Although out of action for several months with a ruptured achilles, it does allow me time to do some of those admin type tasks, which have been put on hold for several years as I have been to busy enjoying myself. One simple task is to sort out my collection of kayaking magazines.
Most people at this point will switch off and think what is he talking about. Over the years though I have built up a collection of canoeing and kayaking magazines, dating back to the 1930’s, which actually represent a significant body of knowledge about this sport we all love so much.
Even looking at the adverts gives you an insight into how the sport has evolved over the years.
The Canoe-Camping Club still publishes its magazine but this one dates from the spring of 1960. This issue contains some relevant advice on safety, a review of a 1957 Club trip to Sweden. Noel McNaught, who wrote a couple of popular paddling books of the era, has an article on the River Blackwater in Ireland. Again numerous short snippets illustrate what a well traveled and adventurous group members were in the Canoe Camping Club, 60 years ago.
The cover photograph of this issue of the BCU’s magazine is of trophy to commemorate Paul Farrant, the winner of the F1 class in the 1959 Canoe Slalom Championships. Sadly he was killed in a motor cycle accident in 1960, when returning back to London after retiring from the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race. The first page announces the appointment of Oliver Cock as the National Coach from the 1st January 1962. The fee for the services of the National Coach for the weekend was 12 guineas. £12.60 in todays money. Another announcement was the introduction of Third Party Insurance liabilities up to £1000. I think the current liability cover is £10 million. How times have changed. Most of the rest of the magazine was taken up with competition results, not the most fascinating reading.
I haven’t got the first issue of this magazine but managed to find the second one. John Disley was the Advertisement Manager and had an article on strength training. He won the Bronze Medal in the 3000 metres steeplechase, at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, and went onto to co-found the London Marathon. Oliver Cock had an article on “Canoeing”, which was largely about the developments at the British Canoe Union and the possible appointment of the first National Coach for canoeing. A position he was to get. Another article considered the movement of water through the Swellies, in North Wales. The research carried out under the supervision of instructors from Plas Y Brenin. Plus numerous other short items. A varied and actually quite interesting selection.
This was the magazine of the British Canoe Union Surf Committee, clearly it had a very small and specialist market. I think it last for 17 issues, that’s the number of issues that I have any way. Articles included a review of surfing in Brittany in 1979, riding waves in Hawaii on a ski and a guide to Kimmeridge Bay, in Dorset.
Atlantic Coastal Kayaker is published 8 times a year and is available in both print and online versions. I remember buying this issue, which was my first one, from Maine Sport in August 1994 after a family canoeing holiday on the West Branch of the Penobscot. Here are a few images of that first multi day trip with our children. Surprisingly when I opened the magazine I found a short review of a lecture I had given at the Crystal Palace Canoe Show of the Jersey Canoe Club trip to Greenland in 1993. The link with the magazine continues as in the next issue I have an article on sea kayaking in Jersey.