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ULKC Presents: Suited & Booted

Posted 26th Apr 2023
Author Aaron Thompson (Polo Officer)

ULKC Presents: Suited & Booted

Suited and Booted has been a fan favourite in the club, but the event has not run since pre-pandemic. As a club, we wanted to get this event back on the calendar for 2023. 

In the past, this event is simply a night of formal dress, usually set in Stables, Scholars or some other local venue, and is a night of socializing, live music and club bonding. This year, we wanted to do something a bit different, we wanted to make the event more of a fundraiser, and incorporate our club awards ceremony, to create a night of glamour, live music and inter-club bonding.

The event was held in Cask,  a live music venue in castletroy. Local talent Annabelle Toone was the opening act for the evening, performing live, from 8pm whilst all guests were arriving.

Following Annabelle's performance, we proceeded with the club awards ceremony. These awards are a mix of acrediting the achievements within the club, but also the standout moments over the past semester. Here's the highlight of the main awards;

  • Most Improved
  • Best Fresher
  • The Dermott Bannon Award

Once the awards were out of the way, we collaborated with UL DJ Society, and acquired the services of Greg Shiels to provide music for us for the rest of the night. We threw in a few minigames, such as Mr&Mrs, along with raffles.

The event was a huge success, having raised over €700 for the club!!!!!

Huge thanks to everyone who came along and made the night possible.

Next Committee Elected

Posted 8th Feb 2023
Author Adam Ryan (Captain)

With the Annual General Meeting finished last night in the Student Life building, there have been several changes to the our constitution, and most importantly; the next committee has been elected. The current committee is still in place, with the hand over being on the last day of the kayaking intervarsities on the 19th of February.

Captain: Aysha Griffin

Secretary: Lily Michaud

Treasurer: Calvin McDonnell

Safety and Technical Development Officer: Rian O'Connell

Assistant Safety and Technical Development Officer: Odran Furlong

Public Relations Officer: Eva McCormack

Equipment Officer: John Flynn

Assistant Equipment Officer: Sean Hogan

Disciplines Officer: Oisín Brady

First Year Representative: Orlagh O'Regan

Trips Officer: Isobel Reidy

Polo Officer: Aaron Thompson

Web Administrator: Luke O'Sullivan

Spare Person: Adam Ryan

ULKC Club Olympics

Posted 18th Oct 2022
Author Aaron Thompson (P.R.O.)

The annual Club Olympics is Back!!!!!!

Taking place Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st of week 7, this is an event not to be missed with competitions for everyone, from freshers to intermediate/advanced paddlers.

Proudly sponsored by ICanoe, we have some amazing prizes t give away on Friday evening, at the closing ceremony.

Sign Up Now to secure your place!!!


Event Breakdown:


Typical polo, but with our specialist canoe polo boats. Score as many goals as possible to win!!!


Simple. Its a race!! Ran in heats, just be the first to the finish


All those fancy tricks you've learned, now is the time to show them off. Everything from waving to the judges to loops will earn points. Person with the most points awarded wins!!


Its a race against the clock on a section of rapids on Castleconnell Fastest time wins!!!

Long Distance:

It's exactly what it says on the tin. This is a test of endurance and stamina. Ran in heats, just be the first to the finish to win!!!






Opening Ceremony

Wednesday 21:00




Wednesday 21:45

UL Sports Arena


Boater X

Thursday 10:00



Advanced Freestyle

Thursday 14:00



Fresher Freestyle

Thursday 21:45

UL Sports Arena



Friday 09:00



Long Distance

Friday 15:00

Castleconnell to Boathouse


Closing Ceremony/Awards

Friday 18:00

UL Boathouse 


UV Paint Party

Posted 10th Oct 2022
Author Aaron Thompson (P.R.O.)


Tuesday 11th

9pm - 2am

Tickets €8

It's been a few years, but its fantastic to see the ULKC UV Paint Party back on the calendar.

