After completing the training 4 weeks ago, I had hoped to get a few additional sea trips under my belt before going into today’s 3 star sea kayak assessment. Although I really enjoy getting out in a sea kayak, I find that I’m not able to find the opportunities very often, so my paddling is not as proficient is it is in an inland kayak or canoe. The training with Alistair Othen last month was extremely helpful, and I learned a lot about how to control sea kayaks and how they differ from river boats. However, I was still not as at home in these longer boats as I would have liked for an assessment.
Today’s assessment was run by Nick Cunliffe, formerly of Surf-lines, who met us at Trearddur Bay on Anglesey. After some introductions, formalities, some time spent looking at the weather forecast and tidal predictions, we headed off to Rhoscolyn by car with the plan of paddling back up to Trearddur Bay during the day.
I think that today’s assessment was probably the most laid back I have ever done. Nick was clearly keen to see us demonstrate all the skills that are expected at 3 star level, but this was done as part of the journey and in a very low key way. I think we were all surprised by how little pressure we felt under. Nick’s manner, combined with stunning scenery and yet another glorious day, made the journey an absolute treat.
As with any assessment, it was a relief to hear that we had all passed, and it was interesting to hear different people plans for the future. Some were keen to move on to 4 star, others were looking to venture into faster moving tidal streams, whilst others seemed content to continue journeying and the occasional expedition with social groups. I wish them all safe paddling wherever they head!