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PADDLER The International magazine for recreational paddlers Issue 45 Winter 2018/19

Coaching – building

RELATIONSHIPS Dave Rossetter Paddling and protecting the

SAALACH RIVER Judith Hackinger International Rafting Federation


Sean Clarke

Gerd Serrasolses goes

RIVER SUPING Thomas Richard

ezine The WW Altai region of

SIBERIA Andi Brunner Moonlight on

2 MOIDART Angela Ward and Adam Evans Soča River

SLOVENIA Steve Brooks Crossing the sea to

ST KILDA Sinclair Molloy

Sea kayaking the secrets of

NORWAY Mariann Saether 24-page winter issue of


A SUP’ersYukon 1000 BC Access Charter launched Winter paddle challenge


Keeping going in the winter By Mike Shaw

The year that was 2018 By Steffan Meyric Hughes


Seasonal delights Vancouver Aquarium

Testing, testing First reviews for 2019


Gerd Serrasolses paddling down the Noguera Pallaresa River, Catalan Pyrenees by Gautier Boudat Editor

Peter Tranter Tel: (01480) 465081 Mob: 07411 005824

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Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081


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Mariann Saether enjoys the scenery of Vistenfjorden, just south of the Arctic Circle, Norway. Photo: Carl Norberg

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 Early Spring 2019, with a deadline of submissions on January 20th 2019. Technical Information: Contributions preferably as a Microsoft Word file with 1200-2000 words, emailed to 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 45

Winter 2018/19

004 Keeping going in the winter 008 The coach By Mike Shaw

014 The year that was 2018 Relationship building by Dave Rossetter

018 Seasonal Delights By Steffan Meyric Hughes

024 Testing, testing

Vancouver Aquarium by Sonja Jones

038 IRF World Champs

Reviews, reviews and more reviews

046 Austria/Germany

From Argentina by Sean Clarke

056 Norwegian sea kayaking The Saalach River by Judith Hackinger

067 Canoe Focus

Vistenfjorden by Mariann Saether British Canoeing’s 24-page magazine

092 Soča River, Slovenia 098 Siberia, Russia

The jewel of the country by Steve Brooks

108 Moonlight on Moidart2

The Altai region by Andi Brunner and Janosch Plathner

116 St Kilda, Scotland

By Angela Ward and Adam Evans

124 River SUP in Spain By Sinclair Molloy

Join Gerd Serrasolses on WW SUP by Thomas Richard

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Article and photos: Mike Shaw Disclaimer. Kayaking can be dangerous, cold water can be exceedingly dangerous. Make sure you seek advice and always dress appropriately for the conditions. As soon as the leaves start to change and the clocks go back, it looms on the horizon like a blot on your prosperity, its shadow lengthening as its clammy embrace sucks you ever nearer.The year is rushing towards its end and January will be even worse! It’s like the impending visit of your least favourite relative. It’s dark! There’s ice! And those of us without vans are expected to get changed in sub-zero pub car parks. I am talking, of course, of winter.

Anyone can be persuaded to get out and on the water in the middle of summer! When all your paddling buddies want to go out, the sun is shining and the water feels great to cool off in; it’s easy. It’s fun. But winter? It’s cold, the sky is grey and the water temperature will be in single digits. The water will give you brain freeze, steam will rise from your friends’ heads after their first rolls and your hands will be numb to the point where all they can do is keep gripping that paddle. The only thing keeping you on the water is that the very prospect of getting changed in a damp and wet carpark is truly horrifying to you.

But you know what? No one ever said kayaking was easy or demanded little commitment. And as the climber Mark Twight once said “it doesn’t have to be fun to be fun.” How do you keep that motivation up? How do you persuade your buddies to come out and play? How

do you decide to put the seven layers of gear on and voluntarily get cold and wet?! Only the truly dedicated get out and kayak when it’s below freezing!


That leaky old dry cag probably doesn’t cut it anymore, that new short-sleeved cagdeck you bought three months ago isn’t going to keep you warm for long and the wetsuit with the holes in it won’t last much longer.

If that’s you then it may be time to dust off the wallet off and treat yourself to some new gear. Manufacturers are continually improving the quality of equipment so read some reviews, ask your friends about the gear they use and visit the local canoe shop to find something that’s going to suit you and your budget.

You’ll be surprised at how getting a new piece of gear (or even a new boat) will make you want to try it out and go paddling.


It cannot be understated how important dressing for the conditions is. Getting a drycag or drysuit worthy of the name is a priority but it is what you wear underneath it that will keep you warm.

I am guilty of wearing the least amount of gear I think I can get away with, then bitching and moaning about the cold to my friends throughout the day. I think it might be time to wear that skull cap, pull out the pogies and put on the extra thermal or three.

Try it out and experiment with it to find what works for you.You can always cool yourself down on the river.

While on the subject, it is worth remember a bunkhouse or the back of your car really isn’t going to dry those thermals overnight, perhaps it’s time to invest in a second pair. I did so long ago and it has made a world of difference.You can get back on the next day, be dry and warm and not have the wet wetsuit dread.


Kayaking is simply better with your friends, you may have amazing trips to exotic destinations but ultimately they are a shared experience and the quality of the trip depends on the company you keep. You can have terrible weather, awful water levels but still have an amazing time. Don’t let any of that stop you having fun. But how do you persuade them to come out kayaking when it’s abysmal weather outside?

Well, with luck, you’ve already persuaded them to embark on some retail therapy with you and you’ve all gone on a shopping trip and they are just as excited to try out their new gear as you are.

However, if your friends are not easy to persuade kind that willingly embarks on outdoor adventures in the depths of winter with you then you need to be the driving force behind the paddling adventures.

Keep offering them reasons to come kayaking, remind them of the fun you all have together, offer to do the


ThePADDLER 6 types of paddling they enjoy (maybe it’s time to try some canoeing) or go somewhere new. Ultimately you need to be the motivator. Be the eager beaver in the group, it’ll catch on.

Failing that; follow the advice below; from bribery with the promise of a pub trip to getting them to compete in an event alongside you.


No single event will cool you down quicker and make you feel more miserable than a prolonged swim, or worse yet… multiple swims.

If you didn’t learn in summer, or if you still doubt your ability to roll, then winter is the perfect time to get down to the local club’s pool sessions.


A three-hour marathon or six hours of freestyle might work wonderfully in the sun, but for obvious reasons, it is time to consider some shorter sessions at this time of year.

If you struggle to motivate yourself to get out for the usual amount of time, tell yourself and your mates that you’ll be doing shorter sessions. You can always stay on for longer if you feel like it and you won’t feel disappointed if you got off early.

Keep moving. Do you really need the 45-minute lunch break at the side of the river when the snow is on the ground? People will need breaks but try taking short breaks more often rather than a single prolonged break where everybody half freezes to death.


The idea of camping or staying in a freezing cold bunk house with cold showers and an ineffective drying room on the club’s annual trip to the same river for the third year in a row isn’t appealing? Then perhaps it’s time to expand your horizons. Consider changing the location, find a new and exciting river and consider upgrading the accommodation.

You’ll be surprised at the amount of people who are suddenly up for kayaking trip when you find an Air BnB with a hot tub.


Every year when Britain is seemingly at its coldest, the Hurley Classic takes place.The week before the 2017 event the water levels looked great and the weather was glorious.Then a blizzard hit on the morning of the event, bringing with it snow and sub-zero temperatures.

If it was just a regular weekend then Hurley Weir would have been close to empty and while I’m sure the numbers dropped off because of the weather, people came because an event was taking place and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Having an event to look forward to motivates you to go out and train in the weeks before hand, no matter the result it still gets you out on the water. It is also an easy thing to persuade your friends to come too, nobody wants to miss out on a good event and all it has to offer.

For all of the reasons why you’d go to an event consider booking yourself onto a course. Nothing gets you motivated quite like learning something new and here in the UK a lot of the courses can only really be done at this time of year due to the kayak season and water levels.


Bring along some treats, grab a flask of mocha and bring some chocolate along on the trip for you and your friends to enjoy. They’ll be glad you did.

Save the usual car park chat for somewhere warm and cosy, head to the village pub with a roaring fire, the best Indian restaurant in town, the hot tub in the accommodation you so thoughtfully booked or just fish and chips in the car with the heating on full blast.


