Freshers Trip to Lahinch 2014

Lahinch 2014The University of Limerick Kayaking Club have recently been on their first trip of the year to Lahinch, County Clare. The trip took place at the end of week 3, Friday to Sunday. Lahinch proved to be a great spot to commence the new season. New members got a chance to mingle and experience kayak surfing, as well as the joys of non kayak-related life in the hostel.

The trip got off to a flying start on Friday evening. Everyone was excited about the weekend ahead, spirits were high and red bull was plentiful, only a short bus journey separated us from the fantastic weekend in store. The journey was shortened by the talented Brian Higgins and Darragh Keane who provided exhilarating renditions of popular songs on their guitars, and the slightly less talented rest of us, who provided the vocals. Once we arrived, and got our room numbers, the fun part of living in a hostel began. From spontaneous raves, to pillow fights, everyone was enjoying themselves and was thrilled to be there. Everybody was getting to know each other, fun was had and ‘selfies’ taken. At the end of the night the concept of assigned rooms flew out the window and we crashed wherever we wanted.

As we got up on Saturday one of two things was going through or minds. Some were anxious and excited about the day of kayaking ahead of them, and others were trying to remember where they lost their things, as they realised that skinny dipping the night before may have been a bad idea. Kayak surfing proved to be an amazing experience for those who have never tried it before. For beginners, the challenge was to keep upright, and not be overwhelmed by the waves, it took quite a few attempts, but getting the hang of a kayak when being mauled by a wave felt like a massive achievement, and something great to walk away with at the end of the day. Of course there were less glorious moments, many were turned over, and “some”, made the unfortunate mistake of being slightly too eager to get out of their turned-over kayaks in shallow water, only to realise that smashing your head into sand, hurts, even with a helmet on. Thankfully there were no major occurrences, thanks to the eagle-eyed, experienced members of the club, who watched over us, and taught us a thing or two about how not to get tossed over. Although exhausted from the heavy paddling, we could not pass up on a good swim, which was a great rest and made for some excellent photo ops.

Saturday night was the highlight of the weekend for most, everyone dawned their fancy dress outfits, as per the cartoon/TV add theme, no one can doubt that there was a vast amount of variety, from “Popeye” to “Dick Dastardly”, to two “Flintstones” and three “Bat”-men, even “Thomas” was there with a few cans, makes one wonder, what’s Halloween going to look like? As we reached the night club the night went into high gear, the fatigue of kayaking wore off and the dancing began. There were three groups there on the night, but we were by far the loudest. Everyone was dancing none-stop all night, and when the music stopped, we provided our own. The fun wasn’t over with the club either, sleeping only got in the way of us enjoying the night, so we avoided it. We got to know each other better and also got to hear some stories from the older guys. Our room packed it in at 5:30 am that night, or morning?

Sunday’s morning was bittersweet, there was still more kayak surfing to enjoy but the thought of going home was still constantly in the back of our minds. We went out that day and took as much fun out of the morning session as we could. By the afternoon we were all packed up, sitting together in our rooms, going back over the highlights of the weekend, at 6 the bus arrived and we made our way back to UL.

The trip will definitely live in the memory of all the new members, it was our first time out with the club and it was absolutely mental to say the least. I’m sure everyone is ecstatic about the upcoming trip in week seven, and I hope to see you all there.

Fresher’s Night Out Tonight! – 18th Sept 2014

High excitement in the club this week as the members prepare for our Fresher’s Night Out in Costello’s Tavern! The UV Paint Party is going to be EPIC! Meeting at Scholars @8.30pm for fun and games before we head to Costello’s for a fun filled night! To those who have tickets, we’ll see you there! And to everyone else, there’s still a handful left! So get in quick! Fresher Party 1

ULKC! Click here for pool and meetup times!

The Short & The Sweet
TRI–WEEKLY POOL SESSIONS: Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday. Meet at UL Arena pool at 9:45pm each night.
OUTBACK TRAINING – Super fun paddling sessions on the river behind the Boathouse on Campus. Spend an hour or 2 of your day brushing up on new kayaking skills. Weekly sessions, details can be found on our forum!
RIVER TRIPS – Weekly. Details and info will constantly be posted to the forum so get on there! Every time you go paddling don’t forget a towel, swim togs, an old pair of shoes and warm clothes for after, especially as the summer ends! ULKC provide the rest!
€5 Membership fee for an ENTIRE YEAR! This covers you for pool sessions, outback trips and all the gear usage! Not to mention an invitation to some of the craziest social gatherings on campus! Not bad eh!

ULKC Promo Video 2014

It’s that time of the year again! Everyone in ULKC is looking forward to another amazing year of paddling filled adventures and fun and we’d love for you to join us. 

