Sports and Activities Editor Seren Kiremitcioglu teams up with photographer Ross Mackley to provide her very own insight into UPSU's Watersport Festival!
The past few days have been filled with Plymouth appropriate weather; rain, rain, and more rain. However, watersports coordinator Rachael Ince fulfilled her promise of ordering sunshine for Plymouth University's very own Watersports Festival. On Saturday 13th May, hives of students and members of the public alike gathered for a day of stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, gig rowing, sailing, and yachting over at Mount Batten. With a perfectly co-ordinated welcome team to meet and greet members of the public, wristbands and free MGA sunglasses were issued, making attendees very happy indeed; especially with a delicious BBQ was on the go!
Having been a member of both yacht and sailing club in my previous years, I decided to branch out and trying something entirely new; kayaking. The session was led by a great bunch of the University of Plymouth Canoe Club committee, who strived to make every one of us feel welcome. They introduced several games to keep us occupied and amused, such as the 'watersports equivalent of Bulldog' and water polo. Despite quickly getting physically exhausted from the exertion of paddling, the committee made sure the few of us 'laggers' were still part of the fun. I really loved how inclusive the committee were and the amount I learned in such a short 90 minutes.
However, most excitingly for me was the stand-up paddleboarding. Unfortunately, I couldn't take part in this event. But, having done it a few months prior at the Life Centre in its fetal stages, I knew it would be an absolute treat, especially with Ellie's leadership. The brand new SUP club, which will commence in September 2017, is led by chair Ellie Daynes, who worked hard to create sessions and found the club. These watersport sessions were all sold out at the festival, which I believe to be a great starting trajectory for the success the SUP club will achieve over the next academic year! On the subject of her new club and the success it had at the Watersports Festival, Ellie said: "It was brilliant to see so many people out on the water and trying out lots of new sports. We were really happy to have such a keen interest in SUP. I'm really excited to build the club and introduce people to such an awesome sport that's so easy to get involved with!"
Although, who I am to forget the other sports that brought their respective crowds in? Windsurfing is one of UPSU's most exciting watersports to date, having its members battling out their boards against the ocean and the wind. Of course, our fellow Gig Rowers were very enthusiastic about the more relaxed team sport, with many of the participants excitedly talking about how much fun they had once back in the changing rooms.
UPYC also had their respective slots in the Watersports Festival, allowing locals and students alike to get to grips with their Unity Lets and MyScript sponsored J/80s through some leisurely cruising. Having my own experience in the yacht club, I know the sport to be a perfect way to experience the sunshine drenched Plymouth Sound. Run by the successfully skilled commodore Jack Ollington, the yacht club no doubt allowed a few newcomers their own segway into the sport. Second year student Harry Dodge, a frequent volunteer for the club, says that "I thought [the festival] was great! I was volunteering as a yacht club skipper/ crew and loved it. The weather was perfect the BBQ was great and the tunes were banging! I was amazed with the amount of locals that joined in. The only thing I'd change is I would've got more of my friends/ other students involved."
Hand in hand with UPYC comes UPSPC, Plymouth University's very own Sailing and Powerboat Club. The most populated watersports club of UPSU, they had a lot to offer with their Laser Bahia's and Funboats, which we were able to see zipping around the cattewater. Like UPYC, they had a lot to offer with their enthusiastic, competent skippers. The club's very own esteemed commodore, James Price, said "This year's watersports festival was a fantastic example of how all the water sports clubs and SU can work together to produce a good event that encompasses students, staff, and the local community. I think everyone who went on our sessions enjoyed the direct engagement from our instructors; the sessions were the right length to provide good hands-on experience. I was nice to see people gain confidence and ability throughout the time they were out." I would absolutely recommend that people get involved in UPSPC - not only has the sport built my confidence, but the friends made within the club have provided many a good time!
All images are courtesy of Ross Mackley Photography!