Everyone will be given some UV Paint upon entry. Its up to you what you do with it :)

There are still tickets available. DM us on Instagram to get yours!!!



NOTE: UV paint WILL NOT WASH OUT. It's recommended to wear old clothes.

Don't miss out. This will be a night to remember!!!!


Posted 13th Sep 2022
Author Aaron Thompson (P.R.O)

Hello everyone and welcome back to ULKC.

For both new and existing members, we are delighted you have decided to join us for the 2022/23 Academic Year.

We have lots planned for the upcoming year, including overnight trips, day trips, competitions and much much more....

For now... here's the schedule.

Pool Sessions:

The pool is the perfect way to learn the basics of kayaking in a warm and safe environment. It's also a great opportunity to meet new people in the club.

Beginner: If you are new to kayaking, then our beginner sessions are for you. Our experienced members will be on hand to get you comfortable in the water and teach you the fundamentals of kayaking.

Advanced: If you've been paddling loads, you're comfortable on the water and want to push your limits, then our advanced sessions are for you. We will work on freestyle techniques, more advanced skills and play some Canoe Polo matches.

Tuesday (Beginner): 9:45 - 10:45pm

Wednesday (Beginner): 9:45 - 10:45pm

Thursday (Advanced): 9:45 - 10:45pm

Whitewater Wednesdays:

Our weekly Whitewater river trips are back for 2022/23. For anyone who doesn't know, this is the opportunity to experience Whitewater Kayaking on our local stretch of the Shannon. We will be commuting to Castleconnel, to get on the river, and will face multiple rapids and river features while on the water. Our experienced members will be on hand to show you the ropes and teach you everything you'll need to know.

Stay tuned for more information!!!!!

This year promises to be bigger and better than ever... so make sure you follow us on on our socials and are keep an eye on our weekly emails so you don't miss out!!!!

We look forward to seeing you on the water really soon!!!

Triwizard Tournament

Posted 13th Jun 2022
Author Fia Coghlan & Aaron Thompson


The Triwizard Tournament came to life for two important reasons:

1) Harry Potter is amazing;

2) I wanted a competition that everyone, regardless of kayaking ability could win.

We utilized the week 10 pool sessions and made it a week-long event, running 3 events over 3 pool sessions.

The first event was freestyle, where everyone had two 45 second runs to show what they had to offer. Anything Harry Potter related was given extra points. Freestyle is an important kayaking discipline here in Ireland. Also, within the club it is the easiest to practice, through pool sessions and offers the foundations for all the other disciplines.

The second event was boater-cross, a very common whitewater race, where every competitor starts at once. We had balloons in the pool and winning the races involved not only getting the boats across the line, but the unpopped balloon too. The rule for the first race was that the team's balloon couldn't leave the water, which resulted in some very interesting techniques to maneuver the balloon to the finish line. The second race involved keeping the balloon out of the water. It was great to see everyone really taking the rules of boater-cross seriously and trying to find inventive ways to win.

The final event of the week was polo. This is another major discipline the club caters for, but in keeping with the Harry Potter theme, it had to be quittich. We set up  a snitch that was a lemon, having first proven it floated:), and then bluggers that were space hoppers.

Overall, it was amazing to see everyone getting involved and all skill abilities able to win!!

The event was such a success that it has now become the Annual Triwizard Tournament.

Thanks a million to everyone who helped out and took part during the week. See you all again next year!!

Alps Is Back!!

Posted 15th Apr 2022
Author Aaron Thompson (PRO)

After two long years, our famous Alps Trip is finally back!!

The Alps trip has always been a highlight of the year for kayakers. Due to Covid, we haven't been able to travel since 2019 so we are delighted to see this trip back on the calendar.

The Alps is more than just 2 or 3 weeks paddling in Europe.

Its an opportunity to improve your paddling ability at a rate, that would simply not be possible in Ireland. For our experienced paddlers, the Gene17 training camp is an opportunity to become leaders in the club and push their limits on some of the worlds best whitewater rivers. Completing Gene17 has long been a milestone in the club, to graduate from fresher to leader.

