Lahinch 2012 by Niamh Lowe

Lahinch, by Niamh Lowe

When I started my second year of college I was eager to throw myself out there, start something new and make the most of my experience of college life. When I started with the UCDCC I was taken by the encouragement and patience of the more experienced member of the club getting to grips with paddling techniques and lingo. Needless to say I was hooked, and I wasn’t the only one!

What makes being in the club awesome are the weekend trips away. We were certainly on a high after the Freshers trip to Cork so the trip  to Lahinch Co. Clare was very highly anticipated to say the least. After a banterful bus journey and a couple of short(ish) bathrooms stops, we arrives in the sleepy sea-side village of Lahinch. After we settled into our hostel (by flinging our bags into our rooms) we had the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the club from Trinity, bombard a local pub and generally bant around until we succumbed to sleep. We woke up to a beautiful morning in whatever bed we claimed the night before. Although we were bleary-eyed and awfully hung-over, we were immediately perked up by the fresh air and the sight of kayaks. The day that was in it was perfect to practise kayak surfing as  the waves were consistently high which was challenging and definitely helped us to improve our paddling.


Credit: Naddy Jones

After our time on the beach on the beach, we quickly made our way back to the hostel. Shortly after showering and eating it was time to get ready to go out. By getting ready I don’t mean fake tan, heels or smart shirts……I mean fancy-dress, something that I have a particular fondness of. The theme was superheroes and there were some very creative costumes indeed from both UCD and Trinity.


Credit: Naddy Jones

After we partied and took a crazy amount of pictures in the hostel, we made our way to one of the only hostels in Lahinch. Of course, we bewildered every non-kayaking person throughout the night with our mad ensembles. Sure you have to be remembered somehow! Afterwards the nightclub was dubbed “ the best night club ever” because there was also a 18th, a 21st and a 30th being celebrated there at the same time, where else would you have it?! Sunday morning consisted of a slow start and lots of sausages for those who got up first. After getting the kayaking gear packed up and tidying up the hostel, it was time to hit the road back to Dublin. It’s always the sign of a good weekend when the bus journey home is considerably quiet.

It goes without saying that the Lahinch trip was just as fantastic as the Freshers trip. We fitted a lot into the time that we had there and most importantly made new friends and improved on our paddling.

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Fresher’s Weekend by Steven Mulrooney

Before arriving in UCD I briefly consulted the online brochure containing a short description of each and every sports club the college has to offer. Many of these appealed to me for different reasons but the UCD Canoe Club was the one which immediately caught my eye.

Upon arriving at the UCD Sports Expo I was quick to find the stand I sought. As I approached I could see buoyancy aids, paddles and helmets scattered everywhere, but most importantly, around 10 smiling faces all vying to catch my eye. I chatted to a couple of members for a few minutes and then handed over my €15. Little did I know I was signing my life away to kayaking!

The first few weeks consisted of biweekly pool sessions in UCD’s new 50m pool and Saturday trips to Dun Laoighre and the Liffey. Having never paddled before, these sessions gave me an opportunity to learn and develop new skills, make loads of new friends and of course, have fun.

Soon it was time for the greatly anticipated ‘Fresher’s Weekend’. This was a time devoted to kayaking, making friends, partying and in typical Canoe Club style; fancy dress! On Friday we packed the trailer with as much kayaking gear as possible and hit the road to County Cork (Middleton to be precise)! The bus journey was a banterful experience full of excellent banter, chat and several roadside stops. When we arrived at our hostel we all tried to grab a bed and failing that, settled for the floor. The night went on as it had begun with the addition of a ukulele and a guitar as we sang, danced and chatted late into the night.

Saturday started with a bang…literally! Niall (pronounced Neil), our New Members Liaison, entered each room banging pots and pans together with a rather gleeful smile. Several people blamed this for their headaches and seemed to forget the party from the night before. After a quick breakfast and many glasses of water we got on the bus and headed to the beach. Here we got a chance to experience a different side to kayaking; kayak surfing. Essentially it’s just surfing sitting down but it was really fun and great to get a chance to try something new.