Lastly remember why it is that you do this sport. Think of all of the fun you will have, how good it feels to nail that drop, pull a big move or just how much you love surfing on a wave.

Despite the cold, damp uncomfortable feeling you may have just remember that no matter what it still brings the smile to your face like nothing else does.




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t h e


Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre

Where the focus, is always on the paddler

The last couple of editions have centred on how we ‘play’ and how we ‘practice’.They were heavily focused on getting involved in paddling – that’s what it’s all about after all! There will be times when the coach will be involved in structuring that or when the paddler is being their own coach and setting their own play/practice time on the water.

This article is looking at that relationship between paddler and coach. I am keen to explore that dynamic interaction that happens during a coaching session, which has to be powerful and needs to be created.This article sets out to explore some of these areas through: • Motivation – ‘messy reality’ of coaching! • Context – are coach and paddler on the same page?


Relationships – creating, maintaining and developing! No this is not some form of dating agency or counselling service… It is however, about people. If we are to be successful as a coach then we do need to be able to understand our paddlers.


As a coach one of my jobs is to understand what motivates the paddler that I am coaching. Far too often you hear, “That coach didn’t work for me,” or “they didn’t get me,” and “they didn’t understand what I wanted or needed.” These statements, or at least ones like them, are hinting at the lack of communication between coach and paddler.

Understanding our paddlers and what drives them, where their passion lies and what motivates and where this motivation comes from is crucial. If we want to have a meaningful interaction where the coach is able to work with the paddler in a variety ways that stretches the paddler, then we must have a good rapport/trust set up. Some have suggested that this is the ‘messy’ bit of coaching.


ThePADDLER 10 We can be the best technical coach or have a great understanding of coaching science, coaching behaviours, demonstrations, etc. However, if we don’t know how to help our paddlers with their own selfdetermination then we are at an impasse.

(psychologically) therefore be able to engage in meaningful coaching.

If we ensure that these three broad areas are catered for then the paddler will be in better psychological state and ready to develop. 1. Relatedness 2. Autonomy 3. Competence


Two psychologists (Deci & Ryan, 1985) studying motivation from an individual, social and cultural position, helped them shape up self-determination theory. For me as a coach using this theory has helped with the interactions along with creating the correct environment for the paddler to learn, develop and perform.

As coaches we are looking to provide support that will enable the paddler to explore what they know, develop a wider base of knowledge and new skills or techniques that will aid performance, especially when under pressure. These three areas will aid us in this.

According to the theory if these three areas are met then the individual will be able to grow


People need to have a sense of belonging.This could be socially with those getting coached with them in the class/lesson.This could also be around the fact that the coach and paddler are on the same page (I will cover more of this within the context later in the article).This both working together and having a good rapport will ensure that both are working towards the common goal. We all need to have the ability to feel in control. Being in control our own actions and decisions brings a level of comfort. Understanding the known and being able to commit to our path is crucial for feeling of calm and have capacity to learn and develop. Who makes the decisions during the coaching?


Being able to feel as though we are competent at what we do is great for how our mental wellbeing. We need to gain mastery of the tasks and skills that we are doing. This doesn’t mean that we never fail. But it does mean that we need to get good at what we can do.

Coaches Think back on a coaching episode that has/hasn’t worked. Look at the three broad areas of the theory. Can you relate the success/failure of the coaching to these? What did you plan/what do you need to change for the next time? Paddlers Think back on a coaching episode that did/didn’t work for you. Look at the three broad areas of the theory. Can you relate the success/failure of the coaching to these?


As I write this and reflect on my own coaching in the different paddlesport disciplines, I am struck by the fact that in some I need to give the context of why! This takes different forms depending on the environment, the paddlers, the task and my beliefs.

For example – when coaching canoe it is for me primarily about the journey. My canoe is set up for journeying from one environment to another or about the speed and efficiency that I can go from pole to paddle or paddle to rope, etc.This therefore shapes the context in the way that I coach.There could be many examples in the different disciplines of how this would happen.

By understanding this at the start coach and paddler are working on the page and heading towards and outcome together. This shared drive towards the outcome keeps the relatedness there.

Coaches Do you know if the paddler is looking for things to effective? I just want to get down that rapid/round that headland/through surf/sail, etc.There is no performance gain here that is about efficiency, it as all about just making it. We could work with the paddler and explore how to make the performance more efficient but if we start there then the session is on a slippery slope to not working.


ThePADDLER 12 How many times as coaches have you seen something in a performance and dived straight in with your feedback? How was it received? Often when this happens there is a bit of mis-match between how the coach has intended the message to be received and how the paddler has received the message. This is often down to the context.

Context is also around the appropriate environment. The creation of the optimum learning environment is ensuring that the coaching is delivered in an area that ensures the paddler doesn’t need to use their imagination to make the links between what is being taught and where it will be used. This doesn’t need to always be in the environment that will stretch the paddler (cognitively and/or physically) but does need to be somewhere that is relevant. It also needs to have the right level of challenge for the paddler.

Coaches Remember that you may need to offer more support/guidance the more challenging the environment (cognitively and/or physically).

Dave has been involved in the development of the new awards and provides expert advice throughout the industry on all things to do with coaching, safety, leadership and personal paddling. He is passionate about all things paddling.


By looking at these two areas of the relationship we are more likely to have a successful coaching interaction: • Motivation – especially intrinsic (from within) motivation • Context – why, where, when and how the coaching is delivered

These two areas are part of the jigsaw of good coaching. Those that have followed the last few articles will be able to see the links between ‘Play’ and ‘Practice’ with these crucial areas of the relationship.

WHAT THIS MAY LOOK LIKE Develop a good rapport and trust.

Listen and understand motivations/beliefs and values.

Facilitate an environment to support independence.

Create feedback mechanisms that support success and mastery.

Happy paddling/coaching!

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Sam Ward, holding his son on the banks of the White Nile

2018 The year that was

Well… 2018.As I write this, the future of my nation lies in the balance as Brexit selfdestructs like a car crash in slo-mo.The days are getting shorter, Nile Special has fallen flat for the last time, and here in England, the rains have come, and the idea of getting changed in sub-zero temperatures on the hard, wet gravel of the car park at Hurley looms.

Now that Hurley Classic – an annual ritual – has moved to March, this means I will have to be on the wave in January and February, in contravention of my rule, that either the air or water temperature should be in double digits.The rest of the time, I seek log fires, warm beer, starry skies… and reflect on another year as a paddler.

By Steffan Meyric Hughes for the Paddler



You think – this was the year I hoped to roll/cartwheel/find my confidence again. Did I succeed? For me it was, yet again, the year I hoped to learn to loop in a hole. And I did – twice – by accident as much as design. The only reason I know this happened (it happened too fast to compute consciously) was because a friend called to me from the bank – “nice loop.” Nice loop? Was he serious? “I’m certain” he replied. “I know, because I was so pissed off!” I think there is a little bit in all of us that dies when our friends succeed, the flipside of the joy we feel when we see our friends swim. I think a lot of the time, the stuff we want to do sounds too trivial to relate.

Stuff like looking in control when you punch a stopper, taking fewer strokes on a wave, carving the hull better, keeping your body weight over the boat better, finding the best way to pick up boat and paddle at once. Or, in my case, getting in by flipping the boat over my head – the ‘gorilla launch’ as practised by Shaun Baker back in the day.


I’ve spent a lot more time watching other paddlers on YouTube, and what a year it’s been for that. Bren Orton and Adrian Mattern and others of the Send collective have been upping the game of what a kayak crew should be, with regular YouTube updates, even a fashion tie-in with Dewerstone. And their video, We Are Send, in October was a jaw-dropping clarion call, not just in terms of the paddling… but with the

snarling soundtrack from Plan B, it seemed to say, “This is it – this is where state of the art is at now.” Videos like this, with their epic trick sequences on breathtaking waves like Ruins, not to mention the drops over 100ft, make it even more ridiculous that the highest event in freestyle – the ICF Worlds – will be held in a small hole for three consecutive occasions (Argentina 2017, Sort 2019 and Nottingham 2019). But that’s another rant for another day.

