Cian becomes youngest Paddlesport Instructor on his 14th birthday

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Congratulations to the newly qualified Paddlesport Instructors at Merchant Taylors’ School Watersports Centre, which includes Cian who becomes the youngest after completing the course on his 14th birthday.

Hear from Ian, who organised the Paddlesport Instructor course…

Six of our most experienced kayakers qualified as Instructors last weekend as Joe returned to deliver a two day intensive course at the Merchant Taylors’ Watersports Centre.  The training built upon the rescue skills covered during the Foundation Safety and Rescue Training Course last month.

Each of our new Instructors is now qualified to introduce beginners to the world of paddlesport in a safe, progressive and enjoyable way.  The cohort included two adult staff, three Merchant Taylors’ boys and a young adult leader from South Oxhey Sea Scouts.  This included Cian who, at the age of fourteen and one day, became the youngest Paddlesport Instructor in the country. Cian said:

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend.  I learnt many new skills, my favourite being the rescues, especially the deep water rescues. These taught me how to get people out of the water in emergencies and my coach, Joe, made each exercise accessible and enjoyable to carry out.  The hardest part for me was rescuing a canoe from a kayak, as it was very heavy to lift the canoe on top of the kayak.

I first got into kayaking in Ireland on holiday. When I saw my school was running a kayak club, I jumped at the opportunity and I have never looked back.  My coach, Mr Williams, has encouraged me along the way and we have had some great times on the water.  I love being on the water and look forward to continuing my kayak journey.

Congratulations to all our new instructors:

  • Captain Kevin Sharrock (Combined Cadet Force)
  • Ben Varnals
  • Thom Haynes
  • Tom Smart
  • Cian Omert
  • Zoe Fayer (South Oxhey Sea Scouts)

Hear from Joe, Canoe Sport Coaching, who ran the Paddlesport Instructor course and also shares his tips to remain Covid secure…

I have been working with Ian and the  students at Merchant Taylor’s School over the last two years. Initially developing personal skills, followed by the FSRT course six weeks ago, culminating in our latest Paddlesport Instructor Course.

As I knew most of the groups experience, I was able to put a plan together, taking into consideration the additional Covid restrictions we have all become accustomed to.

We intentionally limited classroom time and made use of the outdoor learning space. We were able to individually allocate all boats and equipment. I advised the students to continually wash their hands. The school provided hand sanitiser, wipes and gel on all activities, and face masks were used when required or by choice. We were able to create an inclusive learning environment, with individual ownership and time set aside to ensure a safe coaching. We did hit the jackpot with the weather though!

I was able to assess the rescues using the pre-existing bubbles formed by year groups and households on the course. A range of craft was used to allow social distancing to be maintained. Supporting evidence was gained through examples and questions if needed.

The school is very well resourced with a fantastic water venue, offering very sheltered water choices. As well as the river Colne running though it’s grounds. Both providing great venues for day 2, journeying and student micro sessions. All candidates completed successfully in their chosen craft of kayak. Really well done to you all and see you on the river next time!

If you’re interested in becoming a Paddlesport Instructor, read more here.


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