Katie Mc”Glitterfull”Loughlin.  Credit: Katie McLoughlin

When we got back to the hostel we had a few hours of downtime before people started to organise their costumes for the fancy dress. Everyone made a great effort with all sorts of different costumes on display. These included tigers, monkeys, pirates, Mario and Luigi and who can forget Jimmy Saville himself! This was also the first of many trips to be plagued by glitter courtesy of our very own Katie McLoughlin (people are still finding it in bags or in their hair to this day). That night was spent in a local watering hole as we terrorised the locals with our costumes and craic!


Jimmy Saville. Credit: Niamh Lowe.

Sunday was a slightly later start as everyone was suffering from the night before. We slowly packed all our stuff and cleaned up the hostel until it looked as good as new (we always party hard and we always clean up our mess). We thanked the owners and boarded the bus. On the way back to Dublin we stopped off on the River Lee for a quick paddle. This was just flat water with a weir but it turned out to not only be great fun, but also a great cure for a sore head! After this we jumped back onto the bus, lay back and slept until we got home!

Fresher’s weekend is definitely one of my highlights of the year so far! It gave everyone a chance to get to know one another, to do some paddling and to have a weekend of filled with unadulterated banter!


On the Lee. Credit: Niall Finch

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 It’s Never …

It’s Never Too Late!

Written by Róisín Mossop

I started college in September 2010 with great enthusiasm and super intentions of joining many a club, the canoe club included. But as I wandered from stand to stand I was washed away with the urge, need perhaps, to join them so many of them, until my poor purse lay tenner-less. Unfortunately I just didn’t make it to the canoe club stand in time, and my first year went by without having sat into a kayak.

Once fresher’s week came around again next year(2011) I was ready with an agenda to dive straight into life with the kayakers. I signed up immediately and was instantly impressed by the spirit and activity at the Dun Laoghaire trips. These were great sociable trips for us newbies to get know a few older members and other freshers to the club. There was plenty of kayaking, rain, sun or storm and also plenty of chat time after over soup and sandwiches afterwards. Also the added luxury of showers and post paddling parties were there to lure us all into the club! And lure us it did, with a huge number of freshers sticking with the club last year!








Dun laoghsire trip, September 2011

What I hadn’t realised in my first year was that the club also takes part in a refreshers scheme after the Christmas break. This allows people like me who missed the boat and realises this HUGE mistake they’ve made to join up mid-way through the year with another group of people new to the club. The club ran pool sessions to give this set of refreshers a chance to complete the swim test and capsize test, which all members have to complete in order to get onto a river in a kayak. They also tailored the first few river trips after Christmas to accommodate these refreshers.





Members of the club at the refreshers stand 2012








UCDCC at Intervarsity Competition in Castlebar 2012

The club is great for people of all levels of kayaking from complete beginners to people who are constantly pushing their level of kayaking to people who are there not so much for the sport but more for the social aspect (which is super!). The nights out and weekends away are brilliant ways to meet and get to know so many great members of the club. I found the people in the club extremely welcoming and would advise anyone interested in joining the club to just get in contact with the club members or to come along to some night out and get talking to everyone!

Although I joined the club a year later than I had intended, this was of little importance. Once you get involved in the weekly happens of the club, people are welcoming and it’s like you were always a member. Aw! Anyway, anyone considering it? Make it happen this year!!

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Longford Polo Competition, Clondra Co. Longford. By Diarmuid Ryan

Write up a piece for the blog about the Polo Competition in Longford they said, be grand they said. And I did think it was grand, for a while anyway, until I tried to think of a way to start this thing. We didn’t really cover “Starting a blog post” in that class where we stared out the window.


It’s the open road baby and you’re on a journey.

