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PADDLER The International magazine for recreational paddlers Issue 44 Autumn/Fall 2018

The Crossover

REVOLUTION Corran Addison Cotahuasi Canyon

PERUVIAN WW Steve Brooks Completing the

INSIDE PASSAGE Lucy Graham and Mathilde Gordon The Paddle of

BRITAIN Dan Smith

The Farallon Islands

CALIFORNIA Priscilla Schlottman

ezine The challenges of

WW SUP

Dan Gavere

Moonlight on

MOIDART Angela Ward and Adam Evans Canoeing the length of

LOUGH DERG Anna Howard Crossing the

NORTH SEA DimitriVandepoele

Coaching

PRACTICE Dave Rossetter Mapping the

NORTH SEAL RIVER Richard Harpham 24-page

CANOE FOCUS

Become a paddlesport instructor The pull of the river Red Paddle Co 10th anniversary

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BRITISH CANOEING

+

Blaming the victims By Moulton Avery OC1 outfitting 2 By Phil Miller Greenland SUP Ingrid Ulrich SUP-X Tony Marsh


CONTENTS

Anna Howard and Watson the dog on Lough Derg, Republic of Ireland. Photo: Mícheál Howard Editor

Peter Tranter peter@thepaddlerezine.com Tel: (01480) 465081 Mob: 07411 005824 www.thepaddlerezine.com

Advertising sales

Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081 advertising@thepaddlerezine.com

Design

2b Graphic Design Limited

Cover

Great Falls of the Potomac River, United States Paddler George Boss Photograph: Chuck Thornton

Not all contributors are professional writers and photographers, so don’t be put off writing because you have no experience! The Paddler magazine is all about paddler to paddler dialogue: a paddler’s magazine written by paddlers. Next issue is Winter 2018 with a deadline of submissions on November 20th 2018. Technical Information: Contributions preferably as a Microsoft Word file with 1200-2000 words, emailed to submissions@thepaddler.ezine.com. Images should be hi-resolution and emailed with the Word file or if preferred, a Dropbox folder will be created for you. The Paddler ezine encourages contributions of any nature but reserves the right to edit to the space available. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishing parent company, 2b Graphic Design Limited. The publishing of an advertisement in the Paddler ezine does not necessarily mean that the parent company, 2b Graphic Design Limited, endorse the company, item or service advertised. All material in the Paddler magazine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without prior permission from the editor is forbidden.


Issue 44

004 Blaming the victims

Autumn/Fall 2018

008 Testing, testing By Moulton Avery

018 Paddle of Britain

Reviews, reviews and more reviews

024 The coach By Dan Smith

032 Crossover revolution

Putting it into practice by Dave Rossetter

040 The Farallon Isles, California By Corran Addison

048 OC1 outfitting

By Priscilla Schlottman, Matthew Krizan & Bert Vergara

054 Peruvian WW Part two by Phil Miller

064 Greenland SUP

The Cotahuasi Canyon by Steve Brooks

067 Canoe Focus

250km expedition by Ingrid Ulrich British Canoeing’s 24-page magazine

092 Inside Passage completed 102 Lough Derg, Ireland

By Lucy Graham and Mathilde Gordon

112 North Sea crossing

Open canoeing the length by Anna Howard

118 Moonlight on Moidart

Second time around by Dimitri Vandepoele

128 Canada

By Angela Ward and Adam Evans

138 Whitewater SUP

Mapping the North Seal River by Richard Harpham

143 SUP-X

The challenges by Dan Gavere

Subscribe to the print issue:

Spiced up SUP in the UK by Tony Marsh

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ThePADDLER 3


VICTIMS

ThePADDLER 4

B L A M I N G

T H E

By Moulton Avery Picture a mother struggling to bear an incomprehensible loss. Her husband and children are dead – victims of a kayaking accident that left her as the sole survivor. Who would be heartless enough to look her in the eye and tell her how stupid, how irresponsible, how reckless they were to go kayaking on that day, at that location, in those conditions.

Well prepared kayakers on the River Thames. Photo: Peter Tranter


Yet that's precisely what many paddlers do on the internet in the aftermath of a tragedy, thoughtlessly hurling Darwin Awards in language that's both insulting and gratuitously cruel. Is that the kind of culture we want to embrace in paddlesports – one that leaps to shaming and blaming fellow paddlers who are the victims of some unspeakable tragedy? Is that the kind of people we are? And if not, why do so many of us tolerate that sort of behaviour?

I’ve studied outdoor accidents for decades, and there's a big difference between impartially analyzing an incident in search of lessons to be learned as opposed to personally attacking the victims for getting into unexpected trouble. Using terms like ‘reckless’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘negligent’, or worse does not contribute anything to either the paddling community or to future safety.

A DOUBLE TRAGEDY

On October 7th, 2011, five experienced, safetyconscious paddlers went on a downwind surf-ski run on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota that ended in the tragic death of Todd Ellison.

The air temperature was 77F (25C) and the water temperature was 60F (15C). All the paddlers were dressed for immersion. Prior to launching, the group had discussed the possibility of splitting up and they did so midway through the downwind run, with three in one group and two in the other. John Ambrahms, one of the strongest paddlers, remained partnered with Ellison, while the others, who were moving faster, surfed ahead.

At that point a minor error occurred. Although the group as a whole had three VHF radios and four cell phones, the only communication device that Ellison and Ambrahms had was Ellison’s cell phone, which was in a storage compartment on his ski.

When Ellison capsized 2.5 miles (4 km) from shore in rough, shoal water, the Velcro portion of the ankle leash tethering him to his ski broke, and his boat blew away, taking their only means of communication with it.Towing Ellison proved useless and shortly thereafter, by mutual agreement, Ambrahms took off on a desperate 45-minute race to shore, in breaking beam seas, to get help. He was successful and the search commenced shortly thereafter.

It was too windy for a helicopter, so a fixed-wing aircraft was used to fly a search pattern augmented by multiple boats on the water.They searched in the general area of the capsize for five hours without finding Ellison.When the search resumed the following morning, he was found floating dead in the water about a mile from where he had capsized the previous afternoon.

Two years ago, I received a letter from Zach Handler, one of the paddlers in that group. It heightened my

awareness of the lingering damage that thoughtless comments can have, long after the incident is forgotten by most paddlers. He wrote: “In the months after Todd’s death, there was a lot of commentary online, much of it quite negative of course.This came from two groups: one was lay people who thought we were crazy to be out there in the first place and got what we deserved. The other highly critical group were sea kayakers who disagree with surf-skiers’ minimalist approach to equipment. Some of the sea kayakers were clearly enjoying the fact that our tragedy gave them the opportunity to have an, ‘I told you so’ moment.”

ThePADDLER 5


ThePADDLER 6 “John Ambrahms, the paddler that had to abandon Todd in the water, never recovered. He always felt responsible. He kept Todd’s boat in his garage and looked at it every day. He shot himself on the edge of Lake Superior at his favourite paddling spot. That was a couple years ago. The rest of us are still best of friends. We paddle often. Most years we paddle across Mille Lacs on the anniversary of Todd’s death, both as a tribute to his life and as a way to make sure we are dealing with our own demons from that day.”

Those two paragraphs should give anyone pause about making – or tolerating insensitive comments online. In the aftermath of tragedies such as this one, we need to remember our shared humanity as paddlers and be cautious, humble, and non-judgmental in our choice of words. Our aim should be to learn from the mistakes of others without adding to their misery.

WHAT’S YOUR SOURCE?

Every week of the year, a steady stream of incidents roll across my desk and the most heartbreaking ones have dozens of associated news reports. Part of my job involves investigating paddlesports incidents and over the years, it’s given me a very keen sense of the tremendous pressure that reporters are under to get a story out – even though all the facts are not yet readily available.

As a result, many stories – and particularly the early ones – may contain inaccuracies about the weather, the conditions, the time of day, the type of boat involved and even the location of the incident itself. Ironically, many of the most unpleasant internet comments that I run across are based on this type of misinformation – which is seized upon by armchair critics.

Likewise, what does it mean to say that someone, “Should have known better,” when it’s clear that they didn't know any better? Many hazards aren’t at all obvious and it’s worth remembering that we all began our sport at the bottom of the knowledge pyramid, knowing very little.

RISK ASSESSMENT AND DECISION MAKING

News reports frequently characterize novice paddlers as experienced. But ‘experience’ is contextual. One hundred uneventful outings on a familiar local lake confers familiarity and complacency, not depth of knowledge.

None of us are immune from making mistakes and errors in judgment and the safety hurdle faced by many paddlers is that they don’t have enough knowledge or experience to imagine the many things that can go wrong on even a modest outing. They aren’t helped in this regard by the many manufacturers, retailers and paddling publications that

AUTHOR BIO:

minimize hazards and sell the sport as a carefree activity that carries less risk than it does.

But paddling isn’t a risk-free activity, and the unsettling truth about decision making is that rational, clear, impartial, error-free, Mr. Spock-logical-type-thinking is the exception rather than the rule in life. We’re just not very good at it. In fact, we make mistakes and unwise decisions all the time.

We misplace car keys, TV remotes and cell phones, don’t remember to back up files and return calls, forget to buy things at the grocery store, underestimate how long something is going to take, overestimate our skills and physical abilities, commit errors while driving to the put-in and do all sorts of things that have the potential to come back, in one way or another, to bite us in the backside. We seldom take notice, because more often than not the stakes are so low that being wrong makes no appreciable difference to our daily lives.

We paddle to have fun, and often to experience a little excitement – or a lot – but none of us plans to wind up in a life or death situation. Tragedy always comes as a big, unpleasant surprise – to both victims and survivors.

SHOOTING VS PRAISING THE MESSENGER

In many sports, accident reviews are routine, and the whole community benefits when those involved have the courage to admit their mistakes so that lessons can be learned. Whether our mistakes are large or small, it’s never easy to own them, and if we tolerate a mean-spirited hosing down of those who step forward, we shouldn’t be surprised when the result is that eventually, nobody is willing to speak up.

Before his untimely death in 2012, Tsunami Rangers co-founder Eric Soares and I noticed this disturbing trend and came up with a plan. Whenever a paddler came forward, we would preface our comments by praising them for having the courage to do so, and thank them for sharing their story so that the rest of us could learn from their mistakes. We also resolved to condemn mean-spirited, unhelpful comments. It was a good idea and we could see it working as other paddlers picked up the torch and ran with it, but the internet is a bigger and more unruly place today and that commitment to civility needs a wider following. I hope you'll join me in helping to promote it.

Note: We examine the Todd Ellison tragedy in greater detail on the National Center for Cold Water Safety website at www.coldwatersafety.org under Golden Rule No. 5, Case One.

Moulton Avery is the founder and director of the National Center for Cold Water Safety. He's been sea kayaking in his Nordkapp HM since 1984, and has been a cold water safety advocate for over thirty years. His pioneering article Cold Shock was published in Sea Kayaker magazine in 1991, and he gave his first lecture on Accidental Hypothermia in 1974. His work has been featured in hundreds of newspaper articles, radio programs, and television shows, including The Washington Post, All Things Considered, and Oprah.


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ThePADDLER 8

Testing,

Typhoon Multisport MS5 Hinge Drysuit www.typhoon-int.co.uk By Richard Harpham

The new 2018 Typhoon Multisport Drysuit is another great drysuit from the Typhoon team who have a long pedigree in diving, expedition kit and paddling. Their drysuits are always a great mix of form and function with comfortable fabric and seals. You will see further down below this review that we have added some information about long term testing, where we have been using their original paddling drysuit (eight years) and the PS330 Extreme (two years) with no dip in performance.

The Multisport drysuit has been put through it paces on the Yukon River, Scotland and also various paddling courses with plenty of time spent in the water teaching rescues. Above all it is extremely comfortable, hard wearing and is brilliant for coaches and professional users as well as new entrants to the sport wanting a durable and high performing drysuit.The Multisport is a stripped down simpler version of their award winning PS330 drysuit with fewer pockets and features but the same comfort and durable design.The flex closure PU dry zip back entry system has been incorporated into the suit, whilst providing unrivalled freedom of movement.

As someone who would prefer to be paddling in shorts and t-shirts, it is critical to me that drysuits feel comfortable whilst not too bulky and the Multisport is exactly this. Have a look at their multiple sizing options to find the best fit for you and check out the Typhoon range of drysuits for this seasons winter paddling.


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ThePADDLER 10

Red Original Board Lock

https://redoriginal.com Peter Tranter

It’s unfortunate but we do sometimes have our kayaks, canoes and boards stolen. This little gem from Red Original is for making SUP boards safe by looping the cable through leash point on a SUP board.

However, as with most stuff that Red Original sell, why limit it to just SUP? This nifty lightweight lock can be used for any watercraft with tying points or carry handles. The cable is 340cm long and can therefore tie multiple boards or boats together.

The 3.2mm cable is lightweight but constructed from marine grade twisted stainless steel cable, which makes it resistant to corrosion and also provides increased cut resistance. It has an abrasions resistant coating to protect from fraying or scratching whatever it is locked to.

The locking mechanism is a carabiner with a three digit combination that can be set to a personal code in two easy steps. There are cheaper alternatives out there such as bike locks for a third of the price but the Red Board Lock is constructed from materials with watersports in mind – it’s up to you to decide.

For me though, whether it’s this or another alternative, they are a must have if you intend to be out all day on the water as there will inevitably be times you’ll need to leave your craft alone. Whilst we’re not suggesting this is a solution to keeping your craft safe for long periods of time, it will deter the opportunistic thief for the hour or so that you may well be taking onboard some refreshment on your paddle.

Bollé Slate Sunglasses www.bolle.com Chris Stubbs

I got my hands on these sunglasses a few weeks back and it’s been an ace time to test them out with bright days illuminated by a low blinding sun, so typical of autumn days.

Bollé have a pedigree in snow and action sports, across a variety of disciplines, I found the Slates a good and ready inclusion to any paddler’s kit bag.

They arrived well packaged and protected in a velcro-sealed soft case, hardened at the front. Out in the open and they’re lightweight, good looking and on point as far as styling goes with their reflective

Price approx: £30.00

blue lenses. They’re also very robust, with the ultra wraparound frame, and angled lenses, which backs up the claim of them being perfect for watersports with good protection from the side.

Furthermore the thermogrip rubber inserts on the nose pads combined with the keyhole nose design and temple tips keep the glasses snug and in position, even when wet.The polarised lenses keep the reflections to a minimum and are impact-resistant.

Great looking, with modern styling, the Slates are excellent sunglasses that a large number of paddlers will find favour with. Check out the other colour combos of Matte Black Blue (featured), Matte Storm Lagoon and Matt Black.

Prices approx: UK: £80.00; US $99.00


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ThePADDLER 12

Thermarest Z lite Camping Mat www.thermarest.com By Richard Harpham

The Thermarest Z lite mats are excellent camp mats providing bomb proof rugged design coupled with insulation and comfort. We have tested these for the last year in rural settings through to winter expeditions camping in temperatures as low as minus 70. They offer a rugged base, which doesn’t squeak or move like other camp mats and packs easily away with its concertina design.

There are two sizes, the regular and the small for those trying to save weight and space. Obviously you can buy much smaller mat systems but generally we have found them to be less comfortable and in the world of paddling we have space in a canoe or kayak to stash the Z lite once folded. For paddling trips with a mix of terrain from beaches to rocky areas the Z lite is almost indestructible. so no risk of punctures or blow outs from inflatable designs.

Features: • Materials: moulded closed cell foam with crosslinked polyethylene. • Reflective ThermaCapture surface with dimples to retain heat. • Folding design is compact and easy to pack (51 x 13 x 14cm) or (51 x 10 x 14cm)(small). • Virtually indestructible closed-cell foam provides lasting, economical comfort. • Dimensions: 183 x 51 x 2cm (regular), 130 x 51 x 2cm (small) • Weight: 410g

Review Features: Weight: Warmth/comfort: Value for money: Durability: Size:

5 5 5 5 5 4

Price: RRP £44.99. Find it online for £33.99

Certainly I felt like the mat has become my new best friend for camping and it has had a lot of use given we have spent almost two months camping out this year. This is a great addition to your paddling and camping kit and you will find they also make a handy seat version of the same retailing at about £14.99.

MSR Elixr 3 Tent www.msrgear.com By Richard Harpham

The MSR Elixr 3 is my favourite tent for paddling trips with the same sturdy and freestanding design as the Elixr 2 but with a little bit more space to stash kit (35% more in the porch areas). We have tested this beauty in Scotland, rural Bedfordshire and on a 12-day paddling expedition on the North Seal River, Northern Manitoba. It has been home in warm summer conditions through to snow as autumn turned to winter in Canada.

As a three-person tent it has room for three full size adults and their mats, although we chose it to be more roomy for two of us. It is light, easy to erect and has the feel of quality about it. It is perfect for hiking, paddling and other outdoor activities and has slightly more headroom than its smaller brother, the Elixr 2.The smart designers at MSR have colour coded poles and tabs to make erection quick and painless. It has glow in the dark zippers and built in gear lofts and end pockets for kit. It is listed as three season but it did well for us in temperatures dropping to minus 7.

I would thoroughly recommend the MSR Elixr range as a great paddlers tent. We stashed drysuits, boots and full expedition kit inside and lived happily for two weeks in challenging conditions. It is light (for the space), rugged and well made. Happy camping folks.

Features: • Two doors and two porches (unique in class). • Dual porch areas for stashing kit. • Internal base tent and separate flysheet. • Floor space 3.67 sq metres. Porch 2.22 sq metres • Interior Peak Height 104cm • Weight 2.66kg (min) 3.19kg (Packed) • Rainfly fabric 68D ripstop polyester 1500mm Polyurethane & DWR • Packed size 51cm x 20cm

Review Features: Weight: Warmth/comfort: Value for money: Durability:

5 4 5 5 5

Price: RRP £44.99. Find it online for £33.99


ThePADDLER 14

Aquapac Waterproof Deluxe SUP duffel https://aquapac.net Peter Tranter

There are many waterproof bags out there but few that are designed with stand up paddling in mind. Aquapac’s new SUP duffel bag was inspired by their paddler and adventurer Dave Cornthwaite. After his many SUP journeys, including a record-breaking 2,400 mile descent of the Mississippi River in 2011.

As you can imagine it is very adaptable for a variety of situations, has many useful features and though designed for SUP, would make a great waterproof bag for any journey on water on whatever craft.

Firstly it weighs in at a touch over one kilogram – that’s very light, especially for a bag that has a capacity of up to 80 litres. You use it the same way you would a backpack with the bag using two very comfortable adjustable shoulder straps to achieve this. On the side of the bag there are located six velcro strips that can be used to transport two paddles or one split pair.

If you’re familiar with Aquapac bags then you’ll notice the usual roll up with velcro strip to make the bag waterproof. Make sure you roll it tight and you’ll be fine, do bear in mind though that this only makes the bag stormproof under its IPX6 rating and not submersible watertight.

There are lashing points to attach to your craft and a transparent pocket that we used for our mobiles. The pocket is only accessible from inside the bag and therefore waterproof. There’s another pocket on the bottom of the bag that can be used to quickly access items like water bottles and it has drain holes to prevent water building up.

Lastly when you’re done with the bag, you can very neatly roll it up for the next time. To make it easier

the bag has a built in nozzle that allows air to escape during the rolling process – so you can get it nice and compact. Just make sure you tighten it up again after use otherwise water can seep in.

Perfect, what more do you need?

Price: UK: £99.99 US: $119.99


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ThePADDLER 16

Gul Saco dry top

www.gul.com Philip Carr www.unsponsored.co.uk

If you were to take a quick look at the new Gul Saco dry top you could mistake it to be from another well-known UK based manufacturer. This is definitely a good thing!

Gul aren’t strangers to the world of watersports but dedicated high-end kayaking gear has been missing from the range over the years. This is beginning to change.

The Saco is fully specced with all of the key features you would expect to see in a high quality dry top. Twin seals are used on the neck and wrist, with the inner being UK made latex and the outer being 2mm neoprene (adjustable).

The GCX2.5 EVO 2.5 layer fabric is Gul’s own. It feels tough, yet soft at the same time and reminds me a little of the Palm Equipment Rivertec gear from a number of years back.

This particular Saco is a lovely bright yellow, but it is also available in blue or black but to be honest I like the look of the black one better. However, on the river, thinking of safety, etc, the yellow would be the sensible choice.

The waist is a twin seal with a fully adjustable outer and a nice long inner tunnel. The amount of adjustment is pretty good so achieving a good seal with your spray skirt of choice should be straight forward. The inner tunnel also includes a rubber strip, which is sticky to the touch and will help to keep the inner tunnel in place.

Taping throughout looks for the most part pretty spot on.

On arrival, I usually test the fit of the latex neck seal and more than not have to give it a little trim. In the case of the Saco the latex seal didn't require any trimming to be comfy on my 16” neck. I haven’t experienced any noticeable leaks on any of the seals or the waist. I did get the odd drip down my neck but this is comparable to every other cag I have owned and says more about the shape of my neck rather than the design and fit of the top.

3M reflective piping details can be found on the arm seams and the Gul logos are also reflective.

A low-profile zip gives access to a large storage pocket. Although the zip is water resistant, it won’t keep the contents of the pocket dry. To prevent the pocket from filling up with water, drain holes are present where needed.

I wear a large in most kayak gear and this large Saco fitted me well. There was plenty of adjustment without bags of additional/unnecessary fabric yet at the same time it was not a struggle to get on/off because of skimping on fabric quantity.

