With the smell of freshly lit barbecues and people breaking out their summer wardrobes, a special kind of excitement fills the hearts of the members of the UL Kayak Club, as on the back of the summer breeze calls for what we have waited all year for; the annual Alps trip.
Three weeks spent driving, camping and kayaking through the gorgeous Slovenian and Italian Alps along with friends, gaining new experiences and creating memories that you will never forget; what’s not to get excited about?
This trip is easily one of the most popular and enjoyed events that the club runs and overall, it’s just three straight weeks of paddling, craic and amazing experiences which is what the club was built to encompass.
We always strive to improve in whatever aspect we can, from skills to safety and communication and through this trip we get the chance to improve overall while enjoying the backdrop of the unforgettable beauty of the Alps.
Needless to say, a trip like this requires a serious level of preparation if one wants to feel their arms after a week. Therefore, while most students around this time spend their study breaks watching the new episode of Riverdale or going for lunch, you can instead find members of ULKC heading to the boathouse.
If you’ve been down by the pontoon or have been down by our stretch of the Shannon lately, you may have heard the sound of questionably good music taste booming down the river.
No, you’re not going crazy from exam stress, it’s simply nicer to paddle along to your favourite indie rock playlist than to have the only soundtrack to your workout be laboured breathing and the panicked sounds of those who looked at a swan the wrong way and really, really regrets it.
So, if you spot any of us down on the river be sure to say hi! It makes us feel better to not have to try to awkwardly haul a boat out of the water with dead legs while silent strangers look on.
At the end of all this preparation we do the only thing that can properly mark the beginning of such a trip; have a massive barbeque!
Our annual Alps Barbeque officially marks the start of what we’ve been training for throughout the year and allows us to celebrate the end of another great semester with the club. This year it will also share this celebration with the Irish Cancer Society as we shave the heads of our volunteer members in support of the charity.
We hope to share the experience with you as much as we can, so make sure to keep an eye on our social media to keep track of our adventures!
With steeled eyes and determined hearts the University of Limerick Kayak Club (ULKC) set out to defend their eight-year reigning title at Kayaking Intervarsities this weekend.
Hosted this year by the University College Dublin. The nationwide competition has been the holy grail of kayaking by clubs across the country since its establishment in 1980.
Through years of work, dedication and spirit the ULKC has brought home the top trophy eight years in a row in the longest ongoing winning streak in the Kayaking Intervarsities history.
Despite this impressive record Club Captain Eoghan Calnan has expressed: ‘Intervarsities as a whole doesn’t decide which college club is the best…it’s about having a target to aim for in every club to develop their skills in every discipline.’
‘Throughout the semesters and the summer we’re consistently training for and doing white water, long distance and taking part in polo competitions. We’re on our local stretch of white water every week and I couldn’t even count how many kilometres are paddled in a single week by members of the club.’
While ULKC dedicates a lot of time and focus towards varsities, they have expressed that the true secret to the ongoing success of the club in competition is the dedication to the sport and its disciplines by its members.
The Intervarsity competition combines the many disciplines of kayaking into a massive three-day event that allows college paddlers across the country to meet and compete with one another once a year.
With ULKC pushing for their ninth consecutive win, Club Captain Eoghan Calnan welcomes the challenge of both friends and friendly rivals alike gunning to knock ULKC from their long-standing position.
The 2018 Kayak Intervarsities start on Friday the 16th February with the Whitewater and Freestyle disciplines, then continue to Slalom and Long-distance competitions on Saturday to finally come to an end following the Polo portion of the competition.
Sign Up Closes Wednesday 24th January
University of Limerick Kayak Club, or ULKC as its commonly known, was founded nearly 43 years ago by a group of friends who loved to kayak. Since then the club has gone from strength to strength, and is now one of UL’s largest clubs. Every year around 250 students with little or no kayaking experience sign up to ULKC, making it the best club for freshers and Erasmus students to join. Whether you are a student in UL already or are new to the university, ULKC are more than excited to welcome new members! From our weekly river trips, active committee and friendly members, you are sure to make friends for life through this club.
Kayaking has become a hugely popular sport throughout the world and in UL too. Whether you have paddled before college or have never seen a kayak before in your life, you will be more than welcome here. You will be guaranteed to be taught how to kayak quicker than you can imagine by some of the best kayakers in the country, who are currently studying in UL. ULKC is currently the best ranked kayaking club in the country, winning our 8th consecutive intervarsity’s title and not planning on letting go of it any time soon. Our club offers you the chance to get away from the tiresome college life, and challenge yourself whilst having some of the most amazing experiences possible. From endless river trips, excellent safety training, social events, to international trips; you will never be short of things to do with ULKC.
Our pool sessions will begin Tuesday of week 2 @9:45pm in the UL Sports Arena. Every week we will be running a weekly river trip for you to get out on the real water. You will get a chance to get outdoors, meet kayakers of all ages and learn unreal kayaking and safety skills. ULKC will teach you all types of kayaking; from white-water kayaking, to surf kayaking, to freestyle kayaking, we have it all!