And I’ve been enjoying Seth Ashworth’s instructional videos. Here’s a guy who’s been teaching and paddling at the highest level for some time, as lead coach at Wilderness Tours on the Ottawa River in Canada and, while I default to the Jackson MO on most things, it’s nice to have another perspective on things. “Look where you’re going” he says. “Don’t look at your boat – it’s not going to change colour.” I’m using that line myself now to my son in the skate park. Skateboarding is basically the same as kayaking. Look where you’re going; lead with the head, the body will follow; keep your weight over the deck… sound familiar? Even the kickflip, invented by the legend Rodney Mullen, has been adopted by kayaking.


There was a poignant sadness to 2018 in November, when work finally began on the new dam on the White Nile, wiping out some of the great rapids that have become household names over the last 20 years. Uganda’s is almost the archetypal story of a buzzy paddling destination. For years under the rule of Idi Amin, the whole country was a no-go zone. I

Send Teaser 01 by Send It:

Whitewater Kayak Tutorials by Seth Ashworth

remember reading Raging Rivers, Stormy Seas (ed Terry Storry) at the age of 14, about a team of British paddlers on a complete descent of the Nile by kayak and canoe, but they missed the first “few miles” in Uganda due to the unrest that followed Amin’s rule. “A few miles of whitewater were thus denied us” read the quote. Little could they have known that those “few miles” would turn out to be the destination of the 21st century for lovers of bigwater river-running and playboating. The big, African rivers were just not done back then – you did the Alps in June and dreamed of one day running the Himalayan rivers.


The jewel in Uganda’s Nile crown – Nile Special – became, simply, the most famous big-wave spot on Earth. Brits, particularly, went out in their droves to experience the huge, warm, friendly rapids of the White Nile, many of them under the guidance of Sam and Emily Ward of Live it Love it. As footage of the last few

Special sessions emerged on social media towards the end of the year, an outpouring of memories ensued, from all the paddlers who were lucky enough to travel out there for the Ugandan magic.

The most poignant picture was from Sam Ward, holding his son by the bank, a silhouette against the backdrop of the river itself, an image that screamed ‘end of an era.’ I think one day we will look back upon the era of free rivers in the developing world and realize how lucky we were to be there, and what a singular era that was to be alive in.

My own experience of the river, in December 2013, was exactly as our guide Colin Wong described: “It’s beyond grades – just forget everything you think you know.” And it was amazing.

Despite the dam, which has, or will do, taken out Nile Special wavetrain (which includes the other ‘beer’ wave – Club), Mu2, Nile Special, Kula Shaker and Hair of the Dog, much of the white water on the classic section remains, including the big boys – Itanda, Hypoxia, Kalagala and Dead Dutchman, the popular Superhole, and many others, including Restrospect, Babooga, Overtime, Pyramids and Jaws. So the story is not over. And don’t think it’s the end of Nile Special either. It might be in our lifetimes, but nothing lasts forever. One day, in just a few human generations, the wave will return. It’s just waiting, you might say!





Vancouver Aquarium

You may remember, I took an epic jaunt to British Columbia in the summer, taking in their earth loving spirit. It turns out that BC are so abundant in their green approaches, that I couldn’t cram it all in to one issue and so without further ado, are you sitting comfortably for round two? When it comes to aquariums, in fact, any type of centre where animals are in captivity, despite knowing that the best of them do facilitate conservation efforts, it always makes me feel a little uncomfortable if I visit as I don’t like the idea of anything being in captivity unless I can be sure there is good reason for it.

Behind the scenes

Nonetheless, the Paddler magazine was fortunate to be invited on a behind the scenes tour of the Vancouver Aquarium.

The exterior hit us squarely in the face with an ocean trash exhibition, whilst thrilled, I was hoping this wasn’t a token attempt at appearing, on the face of it, earth loving to mask a purely commercial undertone. Within minutes, it was clear that the aquarium is so much more than simply a tourist attraction– it is a pioneering ocean conservation organisation.

The canteen, not exactly a hub for the ecologically minded you would think, has more green magic dust than you can shake a tree at; it is not for profit where all income generated goes directly to their education, conservation and research initiatives.

No plastic drinks bottles will be seen where the only water supplied is fresh mountain tap water, all crockery and cutlery are compostable which is used to grow organic crops, and any over-ripe or left-over fruits are used to feed the Amazon animals (such as bats). What’s more, any excess heat produced in the kitchen is re-distributed throughout the building, the coffee is shade grown which prevents deforestation, and lastly, they only serve sustainable seafood. Seriously, who knew a café could be so conservation minded – it was fantastic.

Typically, marine mammal exhibits have historically had the most controversy attached to them, however, any mammals at Vancouver Aquarium, such as the sea lions, harbour seals, and dolphins, are all in captivity because they have been rescued and would not survive release. One of the sea lions was shot in the eye and whilst in good health in the aquarium, they would not survive very long in the natural world.

Vancouver Aquarium has the only marine mammalian rescue programme in Canada, rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing over 150 marine mammals annually. To learn more about their programme or to register as a volunteer, check out:




The organisation is so innovative and earth-wise (go there, immediately!), with countless projects, that it would be impossible for me to do them all justice in this short article, and so if you are to check out any, take a peep at:


An initiative focusing on plastics research, community beach clean-ups, corporate partnerships to reduce plastic waste and educational programmes, encouraging us all to #BePlasticWise.


OceanWise Research is made up of a team of 30 scientists conducting ocean conservation research out in the field and at the aquarium, creating impactful published literature.


Through experiential and virtual learning,Vancouver Aquarium provides immersive and inspiring experiences to help develop life long ocean ambassadors, for the betterment of our world. Education takes many forms, including community outreach and school programmes.


They have over 150 volunteer roles, for all ages. As a family you can enrol on a volunteer programme for the summer, young people can embark on

externships to provide practical experience in their (or soon to be) field of study. The youngsters don’t get all the fun, as there are opportunities for over 19s only too, and so no matter who you are or your marine related interests, there’s something for everyone. Rather than go on a traditional holiday next year, why don’t you take a couple of weeks to embark on some really awesome immersive marine volunteering in Canada? Now that would be awesome wouldn’t it!


You may be familiar with the UK’s Good Fish Guide; OceanWise is Canada’s equivalent sustainable seafood guide with a cherry on top. Throughout BC, we saw the OceanWise symbol on restaurant menus who have partnered up with the initiative, where their suppliers have been assessed and approved for how eco-friendly they are.

On a seafood note, whilst on the east coast of Vancouver Island, at a little place called Campbell River, down at the harbour, we pootled down a gang plank and found ourselves the most authentic seafood experience we have ever experienced; Crabby Bob’s, a family run business selling only fresh local produce, run by a lovely lady known as Crabby Abby. We sat down at a little garden furniture type table where we were served, cooked essentially on a camping gas stove, fresh Dungeness Crabs and some grilled prawns.That was it, plain and simple, no sauce, no fuss – seafood and a glass of mountain water to wash it down. It was beyond tasty and the heart and soul that went into this place was exceptionally


ThePADDLER 22 warming. Quite genuinely, if you are ever going to eat crab in the world, go visit Abby, you will get a cheerful welcome and a belly full of the sweetest tasting seafood around. She will even teach you a nifty trick of cracking open the claws with nothing but a fork handle, no nut cracker shenanigans here!


Whilst in Campbell River, we went whale watching – on a zodiac, we whizzed around the Gulf Islands, saw breathtaking mountains, waterfalls, forest, and found Humpback Whales and their calves swimming in front of us. Did you know that you can smell a whale before you see one? All of a sudden the most fishy of smells infiltrated our nostrils where our guide said, “Smell that? That’s whale’s breath – there’s one close by,” – as soon as he smelt it, he would cut the engine, and we would float there waiting. Don’t worry, we weren’t too close, because by law, to respect the animals, you must aim to be approximately 120 metres away from the animals. Moving away from the marine theme slightly, I’d like to tell you about one of the most lovely wildlife rescue centres I have visited.


Just before we made our journey home, we popped back to visit Tracey at the Totally Board Surf Company in Port Alberni to say goodbye and have a natter (do drop in to have a chat if in the area – she is fascinating!) who told us about North Island Recovery Centre – only that week, she had to call out for them to help an orphaned bear cub. There’s nothing like a local top tip so we scooted on over there, not really knowing what to expect.

I haven’t visited many wildlife rescue centres, but this one, was quite genuinely wonderful.

Like Vancouver Aquarium, if any animals remain in captivity, it is purely because they will not survive alone in the wilderness – each creature has a little plaque telling their story, such as the bear who was attacked by humans and can’t be released because he now has seizures. It’s not all sad news, however, because the majority of the animals are treated by their own vets and are looked after in special recovery centres.