After running the Saco for the last 10 months, it is holding up pretty well. The DWR treatment has just been recently redone and there are some signs of furring to fabric where it contacts with my PFD in the bag. The colour is also doing well and doesn’t seem to have faded very much if at all.

Price: RRP for the Gul Saco dry top is £180.


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ThePADDLER 17


BRITAIN

ThePADDLER 18

T H E P A D D L E

O F

By Dan Smith Army veteran completes ‘Paddle of Britain’ challenge to say thank you to the WWI generation. Dan Smith’s extreme challenge, involved paddling and trekking almost 1,000 miles to cover the length of Great Britain, to mark this month’s historic 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

British army veteran, Dan Smith, successfully completed his 910 mile kayaking challenge – The Paddle of Britain – on Saturday 20 October 2018 crossing the finish line at Littlehampton Harbour in West Sussex. The 39-year old joins the record books by becoming the first person to kayak the full length of Great Britain using inland waterways from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England...

Embarking on the solo challenge and starting on the north coast of Scotland, Dan finished on the south coast of England after 53 days, covering a total of over 910 miles, in what he has described as, “One of the biggest challenges” of his life. The average distance covered each day was 17.5 miles, with the highest mileage in a single day recorded on day 23 of the paddle, when he clocked up a mighty 33 miles travelling between Reading and Windsor. The longest day spent in the kayak involved 13 hours and 45 minutes of paddling.


ThePADDLER 19


ThePADDLER 20

Dan Smith created

the Paddle of Britain challenge to say ‘thank you’ to the WW1 generation ahead of the 100th anniversary of the end of the World War I, and he hopes to raise over £25,000 for the Royal British Legion, a charity, which provides financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces and their families. A former army sergeant in the Royal Artillery, Dan Smith served in the army for over a decade as a GMLRS Commander and Physical Training Instructor before leaving in 2013. His time in the army included tours in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

Of the challenge, Dan Smith said, “It was a huge test for me, physically and emotionally. I am so happy to have successfully completed the Paddle of Britain. What an amazing two months it has been. I’ve always liked a

In addition to paddling, and in order to travel between bodies of water, Dan trekked whilst dragging his kayak (nicknamed ‘Tommy’) and all his equipment using a special self-designed trolley system for over 200 miles. Specialist equipment required for the journey, including his tent, solar charges, technical clothing, a first aid kit, repair kits and food supplies were stored inside his kayak. Dan embraced the need for selfsufficiency, sleeping and camping wild along the route.

As well as family, friends and members of the local kayaking community, a strong turn out from the Royal British Legion was present in Littlehampton Harbour to cheer Dan over the finish line and congratulate him on his remarkable achievement.

After finishing the Challenge, Dan said, “Completing the Paddle today is one of my proudest achievements. I’d always wanted to take on a unique endurance challenge

and with this year marking the landmark 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, I felt passionately that I had found a worthy cause to champion.The Paddle of Britain was created to help remember World War I soldiers and to raise as much money as possible for The Royal British Legion, a charity which I value dearly.

“With no surviving veterans left from World War I, it feels more important than ever to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of future generations.

challenge but this is definitely one of the toughest things I have ever done. I’m looking forward to putting the kayak away for a little while now!”

The Paddle of Britain began in Durness in northern Scotland on the morning on 29 August. From the start line in the north west Scottish highlands, the route of the paddle was designed to follow inland waterways, which saw Dan kayak on lochs, lakes, reservoirs, rivers and canals across Scotland and England.

“I hope the Paddle of Britain encourages people to stop and think about that day 100 years ago, but also to spare a thought for the men and women all over the country who have served and are still serving in the armed forces. I also hope that I’ve inspired people to get out there and embark upon their own challenges. I’m very grateful to my friends, colleagues, fellow military veterans, sponsors and all the many incredible people that I have met along the way who cheered me on and supported me by donating to the Royal British Legion.

“In particular, I want to thank my family, especially my wife and two children who I can’t wait to get a massive hug from now the paddling has finished!”


“With no surviving veterans left from World War I, it feels more important than ever

to remember

those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of future generations.

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ThePADDLER 22 Simon O’Leary, Assistant Director of Fundraising at the Royal British Legion, said, “We are delighted that Dan has been able to complete this epic challenge to raise money for the legion. As a former soldier himself, he is aware that this kind of effort allows us to provide support to veterans, serving personnel and their families when they need it most.To have done this in 2018 is particularly significant, however, as we will all be taking time to remember and thank those who lived through the First World War. We are very grateful to Dan – congratulations on a brilliant effort.”

Nick Gibb, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, had this to say, “I think Dan is incredible and we were absolutely delighted to see his inspirational Paddle of Britain challenge finish in Littlehampton. His Paddle from the north of Scotland to the south of England has been a gruelling test of his endurance.The support here on the finish line in West Sussex demonstrated what a truly heroic achievement it is. Huge congratulations to Dan.”

Following the completion of the Paddle of Britain, Dan returned to his native Northumberland with his family for a rest, a bath, a good night’s sleep and (at his wife’s insistence), to shave off his impressive beard, before he returned to the day job of running their highly successful Northern Bootcamp business in Bamburgh. For information on The Paddle of Britain and to support Dan Smith’s fundraising efforts for the Royal British Legion, visit www.paddleofbritain.com


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COACH

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t h e

WITH DAVE ROSSETTER HEAD OF PADDLESPORTS AT GLENMORE LODGE

Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre

Where the focus, is always on the paddler

Last edition was ‘It’s all about Play!’ and how we use our time on the water to help us improve.That article was focused on our choices of how we ‘play’ to ensure that we keep progressing the correct way.

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE! This article is giving examples of how and putting the theory into practice.

INTRODUCTION

How many times have you heard someone say, “Practice makes perfect!” or “I just need to practice and I will get it!”

While these statements may have some truth to them it is about what we practice that is critical. In the last article I covered the following three concepts: l Practice to explore l Practice to embed l Practice to excel That article delved into how as paddlers or coaches we can structure what type of practice is happening. In this article I am looking at practical examples of these in an aim to bring these to life.

EXPLORATION

Exploring our waterways is what paddling is all about (for me anyway!) and is something that we should never shy away from when practicing. The ability to be happy in whatever the result but crucially being able to understand the learning that the exploration gave us is what will keep us improving.


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HOW TO EXPLORE?

Gaining a deeper knowledge of equipment and the environment that we play in is what exploration is all about. Why do you always paddle that rapid that way? Why can’t you paddle a different way? What happens if I do try something a different way? These are all questions that we should be happy to explore. After all as the quote from ‘The Wind in the Willows’ goes:

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Kenneth Grahame HERE’S AN EXAMPLE FROM OPEN CANOEING

Paddling a canoe in the wind can be hard work and be difficult for some to understand what is happening. So the task is to explore how the wind interacts with you and the canoe. While exploring start off with very open mind and allow all answers and outcomes to manifest themselves. No predictions here – yet!

Task one If 12 o’clock is directly into wind, the aim is turn the bow of the canoe right around the wind i.e. from 12 through to three, to six, to nine and back to 12. If possible try and turn the canoe both directions.The task is to complete that without using your paddle in the water or as a helicopter blade. What happened? What does that help with?

Chat through your results with someone else and make sense of them. By exploring how the wind moves the canoe and what end gets impacted the most helps us paddle in wind. The job of the task is to explore this and allow the wind to do its thing and not try and fight it.

Once you have chatted these through with someone else – other paddler or coach – go again. Can you predict what is going to happen? Hopefully yes!

Task two Next is to try and now see if you can use that knowledge and use your paddle to get the canoe to move through the wind. Sit in the middle of the canoe and take turns at placing your paddle blade in the water in front of you beside you and behind you. Note – make sure that you use the paddle blade on the downwind side of the canoe and give the wind a chance to work. What was the outcome when you held the paddle at those three points?

Again chat these through with another paddler or coach. Now go again. Can you predict what is happening?

What do these two tasks have in common?

Spoiler alert! They are both using trim and allowing the wind to turn the canoe. In task one – you would have needed to move inside the canoe to have an effect. Moving forward you would have turned into wind – moving back you would have turned downwind. In task two by moving the paddle forward your canoe would have turned more into the wind and moving the paddle back it would have turned downwind.

The exploration of wind allows us not to fight the environment but understand how we and the paddle placement can have an effect on how the canoe will interact with the wind.

OWNING AND GROOVING

Being able to own and groove the skill/outcome are crucial in paddling. We need to be sure of our skill and be sure we can predict what the outcomes will be. Just because I can do something once doesn’t mean to say that I will be able to call upon that skill all the time. I need to own it, trust it, be sure of it and groove the skill in.

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE FROM WHITE WATER KAYAKING

Having coached white water kayaking for a long time I am still surprised at the reaction when I say let’s do that again. Repeating rapids and having multiple efforts of the same rapid is a great way to own and groove the skill.

We see this watching slalom paddlers repeating the same gate multiple times over the time on their training. This could be a full run, a gate sequence or even just an individual gate. Yet as recreational paddlers we are sometimes less keen to do so. We look at the rapid, scout our line and plan whet we are going to do, give it a go then off to the next rapid.

Task one Next time you are out run a rapid a few times and work on being able to plan what you are going to do and predict the outcome. Get success go again and perhaps even a third time.To help with this next time you are out choose a shorter section of river or perhaps even just one rapid.

After your plan tell someone what you are going to do and what the outcome will be. Have them watch you and afterwards feedback to them how it went. Go again. This is all about knowing that you can do something and looking to own it!

In the previous article I gave some indication of what this success meant – as a reminder:

Easy task on easy water means I am looking for success the majority of the time > 80%.

Hard task on easy water means I am looking for success 50-80% of the time.

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ThePADDLER 28 Task two In the same rapid as task one, look to achieve the same outcome by starting at different place. What are you needing to adapt to allow this to happen? Tell your paddling companion/coach and give it a go. Afterwards – what did you need to change? Was it correct? If not why not? Don’t forget to go again!

This second task is about being able to convert your existing knowledge of the rapid/task into solving a new problem. This aids you in the knowledge you have is tested, it’s yours, it’s grooved and is useful in solving new problems.

SUMMARY

This article is about bringing to life the last article. We need to ensure that we explore and enjoy being on the water. This exploration is what keeps our local waterways fresh and interesting but also help us understand ‘why’.

Too many times as paddlers we gain some knowledge or a new skill but are still not trusting of it or can rely on it. If we want to improve we need to own and trust our skills/knowledge. Test it, practice it and therefore it becomes permanent – it is ours!

Paddlers: What do you still need to explore? Do you have a purpose to your training? Ask a coach to set you some challenges to explore in your discipline. Have fun with you paddling and don’t stop exploring. Find ways to make your skills yours – test them by having more shots at your favourite move but vary the start point and see if you can predict the outcome.

Coaches: Don’t step in too soon on the exploration stage with answers. This stage is crucial for paddlers to understand ‘how’ and ‘why’ something is happening. Be their coach – ask them questions to help them use the answers in new and exciting ways so that ultimately its theirs!

Happy paddling/coaching!


01479 861 256 www.glenmorelodge.org.uk

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CROSSOVER ThePADDLER 32

T H E

R E V O L U T I O N

By Corran Addison When Chairman Mao was asked what he thought about the French Revolution, he remarked, “It’s too early to tell.” This echoes my thoughts exactly on the ‘new’ crossover creaking kayak revolution. Is it here to stay?

Jim Snyder in his Trice, an early rendition of a large bow low-volume tail design, 1982. Photo Paul Marshall


THE BEGINNINGS:

The reality in fact is that this is not new and depending of your definition of a creek boat and a crossover creeker you could realistically go back and start calling the Dancer a crossover. However, for the sake of drawing an arbitrary line in the sand, for me the crossover movement started (for the most part) with the crowd in Friendsville WV. These guys were paddling composite kayaks, mostly based on mutilated slalom designs, that had slicy tails and puffed up bows, and they were charging down class4+ creeks in them.

Admittedly, coming from Europe in the mid-1980s, when I encountered these paddlers and their boats, I didn’t think much of it: it seemed perfectly obvious to me that you wanted a short, round, fat, boat if you were going to push yourself and I was particularly attached to the Pyranha Mountain Bat at the time. So when I spent a few weeks in and amongst these guys, squirting their tails off drops like Big Splat on the Big Sandy and National Falls on the Youghiogheny, all I saw was the most likely parallel outcome on something more challenging – but unintentionally.

Off I went and continued work designing the Perception Corsica: big and fat.

It wasn’t until I got into the Hurricane in 1993 (though you could argue that I had my first modern taste in the Crossfire in 1991) that I began to see potential for padding a creek with a ‘controllable stern’. I use this term, not because you can’t control a large fat creeker (of course you can, and when you’re really scared out of your wits, that’s the way to go), but because amazingly you have an incredible amount of very precise boat control when you can intentionally tap into currents right below the surface. By the end of 1993, I was running anything in the Hurricane that I’d venture to run in a full on ‘creek boat’.

Now admittedly, in the early 1990s the creek designs were junk. Let’s be honest; compared to today’s boats, they were really horrible and I was also at the very top of my game technically. However, interestingly enough, the crossovers of today are very much like the crossovers from the late 1980s and early 1990s. This either says a great deal about just how good those boats were, or that we are in this new ‘revolution’, at the very beginning of the design process and the best designs from that era are only our starting point today.

It’s too early to tell.

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Some important base line things

had to happen for these new crossovers to even be an option in todays super charged “you’ve never seen creeking like this” before environment. Kids are doing laps on drops we ran once in a lifetime, if at all. This means that the sheer confidence and skill level of paddlers is at such an impossibly high limit that the range of paddlers who possess the necessary skills to paddle crossovers is relatively wide. Secondly, is the widespread adoption of progressive rocker. While I had creek boats as early as 1995 that had progressive rocker, this was not mainstream until sometime well after 2010. Before then, boats had a long flat rocker mid sections, and then abrupt upswept ends.This is not a conducive shape to making slicy tails effective and easy to use.

Ironically, because the Friendsville paddlers were so close to Washington DC, America’s focal point for slalom in the 1980s, they were using and chopping up slalom boats that already had this progressive rocker shape. Why it took so long to become universally adopted in creek boats will remain a mystery to me, but there you have it. As soon as I moved from slalom to creeking (and freestyle) after the 1992 Olympics, I immediately began designing using slalom style rockers (albeit exaggerated).

These rockers make it easy for the nose to ride up and over river features, with less ‘stopping’ at the base. The key to this is that a sudden unwanted stop has the potential to let incoming water engage the tail unpredictably, and no one likes unpredictable on a creek. If the boat is running cleanly through and over everything, then the tail isn’t catching (most of the time). That means you can engage the tail when you want it to, not when it wants to.

Sometimes…

Ironically if you go back and look at the Crossfire and Hurricane, they had progressive rockers.

So now we know how and why these shapes work, the question is just how practical are they? Should you be in one? Last I checked money doesn’t grow on trees, so should you spend your heard earned dinero’s on one of these machines?

That’s a loaded question. My initial response is, “Oh, hell yes!”

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Let’s forget for

an instant the 5% of paddlers who are just so bad-ass they can paddle any river in any boat. Let’s also forget the other 5% of paddlers who only ever paddle super scary and dangerous rivers – they don’t leave home unless they’re going to go risk life and limb.

That leaves 90% of paddlers who are between average to advanced skill ability, who for the most part, run somewhat challenging rivers (for themselves) but are not constantly pushing the possible (for their skill set). If you’re one of these paddlers, then there is literally no negative to spending a large amount of your paddling time in a crossover.

If nothing else, it will teach you how to paddle your boat proactively, and also to get used to being more vertical than you’d otherwise like. In a creek boat, once you start to explore the vertical zone (at the base of drops) it’s usually a precursor to a beating, and if you’re not accustomed to this feeling, you’re less equipped to handle it. Getting used to controlling a boat that is not always being co-operative in water you’re more than comfortable in, translates to fewer really scary beat downs when you are challenging yourself.

But this is not really why you should be in a crossover. You should be in one because, simply put, they’re a lot of damn fun! If you’re not on the very edge of your control zone, you’re potentially bordering on the boredom zone. Crossovers take that ho-hum run-of-the-mill river you’ve run 1000x and they make them fun!

Crossovers are essentially safe as they have highvolume, rounded bows, all the outfitting features and mod cons of the modern creeker and design features that tend to ride up and over things. So they have less likelihood of submerging and pinning like a river playboat, but the squishy tail means you can squirt, splat and surf your butt off all the way down the river and still be safe and in control when it matters.

Now here comes the rub. If you can only afford one boat, should you be looking at a crossover rather than a full-on creeker? Another loaded question I’m afraid. It really depends on what you paddle and your skill set.

I’m going to use myself as an example. Once, many eons ago, I was a pretty good paddler and I loved pushing myself to the very limit. Those days are gone on two fronts: I’m not the paddler I once was, and I have almost no interest in spending my weekend cheating death. Truth be told, I have more fun on class 2-3 with my four-year old son paddling than I do on class 5. So I generally don’t venture out much onto really hard class 5 anymore. When I do, I have a boat that’s so good it allows me to keep up with the most insane kids and at least feel like I’m not going to die trying to paddle with them. However, this is something that happens only three times a year or so.

More often than not, when paddling ‘harder’ rivers, I’m on some class 4, to easy 5 ‘creek’, and nowhere near my limit. Here, I simply have more fun in a crossover than in my full on creek boat, which is basically so massively overkill on these rivers as to make them somewhat uninteresting.

Corran on the Ocoee in 1993. Photo: Horst Fusatttle


class 2-3

Truth be told, I have more fun on

with my four-year old son paddling than I do on class 5 ThePADDLER 37


ThePADDLER 38 These sorts of easier creeks I run several times a month, as opposed to something really hard and challenging just a handful of times a year. So if I had to choose between a creeker and a crossover as my only ‘creeking boat’, I’d go for the crossover and just not go hard creeking those few times a year where a real creek boat is needed. To me, this is a far better compromise than being bored four times a month just so I can be safe four times a year, because my creek boat is overkill.

That’s me. Obviously owning a kayak company means that in reality I have one of everything, but the decision making process would be the same if I didn’t. I look at which boats I paddle and which ones I don’t. My Chaos Monkey tends to sit in the garage, and my Funky Monkey gets paddled all the time. That’s all I need to know if I had to make that decision.

Thankfully most paddlers have more than one boat, and as a result it’s not an ‘either or’ decision you have to make, so much as, “Would I have fun in a crossover?”To that my friend, the answer is a definitive yes!

Are crossovers here to stay, given that they’ve been around since the mid 1980s? I don’t know. It’s too early to tell.


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DEVIL’S

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B E T W E E N

T H E

T E E T H

Matt and Priscilla at Point Reyes


By Priscilla Schlottman, Matthew Krizan, and Bert Vergara The Farallon Islands are 26 miles west of San Francisco. Often shrouded in fog, the islands are isolated and boast a fearsome reputation as ‘The Devil’s Teeth’.This is the story of our resolution to push through the barriers and dance – briefly – among these legendary rocks.

Bert: “I can see Matt in the headlights as we pull into the parking lot. He is fully geared up and standing next to his car. He’s been here for a couple of hours. On the way up he stopped by the home of a friend to borrow an inReach and a PLB for our trip. Despite only getting two hours sleep and very little training in the past couple of months, I somehow feel ready.” Matt: “I would have preferred a full moon and no clouds or fog this morning. I’d have preferred the wind forecasts to have been stable; instead they’ve been varying for days. I’d have preferred to get more sleep; I had two-and-a-half hours out of the last 39! Not ideal circumstances as I’m about to depart for a trip I’ve been thinking about for years and actively planning for ten months.Yet, I am excited. I am confident in the three of us.” Priscilla: “I’m standing on the sand at Drake’s Beach, looking through the darkness toward our invisible destination. I should be bursting with excitement.Three years of pondering.Two years of training.Yet, I’m wondering how I’m going to launch into breaking surf in the dark. I can’t see the waves. Only the white water is visible as they explode onto shore. I don’t believe this is actually going to happen.We had two other attempts planned this year; both were called off because wind strength was over our 10-knot safety threshold. Wind is over our 10-knot safety threshold tonight as well. I’m certain we will get to the buoy, our first waypoint, and decide to turn around, paddle back and have breakfast somewhere.”

I turn to Bert and say, “You go first, I want to see what happens to you.” I watch my partner push his glow stick illuminated sea kayak into the black water. A wave crashes over his bow.The front end of his boat gets tossed up. I know he has a face full of sea water, probably sand too. He doesn’t capsize, but he’s going backward instead of forward.This happens twice before he finally gets through the break. As I watch, my eyes adjust, and now I can see the swells. I try to time it, wait for a smaller swell to launch, but my boat is weighed down with water and supplies and it takes me longer to scoot down the sand than I anticipate. I take an exploding, sand-filled swell to the face.The salt and sand combine with the thick layer of sunscreen on my face and turn immediately into a goopy paste.