Anyway, Longford. Clondra, Co Longford to be exact. Four of us piled into Anastasia (my beautiful car) and set out for an eventful weekend away. After a quick stop-off in Kinnegad for food we found ourselves parked outside our home for the weekend, Sally the Barge. Sally is everything you could want in a woman, bright and sturdy on the outside and great for a bit of food or a little nap. After a quick bite to eat and a beverage or two we headed for the pub to find the other polo teams and socialise.

Our first game was set for 10:00, saturday morning and three games to get through, finishing up around 4:30 between rain, wind and lovely sunshine. We got off to a flying start against the lads from Cavan with a hard-fought win. Then it was off the water and time to watch Division 1 &2 show us how it was played while the sun warmed our hearts occasionally.Image

UCD (in blue) take on Cavan (in black)

Later, around 12.00, we played our second game, against Kilcock Pyranhas, the newcomers (or newer than us) to the (kind of) competitive canoe polo world. With a deserving 6:0 win we put ourselves in a good position for our final group game at 4:30. The best start to a tournament that we’ve had so far this year.

At 4.30 however, we could expect a tougher game against Summerbay High of Galway Kayak Club, a team we had never beaten before. After an exciting first half, the sides were level at half-time. In the second-half UCD rallied to claim an elusive first win over GKC and to top the group stage table with three wins from three.

Meanwhile our Ladies team had their debut in the Ladies competition. With more than one first-timer on the team, things were always going to be an uphill for the students as they faced teams made up of ladies who had competed on an international level. The performed admirably but unfortunately lost their three games.


Capt. Maryane demonstrates the dance shot

It was back to the barge then to change into some warm dry clothes, a snack and a nap. While the miniature onboard toilet also performered admirably. We had a quick trip into Longford town for food and chipper and settled down fairly contented back at Sally. Again that night we headed down to the pub for music and the odd bit of craic.


Team Longford (minus one or two) on the barge

The next day we (luckily) weren’t drawn to play in the semi-final until 11.30 against Kilcock Pyranhas. Kilcock were out to prove a point with nothing to lose and put two past us in the first half. UCD pulled the game back however and ran out handy winners to book our place in the final.

Not long after, the ladies team were in their semi-final, but were unfortunately beaten by Banba. I was put in charge of score and time keeping duties for another game at the same time, so I can’t tell you much else about it!

We were told that we wouldn’t be playing in the mixed final for another few hours, so Sally’s warmth again became the venue for a mass nap while the rain drummed on her steel shell. Not long after, it was final time.

We were drawn against a fortified Summerbay High team in the final. In the most adrenalin pumped polo game of my life (there’s a lot of blurry memories in there). In a hotly contested affair the game went tit for tat, both teams seemingly evenly matched. Level at half-time. Level at full-time. At a score of 2-2 the game went to Golden Goal. The first team to score would win the match. Right from the start we were on the attack and eventually the ball found it’s way to Helena under the goal. She couldn’t help but put the ball in the back of the net. UCD Stars, Division 3 champions. Bragging rights or what?

The Teams:

UCD Stars (mixed):

(1) Maryanne Doyle, (2) Niall Bouchier, (3) Helena Coughlan, (4) Diarmuid Ryan, (5) Matt Enright, (6) Cormac Roche

UCD Starlets (Ladies):

Kate Barry, Helena Coughlan, Maryanne Doyle, Marie Harrington, Ellen McGrane, Rachel Molloy

Some Photos:

UCD Stars:

UCD Starlets:Image


Both Teams with the winning trophy.

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Varsity training on the Liffey, a committee member’s perspective

by Maryanne Doyle

It was six o’clock on a cold January morning, soft blue light glowed around the edges of the curtains as dawn started outside, and I hadn’t slept yet. The first club trip after the Christmas holidays, although a full week into term, still came before my body clock had readjusted from Guatemalan time (I hadn’t been to Guatemala, I’d just ruined my sleeping pattern).

