FAQ

Where is the Kayak Club?
The Kayak Club is in Fisheries Field, across from the Cathedral. More more info Find Us!.

What's the difference between kayaking and canoeing?
Basically, you kneel in a canoe, and sit in a kayak. Also, the paddle in a canoe (also known as a C-1) has one blade, while the kayak paddle has two blades.

Do I need to be able to swim?
You do not need to be able to swim. Period. All we ask is that you be comfortable in the water. When you’re learning, there’s a very high likelihood of you getting very wet on a regular basis, and while you’ll always be safe on the water with us, it’s better if you don’t panic while we’re putting you back in the boat. It’s enough if you can handle going under water for five or ten seconds, getting your face wet, and waiting in the water floating in your buoyancy aid for less than a minute while we empty the boat.

Do I have to be physically strong?
Nope, we don’t discriminate at all. For the first few weeks, as you begin to use different groups of muscles for the first time, you might find that you are a bit tired after a kayaking session. You’ll get used to it quickly

Do I need my own gear?
Nope. While it’s great if you own all your own gear (and by all means bring it if you do), it’s no problem if you don’t. We provide all the neccessary equipment. All you need is a towel, pair of togs, old runners and a pair of shorts and old top. Try not to bring cotton or denim, as these materials tend to absorb and hold water next to your skin, becoming heavy and chilling on you. Man made materials like Nylon, polyester or even fleece are best. Wool can keep you warm even when wet, and natural woolen tops retain a degree of water proof…ness when wet due to the natural oils contained therein

Is kayaking expensive?
It all depends on how committed you are to the sport. Technically, as long as you’re in the college club, it’s almost free. You don’t need anything that we don’t provide. However, most members usually buy their own boat, paddle and gear. It does get expensive here, especially if you buy new. For example, a new top of the range playboat is €1100, paddles can be €300, cag €220, deck €110, helmet €100 and booties €40. That’s €1870. Although you can find some great deals second hand, and most people buy their gear over a period of years – they’re always saving up for the next bit of gear.

Is kayaking dangerous?
While we do our utmost to minimise risk, kayaking is inherently a risk sport, and will always be so. When you’re on one of our sessions, the risk to you will be minimised. If we think that there’s an elevated risk to ourselves or the beginners, we’ll just take everyone off the water, just like that. Technically there is a risk, but practically, no. It’s negligible. There’s no need to worry, we’ll look out for you. Short answer though – yes it is dangerous.

What gear can I use?
Unless you have permission, the only gear, boat or paddles you can use are the boats on the racks nearest the door, the paddles hanging from the rack against the wall, or the gear hanging on the hooks halfway down the shed. Everything else is private gear and out of bounds, unless you have kindly asked permission from the owner. If you want to take club gear anywhere other than the canal, the Lower Corrib, or the rapids, then you must ask permission from the Captain or Equipments’ Officer. Their email addresses are on the committee page.

Where/What is the Shit Chute?
The shit, or more accurately, Sruthán na gCaisleáin, is the little drain or stream by which we enter the Lower Corrib. Contrary to popular opinion, we do not simply shoot the Salmon Weir, (at least not with beginners we don't do it at all) but upon leaving the shed, turn right, and walk out towards the exit. The first wall you meet on the left, that’s the shit chute down there. We climb down, and paddle down to the lower.

I missed the first beginners’ session: is it too late to join?
No, it’s not too late at all. While it’s best if you make a session in Week 1, if you don’t, come along anyway and tell your instructor that you’re a first-timer. There’s bound to be others who missed the first session too, and we’ll bring you up to speed in no time.

I already have some kayaking experience. Do I still have to go to the beginners’ sessions?
Unless you have a lot of experience, it’s probably a good idea to go to these sessions anyway. As well as experiencing our beginner curriculum you’ll get to meet everyone in the club, both first years and instructors. If you do have a lot of experience, you should contact the Training Officer (see the committee page) about getting involved in helping teach the sessions. The T.O. can also tell you about the intermediate activities we run for more experienced paddlers.

Kayaking looks fun but I don’t like the idea of getting cold and wet...
That's not really a question is it...
While kayaking does indeed involve getting wet from time to time, people generally overestimate the extent to which they’ll be bopping around in the water. It’s kayaking, not swimming. For the first few weeks you will fall out of your boat from time to time, but we’ll get you back in quickly. We also make sure everyone is dressed for warmth, and if anyone is cold the instructor will take them off the water for some hot soup. Besides that, we have pool sessions where you can practice the skills that will keep you in your boat instead of capsizing when you paddle on the canal. Finally, it rains a lot in Galway - you're definitely going to get wet anyway, so you may as well enjoy it!

You didn't answer my question...
Well maybe it's not a frequently asked one eh?

If you have any more questions, ask anyone on the committee, or on the forum.

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