Arnaud’s interview, president of the association Palavas Kayak de Mer
Spotymag had the opportunity to interview Arnaud Pitman to present you his association : Palavas Kayak de Mer. We were able to ask him a few of questions to learn more about this association, and here are his answers !
Can you introduce yourself?
Good morning, my name is Arnaud, I am the director of Palavas Kayak de Mer, a sports association since 1989. We have 300 permanent members who do sea kayaking all year around.
We do Polynesian canoeing and surf skiing. During the summer season, we also welcome anyone, any public, to go for walks, private lessons and courses. We are specialists in the discovery of the lagoon environment, the environment that surrounds us. This is what is commonly called the ponds.
What circuits do you offer?
Yes, we have several circuits. A circuit that we call “pink flamingo circuit” which goes to discover the most beautiful ponds around us. Then, we have a slightly larger circuit which combines pond and sea. We pass not far from the famous cathedral of Maguelone.
So, we do it with sea kayaks. Afterwards, on request, we do it with stand up paddle. Finally, we still have the two other activities that I’m going to talk about, but which are more for people who have already come with us a few times; for whom we could make them a slightly more technical boat.
Pink flamingo circuit
Who are welcome in Palavas Kayak de Mer?
We go from schools to companies. We do themed projects, team building. So we welcome schoolchildren to go, once again, to discover the environment. So, during the breeding season of the birds. For example, we have tours, of course without disturbing the fauna and flora. But we can go and make observations, show them the different plants, etc.
So that’s more for schoolchildren and the general public too, on the pink flamingo walk. That’s what the general public likes. And then we can organise with companies, if they need or team building with challenges. We’ll use the pirogues, the big paddles.
Is your structure adapted to handisports?
In all the activities, especially the “discovery” circuits, we welcome people with disabilities. We have adapted equipment, and we even have one or, depending on the season, several civic service volunteers, who are dedicated to welcoming people. She will take care of the disabled people, helping them to be with everyone on the tour.
What is the difference between canoeing and kayaking?
People often confuse the number of places, the boat,… It is very confusing for the general public. People often have the image of canoeing down the Ardèche, for example. In fact, we have two types of boats. The kayak on one side, the canoe on the other. And then we have practice environments. There is white water, flat water and the sea.
And so in each of these environments, you can do either canoeing or kayaking.
What is the difference?
So in fact, the canoe is a boat where you are on your knees with a single paddle. Whereas in kayaking, you sit with a double paddle. So they are two different sports.
Some people prefer to do kayaking, which has a double paddle, and others prefer canoeing, which has a single paddle.
Why come and discover Palavas Kayak de Mer?
If you have discovered white water several times, which is great, you can come and have a look at another spot. Either by the sea or by the ponds.
If you are really in love with nature and calm, this is where you will find it in the pond part. You will get closer to a very special environment, which is on the Mediterranean area. We are lucky to have a huge concentration of lagoons here. Most of them are protected. So we are among the people who have the right to insert themselves into the environment; because we know the places that are accessible and that do not create problems in relation to the fauna and flora… protection.
And then sea kayaking offers sensations for those who are more sporty. It’s completely different from white water, but with just as many sensations and adrenaline for those who want to confront the environment. Sailing in a small boat, in a swell of 1m50 to 2m, you can come.
Palavas Kayak de Mer, an exceptional sailing area?
We are among the only ones who are allowed to sail in certain places. Because we are recognised as a trainer. Before each activity, the team and I, train all the public to respect the fauna and flora and not to disturb them. We have quite a few ponds where we are the only ones allowed to bring the public, while respecting the places where we are not allowed to go. There are ponds close to the club where individuals are not allowed to go. It’s totally forbidden because it’s a nature reserve managed by the Conservatoire du Littoral.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
How long does a walk last?
So, a walk that is pleasant for everyone in terms of time is not to going to look at the kilometers but at the time of activity. We do 1h30 minimum and 2h maximum. That’s what suits everyone after that it’s difficult. We mustn’t forget that we are not carried by a permanent current, we can even have a current against us, even if our boats are lighter than those on the river, which glide more easily.
Are we accompanied on the walk?
Yes, we are always accompanied. We don’t rent out our courses, There are only courses with a state-qualified instructor. They are either federal instructors or state certified, but they are only qualified people.
Do you go on sunset aperitif walks?
We are asked for them, we are quite flexible and we sometimes propose them. We do aperitifs in places that are a bit unusual, where we go on picnics. Of course, you have areas that are in the middle of the season and that are completely devoid of people. We can be in very quiet places and have an aperitif in a beautiful place with a sunset for example.