When we were there, there were quite a few bear cubs being looked after, but the wonderful thing was so that they didn’t experience too much human interaction, you could only view them via video streaming. We also saw a lot of rescued eagles and like the bears, so that they don’t imprint on humans, you could only view them by means of hide.

If you haven’t got the message already, BC is an exceptionally welcoming and conservation focused place, and so if that sounds like your cup of tea, try to head over there for an adventure – you won’t be disappointed.


Testing, MotivTrailer 4 spar By Richard Harpham

As paddlers we are all used to logistics of moving kit, be it shuttling on rivers, loading roof racks or moving kit with trailers. It comes with the territory and so when we got the chance to review the Motiv Trailer four spar trailer (capable of carrying ten canoes or significantly more kayaks, you could say that they had our attention. We graciously accepted and were excited when the time came to test the trailer.

Over the years we have used a large selection of trailers from older ‘Heath Robinson’ numbers through to two spar (six canoes) and three spar (eight canoes), braked and unbraked. The moment we set eyes on the Motiv Trailer we knew it was a game changer with its fantastic heavy duty galvanized frame, struts and uprights.

One of the most noticeable elements of the trailer was its smooth and effortless ride when towing. We


testin Other optional extras for the trailer include: • Basket cage that fits into one of the bottom spar spaces. • Bicycle rack. • Extending rear light bar.

It is worth noting that Motiv also do a ‘professional range’ of canoe and kayak trailers with an integral storage box located in the axle subframe. Finally Motiv also offer trailer servicing and a full spares and parts stores for rubbers, wheels, hitches and jockey wheels of all shapes and sizes. Prices start from around £2,000 plus VAT

Visit or drop them a line on or call +44 (0)1588 673345

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Whether you are a club, centre or outdoor focussed organisation, Motiv Trailers are the best we have come across.

dd lers - email us: review s@thep addle rez ine

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It is probably useful to consider a few pointers for loading larger trailers such as eight-boat and 10-boat as the spars and cross members are fairly high. We have concluded a number of methods to reduce risk and manual handling concerns as follows: • Use a see-saw method to reduce the need to lift above head height • In particular from the rear of the trailer it is easy to slide an upturned canoe up at an angle so it slides onto the third spar (nearest the back) and onto the fourth spare (at the trailer front). It can then be see-sawed up at the back so the canoe is sitting on the fourth spar front and back. • Loading from the rear a good method is for two people to hold an upside down canoe at the widest point facing each other on the gunnels (roughly where the carrying yoke would be). They can then slide/feed the canoe on to the spars. This method can be used for loading car roof racks and reduces the need to lift canoes above head height.

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Motiv have built their pedigree across a wide range of trailers from rowing to paddlesport, from flat-bed to box trailers each carrying their design and fabrication expertise. It is great to see British companies setting the bar high with great engineering and value for money. We cannot recommend them highly enough.

e will b nd it ed a iew rev uct od

The lights are bright LEDs with side indicators for reversing and guidance. The trailer is generally fitted with the new superior 13-pin adaptor (you can opt for 7-pin or use an adaptor). Motiv back their ‘Best of British Construction’, with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and five-year chassis warranty.

ou want y ion. If y o u stat rp st r

towed it behind vans, Land Rovers and cars and each coped admirably with smooth braking even fully laden. Similarly the towing hitch is solid and rolls effortless when manoeuvring the trailer by hand and hooking up. The trailer we tested came with a spare wheel and rubber strips on the spars to stop canoes or kayaks sliding around. These worked really well.

The Paddle r ez ine te


Braked single axle trailer • 19ft 8” length capable of carrying 22 kayaks or 10 canoes • 400kg unladen or 1300kg gross • Galvanized frame and spars with rubber mounting strips • Heavy duty lockable tow hitch and jockey wheel • Optional basket and cycle rack • Bright LED lighting throughout • One-year mechanical warranty and five-year chassis warranty Features and design 5 Function and utility 5 Value for money 5 Look/feel 5 Durability 5


Exo/Gui Gui Prod Helixir Plastic Jackson Rockstar 4.0 Steffan Meyric Hughes

In the search for ever more pop, playboats are getting bigger and bigger. We tried out on the new Rockstar 4.0 and the new Exo/Gui Gui Helixir plastic.

The opportunity to test the two latest playboats in the world right now in sunshine and on whitewater came up last autumn, thanks again to the fleet of test boats from Above and Below at Lee Valley Whitewater Centre (thanks Matt!). They are, if you are not a playboater or live in a cave – the Gui Gui Helixir – now available in plastic – and the Jackson Rockstar 4.0.

Before we go any further, you should know a bit about me: I’m 5ft 9in (1.75m) with size 9 feet and 12 stone (76kg) in weight, and I paddle a 2010 Allstar. I looped for the first time this year and I’m happy on whitewater, but the more complex moves elude me. Actually, the loop eludes me most of the time, too. I swim once a year, like it’s a religion and I really should be playing golf or something instead.

My ‘home run’ is Lee Valley. In the interests of disclosure, I have something of an allegiance to Jackson, having enjoyed the best week’s paddling of my life with founder Eric Jackson (EJ) on the Ottawa in 2016, but I’m also keen to see other kayak manufacturers challenge Jackson dominance, so I don’t feel any bias here. For this ‘first impressions’

article, I made other, better paddlers, test the boats too, then got them to tell me what to say, and wrote it down as though I thought of it myself. So now you know my MO!


First impressions were… size! Playboats have been gaining in volume steadily over the years, while their length has stayed constant at around the six-foot mark. Both these boats (in the medium size) are a shade under six-foot and weigh in at around 13.5kg. However, that doesn’t give an indication of their volume. I thought, a few years ago, we might see a move away from pure air boats, as people started talking about the charms of the old vert moves, the cornerstone of which is the cartwheel. But no. These two are giants: the new medium Rockstar has as much volume as a small Pyranha Burn, the quintessential big-volume river runner.

Part of the reason for this is the never-ending diversification of types: Jackson, for instance, have released their slicey vert boat model the Mixmaster, which is perfect for learning cartwheels and squirts, leaving the 4.0 free to be a 100 per cent air boat.


The is another, simpler reason too. Most playboaters – particularly in Britain, but worldwide – are hole riders rather than wave surfers and the move everyone wants to nail is the loop. Modern playboats are built primarily to offer this up in the easiest package, although thankfully that shape also works well for wave-surfers.

The first thing I noted on flat water, having said that these boats are not supposed to be the easiest to initiate vert moves in, was that even I could get both boats vertical and throw a couple of ends, as easily

There are other reasons big might be better: more boat surface to catch the white and keep you in the feature and, here are two enormous benefits. Firstly, modern air boats like these have become as comfortable as ‘normal’ kayaks. You might not worry too much about comfort in and of itself, but it means longer in your boat, more water time, better progression. The best thing of all,



as I can in my current boat (2010 Allstar). Plus flatwater loops (‘floops’ if you like…) ought to go aerial if you can do these. One of my co-testers got both of these boats well clear of the water even on the flat. In terms of rolling, I found the 4.0 easier, but bear in mind that I spent no time in outfitting the boat or checking the seat height (which is vital to rolling – the lower it is, the easier).






M: 07753162394 M ThePADDLER 27

ThePADDLER 28 I discovered, moving from the flat to the Olympic course at Lee Valley, is that these boats are pretty good river runners.


That buoyancy keeps you on top of the water as you cruise down the river. The Olympic is not exactly playboat-kind: it’s a heavy, relentless course, with sticky holes and big drops, but I was not worried for a moment. In some ways, I was happier in a playboat than in a creek boat, with the added manoeuvrability making up for the speed to punch holes that you’d get in a river-running design, and the knowledge that these sticky holes tend to give a playboat a wild ride, with a high probability of spitting them out. In a creekboat, you can get truly stuck as the hull settles firmly into the slot.

In a hole, the Helixir impressed with its looseness. I was able to clean spin my way to 720 on the corner, something I’ve never done before, and I suspect the Rock Star would offer the same. Both surfed willingly onto the small thrashy wave towards the bottom of the course and both seemed to carve easily too. This wasn’t the setting – nor I the paddler – to tell you how well they release for pop for moves like blunts, but it’s obvious that these boats will surf well, making the most of even modest features like this one.