MATT: As I draw the cool, salty air down into my chest, the few remaining butterflies in my belly settle. Knowing I can’t see much more than the horizon, I keep my eyes closed and focus on what I’m hearing.The barest moan of wind, the sudden patter of small shell bits shifting underneath the building crest of the oncoming wave, the tinny explosion as the crest collapses across the beach, the roar of the foam dying to a hiss as it reaches underneath my legs and seat, tempting my kayak into the water. Once afloat, I stab my paddle into the water and am immediately startled by a blue-white explosion of fire trailing my paddle: Bioluminescence! The reward for choosing our early departure time is glowing in the wakes and vortices we leave behind, a lingering measure of our progress as we make our way south towards the opening of the bay and the wide dark line of open water beyond. Even with all of our preparation, it’s immediately clear that maintaining my equilibrium on this night will be more difficult than anticipated.We trained for this trip by completing about a dozen Monterey Bay crossings, two of them at night. However, on those preparatory journeys, we launched at sunset and paddled into darkness, gradually adjusting to the change in light.Tonight we launch into shades of black.The only visual we have is the light atop the Chimney Rock buoy, 2.7 miles distant.

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Priscilla preparing for take off

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PRISCILLA: “From the Chimney Rock buoy it’s another 4+ miles to the second waypoint, the start of the shipping channel. We decide to go for it. Still inky beautiful out, it is 04:30. Bert is wishing the sun would come up. I’m oddly comfortable on this dark sea. We hear a whale breathe. Close, just off Matt’s left side. I’m comforted. We see the dark arch of a dorsal fin against the glassy water. We tap our boats to let the whales know where to NOT surface. We can smell their breath.They’re surrounding us. All of a sudden the whales start to trumpet. A crazy roaring. Are they warning us? Are they announcing this momentous departure? I know that their trumpeting likely has nothing to do with us. My imagination is running wild. I’m starting to believe we might actually do this.”

MATT: “In the dark, the wind-waves on top of the swell are throwing off my balance so I look at the horizon to cage myself. Now my back hurts, so I adjust, glance at the compass and I’m 30 degrees off course! How long have I been heading there? I verify with the GPS and work that compass needle back to our course. Be efficient – stretch that paddle out to your toes! Now look at the horizon to regain balance. Now my leg hurts, so I adjust. Now I’m 30 degrees off course again! Somehow, I still manage to get us to within 100 yards of the shipping boundary waypoint.The GPS pings but does not cycle. We raft up and I manage to negotiate our next waypoint out of the GPS.”

BERT: “As the waves grow higher, the period increases and winds pick up, so does my alertness. We continue and my eyes become strained, my vision distorted, impacting my balance. I can focus when I look left and right, but my eyes quickly blur when I look forward for any length of time. I believe this is due to the lack of any significant light, the fog, not being able to maintain focus while looking forward, and not being able to see what’s near because I’m not wearing my reading glasses. Eventually, I put them on so I can at least see up close.This seems to help minimize some of my eyestrain. I’ve done a few long paddles across San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay at night, but I’ve never had this level of disorientation. I know that with more light, my vision will improve. I want the sun to peek through on the horizon!”

PRISCILLA: “Ambient light grows with painfully slow progress as we cross the shipping channel. Bert is relieved by the light. I’m disoriented by it. My head starts to ache and spin. Matt needs help stabilizing his boat. He’s gone to war with the GPS. We generally raft up during breaks to eat, adjust and attend to bodily needs. My body needs to vomit. Bert is on the outside of the raft, assessing the situation. Matt is in the middle swearing at the GPS. I’m on the other side, vomiting between my boat and Matt’s. I feel instantly

better. Matt wins his battle with the GPS. I win mine with my stomach. Bert’s announces we may go forth!”

MATT: “Our next destination is 4.7 miles distant, the southern boundary of the shipping channel. Normally, we take breaks after paddling for an hour. However, we don’t want to be drifting on the cargo-vessel highway any longer than necessary. We decide to push through and take our break when we know we’re clear of the lanes. We’re going to be paddling longer than normal; the good news is that dawn is upon us, and Priscilla is confident that she can now see her compass well enough to steer. She leads Bert and me towards the gray horizon.”

BERT: “We have been paddling just under three hours. In the early morning hours, as the sun rises, my vision improves. It’s still hazy, but I’m able to see several miles into the distance. On breaks we continue to take bites of food and hydrate. Matt has to manipulate the GPS at every stop. We continue to paddle for several more hours, constantly looking out on the horizon, hoping the islands will appear. At this point in the paddle, the smaller swells and wind-driven waves have decreased and we’re experiencing large, deep water swells, which seem to consume Matt and Priscilla as they roll through.” PRISCILLA: “There’s a different pattern in the fog. A lump. What is that? I wonder. It looks like an island. OH MY GOD! I think and then shout, ‘I see the Northern Islands!’ Craggy rock slowly becomes more visible in the west.”

MATT: “Soon the biggest and main set of islands begin to swim out of the fog to our left.The Southeast Farallon islands appear as steep peaks girded by soaring arches and toppled columns at the waterline.” PRISCILLA: “Still no sign of our target though – the middle island.Then Matt sees it. It looks like a little rock dead ahead.Technically, it is a little rock.The middle island is not much of an island. When designing this paddle, we chose to circumnavigate that island because even if it was foggy, we should still be able to get a good look at the northern and southern islands on our way around the middle island.The middle island circumnavigation also has the benefit of the shortest mileage. We arrive just to the west of it around 9:30 am – not bad. It’s taken us six hours to cover about 22 miles.The setting is hostile and cold. Landing is forbidden so we’re sure to stay well outside of the legal limit when approaching the protected islands. Landing is also likely impossible in our fragile boats.There are no beaches here. Just jagged rock.The water is rough, huge swells move between the islands, fog surrounds everything.There is something ominous about these rocks.”


OH MY GOD!

There’s a different pattern in the fog. A lump. What is that? I wonder. It looks like an island.

Matt, Bert and Priscilla


ThePADDLER 44 BERT: “The Northern Islands appear majestic and seem to reach into the sky.The Southern Islands are large, magnificent, they take my breath away.The middle island, well let’s just say it’s small. We stop just west of it, pose and take photos. Big smiles and personal satisfaction radiate from all of us. As we come around the middle island, the currents and conditions change into powerful steep swells. I’m happy to direct my thoughts to our return. I’m starting to feel the effects of only having slept for two hours.”

MATT: “The prediction for our paddle out to the islands was for winds in the teens coming from over our right shoulder on the way down, then the winds would die down to less than 10 knots around the time we hit the islands, and might even switch around and give us a light push upon our return. Instead, our experience is nearly the opposite. Light northwesterly winds on the way down, increasing

Matt during planning

to a solid wind in the teens, and not changing direction, as we round the middle island and turn back for our return. We now have 22 miles to paddle back in headwinds.”

BERT: “We begin to spread out as we paddle back. Priscilla seems energetic and is beginning to paddle stronger and get further ahead. I feel tired because of the wind and changing conditions. Matt’s energy is visibly beginning to decline. At the next stop, I notice that that the clip on my forward hatch is broken. We take about 20 minutes to open the hatch, check for water and find materials to engineer a fix for the hatch.” MATT: “I began the paddle sleep deprived. I knew that I would get fatigued. I’m trying to be efficient while returning against the headwind by reaching out and spearing the water as far forward as I can and taking shorter strokes at a quicker cadence.The fatigue is getting to me. My back feels like it is made out of wood, my torso rotation has slowed. This is putting a big damper on our pace. I’m falling way behind Bert and Priscilla.”

Bert during planning


BERT: “After we set off, my body is aching. My shoulder and elbow hurt. I have developed large blisters on the palms of my hands and fingertips. I again grow concerned with the distance between the three of us. Priscilla is paddling far enough ahead that I can only see her head popping up between swells. Matt is slowly becoming a small dot behind me. I decide to maintain my pace between them. Priscilla stops paddling and is blown back towards me, she says that we can’t continue like this. I agree.”

PRISCILLA: “We have about four miles visibility. After the first few legs of the way home we can see no land anywhere.The wind is unnerving. I feel best when I’m moving. Sitting still in the surge waiting for the others makes my stomach revolt. Bert is gaining ground faster than Matt. I’m

concerned about Matt; he’s agitated and dropping things during stops. With about 12 miles remaining, I offer to tow Matt. My rationale is that it will keep us together, possibly add some speed to his pace, and reduce my speed without reducing my rhythm.”

BERT: “Matt agrees to receive a supported tow from Priscilla. As they continue north, I stay to Matt’s port side. I’m impressed with Matt. I notice a dramatic speed increase with only a few tugs on the towline between Priscilla and Matt. I realize the pain I was experiencing before is gone.” MATT: “The tow works! It is exactly what I’ve done in times past, except that I’ve always been the tow-er! Our overall pace improves and Bert and Priscilla do not have to spend their energy turning around to keep track of me. Priscilla tows me for a good ten miles.”

https://goo.gl/maps/3FKgKyatQ9R2

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ThePADDLER 46 PRISCILLA: “As we move north of shipping channel, the Point Reyes peninsula gradually emerges from the fog. Off to my left a humpback whale comes completely out of the water in a torpedo-like breach. All of a sudden we’re again surrounded by humpback whales. It’s as if they saw us off and are now greeting us.There’s a baby trying to fluke, several adults and a juvenile.They come up so close to us that I close the gap between Matt and I, fearful that a whale will emerge beneath the tow rope. We stop for photos and watch the whales for about 30 minutes.The water is glass again, the wind has vanished. We’ve been paddling for about 14 hours and still have around 5 miles to go.”

BERT: “About a mile from Drakes Beach, Priscilla unhooks the tow rope and we all paddle at our own pace. Priscilla is the first to land.”

PRISCILLA: “The beach is filled with people for the Labor Day holiday. I stop to splash some of the sand, sweat and grime from my face. I’m clearly going to have an audience. I land gracefully, pull my skirt and try to stand up. My legs are not working. I’m in an odd position, knees not straightening and pointing out to both sides. My hands are like raw hamburger. I take a moment to collect my strength and try to pull my boat up the beach. My boat does not budge. I have zero strength and no ability to grip. My cockpit is filled with water from my leaking skirt. A man runs down the beach and drags my boat up. He keeps asking if I’m ok. I want to tell him that I have just circumnavigated one of the Farallon Islands. I keep quiet. I don’t think he’ll believe me.”

The Middle Island

The Southern Islands


EXPLORER

SUIT

LEG ENTRY

PATENTED

DESIGN Paddler: Doug Cooper. Glenmore Lodge. Image: Pete Astles

611 e: info@peakuk.com ww: www.peakuk.com t: +44 1629 732611


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OC1CANOE O U T F I T T I N G A N D T R I M M I N G A W H I T E W A T E R

2


Part two by Phil Miller owner of Black Snow Canoe Outfitters http://blacksnowcanoeoutfitters.co.uk

Part one can be read here: https://paddlerezine.com/outfittingand-trimming-a-whitewater-oc1canoe/ Following the first article by Black Snow Canoe Outfitters, on outfitting a Silverbirch canoe, this article focuses on the sidewalls, lacing and airbags.

Some readers will know that a Silverbirch canoe will arrive with a sidewall kit and will be pre-drilled and laced. Airbags need to be purchased separately.

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SIDEWALLS

The purpose of sidewalls is to help reduce the volume of water which can enter the boat. Some say that having sidewalls helps when rolling as they aide the escape of water during the motion of the roll. A boat, equipped with quality airbags and sidewalls, once rolled will come up with very little water, making the boat more manageable.

The Silverbirch sidewall kit is shaped to fit the profile of the boat you have bought.They tend to be a generous depth, and they will need a certain amount of final shaping to achieve a perfect fit. It is a very personal choice as to how well connected into the boat you wish to be but you should work out how much room you need in your boat, between the sidewall and the saddle spine, so that your exit is not impaired.

I do this by making a template of foam or cardboard to the shape and fit that I need. I use the template to mark the sidewalls with a marker pen (see photos), to give me cut lines to work to.You may need to make a template for each side of the boat. To achieve best results, take your time to shape the sidewall once it’s marked up so that it fits really well when glued into the boat. Larger paddlers might need to reduce the overall depth of the sidewall. Some people carve a shape for the outer edge of their thighs on the front of the sidewall, which in effect extends the thigh hooks to give better connection on the thighs.

As with shaping your saddle, work to the waste side of the cut lines and refine the shape using a Surfoam tool. Once you’ve achieved the fit required, offer the sidewall to the side of the boat and mark the outline of the sidewall with a marker pen.You can mask off outside the marks if you’re worried about overspray but most glues spray accurately. Apply two thins coats of glue, to each surface (sidewall and boat) allowing each to gas off/touch dry before bonding the sidewalls into position. Always follow manufacturers instructions relating to glue; most glues are hazardous and flammable and need well ventilated space.


LACING

The boat will be supplied with pre-drilled holes spaced at approximately 75mm intervals and with a generous amount of lacing in place. Both Silverbirch and Black Snow Canoe Outfitters use Kingfisher 3mm high quality yachting cord.The lacing creates a cage at bow and stern – the airbags will be trapped by the bulkhead and rear of the saddle, which holds the airbags in place. Lacing needs to be pulled tight in order for it to be effective.

AIRBAGS

Airbags are a key component, not just to add floatation to the boat but also to displace water. Fully inflated, airbags ensure that water cannot migrate underneath them, helping to achieve a light and manageable boat.

We have a very healthy situation regarding airbag manufacturers in the UK at the moment. Gone are the days of buying a generic off the shelf airbag that never quite fitted your boat. Now we have two companies (Tribal Airbags and BPM Whitewater – links below) making high quality, affordable, durable, custom-fit airbags, made specifically to fit all the latest boat designs, leaving no voids and areas for water to collect.

The guys are very approachable, and passionate about what they do; contact them using the links below if you have questions about airbags.These new generation airbags are fitted with high volume raft valves, so that they’re easy to inflate quickly, using a cheap 12volt pump or double action stirrup pump. Both come with top-up valves so that you can orally top up if needed while on the water (see photos right).

When fitting an airbag to your boat, feed it between the lacing, partially inflate it until it starts to take shape and then offer it right up into the bow or stern of the boat before inflating it fully.You’ll find that once you get on the water, they may need a top-up or on a hot day, to have some air released. On hot sunny days, it’s advisable to partially deflate the bags when not on the water, as they will expand with the heat.

I like to remove and dry both airbags after each use for a couple of reasons; I thoroughly dry my kit between uses to prolong its life, prevent mould, and to stay in code with the non-native invasive species control between rivers (the check/clean/dry awareness campaign).

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ThePADDLER 52 BESPOKE OUTFITTING

This article has focused on a Silverbirch Rebel 11.3 and the outfitting that it is supplied with. Black Snow Canoe Outfitters also create bespoke outfitting for bare hulls; the following photos show examples of a couple of fully outfitted boats to show some of the options available.

DISCLAIMERS

Gluing sidewalls into a PE boat, as with gluing saddles, carries a risk that things will come unstuck over time. There are great glues on the market specific for these materials, but make it a habit to check your outfitting each time you plan to go out on the water; check that nothing has moved, tighten the thwarts, checking the lacing and airbags.

Always ensure that you have successfully practised a dry and wet exit from a boat with new outfitting before using it on moving water. A fully outfitted boat should be a comfortable fit with good connection but in no way impair exit from the boat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phil Miller owns Black Snow Canoe Outfitters based in Staffordshire. Over the last few years they have perfected the creation of bespoke saddles to fit individual paddlers. Today they specialise in offering bespoke canoe outfitting and custom boat builds and are an official dealer and demo centre for Silverbirch Canoes.

FURTHER REFERENCES

Further detailed information on outfitting your boat is available at the Black Snow website: www.blacksnowcanoeoutfitters.co.uk and Facebook page www.facebook.com/blacksnowcanoeoutfitters/ The Tribal Airbags Facebook link is www.facebook.com/tribalairbags/ The BPM Whitewater website is https://bpm-whitewater.com


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Coaching - Skills and BC Awards www.good2go-equipment.co.uk sales@good2go-equipment.co.uk

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P E R U ’ S

S T U N N I N G

Steve kayaking in the Cotahuasi Canyon


COTAHUASI

&

CANYON

R E M O T E

Story: Steve Brooks Photos: Steve Brooks and Ute Heppke Situated in southern Peru, the Cotahuasi Canyon is said to be the deepest canyon in the world. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and with way more whitewater than its North American counterpart, though not as famous as its sister - the Colca Canyon, which is one valley to the south, the Cotahuasi Canyon is an amazing place and should be high on the list of rivers to kayak in Peru!

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ThePADDLER 56 For me it this adventure was going to be my third trip into the Cotahuasi Canyon, it was Ute’s first and for Carlos, an Arequipeno, I am not sure if he has enough fingers left to count the amount of times he has journeyed through the deep walls.

It was departure day and what used to be an easy taxi ride to the bus station was now turning into a bit of a nightmare as for the past 20 minutes not one taxi that drove past our hostel had a roof rack! We had spent an hour the previous week waiting for a taxi that could take our kayaks from the bus station after our Colca Canyon adventure. However, the wait was finally over. Carlos managed to flag down a taxi and now we were rallying through the tight streets of colonial Arequipa on the way to the bus station.

OLD ‘CHICKEN BUS’

A fair few years have past, since I was last heading to Cotahuasi village. Previously our way of transport was a real old ‘chicken bus’ full of local villagers bringing back goats, pigs and a herd of chickens that accompanied our kayaks on the roof. For this trip the bus company had upgraded their bus, which meant that nothing went up on the roof and the only storage was below. It was proving difficult to get the kayaks into the bus, Carlos was doing his best to explain that there was enough room and they are part of our baggage, while I was grabbing the baggage handler getting him to help me twist, pull, push and squeeze our three kayaks inside before the driver or bus boy could say no!

Right: Exploring the Cotahuasi Canyon and coming across an annual medical check up for communities high up in the Andes.

We were finally on our way, leaving Arequipa on the Panamericana for an hour or so before turning off into the Colca Canyon where we stopped for evening dinner of fresh water shrimps in a garlic sauce – the valley speciality. With our bellies full we were now heading up on dirt and gravel roads towards the 4,500m pass between the two enormous mountains of Coropuna at 6,435m and Solimana at 6,093m. I am not sure when we reached the pass, I was drifting in and out of sleep. My legs and body were being battered by the road, still at least the seat in front of me was so far back I could not spring out of my seat when the driver caught some air!

Some 10 hours later we arrived in the village of Cotahuasi at 5am. We managed to get a vehicle to take us to our hostel, Carlos was doing his best waking up the owner to open up his doors and after a bit of negotiation we crashed for a few hours on what seemed to be the best bed in the whole of Peru.

COTAHUASI VILLAGE

I have had some wild times in Cotahuasi village! The first time it was Peruvian independence day and we met up with some girls who came to visit the village from Arequipa. We were invited to a bull fight where no harm came to the bulls, except for their hearing as they had to constantly listen to the village band playing everything well out of tune! The bull fighters were their owners and as soon as the event came to an end, the cattle were taken back out to work the fields.

The night was a huge party and we ended up walking the seven hours to the river the following morning with some mega headaches!

The second time we arrived by Gustavo’s jeep at midnight, had a few drinks of Pisco, the local rocket fuel that can also be put into a petrol tank and then headed out to meet our mule herders at some distant and very bizarre rendezvous point. It felt more like a smuggling scene than one of kayakers wanting to get down to the river.

This time we decided to stay another night in Cotahuasi and check out the area. Also the pull of the hot springs was just too tempting. Carlos and I headed off looking to see whether we could hire motorbikes for the day. It proved quite interesting with a couple of mechanics and repair shops next to each other. I managed to get a bike that would start, had breaks and seemed to be semi-road reliant. Carlos had found a motorbike which needed to be hot-wired to start and seemed to have not much of a clutch. However, the mechanic said it could ride fast which was not the greatest of sales points as the brakes were also pretty sketchy. Still with our kayaking helmets, shorts and towel in our packs for the thermals what could possibly go wrong?

ALCA

We rode up the valley, checking out the river whenever we could, before entering the small hamlet of Alca. For a small hamlet in the middle of the Andes there seemed to be a lot of activity going. After a quick lunch of chicken foot soup with huge corn on the cobs, that are the staple diet of the Andes, we went for a walk to check out what was happening.

What we found were lots of locals dressed up in traditional dress, the kids in their masks and the men wearing their working hats, be it mining helmets for those who go underground or cowboy hats for the farmers and wranglers. They had all come down from the mountains for their annual health check up and it was proving to be quite the occasion.


The stunning Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru. My legs and body were being battered by the road, still at least the seat in front of me was so far back I could not spring out of my seat when the driver

caught some air! ThePADDLER 57


ThePADDLER 58

the sharp rocks

Once we left behind the road builders

disappeared and the lines were becoming a lot more smoother

Above: Carlos running some sweet whitewater on the Cotahuasi Canyon

TERMALES LUICHO

After a while talking to the locals and the medical team, we headed off in search of some hot springs and a chance to ease all those aches and pains from the journey. We were given a recommendation of Termales Luicho. There were three areas: a public pool for everyone, the second pool was warmer and had shade from the blistering sun and the third was a private pool inside. We opted for the second pool and it was amazing. t was just so nice to sit, chat and lie in the hot water. The only problem was trying to get out, but with only an hour of sunshine left we did not fancy riding in the dark and to be quite honest we did not know if the lights on the bikes even worked! Dinner back in Cotahuasi was some kind of meat and potatoes with a side dish of huge corn. We crashed pretty early in the evening and rightly so as we had to be at the bus station by 05.30, as they would not pre-sell us any seats the previous day! What was previously a 7-8 hour walk with mules taking the kayaks

Freshly caught langoustines for dinner

was now a two-hour bus journey. Cotahuasi had also received heavy financial help similar to the Colca Canyon and so the first thing that arrived was a dusty track for a bus. The views though were stunning, sometimes the road hugged the canyon wall with a sheer drop on the right-side way down to the river. We passed high above Sipia waterfalls, then we drove through the stunning cactus fields, all set with a deep blue sky in the background before finally arriving on the other side of Velinga. We divided our group kit, packed our kayaks and put-in.