Speaking of our freshers, we couldn't just leave them behind. The freshers will get to fly out at the start of the trip's second week, to join in on the action. Throughout the year, our experienced leaders have been watching the newbies learn and develop in the club, to the point where they're confident enough to tackle the Alps rivers. This trip will challenge the club's newest members in new ways, on new rivers surrounded by stunning scenery (even the questionable haircuts). 

More than that though, the Alps is a bonding experience. The kayak club is like a family, and spending 2 - 3 weeks together in tents is the best way to bring that family closer together, share memories and make new ones.

Our committee has been hard at work to make all of this possible, and its all falling into place. Counting down the days until we get the sprinter on the road to Europe!!

Kayak Intervarsities 2022

Posted 21st Feb 2022
Author Éidín Dowling (Secretary)

The 2022 Kayak Intervarsities took place on the 18th-20th February in Cork. UCC were this year’s hosts having originally planned to host it in 2021. After cancellation due to COVID-19 UCC had many a storm to fight through to get their event running. However they did a spectacular job. Overall UL Kayak Club had 60 paddlers competing across all the competitions. We left on Friday morning with the Whitewater and freestyle teams heading down first for their heats.

Due to storm Eunice which carried a red warning for Cork, the whitewater race had to be postponed to 2 o clock. Our whitewater team consisted off Éidín Dowling, Eoghan O’Duffy, Kirsten Hand Howard and Adam Kennedy. With a last-minute location change and a battle through sleet, snow, hail and wind, the weekend did not get off to the greatest start. We placed 9th overall but did not let it get us down.

UL came back strong in possibly the coldest freestyle competition ever to run at an intervarsities. Our team (Éidín Dowling, Fia Coughlan, Emma Doyle, Kirsten Hand Howard, Adam Kennedy, and Thomas Nash) really pulled it out of the bag. In the girl’s heat Éidín won gold, Emma won bronze and Kirsten and Fia came 5th and 7th! Adam Kennedy managed to place 4th in an extremely competitive men’s competition and Thomas Nash placed 19th. Overall, the team placed 1st out of all the colleges, placing UL back at the top in the discipline.

After a class night in the Old Oak our polo team were up at 6am to head out the Ballyhass mallow. Competition was extremely tough but UL managed to win 2 games in the prelims, making it to the quarter final. Unfortunately we were knocked out in quite a well matched game against trinity. The polo team really smashed it in not the best of conditions. The pizza in Ballyhass made it all worthwhile.

In the afternoon it was time for the largest event of the competition, long distance. Hundreds of paddlers from all of Ireland took on the course in Ballyhass in boats of all shapes and sizes. UL’s 60 competitors really did us proud. The course consisted of 4 laps of the Ballyhass lakes for high performance categories and 2 laps for general purpose. We came back with 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 2 bronze as well as having multiple paddlers in the top 10. The freshers in particular did a stand out job. After loading all 60 boats into our trailers and the sprinter we were delighted to hear that once again we had placed first as a college in long distance above the others. If it were not for the training and dedication of our members on outback before the competition, this would not have been possible.

Last but not least was the boater x. Taking place on Sunday morning on the river lee, there were many groggy heads but the UL team used this to our advantage. All 3 of the girls in the competition (Jill Pitcher Farrell, Fia Coughlan and Emma Doyle) smashed it though the first 2 stages making it right into the final. Our boys were not so lucky, getting knocked out in the quarter finals. Fia, Jill and Emma placed 4th,5th and 6th respectively. UL were awarded best college in boater cross putting us into second place overall just behind UCC.

The awards took place that evening. UL paddlers took home prizes such as Helly Hanson gear bags and surf ears. Aysha Griffin was awarded most improved female fresher for her dedication to the sport to date! After a clean sweep of medals and officially receiving second place, we were quite happy to go home to our own beds and catch up on some much needed sleep.


Team medals:


Freestyle team (Éidín Dowling, Fia Coughlan, Kirsten Hand Howard, Emma Doyle, Adam Kennedy, Thomas Nash)

Long Distance (Everybody)

Boater X team (Fia Coughlan, Jill Pitcher Farrell, Emma Doyle, Thomas Nash, Adam Ryan, Rian O'Connell

Individual medals


Éidín Dowling (Women's Freestyle)

Éidín Dowling (Women's Sea Kayak Long Distance)

Sean Hogan and Aaron Thompson (T2 Long Distance)

Rob Campbell and Thomas Reidy (Duo Long Distance) 


Fia Coughlan (Women's High Performance Long Distance)


Emma Doyle (Women's Freestyle)

Jill Pitcher Farrell (Women's High Performance Long Distance)

Laura Molloy (Women's K1)



There's more to college than college

Posted 14th Feb 2022
Author Isobel Reidy

'There's more to college than college'

After a year of Covid, of an empty campus and online lectures, the shift from the virtual to the real world was a welcome yet worrying change. Come September, I was ready for a more involved college experience and to get to know more than the handful of fellow architecture students I had met last year. Joining clubs seemed to me, the quickest and easiest way to do this.
One of the beginner whitewater trips to Castleconnell, with the ULKC, was the first thing I did with any club. I remember sitting at my desk in studio trying to convince those around me to sign up as well. In the  end I managed to drag along two of my housemates after pestering them all day. We didn’t quite  know what we were signing ourselves up for but at the end of the trip we were ready for more. By week 6, the Lahinch trip, I had managed to make two Castleconnell trips and a handful of pool  sessions, but I still didn’t really know anyone. I remember worrying about it all week, debating whether to go and spend a weekend with people I hadn’t met or people I had but who didn’t  remember me. In hindsight though, that was the best way to go about it. Within minutes of sitting on the bus I made friends with a girl I had only met two nights ago at the pool.
Lahinch was the highlight of my semester. After that weekend I was hooked on kayaking, while it had seemed intimidating breaking into the club where everyone had known each other throughout Covid, I now had my fellow freshers. We went to every pool session we could, staying up till midnight to book  spots, every trip and every party. As we got to know the club, as a group, it didn’t matter as much if we turned up as a squad. For me, the ULKC represents the best part of my college experience so far.

Introducing Contactless Gear Sign Out

Posted 8th Nov 2021
Author Daniel O'Reilly (PRO)

To reduce our number of high contact points in the boathouse and reduce the risks of COVID-19 spread, we have decided to move to an entirely digital gear sign-out system! We have a lovely new app available on the play store which lets you sign out everything by just tapping your phone against a small NFC tag on each bit of gear.

We have tagged over 300 pieces of gear so far so you should be able to sign out everything really easily.  This system must be used by all members when going on trips (pool sessions exempt).There is also now a system in place to report broken and missing gear through the app and the website after a trip.

Download it here:

ULKC Gear Sign Out - Play Store 

For everyone on iPhone we unfortunately don’t have an app yet but you will still be able to sign out your gear buy going to https://ulkayak.com/gear/

Where to find tags:

Boats: On the back left of the backrest

Paddles: On the back of the left blade

Spraydecks: Top side of the grab loop

Helmets: At the end of the strap

BA’s: Inside on the back left side

Cags: On the left wrist cuff

Ropes: Top of the bag

Wetsuits: On the zipper

Please contact our equipment officer Eoghan O'Duffey if you have any questions 

Introducing Contactless Gear Sign Out

Posted 8th Nov 2021
Author Daniel O'Reilly

To reduce our number of high contact points in the boathouse and reduce the risks of COVID-19 spread, we have decided to move to an entirely digital gear sign-out system! We have a lovely new app available on the play store which lets you sign out everything by just tapping your phone against a small NFC tag on each bit of gear.

We have tagged over 300 pieces of gear so far so you should be able to sign out everything really easily.  This system must be used by all members when going on trips (pool sessions exempt).There is also now a system in place to report broken and missing gear through the app and the website after a trip.

Download it here:

ULKC Gear Sign Out - Play Store 

For everyone on iPhone we unfortunately don’t have an app yet but you will still be able to sign out your gear buy going to https://ulkayak.com/gear/

Where to find tags:

?Boats: On the back left of the backrest

Paddles: On the back of the left blade

Spraydecks: Top side of the grab loop

Helmets: At the end of the strap

BA’s: Inside on the back left side

Cags: On the left wrist cuff

Ropes: Top of the bag

Wetsuits: On the zipper

Please contact our equipment officer Eoghan O'Duffey if you have any questions 

Kayaking is back!

Posted 16th Sep 2021
Author Daniel O'Reilly (PRO)

ULKC is back! We're running outback beginner sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with beginner white-water sessions on Wednesday afternoons. Sign up for all sessions is on UL Wolves. 

Everyone is welcome, even if you've never paddled before. We will have experienced coaches to take you through everything from getting into a boat, to basic skills and how to improve. Just bring swimwear, a towel and a water bottle. 

To return back to paddling safely we've adopted a number of guidelines for your safety and ours. These are available online at UL Wolves and ulkayak.ie/covid19 . New procedures also follow with a requirement that access is limited to the boathouse and there will be no access to the changing rooms, come ready to paddle. Gear will now be signed out through our app 'UL Kayak Gear Sign Out' for Android, or online at ulkayak.ie 

Renew your membership and sign up on UL Wolves. 

All set for Wales 2020

Posted 21st Dec 2019
Author David Leahy

Kicking off 2020 in style. ULKC will be sending it!

This time we're heading off to Wales for our January trip. With beginners and some oldies. This trip will feature heavily on safety training some challenging rapids. And like every trip we do, will feature the best craic of any UL club!

Be sure to like us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated!

Ladies Beginner Session 19th September

Posted 15th Sep 2019
Author David Leahy

To promote female paddling us gals here in ULKC like to have the occasional girls only day. These days are a great opportunity to learn new skills, have the craic and make new friends. This will be a beginner friendly flat water session, perfect for freshers.

Thursday 19th September from 4-6pm

University of Limerick Boat House

What do I bring?
Swimwear, towel & old shoes if you have them. The club can provide everything needed to get you on the water.


Posted 26th Mar 2018
Author Erin Carey

Surf, Donald Trump and a Whole L

Posted 9th Oct 2016
Author Tom O'Brien PRO

It was that time of year again. The time of year for the kayak club to make its yearly pilgrimage to the seaside village of Lahinch, Co. Clare. Some say UL kayakers have been going to Lahinch since before kayaks began. Other more learned people say it’s closer to the last 30 years.

The weekend started at our own boathouse with a flurry of last minute packing of boats, wetsuits and enthusiastic but nervous new kayakers. With everyone piled onto three buses and what seemed like 100 head counts we were on our way west to Lahinch. The hour and half journey felt like so much less than that with songs being sung and stories being told for the entire journey. By the time the hostel was reached everyone was assured of exactly what the hole in the Rattlin bog contained.

A game of room roulette divided up the beds to ensure that everyone was making friends with someone new. The night continued with name games and after an exhausting night of getting names wrong everyone dropped away to bed with dreams of surfing some of the best waves in Ireland.

Saturday morning most of the kayaking contingent was woken by a Leitrim man with an eagerness to kayak beyond our understanding. Soon everyone was fed, geared up, and rearing to go. We got into our kayaks, and after a prolonged struggle to shimmy off the sand everyone was tackling or being tackled by the best waves Lahinch had to offer. A variety of skill was on display for the Lahinch locals but we didn’t mind one bit. Everyone managed to surf a wave by the end of the session and that gave all the instructors a warm fuzzy feeling walking back up the beach at the end of the day.

