CaraFocus National Newsletter

Inclusion and accessibility are going to be key focuses of Canoeing Ireland in the coming year. After attending the National Conference for Inclusion 2016 last week the staff at Canoeing Ireland were impressed by all of the speakers and the challenges many of them have overcome to participate in a wide range of activities. We look forward to being able to provide opportunities to many more participants in canoe sport in 2017. Check out the CaraFocus Newsletter for inspiration and information on what is possible in adventure sports for all participants.




Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills

Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills

General aims

  • The Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Award aims to enable participants to
    • To prepare the candidate for sprint and marathon racing competition and prepare for high performance racing on flat water or rivers where there are obstacles.
    • Controlling the speed of the boat whilst paddling over a race distance.
    • Foster further participation in sprint and marathon competitions.




  • Candidates must hold a minimum of Level 2 Skills Award.
  • Candidates must have competed in a minimum of 3 sprint or marathon races.




  • The assessment should be taken in a single racing boat which has sufficient buoyancy to remain afloat in a capsize
  • BOAT – Single K1/C1 Racing boat
  • PADDLES – for canoe: Flat paddle / for kayak: Wing paddle.




·         Sprint 50m from a standing start, increasing speed throughout

  • Demonstrate positive balance and trim over 100m
  • Demonstrate balance by various exercises
  • Paddle 1000m in a straight line, turn and paddle back
  • Demonstrate the ability to wash-hang
  • Turning, demonstrate the ability to turn 180 degrees using the rudder
  • Demonstrate ability to start a simple race of 4 boats



  • Capsize and swim to the bank with all equipment
  • Assist a swimmer to the bank
  • Assist in retrieving a swimmer’s boat



Demonstrate a basic level of the following physiological principles as they affect novice competitors[1]

  • Components of fitness
  • Principles of Training
  • Energy Systems
  • Warm-up / Cool Down
  • Injury prevention and recovery
  • Nutrition and the use of complementary performance enhancing supplements for paddlesport
  • Strength Training and Conditioning


  • All techniques, skills and rescues must be demonstrated to an assessor’s satisfaction in order to achieve this award.
  • No part of an assessment can be taken in a swimming pool. All assessment criteria must be demonstrated outdoors on water of Grade 1 difficulty.
  • Generally, required assessment rescues will be kept until the end of an assessment.

Assessment Guidelines

  • It is recommended that a Level 3 Flat-water Racing Skills Award is assessed by a coach other than the coach who normally trains the candidate leading to assessment
  • The Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Award can only be assessed by a currently registered Canoeing Ireland Level 2 Flatwater Coach.
  • The assessment will be carried out with a maximum of four candidates to one assessor.
  • Generally guidelines will be given, should a candidate fail an assessment, as to the areas that they need to improve on.

Notes for Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Awards


Safety Rules of Canoeing

  1. You must be able to swim.
  2. You must always wear a buoyancy aid.
  3. You must always ensure that there is adequate kayak buoyancy.
  4. You must never canoe alone.


Entry and Exit

Can be carried out with or without the use of paddles, depending on what is most appropriate to the situation.

If a spray deck is used it must be fitted

Balance Exercises

The following are examples of exercises to demonstrate balance and should be carried out without capsizing

  • Paddle with the feet in the water.
  • Throw the paddle in front of the kayak: kayak and paddle with the hands to the paddle, continue paddling and repeat at least three times.
  • Paddle with the paddle upside down.
  • Paddle with the hands – forward, backwards and sideways.
  • Paddle with straight arms.
  • Paddle with closed eyes.


  • The turn should demonstrate good use of the rudder.
  • The turn should be completed without breaking the normal forward stroke in a turn with a radius of about 20m.


Starter Duties

  • Identify the best place for the starter to be positioned and have a good mark to decide on false starts.
  • Line up 4 paddlers at the start of a race.
  • Take responsibility for decisions about false starts.
  • Able to give right orders to start the race as indicated by the assessor.


  • The candidate should maintain paddling rhythm
  • The candidate should maintain the appropriate distance from the other boat
  • Wash-hanging should take place on both sides of the boat

[1] Novice Competitor A paddler who is at a minimum Level 2 performance standard and is beginning to participate in competition.


Level 3 Instructor Course 8/9th October + 5/6th November

Brian Keogh and Shane McElligott are running a level 3 kayak instructor training course over two weekends in Wicklow.

Weekend one will be on the 8/9th October and weekend 2 will be on the 5/6th November. The course will be based in Glendalough Hostel and will cost €350.

Anyone who might be interested can contact Shane 087-9433440, Brian 087-8307214.

Great Day yesterday for Irish Paddlers

Great Day yesterday for Irish Paddlers at the Olympic Qualifiers Canoeing Irelands Micheal Fitzsimmons into final K1M1000. Jenny Egan into final K1W 200 and 500. Tom Brennan into final K1200. Pat O leary in B final Paracanoe.
All competing for the last 2 European slots at the Rio Olympics.
Live link from Www.planetcanoe.com

DESIGN THE GATE – Win 3000 Euros

DESIGN THE GATE – Win 3000 Euros

3,000 Euros per project selected 1mechanical and 1 electronic / Total budget: 6000 Euros

Competition to design and construct a Canoe Slalom Gate

The ICF is calling for designs and models for new Canoe Slalom Gates that would allow the audience and spectators to clearly understand touches by athletes.  The design of the Gate should easily demonstrate when a touch is made by an athlete.  The goal is to further enhance Sport presentation at our events.

The gate design can be electronic or mechanical in nature.
The Gate system should be usable for all levels of Canoe Slalom competition.

The ICF will award one (1) cash prize to the selected design for electronic gate and one (1) cash prize for the selected design for mechanical gate, plus further help in construction for the selected projects for making a prototype.

The competition is open to fans, athletes, coaches, national federations and companies related to canoeing.  You can apply by email to info@canoeicf.com.

The ICF will accept drawings, videos, sketches and powerpoint presentations of potential designs.

The ICF is expecting from the bidders the following information:

  • Description of the concept
  • Drawing  – principle scheme
  • Mechanical or electronic layout
  • Estimated budget for fabrication

Deadline for submissions is 1st July 2016.

The ICF Canoe Slalom Technical Committee and ICF Vice President and Three times Olympic Gold Medallist Tony Estanguet will be the judges for the design competition.

Note: ICF reserves the right to select components of each entry and use the designs in whichever format it deems appropriate.  Recognition will be given to those parties from which any use of novel or innovative ideas are taken.

New Blueway 10k Partner Workshop Dates

New Blueway 10K Workshop Dates confirmed for Blueway 10K Activity Partners who wish to deliver the Blueway 10k programme.  This workshop is designed for any instructors or coaches who want some support in delivering Blueway 10K or who just want an opportunity to upskill their forward stroke.

Dublin Blueway 10K Workshop in the Canoeing Ireland Training Centre on Tuesday the 26th April 2016 – sign up here

Limerick Blueway 10K Workshop in the UL boat house (TBC) on the 4th May 2016 – sign up here

Click here for more information