A few months ago I joined the Cambridge Canoe Club and went for my first paddle on a river in over a decade. But, that was on the rather flat River Cam. Since then, I've been out on the Cam a couple more times; once with other club members heading down river towards Grantchester and another time back up towards Jesus Lock on my own. Other than having to dodge low hanging branches and some ducks and swans, there's not been much of a challenge. However, over the summer the club was running some trips down to the Lee Valley White Water Centre, so I signed up to one to get some white water experience.
A week ago, I went to one of the club's pool sessions to try and see if I could remember how to roll. In my previous kayaking experience I'd become a dab hand at rolling (in a pool or on flat water at least - I don't think I ever successfully rolled on white water!), but it turned out that I needed a bit of practice to get the skill back. My first few attempts in the pool resulted in swims, but after some good coaching and patience from one of the other club members, I was able to roll again. This practice turned out to be useful for the Lee Valley course.
The Lee Valley White Water Centre had been built for the London 2012 Olympics, and I had actually been there before; not to paddle, but to watch some of the Olympic kayaking as shown in the picture below: