Volunteers Needed – Club Slalom on 6/7 July

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As you should know the club is going to be running a slalom competition at Sheffield Canoe Club’s Oughtibridge site on 6 & 7 July.

This is a national ranking Division 3 and 4 slalom competition open to paddlers from across the country.  Division 4 is the entry level for slalom, so anyone that’s not raced before can have a go! Below we’ve put together some FAQs about slalom and the race weekend. We need lots of volunteers to help run the race – I know people have said they are coming to help but we are now starting to put our list together.  We also want everyone to have a chance to paddle, and the more volunteers we have the easier it will be to swap people off jobs and so they can paddle. We also want to make it good social weekend for the club. The plan is to have a BBQ on Saturday evening too.

What volunteer jobs do we need to cover?

Water safety – we’ll need competent in kit to provide water safety during official practice and racing – the river isn’t fairly shallow, so you’ll be on the bank ready to wade in and get anyone that falls in or gets stuck on a rock.

Timing (river side) – Starter and Finisher talk on the headsets to race control and use a timing button, stopwatch, and clipboard to record times. Pre-start, get paddlers lined up in the right order for start.

Race control/Timing (inside) – this team running the timing system, talk to start/finish or judges to run the races an get information on each paddler’s penalties, and post everyone’s score and put them into the computer. They also deal with queries, but Les will be there to deal with those.

Catering – we’ll be running a simple café (burger, bacon, sausage, cakes, teas/coffees so we need people to help run this (Sarah will be leading on this)

Judges – these come from other paddler and parents attending, but we might need a few people to make up the numbers.  The rules are quite simple, we’ll brief you and you’d get the hang of it quickly (and don’t worry it’s an entry level event not the Olympics!)

We also need a small team able to help on Friday afternoon to build the course and set up communications and gazebos for the event. We’ll need to change the course on Saturday afternoon and pack up on Sunday, but that will everyone pitching in please.

None of the bankside roles are as complicated as they sound – there is nothing that we can’t teach you about in a few minutes.

Please try and come along to lend a hand even if it is only for part of the weekend. The event will be raising money for club funds, and a great chance to get involved and give something back to the club and the sport. You’ll also see another part of our sport and meet paddlers from outside the club, and have a chance to take part!

To confirm you are coming, which day(s) and give a preference of which job you’d prefer please email Les on coaching@halifaxcanoe.org.uk.


Where is Oughtibridge?  The site is on the river Don north of Sheffield – google maps

Can we camp?  Yes, there is space to camp, so we can stay overnight. There is water available and basic facilities in the club house (toilets). There are no electric hook ups.

What is slalom? It’s a time trial down the river, but you also need go through a series of gates on the course. Most gates must be done downstream, but some must be done upstream. Touch a gate and 2 secs are added to your time. Miss or go the wrong way through a gate and 50 secs are added to your time. You get to two runs and your best time counts – the winner is the one with the best time.

When do we need to be there over the weekend?  We build the course and set up on Friday afternoon, then people can practice.
On Saturday, there’ll be free practice and some setting up to finish off early on. We’ll also be taking entries on the morning. About 10am we’ll put safety on the river and make practice full runs only. We’ll probably start racing at 11am which will go on for about 1.5hr depending on numbers. There’ll be a lunch before everyone does their second runs. I’m planning to have a fun team event after 2nd runs – teams of 3 boats race one run of the course.   Then as soon as we can we have prize giving and change the course for Sunday. So, from about 5pm there’s free practice on the course and we can fire up the BBQ!
Sunday will follow the same format, except there’ll be no teams race, and we’ll pack up as quickly as we can.

Can we race if we want to?  Absolutely!!  It would be rude to spend all day at a paddling event and not have a go. Division 4 is open to anyone that has never been ranked in slalom. Each day is a separate race. There is a small entry fee. If you’re not competitive, don’t worry just think of it as a test of your skills – can you get your boat around the course? Can you improve on your second run?

Will the river be too hard for me?  No, this section is very gentle with easy flows. It is much simpler white water that the river at our club, but you still need a bit of white water experienced to do the course (see the photos).

Do I have to paddle a slalom boat? No, at this level you can paddle any boat you want, but you may be faster in a slalom boat.

Can I get some practice? At the event there is practice time before the race – as soon as we’ve built the course on Friday you can practice. Our slalom paddler will be there to give tips and coaching. Before the weekend we are planning to offer some try slalom sessions at the club and a fun mini-race night – look out for these dates online.

Where can I find out more about slalom?  Speak to Les or one of our other slalom paddlers. Also have a look at the slalom website.

Any more questions send them to Les on coaching@halifaxcanoe.org.uk