Over the spring term, Seaford’s young kayaker’s have taken part in a number of races as they look to improve their skills.
Starting in March, Seaford entered two K2’s in a 17.5 mile race from Newbury to Aldmarston Wharf, with a return leg. Ethan and Evie finished in 3 hours and 21 minutes, followed by Izzy and Henry 27 minutes later. It was a tough course, trying to avoid oncoming, faster boats on the return leg, and strong, blustery head winds really hampered progress.
Charles Lunt, kayaking trainer, was very pleased with the paddler’s. “It is great to see the progress that everyone has made and the determination of every paddler. It is also interesting to see Seaford College’s name alongside some of the DW ‘old boys’ such as Churchers, Cranleigh, LWC and Marlborough but also interesting to see Seaford featured in the same breath as the likes of Eton, Radley, Tonbridge and Heathfield, and beating some of them!”
The following week, the teams raced 19 miles from Reading to Marlow, their first race on the Thames. This one was a mass start, with 50 boats starting together, and over 200 boats competing in total. Seaford entered 3 boats, although for the third boat, Seaford joined forces with Heathfield School because each team had lost a member due to injury. All 3 boats finished within 12 minutes of each other – Ethan and Evie completed the course in 3 hours 11 minutes, followed by Henry and Cally in 3 hours 13 minutes and Izzy and Franny (Heathfield) in 3 hours 23 minutes.
“All of this was achieved despite dropping a paddle into a weir, a first outing with a new team mate, split starts, heavy rain at the beginning and paddling past weir flows for the first time so a fantastic achievement by all the paddlers,” said Charles.
Last weekend, they then had a gruelling 23 mile, 35 portages paddle from Pewsey to Newbury. On this paddle they took in, for the first time, the infamous Bruce Tunnel – a 5m wide, 1/2km long unlit tunnel under the Savernake Forest – and the energy sapping 10 locks to be portaged over 5 miles between Wootton Rivers and Crofton.
“All the boats did really well finishing in very respectable times and towards the mid-table in their classes with both mixed K2s finishing just over a minute apart despite Cally having to paddle with a broken paddle for 2 miles before it could be changed!” said Charles. “The very new partnership (only their second outing) paddled well together, managing to beat the other Heathfield crews who have been together since September! All paddlers finished very tired but in excellent spirits,” said Charles Lunt. “They are certainly embracing the school motto, Ad Alta!”
The teams are going to be entered as the inaugural Seaford College crews for the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster canoe race over the Easter weekend, and we’ll have more kayaking updates over the coming weeks.