Knowing when to say ‘no’ is one of the trickiest decisions coaches, leaders and paddlers ever need to make. And the month just passed has presented no shortage of occasions when those tough calls have had to be made!
Those involved in the racing community will know only too well that difficult decisions had to be made during the Waterside Series with both of the final two races cancelled, the last one at very short notice, due to ice and snow. This weekend has seen the Devizes to Westminster Race organisers put into an equally challenging situation by the weather – heavy rain in the build up to the race putting the Thames onto ‘red boards’ throughout its length and levels on the Kennet & Avon Canal similarly high.
Outside of racing, trips and tours, training and assessment courses have had to be cancelled or postponed this month and none of these decisions are taken lightly by those responsible. As paddlers, organisers and enthusiasts we want to do all that we can to give others the opportunity to race, train, explore or gain qualifications. But sometimes the environment just reminds us of our place in the natural order, which is well down the list when it comes to wind and weather.
How do we make these decisions? Through a mix of information gathering, experience and solid risk assessment. Do we always make the right call? Probably not, but that’s what we’re dealing with, a balance of probabilities. It’s always easy to be wise after an event yet often very stressful weighing the balance of pros and cons, what ifs and maybes in the lead up to it. Whether it’s been for a high-profile event like the DW, a course or a club trip, well done and thank you to all those who’ve had to make these difficult decisions in recent weeks.