On Tuesday 30th October 2018 the Gig world lost one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable Gig rowing coaches of all time.
Kevin Hall, aged 58 years young, who was a committed member to Cape Cornwall Gig club for the last approximately 18 years, tragically lost his life whilst out cycling one beautiful sunny afternoon.
Kevin started rowing at Cape Cornwall Gig club many years ago, he was already very athletic and enjoyed playing football and weightlifting, so his friends encouraged him to have a try a Gig rowing.
It didn’t take long for Kevin to become a skilled rower. He soon discovered that Coxing was something he would be good at too. Kevin was very experienced with training programmes, good nutrition and he became passionate about sharing his knowledge with his fellow Gig rowers.
His coaching style was next to none, admired by many other cox’s and rowers. He loved to demonstrate and truly believed that rowers developed a part of the technique by visual and descriptive learning. He was a strong advocate for working hard and reaping the results. He demonstrated this regularly to other club members by pulling split times on the Ergo even in his 50’s that most could not match. A great role model and everyone would always say “I wish I was as fit as Kev”. Kevin would train hard on the water, in the gym, running on the coast path and a very keen road cyclist.
Members from his own club and many other clubs have always spoke highly of Kevin, he was well renowned for his kindness to help people, especially if someone needed something fixing. Even if you were from a different club he would always go out of his way to help. He was the go to if you wanted an oar fixing or part of a gig. He was the person you to speak to if you needed sound advice.
Kevin has always been a very valuable member of Cape Cornwall’s committee and has played a huge part in keeping the club running for many years. He would tow the gigs to regattas even when he couldn’t stay and row himself so others could have a good day on the water which, was important to him.
Kevin Pictured above and also in top photo Seat 3 for Cape Cornwall
Competing for many years at local regattas, World Championships and County championships. He loved to be on the water, a true Cornishman through and through and loved the craftsmanship of the beautiful Gig boats. He was a very skilful Cox who knew how to handle a gig well. He managed to get the best out of any crew he sat in front of because of his enthusiasm.
For approximately the last 12 years Kevin has put his heart and soul into Cape Cornwall junior section. His dedication to get the children out rowing was amazing. Many nights he would ring around children’s parents to arrange rowing and then he would train and Cox them. His gentle calming nature has brought on even the most nervous of children on the water, to a skilled rowing level with lots of confidence. His passion for rowing and the water would instantly rub off on the children. He was their role model, coach and a kind friendly person they would go to for training advice. Spending many evenings at Cape Cornwall School, coaching children on the rowing machines as part of a club. His technique coaching, even on the Ergo, was very knowledgeable and he knew how beneficial they were to row in a Gig. Most of us gig rowers dislike the rowing machine but know it’s an integral part of our training. Creating sessions that would take team building to a new level and all the children would enjoy fun competitions on the rowing machines, using the team racing screens on the projector and circuit training. Lots of hard work was done at Kevin’s indoor sessions but that came with a huge amount of laughter too. The children have also competed at indoor competitions with Kevin’s support to a high level.
Kevin has helped train and support young individuals who he recognised to be very good at the sport to progress further. From supporting people to get onto Olympic sliding seat rowing training programmes. Training a number of rowers hard in the early days of their rowing careers, who have then gone on with other clubs to win Gold and Bronze medals at the World and County Championships. He was extremely proud of that, watching on gig rower live at home shouting encouragement, even when he couldn’t make it to Scillies or Newquay to watch the racing live. He was proud to know that he helped those rowers at the beginning and instilled a hard work ethic. These medal placings weren’t within his Gig club, but he was happy that those people had achieved something special in the sport he loved and he knew that they all kept a fond love for their beginning at Cape Cornwall Gig club.
So, to all of us Gig rowers who knew Kevin or have just heard of him. In his memory, whether you’re rowing, coxing or spectating stay passionate about the sport and appreciate being on the water. Always remember to enjoy it and have fun, but train hard and smart if you want the results.
Article & Pictures Courtesy of Jade Smith