We were running a trip the likes of which hadn’t been seen before, at least not lately. A roof-rack trip; drivers and cars had been marshaled to transport 18 freshers, boats and their committee to the ICU centre at the Strawberry Beds, sans bus or trailer. High performance (HP) boats were strapped to roof racks with a delicacy rarely witnessed amongst paddlers and representatives of the fleet of seldom-used general purpose (GP) boats were dislodged from their spidery quarters to be brought out for a spin.

Unlike our normal weekend adventures, which depart from the Lucan sluice and continue past Wren’s Nest to the carpark under the M50 flyover, this was to be a static trip based further downriver at the Strawberry beds. The equipment for the day was unusual as well; rather than using plastic river running and playboating boats from our own fleet we were borrowing high performance boats from WWKC and the ICU. The final difference was that instead of the standard beginner to intermediate level two to three kayaking skills training we had booked ourselves in for some targeted work on marathon techniques.

The worries were plentiful and varied. What if the freshers all swam all the time? What if rescue all swam all the time? What if all that flat water was just as boring as it looked? To a group of people who last paddled a sporty Lower Carragh at the annual week long trip to Kerry over New Year’s, a still, pond-like section of the Liffey could well be a let-down. A worry clearly shared by some of our older paddlers who stayed in bed that day. Next thing some of the boats we’d planned on borrowing turned out to have been double booked, as did the showers and changing rooms due to a first aid course. We’d ended up one set of gear short and I’d given one of the instructors directions to the wrong place. The emergency sleeping bag in the back of the car was starting to look pretty good. Did I mention I hadn’t slept?

In the time it took to unstrap the boats and dole out the gear both of our high performance coaches for the day had arrived, Mr Benny Cullen and Mr Greg Byrne. We were set up with all the gear and boats we could have hoped for (thank you ICU) and the first aiders kindly made space for us in the centre. Next thing I was colour coding a list of all the freshers, a whiteboard appeared and I knew it was going to be a good day.

What followed was one of the most focused, varied and interesting days of paddling I’ve ever had. Benny and Greg launched the UCDCC fleet so we could get used to the boats while they talked drills and tactics. The freshers were treated to a most unfamiliar sight: their beloved captain (recently convinced not to wear his drysuit) careering out into the water in a Gola Sprint, high-bracing as if his life depended on it and capsizing like a man tumbling from a crashing plane. I may aslo have explored the motion of a boat around its horizontal axis.

Soon we were on land again, spreading the GP boats all around the car park as Benny had us explore the power of trunk rotation by attempting to hit each other in the shins with the boats as hard and as fast as possible (at least, I’m pretty sure that was the game) a sort of high-stakes version of slaps, using a kayak. After some more technical instruction and demonstrations, Greg took the group and guided us through some basic pilates moves to increase our flexibility and strengthen our back muscles, we were soon to realise how important they were. A memorable stretch involved getting down on all fours and slowly arching your back. We soon found that making cat noises was of huge benefit to the exercise and dubbed the move the “Cringecat Stretch”.

Capitalising on our apparent fondness for animals, Benny had us sit in a line along a wall and paddle in sync with each other, much like a caterpillar.

One of our new found K1 experts, Mr Louis O’Carroll sat at the head of the line and guided us in even paddling using the correct trunk rotation and technique. Every caterpaddler had a partner standing nearby to cheer them on. The first round of cheering, however, was somewhat sub-par as it looked very much like the first group were a bunch of wusses. It turns out that it’s actually quite tiring to try and keep up with a K1 paddler, even when he doesn’t have a boat.

After a three minute sprint drill around the car park to get us warmed up again the fleet took to the water once more. There was some good natured boat swapping (“please let me swap with you, mine’s about as stable as a knitting needle”) and we were ready. Joined by Benny and Greg this time we began a series of sprinting and resting designed to build endurance and decrease recovery times, something that would benefit competitors in all disciplines at varsities. We alternated between sprinting in one direction, turning to slowly to paddle in the other for a short break, then sprint again before repeating the process. This backwards and forwards motion meant we stayed based around the same spot and kept all the freshers in GP boats safely in the middle of the group. Safely, that is, unless they strayed into the path of an oncoming  HP boater (“MOVE! MOVE NOW! I can only steer when there’s no wind!”).

