via the clubs website. Visit www.csbc.co.uk now! 

For more events, head to www.getwetni.com/events 

Kerry Kirkpatrick
Kerry Kirkpatrick  Assistant Marketing and Events Officer

A true North Coast water baby, happiest when on the beach.

Last Chance to Get Wet in 2019

Posted on August 8, 2019 @ 11:16 AM in AdventureCanoeing

As we approach the end of summer (parents rejoice; children despair!), the huge number of water sport events from Get Wet are beginning to wind down. But don’t panic – there’s still time left to dip your toe into a potentially life changing new hobby! Dive in with us one last time as we look at “Have a Go” water sports events happening soon.

A Fermanagh extravaganza first! There is loads happening all over Northern Ireland in the next few weeks, but Lough Erne in particular has several events still to be enjoyed:

Stand Up Paddleboarding – Erne Paddlers: Lakeland Forum Canoe Steps, Wed 14th, 21st and 28th August

Erne Paddlers are one of the main clubs to have recognised the huge growth in popularity in stand up paddleboarding. In an hour-long session, you’ll be introduced to the sport via games designed to make you comfortable on a paddle board and gradually develop the skills that will allow you to go solo. At only £15 for non-members, this event is fantastic value – just make sure you book in advance.

 

Inclusive Paddles – Erne Paddlers: Lakeland Forum Canoe Steps, Thurs 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th August

Inclusive Paddles - Erne Paddlers

A brilliant opportunity to get the whole family out on the water and enjoying the incredible scenery of the Erne. These sessions are uniquely designed to cater for those with and without physical/learning/extra needs. All equipment will be provided for you – your job is just to enjoy yourself!

 

Learn to Paddle – Erne Paddlers: Lakeland Forum Canoe Steps, Monday 12th, 19th, 26th August

Intended for those who want to try out paddling for the first time – no experience necessary. Learn to paddle and build confidence in an enjoyable step by step way that will improve as you move on to the river, sea, surf, polo and more!

Don’t worry if you don’t live in the Lakeland County though – there are plenty of other events happening elsewhere, such as:


Rowing – Lagan Curraghs: Stranmillis Mooring Dock, Sat 10th and 17th August

Lagan Curraghs’ weekly rows through Belfast have consistently proven to be one of the most popular events with newbies to water sports. Participants say that in addition to the fun of rowing and the health benefits of a good workout, even the act of being in a traditional curragh boat is a brilliant experience. Their final Saturday row takes place on Saturday 17th August and booking is advisable.

 

Bright Night Sailing – Donaghadee Sailing Club: Donaghadee Sailing Club, Shore Street, Fri 9th, 16th and 23rd August

RYA Bright Night Sailing

Sailing is another sport that has exploded in popularity in recent years. Donaghadee offer a free two-week trial period for 8-17-year-olds, which is perfect for those curious to head out on the water and give it a go. Learning some of the basics while having great fun with like minded juniors is the perfect way to finish up the summer months and there’s even a BBQ held in the club after the session. What more could you want!

Bright Night Sailing is also available from County Antrim Sailing Club throughout August for 8-17-year-olds.


Sculling – Lagan Scullers: No. 8 Lockview Road, Belfast, Sundays in September

Lagan Scullers

Rowing’s more challenging sibling. Sculling is a fantastic way to keep fit and this 4-week course is ideal for introducing newcomers to the sport. Feel the sleek boat glide through the water underneath you and enjoy being part of a team learning new skills. Using a rowing machine to begin, you’ll soon be brought onto the boat to learn the importance of synchronicity on the water, as well as how to launch, turn, stop and recover boats.

 

For a full list of the water sports events taking place between now and September, check out the GetWetNI website, or follow us on our GetWetNI Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerry Kirkpatrick
Kerry Kirkpatrick  Assistant Marketing and Events Officer

A true North Coast water baby, happiest when on the beach.

Why to Get Involved in Get Wet NI

Posted on July 4, 2019 @ 1:33 PM in AdventureCanoeing

The Get Wet NI campaign is an ideal way for those with no background in watersports to learn the basics under the watchful eye of qualified instructors – this is done through taking part in taster events ran by local clubs in Northern Ireland. Here’s why you should get involved!

  1. Learn a New Watersport: there is a whole range of new and exciting watersports for you try, from water-skiing to canoeing to stand-up paddleboarding (and much more!). The activities are suitable for all abilities, no matter what your interest is.
  2. Events are Free or at a Reduced Price: most of the events included in Get Wet NI are either free or at a reduced cost, making now the perfect time to get out on the water!
  3. Opportunity to Make Friends and Join a Club: all Get Wet events are organised by watersports clubs in Northern Ireland, meaning you have the option after your session to join up to the club and get involved in regular events and sessions.

 

Upcoming Get Wet Events to Get Involved in:

Big Bann Canoe Challenge | Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th August | Lower Bann River from Portglenone to Drumaheglis 

This event is a fun two day paddle on the beautiful Lower Bann River from Portglenone to Drumaheglis in canoes or kayaks, with overnight camping at Movanagher Lock.

 

Raft Race in Aid of RNLI | Saturday 20th July, 1pm – 3pm | County Antrim Yacht Club, 1 Marine Parade, Whitehead

Raft Race on 20 July in aid of the RNLI. It also incorporates an Open Water Swimming Race and Canoe/Rowing Race, with fun for the family ashore with music and BBQ.

 

4 Week Rowing Course for Beginners | Sunday 4th August for four weeks, 10am – 11.30am | Lockview Road, Belfast

This four-week course for beginners is aimed at improving your basic rowing skills and confidence in a fun and safe way. A great way to get into the fantastic sport of rowing, meet new people and learn new skills.

 

Alive Surf School Surf Club | Sunday 7th July – 18th August fortnightly, 10am – 3pm | West Strand Beach, Portrush 

Join this fortnightly Surf Club and progress your skills and ocean knowledge on a regular basis. A two-hour surf lesson with all equipment included (wetsuits, surfboards, changing rooms, warm showers and a drink and a snack for afterward) for only £10.

 

Check out GetWetNI and our Facebook page to stay updated and book onto your favourite events!

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Kerry Kirkpatrick
Kerry Kirkpatrick  Assistant Marketing and Events Officer

A true North Coast water baby, happiest when on the beach.

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