In ULKC you will get a chance to get to know all our members not just on the water but on our club nights out and on our many, many trips. Our first trip of the semester will be to compete in the annual Intervarsities, this year hosted by UCD. You will get the opportunity to see the best of the best compete different kayaking disciplines first hand and help us win our 9th consecutive intervarsities title! As fun as our weekly river trips are, we have bigger and better trips wedged into our jam-packed schedule. Last semester our paddlers travelled all over the country to get experience paddling, spend time with friends and make the most of their time outside of college work. During the Christmas break the first of our international trips of the year took place. This trip took our paddlers to the cold region of Fort William, Scotland, to allow you to experience the best white-water kayaking Scotland has to offer. However, all of these river trips are there to gear you up for our much anticipated trip to the Alps. Straight after summer exams, you will get the opportunity to spend 3 weeks in the beautiful Slovenian, Italian and French Alps. This will be without a doubt one of the most amazing opportunities you will ever get. Kayaking has taken some of our members around the world both during and after college, and you could get this chance too. ULKC has had members go kayaking in Uganda, Montenegro, California, Norway, Canada and many more places.
If you would like to be a part of our club and add to your college experience, then come talk to us at the recruitment drive on Wednesday of week 1 and we can answer any questions you may have. You can call into the pool to us any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night @21:45-22:45 too. Feel free to contact us on our Facebook page ‘University of Limerick Kayak Club’, our email [email protected] , our our Snapchat ‘ULKAYAK’.
SEE YOU ON THE WATER!
We run Pool Sessions every week Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 9:45-10:45pm in the UL Sport Arena 50m Pool for beginners , intermediate and advanced paddlers. Come along any night and learn something new be it learn to capsize, roll or even learn some tricks. It is a great learning environment in warmth of the pool. See you there !!
How long have you been Kayaking?
I started in my first year so about 2 and a half years
What is your favourite discipline in Kayaking?
I’d be 50-50 between Whitewater and Freestyle which are also probably the two most practiced disciplines in ULKC
What is your greatest achievement in kayaking?
Getting my level 4 after less than a year is pretty high up there and also helping the club win the 6 in a row.
How are you finding your new role of captain so far?
It’s not too bad yet. We are just starting to organise our annual trip to the Alps which is going to involve a lot of logistical challenges due to the amount of people we try to bring every year. First semester of 2015 is when it’s going to get hard, trying to recruit as many members as we can and then both trying to keep them and ensure they have a good time.
Is there a lot of pressure on you now given the clubs winning history in both national competitions and UL’s C&S awards?
I wouldn’t say a lot no, obviously with us winning the 6 in a row in the Intervarsities there will be a bit to try win 7 and break the record. With regards to C&S awards the pressure is still on Gavin as it was his year the awards are based on!
What will you bring to the club?
I have always been very proactive in the roles I have had in the club before and intend on keeping it this way. With a committee comprised of mostly first years my main goal will be to train them all up so that they can run the club when the older members leave. I want to bring some new events in and also let our newer members have a bigger say in how the club is run.
In what direction is ULKC heading?
Up! Each year I was in the club we have strived to improve every year and I truly believe we have, membership has increased each year, we have more active members than ever before and the club has really pushed itself in every aspect possible. I want to continue this with us attending more national events and hopefully even international ones, increasing our fundraising for local charities and to try and increase our profile on campus.
What are ULKC’s chances of winning varsities for a 7th year in a row?
I believe we have a very good chance of winning, we’ve had a great group of first years join us this year who will be pushing for team positions which will hopefully increase our standard of paddling. Our sheer number of members is always an advantage in the long distance and the standard they are at is also very good. Having said that we have seen a great improvement in other colleges over the years due to the increased popularity of kayaking in Ireland and with talks of a change up of format in next year’s Intervarsities it is all to play for.
What advice would you give to people who want to start kayaking but aren’t sure if it is for them?
I would highly recommend you try it, I don’t know what it is but kayaking seems to attract some of the soundest, easiest going people I have ever met. You get to see Ireland from a completely different perspective on the river and you also get to go on amazing international trips to Wales and the Italian and Slovenian Alps.
Come down to any of our pool sessions Tuesday to Thursday 9:45 – 10:45pm, you can try out kayaking in a boat in a nice warm pool without the worry of falling out into the cold water. We also have weekly river trips either outback on the stretch of the Shannon that runs through the college or we head up to Castleconnel for a bit more fun on the river.
For anyone who might have come down in the first few weeks when the pool was packed and found it overwhelming I would say come down again now, the pool isn’t as busy so you will get your own boat and there will be people there to teach.
Coming into college I was dead set on continuing rugby however after I joined the Kayak Club I have never looked back and I can’t imagine what I would be doing right now if I hadn’t. It really is one of the best clubs in UL.