Peak UK Wrap PFD

Winner of the Paddle Expo Product of the Year (Apparel & Equipment), Peak UK’s new Wrap PFD range is attracting plenty of attention before its release in early 2019.

The unique, patent pending wrap entry system allows vest style storage but with the ease of front entry fitting, whilst the chest foam layout also allows a specific cut for women, giving excellent comfort.The River Wrap features all the safety and storage elements seen

It’s long been a bugbear of mine (and I’m not alone in this), that so many paddlers progress straight to bigwater river runners and creek boats too early in their careers – as soon as they hit the easy Grade 3, it seems.These boats are brilliant tools, but they are for running huge waterfalls and doing the North Fork Race in, or the Sickline! Their forgiving edges, greater length and volume will hide a lot of mistakes. And the sight of one blocking an entire stopper or whole eddy at a small whitewater course is enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone in a smaller boat!

The Yantra would be a good first boat for a paddler embarking on his/her whitewater career. But, in a strange way, given that boats, including these, are becoming more and more specialized to different types of freestyle (air vs vert namely), the 4.0 or Helixir would also make a good beginner’s boat. Running whitewater in these is perfectly feasible, and even if you never end up doing huge pan-ams or airscrews, you will learn all about boat trim and body weight and you’ll be able to enjoy every feature the river has to offer as you go from the top to the bottom.


Well, after a scant couple of hours, the choice for me was a narrow victory to the 4.0. But that’s very subjective. They both have distinct qualities that will emerge over time and you should try them both.

on the River Guide (including the unique adjustable harness), whilst the Ocean Wrap has a similar pocket plus a hydration pouch on the rear for a drinks bladder.

Available in a bright orange/blue colour scheme, the Wrap PFDs will come in two women’s sizes (10/12 & 14/16) and two men’s sizes (LXL & XXL).

Check out your local dealer or contact Peak UK for more information.

Price: RRP Ocean Wrap £150; River Wrap £169





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

Paddler: Paddler:Jon JonBest. Best.Derbezi DerbeziFalls. Falls. Image: Image:Pete PeteAstles Astles


All distributed in UK by Lyon Outdoor

Katadyn BeFree filter 600ml bottle

For those on the go who prefer not to boil their water, here is the easy answer. The beauty of this collapsible bottle is that it fits straight into your pocket after use, so you can cut weight to the absolute minimum. To use just simply fill the bottle from your source, reattach the cap with filter and that’s it. You squeeze the soft plastic bottle to filter the water through the ‘EZ-Clean Membrane’ mechanism and the result is pure, clean-tasting drinking water. Simples. l EZ-Clean Membrane removes bacteria, cysts and sediment with its pore size of 0.1 micron. l Fast flowrate: up to two litres per minute. l 42 mm flask opening - makes for easy filling. l Collapsible - packs into small spaces.

Hydrapak Stow bottle one-litre

Price approx: £35.00; $40.00

Think of a hot-water bottle and you have the idea – a flexible water carrying vessel that can be rolled up to fit in your pocket. The main difference being that the Stow has an built-in baffle and spill-proof nozzle that makes it easy to hold and use for drinking. Perfect for weight and space saving and they can even be frozen and used to keep the contents of a cool box cold. Who needs hard plastics? l 80% lighter than a hard bottle. l Extremely packable, flatten and roll when empty and stow in to bail handle. l 28mm screw cap with a spill-proof nozzle for convenient drinking. l Flexible bail handle for comfortable carrying and easy attachment. l Made of ultra-durable, abrasion resistant TPU & RF welded seams.

GSI Outdoors Microlite 720 vacuum bottle

If you need something to keep your drinks hot for the day’s paddling, then look no further. The GSI flask will keep your coffee/tea hot for up to eight hours and lukewarm for 12. Need it cold? possibly up to 24 hours and that’s some going. Lightweight and stylish in a vibrant range of colours, what are you waiting for? l Incredibly lightweight, vacuum-insulated bottle a third lighter than traditional designs. l Thin, 2mm walls are thinner than most single wall plastic bottles for a compact footprint that fits anywhere. l 18/8 stainless steel provides unrivaled purity and durability. l Innovative cup/cap’s stainless steel liner and insulating plastic exterior protects lips, hands and taste. l Recesses improve grip regardless of conditions. Price approx: £28.00; $30.00

Price approx: £15.00; $17.00

Light My Fire Add-A-Twist

Buy one, get two free – compartments that is. As we’ve all been told at one time or another, the simplest ideas are the best and this is so effective. Store food, liquids, personal belongings, whatever and keep them all separate, airtight, water and shock proof and easy to find. The three compartments are small (112ml), medium (300ml) and large (540ml) and for us paddlers, it

also floats. Use it once and you’ll be thinking how you ever did without it. l Flexible use for all contents and adventures. l Waterproof and airtight. l Microwave and dishwasher safe. l Material: PPpolypropylene and TPE. l Actual size: 92 x 92 x 288 mm. l Weight: 381g.

Price approx: £28.00; $20.00

Optimus Crux stove

A tiny stove with an extendable mechanism and it folds in half, so it can be packed away in the very smallest of spaces or within the dead space at the bottom of a larger gas canister. However, as small as it is, it’s big on value and performance. The stove offers

generous heat output and has the ability to boil water faster than many of its competitors. It comes with a padded neoprene sleeve that attaches to the bottom of a fuel canister. If you’re interest is in speed, keeping things lightweight whilst using the minimum of space then this is the ideal piece of camping equipment. l Fuel type: LPG Gas l Average burn time of up to 90 minutes at maximum output (with 220 g of fuel). l Dimensions (mm) 34 × 76 × Ø 57. l Average boil time for one-litre of water. average three minutes, depending on climate, altitude, etc. l Output 3000W. l Weight 83g l Kit includes stove, stuff bag and user manual. Price approx: £40.00; $50.00


That’s a whole lot of choice


For expert advice on the DAG range visit an approved Test Centre 24/7 Boardsports Southampton North Shore Watersports Stockton-on-Tees Windermere Canoe & Kayak Bowness-on-Windermere

DAG and RTM products are distributed in the UK and Ireland by Lyon Equipment -

To advertise email: or call +44 (0)1480 465081



Red Original Pro change jacket Peter Tranter

Coming off the water in windy, rainy, cold weather, it’s always an advantage to have something that gives almost instant relief to the painfully cold fingers and shivers as the body starts to cool down. It’s even more important if you’re trying to remain warm between sessions or races to maintain body heat and loose muscles.

Step forward Red Original’s super warm and fleecy jacket, providing instant warmth and relief from the cold, rain, snow and sleet. It’s a substantial coat that has the familiar feeling of being wrapped in a big fluffy towel but with all the advantages of a jacket. The outer layer is waterproof, the mid-layer provides extra-warmth and the inner fleece layer adds that touch of snugness

The jacket is deliberately oversized so as you’re able to change your clothing beneath the coat – a simple but very effective cure to those embarrassing moments of exposure in the car park.

It has three pockets, two for keeping the hands warm using the same fleece as the inside of the jacket and one, which is YKK-zip secured for things like keys, etc. The extra chunky two-way main YKK zips on the front, have a large finger pull for using effectively with those frozen fingers, concealed with a neat flap that contains extra-large poppers for additional security.

Whichever way you play it, you’ll stay warm, dry and comfortable for the upcoming winter season. Perfect!

Tech specs l High performance waterproof breathable shell stops water getting in whilst allowing moisture out so interior doesn’t stay soggy and wet, but dries during and in-between uses. l Stretch shell and stretch panel vents provide ‘give’ to allow quick and easy changing in comfort. l Super soft moisture wicking fur lining pulls water away from skin. l Two-way chunky YKK zip allowing you to open the jacket from inside or out, and the bottom up. l Easy hold zip pulls can be used no matter how cold your fingers are. l Concealed front zip with fleece guard keeps wind chill out and neck warm. l Waterproof valuables chest pocket easy to access when staying warm on the beach. l Triple layer construction increases thermal retention whilst reducing weight compared to heavier materials. l Large fleece lined pockets keeps your hands warm and out of the wind and rain. l Chunky poppers for quick and convenient closure. Available for men and women in medium and large sizes in two colours of grey or navy blue. Price: £120.00

Luxury towelling robe

Fast fowarding to the summer and the Pro Change Jacket would be overkill. So Red Original have developed their own version of the now popular towelling robe.

