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Under Instruction: LCC Sea Paddling with Mirco Goldhausen – Day 1. 

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Under Instruction: LCC Sea Paddling with Mirco Goldhausen – Day 1.  

We met in the Paddler’s Return at Anglesey Outdoors at 0900 to meet our instructor – Mirco – and plan the day ahead. After a brief discussion around what we each wanted to get out of the day we looked at the available options.  

Somewhat surprisingly for Anglesey in late November, the challenge was going to be finding rough water which would be sufficiently challenging – winds were light and the swell was almost imperceptible. 

We put in at Soldier’s Point by the Holyhead breakwater and turned left, headed for North Stack where there was a small tide-race running on the ebb tide. We practiced breaking in and out of eddies, putting into practice a discussion we’d had on paddle down about the use of edge. This was followed by some practice getting people back into boats and I think it’s fair to say that our drills in this respect were reasonably slick!  

For lunch, we did a rocky landing on some skerries to the south of North Stack – partly to avoid disturbing the young seal pups which were in the bays, and partly because it was good, calm conditions to practice the skill. Despite these good conditions, it was still challenging, as was getting back in the boats.  

We did some rock hopping as we paddled down to South Stack, focussing on skills as we did so, but also taking time to enjoy the mighty grandeur of the awesome, awe-inspiring rock architecture. Turning north with the tide, we spent much of the way back on the theory and practice of forward paddling. Personally, in the absence of sufficient core strength, I can only agree with Yogi Berra’s observation: 

‘In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.’ 

The day was full of learning and I would highly recommend this approach (getting together a bunch of like-minded individuals at a similar skill-level, and booking an instructor for the day). Mirco is great – a very personable chap, and clearly a very gifted instructor. It’s difficult to pull out individual learning points, given that there were so many, but here are three that stick in my mind: 

  1. When the water’s getting lumpy and you’re nervous, deliberately slow the cadence of your paddling – go for longer, more deliberate strokes. Not only are they more efficient and better for balance, but a slower cadence helps to calm your mind.  
  2. When you’re getting people back into boats, if you’re not the person assisting the swimmer, keep quiet & stay out of it – you’re just a distraction.  
  3. When rock-hopping, if you’re having to ‘time’ a passage between obstacles, that’s a really strong indication that you should be re-thinking whether it’s a sensible thing to do at all, because if / when it goes wrong, then a retrieval / rescue is likely to be very difficult.  

Many thanks to James for making this happen – I am confident that there will be many more such coaching days in future! 

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Eamon on the eddyline.  

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Neil watching intently… 

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Rocky Landings 101 

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Rocky Landing Complete! 

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Lunch Stop