There have been some truly crap National Days here in the UK – ‘events’ whose sole value has consisted in their comedic obscurity. For instance, have you ever heard of National Crabmeat Day? No? Well how about Penguin Awareness Day, No Pants Day and Spend Nothing Day? They’re all genuine days, I can assure you and by no means the silliest. So it’s something of a relief to see that in response to our enduring post-Olympic love for water-based sports, four major UK bodies have come together to celebrate and promote it – and not just with a day but with an entire month…
Yes, the BMF and the RYA have jumped into bed with British Rowing and the British Canoe Union to generate a new four-week event known as National Watersports Month. Kicking off for the first time on the 1 May, 2014, nationwide activities will include open days and taster sessions, covering the full range of sports from sea kayaking to rowing, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding and tow sports at clubs and marinas throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
Now this is certainly a laudable initiative and the month of May makes good sense as regards kick-starting the season - but given that UK sea temperatures are every bit as cold in late Spring as they are in early Winter, it will take a pretty brave novice to come back for a second go. More to the point, while we all know that watersports are great fun, the one thing that will dictate whether this turns out to be a brilliantly worthwhile month or a completely irrelevant one will be the response of the public. In short, if you think you might fancy a go at something new, making positive noises about it is not enough. You need to reward the organisers and the participating companies by turning up on the day and getting actively involved.
It all starts with the official launch on Wednesday 8 January at the London Boat Show, so don’t be lazy. Either check it out at the Watersports Pool or keep track of events in your area by following @WatersportsMonth on Twitter.