RAZOR SHARP ROCKS

Shopping for fruit fresh from the Amazon jungle

For the first kilometre or so there were a bunch of new rapids with razor sharp rocks littered in the river from where they are blowing into the canyon walls to extend the road. We had to portage one rapid as there was no line. Once we left behind the road builders the sharp rocks disappeared and the lines were becoming a lot more smoother. For the majority of the day we had great read and run whitewater, with just the odd scout to check out what was beyond the horizon. The Rio Cotahuasi has a continuous nature and it was to be a fantastic way to get back into the flow, while we could take in the stunning canyon scenery and none more so by late afternoon once we were in camp.

What is so good about the Cotahuasi is that, even though there may not be many beaches, instead you camp in old Inca terraces. With many artefacts such as pottery, textiles and even human bones, you do not need to wander too far to see what was left from the Inca culture.

As the Cotahuasi Canyon is in high desert it makes for a dry but cold night. With it getting dark at 18.00, you have plenty of time to spend in your sleeping bag, after dinner and a tea, looking up at the stars with absolutely no light pollution around.

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ThePADDLER 60 The character of the river changed on the second day. It was now solid Class 4 with a couple of long rapids pushing higher. It was still continuous and was proving to be so much fun, it was also starting now to gorge up. The longest rapid on the river came towards the end of the day with moves going from far right to far left, back to right with some boofing required to miss big holes and others where we just had to plug the hole. A final short gorge and we found a nice campsite.

There were a couple of local fisherman working their way upstream to a bridge before walking six hours out to the canyon rim to where they will meet a truck to take them back to civilisation.

Carlos went over to have a chat with them and it turned out they were fishing for camarones, the fresh water shrimp that can be found in the river. They came over to camp and we talked about our kayaks and where we had come from, it was quite surreal for us and the fisherman. They sold us some camarones and headed back to their rendezvous. Dinner was good that night!

Our third day was to prove the longest. The sun was blistering and I was certainly feeling the heat pounding down on me! We were scouting a lot of rapids today, the river had steepened and became more serious with the walls closing to form box canyons – the rapids were long and pushy. We scouted one rapid where the final move is through a metre wide gap from rocks wedged between the box canyon walls. The water levels were low and the line was not great. Ute and Carlos decided to portage. After getting the kayaks to the seal launch back into the river from the box canyon we noticed the river had changed colour and it was starting to rise.


It was now rising pretty fast and so with the chance to run it, I dropped in. It was unbelievable piece of luck as it rose nearly half a metre, the lines were clean and with Carlos and Ute in safety positions it was a sweet ride! Carlos and Ute dropped into the box canyon to join me, the river dropped again as quickly as it had risen and we continued kayaking some fantastic Alpine style whitewater. It was getting late so we decided to camp at the end of a box canyon. We slept well that night! On route to the put-in on the Cotahuasi Canyon

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Our final day on the Rio Cotahuasi gave us four more box canyons to kayak and a short portage around one of them. By the time the box canyons came to an end the river was starting to lose its gradient and mellowed out to some playful read and run class 3-4. Suddenly the Rio Maran met us. We stopped to relax and just enjoy looking back at the Cotahuasi Canyon. With hugs all-round and smiles on our faces we continued downstream on what is now the Rio Ocoña to meet Daniel and Carlos’s jeep

It was a nine-hour drive back to Arequipa, where we got stuck at a big fiesta and parade in Camana on route but we did not care. We were looking forward to eating a chunk of Alpaca steak, wash it down with red wine and head off into the Arequipa nightlife in search of mojitos!

STEVE BROOKS:

Steve has lived in Austria now for over 20 years and from being a place to come and work seasonally on the river, to a base camp and finally making Austria his home! Steve’s love for kayaking and adventure is infectious and this can especially be seen in the kayak school he set up eight years ago. Based out of the Arlberg region in western Austria, the school runs courses for beginners plus coaching and instructing kayakers through all the whitewater grades, including creeking and river running. Inbetween the kayaking season in Austria, Steve can be found kayaking and leading adventure trips and expeditions in the Indian Himalayas, Peru and Chile in South America. He speaks German like a local and is trying to work out if he speaks Peruvian, Chilean or Argentine Spanish. When he is not kayaking he searches for that perfect powder run in the back country in his home mountain of St Anton am Arlberg, or riding his Royal Enfield Bullet in search of undiscovered rivers in the Himalayas.

For more information check out: www.gokayaking.at and www.gokayaking.at/blog


WHITEWATER

SUIT

LEG ENTRY

PATENTED

DESIGN w www.peakuk.com t: +44 1629 732611 e:: info@peakuk.com w:

Paddler: Jon Best. Derbezi Falls. Image: Pete Astles


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Ingrid Ulrich, reveals her photographs from her last expedition to…

Ingrid’s expedition was to SUP in the middle of Baffin Bay, which is isolated for the most part of the year by the polar stream glaciers that come straight down from the icy Arctic Ocean, until they end up turning into ice floe. It is through one of the world’s most hostile and wildest environments where Ingrid paddled hundreds of kilometres solo for over 20 days. She lived a unique adventure paddling within gigantic icebergs, glaciers, whales, whilst meeting people living in remote, isolated Inuit communities.

She started her trip on the west coast of Greenland, 250km north of the Arctic Circle at the very bottom of Sermar Kujalleq, known for being one of the most active glaciers in the world. She then headed north to reach the cabin where the renowned scientist Paul Emile Victor undertook his first French polar expeditions, sometimes having to push huge unmelted chunks of ice out of her path.

It was a true expedition that she committed herself to, in a beautiful and incredible environment but one where vicious cold and hostility exist.

Ingrid has been fighting cancer for the last two years. Her expeditions and sport challenges are for most of us a source of encouragement and inspiration, as well as a good lesson in courage and determination. Her guideline is to simply make you dare and to make your dreams come true.


GREENLAND

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ULTRALIGHT KAYAKS award winning design, class leading construction.

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Happy 25th Birthday Green Star Canoe Club

The Pull of the River Read more on page 13

Read more on page 10

Become a Paddlesport Instructor Read more on page 7

Autumn 2018

Photo Credit: James Appleton


The Cotswold Outdoor story is built on passion, knowledge and experience. But our story isn’t just about us, it’s about you too. Our experts can help you write your outdoor story with high quality kit, tried and tested for every adventure. We’ll help you prepare with the best brands and an exclusive 15% discount as a British Canoeing member.

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Writing our story since 1974 Read more at cotswoldoutdoor.com

Let’s go somewhere


Contents

3

Welcome

Qualifications and Awards

From David Joy

4

News

NEW Personal Performance Awards

12

Access and Environment

News

5

The Pull of the River

13

The Pull of the River p13 News p5

Go Canoeing!

Performance

Are you ready for a new challenge

Performance News

16

6

Coaching and Leadership Become a Paddlesport Instructor!

8 Are you ready for a new challenge?! p16

Trade Partners

Become a Paddlesport Instructor! p8

Stay paddle fit this winter with Kayak Pro!

18

Red Paddle Co 10th Anniversary

20

Our Story - Cotswold Outdoor

22

Focus on Clubs 10

Red Paddle Co 10th Anniversary p20

Adventure Happy 25th Birthday Green Star Canoe Club! p10

Team Nottingham Kayak Club Trent100 Adventure

24

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

Happy 25th Birthday Green Star Canoe Club!


4

Welcome to this November edition of Canoe Focus We seem to have moved from summer to autumn in the blink of an eye and for my colleagues and I, that means we are deep into our review and planning period and already looking ahead to 2019. I remember receiving pictures to my phone of our slalom athletes training on the water in Lee Valley on the day in February when the Beast from the East brought the country to a grinding halt. This dedication was rewarded in Rio in September when the team came back with four team medals and three individual medals, including two silvers for Mallory Franklin in the WC1 and WK1. We offer huge congratulations to the whole team and a special mention to Mall and her coach Craig Morris for an outstanding season. There have been several more notable moments and successes in 2018. In June, July and August we recorded our highest ever monthly membership numbers for three months in a row and will finish the year with more members than ever before. We made great progress in other areas too during 2018. We launched more than 20 new canoe trails and new challenges including the River Wye 85 Mile Challenge and the Wye Canoe Trails (see page 16). We reviewed the Star Awards and launched the new Personal Performance Awards (see page 12). These will be live from January 2019 and will bring benefits to thousands of paddlers of all abilities and offer something for everyone within paddle sport. Athletes in all of our disciplines performed incredibly well again in European and World Cups and Championships, and won more than 100 medals between them across all disciplines. A fantastic achievement.

www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

SAVE THE DATE

Saturday 9th March 2019 • Annual General Meeting • Stronger Clubs National Conference • Volunteer and Recognition Awards Dinner

Of course there was much more, and we will capture this in our Annual Review to be published in March 2019. We continue to focus on the delivery of Stronger Together, our four year strategy and there are more exciting developments planned for 2019; >> The delivery of the Personal Performance Awards >> A club membership management system being offered to all clubs >> The launch of our Clear Access Clear Waters Charter in Westminster on 28 November >> Hosting the 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Lee Valley on 14-16 June 2019 >> Launch of a new web facility which has all the rivers in the UK mapped and key features detailed >> The launch of Go Paddling to include a host of resources to help clubs and centres attract new paddlers and new members >> Launch of web pages for those new to paddle sport or British Canoeing, full of helpful tips and hints, information on trails, clubs, centres and membership >> Launch of a new British Canoeing online store >> Launch of British Canoeing Insurance for all of your equipment and travel needs >> Our Club Development Conference on 09 March >> Our Coaching Conference on 23-24 November There’s lots more planned for 2019. I hope you are looking forward to it as much as we are. Happy paddling.

David Joy Chief Executive British Canoeing

Further information is now available on the British canoeing website

British Canoeing will once again be hosting the Annual General Meeting, Stronger Clubs National Conference, and the Volunteer and Recognition Awards on the same day

Saturday 9th March 2019 - at Eastwood Hall Hotel in Nottinghamshire.


N E WS

For the latest news from British Canoeing head to our website! If you’re not a member sign up to our FREE membership category to receive regular newsletters and updates. www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/news www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/membership/join-us-online-here

Canoe Foundation relaunches to take new direction The Canoe Click here Foundation, the to read charity that has more supported a wide range of canoeing projects over the last 10 years, has launched a new website and a refreshed set of objectives to continue making an ongoing impact and change lives through canoeing.

Chelmsford Canoe Club win 2018 Hasler Finals Chelmsford Canoe Club’s dominance of the Hasler Finals continues. As October’s Hasler Final event saw their team take a fourth consecutive win, ahead of the hosts Norwich Canoe Club with Wey Kayak Club in third. Meanwhile, Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club’s Lightning paddlers had a convincing win in the Geoff Sanders trophy, which they last won in 2008.

5

Click here to read more

The relaunch of the Canoe Foundation will provide the chance for paddling communities across the UK to apply for grants to develop local projects, alongside the opportunity to donate and fund raise to support the charity.

The Dave Perry memorial race 2018 Once a year the West Midlands Regional Development Team hold a regional paddle on the River Severn, from Bridgnorth to Upper Arley in memory of Dave Perry who passed away in 2016. Dave was an incredibly popular paddler who used to enjoy trips on the section of river.

Click here to read more

World Rivers Day 2018 took place on Sunday 23 September and we heard from groups of paddlers who took part in waterways clean ups to mark the occasion!

Click here to read more

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

This years trip took place on the 7th October and saw Elliot Perry, Dave’s grandson take part in the 8 kilometre challenge for the first time. From joining a local canoe club, taking part in pool sessions, learning to roll for the first time and taking on his first trip on the river, we found out all about his preparations in the run up to the memorial paddle!

World Rivers Day 2018: Your clean ups


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Performance News 7 medals for the British Canoeing Slalom Team at the World Championships in Rio! It didn’t take Great Britain long to top the medal table on the opening day of action with an impressive two gold and two bronze from the team events, demonstrating the squad’s growing strength in depth. The K1M and C1W teams produced fantastic performances to take the gold medal spots with the C1M and K1W teams also picking up impressive bronze medals, to make it four from four. Mallory Franklin cemented her place in the history books to become the first female paddler to win four medals at a Slalom World Championships adding two individual medals to her team haul. After a consistently strong season, she also won silver in both the K1W and C1W events, her tenth and eleventh podium places this year. Ryan Westley also added the World Championships silver medal to the European gold he won earlier this year, to bring his successful season to a close.

To read the all the news and stories from the competition, click here

12 athletes represented Great Britain across 11 events at the 2018 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, held in Prado Vila Verde, Portugal. On the first day of the championships Emma Russell and Sam Rees-Clark claimed bronze medals in the K1 junior and under 23 women’s events! It was a team effort and another medal for Emma Russell, as she joined with Freya Peters to win GB’s third bronze medal in the K2 junior women’s event. In the senior events, Lizzie Broughton finished in eighth place in the K1 senior women.

Gold and silver success for FOA at Canoe Polo Euro Clubs Champs www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

Liverpool based Friends of Allonby (FOA) won two medals at the ECA Canoe Polo European Clubs Championships, held at the National Water Sports Centre in September. Over 30 teams participating in the European Canoe Polo Championships were actively involved in helping to stop the spread of invasive non-native species (INNS) with a check, clean, dry initiative which saw over 200 boats kit and clothing washed down to prevent the spread of INNS elsewhere.

click here to read more about check, clean, dry

click here to read more about the Canoe Polo European Clubs Championships

click here to read more


Nikita Setchell wins Gold on international debut after racing the final twice

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Nikita Setchell became European K1W Junior Champion whilst the Great Britain team showed real strength in qualifying an athlete for all four finals on the last day of the Canoe Slalom Junior and U23 European Championships in Bratislava. Setchell, who squeezed into the K1W final in tenth spot, was first off in the final, getting to gate 13 where a pole was missing. She carried on before her race was stopped at gate 16. Twenty minutes later she was back composed on the start line for a re-run and the last competitor to go. Astonishingly she finished the run not only fastest but almost three seconds ahead of the second placed Eva Alina Hovecar of Slovenia.

click here to read more

Canoe Freestylers Compete in European Championships The Great Britain team won two medals at the European Canoe Freestyle Championships in Bratislava in August. Gold - Ottilie Robinson Shaw K1 women’s junior Bronze - Harry Price K1 men’s junior The current World Champion and 2018 World Cup winner Ottilie Robinson Shaw added the European title with a dominant display in the K1 women’s junior event, posting a score of 496, over 200 points clear of Isabelle Voelkel from Germany in second place. click here to read more

In the K1 men’s junior final Harry Price added a bronze medal for Britain, finishing ahead of team mates Matthew Stephenson and Alex Ludlow in fourth and fifth place.

Medal success at Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships

Emma Wiggs bounced back in the VL2 200m, to claim another World title, ahead of teammate Jeanette Chippington in second place. Jeanette also claimed the bronze medal in the women’s KL1. There was also a breakthrough bronze medal for Jack Eyers, who finished in the podium places for the men’s VL3 200m. In the Sprint World Championships there was medal success for Richmond’s Lizzie Broughton, who claimed gold in the women’s K1 5000m gold alongside the silver medal in the K1 1000m.

click here to read more

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

Great Britain topped the medal table at the Paracanoe World Championships in Portugal, claiming seven medals. The eagerly awaited Battle of the Brits saw Charlotte Henshaw claim her first World tittle, in the women’s KL2 200m, crossing the line ahead of Emma Wiggs by just 0.7 seconds. There was also a bronze medal for Charlotte in the VL3 on the first day of the Championships.


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Become a Paddlesport Instructor! Whether you are looking to run starter or taster sessions, games or short journeys at your club, centre or organisation then the NEW Paddlesport Instructor Award is for you!

Find out more on the British Canoeing Awarding Body website.

Paddl espor t Instr uctor: Sit on Top

en Canoe structor: Op In rt o p s le d Pad

www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

Paddl Stand esport Instr u Up Pa ddleb ctor: oard

r: Kayak rt Instructo o p s le d d a P

Find out more by watching our short video


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Two days of combined training and assessment

Only prerequisites are Home Nation membership and Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT)

Practical Course – Minimum classroom time

Become a Paddlesport Instructor!

Development of your instructing skills, behaviours & attributes

Aged 14 and over

Stable craft – Kayaks, Canoes, Sit on Tops, Stand Up Paddleboards

Available from January 2019!

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018


10

Happy 25th Birthday GREEN STAR CANOE CLUB! Grant Mockler of Green Star Canoe Club in Doncaster shares the history of the club, it’s basis on fun and how founders Barbara Cox and Esther Mathews developed a club that has changed lives and become one of the biggest slalom clubs in the country... In 1993 Green Star Canoe Club was formed by Barbara Cox and Esther Mathews following Barbara’s retirement from The Scouts. Barbara being the type of person not willing to put up her feet, with years of scouting experience between them and Esther’s canoeing ability and experience; Green Star was born. Over the last 25 years the club have made a dramatic and wonderful impact on the sport of canoeing, and is one if the biggest slalom clubs in the country. Their devotion to helping kids and adults at all levels has been astounding. Not only is canoeing promoted but general love skills and building self esteem, responsibility self-reliance, respect and many more traits that mould the kids (and parents) into positive role models. The club has touched and changed so many lives and has taken on challenging situations; kids from difficult home lives, providing people with mental and physical disabilities a chance to learn and enjoy canoeing, elite athletes that have lost their way and countless more.

In some instances, lives have been saved, and in many, positively reshaped. Last year Esther received the British Empire Medal for her devotion to the development of children and adults from grass roots to the top of canoeing. Over the years Green Star Canoe Club has been one of the most prolific canoe clubs in the UK, with several members competing at national and international level, not only in slalom, but in polo and freestyle.

www.britishcanoeing.org.uk


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The club has worked with local schools and scouting groups, organised slaloms at all levels, trips to many locations and are known up and down the country, be it, Grandtully in Scotland, Oughtibridge, Orton Mere, Tryweryn in Wales, the Tyne Tour, the list goes on. It is a familiar sight to see the Green Star van turn up with a large trailer full of boats and Esther and Barbara on the river bank. Green Star has worked with many other clubs to the mutual benefit to all.

The past and future success of the club is based on getting young kids and their parents/guardians involved in learning the basics and developing their skills, attending events and trips, volunteering and camping with one aim, “ENJOYMENT”.

On 1st and 2nd September Green Star Canoe Club celebrated its Birthday during their canoe slalom event at Hatfield Water Park, Doncaster. Barbara was sadly missed but she especially ordered in some perfect weather. Paddlers and friends travelled for afar to attend this event, a special thanks to all from; Manvers Waterfront BC, Halifax CC, Bradford and

The Saturday was dedicated to practice and coaching, some paddlers were new to canoeing and many new to slalom. The whole day was dedicated to fun and there were bank to bank smiles from kids, adults and parents. The youngest was 5-years-old and the oldest was 70-years-old. On the Saturday evening there was a barbecue with friends and members who enjoyed a burger and sausage or two. Everyone mucked in with the cooking and Esther, not wanting to have any fuss, was forced to a round of Happy Birthday Green Star before making her escape. The Sunday was more practice and then the serious business of competition, but making sure it was still packed with fun. Every competitor excelled and gave brilliant performances, everyone should be proud of themselves. All elite paddlers start at this level, even Olympic Champions capsized their boat at the start of their paddling careers and there was certainly some talent on display over the weekend.

Last year Esther Mathews was nominated for an British Empire Medal for her work with Greenstar Canoe Club, you can read our Canoe Focus interview with her here....

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

In recent times the club has struggled with numbers and Esther and Barbara had been trying to operate the club and coach with only a few dedicated volunteers. Sadly Barbara passed away last year leaving a massive hole in the structure of the club. This is being addressed by pulling in new members and volunteers to re-structure the club. Like all clubs this is achieved by volunteers, either voluntary or “encouraged”, either way, Esther would like to thank all past and present volunteers for their support.

Bingley CC, West Yorkshire CC, Manchester CC, Pennie CC, Stafford and Stone CC, Glanford and Scunthorpe CC, MAD paddlers and Leeds CC.


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NEW Personal Performance Awards! Get ready for January 2019 when you can take a NEW Personal Performance Award! If you’re looking to progress your skills in any craft or for recognition of your learning and development, then these are the awards for you!

The choice is yours!

The NEW Paddle Awards

Start, Discover, Explore - are aimed at those new to paddlesport, getting into a boat for the first time on sheltered water.

12 disciplines with 3 awards each – Any discipline from Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rafting to Polo! >> Available for all ages >> All direct entry – develop your skills

and take the award of your choice!

>> No duel discipline – choose

White Water Canoeing Surf Kayak Sea Kayak Touring Stand up Paddleboard Freestyle Rafting Polo Racing Slalom Wild Water Racing

the craft of your choice!

www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

>> Great to track your progress and

acknowledge your personal skills

>> Allows you to choose the craft and

the environment you wish to paddle

Work through any of the awards at your own pace. There’s something for everyone!

