Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Level 1 Coaching Course

Level 1 Coach Training Course (Recreational)
The Singapore Canoe Federation will be conducting a Level 1 Coach Training Course (Recreational) on 15th,16th,29th,30th JAN 2011

Venue : Kallang Water Sports Centre
Time : 9am to 4pm
Applicant(s) applying for the course, must have a 2 star personal skill qualification and able to demonstrate strong paddling skills.
Applicant(s) must be at least 18 yrs of age and have good health with no current medical condition.
For enquries,please email , Lim Jun Ping.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Its the process, not the result

Heading to Pasir Panjang Terminal

I helped "lead" an overnight kayak expedition from West Coast Park to Pulau Hantu over the weekend. The teacher of the group was Yong Hui, who wanted his students to execute the expedition plan. Being new, there were cock ups and delays which meant we only got into the water at 4pm.
Long story short, we never made it to the island and were still paddling past sunset. Most of the students had to be put onto the powerboats and driven to the island. We only arrived at 8.30pm.

The next day we encountered a freaking storm 45min after setting off while we were crossing Sinki Fairway. With almost no visibility and ridiculously strong drift, we tied ourselves to the South Cardinal mark around Cyrene reef where we waited for about 3hrs.

The teachers

Losing sight of land

We never made it to the destination on both days, but it was one hell of an experience. I also took home a few lessons from this trip. It was nice and refreshin that the focus for this trip was the journey, rather than the destination.

1. Always study the plan beforehand
I was in Kota Tinggi when the route was released and only managed to see it the night before the expedition. I could not lead effectively because I was unsure of the route and was not familiar with the conditions.

2. Always have lights and a compass handy
My light was tucked away in my aft hatch, I could not access it when it got dark. I also didnt bring my compass. Being able to keep a bearing would have helped if we needed to continue paddling in the low viz during the thunderstorm.

3. Too many indian chiefs causes confusion
Having more than 1 person yelling instructions when there is chaos just makes things worse. Just let the 1st instructor who gives instructions take control. Having an arguement admist the chaos is not a good idea.
4. I still cant stand working with chihuahuas
People who try to have street cred, try too hard, have the sun shining out their ass or move around with some self inflicted sense of urgency like a chihuahua really bug me. The annoyance of this chihuahua effect doubles, when on the water.

Rest of the photos here

New Methods

Did 2 orientation sessions at Jurong Lake after coming back from Kota Tinggi with Charles.
As usual, his methods are a little different from what Im used to.

Here's what I mean:

Reckless or calculated risk? These sort of things are very subjective.

Kayak Orientation in Kota Tinggi

The usual antics

I went up to Kota Tinggi with a company called Asia Outdoor to run kayak orientation programmes in the Johor River last week.
While the company met industry standards, I feel that these standards could be improved upon. Each batch consisted of 60 students, there were 2 certified instructors including myself. A third person was an old bird w/o coaching certification but has conducted many orientation programmes there and has local knowledge. The 3 of us made up the core team and we had group instructors, guys who followed the kids around for all activities to back us up.
Problem was that some of the group instructors were not very proficient. I would have preferred more certified instructors present. Conducting briefings the group instructors is always necessary, but there is little a briefing can do if the group instructor's skills are lacking or if they lack the experience to identify dangers.
The company did have 2 boats following the group, which was kinda overkill for a 2-3km "expedition".

Big boat

It was tiring trying to control 30 kayaks and the $120/day rate was not really that attractive considering that work starts at 8am and ends at 5pm and I have only 10min for lunch.

We used 3 man kayaks

On the bright side, I did night paddling down the firefly tour route and managed to see many fireflies. It was really beautiful.

As usual, photos can be found here

Friday, October 29, 2010

Level 1 Coaching Checklist

Here's the L1 coaching checklist that Water-Venture uses to grade L1 trainees for all those aspiring coaches out there.

Page 1

Page 2

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paddles for sale

Passing on an email from another avid paddler who is selling his paddles.
Please contact him directly at the number provided if you are interested.
Hi paddlers!

I'm looking for new owners for my 215cm Werner ikelos and 220cm
Waterstick, both 2-piece paddles for sea touring. I just got myself
another Ikelos at 205cm because I prefer short paddles and it's really
one of the best you can get. The Waterstick is my first paddle and it
has been a spare pair for a long while.

Am selling at $500 and $200 respectively, pictures and test/demo
sessions out at sea are all available. Do email/sms me for details if
interested, thanks.