Saturday night was spent dressing up as every and any kind of criminal and heading to the local nightclub. We had some questionable costumes but ones that stood out for me were Donald Trump and Team Rocket from Pokémon.

Sunday morning, we tackled more Atlantic coast waves after a lovingly cooked breakfast. Everyone was determined to improve on the previous days surfing performance. It was a real pleasure to see so many beginner kayakers improve between the two days and get hooked on the sport of kayaking.

The journey home to limerick was a more relaxed affair with everyone being able to sit back and take in what a great experience the weekend had been. The trip was concluded with a mass clean-up of all the gear and everyone went home for a well-deserved, and probably long awaited, good night’s sleep!



It was an absolutely amazing weekend. I hope you all had as much fun as I had. I can’t wait to see everyone for our next trip.

Kayaking Intervarsities 2015

Posted 1st Apr 2015
Author Public Relations Officer - Corma
Kayaking Intervarsities 2015 Champions for the 6th year in a row! On February 5th 2015, the University of Limerick Kayaking Club attended the national kayaking intervarsities hosted by NUIG/ GMIT kayak club with hopes and aspirations of return home with yet another victory. The Intervarsities is the annual event where all the college kayak clubs in the country come together for a weekend of competing, partying and serious banter! In the wee early hours of Friday morning, a handful of us excitedly set off to participate in the white water race on the Boluisce River. Paddling for ULKC we had Eoin Keyes, Andrew Regan, Emer Farrell and Mark Scanlon. They all did amazingly well as they battled down the rapids. Their months of hard training paid off as we placed an impressive 2nd place in that event. We then headed over to the Claddagh Basin for the canoe polo event. For anyone who has not witnessed the sport before, it’s a five a side, fast paced game that combines kayaking and ball handling skills with added excitement as it is a contact sport. Think of it as basketball and rugby combined, but in a kayak! Solid tactics and strong team work are key factors and are as important as the speed and fitness of the individual athletes. After months of intense training with a dedicated team we finally got to show off our skills and took on each game and college with everything we had. All the training was worth it as we placed 3rd which is a great achievement for ULKC seeing as canoe polo was never our strongest suite. Later on that night, the entire club had arrived at the Sleepzone hostel who were kind enough to allow some overly energetic kayakers stay the weekend. At 6:30am the next morning, alarms started ringing and a zombie march of exhausted kayakers began. At 8:00am we arrived at the canoe centre for the long distance race registration which includes general purpose and high performance categories. Once gear and boats were organised we strolled down to the river to wait for the race to begin. For the fresher’s you could see a new level of fear growing inside them as they were briefed on the 5km paddle up and down a river that they were about to face. Those in the GP category had a huge 10km paddle ahead of them. This is a tremendous task for any kayaker. In these two events we competed as individuals racing against each other. Eoin Keyes and Mark Scanlon took 1st and 2nd place in the GP men’s category while Gavin Sheehan and Eoin Farrell, both former captains of the club, achieved 2nd place in the GP men’s duo category. Everyone who competed put in a huge amount of effort and every person counted towards points. We continued straight from the Upper Corrib back to the Claddagh basin for the freestyle event. Our highly skilled team featuring Eoin Keyes, Andrew Regan, Eoin Farrell and Caoimhe Farrell represented ULKC with every trick in the book displaying levels of technique that took years to master. Andrew Regan was targeted to be hit with the biggest piece of fruit as part of the “banter league”. As well as being a kayaking competition there is a “banter league” where colleges gain points for accomplishing a list of tasks just “for the banter” and to gain ‘Banter-points’. It was quite a spectacle seeing dozens of pieces of fruit being flung towards him. Despite all the fruit he still managed to pull off lots of impressive moves! On Sunday morning we were up bright and early for the boater cross event after the Mexican themed fiesta held the night before. This was a new event in the intervarsities that consisted of five people kayaking down the white water of the Lower Corrib River in an attempt to get to the finish line, by any means possible. It really isn’t for the faint hearted. It was limited to a select few as Galway was quilted in fog. Five of our paddlers got through to the second round of the boater-cross, which we were very happy with. To finish off the weekend there was an awards ceremony held in NUIG where the winners of each event were announced including the champions of the entire competition. Seeing as many different colleges’ places first in the different events we were anxious up until the last moment as the title of “National Kayaking Intervarsities Champions 2015” was anyone’s for the taking. There was an explosion of cheering from the UL kayakers when it was announced that we had won the competition for the 6th year in a row! When we finally calmed down we set off back to Limerick with the coveted trophy in hand ready to celebrate our victory in style! By Cormac Rowe - P.R.O, Charlotte Ryan and Joe Doyle