Interested in becoming a Provider of the Personal Performance Awards? Find out more about the requirements and complete your eLearning today!

Click here to watch the short video


The Pull of the River

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Author Matt Gaw explains in his new book why his experience of ‘being free on the river’ is more controversial than he first thought.... I can still remember the first stroke. The first time the paddle cut the water and pushed us on, through a river fringed with low-slung willows and furred with pollen. It was a moment of calm, the lulling shush of water on the wood of the canoe, the whirlpools from our strokes that winked in the light, where every thought that was not of this river, dripped overboard to be carried away by the current. It is now two years since that summer evening on the Stour when I discovered that secret window into a new world. My friend James Treadaway had, for reasons I still don’t quite understand, decided to build a canoe. He beavered away for months in his back garden, a suburban Noah, bending, shaping and gluing wood to form a 16ft Canadian canoe, whose handsome curves and broad bottom he painted a joyous nautical red.

hometown of Bury St Edmunds, the Colne, the Alde and the Granta, but also ventured across the UK, seeking new rivers, new waterscapes. On our quiet adventures we paddled along everything from the smallest tributaries to stent-straight canals and broad-backed flows hurrying towards the sea. Over chalk, gravel, clay and mud. Through fields, woodland, villages, towns and cities. I soon fell deeply in love with being on the water. I treasured being sunk beneath the land, seeing waterscapes that could not be glimpsed by land. The river, the metronome rhythm of paddles that sent both brain and muscles almost to sleep, became my pulse. Although the pull of the river was about an increased connection with my environment and some thrilling glimpses of wildlife (from the wobbling gas flames of kingfisher to watching wild beaver in Devon) it was (and is still) also about freedom.

During the next few months after that first trip, I travelled by canoe whenever I got the chance, both with James and also alone. We re-explored the “familiar”: the Lark, near our

>>

Matt Gaw

Headshot

by Jennife r

The p Leavy

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

att Gaw

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>> Dipping a paddle into the river is to cross a boundary, to merge with something wilder. The self is turned to bubbling, wind-whipped foam: overcome and overwhelmed. Human and current run free. The sense of escape is increased by the fact that rivers are often borders, both to counties and countries. Following them is to occupy a no-man’s land where it feels like the only law is the push of the paddle against the current. In the canoe we are free to wander, alone and unchecked. Although there may be only ever two ways to go, the possibilities seem endless. Where there is water, there is a way. Or so I thought. It wasn’t long into the trips that would eventually grow into my book, The Pull of the River, that I found being free on the river was more controversial than I thought. While in Scotland and many other European countries there is a public right to access non-tidal rivers, across England and Wales there is, with British Canoeing membership, undisputed access to just 4 per cent of rivers. That’s roughly 1,400 miles of largely slow-moving water out of the 42,700 available. To journey elsewhere, according to landlords, particularly representatives of the Angling Trust, is to commit trespass – a civil offence that allows landowners to seek damages or an injunction.

Internet forums suggest a quicker, nastier justice is often meted out with leaded lines and barbed hooks. A survey carried out by British Canoeing in May 2018 makes equally grim reading: accounts of verbal abuse, maggots hurled at children and boats pulled from the water. During my paddles, although I have thankfully never been confronted in an aggressive way there have been plenty of indications that I’m less than welcome – whether it is scrawled signs or barbed wire strung across the river’s flow. So, is the right to roam rivers, the feeling of freedom I and countless others have experienced while travelling on water just an illusion? The answer is simple: no. Research carried out by Dr Douglas Caffyn, whose MA and PhD focused on historic river access, made waves when he argued more than a decade ago that non-tidal rivers (there is no dispute over access to tidal parts of rivers) have always been public and nothing in law has ever been done to change that. His views, which were supported by British Canoeing and taken to heart by many paddlers, have though, been controversial. So much so that The Angling Trust and subsequently Dr Caffyn hired QCs to argue over everything from interpretations of the Magna Carta to the similarity (or otherwise) of paths and rivers. DEFRA, drawn into the debate several times, has repeatedly said the law is open

WIN!

www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

We have a signed copy of Matt Gaw’s new book for you to win. To enter, register your waterways clean up using our online form on our website! Click here (Closing date: Friday 7th December)


15 to interpretation. Instead they have asked for both groups, paddlers and landowners to come together locally to work out access agreements. Historically, such agreements have proven to be inconsistent and unnecessarily restrictive. In order for access agreements to work, water users and landowners need to be committed to work together on an equal basis that helps protect the environment and ensures our waters are enjoyed and shared by everyone. But, while landowners continue to refuse the legal right of paddlers and open water swimmers to navigate rivers, any discussion starts from a point of inequity.

After all, if people do not use and love their rivers, the chances are they will be less likely to look after them. I know that in the relatively short time I have been paddling, I have been changed by rivers. They have seeped through my skin. Flooded my heart. It is a feeling, an experience, that I believe everyone should be free to enjoy.

It is time, with the help of British Canoeing, to make it happen.

My own belief is that it is now time the Government stepped in, either to mediate or preferably to regulate access to waterways in line with Scotland, which would also take into account any environmental concerns that might exist on some rivers. This is why I will be supporting British Canoeing’s new charter, calling for access to our rivers to be recognised in law. It is a pioneering move; something that could both increase people’s enjoyment and connection with the waterways where they live, while also encouraging them to become their guardians.

The Pipe on

the Waveney

Access and Environment Update With the launch of the Access and Environment Charter just around the corner, there has been lots of proactive and positive activity by staff and members happening over the past few months. Our Places to Paddle team have been out and about meeting stakeholders, influencers, MPs and other organisations to drum up support for our vision of fair, shared, sustainable open access for all.

Every effort made to care for and enhance our waterways is helping not only to protect

We love hearing about the various river and canal clean ups which are taking place up and down the country with increased frequency. We’re thrilled to have launched our online clean ups tracker so we can see what you’re all up to and share the good news. The partnership with Surfers Against Sewage, one of the leading environmental charities in the UK, enabled us to make significant improvements to our local waterways, together. Do keep us up to date with your events and stories around access and the environment. Keep an eye out on the British Canoeing website and social media channels for more information and to see how you can get involved.

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

The Charter will be launched in November in Westminster and the case for change will be made very clear. The paddling community must come together through its actions on the water as well as off the water to campaign for fair, shared, sustainable open access.

the environment, but make the case for canoeists being a critical part of their future.


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Are you ready for a new challenge There’s a new British Canoeing challenge route on the block and it’s the longest one yet! If you’re looking for a big adventure to train up for then this could be the one for you.

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Take on our longe st challenge yet Wye. Few journ - 85 miles on the River eys in Britain whether on land give you the A44chan or water ce to travel a full 85 miles. Glasbury, you Starting from will take in the beautiful scen and Wales on ery of England this four day A44 route to Redb rook. The route is main ly flat water with fast moving wate some simple grade 1 rapids r as well as a and grade 2A41 rapid 12 at Symonds Yat.

A470

The River Wye 85 Mile Challenge Route is designed as a multi-day challenge, with the opportunity for canoe hire and camping along the route. Starting from Glasbury, journey through the serene Wye valley, taking in the beautiful scenery of England and Wales. The challenge is written to be completed over four days but the more competitive paddler may want to cut this down to three or even two.

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For challenge

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A479

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It wouldn’t be a challenge route without a time to beat, so our live leaderboard will allow paddlers to check out the fastest time to beat. Don’t forget though, it’s ‘on the water’ time which counts on the board not how many days you do it over.

webpage

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“If you have neve r navigated the Wye you have seen nothing” William Gilpin 1782

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For full information about the challenge route, including route details, area information, canoe hire and accommodation visit: www.britishcanoeing. org.uk/wyechallenge

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River Wye Canoe Trails

River Wye s Canoe Trail

If you would like to explore the River Wye without the challenge element then check out our seven new canoe trails. These trails take in the same area of the Wye but on shorter journeys, from 8.5 to 16 miles long. With canoe hire centres situated all along the Wye these trails are perfect for a family day out or a trip with friends.

A49

A44

A417

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Find the Wye trails and many more at: britishcanoeing.org.uk/ go-canoeing/places-topaddle/canoe-trails

ick Wells

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Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

Ta-W kinY g Eit eas N y on th ROSS-O eW


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Stay paddle fit this winter with Kayak Pro! There is more to canoeing than paddling a boat, and the journey often starts off the water. We caught up with Grayson Bourne; owner of KayakPro, former World Sprint Champion and five time British Olympian to talk about how KayakPro, manufactures and designers of world class ergometers, continue to use innovation to shape the future of paddling, working together with British Canoeing as part of the Trade Partnership. From the early days of running the British Indoor Kayak Championships in 1991, to producing their latest Compact Kayak Ergometer with British Canoeing’s outreach programme in mind, KayakPro have a long association with British Canoeing and their ergometers are widely used by beginners, aspiring athletes, to Olympic and World Champions. For Grayson and his team, the ethos behind KayakPro is simple; to make the best quality exercise products available; and as official supplier to the past four Olympic Games their products are renowned for their quality and accuracy.

“We bring the best quality exercise products, above and beyond what is available in the larger commercial market. “We manufacture state of the art machines which service pretty much every water sport out there. Our standards are the best quality we can make, and quality first is what really matters in this business.” says Grayson.

www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

He points to how working with British Canoeing has inspired new products for the paddling industry, and how changing technology means that they are constantly striving to produce innovative products, helping paddlers to become the best they can be. A major project for KayakPro and British Canoeing was to produce a transportable, robust and reliable performance ergometer which could be taken to schools and clubs

to deliver outreach programmes. From this collaboration, the compact ergometer was born. “The “compact” has now become the gold standard for ergometers worldwide. It’s a real example of “Stronger Together” delivering tangible results.” explains Grayson, and with more new projects on the horizon the development of unique products continues. “We offer the development of unique products, and we see it very much as a two way process, as British Canoeing will be able to help us develop and take them to the bigger market.”


19 From smart device connected ergometers to Internet [ergometer-to-ergometer] training, group programmable sessions to virtual reality simulation paddling. KayakPro have many technological developments which will become available over the coming year, in order to aid the advancement of canoeing. However, for KayakPro, the partnership goes beyond simply selling products. “For us, it’s not just about selling more products, we became partners because its part of the Stronger Together strategy. There are a lot of people who paddle out there, and I think British Canoeing could be the glue that brings everyone together.

“When there’s a large team involved it becomes easier to achieve, and we are happy to be a part of this process too.” It’s clear that Graysons vision is driven by a passion for paddling as he explains,

“Those of us that paddle, have a sheer delight in this sport, that typically lasts a lifetime and to share and expand the pleasure to others is a gift. “To work together, hand-in-hand with British Canoeing to develop paddling in the UK, we see a bright future for the development of the sport and our many mutually shared, joint goals make for a perfect synergy.”

KayakPro Winter rental scheme! KayakPro are here with a solution to banish those winter paddling blues, and keep your training on track throughout the colder months. From as little as £60 Per month incl. VAT the KayakPro ergometer rental programme provides a low cost way to have your own ergometer – but without the large Find out up-front cost more of buying on our outright. website

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018


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Red Paddle Co 10th Anniversary Feature Interview with Red Paddle Co Founder - John Hibbard

The early days… It’s hard to imagine it now, but there was a time when the inflatable stand up paddleboard was not really recognised as a ‘real’ board. It was referred to more as a ‘lilo’, and seen as a bit of a joke by many of the worlds big watersport brands and market players. Up until then every type of board used on the water was made of fibre glass and foam. And the inflatable SUP was something very different. Not the norm. In the early days of SUP it was a time when if you wanted to get into the sport you had

to commit and buy a 12’x30” hard board. Not that practical for most recreational paddlers. They were just big, heavy and hard to carry! So what made John Hibbard the founder of Red Paddle Co believe in the inflatable SUP and commit 100% in the early days to set up solely an inflatable SUP brand?

We spoke to John about the past, present and future of Red Paddle Co…

Coming from a professional windsurfing background what was it about SUP that first appealed to you? The simplicity and the social aspect were the big ones, plus the fact that there were so many transferable skills from windsurfing. It also was something else to do when the wind was down. When did you first see an inflatable SUP and what were your thoughts?

www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

Early 2008. My first impression was ‘Great idea, badly executed’. I loved the practicality, transportability but not the fact that it looked awful, bent when you stood on it and didn’t fit back into the bag it came from. I immediately thought that if I could solve the performance issues then inflatables were going to become the most relevant product for most people. Is it true that in the early days you and the inflatable Red Paddle Co brand were seen as a joke? What did people say and what was your response? SUP itself was the joke! Before we could sell a board we were convincing people on the sport. We literally

spent two years going paddling with retailers and their customers, presenting the sport. In some cases, we would surprise the paddlers by deflating their boards after they stepped off at the end of the session. They had no idea they’d just been on an inflatable board. In the early days did you have any idea that SUP was going to grow into what it has become today? I think I did. Or at least I was hoping it would. Everyone I took paddling loved it. Probably what hasn’t happened as I had expected is the level of participation at the performance end of the sport – Surfing and Racing. I competed in a lot of the first major race and surf champs around the world. Events like the Battle of the Paddle in California, Hamburg World Cup, 11 City and original


21 Waterman League surf events in Europe. I was pretty sure that side of the sport was going to be massive. It has yet to really turn out like that. That’s okay though, as the experience driven part of the sport, the social side, the bit we all do to relax, is booming and that’s just fantastic – not just from a business perspective but also from the angle of getting more people outside and onto the water.

are a true point of difference. The bag is a good example of attention to detail. It is built from the same materials you’d find in a windsurfing sail. Meaning it is strong and robust. I believe we are the only brand to actually control the recipe for our material. This means we are getting exactly the finish and performance we want. This is not off the shelf stuff. How big is the Red Paddle Co team and family now?

Between 2008 and 2012 John Hibbard and Red Paddle Co pushed the development of inflatable SUPs, demonstrating that inflatable boards are a genuine product and can be taken seriously. Many of the hard board brands who had previously shied away from the inflatable side of the sport, now saw there was very much a place in the market for iSUPs and started to include iSUPs within their board range. But with many other brands now making inflatable boards what makes Red Paddle Co different from everyone else?

When did you feel Red Paddle Co really made their mark in the world of SUP? The first years were tough. Not because of the inflatable tag but just because we needed a foundation of paddlers to spread the word. Our first year or so of sales figures were pretty poor. I remember being excited when I had sold the 100th board – after about 300 days of trying! That seems funny to think of now. What are the major developments that you believe make Red Paddle Co stand out from the other iSUPs on the market?

Along with that focus on build quality there are also elements such as our Titan Pump (fast and easy inflation) and our wheeled carry bag that

Today, with nine board ranges, 22 boards, and the worlds best research and development and iSUP technology Red Paddle Co has undoubtedly become the biggest stand alone iSUP brand in the world. So where else can Red Paddle Co and the journey of the humble iSUP go from here?!! What exciting developments can we expect to see from Red Paddle Co over the next few years? In our development centre we are working on products that won’t see the light of day until 2020. There is plenty going on. We are all about making the sport more accessible, safer and more fun. SUP is an experience driven sport and so we want to make that experience better. Where do you think SUP will be in 10 years time? As a sport I think we are only now starting to reach the major adoption stage. We see no reason why we can’t help introduce more and more people onto the water. Paddling across the bay or down the river with the sun starting to set on a summers evening is just so compelling. I just want more people to experience that sense of freedom and escapism. You don’t need to go to Hawaii or the Cook Islands to get an amazing buzz from paddling. I love it and I can’t wait to share it with more people. Do it safely, with the right equipment and you are in for a lifetime of great paddling experiences.

Canoe Focus Autumn 2018

First and foremost it’s our attention to details. Making a good inflatable board is exceptionally hard. You are dealing with a three dimensional textile product that moves and shifts during the build. Our quality control is like a military operation these days. We’ve learnt from our mistakes and we have learnt from experience. Running our own production and having the full say in how and when things are done has been a very important step.

We are a 15 strong team here in the Red International Development Centre. We have a team of designers working flat out, an operations team that are making sure we are getting products delivered on time into over 60 countries and a creative team who are responsible to bringing the brand to life through amazing images and video. This is no longer a one man band! We are also sold in over 1500 shops around the world. We literally do reach right around the world from London to Lima and back via Melbourne and Moscow!


Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket £190 Rab Ascendor Pants £160 Lowe Alpine Peak Ascent 42 Rucksack £75

Columbia Pike Lake Jacket £120

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Let’s go somewhere


24

Team Nottingham Kayak Club -

Trent 100 Adventure

Adam Evans of Nottingham Kayak Club explains how him and his team became the first to complete the Trent100 challenge in kayaks and canoes... Adam Evans of Nottingham Kayak Club (NKC) explains how along with his three teammates Callum Longshaw, Woody Snapper and Claire Davies, they became the first to complete the Trent100 challenge in kayaks and canoes... This year the Trent100 Challenge welcomed Team Nottingham Kayak Club as an experiment. The four of us are keen kayakers, that’s right, kayakers at a SUP event, I told you it was an experiment... We were invited by event organiser, Mark Price, to see if the Trent100 could be opened up to the wider paddlesport community, and all four of us from Team NKC can honestly say “HELL YES”. There were challenges but nothing we could not overcome. We took part with three sea kayaks and one open canoe and the first challenge was carrying the boats the 500m walk from the car park to the start line. We were all dreading this, but with the help of the organisers we overcame it. We set off first, full of confidence we’d be faster than the SUP’s to follow. “We will put the kettle on for you all when we reach the halfway point”... we were wrong, very wrong. Soon enough the first team sailed passed, then another, then another. These SUP guys are fast, but every single person who came passed spurred us on.

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After a solid 10 hours of paddling and a few portages we reached the halfway point, and what a halfway campsite it was. It was very much a festival with lights and various tents. We headed straight for the food tent where we were given plenty of warm food and drinks. There was a yoga session, and to our amazement there was even a massage tent! The facilities here were second to none, with clean showers and toilets readily available and plenty of entertainment from Mark Price on the microphone, and the SUP movies on the big screen.

Day two started with breakfast and a great opportunity for team member Woody, who was given the chance to continue using a SUP. Despite paddling one only once before, he completed the final 43 km, what an achievement! The portage at Sawley Marina saw the SUP paddlers walk over the lock gates. This would be impossible for kayaks but luckily the lock keeper was on hand to operate the lock for us and we paddled straight through. We reached the finish line to cheers and applause. We had made it, the first kayakers to participate in the Trent100 and we had loved every minute of the challenge. We would like to offer a big thank you to Mark Price and all the organisers for inviting us to your event. We all had a fantastic time and we hope the Trent100 will open up to other paddlesports, as there are few organised endurance events that are open to kayakers who are not interested in marathon or sprint racing.

Thanks again from Team NKC


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G L AC I E R B AY TO

V A N C O U V E R I S L A N D…


‌

INSIDE PASSAGE PA D D L I N G T H E

By Lucy Graham and Mathilde Gordon We sat in our lounge room in Australia staring down at the 45 marine charts that showed our 2,042 kilometre kayak expedition through the Inside Passage and it was hard to even imagine what was in store for us.The journey would take us from Glacier Bay, north west of Juneau, through the island passages of south east Alaska and British Columbia, to Vancouver Island.

Only books and words from other kayakers could help us imagine what awaited us. From the moment we dipped our paddles into the icy waters of Glacier Bay, Alaska, we were challenged, awed and inspired. The expedition was everything we wanted, and more than we bargained for.

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When you tell people ThePADDLER 68

that you are planning to kayak over 2,000 kilometres through freezing water, in bear country and in some of the most wild and remote places, many people ask why; but Mathilde didn’t.

“In 2016 when I asked Mathilde if she would paddle the 2,000km through the Inside Passage with me, she didn’t ask why, she just said, ‘Yes...do you think I can do it?…’ ‘YES’ I said.” Lucy

We always answer the question, “Why?” with “because we can.” That is the spirit of adventure, throwing yourself into challenge and beauty purely because you can. Not because you know you can succeed, or you know what it is that you will face, but because you know you can plan, and research and give it your best shot! We weren’t the first to do this trip, we weren’t the youngest or the oldest, or any of those things, but this would be a challenge like we had never faced before.

“Before Lucy asked me to do this expedition, I had only done day trips in a kayak, but I enjoyed it and I knew there was going to be incredible wildlife, so I was in.” Mathilde

“I have been kayak guiding from the age of 18, but the longest trip I ever did was seven days, in the tropics, so this expedition was going to be the biggest challenge I took on.” Lucy

SINGLE-USE PLASTIC-FREE

We met at James Cook University, when we both signed up to the student sustainability club. We ended up leading this group together for a large period of our studies. Our friendship grew as we studied, campaigned and adventured together. Both of us are passionate about ocean conservation and have been campaigning about the issue of marine debris for over five years. About three years ago, we decided to give up single-use plastic in our lives.

Being single-use-plastic-free is a constantly evolving journey, and when we started planning this trip we decided we wanted to transfer our lessons learned in everyday life to our adventure, and complete the expedition without using single-use plastic. It was easy enough to have plastic-free toiletries, but the biggest challenge we faced was with our food. We trialled systems on small trips at home and came up with a way to make it possible. It involved dehydrating our meals and wrapping them in three layers of newspaper, then placing them in dry bags with upcycled silica gel packs (from any outdoor store).

It worked in the humid tropics of Queensland, Australia, and we were sure it would work on the cold and wet west coast too. Thankfully, we had the Lupii Cafe whom sponsor us and prepare, cook and dehydrate the 500+ meals we needed for our threemonth expedition!