Monday, October 4, 2010


Serangoon Buoy

Went for a really relaxing paddle to Punggol jetty and back. One of the few times I've gone on such a slow relaxing trip.
Small group as usual, this time consisting of Huanda, Thongleng and Joyce.

Thongleng and Huanda

Trying to act young

Had lunch on Punggol jetty and the water around the area was covered with a layer of oil. Unfortunately, the ice cream uncle was not there today, so we could not buy any ice cream :(

We headed to Coney Island after lunch to basically fool around on the kayaks and once again, I tried to impart the art of Zen paddling. There we found a dead wild boar and I bravely/foolishly went to take a photo with its stinking carcass.

Balancing act

Wild boar

More pictures on facebook

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weirdest 1 Star Course EVER

Had an interesting 2 days over the weekend with some students from the SIM Canoe Polo team. The weather on the first day was crap though. It would rain, then stop, then rain again. Damn annoying. Then it was bright and sunny the entire second day.
Unfortunately, one of the girls sprained her ankle on the first day and was not able to attend the 2nd day of the course. The ankle swelled quite a bit...

Newbies and old birds

Victim looks happy in the water

End of the day

More pics available here

Monday, July 19, 2010

Official Opening of Marina Bay Promenade

Marina Bay Sands in the background

Decided to be part of the massive clusterfuck at Marina Bay. About a 100 kayaks, 4 dragonboats and 16 sail boats went down to the Marina Bay Promenade area to salute PM Lee and basically just paddle around aimlessly.
It was nice to paddle around inside, but then again, we used to go into that area freely without many problems. It was only after the construction of the Marina Bay Sands that the area was blocked off and became off limits.

Old Clifford Pier

Central Business District in the background

I also was part of an expedition team that escorted some PA big shots into the Singapore River. This was probably the highlight of the trip because I managed to paddle in without having to do the ridiculous amount of paperwork.

Fullerton Hotel

Photos in facebook as usual

Friday, July 16, 2010

Water-Venture (Kallang) Course Forecast

August '10 to May '10


1 Star
14th & 15th
21st & 22nd
28th & 29th

1 Star
4th & 5th
11th & 12th
18th & 25th
19th & 26th

Please Note:
  1. Go to for info on cost.
  2. All courses are open to public, just providing info
  3. Information may be outdated by the time you view this, please check with Water-Venture to confirm

Monday, July 12, 2010

Water-Venture Website revamped

Water-Venture is starting to get their act together and finally revamped their website. Now it looks hip and targeted at the right audience. Youths.
That aside, navigation is also much easier compared to the old design. I feel the best part is having direct links to information about the various outlets and location maps.

Head on down to Water-Venture to see for yourself.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Passing on the teachings of Zen paddling.

Joined Ziyang and some of his friends for a round Ubin trip. However, one of the girls turned up an hour late and it didnt seem possible to complete a round ubin trip.
Instead, we headed over to Ubin for lunch.

After lunch I managed to convince some of the guys and gals to "explore the boundaries of stability" with me. We did some Zen Paddling, my euphemism for monkeying around.
Fong Yee starts off well...

The Force is strong with this one

Not as easy as it looks

There were quite a big group of kayak fishermen today. Spoke to some of them, these guys are quite interesting, they made seat backs and rod holders out of PVC pipes.
Fishfinder guy

Mr. Awesome

One of them even had a fish finder on his inflatable kayak! But the coolest guy of all was the one who rigged a small windsurfing sail onto his kayak. That was just awesome!

Rest of the pics here

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rest time

No more coaching! Time to take a break.
I will just be invovled in the Carnival at Marina on the 18th of July.
Will have to limit myself during the next holiday by limiting the number of coaching assignments I accept. I shoud be spending the time doing more leisure trips instead.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Its about exploring

Kevin came to the trip today with this in mind "Its not about speed or distance, its about exploring". I quite like this quote.
This was his first time paddling to the southern islands and he was quite excited about it. We actually started off about 1hr late but it was to be a day of leisure paddling, so it didnt really matter.
From Labrador park, with kayaks rented from Kayakasia. We paddled along Sentosa, passing by Siloso beach till we reached the Sentosa Beacon near what I think is Sentosa Cove.
From here, we crossed over to Pulau Tekukor. Paddling along the left of Pulau Tekukor, we beached up at St. John's Island for lunch.

