The Waterside B is a 17.5 mile race from Newbury to Aldermaston with 19 portages. Seaford College students took part as part of their epic journey training to compete in the Devizes to Westminster Kayaking Marathon. The coaching team reports on the race:
In what were truly testing conditions, the amazing kayaking team set out for the Waterside B. Seaford’s paddlers are supporting Ellie Holt’s crowd funding in order to help her raise £75,000 for life changing treatment – more information can be found here and donations can be made on their fundraising page.
With high gusting winds at their backs, the paddlers set off downstream from Newbury only to be battered just after the starting corner by shifting wind gusts that made for demanding conditions with many of the crews (not just Seaford) taking early baths.
Will Heath took on the daunting task off paddling K1 this week and despite a few stops to have a quick refreshing ‘dip’, he completed the Aldermaston leg in a great time before retiring from the relentless battering, He should be content with a good job done and having had the strength of character to contemplate taking on the course single handed.
A new pairing of Ben and Sophia set a ferocious pace overtaking a number of boats before retiring halfway back on the return leg due to some breathing difficulties; it should be noted that Sophia was back in her less favourite front seat position where she, like all those steering, had some very testing conditions to deal with and coped brilliantly!
With Henry’s return, an old friendship was rekindled with Archie and, after some initial soggy encounters, they paddled the return leg and stayed dry! They completed the course in a great time of 4 hours 12 minutes! Mark & Kaj continued to make good progress but also had a number of swims caused by the conditions with some gusts in excess of 50mph! Mark & Kaj made steady progress along the course and finished strongly in a time of 4 hours 30 minutes.
The final three boats of Beth & Ollie, Barney & Coni and Zoë & Fliss all started together aiming to help each other push for competitive times as well as to provide some healthy inter-squad competition. Like the other boats, all pairings took an early bath.
They all found a way of dealing with the conditions and pushed hard on the way to Aldermaston to set up some quick times before turning for the return leg in some atrocious and arduous wind conditions to finish in some excellent times. In the schools mixed K2 Barney & Coni came 3rd with a time of 3 hours 36 minutes. Beth & Ollie came 5th with a time of 3 hours 53 minutes. Zoë & Fliss took 3rd in the Junior Ladies K2 (1st in schools) with a time of 3 hours 17 minutes.
An outstanding achievement by all the boats!
As always, a huge thank you to the parents & support teams without whom none of this would be possible.
The paddlers were also supported this week by the Headmaster, John Green, who later commented: “Well done to all the paddlers today. The conditions were incredibly challenging with the wind – I was so impressed!”
The hugely proud and impressed Coaching Team.