Apart from the mission of completing our journey single-use-plastic-free, we saw the expedition as an opportunity to raise awareness about marine debris and to raise funds for organisations working to reduce its impact. Having now completed our expedition, we are excited to let everyone know that we have raised more than $20,000 to be shared between The Living Oceans Society in Canada and The Tangaroa Blue Foundation in Australia. Both of these organisations do important work: cleaning up beaches, collecting data, tracing debris and stopping it at its source.

Alongside the money we have raised, we have run several community workshops, delivered two public talks en route and another workshop on Hornby Island at the Young Women in Ocean Literacy, Marine Conservation and Leadership Camp. We have also run three beach cleanups – two in Australia and one in Canada, and contributed to a remote Living Oceans Society cleanup on Vancouver Island during our trip.

So as you can see, the answer to the question ‘why?’ evolved as we planned. ‘Why?’ became, ‘because we can, because we care and because the ocean needs us – not just Mathilde and I, but every one of us.’

BEGINNING

Once we were immersed in the Inside Passage, next to the people who live in or travel through these parts, not one person asked why. After an eternity of planning, the moment when we finally started our trip somehow seemed to come suddenly. We set off into Glacier Bay on the 8th of May, with the sun in the sky, adventure in our hearts and the completely unrelated, yet beautiful, sound of drumming and singing coming from the long house of the Huna Tlingit First Nations in Bartlett Cove. It was a heart-warming beginning to our journey.


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UPS AND DOWNS

Kayaking into a place that you have only ever read about is both exciting and intimidating at the same time. People told us of the unforgiving water in Alaska, the dangerous experiences of everyday boaters crossing the north and south of Haida Gwaii at Dixon Entrance and Cape Caution, and the dangers of the tidal rapids at Dent Island and Yaculta. Looking at the charts, studying major crossings and understanding the currents of the Inside Passage took up hours of our time in preparation for the expedition.

We really threw ourselves in the deep end by starting in Glacier Bay. Thankfully, we had sunshine for the first three days, which made the adjustment easier. We were advised by the rangers to avoid campsites with signs of bears, however, the first night we realised it wasn’t actually possible in this part of the world. We settled for sites with the least evidence of bear activity and practiced our bear safe camping. We were overwhelmed by our surroundings. Snow capped mountains rose steeply from islands towering over us in every direction. Glaciers cracked in the distance, and filled the valleys we paddled passed.

The tranquil silence was pierced only by the sound of our paddle strokes and the incredible wildlife that filled every gap and corner. We were entertained by birds, sea otters, seals, sea lions, porpoise and an unbelievable number of whales. We were also adjusting to the challenges of carrying our kayaks and gear over rocky and barnacled intertidal zones, avoiding the biting cold of the water and the wind, and getting accustomed to pooping in the intertidal zone! During those first few weeks, we had moments of pure exhilaration as we watched whales play and birds fly, but also moments where we silently wondered if we were going to make it through the three months of our expedition.

The Inside Passage challenged us and rewarded us in an equal measure; our experiences peaking and plummeting like a rollercoaster. After one week we

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ThePADDLER 72 made it back to Juneau from Glacier Bay and we needed to do some kayak repairs, pick up kevlar bear bags (we had a horrible time trying to fit bear cans in our kayaks) and get a sturdy supply of chocolate. In Juneau and throughout our entire trip, we have felt humbled by the kindness and open hearts of people along the Inside Passage. Thanks to some amazing locals, we had a place to stay in Juneau where we could rest, eat some non-dehydrated food, and repair our kayaks.

BAD WEATHER AND WIND

In the weeks following Juneau, we faced a lot of bad weather and wind. By the time we reached Petersburg we had been delayed by seven days.Three of those days were spent in our tent, where the winds were gusting between 30 and 40 knots and just listening to the pines creaking and yawning in the wind above our tent was scary enough. It was a great test of our decision making, as we interpreted the weather around us and assessed whether it was safe to carry on. Although we had radios to receive weather forecasts, having a GARMIN InReach also meant we could get some help from our support team through unlimited messaging. The ability to laugh in the face of challenge and smile in the midst of chaos is really necessary during those hard times. Most of the success of our trip was knowing when conditions were beyond our abilities and staying out of harm's way. It was a sunny day when we finally paddled into Petersburg amongst icebergs, which had broken off the LaConte Glacier. After several days of continuous rain and battering wind, we diverged from our plan and stayed in Petersburg to shower, dry off and feel human again. It was a great break.

Following Petersburg, we were on a roll. We picked the tides through the Wrangell Narrows perfectly and were carried along by the strong currents. We soon found ourselves in Wrangell, enjoying the hospitality of Kem and Sue, a local pastor and his wife, who had agreed to look after our resupply until our arrival. Having prepared all of our food prior to the trip and sending supplies to meet us en route, we depended on complete strangers, who volunteered over the internet, to look after our resupply boxes.

It was truly amazing to meet the people who held our resupplies, and to have the opportunity to understand more about life in the Inside Passage. Meeting Kem was not an exception; he met us at the docks, put us up in a local hotel and invited us to a community potluck to share our story. Originally, we thought we would try to avoid the towns and cities to be continuously immersed in nature, but the people of SE Alaska and British Columbia stole our hearts, and visiting towns became a highlight too.

STRENGTHENED FRIENDSHIP

There were still many challenges to come on our route. Both of us had days where it felt really hard. When you embark on a journey like this with a friend, you can’t help but wonder whether it will strain your friendship or not. We are so happy that our journey

strengthened ours. We have both admitted that there were moments of frustration, but in these cases we knew it was mostly attributed to the weather conditions, tiredness, or hunger. It was important not to voice those frustrations during tense moments as we only had each other and knew that it wouldn’t help the situation.

Another seemingly small thing that happened naturally, but is something we realised is so important, is thankfulness. Everytime someone cooked, made tea, set up the tent, treated the water or completed any everyday task, we thanked each other.Throughout the 89 days of our trip, having those small efforts recognised made a big difference in the long run. So that is a tip if you are planning your own expedition – never forget to appreciate those small gifts from your buddy!

WILDLIFE

Wildlife was of course one of our major highlights. We saw so many humpback whales and were even lucky enough to see a small group of them bubble-net feeding – a behaviour that is unique to this part of the world. Another day we had a whale follow us along our route for a couple of hours, surfacing only metres away from our kayaks. We had playful sea lions surging and circling our kayaks, both a scary and exhilarating experience. We saw sea otters sleeping and playing


together, and by the shore we watched river otters, minks and weasels. Harbour seals - the puppies of the ocean – stayed with us for our whole journey, and along the coast of British Columbia we were lucky enough to see a number of mothers with their pups.

We were constantly entertained by the bird life that soared above and dove below the surface of the water, feeding amongst the abundance of fish. We gained even more appreciation for the creatures of the intertidal zone when we were invited to the Vancouver Island University Deep Bay Research Centre.

SCARY TIMES

Along with the moments of pure joy, there were experiences that weren’t so fun. For Lucy, it was getting pulled into an uncharted whirlpool and momentarily losing control of her kayak. Thankfully, with adrenalin and instinct, she came away safely, if not a little shaken. For Mathilde, nothing on the trip made her more scared than when a tugboat steamed towards us on autopilot, at an unforgiving speed, passing by only 15-20 metres behind us as we paddled hard to avoid it. We will also never forget our first night in Canada, where the tide came in under our tent at midnight, forcing us to wade across a river and climb the embankment to sleep on a lump of moss in the forest.

However, Mother Nature was looking after us when it came to facing our major milestones on the trip. We had a perfectly clear day crossing Stephens Passage, where the tides are strong and the cruise ships steam past. When we crossed both Dixon entrance and Cape Caution, it was so calm we could have done headstands in our boats. Our final challenges were the Dent and Yaculta Rapids. Timing was crucial at these rapids, as it is only possible to pass at slack, even for

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ThePADDLER 74 motor boats! However, we were happy to have clear days and well-timed crossings as we passed through these as well. Each of these milestones had been on our minds for more than a year, and we celebrated every time we passed safely, for even with great weather, they were major achievements for us.

MARINE DEBRIS

Apart from our first week in Glacier Bay, we saw marine debris at every single beach we camped at and on many of the shores we passed. We had expected to find less marine debris than we did, as we thought it would not have been pushed into the protected waters of the Inside Passage and instead would be collected on the west coast of the islands. The unfortunate reality is that much of the debris we were finding was from local towns and the large majority of trash was related to recreational and commercial fishery activities.

This included fishing and mooring buoys, ghost nets, ropes, fishing line, strapping band, tags and motor oil.In addition, we found the usual culprits; plastic bottles, soft and hard plastic remnants and household items. Some bottles had floated all the way from Asia, and were the same brands we find on our beaches back home. A great reminder that our oceans are all interconnected. We were blown away by the amount of styrofoam littering the shores, some pieces as large as trees and others smaller than a peanut.

FINISHING IT ALL

Kayaking into Cadboro Bay in Victoria, 2,042km south of where we started three months prior, was a mix of emotions for both of us. We were both happy and sad to finish our expedition and couldn’t believe it was already over. We were met with great enthusiasm by a group of friends and family at the finish line, who had also convinced 100 or so beachgoers to cheer us onto the beach! It was a humbling end to an incredible journey.

Now it’s time to continue with the next chapter of our lives, but our minds and hearts are already filled with the dreams of another adventure on the horizon.

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DERG

LOUGH

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Paddling the length of

Story: Anna Howard Photos: Mícheál Howard

Being one of the lakes that are closest to our home place, Lough Derg has always been one of our most frequent paddling spots. Be it for a quick mid-week evening get away after work or a last-minute weekend wild camping trip, it has never failed us. However, the opportunity to paddle the length of the lake had so far eluded us. Situated on the Shannon River, which is the longest river in the Ireland, the lake stretches from the small town of Portumna all the way down to the ‘twin towns’ of Killaloe and Ballina, and it borders no less than three counties: Clare, Galway andTipperary.

Last August Bank Holiday weekend, we set it in our sights to paddle the whole length of the Lough Derg. The most direct route comes down to around 37 kilometres which could be paddled in a day under the right conditions. However, we wanted a relaxing long weekend, more of a touring adventure rather than a marathon and, knowing the weather in the area, we decided to rely on our experience and stretch it out over three days. For those of us who possess the luxury of time and show an interest to explore all the lake’s coves, bays and islands, one could expand said distance to roughly 60 kilometres exploring one coastline of the lake alone. As for us, we opted to follow the flow of the river and set off in Portumna on the border of Co. Galway and Co. Tipperary. From there, we would head south-west towards the great unknown and we would finish our paddle in Killaloe, Co. Clare. For those of you familiar with the prevailing winds in Ireland, you can probably imagine that we were setting ourselves a task.


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We set off

We set off from under the bridge in Portumna, the last crossing point on the River Shannon until our destination in Killaloe at the bottom of the lake. For the first five kilometres, the wind was with us, the sun was shining and we felt like we were somewhere in Spain on a relaxing summer holiday! Exactly what we wanted after a few long weeks of organising our own wedding. It was so nice and quiet that myself and Watson decided to take a little nap in the boat and leave the hard work to Mícheál. What a glorious day we had! The sun in our faces, light breeze playing with our hair, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore… Paddling in such conditions was nice and easy.

INQUISITIVE CALVES

At lunchtime, we stopped on the eastern bank of the lake, where we managed to find a nice small beach area where the lake first narrows. Unfortunately, this beach was also the watering hole for a herd of inquisitive calves who decided join us for lunch.They were very curious what we were doing and Watson was very interested in who they were and what they wanted from us! Lunch consisted of one of our signature one pot meals: wholemeal egg noodles with barbecue Hodgins sausages, green beans, mushrooms and tomato sauce. Fry the sausages, add the veg; use plenty of butter, pour in a jar of tomato sauce and cook the noodles in the pot with the sauce. It’s bound to be a feast! After a cup of tea, we got back on the water and headed onwards towards the islands near the western bank of the lake where we were hoping to find a spot to set up camp for the night.


Most of the islands on the lake are forestcovered and usually suitable for a spot of wild camping. The few islands that are open and grass-covered are used for grazing livestock, usually wild livestock. These animals are not used to too much human contact, not to mention wild campers and tents, and they are best avoided unless you want a herd of wily heifers trudging through your camp at four in the morning. Finding a camping spot on the set of islands we intended proved more challenging than we’d planned. Impassable reeds surrounded the islands making it almost impossible to get through and heavy undercover on the islands wasn't exactly appeasing!

We searched unsuccessfully for an hour around the set of islands, but we finally opted for a tiny peninsula on the mainland. It was easy enough to access and had a reasonably open seasoned deciduous forest to set up camp in. A quick glance at the satellite image on Google Maps showed that we were well removed from any houses or tracks, ideal for an undisturbed night of wild camping. There’s no exact position or law in Ireland about wild camping... Technically, it could be viewed as trespassing and you could end up being chased away by an angry farmer, but if you’re in a remote area, you arrive late, leave early and leave no trace, then you should have no trouble.

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The skies were blue and the birch trees waved their branches when the wind blew… ThePADDLER 106


After hauling the gear and the boat out of the water, we hung up the hammock, set up the tarp and our campsite kitchen, sat down and prepared our supper: chicken noodles, bread and butter. A bit more basic than our lunch earlier on, but it did the trick nonetheless! By the time we finished washing up and cleaning after food, the sun had already set and it was time to head to bed. We hadn’t exactly planned to spend as much time searching for a camp spot so falling asleep didn’t take long. We were, however, hoping for a spectacular sunrise so we set the alarm for 05.15. When we awoke, the cloud coverage was so thick that we quickly gave up on the idea and went back to sleep for a few more hours.

STRONG WINDS AND BIG SWELL

Those clouds at sunrise were only a sign of things to come, and unfortunately, all good things must come to an end – or not, depends on what you prefer – but personally, I’m not too gone on strong winds and big swell... Setting off the next day, it started slowly: a gust of wind here and there, an occasional splash of the water hitting the boat a bit too hard… The landscape in the northern half of the lake is much wilder and the lake is lined with a mixture of forests and agricultural land. There are only a handful of harbour villages and, as a result, there were only a handful of cruiser boats out on the water, who would usually stick to the middle of the lake, making a beeline for Portumna. Lough Derg and the whole of River Shannon is a popular motor boating destination for many people during the summer months. Although there are so many motor boats on the lake, most stick to the main touring routes between the few harbour villages and rarely venture beyond, thus leaving the vast majority of the water free for those looking for a bit of solitude.

We decided to make for the harbour in Garrykennedy for lunch, 10 kilometres south of where we had camped. It turned out to be a serene harbour with freshly cut grass, a proper slipway, toilet facilities and lovely lunch spots. It was time to cook our second signature camping dish: chorizo rice! We sliced six small chorizos and fried them up on a dollop of butter.Then we added long grain rice and a stock cube and covered it all with water. Finally, we added some corn, beans and green pepper on top and left it to simmer for 15 minutes. When the rice was cooked, we mixed some cheddar cheese into the sauce, let it melt and then dished out our delicious dinner! Topped with more cheddar cheese once on the plates, of course.

The sun was shining again, the skies were blue and the birch trees waved their branches when the wind blew… Once again, life was perfect. Until, of course, it was time to get back on the water and we realised that the speed of the wind was after increasing significantly and now coming from the west. Perfect timing? Unfortunately not, as west was exactly where we needed to head! We stayed close to the shore and we fought against the wind and the swell, taking breaks whenever we needed by beaching ourselves in the reeds so that we wouldn’t be blown backwards and lose ground.

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their rocky jetties

We passed plenty of hidden private harbours, people sitting out on reading books – it was quite a fascinating sight


https://goo.gl/maps/cEfj3Ev8gX62

However, once we started heading into the more familiar part of the lake, there was less reeds and more forest with an easily accessible shore.The first thing I thought was, “No reeds means less problems finding a spot for camping for the night!”The shoreline was quite impressive, too. We passed plenty of hidden private harbours, people sitting out on their rocky jetties reading books – it was quite a fascinating sight! Inis Cealtra came into view over to the west in Scariff Bay, a historical monastery site with a round tower that the monks used to use to hide from roaming vikings. Definitely worth a visit, but having been there a few times ourselves, we had no intention of battling the winds for five additional kilometres to go there again. Instead, we had our eyes fixed on somewhere much closer: Scilly Island, a place where we have camped before. Not having to spend time searching for a campsite was also a welcome thought in the current conditions. Crossing a wide body of water can be challenging enough in good weather; it becomes even harder when the conditions are more demanding. It was probably not the worst we have ever experienced but it was definitely the longest paddle in tough conditions that we’ve have ever had to do. Relief is the only word I would use to describe reaching the island. Our relaxing tour weekend down the lake had turned into a ‘slogfest’.

This was the second night we decided to sleep in the hammock and again, we were lucky enough that it didn’t rain that night. Before calling it a night, however, we checked the weather for our last day and it seemed like the wind was going to be 4 m/s heading in the south-west direction and slowly dying down from around lunchtime. As you can imagine, the local weather is quite unpredictable and when we woke up in the morning, nothing was as we’d hoped.

HOWLING WIND

On our third day on Lough Derg, the wind was howling, dark clouds were hanging above our heads and we could see the rain in the distance. We had a quick breakfast made up of pesto and chorizo sandwiches, gathered all our gear, tied it safely in the boat and we set our course for Killaloe. We had 10 kilometres to go and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The wind was blowing right against us, the swell was huge and the waves were crashing against the boat. Suffice to say, I got soaked in the front! But boy, did we have fun.

Watson was on high alert with the noises and smells around him, I was on edge because my muscles were already tired and there was no stopping with the wind… To tell you the truth, when the conditions are like that, even if one of us stops paddling for a few short moments, it doesn’t take much for the wind to turn the boat off course and put us broadside to the chop. Thankfully, we established a good communication system and we stormed through the waves like we were on fire! Even though we would have loved it if the lake was calm, the views that came with the stormy weather were spectacular. The mist and the clouds were still hanging low when we set out... We slowly watched them ascend towards the sky revealing more and more of what lay ahead of us.

The last section of the lake narrows between two mountains, Moylussa on the Clare side and Tountinna on the Tipperary side. By the time we got to the Two Mile Gate, we could see the mountains in the

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ThePADDLER 110 background and all the detail in the fields. It was well into the afternoon before we entered Killaloe and paddled under the bridge in the town. The wind slowed down by then and the rain turned into an occasional drizzle. All seemed so peaceful, a fitting end to our journey

BLUEWAYS IRELAND

Once we passed the bridge, we quickly spotted the canoe racks where we were planning on leaving our boat and gear while we collected our car from the top of the lake in Portumna. As part of an initiative to promote and encourage paddlesports in the area, Blueways Ireland, an organisation responsible for maintaining our national waterways, installed canoe storage racks at certain harbour villages along the lake. They can be used for shuttles or if you want to lock up your canoe and gear securely and go for lunch in one of the harbour villages or even spend the night in a B&B.

All in all, we had a fantastic weekend! Lough Derg is definitely one to recommend. Easy to navigate with plenty of towns and villages to point you in the right direction, as well as many islands to provide shelter when you need one. We will be back again, Lough Derg, and hopefully next time, we might meet someone else canoeing out there!


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S E C O N D

T I M E


NORTH SEA

A R O U N D

C R O S S I N G

By Dimitri Vandepoele After my previous record back in 2015, I had no plans for a second attempt, however, for the past year, the sea began to call again. I waited together with a Spanish team for perfect weather but with no success. It was only this summer, after waiting a few months, that I saw an opportunity.

I had also contact with Eddie and Jens, a German team that had the ambition to attempt to cross the North Sea. We shared information and knowledge and agreed to stay in contact and start together if possible. They would take the same route as I did in 2015.

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We get together during the

evening in Nieuwpoort Harbour on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018. Both the German team and myself had made practically the same navigational planning and we wished each other success – I must say that it was an honour to depart together with them. I said goodbye to my wife and children. My wife, Sylvie, is my support team and keeps contact with Oostende Radio on the Belgian side and the Dover Coastguard on the UK side, both of whom had been informed.

At 01.00 hours (local time), I started from the slipway at Nieuwpoort Harbour, Belgium with some light from the full moon. I started at a pace I could keep up for hours without stopping or resting. When I left the safety of the harbour, all the stress fell away, I felt alive! Although it was too dark to see anything, I knew my way around. This first part was a home run in my backyard so to speak. I chose to leave at that hour because of the tide, I wanted the stream against me during the first six hours along the Belgian coast where it’s less powerful than the UK side, where it’s almost double the speed.

I passed the Trapegeer buoy when the stream was still building up against me. Between there and the next buoy, the DY1, was a real battle. A battle against the tide and a shortage of sleep – I had to be alert for other ships that couldn’t see me. During the night I had only a force 2 headwind but I was relentlessly pushed back by the tidal stream and the wind during the very short breaks. One of the things I enjoyed most was the sunrise – where I took a very short break, so I could watch the sun rising.

When finally arriving at the DY1 buoy it was almost slack water. Taking it easy then was not an option, since I need that advantage badly to reach the final section in time (also tidal stream related). From the DY1 buoy I hopped to the SE Ruytingen buoy and finally the NW Ruytingen

buoy, where the international shipping lane starts. I set course for the WSW Sandettie buoy but noticed my speed was decreased very much due to the stream that still went SW. Soon I made the decision to deviate from the planned route and head towards the Sandettie light ship.

