Sports & Wellbeing

Paddling into the unknown

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Student seen holding up her kayak paddle in preparation for the adventure at sea

28 July 2021 

On 3 and 17 July 2021, NUS Kayaking collaborated with NUS Outdoor Adventure Club (ODAC) as well as NUS Dive for the first time to organise two separate vacation events — Summerwave St John's and 5unWaveX Lazarus respectively — for the NUS community. The coming together of the elements of outdoor and kayaking made it a more holistic experience for participants who were previously confined to their individual CCA activities. 

The main objectives of the events were to “allow participants to enjoy and appreciate outdoor activities, and to increase awareness of Singapore’s unexplored places,” remarked Kho Xiang Matthew, NUS Kayaking Publicity Director.

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Students spotted holding different poses and even a teamNUS flag

Both events comprised different activities and held at different locations. Participants who signed up for Summerwave St John's played beach games; while 5unwavex lazarus snorkelled with dive. Participants could opt to kayak from Tanjong beach first and then take the ferry to marina south pier after, or vice-versa.

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Off the Coast: Students spotting huge grins as they paddle on their kayaks

NUS Kayaking Publicity Executive, Venny Lewis, remarked: “We got to experience the open sea waves, play beach games, kayak and open dive!”

“We enjoyed exploring Singapore’s islands, the great weather, and seeing uncommon natural views. It’s safe to say that everyone made lots of memories and new friends along the way!”, Venny added. 

While Venny is certain that the events were successes, the planning phase was less than certain, according to Chong Li Xuan, Deputy President of NUS Kayaking.

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A whirlwind of adventure awaits these participants

“Uncertainty would play a big part. The OE-net teams began conceptualising the events two to three months before the planned expedition day; during which we saw the introduction of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), easing of restrictions, as well as the current resurgence in cases,” Li Xuan continued.

While it was logistically challenging, the student organisers were prepared for multiple situations and arrangements to ensure the safety of all participants. In the end, both events turned out smooth sailing abiding with all safe management measures.

Apart from the scenic views and spending time outdoors, the student organisers and their participants have much to gain.

Hear them out: 


“I gained lots of resilience and this happens especially when you want to give in to exhaustion, although the destination is not yet reached. You just have to be resilient to finish the route together with your fleet and paddling in this case can be a matter of life and death!” - Venny Lewis, Year 3 SOC/Information Systems, NUS Kayaking Publicity Executive

Teamwork and Determination

“It is really important to be proficient in your skills because it can help your team and potentially save lives when out at sea. Honestly, this is something I’m still endeavouring towards because I’m quite a lazy person.” - Kho Xiang Matthew, Year 2 FOS/Pharmacy, NUS Kayaking Publicity Director

Gain a new skill & stepping out of one’s comfort zone

““Kayaking has opened up a world of new skills for me to pick up, hone, and master. Though we hope to never have to do a capsize rescue in the open seas, learning to overcome personal barriers and perform an Eskimo bow or roll competently has imparted quite the sense of achievement! Kayaking has always been a venture towards going beyond, both as a person and as a team, be it a different shore, an unexplored route, or challenging myself in gaining a new skill.” - Chong Li Xuan, Year 2 FOS/Food Science and Technology, NUS Kayaking Vice President External

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A journey on the seas with like-minded friends

Novel experiences

“The events are something I enjoy, especially as I am unable to travel overseas during the summer break. Being collaborations between NUSDive and NUSOdac, they offer a unique experience for participants. Looking back, I will relive the kayaking from Sentosa and coral diving at Lazarus Island in a heartbeat. One of the best times spent during my summer break without a doubt.” - Izzat See, Year 1 Environmental Engineering, participant for Summerwave St John’s and 5unWaveX Lazarus 

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Warning...we are not fishes...Students with scuba diving equipment in the sea

Taking a respite from day-to-day life

 “I enjoyed kayaking from Sentosa to St John’s Island as it was at an optimum pace and a route I haven’t taken before! Just chilling and enjoying the waters, floating and playing volleyball with the other fellow participants was a great break from being an intern. I had a fun time with friends!” - Dezree Lee, Year 3 Real Estate, participant for Summerwave St John’s 

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Together, apart; we are teamNUS

As for tips and advice for budding sportsmen like themselves, Li Xuan shared: “Just give it a go, join kayaking! Experience and skills come with learning, so I think the best way to pick up a new sport is to just start.”

Lastly, Matthew ended off with this advice: “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” — This is a motivational quote by Christopher Columbus, and I think it really encapsulates the beauty of going outdoors and stepping out of your comfort zone to try new things. There is value in taking risks, and I think that’s how kayaking has pushed my limits and allowed me to grow.”


Writer: Shanice Poh, Year 1, NUS Business School
Photos courtesy of NUS Kayaking