Freshers Weekend to Lahinch

Posted 12th Oct 2014
Author Borys Stan
The University of Limerick Kayaking Club have recently been on their first trip of the year to Lahinch, County Clare. The trip took place at the end of week 3, Friday to Sunday. Lahinch proved to be a great spot to commence the new season. New members got a chance to mingle and experience kayak surfing, as well as the joys of non kayak-related life in the hostel. The trip got off to a flying start on Friday evening. Everyone was excited about the weekend ahead, spirits were high and red bull was plentiful, only a short bus journey separated us from the fantastic weekend in store. The journey was shortened by the talented Brian Higgins and Darragh Keane who provided exhilarating renditions of popular songs on their guitars, and the slightly less talented rest of us, who provided the vocals. Once we arrived, and got our room numbers, the fun part of living in a hostel began. From spontaneous raves, to pillow fights, everyone was enjoying themselves and was thrilled to be there. Everybody was getting to know each other, fun was had and ‘selfies’ taken. At the end of the night the concept of assigned rooms flew out the window and we crashed wherever we wanted. As we got up on Saturday one of two things was going through or minds. Some were anxious and excited about the day of kayaking ahead of them, and others were trying to remember where they lost their things, as they realised that skinny dipping the night before may have been a bad idea. Kayak surfing proved to be an amazing experience for those who have never tried it before. For beginners, the challenge was to keep upright, and not be overwhelmed by the waves, it took quite a few attempts, but getting the hang of a kayak when being mauled by a wave felt like a massive achievement, and something great to walk away with at the end of the day. Of course there were less glorious moments, many were turned over, and "some", made the unfortunate mistake of being slightly too eager to get out of their turned-over kayaks in shallow water, only to realise that smashing your head into sand, hurts, even with a helmet on. Thankfully there were no major occurrences, thanks to the eagle-eyed, experienced members of the club, who watched over us, and taught us a thing or two about how not to get tossed over. Although exhausted from the heavy paddling, we could not pass up on a good swim, which was a great rest and made for some excellent photo ops. Saturday night was the highlight of the weekend for most, everyone dawned their fancy dress outfits, as per the cartoon/TV add theme, no one can doubt that there was a vast amount of variety, from "Popeye" to "Dick Dastardly", to two "Flintstones" and three "Bat"-men, even "Thomas" was there with a few cans, makes one wonder, what's Halloween going to look like? As we reached the night club the night went into high gear, the fatigue of kayaking wore off and the dancing began. There were three groups there on the night, but we were by far the loudest. Everyone was dancing none-stop all night, and when the music stopped, we provided our own. The fun wasn't over with the club either, sleeping only got in the way of us enjoying the night, so we avoided it. We got to know each other better and also got to hear some stories from the older guys. Our room packed it in at 5:30 am that night, or morning? Sunday's morning was bittersweet, there was still more kayak surfing to enjoy but the thought of going home was still constantly in the back of our minds. We went out that day and took as much fun out of the morning session as we could. By the afternoon we were all packed up, sitting together in our rooms, going back over the highlights of the weekend, at 6 the bus arrived and we made our way back to UL. The trip will definitely live in the memory of all the new members, it was our first time out with the club and it was absolutely mental to say the least. I'm sure everyone is ecstatic about the upcoming trip in week seven, and I hope to see you all there.