Come to the recruitment drive on Wednesday, September 10th in the UL Arena between 5 and 8pm to sign up.


Sign up at our pool sessions at 9.45pm – 10.45pm in the UL Arena Pool every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. The first session will be on the 11th of September. All are welcome, no matter what experience level you have!

Here’s a video of what what we’re all about! #ULKC#DoSomethingEpicEveryday


ULKC Alps trip 2014

ULKC Alps Trip group photo
ULKC Alps Trip 2014 – Courtesy of Mike Shaw

UL Kayak Club’s annual Alps trip was one for the books this year. After piling all the gear into UL vehicles, the first wave of paddlers began the journey with a pleasant ferry bop on over to France. Upon arrival, they took off to make the road trip to their home for the week: the Campertogno campground in Italy.
Having set a higher standard this year for the first of the three week trip, the club was able to focus on truly pushing their limits like never before. The group greatly challenged themselves on various runs of the Sesia, Egua and Sermenza rivers. Along with honing in on personal paddling skills, they all further developed their river-leading skills in preparation for the second wave of the club’s arrival. After a more than satisfying week in Italy, the group continued on to the Milan Malpensa airport to unite with fellow members of the club.
As a number of nationalities were represented on the trip, it seemed like ages before everyone was let through customs at the airport and allowed to join in on the fun. Here, the ULKC trip doubled in size to around thirty lads and a mighty rubber-duck mascot, named Chestnut. Getting on the road a tad-bit behind schedule for Slovenia, we arrived to camp around 4 am — just in time to set up camp in the dark before the sun began to rise.
The next day began another adventure with the club and it’s range of paddling abilities. Over the course of the next week, longer than expected due to exceptional river levels, everyone focused on different goals on various runs of Slovenia’s Soca river. While one individual may have been working simply on getting their roll down, others really began to put their dynamic leadership and teaching practices into place. River leaders and beginners alike learned from each other and pushed each other to new levels of improvement.
Beginners asked questions to develop paddling techniques and leaders asked for feedback from the river that day to gain insight on what methods had the most impact. Mixing up the river groups everyday, everyone had the chance to work together towards a common goal of bettering the club (with loads of craic along the way!) It was fantastic to see people overcome obstacles and new challenges everyday. Important skills covered on the river included basic river signals, rescue skills, river reading, and paddling techniques.
While in Slovenia, members of all ability had the opportunity to participate in a competition right on the river of the campground. Those not competing enthusiastically cheered on our participants to some great finishes for the club.
As well as improvement on the river, much was to be said for the kitchen. Along with paddling, the bar was raised for the cooking as well this year; chefs we didn’t even know were in the club prepared gourmet meals. Fire-baked potatoes were a delicacy one evening that reminded us of home. Even the standard baguette, ham, cheese, pesto and more baguette sandwich lunches seemed to transform overnight. Lettuce, tomatoes, and other veggies soon became a thing. It was crazy. Crazy good.
A week quickly flew by before we said goodbye to the beautiful green rivers of Slovenia and packed up the vans with those we only brought along for their Tetris-like packing skills. Back to Italy we all went for two more full days of the river. As per the norm, we set up camp in the dark, and got some shuteye.
The next two days challenged the beginners to new frontiers. Beyond some good wave trains, beginners had the option the first day to run Sorba Slides. This was the first experience for members who only began kayaking this year to really test their limits. A big testament to the great experience that everyone had on the trip thus far, was that everyone out on the river that day ran the slides. It was a thrilling experience to say the least. And the next day, a nifty rig was engineered to allow for a maximum amount of runs of the Top Drop on the Egua.
In the morning, the group parted ways. After saying goodbye to those who so foolishly took the easy way out and flew back to Ireland instead of road tripping, some brave souls stuck around and reaped the benefits of a surprise trip to Disneyland in Paris. There, we relaxed from the long and tiring trip by running around, pushing little kids out of the way and catching as many rides as we possibly could.
All in all, the ULKC Alps trip of 2K14 opened everyone’s eyes to what this club is really capable of doing and how fortunate we are to be involved in it. The Alps trip allowed us all to push our own envelopes, in one of the best environments we could imagine. The ULKC.

-Dana Greipentrog (Photo by Mike Shaw)

River Clean Up 2014

Our annual River Clean Up took place on Saturday 26th April, during which a number of our members spent the morning cleaning up the river banks and islands of the River Shannon stretch running through the UL campus. We found the usual trolleys, kegs and cans go leor, but also managed to fill a substantial amount of bags with the rubbish we collected along the way. Thanks to the Limerick County Council Environmental Department and the Surfrider Foundation for their help and contributions, and to all our members who showed up on the day to help out.

ULKC River Cleanup

Go Paddle!