The Ocean Skills Clinic is the brain child of SUP legend Ollie Shilston and Ocean Sports Centre Academy coach Glenn Eldridge, both members of the British SUP team and is part of the new SUP Academy based at Carbis Bay, St’Ives.
To test the waters so to speak last weekend saw saw a variety of paddlers take part from some the nations best female paddlers (Marie Buchanan, Emily King), relative SUP newbies (Ginnie Odetayo, Tarryn Brown and Sam Sanger) as well as one of the dark horses in the male paddle scene for 2016 (Alex Mullaney) plus, arguably one of the most promising female SUP surfers in the country (Elle Veale) benefit from a weekend of video analysis, stroke mechanics and importantly, Ocean Skills. While the weekend was oriented to race board paddlers future clinics will cater for a wide range of abilities from SUP surfing to cruiser class “we are really keen not only to help people get out on the ocean but to develop their skills so that they are able to get a real buzz from it but above all so that they develop greater confidence and ocean awareness” said RNLI beach lifeguard supervisor Shilston.
The weekend kicked off with a quick cup of tea (Shilston is useless without one in the morning!) and the motley crew headed off to the South coast for perfect conditions in Newlyn harbour. The beauty of the Ocean Skills Clinics location is the proximity of north and south coasts, a ten minute drive from either coast and paddlers are immediately thrown into conditions best suited for the activity.
“the wind was perfect for bumps at Carbis Bay but we wanted pristine conditions for stroke analysis” – Glenn is well placed to dissect stroke mechanics with a Masters degree in Sports Science combined with conducting his own research on stroke rate efficiency at his lab in Cornwall College. Once collected the group retired to dryer and more comfortable surrounds to analysis their stroke on the big screen.
The coaching duo try to integrate as much hands on learning as possible by integrating immediate feedback with actual practice – “we’ve found that by combining seeing video of how they actually paddle and then immediately practicing on the SUP ergo is the most effective method of feedback, the speed of learning is incredible with this type of approach” said Glenn.
After a full morning of intense analysis, feedback and discussion it was certainly time to hit the water again and the renowned turquoise waters of St’Ives greeted the paddlers as they descended down the hill to Carbis Bay, site of this years Euro Tour event, the St’Ives Bay Celtic Cup. The goal, to implement new technique on rougher water but to learn how to get through surf and practice beach starts.
With Saturday drawing to a close with a fun session on the beach the crew retired early with plenty to think about and ready for the final session of the weekend, chasing bumps downwind. This was a great session even if I say so myself” said Ollie “the sun was out, and the wind was perfect, the bumps were so good – we had an easy paddle out turned off the point and had some great glides back to the beach”.
Clearly Shilston has a bit of an engine on the flat, put him in rough water though and few, if any can touch him. With both Ollie and Glenn out on the water and with a small group everyone was getting lots of feedback. “we were able to track each paddler and literally coach them onto the swells” said Glenn “it was so much fun, a great way to finish the Clinic”.
Welsh pocket rocket Emily had this to say;
Without doubt the weekend was an big hit with all of the paddlers from relative SUP newbies to paddling stalwarts of the UK SUP scene. For more information and to book onto the next clinic go to www.oceansportscentre.co.uk and stay tuned to Ocean Sports Coaching Facebook page for updates of when the SUP Academy will start.