The downside of this plan was that I crossed that part of the shipping lane at a sloping angle instead of as straight a line as possible but I had no other choice because my speed was almost gone, which made a straight crossing of the shipping lane even more dangerous. So, to the

shortage of sleep –

It was a real battle – a battle against the tide and a I had to be alert for other ships that couldn’t see me.

lightship it was! Except for one sailing vessel, I did not pass any commercial shipping on the section. My speed increased and so I took all the advantage I needed to go on.

When reaching the Sandettie lightship I was excited. I always had an interest in ships, beacons, buoys, and now this one was ticked off on my list. The second thing I was excited about was that I could now see the white cliffs of Dover in the distance. The next buoy, SW Sandettie, was close and so was the second section of the shipping lane and I was able to cross it on a straighter line. During the crossing I only saw two merchant ships and leaving the shipping lane behind, I set course to the Goodwin light ship, which was not on my initial plan, but since I deviated I had to adapt.

There was very little tidal stream during that stretch and I reached it without compensating too much. It was slack water, made a little choppy due to the area I was paddling – the Goodwin Sands. I had a last break and made a call with the VHF to the Dover Coastguard to state my position and status.

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My experience from the previous occasion was the last section could be worse due to the wind. The wind was increasing to force 3-4 from the side (WSW) and the current was picking up in the northerly direction. So, I started heading to the harbour of Ramsgate, which I could not see at that point. The waves were present all the time from that point in, due to the current being pushed over the Goodwin Sands and the wind. It decreased the much-needed speed to aim for the harbour and the more I closed in on land, the harder the tidal stream pushed from the port side. With plenty of persistence, I reached Ramsgate Harbour, finally!

My wife and two children were there, waving and yelling. I was relieved, happy, excited, exhausted and had a feeling that I could take on the whole world whilst at the same time being so tired that I could capsize in the blink of an eye. Just to be exact, after greeting my family, I paddled on to the slipway and it was only there that I switched off my GPS. I had paddled 107 kilometres and spent 17 hours and 48 minutes doing so. After taking a shower and eating a hot meal, we returned home by ferry.

My first time in 2015 was perfect, the weather was perfect and the sea was flat. This time the weather was good… but only good – not perfect. No kayaker talks about force 3 or 4 unless you’re on a mission like this one. I could adapt, as I’m used to doing but the constant headwind in the first half but the port side wind on the last section took its toll. I have no regrets, but I had made it more difficult by taking the crossing on during these conditions. Make no mistake, the sea is boss, you’re not! Even with plenty of training and preparation, it’s the sea that will decide whether you’re ready for it, or not.

THANKS

I wish to thank my family from the bottom of my heart for their continuous and unconditional support on all that I do or undertake! Were it not for them, I could not have done the crossing. Thank you, thank you!

Special thanks to the people from Ostend Radio (MRCC Oostende-Belgian Coastguard) and the Dover Coastguard for watching over me during the crossing, again!

The specifications:

Sea kayak: P&H Cetus Mv (customized kevlar-carbon expedition version)

Paddles: VE Explorer (medium blades +plus spare paddle)

Full safety gear including VHF radio, PLB, pyrotechnical flare, ODEO flare, cell phone, first aid kit, repair kit, paddle-float and pump.

Paddle safe and take care of each other on the water!


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MOIDART

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M O O N L I G H T

O N

Story: Angela Ward and Adam Evans Photos: Adam Evans and Angela Ward Day one: Thursday, 29th March 2018 After an uneventful drive up to Glenfinnan, we successfully located our accommodation for the night, a sleeper carriage at the Glenfinnan Railway Museum, barely a few metres from the platform itself. It may not have been Platform 9ž, although the opportunity to spend a night in the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express was enough to convince a 6ft 3in tall man to willingly sleep in a bunk bed which was barely six-foot long.


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After our usual long-haul journey

up to bonny Scotland, we’ve found that it pays to have a good night’s sleep in a dry venue the night before we get onto the water. It means we can add the finishing touches to planning and gear prep. To have hot showers, a dining car and a kitchen for only £15 each was more than perfect.

We shared the accommodation with some other stationary train travellers who had arrived on foot and we swapped stories about our adventures. However, when we told them we would be paddling the length of Loch Shiel, they did say, “You do know it’s a very long way?” as if it would be an impossible task and then asked, “Is there anything to see at the end of Loch Shiel?” I’m not sure what they would expect to see there – Sydney Opera House perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically…?

Considering the variable nature of Scottish weather, we’d be grateful to have good visibility of anything really!

DAY TWO

After a cosy night in the miniature bunk-beds, we headed for the Glenfinnan Tourist Information Office. Under the curious gaze of tourists at the Glenfinnan Monument, we met up once again with Colin Skeath MBE, who had kindly agreed to help us with car shuttles, in return for cake and marzipan delights.

After an evening meal of cheese, croissants and a bottle of Tempranillo, we spent the night in our ‘compact bijou residence’, with me on the top bunk and the manchild snoring down below.


Whilst Adam and Colin shot off in convoy to Castle Tioram, at the far end of the Shiel and Moidart system, I kept myself occupied by chatting to the car park attendant and sharing my impressive knowledge about Harry Potter with the unsuspecting tourists who were hoping to catch a glimpse of Hogwarts’ Express steaming and clattering across the Glenfinnan Viaduct in all its glory.

Whilst enjoying some active relaxation in the sunshine, i.e sprawling on the grass whilst drinking coffee, I had a brief chat with Sir Ray Goodwin by FB Messenger. He cheekily suggested that I should paddle off with Adam’s boat in tow so that he’d have to swim to catch up and then told me to stop procrastinating, which was good timing as the shuttle vehicle boys had now returned.

The fellas duly returned at around 11.30 hours and there was a jovial exchange of greetings and Easter gifts. We presented Colin with an assortment of pirate-themed plasters, (perfect for a nautical first aid kit) and a box of Niederegger marzipan miniatures. In return we received two pieces of Simnel cake which had been made by Colin's mum. I'm not sure if marzipan features regularly as a food choice for expedition, paddlers although I think it should.

As Adam and I portaged our boats and kit past the Glenfinnan Monument, I think that we may have become temporary tourist attractions. I received a compliment about my, “Very nice hat,” which makes a refreshing change from the usual comment, “Look at that man in the big boat.” Clearly wearing a 15foot canoe on my head enhances my femininity. If only I was as pretty as Adam, this confusion would never arise.

After a relatively short portage, by our standards, we were organised and set up our sailing rigs in order to maximise the gentle breeze. In typical fashion, the wind dropped almost immediately and we reverted to paddle power. Within a very short space of time, the wind picked up yet again so we quickly set up our sails, steering lazily using our Downcreek WW Big Dippers, the wind nudging our sails from behind, like a kindly hand hurrying us along.

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ThePADDLER 122 We sailed effortlessly until the sun began to fall and then found camp near Gaskan Woods.

Making the best of the crisp dry air and to savour the view, we sat outside cooking some fine good, courtesy again of ‘Angela’s Paddle Exped Catering Services.’ Ribeye steaks and sliced potatoes sizzled in a cast-iron skillet atop of an ethical ‘leave no trace’ firebox. We relaxed on the warm shingle beach, smoke from the fire cooking and flavouring our fried potatoes, which was duly wafted away by the evening breeze.

In the far distance, we spied two canoes coming towards us, easily visible thanks to their vibrant Endless River sails. Colin had mentioned that two of his friends were also planning a Shiel trip that weekend. By the power of my camera zoom and a photo message to Colin, we were able to confirm that they were indeed his friends Martin and Nikki.

DAY THREE

Whilst we cooked breakfast, the brisk morning wind encouraged us to huddle behind large rocks on the shoreline of the loch. It was dry, which was a blessing, but to sit mid-wind would have been a bitter start after the already crisp night. Wood smoke scented pancakes from the open fire set us up perfectly for the chilly day ahead. We had no particular itinerary for the day except to simply enjoy being on the water. All too often, we complete trips with the agenda of getting from A to B as if it is merely a task to be completed. It’s far more satisfying to take the time to explore rather than potentially miss the secret little locations, which definitely warrant a closer look.


Kit packed up and all trace of our presence cleared away, we hoisted our sails and set off on a brisk and moody day, our boats effortlessly carving turns in the breeze. Bearing left around the meandering peaty pools of the River Polloch, we weaved between low overhanging branches until the water became so shallow than it flowed between the pebbles rather than over them. To our right, as if by design, lay a long log on its shingle beach which would make for a perfect natural seat. Set back and slightly elevated from the river, we found a small tipi-sized area of flat land, encircled by the heather. It would have been rude not to make use of such a perfect location. We set up camp quickly and making the most of the remaining hours of daylight, the exploration continued on foot to Loch Doilet. Not for any particular reason other than to sit for a while and possibly skim a stone or two and as we walked back to our tipi, the sun slowly began to set.

As the night drew in, we enjoyed another ribeye steak cooked over an open fire, surrounded by moonlight starry skies. The temperature had slowly been dropping and our boats and paddles were now covered with a thin layer of frost. Despite this, we remained warm with bellies full of food, excellent insulated jackets, our winter paddling hats and our small yet efficient fire. After our previous trip from Rannoch Moor to Perth in March 2017 which involved paddling through a blizzard and camping in sub-zero temperatures, this night felt almost tropical!

Despite the cold air and clouds, everything was dry, even down to the long grass and the twigs in the trees. It made sense to practice the ‘old ways’ and coax a fire from a single spark onto a charcloth, using natural flint and iron strikers. Coaxing and blowing the ember onto the tinder, we had a crackling fire going within minutes, upon which we could cook in a leisurely fashion.

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DAY FOUR

Hot Aches! That’s what you get from folding frozen canvas in the morning whilst taking down the camp. The trick is to keep active and ignore the pain. Unless of course you’re the type who likes pain! It had been a very cold night with ice building up around the hoods of our sleeping bags, which thankfully now thawed in the rising sun on a bright blue Spring morning sky, peppered with gorgeous fluffy white clouds.

Carving our canoes around the gentle meanders of the River Polloch and down onto Loch Shiel, we made a brief stop on Eilean Finnan before heading off to civilisation, i.e the village of Acharacle. We decided to stow our boats and potter along to the pub, as obviously one of the major rules of expedition paddling is not to miss the opportunity of using a ‘porcelain throne’.

The staff welcomed us very warmly and a stranger playing darts with his friends greeted us with a grand hello and insisted he buy us both a drink. Now usually I wouldn’t accept drinks from a stranger but it would have been rude to refuse a wee dram.

Not being a connoisseur of whisky, I opted for a ‘Tobermoray' based solely on the fact that I used to enjoy watching the Wombles as a child. Adam had a ‘Knockando’ because of the fond memories of paddling Knockando Rapids on the Spey with me in September 2015.


The written descriptions of flavour were far more poetic. “Knockando. The 2003 vintage of Knockando’s season bottling. Aged in bourbon casks for 12 years, this is light and fruity” and “Tobermoray has come a long way since previous years. It has a full body, powerful taste of salty toffee, smoky vanilla with a hint of orange peel.” Personally, I think Adam just liked the idea of trying ‘light and fruity’. The pub seemed like the perfect location to reflect upon the last time I’d experienced the Shiel in 2014 and to compare then with now.Then, I was a novice tandem paddler. Now, I’m a competent solo paddler. I have fond memories of my first visit but revisiting really reminded me of how very far I’ve come in canoeing, both metaphorically and in reality.

It was also the perfect location to look at the tide tables and check the weather forecast for the days ahead. We also identified on the map where there were possible camping locations. We’d need flat land, good shelter and sources of fresh water because we obviously wouldn’t be able to draw drinking water from Loch Moidart.

The plan was to time our transition from the River Shiel onto the salty waters of Loch Moidart when the tide was in, which would save time and effort at the end of a long day. We accomplished this perfectly as there were barely a few riffles to demarcate where the river met the sea. Back in 2014, the tide was out and all the boats had to be lined down the channel as the tidal drop was deemed too risky to paddle by our group leader. I’d never witnessed lining before and never knew such a thing was possible. While the rest of the group ate their lunch, I stood and watched from the small wooden bridge, transfixed by several fully-laden boats being carefully guided down the cascading rocky waters.

The weather forecast was crucial. There was a possibility of strong winds and snow over the next few days and this obviously would have a bearing on our plans.

As the light began to fade, we paddled around the coastline in search of a suitable location to pitch the tipi. Scouting from the water, many locations looked great but as we went on a closer recce, frustratingly they were boggy, rocky or too uneven to sleep on. As the tide was receding, we also didn’t relish the prospect of being stuck on mud flats, hundreds of metres from the shore.

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ThePADDLER 126 It’s at times like this that we ask ourselves, “Why can’t a wilderness adventure be easy, safe and accessible?” Of course we know the answer. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

As we paddled onwards into Faodhail Dubh, we found a well-sheltered spit of land tucked at the very end of the loch.There was just enough room for our tipi and two large canoes. In true bushcraft style, fresh running water had to be found. Digging down to create a catch pool deep enough to help the silt settle, we filled every water bottle and bag that we’d brought. If the weather came which was forecast, we could have been pinned in for 48 hours. going to be alright.

Our chosen location afforded us access to a minor road which was within walking distance. We felt this was prudent just in case the predicted bad weather closed in upon us, making it too unsafe to paddle. It would have been a bit of a trek back to Castle Tioram to collect the car although perfectly doable if necessary.

There was also the promise of snow too, so filling up water supplies now meant spending less time filling up later in the cold.

There’s something incredibly reassuring about a solid tent on a solid pitch with fresh water nearby and a supply of great food, or as Adam would probably say, “A smorgasbord of salivatory nibbles.” It brings with it a tremendous sense of calm. We just knew everything was going to be ok, no matter what Mother Nature may decide to throw at us.

Part two in the winter issue.


SILVERBIRCHCANOES.COM


NORTH

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M A P P I N G

T H E

By Richard Harpham Photos: Ashley Kenlock and Richard Harpham I am not sure at what age I developed a love of exploring and in particular maps, certainly it has been there since childhood.The eclectic mix of symbols, colours and landscape presented in a ‘flat pack’ format provide a fuel for wanderlust, travel and journeys. So you can imagine our excitement when our Canadian paddling friends Hap and Andrea Wilson invited us to join them on a trip of a lifetime to Northern Manitoba, to map the North Seal River.The goal was to open up this majestic landscape to others by creating detailed notes and guidance for canoe trips, wild camping and breaking trail.

To our knowledge, the North Seal River had been paddled once in 2006 by a small group, from Egenolf Lake down to join the Seal River on Shethanei Lake (a 100 miles of wilderness paddling). This area is home to some of the best fishing in the world at Gangler’s Lodge as well as plenty of wildlife with the Caribou migration, moose, bear and wolves. There was also the promise of extraordinary geographical features left from the last ice age with glaciers forming huge elevated sand bars called eskers, as well as giant rocks called erratics. We were hooked and could not wait to catch up with our travel buddies!

Our destination was 250 miles from the nearest road and definitely a wilderness picture postcard scene. Located just below the Arctic tundra, Northern Manitoba is within striking distance of Churchill and the polar bear viewing experiences. Gangler’s Fishing Lodges are recognized as one of the top 10 fishing locations in the world for huge cold water species such as Pike and Trout with over 5,000,000 acres of adventure playground to explore. Ganglers have been stewards of this area for decades and are transforming their ‘bucket list’ destination into an adventure tour operator.They have added canoes, kayaks, Salsa fat bikes and ecological tours to their programme. As an experienced wilderness outfitter they have a network of lodges and float planes and boats to travel the huge expanse of lakes and river systems.


SEAL R I V E R

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Taking off from Winnipeg we were buzzing with excitement to break trail and explore the river. We landed on a dirt runway with a jolt, literally the strip had been carved out of the boreal forest. Ken Gangler met us with a friendly smile and we were off to the lodge to get orientated to our new temporary home. Gangler’s main lodge is nestled on the shore of the lake with the Robertson Esker running adjacent (one of the world’s longest eskers at 300km long). We had a couple of days to sort kit and assemble the Pakboats, a skin on frame canoe.The Pakboats were made of a robust rubberized material with tough aluminium tubing but retained a lightweight and robust stature. We took the opportunity to get out on the fat bikes which proved perfect for the sandy/gravel terrain. Having previously cycled the Sahara on a fatbike it was great to be reacquainted with my old friend. Time passed quickly checking kit, stores and our route and after another fat bike sojourn to the erratics we were ready to hit the trail. Ken’s guides took us to the North Seal head waters as it escaped from Egenolf Lake, named after a missionary priest who had arrived their many moons ago. The water was clear and cold and already thickening as the ‘fall’ temperatures prepared to relinquish these vast lands to the grip of another Canadian winter. Jamie and Sangadore, the local first nation guides, expertly navigated the lake and connecting creeks to a beach to abandon us for our 12-day expedition.

The air was crisp and we admired our smokey breath in the morning sunlight. Frost blanketed our Pakboats adding to the authenticity of our endeavours. This was the real deal, navigating by Canadian topographic maps, which did little to tell us of the river features and conditions. Hap had diligently studied Google Earth to try and determine river channels and flows and had studious notes on each section. Essentially it was a ‘scout it’ or ‘read and run’ option on each rapid. This of course is how original map makers, adventurers and explorers would have approached such journeys. Game on!

Hauling the Pakboats on the North Seal River

The local guides departed and an echoing silence remained, our omnipresent companion for the next two weeks. We loaded our Pakboats observing a mountain of kit, food, tents, bags, shot gun, cameras and more besides. Fully laden we left the beach to head 4km down the lake and onto to moving water. Or so we thought. Unusually low rainfall meant no flow and we were left with a rock garden as far as the eye could see.

BACK BREAKING WORK

We rolled up our proverbial sleeves and got to work ‘man and women hauling’ the heavy Pakboats through the boulders and rock gardens. The morning sun added to the warmth from back breaking work. We managed the additional complication of extremely slippery and treacherous rocks with the risk of broken ankles and ending the trip on day one.

Black flies and mosquitoes seemed overly interested in our bare skin and fresh blood. Every so often hope emerged of a clear channel and a chance to paddle rather than carry, portage and drag our canoes. Each of us ended up on our knees and backsides on numerous occasions. We cleared some channels by literally moving rocks to create flow – It was back breaking work, almost leading to sense of humour failure. Periodically we found open traces of water allowing us to paddle for 50 metres or so. We were joined by an adolescent otter fishing and skipping from rock to rock.

After five hours of toil, we approached the confluence of the river where the parched river bed began to open up with little sections of swifts but once it joined forces with its bigger relative it was a full blown river with ‘pin hazard’s and serious flow. We paddled down into a sandy lake with tree-lined shores overlooked by another massive esker. By the time we reached the shore I knew I had a problem with my feet submerged in eight inches of cold water. We had holed our canoe.

We made camp dodging more flies and got a fire going and tucked into great food on the trail. The next morning we received a ‘flyby’ from the bush pilots


Fire in the sky Blackfish Lake

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The sail crew at the ready on the North Seal River

Snow on the beach at Stoney Lake


heading out for some interpretive tours. We completed a repair on the canoe and repacked carefully lacing back the spray deck as we had Grade 2 rapids ahead. We were definitely meeting the criteria of ‘far from help’ which added equal tension and excitement. Half way across the lake we were still taking on water and concluded we must have missed another tear or rip.

We were committed to running the white water so had to ‘read and run’ the rapids, bailing the rising tide where possible. We broke out into an eddy to scout the rapid, which was identified as bigger and lying on a left-hand bend in the river. Dancing plumes of white water and spray confirmed we needed to paddle to the left of the main wave train before traversing to river left when we ran the rapid. The bow paddlers, Andrea and Ash respectively, received a deluge of cold water so more bailing was required.

PLUMMETING TEMPERATURES

Hap and Andrea running a Grade 2 rapid 2

We paddled to a lakeside fish camp and emptied the canoes again of kit to allow us to find more holes. We found one in the bow that looked like a bullet hole along with several other snags. The repair kit earned its keep and we were on our way. Our second campsite on Blackfish Lake was excellent with good shelter, which was lucky as northern winds meant plummeting temperatures.

Rain turned to sleet and then snow. It seemed the season was changing earlier than expected. Our fire offered some escape from the bitter cold as we prepared more camp delicacies. The skies darkened, then cleared, paving the way for a most extraordinary light show with the northern lights showing their true colours. We felt incredibly small, blessed and spiritually connected to this wilderness.

Morning revealed frozen tents. We braved the cold to paddle through more river and lake onto Bain Lake where we would hopefully find a fishing outpost and more eskers to explore. It was lovely to be able to enjoy the comforts of cabin life with some heating to combat the winter chill. Strong winds brought more sleet and snow. This was turning into quite the adventure. We were blessed with more incredible Northern Lights and a full dusting of snow with several inches settling. We concluded it was time to hunker down and await a better weather window. The following day arrived and it was time to leave Bain Lake to continue scouting the river.

We navigated across large open water channels literally surfing down the waves as we battled the elements in another Force 4-5. Our campsite this time was a headland offering sublime views over our watery world. Flocks of snow geese highlighted the change in weather fortunes as they noisily signalled the need to fly south. That evening Hap caught a cold water pike for supper, which we baked on our altar fire. It was delicious and a real treat. More lakes, swifts and rapids greeted our voyage as we paddled on. We had connected with wildlife on the trip on a daily basis, there were plenty of moose and given the lack of human contact they were unperturbed by our presence. Bears also shared our route both on the eskers and also along the river and foreshore. Like so many of my Canadian Adventures I marvelled at being up close to these magnificent creatures.