UL Kayak Club Alps Trip

Posted 17th Aug 2014
Author Dana Griepentrog
UL Kayak Club’s annual Alps trip was one for the books this year. After piling all the gear into UL vehicles, the first wave of paddlers began the journey with a pleasant ferry bop on over to France. Upon arrival, they took off to make the road trip to their home for the week: the Campertogno campground in Italy. Having set a higher standard this year for the first of the three week trip, the club was able to focus on truly pushing their limits like never before. The group greatly challenged themselves on various runs of the Sesia, Egua and Sermenza rivers. Along with honing in on personal paddling skills, they all further developed their river-leading skills in preparation for the second wave of the club’s arrival. After a more than satisfying week in Italy, the group continued on to the Milan Malpensa airport to unite with fellow members of the club. As a number of nationalities were represented on the trip, it seemed like ages before everyone was let through customs at the airport and allowed to join in on the fun. Here, the ULKC trip doubled in size to around thirty lads and a mighty rubber-duck mascot, named Chestnut. Getting on the road a tad-bit behind schedule for Slovenia, we arrived to camp around 4 am — just in time to set up camp in the dark before the sun began to rise. The next day began another adventure with the club and it’s range of paddling abilities. Over the course of the next week, longer than expected due to exceptional river levels, everyone focused on different goals on various runs of Slovenia’s Soca river. While one individual may have been working simply on getting their roll down, others really began to put their dynamic leadership and teaching practices into place. River leaders and beginners alike learned from each other and pushed each other to new levels of improvement. Beginners asked questions to develop paddling techniques and leaders asked for feedback from the river that day to gain insight on what methods had the most impact. Mixing up the river groups everyday, everyone had the chance to work together towards a common goal of bettering the club (with loads of craic along the way!) It was fantastic to see people overcome obstacles and new challenges everyday. Important skills covered on the river included basic river signals, rescue skills, river reading, and paddling techniques. While in Slovenia, members of all ability had the opportunity to participate in a competition right on the river of the campground. Those not competing enthusiastically cheered on our participants to some great finishes for the club. As well as improvement on the river, much was to be said for the kitchen. Along with paddling, the bar was raised for the cooking as well this year; chefs we didn’t even know were in the club prepared gourmet meals. Fire-baked potatoes were a delicacy one evening that reminded us of home. Even the standard baguette, ham, cheese, pesto and more baguette sandwich lunches seemed to transform overnight. Lettuce, tomatoes, and other veggies soon became a thing. It was crazy. Crazy good. A week quickly flew by before we said goodbye to the beautiful green rivers of Slovenia and packed up the vans with those we only brought along for their Tetris-like packing skills. Back to Italy we all went for two more full days of the river. As per the norm, we set up camp in the dark, and got some shuteye. The next two days challenged the beginners to new frontiers. Beyond some good wave trains, beginners had the option the first day to run Sorba Slides. This was the first experience for members who only began kayaking this year to really test their limits. A big testament to the great experience that everyone had on the trip thus far, was that everyone out on the river that day ran the slides. It was a thrilling experience to say the least. And the next day, a nifty rig was engineered to allow for a maximum amount of runs of the Top Drop on the Egua. In the morning, the group parted ways. After saying goodbye to those who so foolishly took the easy way out and flew back to Ireland instead of road tripping, some brave souls stuck around and reaped the benefits of a surprise trip to Disneyland in Paris. There, we relaxed from the long and tiring trip by running around, pushing little kids out of the way and catching as many rides as we possibly could. All in all, the ULKC Alps trip of 2K14 opened everyone’s eyes to what this club is really capable of doing and how fortunate we are to be involved in it. The Alps trip allowed us all to push our own envelopes, in one of the best environments we could imagine. The ULKC.

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