Age Group Descriptions - U11, U13, U15
AGE DIVISIONS: all paddlers are divided into the following age categories.
- U11: Must be 8 and under 11 years of age on the 1st of January of the year of competition.
- U13: under 13 years of age on the 1st of January of the year of competition.
- U15: under 15 years of age on the 1st of January of the year of competition.
U11 (formerly Atom)
Atoms are an eager bunch of 8-11 year olds. They like to try new things, dive right in and learn how to paddle. They spend their day at the club circulating between "jellybeans" (really stable plastic kayaks) mini kayaks, (tippier!) War Canoe (can you say noise?) and a whole host of dry land activities including capture the flag, soccer, dodgeball, flexibility exercises, and trying to drive the coach into early retirement.
Our program follows the Long Term Athlete Development Model and so racing is for fun, not for competition. The focus of the U11 program is fun and fundamentals. It has never happened that a U11 paddler has been named to the Olympic Team, so we tend to take it easy for the first couple of years! There will be plenty of time for training if the paddler chooses to continue on in the sport.
U13 (formerly Peewee)
Our U13's are impressive to say the least. They manage to surprise us every year. How can these 11-13 year olds catch on so quickly? They learn how to not only balance in these incredibly tippy canoes and kayaks, but to race in them as well! There is nothing as exciting as watching your U13 child head up to the starting line for the very first time.
U13's can switch between canoe and kayak and race in both, no need to specialize yet. Their day is a mix of dry land and on water programming. They will rotate in 2 hour blocks of time. They will head up the lake now and go for longer paddles, focusing on technique and balance. Our coaches go with them in motor boats. Safety is our number one priority.
There are usually 2 U13 regattas and the (formerly) Peewee and Bantam Championships each year. The Championships are a 3 day affair held in Dartmouth in late August. Medals are given out to the top three but the focus is on maximum participation. The races are divided into novice and experienced categories so the kids compete at their own level. The War Canoe races are exciting and everyone is out of their seats to yell from the shore.
U15 (formerly Bantam)
U15's are a whole other story; budding champions and budding personalities! It's all about the group for our U15's. What better way to spend the summer than to be with your friends for eight hours, in the fresh air, being physically active and learning to excel in a sport.
Our U15's are influenced by our Junior and Senior paddlers. Many of our U15's choose to enter our full year program and so continually rub shoulders with National Team paddlers, Michelle Russell, Marshall Hughes, Sam Hall, Tom Hall and Craig Spence. Imagine a hockey player who gets to practice everyday with Sydney Crosby!
Some of our U15's are brand new to the sport and we make sure that they are able to learn at their own pace. There is no age limit for beginning to paddle. Others have been paddling for a few years and may be thinking ahead a couple of years to attending Florida training camps, as well as competing at the Canada Games or Junior World Championships.
There are usually 2 U15's regattas each year as well as the (formerly) Bantam Championships in late August. In addition, some of our U15's may be asked to race with our U17 in Division Regattas. The schedule will be available early in the spring and like the U13 families, vacations are best planned around the regatta schedule.