With the group all tuckered out and waiting for our newly developed stamina and athleticism to kick in, we floated back to the get-out and the colder among us headed for the showers. The rest took advantage of some of the technical knowledge and expertise that was on the water and spent a further 40 minutes giving it socks in a roll clinic. With the light beginning to fade and the cold creeping in, we headed indoors for hot showers, dry clothes, hot Robinsons, and some freshly bought soup (thanks Bill!). The mood was great: the freshers were happy, the refresher was still there, there had been some impressive demonstrations of balance on the water, even some speed… We suddenly had a shortlist of potential candidates for HP that was greater than our selection of boats, not to mention identifying some competitive GP entries to boot. A very fruitful day altogether, and one to be repeated in time for next year’s expedition to Limerick.

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A year with the UCDCC

A year spent with the UCDCC.

by Niall Finch

Before even entering the hall for the Sport’s expo I had it in my mind that I would more than likely join the Canoe Club. Be it from the large man in full paddling gear, in a kayak, in a child’s paddling pool shouting at me to join or from the fact my brother had been in it and I’d heard the stories of his trips away,  I think  I’d quietly accepted  that I would join it.

On walking into the Sports Expo. Hall I was immediately set upon by a man with a large smile telling me that this was the club for me. I listened to his pitch and told him I’d think about it, after all 15 euro is quite a bit to a student these days.  On hearing that I had a brother in the club though he gave me no choice in the matter and I was signed up.

I’ve never looked back since.

The next Saturday we went to Dun Laoghaire for some flat water introductory paddling. The sun was shining and many a bants and ROFLs were had. We did the same the following Saturday too though the sun wasn’t shining but the bants and ROFLs were once again had – something that the Canoe Club seemed to be quite good at it appeared.

Dun Laoighaire - When the sun shines. Credit Maryanne Doyle

I missed the next few Saturday trips due to work and being lazy, but when Fresher’s Weekend came around I dragged my sorry self out from under my rock and onto the bus bound for Tramore. Heading down I had felt a bit unwell but sucked it up and loaded my plane up with enough fuel to make it to the Danger Zone. I got there in the end and what a journey it was – even though the following day I began to feel even worse, and was then forced to spend the rest of the weekend as a mute as I had no voice at all. Needless to say the paddling was amazing and the partying… well let’s just say that what happens in Tramore, definitely doesn’t stay in Tramore!

Our Captain, beloved NML and a man with a chainsaw licence. Credit: helena Coughlan

Through the next few weeks we began to build up our skill levels over the Saturday trips. I felt I was beginning to improve… ish.  As Lahinch came I was looking forward to it immensely, though in the week preceding it I realised I’d forgotten to book work off! So I was left in Dublin as the rest of the club ventured to Co. Clare to beat Trinity in Colours…again!

The Fun I missed. Credit: Helan Coughlan

Saturday Trips continued and this time I definitely was improving… I think. With Christmas exams fast approaching the club took its break and we all knuckled down to our studies, though there did seem to be an awful lot of activity on the forum at this stage for some unknown reason.

During the Christmas break we ventured down to Co. Kerry for what can be only described as madness, paddling, swimming (in my case anyway), fun and hangovers all rolled into one! It remains for me one of the best weeks ever! I even got to run the Upper Caragh which was a massive achievement for myself, I felt.

Game Face on Brah ! Credit: Karen Vejsbjerg

After the Lower Caragh. Credit Karen Vejsbjerg

Basically Sums Kerry. Credit: Helena Coughlin

On returning to college, with memories (or lack thereof) from Kerry we set into training for Varsities with fervour. This training was so rigorous we even saw our Captain and Safety officer, Alpine Veterans, taking swims.

Evidence ! Credit: Bill Corbett

Throughout the year we were also playing polo in the DCPL. I really enjoyed the polo as it gave me a chance to air my aggressive, competitive streak, something I didn’t think would’ve happened when I first signed up in September!

