Following suggestions from some clubs that changes to Lightning events should be made at Regattas, the Sprint Racing committee conducted a survey to find out what opinions there were on this, from a wider group of clubs.
A few events took place alongside Hasler races, where mini kayaks other than Lightnings were entered and the Marathon Racing Committee responded by conducting a survey of those clubs where email contacts had been registered with the coordinator of the Geoff Sanders Trophy. The MRC wishes to thank all the clubs who contributed to the survey during the Summer/Autumn 2011
Altogether 35 responses from 21 clubs were received and collated. Reasons were given in favour or against continuing to use Lightnings.
All clubs responding felt that Lightnings continued to be very useful for introducing young people to flat water paddling. 14 clubs were in outright favour of retaining Lightnings for racing, 6 felt that there should be a transition at some point, with various suggestions for modification to the existing scheme and 1 club felt they were unsuitable.
The most frequent reason given for retaining Lightnings was the investment made by clubs, followed by durability and ease of use by young beginners. The words “good” or “fun” occurred 8 times when referring to starting beginners, plus 4 occurrences of the concept of “easy for generalist clubs to introduce racing.”
All respondents indicated that a “level playing-field” was most important, with that being the most frequently used term for fairness.
Some responses offered concepts from more than one source within a club, while others responded individually. A Lightning paddler from one club offered his perspective to add to those given by coaches. All had clearly given considerable thought to their responses, for which the MRC are grateful.
The results of the survey were discussed by the MRC, who will not take any action in isolation from the Sprint Racing Committee and have no proposals to alter the existing scheme at this time. The matter will be reviewed periodically and all responses from the survey will be retained to inform any future discussions. A period of warning will precede any changes proposed in the future as a result of such review.
This means that “Lightning only” Geoff Sanders Trophy races for Under 10s and Under 12s will continue to take place alongside Hasler events, with existing rules about under 12 paddlers in divisional races unaltered.
Mick Nadal for MRC
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