TIME TO SAIL

The weather continued to deteriorate with regular snow showers and head winds hampering our progress. We reached Stoney Lake and rafted our Pakboats to stay safe. Immersion in these cold waters would be a serious incident. With a shift in wind direction it was time to sail. We utilized our tarp and cruised down the waves with a tail wind. Dark and stormy skies meant it was time to get off the water. We made camp and just in a nick of time as a full blizzard ensued. The beach and trees literally transformed from golden sands to white snow in minutes. Tent bound we waited as temperatures dropped again. Northern Lights by now a regular occurrence, wowed us again.

Shethanei Lake was in striking distance with a 14mile stretch of the North Seal River remaining with solid Grade 3 rapids between us and float plane extraction with hopes of a hot shower occupying our thoughts. This was the pinnacle of our canoe expedition. Since every rapid had been bigger than anticipated, we decided the rafted canoe was safest. As we entered the channel it seemed to just drop away with much steeper fall. This was it, the white knuckle ride we had all come for. It was continuous and full on as we ran the main flow. The mid-section had a large pool before the next section of white water. The wave trains were huge with a very wet ride for the bow paddlers.

DRUMLINOID

We steered through large holes in the whitewater and navigated past huge boulders. Lower down the rapid it was shallower and we grounded on some flat slabs. The final 5-6km of the river was fast but flat, it slowed as we entered Shethanei Lake, being greeted by an inquisitive seal. The landscape was vast and in the distance we could make out a triangular grey structure looking distinctly out of place. It was a drumlinoid, a huge pile of rocks resembling a bizarre pyramid shape. It was visited by Samuel Hearne in 1769, explorer and factor of the Hudson Bay Company whilst searching for copper deposits. After a tough final days paddling we camped at the same site as our ancestor. It was a great connection to our past.

Our last camp exposed a range of emotions. We were keen to get a shower and some home comforts but we would be sad to leave this incredible wilderness. We awoke the next morning and climbed the Drumlinoid to get the sunrise picture – it was a special moment. All that remained was to strike camp and paddle the last couple of miles to the rendezvous with the floatplane. We scheduled the extraction for 12 noon and packed kit for departure. Anxiously we watched the wind strengthen as white caps tracked across the lake. Eventually we heard the rumble of the Otter bush plane which banked and landed neatly on the lake and then proceeded to battle to manoeuvre to the beach area. We waded out planning to hold the plane for loading. The pilot struggled with the combination of gusts and rocks in the shallows on the left side. He clunked the sponson on one of them and decided to abort. We were beyond disappointment as he powered up and departed 100 miles back to base.

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ThePADDLER 134 Richard Harpham is a human powered adventurer and inspirational speaker who has completed over 10,000 miles of expeditions by kayak, canoe, bike and on foot including exploring the Yukon, cycling the Sahara and Canada’s Inside Passage. At home he runs www.canoetrail.co.uk, a watersports and adventure business with his wife Ashley in Bedfordshire providing qualifications, canoe camping, coaching and paddling trips to some of the UK’s and world’s best locations.

Hap Wilson is a prolific writer, wilderness explorer and canoe guide. Hap and his wife Andrea run Cabin Falls Eco-Lodge in Ontario. He is as an environmental activist and had written many guide books sharing his knowledge of wilderness paddling by canoe, on foot and snow shoe. Hap is a self-taught writer, photographer and artist and is one of North America’s best known wilderness guides and received the Bill Mason Award for services to conservation. Hap is supported by Swift Canoes. You can follow Hap and Andrea at www.hapwilson.com

What followed was a frantic few hours trying to sort out an extraction plan. Snow returned to add pressure to the situation. It became clear we were stranded for at least another night. The weather forecast was not good and we were anxious if we missed extraction the next day we might well be creating a potential rescue. Winter was https://goo.gl/maps/xjt9hjzD3YR2 approaching fast and we definitely didn’t want to miss Gangler’s weekly flight and UK flights the back water will undoubtedly open up more visitors to following day. explore and marvel at its untamed beauty.To our We walked the esker tracking wolf activity back to knowledge only the previous canoe expedition had a live den. That evening we heard the wolf chorus made this journey, which put us in a privileged select howling behind our camp. It was touch and go for few. Potentially more people (12) have walked on the moon than currently paddled the North Seal River. a while as planes are a rare commodity in the

north. The next day, Matt, a Brit pilot landed and taxied into the other side of the spit becoming our new best friend. We had made huge rock piles to tether the plane to the shore whilst loading in strong winds and used tarps to help signal our position. We waded out and loaded our mini mountain of kit. Using Matt’s words, “Two small bumps and we will be airborne.” He was as good as his word.

Our North Seal River expedition had delivered raw wild adventure on a daily basis with extraordinary rich colours of the boreal forest during autumn. We had battled freezing winter conditions, big white water rapids and strong winds to complete our mission. We had photographed and documented some iconic paddling trips for future visitors and generations to explore this pristine environment. Hopefully we had created a paddling legacy and added a layer of detail and inspiration to the maps. With its eskers, unique history and abundant wildlife, Northern Manitoba was firmly in our hearts and future plans.

A massive thanks to Gangler’s Adventures and Manitoba Tourism for hosting us and sorting our logistics. Mapping this unique and remote Canadian

Visit https://ganglersadventures.com/ to create your bespoke adventure tour.

A million thanks to Pakboats for supporting the expedition with their amazing wilderness canoes. Thanks also to Canadian Affair for helping with our flights to Canada over the years. The rescuers

He is the former editor of Bushcraft and Survival Magazine and writes for Outdoor Adventure Guide, MoD’s Resettlement magazine and the Paddler magazine. His adventures are supported by: Flint Group, Paramo Clothing, Olympus Cameras,Valley Sea Kayaks, Silverbirch Canoes, Bamboo Clothing, MSR, Canadian Affair, Osprey Rucksacks, Extreme Adventure Foods, Air North, Reed Chillcheater and Exposure Lights. You can follow his adventures through social media & @ www.richadventure.com

A POTENTIAL RESCUE


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Fun in the sun

Since 2001 Tailor-made Canoeing, Kayaking & Rafting Holidays

www.seakayakgreece.com

FORT WILLIAM Self-catering – Groups or individuals – Home comforts – Excellent drying rooms – Twin and four-person bedrooms – Parking for trailers – 26 beds

www.windowsonthewild.com 020 8742 1556

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info@fortwilliamholiday.co.uk www.fortwilliamholiday.co.uk

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insurance

Quick and simple - at the touch of a button

www.craftinsure.com or call: 03452 607888

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Sea Kayak Guides Wanted Must be BCU 4* Sea / BUC 3*Sea with leader qualification (or equivalent). For more information contact Cornil

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To advertise email: ads@thepaddlerezine.com or call +44 (0)1480 465081

SM SMITHS SMITH SMIT SMI

of the Forest of Dean Ltd. The Tank and Drum Experts

New & recycled lockable plas c containers for canoe safes etc. Available from stock. Also recycled steel drums for pontoons.

Collect from our Gloucestershire depot or na onwide delivery available. Illustration courtesy of Jan Bloch Photography Visit www.smdd.co.uk or call on 01594 833308.


Sea Kayaking Kefalonia Ionian Sea, Greece www.seakayakingkefalonia.com

Day-trips around Kefalonia, multi-day trips in Kefalonia, Ithaca and all central Ionian, BCU courses, accommodation

thepaddlermag.com/algarve-south-coast-of-portugal/

Explore Jersey by sea kayak Guided tours, courses and offshore trips. Open all year. Sea kayaks and sit-on-tops available.

Call: +44 (0) 7797 853033

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SUP Mag UK’s October issue is now alive, kicking and ready to order in print… AN ADVENTURE TO THE REMOTE

BROUGHTON ARCHIPELAGO

I live in Vancouver BC and I am passionate about SUP touring. There’s nothing I love more in life than paddling to a remote island, harvesting seafood from the area and cooking it over a campfire and sleeping on the beach. So in the last four years I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into island chains and exploring the coastline with my SUP board.

Word and pics: Aya Kristina Engel

My reason to SUP: freedom, healthy for my body and the best views! The feeling I had the first time I did an over night paddle trip was akin to that feeling when you get your first car. A giant new found sense of freedom. I can go anywhere, whenever I want feeling! Except this one is on water with no ‘lanes’, less rules and more beaches. I love paddling on my SUP board because it’s so versatile. I find when I’m doing distance paddling in a kayak, my back gets stiff and cramps. On my SUP board, I can move my body in a more ergonomical way that feels good. I can rotate from standing, sitting or kneeling. Also, when you’re standing on SUP you get a way better view of the wildlife beneath you. I have now paddled over the top of orcas, humpbacks, seals, sea lions, and dolphins – and saw them all while standing on my board.

Our goal: Broughton Archipelago This summer, my friends and I (Ariane Tasca and Valtteri Rantala) decided to go to the northern tip of Vancouver Island to a place called the Broughton Archipelago. It should be noted that most Canadians have no idea where this is or have never heard of it – it is that remote. We chose this location due to its immense whale activity. We wanted to paddle with whales… and did we ever! s

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Our final issue for 2018 covering all the latest features, stories, interviews and gossip. Whatever style of riding floats your boat (or board), your perfect SUP magazine is available – posted straight to your door. Printed on top quality paper and perfect bound and with so much awesome content from the UK and further afield, SUP Mag UK is your perfect SUP companion.

To subscribe to the digital copy with approx 60% savings over the print issue: https://joom.ag/YksY S t a n d

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P a d d l e

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ads@thepaddlerezine.com

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To buy a printed issue on top quality paper with varnished gloss perfect bound covers please visit: http://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/subscribe/

LENNY'S WORLD Kai Lenny in profile PLASTIC PATROL Lizzie Carr interview DOUBLE TAP SUP surfing knowledge THAMES FIRST The London Crossing AQUA INC Behind the brand

The printed paper copy costs £7.49 inc P&P for a single issue or £27.99 inc P&P for a subscription of four magazines.

SUP CHALLENGES with Sam Wilson CLAIRE GLASBY photographer profile SUP X white water frolics

ISSN 2397-8597 October 2018

+ TONY BAIN'S SUP KNOWLEDGE SUP GEAR TEST REPORTS TRAVEL INSPIRATION PLUS MUCH MORE!…

To advertise email:

thepaddlermag.com/douro-river-in-portugal/

Please contact us: 01480 465081 Email: anne@supmaguk.co.uk

or call

+44 (0)1480 465081

To advertise email: ads@thepaddlerezine.com or call +44 (0)1480 465081

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“To help an individual discover their own physical, mental and spiritual potential.” With these words, Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre, was established, starting a 70-year history, which has seen thousands of students of all ages and backgrounds, either start their outdoor adventures, or turn their passion into a career.

By Dan Gavere Photos: Toby Bromwich Paddling whitewater on a SUP has many challenges but the payoffs are big and we’re seeing growth in the whitewater part of the sport for several very easy to recognize reasons.

1. Compared to kayaking, SUP is much less intimidating when it comes to getting on the river, plus the barrier for entry is safer and generally easier to learn. When it comes to capsizing, being on a SUP is so much easier, safer and less disorientating than being upside down in a kayak, especially when paddling rocky rapids where striking your head and face is obviously a concern. On a SUP you flip it over, crawl back on and keep going. In a kayak when you flip over and cannot roll up or miss your roll, it can be a hard slog to get to the river bank and at times takes a rescue from others as well on the side.       2. Many paddling locations and outfits have embraced SUP with professional instruction making the beginner stages easier and more fun.   3. There are more and more experienced SUP paddlers looking to expand their SUP adventures each year. 4. There are so many great locations near urban areas, from purpose-built whitewater play parks to natural flowing rivers through towns all over the world, especially in mountain towns. It’s natural for the people who are watching and witnessing the fun paddlers are having to be saying to themselves, “That looks like fun, I can do that.”

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RIVER RUNNING

The current state of the whitewater SUP niche seems to be the river running aspect and the adventure of paddling down rivers from point A to point B. River running combines SUP paddling with an exploratory nature and a sense of companionship, since there’s a shuttle involved, which means it takes two vehicles leaving one at the take-out and loading up the other to get to the putin, very similar to kayaking of course. 

Again, similar to kayaking, this naturally makes it more social and SUP paddlers seem to really enjoy that aspect in contrast to ocean surfing, which is generally a more individualistic activity. Social and print media has also helped the sport of whitewater SUP to get to where it is now, as readers take onboard where and what to paddle.  

I personally believe the whole river and whitewater community has embraced it for the most part (some kayakers may still call it beater boarding or fall down paddle boarding) but for me this community of river lovers is bursting with paddlers willing to try new ways of descending the rapids. Besides the board and paddle, the cost for entry is generally cheaper too as those already into river running in kayaks already have most of the gear needed (PFD, helmet, dry or wetsuit, river shoes, etc).

INFLATABLES

Lately, I have seen whitewater SUP growing with raft guides looking for something to do after working on the river during the day and with experienced kayakers who have observed it and want to give it a go. Currently, the most popular and logical technology is with inflatable boards (iSUPs), as they are super durable, quite stiff utilizing the drop stitch technology and usually constructed in five or six-inch thicknesses. 


The most popular and common size for a dedicated whitewater board is 9.6” x 36” x 6” as this provides a super stable platform, inspiring confidence and the feeling of true stability. The same basic safety gear is mandatory as is used in kayaking and rafting, which includes a minimum of helmet and whitewater PFD (not an inflatable!) for the obvious reasons. A good pair of river shoes and knee/chin pads are also highly recommended as part of a whitewater SUP kit.  

PLAY PARKS

The future of whitewater SUP I believe could include a possible international race circuit or a World Championships. I also think we will see 20-30 foot waterfalls being landed in the next two or three years. Then there’s the whole river surfing angle to think of as well, which is definitely going to help this niche grow in the future with a large part of that growth from the construction of new play parks such as the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon, Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Idaho, plus those in the UK at Surf Snowdonia in Wales and The Wave in Bristol and the plethora of great park and play river waves that are currently being constructed all around the globe on every continent. 

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This offers people who live good distances from the ocean, the opportunity to surf and connect with the lifestyle of surfing, which is always a positive aspect especially for kids and young adults who are more and more challenged to step away from their electronics and step back into nature. I hope that more school programs will offer this in the future and we see more initiatives like Kelly’s Whitewater Academy, who offer whitewater SUP programs for kids each summer. 

Looking forward I am excited to postulate about the possibilities and I haven’t ruled out the possibility of an Olympic bid as whitewater SUP X is probably the most exciting aspect of SUP racing to watch, with the advantage that the summer Olympic venues already have the facilities.  

Watch this space.

Dan Gavere lives in Hood River Oregon. Sponsors include: ION Products, Croakies, Outside Van, Dragon Alliance, Werner Paddles, Exwayusa, www.dangavere.com danyak101 on instagram.


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Words: Tony Marsh Photos: Tony Marsh, Eaglesnest Photography & Anthony Ing Tony Marsh from standuppaddleboarduk.com gives us a brief description of SUP-X in the UK. Not sure? Then read on to find out more.

Some of the joy of SUP is its variety. The sport means many different things to many different people. Some people take to the waves or take on expeditions in far flung places. Others enjoy the thrill of racing or just playing out on the water. After all there is nothing half as much worth doing as simply messing about in boats (or on boards). Then there are the ones who take on the challenge of the river and when that isn’t enough, spice things up with SUP-X (SUP Cross).

The brain-child of Mark Price from Saltwalk SUP, Anthony Ing and Barry Hughes (Desperate Measures and Nottingham Whitewater SUP), SUP-X is a mass start whitewater race following a set course, often including a number of action gates such as tapping a target with a blade. The events are run with a number of heats to sort out finalists, who then do battle for the crown.

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ThePADDLER 144 MILE END MILL, LLANGOLLEN

The weekend of 14-15th July 2018 saw paddlers from across the country descend on Mile End Mill, Llangollen for the Welsh Whitewater SUP Fest and the Welsh round of the SUP-X race series hosted by Stand Up Paddle Board UK and Anthony Ing.

The event was attended by a mix of paddlers, some of whom had never tried moving water on a board before but had heard of the event and wanted to give it a go. Thankfully the nerves soon settled as the more experienced paddlers offered a warm welcome and plenty of support.

Saturday started with a workshop titled, ‘Speed is Your Friend’. Using dry land and wet drills Anthony explained how the right stroke at the right time and with the right amount of power and pressure through the feet could see you safely through river features.There then followed a tour of the course and an open practice session putting those new skills into use.

FOUR PADDLERS IN A HEAT

As the afternoon started so did the SUP-X event. Four paddlers in a heat, all running the same course at the same time through the main drops, eddies and across the current to an upstream finish at the beach. It soon became clear that anything could and would happen and those who looked like favourites would often be overtaken as the flow got the better of them. What made the event special was not only the cheers from the bank but the cheers from the other boarders on (and often in) the water with you.

The men’s competition saw Anthony Ing take first, with Will Evans second. Third place was Doug Jardine. In the ladies event, Katie Simmons was first, second place was Emma Cornes and third place Nicky Marsh. An inspiration award was presented to Dave Cardwell who proved to all that SUP is for everyone.

Sunday saw paddlers take on a descent of the Dee from Horseshoe Falls to Mill End Mill. The sun shone as the group negotiated the rapids of Chain Bridge and Serpents Tail. Dean Jeffries running a series of successful laps through Serpents was something to behold and drew the admiration of the kayakers and canoeists also tackling that rapid.

The competition format ensured that every paddler competed in numerous runs as competitors got knocked out through the heats and the finalists determined. The grand final was a close run event with paddlers giving their all to try and win the day.

It was an amazing weekend for paddlers and spectators alike, and I would like to thank the organisers, Palm Equipment and Water Kills Academy for sponsoring the event and the White Water SUP UK community for all they did.

The grand final wasn’t the end of the day though. Once dry and recovered, a barbecue and live music from The Cazadors moved the camaraderie off the river to the campsite, as the podium places were announced.

Contact http://standuppaddleboarduk.com or find the White Water SUP UK or Nottingham White Water SUP Facebook groups: www.facebook.com/nottswwsup/

LIVE MUSIC

FIND OUT MORE


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SUP Mag UK’s October issue is now alive, kicking and ready to order in print… AN ADVENTURE TO THE REMOTE

BROUGHTON ARCHIPELAGO

I live in Vancouver BC and I am passionate about SUP touring. There’s nothing I love more in life than paddling to a remote island, harvesting seafood from the area and cooking it over a campfire and sleeping on the beach. So in the last four years I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into island chains and exploring the coastline with my SUP board.

Word and pics: Aya Kristina Engel

My reason to SUP: freedom, healthy for my body and the best views! The feeling I had the first time I did an over night paddle trip was akin to that feeling when you get your first car. A giant new found sense of freedom. I can go anywhere, whenever I want feeling! Except this one is on water with no ‘lanes’, less rules and more beaches. I love paddling on my SUP board because it’s so versatile. I find when I’m doing distance paddling in a kayak, my back gets stiff and cramps. On my SUP board, I can move my body in a more ergonomical way that feels good. I can rotate from standing, sitting or kneeling. Also, when you’re standing on SUP you get a way better view of the wildlife beneath you. I have now paddled over the top of orcas, humpbacks, seals, sea lions, and dolphins – and saw them all while standing on my board.

Our goal: Broughton Archipelago This summer, my friends and I (Ariane Tasca and Valtteri Rantala) decided to go to the northern tip of Vancouver Island to a place called the Broughton Archipelago. It should be noted that most Canadians have no idea where this is or have never heard of it – it is that remote. We chose this location due to its immense whale activity. We wanted to paddle with whales… and did we ever! s

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Our final issue for 2018 covering all the latest features, stories, interviews and gossip. Whatever style of riding floats your boat (or board), your perfect SUP magazine is available – posted straight to your door. Printed on top quality paper and perfect bound and with so much awesome content from the UK and further afield, SUP Mag UK is your perfect SUP companion.

To subscribe to the digital copy with approx 60% savings over the print issue: https://joom.ag/YksY S t a n d

U p

P a d d l e

M a g

U K

To buy a printed issue on top quality paper with varnished gloss perfect bound covers please visit: http://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/subscribe/

LENNY'S WORLD Kai Lenny in profile PLASTIC PATROL Lizzie Carr interview DOUBLE TAP SUP surfing knowledge THAMES FIRST The London Crossing AQUA INC Behind the brand

The printed paper copy costs £7.49 inc P&P for a single issue or £27.99 inc P&P for a subscription of four magazines.

SUP CHALLENGES with Sam Wilson CLAIRE GLASBY photographer profile SUP X white water frolics

ISSN 2397-8597 October 2018

+ TONY BAIN'S SUP KNOWLEDGE SUP GEAR TEST REPORTS TRAVEL INSPIRATION PLUS MUCH MORE!…

Please contact us: 01480 465081 Email: anne@supmaguk.co.uk

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The PaddlerAutumn/Fall issue 44  

The International magazine for recreational paddlers. The best for all paddling watersports including whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking, exp...

The PaddlerAutumn/Fall issue 44  

The International magazine for recreational paddlers. The best for all paddling watersports including whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking, exp...

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