Norwich Canoe Club has swept away all its rivals in 2013 to win three national team titles

Norwich canoe club. Photo: Bill Smith Norwich canoe club. Photo: Bill Smith

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
6:30 AM

This year has been one of unprecedented success for Norwich Canoe Club, whose members have paddled their way to three national team titles.

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Norwich canoe club. Photo: Bill SmithNorwich canoe club. Photo: Bill Smith

The Whitlingham-based club is primarily a flat water kayak racing club and has become the UK’s dominant club in its sport.

In June they won the MacGregor Paddle trophy at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, which is a national sprint team championship, and in August they were the top club at the National Marathon Championships in Pangbourne, Berkshire.

Then in October they were successful at Pangbourne again, finishing as top club at the national finals of the Hasler marathon series.

The titles are the three major flat water racing team titles that are competed for every year by 65 flat water racing clubs from all over Great Britain.

Norwich canoe club. Dyson Pendle. Photo: Bill SmithNorwich canoe club. Dyson Pendle. Photo: Bill Smith

Dyson Pendle, the club’s head coach and a Great Britain regional sprint coach, said: “No one has ever held all of these titles at one time before. We did similarly last year and have won either all or some of them in the last five years.

“Some of the other clubs have been getting a bit cheesed off and said it is boring, but I say we are setting the standard!”

Mr Pendle was also named the British Canoe Union’s Coach of the Year during 2013, just another of a host of accolades for the club.

“We have 180 members and we try to encourage all of them to come two or three times a week,” Mr Pendle continued.

Norwich canoe club. Photo: Bill SmithNorwich canoe club. Photo: Bill Smith

“All of the club is working together as a team and pushing individually to try and push everybody to reach their own goals.

“We’ve got some athletes who are really good, world class athletes, but they work with the team, they are not off over there working on their own.

“If they are available, they’ll work with us, it’s a bit like Andy Murray playing Davis Cup in tennis.”

The club was established in 1991 and has members from young children all the way up to members in their 70s and some disabled kayakers as well.

It won the Club of the Year awards at the Norwich Sports Awards this year and is one of just nine clubs in the country to have achieved Clubmark and Top Club Gold accreditation from Canoe England.

Mr Pendle’s 24-year-old son, Tim, is one of the club’s star performers and this year claimed the man’s national marathon title, as well as raced in K2 at the World Championships for Team GB in Copenhagen. Asked what it is about the sport which he so enjoys, Tim said: “I think it is the way that you compete but in a non-contact way. It’s not easy to compete against yourself rather than compete as a team, that’s why I like it.

“There are two different parts of the sport. Sprint, when it is very much yourself and you are looking to go 1k or a distance like that, going from A to B as fast as possible.

“The other is marathon, when again it can be very much just yourself on your own but we have wash-hanging, so you might not be the fastest but you can have very good technique, a bit like drafting in cycling, so you can surf someone’s wave, a bit like slipstreaming.”

He added: “The club has had a fantastic year. There is such a good community here, anything which needs doing just gets done, because there is such a good group here.”

The club is also looking for a main sponsor, to discuss sponsoring them, email tim.scott@norwichcanoeclub.co.uk

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