University of Queensland Canoe Club
AGM Committee Report
23 May 2012
The past year saw the club bounce back strongly from the floods of January 2011. The club reopened and returned to the river a year and two days ago - albeit in a very limited manner. We have progressed from a very small functional fleet of repaired and borrowed boats (launched from the rowing club pontoon). A year later and we are virtually fully recovered with all disciplines and activities returned to normal. The fleet is only fractionally smaller than it was before the flood, but is now in much better condition. Many boats and equipment were replaced with new, and those that were not were rejuvenated. Our thanks go to Queensland canoeing for lending us several boats to help get restarted, and to the rowing club for the use of their pontoon until ours was replaced.
Thanks are due to many people and organisations over the past year, without whom the club would not have recovered so quickly or so well. Rosco canoes were extremely helpful with reordering and repairing the boats and equipment, as was Chris Hurley. We were one of the first clubs to have their insurance come through, enabling the club to return to normal sooner. This was thanks to the constructive and fair approach of our marine hull insurer (Vero). UQ sport helped greatly by arranging the sanitation and storage of equipment after the flood, replacing the shed door and pontoon, and assisting with the insurance claims. Many club and committee members contributed to rebuilding the club, but the club would like to thank equipment officer Matt Rowland and treasurer Michael Wynne in particular for their efforts. Our thanks also go Cora Skaien who has stepped down as president to return overseas, and to all the members who supported the club by joining in 2011, despite being closed half the year, when activities were relatively limited.
In second semester 2011 the club was sufficiently functional to mount a training weekend trip in northern NSW involving flatwater, sea kayaking, and whitewater, and managed a trip to the Everglades behind Noosa.
This year started far more normally, and has seen a resurgence of the club. Regular events were completed successfully such as market day, come and try day, and weekly Saturday morning and Wednesday afternoon (now night) river paddle sessions. Thanks are also due to those that came along and helped out in these sessions and on the working bee. The new year was also bolstered by the very kind donation of a flatwater kayak and full set of gear by UQ masters student Chris Khoo. Flatwater has benefitted greatly from the encouragement and guidance given to members from a group of regular K1 paddlers. Thanks are particularly due to the efforts and knowledge of some of the Singaporean students who currently run Saturday morning flatwater training sessions.
An enthusiastic group of new members has come into the club in 2012, and have been very active in many club events. Consequently their skills have progressed quite quickly. A big boost to this came from a 2011 grant from the Queensland Government department of Communities' sport and recreation inclusion program (club support category) to improve the general skills and knowledge base of the club. This was kindly extended into 2012 due to the impact of the floods. The grant allowed the club to engage qualified instructors from Queensland Canoeing and the Nymboida canoe centre (whitewater) to run training trips, and take advantage of the enthusiasm and interest among the members. These trips were popular, and the combination of instructors and enthusiastic participants has resulted in an unusually fast progression in skills development this year, as well as an appreciation of the importance of skills, training, and knowledge in the sport. The training trips included introductory flatwater and advanced flatwater instruction sessions, where there was something for both new and very able paddlers. The introductory sea kayaking weekend to South Stradbroke island introduced new sea kayakers to the basics of sea kayaking as well as teaching various rescue and safety techniques. It also improved their knowledge and paddle abilities. The advanced sea kayaking weekend allowed club members to test their paddle, rescue, and trip leading skills in more challenging ocean conditions. They learned the importance and limitations of rescue techniques, experienced surf and surfing, bar crossing, and strong tides. Additionally, they had an opportunity to improve their navigation and trip planning knowledge, and learn more about group safety equipment and management techniques. The whitewater instruction trip advanced the experience and skills of many new members, with three instructors providing guidance and knowledge to all paddlers. The weekend drove home to newer members the value of regular practice and skills development. Many came away with a positive focus on maintaining and building their skills between trips, so they can get more out of the sport.
The new year also saw the reopening of a rebuilt UQ pool. The club could once again hold introductory pool training evenings to help new members build their skills, and these were very popular. Polo also got off to a good start with a lot of brand new equipment. We're further indebted to Queensland canoeing who made polo games possible by lending us a floating goal. A sea kayak trip around Green island was also completed enjoyably, combining both skills training (paddle strokes and towing) and exploration of this part of Moreton bay.
The last elements of the flood recovery are still to be finalised, mostly involving minor refurbishment of the shed. However, the club is in a far stronger position than it was a year ago. The combination of new gear, an influx of new members, and the professional training support enabled through the government grant, has placed the club well to engage and involve its members in a rewarding and enriching sport through 2012/13.