Cillian making a 'tactical lunge'. Credit Anne-Marie Videbaek

With the training for Varsities still with us, we set off for Castlebar. The ‘Polo Peeps’ were sent down as a Vanguard to warn other colleges of UCD’s magnificence – which we did quite well I might add – we ended up coming joint third! As the main retinue of the club came thundering down the N5 we were already warming up the club for them and had a few slow ones on. We were disappointed to find that only our esteemed PRO made it out to the club, it appeared the rest had partied too hard on the bus and so retired early.

Ball through ! Credit:Gmit Paddling Intervarsities

Over the following days we competed excellently placing in the top 5 in every event .This massive performance from everyone saw us place second in the overall competition, the best result that UCD has achieved in recent history!

The Freestyle team in action. Credit: Jean Kelly

Who's that handsome bloke ? Credit: I-Canoe

After Varsities the club was on a massive high. This was made even better by the first club trip down Jacksons in 3 years. Followed by the Ball which is a whole other story and deserves a blog of it’s own!

In the final weeks, signifying the end of Semester 2 we also managed to get a whole load of assessments done, which will stand to us in future.

So now with the committee of 2011/12 disposed of like stale beer after a session, we look forward to 2012/13 and all that we will achieve, with the new pool coming in and tons of gear on it’s way, UCDCC is on its way to heights never thought of!

A massive thanks has to be given to all I’ve enjoyed this year with! Especially the Committee of 2011/12 to whom I owe most of this year’s enjoyment, Eoghan, Bill, Jer, Maryanne, Matt, Darina, Michael and Dani!

The Commitee of 2011/2012. Credit: Kyle Tunney Photography

Onwards and Downwards !

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Clare Glens Race

There’s nothing like an unexpected race down an exciting river to hail in the New Year! I discovered this last weekend (Saturday the 7th of January) at the fantastic event that was the Clare Glens race, organised and run by Eoin Keyes, Orky and a gang of the excellent ULKC paddlers as rescue.

On Friday I arrived home tired from the first few days of post-Christmas placement, with the traces of Kerry hangover still lurking in dark corners, to the information that the following morning there would be a whitewater race nearby, and on one of my favourite rivers in Ireland: the Clare Glens. (Thanks for telling me Derv!). The Clare Glens is a short stretch of beautiful grade four whitewater, with waterfalls, slides and rapids, and in previous years the race had been an invitation only event which saw some of the best whitewater kayakers in Ireland compete (and frequently swim). So as I pulled up in the carpark on Saturday morning I was feeling quite excited, and even a little nervous.

This year the race was run on a very simple system – competitors pay a tenner in, the entry fee is pooled, and divided up into the prize money. There’s rescue on the major features (thanks again to the rescue boaters), and paddlers set off every 2 minutes. All nice and simple as explained in the briefing by the day’s MC. We changed, hopped in shuttle and proceeded to the footbridge below constriction, the start of the race.


Colin Wong, the winner.

So that is how at noon I was sitting in my boat on a muddy river bank spotted with the green of moss and incredibly rare ferns (which are fairly similar to normal ferns you are just not allowed step on them), poised with the nose of my flamboyantly yellow boat overhanging the murky brown river. Waiting for the start I noticed a slight nervous tremor in my hands and that and my stomach was expressing its desire to sit the race out. But then the countdown began and the helping hand on my tail slid the boat forward, launched it; with a bang it hit the surface of the water and the race was on.                  

The tactic I (and I suspect others) took is to paddle quickly and impressively till you get round the corner and no one can see you and then slow down so you aren’t knackered after the first three minutes. Nerves were still making things a little on the shaky side but some nice lines down the first few rapids relaxed them a bit and I started to enjoy myself. The great thing about the single timed run format of the race is that unlike the boater-cross you don’t have to worry about jostling people down rapids or tire yourself out trying to keep ahead, you can relax, take your own pace and concentrate on having fun and getting down without mishap. The downside is that for many of the rapids there’s no-one to rescue you if you do run into difficulty – rescue can’t cover the whole river and the next paddler is two minutes behind.


