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The Sharks' fighting talk to be number one canoe club
A canoe club taking to the water in new boats is looking for fresh talent to help it become one of Britain's top teams.
The Sharks bought three new slalom boats with a £2,900 grant from Ealing Council, and another £6,250 grant from the NatWest Community Force Award will pay for expensive competition boats to help them paddle to victory this summer.
Although the club trains in the still waters of the Grand Union Canal behind Perivale Community Centre, in Horsenden Lane South, it was recently ranked third in the country for wild water racing and has its very own national champion in the coach's son Grant Underwood.
Proud dad Neal wants to improve on the club's impressive record by producing more national winners, saying: "We've got 20 different paddlers who race in some form of national event. We're really ambitious, we want to double that to about 40."
The club is open to all ages and abilities and is keen to see more adults take the plunge.
Money from NatWest will also be used to buy specialised canoeing machines, similar to rowing machines in gyms, which can be taken to schools and fetes to give youngsters a flavour of the sport.
Mr Underwood continued: "Some of our paddlers don't want to race but just want to have a bit of fun. But when we take them to competitions they get hooked. It's different to other sports, the competitions are really sociable.
"The idea is to take the machines to schools and scout groups to give people a go without the fear of hurting themselves, and we hope they might want to try the real thing. It's about making the whole thing fun.
"We're really hoping to expand. It's quite a big ambition but we want to be number one."
Two sessions run every Wednesday throughout the summer at 5pm and 6pm, and a minibus takes potential racers for wild water training in Harefield on Tuesdays. Sessions cost £5 each with a £12 annual membership, and discounts are available for families.
Adults and children as young as eight all welcome.
For more information call Mr Underwood on 07951 770 241 or visit www.thesharks.org.uk.
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