As with the jacket, the sizing is again very generous, to aid changing your clothing whilst protecting your modesty and to keep the cotton toweling from clinging to the skin. The cotton towelling is luxuriously thick, soft and fluffy, drying you quickly and keeping you warm.

As with the rest of Red Original’s range, the robe is of high quality construction with design features such as a drawstring adjustable hood and large, deep hand warming pockets.

Overall, an excellent accessory for changing before or after getting on the water.

Tech specs l Heavyweight 430 gsm absorbent luxurious 100% cotton towelling. l Avoid exposure with sleeves and generous sizing, large enough to easily get your arms inside without over exposing yourself. l Large, deep pockets to keep your hands warm. l Draw cord hood to shield yourself from elements when the wind starts blowing

Available for men and women in small, medium and large sizes. Price: £45.00

Microfibre towel

Why not complete the set with Red’s one size fits all microfibre fabric towel. Absorbs far more times its own weight in water, whilst drying very quickly with its anti-bacterial qualities. Price: £25.00

ATOM Bright and strong – the Atom suit has new AquaSeal zips. Each zip is individually pressure tested by YKK. And every drysuit is pressure tested before it leaves the Palm factory. A strong look with real strength behind it.

TURN GARBAGE INTO GOOD VIBES – the world’s first recycled marine waste kayak –

We’re proud to have won the Paddle Expo special jury prize with our partner Odyssey Innovation for these unique sit-on-top kayaks – made entirely from plastic nets, crates, bottles and flotsam collected from our seas and beaches. Order yours today.


Peak UK throwline By Philip Carr

The Peak UK throwline comes in 15m, 20m or 25m lengths. The one we have here is the smallest 15m version.

The throwline comes equipped with 15m of 9.5mm floating rope – this is compared to the 18m of 7.5mm rope used in the HF Weasel and 18m of 8mm line used within the Palm Equipment Lightning throw bags. So although it is very slightly shorter, the thicker rope means that the system is much easier to handle when under load. Taking the rope into account, the size of the Peak UK throw bag is much bigger than the HF and Palm Equipment bags.The relative sizes of each of the bags can be seen in the images.

The bag comes supplied clean, i.e. the rope comes supplied with no loops, plastics tubing or knots that sit outside of the bag.The rope runs into the bag and attached to a marine grade stainless steel ring similar to those found on the back of PFDs as part of cowtail setups.The rope is threaded through the ring and is secured with a figure eight knot.

The use of the ring was first seen in Peak UK’s Bull bag from a few years ago, so it’s great that it now features in the latest line-up.The use of the steel ring is both low profile and super easy to clip into if/when required.

The bag comes with a long sleeve that allows the bag to be fastened to a belt for wearing around the waist. This is probably the best version of this system out there. It does take a little longer to thread through than say the HF Weasel or the Palm series of throw bags but it really helps the bag sit well against the body. I have tried the bag with the most popular rescue belts available and it works perfectly.

If a throw bag is needed in an emergency you probably won’t have any time for a second go! Therefore the most important factors when using a throw bag is how well it throws and how easy it is to get the bag to land on target. When fully loaded the bag has a good weight to it, which helps with the throw and if packed correctly the line feeds out well.

I found the bag easy to throw both under and over arm.The rope is easy to repack if you do need (or have time) to have a second go or are simply putting it away.The construction of the top of the bag is very similar to that used in a climbing chalk bag so the wide opening stays open and is very easy to do back up using the cam buckle and long length of tape.

Tech specs l Marine grade stainless steel ring that’s easy to tie and clip into, eliminating any nylon on nylon friction. l Unique ring design throwline with full length webbing reinforcing. l Made from tough 600d polyester ripstop and nylon shell with a buoyant foam insert. l Quick draining and drying slotted base. l Contains a 9.5mm floating polypropylene rope, tested to EN1891with breaking strength of: > 700kg with knot >1100kg without knot. l Reflective piping for night use, stiffened wide opening for easy packing. l Easy and tidy cam buckle open/closure system. l Comfortable handle for packing and throwing.



Hand built in North Wales Fully EC Type Approved Kayak/Canoe/Bike Trailers All Kayak/Canoe/Bike Trailer enquires welcome

Email: Tel: l 01492641905 Website:



young and still dominating the international rafting scene

By Sean Clarke Photos: International Rafting Federation A little over 21 years ago the International Rafting Federation (IRF) was a concept to unite rafters of the world under a single banner with a single set of guiding principles from which to build safe, robust, resilient and reliable commercial rafting ventures and raft racing protocols.Today the organisation is not just a set of guiding principles and rules but a worldwide community of rafters engaged in commercial activities, river and nature conservation, raft guide training, education and qualifications and the high speed thrills and spills of raft racing.

Most recently in November this year, the IRF held their World Rafting Championship on the Rio AluminĂŠ and Rio Ruca Churoy in NeuquĂŠn, Argentina. This was the 17th instalment of this highly successful international event.This year proved a beneficial home nation advantage in the medal tally for the Junior and Youth teams and hard fought in the Open and Masters with a few results out of the blue.

Unlike many other paddlesport races, raft racing takes place over several days and in multiple disciplines,

typically on different sections or even rivers.This year proved no different with a combination of skills required. Raft racing alternates bi-annually in four person (R4) and six person (R6) meaning different skill sets and styles of white water.Typically, R4 is usually for more close knit rivers with twists and turns requiring fast thinking and a lot of on-the-go tactics whereas R6 is usually held on wider and larger volume rivers requiring more power, endurance and tactics involving back up plans.



• •

Sprint: fastest from top to bottom. Head-to-Head: teams battle it out one to one over the sprint course but this time with buoy navigation mandatory – full contact is permitted in a knockout competition where the winner is decided not necessarily on who is fastest but who plays their tactics the best. If you’ve seen BoaterX – increase the contact and obstacles and you’ll understand head-to-head. Slalom: very similar to canoe/kayak slalom with the best of two runs counting but more complex with a larger craft and more heads to pass through the gates in the correct direction. Downriver (Endurance): a gruelling test of working together as a team - race rules dictate this should be more than 20 minutes but less than 60 minutes.

This year was R4, on the Rio Aluminé and Rio Ruca Churoy. The Rio Aluminé caught some teams unaware as the Endurance was a long, demanding and unrelenting river – it started with a calm and welcoming flat where Lake Aluminé empties and forms the headwaters of the Rio Aluminé, before quickly dropping and starting the never ending class II/III interspersed with class III+/IV rapids. No rest for the blessed, let alone the wicked.

The forecast storms didn’t materialise and racing commenced in the relatively long sprint. The snow melt waters were cold but the sun shone down on teams with world class speed, strength and teamwork on display. The Junior (Under 19) and Youth (Under 23) divisions were dominated by the Argentine, Czech and Russian teams. Relative newcomers to the international stage, Costa Rica U19 Men, caused an upset to the expected results with their millisecond advantage winning them a silver medal ahead of Russia. Big favourites and no stranger to the IRF Euro Cup and World Cup series this year, Rafting Team Gimpex from Slovenia (U23 Men), proved they deserved the gold.




Head-to-Head followed the recently adopted format, which includes the mandatory negotiation of buoys. In Argentina there were four buoys – two left and two right. Teams had to negotiate one left and one right. The placement of the buoys meant that buoys two and three provided fierce fighting and amazing photo and video opportunities. In the Open Men, Chile threw out the odds by beating top favourites and usual podium medalists Brazil in the early rounds. It was a nail biting race with many bums off seats both in the raft and for everyone lining the banks. In keeping with their recent winning streak Team Palm (GB1 Open Women) took the gold in a tough competition that saw them only just nip over the finish line in a nail biting final against Japan.

During training for slalom, a few teams commented that the river was too simple. Little did they realise the lengths the course designers would go to. It proved a very challenging course that no teams navigated without penalties. Gates one and two appeared innocuous but left only top teams being able to navigate gate three quickly and cleanly. Gate three had teams river left requiring a strong ferry above the big drop into gate four on river right.Teams then had to high cross using the big feature to get to gate four. Some made this look simple with their finesse whilst others struggled due to the line from starting at gate three. The rest of the course may have looked relatively simple but resulted in two flips, several raft jams and a fair amount of cursing at simple mistakes.