Ziyang with the beacon

St. John's Island

Starfish on St. John's

After lunch we decided to take a short cut and went under the bridge between Pulau Seringat and St. John's Island. After paddling around a corner, we went to Kusu Island and beached up for a while to let Kevin explore. Unfortunately, he got stung by something while swimming in the lagoon.
The aftermath

We were supposed to carry on to Sisters' Island, but my shoulder was hurting and I starting showing symptoms of a runny nose which made paddling really uncomfortable. We then decided to cut the trip short and headed back instead. Still, we managed to cover a reasonable distance of 18km and enjoyed some good surfing between Seringat and Kusu.

My body is screwed up, but it was still a good day.

As usual, more pics can be found on my facebook album

Monday, June 14, 2010


I need to get my priorities right. Was updating my logbooks and realised I have only done 6 kayak journeys in 2010 while in contrast, I have clocked 24 days of coaching.

That's it. I will not accept any more coaching assignments till August.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

KayakFest Philippines

I went to Philippines last week to take part in a kayaking event. The paddling was done in Subic Bay. The event starts off at Anvaya Cove, a really high class private club which was AWESOME. We had breakfast and dinner at the club and it felt like I was in a 5 Star beach resort.

I took part in the 25km race with 11 other paddlers from the Singapore contingent. We werent all Singaporeans, with 2 Aussies and Indonesians joining us.
The paddling was wonderful. We paddled in a valley and the islands we passed had mountains! Quite a view.

More pictures available here and here

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paddling in Jurong Lake

UPDATE: The entire Jurong Lake area is temporarily closed due to redevelopment works. As such, the Water-Venture outlet there had to close down too. It should open again by end 2017.
Twin pagodas

In the lake

I recently conducted a series of kayak orientations at Jurong Lake and it was an awesome place.
Nice and quiet place with interesting scenery.

Located near the main entrace of the Chinese/Japanese Garden, the under-utilized Water-Venture (Jurong Lake) aka Paddlez Inc run by the People's Association Water-Venture is a nice place for families living around the area to come for a paddle.
Parking is located a stone's throw away, making it convenient for those who drive. The nearest MRT station is Chinese Garden. The walk over is quite a distance and takes you through the Chinese Garden where you enter from the back gate and come out from the front gate.
Bicycles are not allowed to enter the Chinese Garden, but the Park Connector Network goes round. There are bicycle racks for parking your bicycles infront of the main gate to the Chinese Garden, but Im sure the nice folks at Paddlez Inc will allow you to bring your bicycle in.
Careful about cycling in though, its all gravel past the main gate.

Main entrance

Both sit-on-top (open deck) and sit inside (closed deck) kayaks are available for rent. However, you will need a 1 Star certification to rent the closed deck kayaks. Afterall, this is Singapore, land of the paper chase :)
Rentals cost $15 for 2hours. For more information on rates, click here.

Kayak shed
Buoyancy vests and paddles

The launch site is a small pontoon. Although, I dont recommend beginners to use pontoons for launching, paddlers can take their time here since there is barely anyone around. There is also a ramp where those not confident in pontoon launches can wade into the water before getting into the kayaks.
To my knowledge, only the Yuan Ching Secondary School dragonboat team trains here. So its not very crowded.
Launch site
Changing room

Lockers are provided and there is even a vending machine selling drinks. For those who just need water, there is a water cooler next to the changing room.
The downside of this place is that there isnt any toilet and shower facilities. Only a changing room is provided. There is a public toilet outside, but it does not have showers.
You could however, rinse yourself off at the tap behind the changing room before changing out into dry clothing.

DISCLAIMER: I am an appointed trainer for Water-Venture and conduct courses for them on occasion.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why I dont enjoy coaching at Macritchie

There are a few things that can make coaching unpleasant for me.
Unwilling participants, learning environments not condusive for learning and coaches with very conflicting techniques are just some of them.

I dont enjoy coaching at Macritchie, in fact I think its a horrible place for leisure paddling or to conduct a 1 star course.
First of all, the kayak sheds are located far away from the launching area. Bringing 10-15 kayaks over takes up quite abit of time especially when working with secondary school kids there as part of a school programme. These students are usually not interested in taking part to begin with.
Also, there are joggers/runners using the same path. You can imagine the congestion carrying boats will cause.

Secondly, the launch area is a pontoon. I dont have a problem with pontoons, however, I feel that launching from the shore is better for beginners. Using the pontoon to teach is a problem when there are 20 other schools using the same pontoon to launch. This means having to put the kayaks a distance away from the launch site after taking them out from the shed and then bringing them to the pontoon one by one to launch in order to avoid congestion.
As the newbies launch off one by one, does the coach stay on the pontoon to help or go into the water to herd those who have launched?

