“It’s the ideal sport for not particularly sporty people and athletes alike,” says DU Kayak and Canoe (DUCK) Secretary Bob McLarnon. It is no secret that many mainstream sports like rugby and football can seem intimidating, especially with no prior experience. DUCK is a great club at Trinity for newcomers, as well as those with more advanced skills. Trinity Sport has such a wide range of clubs to choose from, and the DU Kayak and Canoe club is definitely one to try out and become involved in over the next semester.
It’s important to engage in activities that can be done in a safe and socially distanced manner in compliance with government guidelines and DUCK is a great place to start. Amaia McDonnell, the club’s treasurer, noted, “My advice to any prospective member is that, especially during Covid times, it is essential for your mental health to get out into the fresh air and get some exercise. Even just one session a week with the kayakers will greatly improve your mood.” Offering a place where students are able to engage in outdoor sport is a selling point for DUCK. McLarnon speaks of this as well, “Since we’re outside and socially distant, we can run activities now that we are back in Level 3. Not many clubs can these days.” All of the lockdowns and changing government restrictions undoubtedly has been hard on the sport clubs at Trinity, but luckily enough, DUCK has been able to stay afloat and continue to build the community they’re so proud of.
Competition Officer Shauna Gurhy speaks of how welcoming those at DUCK really are, “Whether you show up once a week or once a year, you’ll be treated the exact same. Everyone’s always up for a bit of fun and there’s a great social aspect to this club.” It’s hard to replicate such an open environment in sport, so it is impressive to see here at Trinity and it is definitely worth taking advantage of. No matter your individual skill with kayaking or canoeing, this club offers a great place to meet some new people when socialising is not the easiest.
“They received a nomination by Trinity for their social media campaign Bridge the Gap, which is an initiative to try and promote women in the sport.”
However, for those that do have a background in kayaking and canoeing, DUCK does offer avenues to increase those skills and even compete. There’s opportunities to go on more intense trips and discover different kinds of kayaking, as well as an option to get certificates in kayaking and complete a safety course. The club has made some major accomplishments over the years in intervarsities and ICUPS, the Irish College/University Polo Championships. The most recent time the club competed they came in first place in varsities. They also received a nomination by Trinity for their social media campaign Bridge the Gap, which is an initiative to try and promote women in the sport.
Oisin Cousins, the club’s OCM, explains that there is a lot more to kayaking than most people probably initially think, “Under the banner of kayaking, there’s actually the opportunity for all types of activities which the club offers access to: “freestyle for advanced technical challenges, polo for team-based sport and running rivers for adrenaline-infused fun.” So, if you are interested in a team sport or would prefer to train individually, then the DU Kayak and Canoe club can facilitate this. Some of those on the committee actually had quite a bit of experience. Gurhy says, “I’m a canoe polo player and have been playing for the last six years now. My whole family is quite into kayaking so I would’ve been out on the water a bit when I was younger.” This is nothing to be intimidated by, but rather goes to show that there is a diverse range of experience by those involved.
“All you need to bring is togs, a wetsuit (if you have one), shoes that can get wet and an ability to swim,” says outings officer Cian Butterly. He sums it up quite well. While this club undeniably has succeeded in high-level competitions, it is also a place for a friendly chat out on the water.