Downriver commenced on a cold and grey start with clouds threatening ominously. The cooler start ended up assisting most teams as it was a long and gruelling downriver that really didn’t let up along the way. A sailing start where teams start in groups and race across the start line meant a lot of jostling and permitted ramming and blocking – all made for edge of the seat watching the start line.

The finish line also provided for close calls as most of the groups stuck together for the length of the river with the final results being determined by teams pushing through the pain to sprint across the finish line.


Fighting all the way to the finish line meant despite winning the Downriver and tying in the overall points, Norway Masters Women lost out to USA Masters women as tied overall results refer back to Slalom


ThePADDLER 44 scores in order to break the tie. It was hard luck but a well fought competition with all Masters Women teams proving that age means nothing when it comes to determination, camaraderie and teamwork.

To end the event, the organisers left nothing to chance with a giant food fest followed by DJs, drummers, dancing and partying until the sun started to show the next morning. A great way to end an amazing event with expectations set high for next year’s IRF World Rafting Championship on the Tully River, Queensland, Australia. Overall results from the event can be found here.


Short video overview of the IRF WRC 2018, Argentina 507424683109137/

International Rafting Federation

The International Rafting Federation is recognised as the world governing body for rafting sport. Every year, the IRF organises the World Rafting Championship (WRC), a top tier competition between the most recognised and celebrated rafting athletes in the world who gather together to represent their respective nations. The IRF also organises or oversees a tremendous variety of continental, regional and local rafting competitions and championships. IRF competitions closely follow the Olympic model and IOC recommendations, while remaining true to the traditions and history of our sport that has made it so popular.

The IRF is about bringing the world of rafting together so we can all benefit from our interaction. This interaction may involve anything from competing at the world championship level to being part of a local grassroots event in your home town. or it could be that once-ina-lifetime experience of going on a commercial raft trip locally or around the world, whether it be for one hour or 16 days.

The IRF is in the forefront of raft safety worldwide. Recognised as the world body, which oversees the certification and training of professional river rafting guides, the IRF works closely with national organisations and government bodies by offering the only rafting guide certification program accepted worldwide.

The IRF is deeply committed to protecting the rivers of our planet from senseless destruction, and to preserve them for future generations. We recognize that mankind are not the owners of our planet, but instead are its caretakers and stewards.

Find out more here:

Social media: @internationalrafting (Facebook, Instagram)

IRF World Rafting Championship: @IRFWorldRaftingChamps (Facebook)

About the author: Sean Clarke is the Head of Media & Marketing for the International Rafting Federation, and Chair of British Rafting, the rafting discipline committee of British Canoeing.

protect yourself from the elements



R I V E R ?

By Judith Hackinger Photos unless stated: Manuel Arnu Between Unken (Austria) and Schneizlreuth (Germany), the Saalach is a mostly natural, open and accessible river – for now! However, plans for a private hydropower project may soon withdraw most of its water and create a section of seven kilometres that’s will be almost dry.What’s threatened is a scenic run offering easy and rewarding whitewater on a natural riverbed – ideal for families, beginners and connoisseurs.


We skip the first


kilometres of the Saalach section from Unken (Salzburg/Austria) to Fronau (Bavaria/Germany). It’s already mid afternoon in October and we are on a mission – even if this means that we will miss out on the ‘core section’, the ‘Moeschl Criterion’ (class II), just some 500 metres below the standard put-in. Instead we start at the Koestler Bridge, which is just downstream from where a currently planned diversion dam may soon take most of the Saalach’s water.This is why we are here and why three keen and motivated youngsters share my eddy today. While we wait for our shuttle drivers to return, their dad starts taking photos – this is what it is all about: to wake the lower Saalach section from its enchanted sleep.

While I am happy and grateful about the warm and sunny autumn day, the kids don’t waste any time on the landscape – they rather focus on paddling. A small wave catches their attention – surf is up! The trio speedily paddle up the eddy and fly over to the other shore. For the moment one thing is clear: these kids are no beginners! Once aware of their skills, I start to

I need to stop here frequently when we take our three-year old daughter down the Saalach in our canoe. Today she stays home due to a cold. In private, I am a little glad because this gives me the opportunity to paddle this section in a kayak, something I haven’t done in a while.


Our photographer takes position on the bridge, which flags the last official take-out in Austria. Just a few metres downstream, the discharging Steinbach River marks the international boundary to Germany. From this point the Saalach flows between the two countries for three kilometres or so. Germany left, Austria right. Historically this may be one reason, why the lower Saalach section has been out of any touristic interest and promotion – so far. Currently there are efforts to include the take outs in Bavaria in the touristic concept for canoeing in the Salzburger Saalach Valley. The region around Unken and Lofer is a well-known hotspot for paddlers in central Europe.

Below the bridge a little rapid on the left takes our attention. Depending on water levels, some small or larger waves cause tension, even though the central line does not hide any surprises. Today a flow of around 24-cubic metres per second causes a nice and sporty feeling – and big eyes for the paddling sprout. The kids go front, the grown ups keep to the back.

worry: May these highly motivated youngsters get bored on the following eight kilometres of white water class I to II?

The rest of the team slides from a sandy beach into the water. In summer this sandy riverbank is a popular place to take a swim in the river. Also my husband and

After the rapid the Saalach calms down – at least for the adults. The kids still play down the river. Many small waves offer excellent conditions for ultralight minipaddlers. Time and again some boulders and cliffs allow for an occasional rock splat. Did I really think these kids could get bored?

The Saalach widens into a straight section. At low water levels the river gets slow and shallow until the Auschaubach River flows into the Saalach. In summer this river mouth is a perfect and shady place to take a break. In mid-October there is no need for shade and anyway, we need to hurry to catch the most scenic part of the section in sunshine!

While I am happy and grateful about the warm and sunny autumn day, the kids don’t

waste any time

on the landscape – they rather focus on paddling.



The Saalach speeds up

in a small rapid. Meanwhile the youngest has taken the lead. Guiding us down the river, the following rapidsection seems right on cue. Here in Schneizlreuth, the Saalach is a pristine and natural river. Huge boulders, old overhanging trees and some quaint eddies dominate the scene, which is also enjoyed by a herd of cattle. On sunny days the cows frequently take a sip – or a dip - in the river – it is better to use the opposing shore to land.

Today the cattle stick to the dry shore enjoying the warm autumn sun. The preceding nights have given the valley a boost in colours and the old beeches shine bright and yellow reflecting their leaves in the clear and blue water of the river. Picture-perfect – or even better!

A small technical rapid turns out a perfect playground for the kids. Some rocks form a natural slalom course, which is now extensively used for some eddy training. Also the little surf wave at the bottom seems to be made for little kayakers – all happy faces!


Once the sun is gone October shows its teeth severely. Time to move on! After an old iron bridge the river widens again dividing its water between gravel banks. At this low water level the Saalach is still a good run, however, we need to look out to find the right branch to paddle.

Once more the Saalach splits in two halves offering perfect conditions for a family duel. The kids speed up – and take the left arm. Damn! Knowing the river we also know that we are on lost position. The right

branch takes a long and slow turn in one of the characteristic washed out eddies. Still we give our best – only to see our five challengers race by easily. Now guess who paid for the pizza?

The massive cliffs of the Reiter Alpe towering over the river offer a stunning view – but also add some depression to our tour. Here, some seven kilometres down stream from our start, the Saalach would regain its water from the hydro power station. What’s inbetween would be lost for paddling sports or only be runnable at very high water levels on the upper sections.

While we reach the take out in Fronau, just a few hundred metres further down, we all agree that this would be a painful loss. The loss of a beginners, family and connoisseur section and the loss of a natural river, embedded between the mountains of the Salzburger Saalachtal and the Biosphere Region Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria.



Credit: Andi Klotz

In November 2018 a private hydropower project has been submitted to the authorities in Austria and Germany. The plans include a seven-kilometre water diversion and a 600 metre water reservoir. This would set most of the section described almost dry and affect the lower third of a 27-kilometre long stretch of the Saalach River, which is currently in natural or nearnatural condition. This part of the Saalach is regarded to be in ‘very high need of protection’ by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It is also the basis for whitewater kayaking in the area.