Rescue from boat and bank ready after Big Eas

However nothing too strange or startling occurred for until, when I was nice and warmed, up another footbridge loomed up ahead and I saw the brightly coloured evidence of rescue on the bank. This heralded the run in to the main falls or Big Eas (eas, pronounced ass, is Irish for waterfall for the non-natives reading this), a lovely 2 metre waterfall, where not only have many skilled boaters come to grief, but where I knew my parents would be waiting with dog and camera to cheer, or laugh if I swam. Fuelled by a malicious desire to deny them this spectacle, I charged through the first hole of the run in, slid gracefully down the slide, and promptly capsized, about 7m form the lip. One of the fastest panic roles of my paddling career later and I was back paddling, praying no-one saw that. Thankfully I manage to hit a nice line on Big Eas, and with newfound confidence and a certain amount of relief it was on to the next drop – Little Eas.


Little Eas being run on the right

As is inevitably the case when you start to feel confident I made a bit of a mess of it and ended up unexpectedly pulling myself along the rock face away from the hole on the left (the less said about how the better). Panting and slightly embarrassed by the rescue’s cheering, I continued on my way. I was starting to tire at this stage so thankfully the last few rapids passed without major incident and a short while later I passed under the final bridge to collapse in an eddy, thoroughly knackered.


Myself on Big Eas

It was a fantastic day, a fabulous river and an excellent race. Finding I had headed the (not very large) ladies’ category with a time of 11.52 was merely the smallest bit of icing on an entirely satisfactory cake. Well done to Colin Wong the winner with a time 9.25, Paddy McGovern only four seconds behind in second place and to Eoin Keyes who pulled the whole event together, as well as coming in third place. Full results are posted elsewhere.


Hey look, I won something!

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UCDCC: Stuck-In-The-Mud World Champions

 By Helena Coughlan

My first foray into the Canoe Club was on my way to the Sports Expo 2011. I had decided that it was time I did something challenging in my second year. As I passed the Student Centre I saw the curious sight. A curly-haired, bespectacled man, in full kayaking gear sitting in a children’s paddling pool. I didn’t know much about paddling but I guessed that he wouldn’t be going anywhere fast. Intrigued, I continued to the sports centre for a look around. I took a look around and, when I was on my way out the door, I was apprehended by most of the committee. Continue reading

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My First Impressions; Fan-fricking-tastic!

  By Derv McAuley

Right from the first time I dropped into the Sports Expo during Fresher’s Week the UCDCC was the friendliest club around. First in the door, manned by the most exuberant people in the room; I don’t know how anyone actually avoided joining. It was already a given that I’d join kayaking and the idea had kept me going through my last-months-of-the-Leaving-Cert paddling moratorium (never mind that the rivers had been bone dry). The welcome at the Fresher’s Stand did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. I even dropped in a few times later on in the week with other engineers that I had pressganged (all of whom love it, I swear!). Continue reading

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Madrid. Where the weather, the women and the Canoe Polo are Hot Hot Hot!

Well, gather round boys and girls and I shall tell you a tale. One full of mystical potions, adventures, and fierce battles….

It all began on a dreary Tuesday 6th September. 30 members of the Irish canoe polo squad gathered in Dublin airport to depart on a journey in a land far far away. Fully kitted out, they had high hopes of returning home with Gold and tales of their own. The team was bound for Madrid to compete in the ECA Canoepolo European Championships in a venue that was quite spectacular. Puerta de Hierro is a massive Sports complex on the brim of the Madrid city centre. It has a massive pool which was divided into 3 full pitches and 2 warm up areas as well as a golf course, a full sized astro rugby pitch, squash and tennis courts. It was only a 15 minute bus ride from the city centre Hotel in which we stayed. Smack bang in the heart of the capitol it was noisy and hot, average of about 30 degrees at night.

Continue reading

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