by Michelle O’Herlihy. Irish Kayaking Intervarsities Organizing Committee

An event which is purely driven by getting paddlers out on the water an participating, the Kayak Intervarsities has in recent years placed a particularly strong emphasis on female participation.

The 2023 Irish Kayaking Intervarsities saw approximately 300 competitors compete across 3 days from the 17-19th of February. In recent years varsities committee’s have all placed an added emphasis on female participation, with each varsities committee introducing more gender requirements for teams with stronger incentives for colleges to ensure these requirements are met.

The goal of varsities this year was to encourage colleges to upskill all of their paddlers in terms of general skills, safety and racing with a strong emphasis on upskilling female members progressing them to the next level. This was to create a higher standard of racing and to ensure colleges pushed to improve their members in a safe and fun manner. Throughout the weekend it could be seen that all colleges had take this on board as there was a notable increased participation and improvement of skills across all colleges.

This year varsities continued on from the previous years gender requirements for the WhiteWater, Freestyle and BoaterX events, all these teams were required to have a 50/50 gender splits. The long distance event saw 265 competitors compete across 8 categories from touring doubles to general purpose. Across all the classes there was 161 male competitors and 104 female competitors which was a 60/40 gender split. The hope is over the next few years this can be improved even more!