Thirdly, the place is full of racers. Racers are there to train, they want to go all out. That usually means expecting everyone else to give way and lots of yelling.
However, telling a newbie touching the kayak for the first time to "Hold water" doesnt really do much. The newbies have no idea what hold water means and lack the ability to control their kayak well even if they do understand.
This situation is similar to triathletes on $5000 bicycles running red lights and expecting cars to give way to them at all times in the sense that both parties lose out in the event of a collision. Crashing the K boats would definitely result in a capsize and some damage, depending on the speed.

Lastly, Peter Chai the guy who runs Paddle Lodge and is basically the guy in charge of watersports there is a jaded old man.
He just doesnt give a shit about other people and has a perpetual scowl on his face. The only time I've seen him smile is when he thought he could gain a benefit from someone which quickly turned into his usual scowl and a look of disgust when he realise no benefit was to be gained. Very calculative guy. Like the stereotypical chinese businessman.
Dont bother to apologize to him when you have made a mistake or if he misunderstood something you did. He will ignore you and any explanations you have anyway. Just let him say his peace and carry on.
Telling him you wont do it again next time will merely get the response that there is no next time. Telling him you were given wrong info would result in him saying no such thing.
Typical bureaucrat eh?
Oh and dont be late when returning keys, he needs to close shop and rush off to moonlight.

Human afterall

Went round ubin with Ziyang last saturday, the weather was ridiculously hot, I estimate it was at least 35degrees celsius. We were fine until reaching the north of ubin. Ziyang was suffering from mild symptoms of heat exhaustion and had delpeted his water source. We got our bottles refilled thanks to the kindess of the kelong owners.
After hydrating ourselves, we carried on. I stupidly left the food back at the club and by this time it was already about 1pm. I was hungry and the heat was sapping my energy.
By the time we reached the western end of ubin, I was breaking out in cold sweat and my hands were shaking. This made it very difficult for me to even grip the paddle.

I decided to give up and call the staff at Water-Venture for help. Boo came out to tow us back and he experienced some boat trouble. Just as he approached us, it started to rain. And it really poured down hard.

Oh, I was also stung by a jellyfish. Bloody bad day. Decided to cut my losses and take a taxi home. Didnt want to risk something bad happening on my bicycle.

Took a look at the thermometer when I reached back home and it was 32 degrees celsius at night! A really insane day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Paper chase

Sometime back a swimming instructor got 2 young boys to touch his privates and perform oral sex on him. There was a hoohaa in the papers and parents were suggesting compulsory registration of all coaches.
At the moment, registering with the NROC is not compulsory, but recommended.
But that was how the NCAP started too right?

Knowing Singapore, anything compulsory comes with a hefty fee. A captive market is a seen as a cash cow and not sucking the people dry would be considered a crime to the people in charge. Just like how the class sizes for the NCAP doubled along with the price.
Not only is the Sports Council earning double, the number of students have doubled as well. I supposed that amounts a four-fold increase in earnings per course?

So.. long story short, I decided to be an early adopter. Took more than a month for the application to process and the card to arrive though.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What've we got here?

New Chaco sandals that's what!

They will be baptised at Macritchie this coming Friday. Walking round the house, it feels kind of odd not to have the toe loops after having been used to them for 2 years. But Im pretty sure there's going to be less abrasions on my poor big toe.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Death of a Teva

My Teva sandals have died. I first bought them a little more than two years ago and they were used for cycling and casual walking around besides kayaking. As you can see from the pictures, they're quite worn out. Kind of suprised they lasted that long especially since Im so hard on my gear.
Ordered myself a pair of Chaco Z/1 to replace them.
My experience with these Tevas was that sand tends to get caught in the toe loops and rubs my skin raw, so Im experimenting with the Z/1 which does not come with toe loops for now. Will see how they compare.

These sandals were nice and comfy while they lasted. Having survived 26months of abuse, mostly in a marine environment, I'd say it was worth the money.
I previously reviewed these sandals after using them for 8 months and commented on the push button which kept getting stuck. The button got jammed eventually and got stuck permanently. However, it was not the cause of destruction.

So, goodbye Teva and hello... Chaco!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Round Ubin on a hot day

Went round ubin with Huanda and Ziyang today. The sun was scorching! Luckily there was wind to cool us down.
Having an "energy stick"

The trip went smoothly until we reached OBS when the wind picked up and we had to paddle through a headwind. Damn torturing. We were also going against the current to make things worse. We did make good time on the northern side though. Following winds and sea made it really enjoyable.

Huanda having cramps!

More pics available here