Do I need to be a very good swimmer?
Not particularly. All you really need is to be confident in the water. You will never have to swim very long distances and the buoyancy aid helps you float.
What equipment is provided for beginners’ courses and afterwards?
The club provides beginners with kayaks, paddles, buoyancy aids, spraydecks and helmets during the beginners’ courses and thereafter on river trips for about a year i.e. until the next year’s beginners need the equipment.
What equipment do I need to bring?
Ideally a wetsuit, which by happy coincidence can generally be obtained quite cheaply from the German discounters around the time of the beginner courses. If you don’t have a wetsuit, then tracksuit bottoms with a couple of thin layers on top made of artificial fabric – NOT cotton. As an outer layer a light nylon windproof jacket is ideal.
Don’t forget swimming togs, a towel and a pair of water shoes or old runners which you don’t mind getting wet to wear on the water.
Can I wear glasses?
Yes. It is a good idea to use a retaining strap to avoid losing them in the water.
Is it dangerous?
There is always a certain level of risk associated with water based activities. Images of elite kayakers on dramatic rapids can make kayaking look very scary! However, this is an introductory course, where everything is highly controlled, with quality equipment and top instructors. Safety is our first priority and kayaking at this level is no more dangerous than any other recreational sport.
Do I need to be very strong?
No! Kayaking only ever involves moving your own weight around, and the best kayakers are those who use efficient technique rather than raw power.
What happens if the boat capsizes?
You fall out! Capsizing is part of learning to kayak. Getting out of the boat is very straightforward. As you improve you will learn how to use a spraydeck which seals the cockpit and enables you to flick back upright from a capsize. This is called an Eskimo roll. The spray deck has a quick release strap for easy exit.
Is the water clean?
The Liffey at the club is far cleaner than downstream in the city centre. However, paddlers should be aware of certain water borne illnesses that they may contract, in particular Leptospirosis.
Are there showers?
Yes, the club is equipped with shower facilities in the ladies and gents changing rooms.
Thanks to Canoeing Ireland for inspiring this page and providing much of the content.