Your news: Plain sailing at Southwater Watersports Centre

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Farlington’s Year 11 to 13 PE Watersports group is close to completing its introductory course to kayaking, sailing and paddle boarding.

The 9-week programme is being conducted at Southwater Watersports Centre on Friday afternoons as a PE option.

The ten girls are enjoying the instruction at the beautiful, local location with excellent guidance, many trying these activities for the first time. Arlington’s sporting ethos is to encourage girls to participate and enjoy sports, to maintain their interest and develop a healthy life beyond school.

In Years 11 and above girls are given the option to try a wide variety of activities from golf to indoor climbing.

The experienced instructors - Adrian, Carol-Ann and Peter - at Southwater Watersports Centre focused on making the activities enjoyable and informative. The girls found it challenging, yet exciting, to try something outside the normal curriculum. The Farlington students learned how to sail safely in both calm and windy conditions.

They worked in pairs with one student taking control of the sail and the other taking responsibility for the rudder.

Under reefed sails in the second week, the girls needed all their newly acquired sailing skills to avoid capsizing in the gusty wind. The exciting afternoon will live long in the memory of all the participants!

Paddle boarding was the focus of the next two sessions where balance was key.

Stand-up paddle boarding requires core stability and leg strength to maintain balance giving a low-impact, full body workout. Competitive splashing was also a feature of the classes, as was a great deal of falling in the water!

The kayaking lessons gave the students basic paddling experience, helped them create the desired movement of the boat and develop an understanding of how kayak and water interact. The instructor introduced games into the sessions, such as balancing a plastic duck on the kayak. This sport improves cardiovascular fitness, increases muscle strength, particularly in the back, arms, shoulders and chest, from moving the paddle and increased torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a canoe or kayak comes mainly from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs.

Farlington’s John Dwyer, who took the students to Southwater, says: “The girls get so much out of these watersports sessions. As well as the enjoyment of getting out on the lake (and occasionally getting wet!), the students gain teamwork, leadership and communication skills, and many of the girls gain a great deal of confidence.

“The sports options which are external to the school are always popular. The students really enjoy participating in new and interesting sports out of the school environment. A big thank-you must go to the staff at Southwater who made it such an enjoyable experience for the girls.”

Contributed by Farlington School

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