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Back on The Thames!

Monday 29 May 2023 | by Brett Scillitoe

After a gap of too many months, we finally managed to run another AquaPaddle on the River Thames at Hampton – Molesey. It seems someone has finally found the rain tap and turned it off 😁🙏

Pumping Up
Pumping Up

We had a good turn out of 23 AquaPaddlers and 6 Crew, plus Jez a local councillor came down to look at the operation and helped Anthony, or Time Lord. What better way to understand the event, then to get involved.

The Start
The Start

We had lots of new faces at the Safety Briefing and the Kayakers from Hampton Canoe Club came across and brought with them some Hampton Paddleboarders as well. Then it was off to the river and to get the show on the water.

Becky, keeping them safe
Becky, keeping them safe

Just be for 10am they were off and the Hampton Kayakers shot off, closely followed by the faster SUPs. Meanwhile at the rest of the fleet steadily got going. There is no right or wrong way to getting going on an AquaPaddle.

Paddler Moving well
Moving well

We had Ewa our Sweeper with a group of ladies enjoying the challenge. This was the first time they had paddle this far and loved having the safety “wrapper” that AquaPaddle offers inexperienced paddlers. After about 10 minutes Mark our Crew member at the Top End turn point radioed that the first Kayaker as in sight. Having the radios gives the Captain and Crew a good mental picture of where the AquaPaddlers are, so that we can make sure we keep everyone safe.

Paddleboarder pushing along
Pushing along

After the turn it was downstream and into the Easterly wind to Liz and Judy (land based), the Bottom End turn at Molesey Boat Club, where a number of former Olympic rowers are based. The the final push for home, where Becky, our trainee Captain was waiting with the timing team.

Kayaker and Paddleboarder together
All paddlers welcome

As usual the finished AquaPaddlers waited to cheer home the ones that follow them. This is one of the best aspects of AquaPaddle, we are all in it together, all encouraging each other regardless of what you paddle or what your time might be. See you next time?

The finish line
Heading for the line

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