The trans boundary grassroots initiative ‘Water Is Life – Rescue The Saalach’ and the ‘Saalach Allianz’ work hand in hand to bring paddlers, fishermen, rafting stations, tourism businesses, nature conservancies and private citizens from Austria and Germany, together to fight against the power station. More Information: and


The Saalach Allianz is supported by the Free Rivers Fund. If you would like to join in and take action against damming projects all around the world, the FRF is a good address for your donation. More information:

Credit: Andi Klotz

Credit: Andi Klotz

Credit: Andi Klotz

Credit: Andi Klotz





The Austrian Saalach River is situated close to Salzburg and well known for one of the most versatile paddling regions in the Northern Alps.The area around the villages Unken, Lofer and St. Martin offers whitewater of all difficulties with runnable water levels all year round. Expert kayakers, as well as beginners come to the Saalach Valley, because they will find something to paddle at any time.The most popular run is the ‘Standardstrecke’ from Au to Unken (five kilometres whitewater class II (III)).The famous ‘Teufelsschlucht’ (three kilometres whitewater class IV-V (V+)) attracts experts all year round.

Unken to Fronau, 10 kilometres (class I-II) An open and friendly river. Difficulties range between I-II. The whitewater is very appreciated by families and beginners due to a lot of big eddies, small rapids and almost untouched river banks.

Put-in: Festplatz Unken (take-out of section Au to Unken). Alternative put-in at Köstler Bridge three kilometres downstream. Access via BP-Station at national border. Parking lot on the river right.

Take-out: below the footbridge in Fronau. Park right by the road leading to Fronau. Gauge: fun starts at about 20m³/s on gauge Unterjettenberg/Saalach at

Tip: the Lofer-Rodeo is an annual paddling-event in the area including a boatercross on the slalom course in Lofer (whitewater class III (IV)) and the legendary paddler’s party. Next event: September 13-14th 2019.


Schneizlreuth Gasthaus Schneizlreuth/Postwirt Traditional Bavarian restaurant and beer garden with rustic flair. Regional dishes with meat from their own cattle, hunting grounds and butchery. Open Friday to Sunday and on public holidays. Phone: +49 (0)8651 4165

Haiderhof Beer garden and B&B at a slightly remote but fantastic location near Aschaubach River. Access via the iron bridge in Schneizlreuth. Follow the road upstream for about three kilometres from turnoff at B31. Open from May 1st to September 30th. Phone: +49 (0)8651 767570

Unken Wirtshaus & Pizzeria Dorfcafe The best pizza (and more) in Unken! Huge playground and outdoor area – ideal for families! Kitchen open from 11.30am-2pm and 4pm-8pm, Saturday 9pm. Closed on Monday. Pizza to go. Phone: +43 (0)6589 7156 Landhotel Schütterbad Just 300 metres from the put-in in Unken. Homely outdoor area, varied food and delicious homemade cakes and strudel. Junior manager Chris paddles himself. Phone: +43 (0)6589 4296


Camping Steinpass Perfect basecamp in Unken, about 150 metres from the river. Own put-in and take-out for the lower Saalach sections, paddler’s camp! Open June 1st to September 15th. Earlier/longer at good conditions. Phone: +43 (0)664 442 8269 Camping Grubhof Comfort camping in St. Martin/Lofer. Tent pitches by the river, large group room, cabins and more. Open: End of April to All Saints (November 1st). Phone: +43 (0)6588 82370 B&Bs and holiday flats Unken offers the lowest price level for B&Bs and holiday flats throughout Austria. Some offers located directly by the river. By spring 2019, paddler-friendly hosts will be marked specially. Check out:




Heading toward inner Visten and the landmark mountain of Vistmannen (1,066 metres). Photo: Carl Norberg




By Mariann Saether Photos: Carl Norberg Sitting just south of the Arctic Circle, the remote Vistenfjorden is a secret well-kept even from Norwegian sea kayakers.This is about to change.

“Look”! My paddling partner Thomas Holm-Carlsen points to the sky with a big grin on his face. Above us an eagle is soaring, tightly followed by a seagull who is fiercely attacking the much bigger bird. The sea-eagle, or white-tailed eagle as it is also called, is the fourth largest eagle in the world and in northern Europe, it is the biggest bird predator there is.

We fall into a common paddling rhythm as we watch the battle unfold in the sky. I wonder silently if this is true courage – to attack the much bigger contender with no hesitation – or if it is pure stupidity. But who am I to decide? I leave the question unanswered and as we cross the fjord from north to south the birds disappear leaving us wondering about the outcome, though we soon forget about David and Goliath – we are about to enter a special place.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ring´d with the azure world, he stands. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls. Tennyson ThePADDLER 57


Norway is

Excited school kids enjoy a fall day out on the fjord. Photo: Carl Norberg

world-famous for its sea kayaking, and especially the county of Nordland, which attracts paddlers from all over the world.There are the obvious tourist spots like Lofoten and Geiranger, but many also navigate the coastline between the town of Brønnøysund to Bodø, from north to south, or south to north. Doing so most kayakers pass the fjord of Visten without even giving it a thought.

Situated north of Brønnøysund, but south of the sea kayaking mecca of Nesna, it is a 22-kilometre long fjord. It stretches into the wilderness of the main land, creating a spectacular gateway to the national park of LomsdalVisten. This park is among the youngest in Norway, only created in 2009 and perhaps the least visited. There are hardly any trails, rapidly changing weather patterns and rugged terrain – but also coastal rainforest, a rich cultural history, immense wildlife and utterly untouched nature. In other words: paradise.


We parked our cars in the small town of Visthus and put the sea kayaks anxiously on the emerald waters of Vistenfjord. It is in fact rated as the cleanest in northern Europe and we were going to spend two days paddling it from ocean to inland. Our goal was to explore a corner of Norway not much visited and allowing for some small adventures along the way. Anticipation built up as we left the main fjord and paddled into

Leaving the main fjord, the fjord sides are tall and dark, creating a tight passage for us to paddle through before opening up into a small

oasis of green

Langkilvågen, which is a small fjord arm cutting stubbornly into the land.

Leaving the main fjord, the fjord sides are tall and dark, creating a tight passage for us to paddle through before opening up into a small oasis of green. A river flows down from the mountain next to a little beach, with lush forest just behind. This is a place for camping, surrounded by serene beauty and tranquility. I close my eyes and breathe – not thinking much about anything, simply being.

As we retrace our course back out to the main fjord, we chat about the lush scenery surrounding this arctic fjord. Thomas, who holds a degree in environmental science, tells me that this particular fjord is inhabited by a wide range of woodpeckers – due to the vast amounts of old, untouched forests here. As a matter of fact, some of the trees are not supposed to grow this far north. As stubborn as nature is though, pockets of micro climate allow for certain tree-types such as elm to flourish in select places – such as Vistenfjorden. Also found here is boreal rain forest – something which makes me feel lucky that we are paddling in glorious sunshine – a boreal rain forest requires up to 1200 mm of rain a year – and more than 200 rainy days!


We have spent the good portion of the day paddling the outer reaches of the fjord, discovering small abandoned farms and houses along the way. The birdlife is rich, and we keep scanning the forests – are they boreal rain forests, or elm and hazel? As we approach the end of the first day, the first obstacle appears. The Strait of Aussundet is a narrow passage in the fjord – a reminder of the glacier that once shaped the region, which also left a moraine that makes the ocean shallow right here.

The land is ancient in these areas, and you can become fascinated by the geology. Photo: Carl Norberg


Close, but not too close! Thomas Holm-Carlsen plays with the water in Vistenfjorden. Photo: Carl Norberg

ThePADDLER 60 This is where the tidal current pushes through at high speed -and we had of course not thought much about whether we would pass through during ebb or tide. This we soon regretted. As we were paddling hard forward to pass the strait, the tide was on its way out. It took us close to an hour to push forward a few hundred metres, and as we finally reached the northern bend in the fjord that marked the passage into the inner areas of Visten we were breathing heavily. But we made it – and our reward? A spectacular view of one of the biggest peaks in the area called Vistmannen, which translates as The man of Visten, sitting at 1066 metres above sea level. This place is simply filled with magic, and there is no surprise that the region has been inhabited for millennia. No kidding.

However, the history in the Vistenfjord is diverse, something which manifests itself in the small bay of Sommersetvika. We stopped for a little stroll up the hill, to check out the site for a small farm, which has now totally vanished. No buildings are standing, but it is possible to make out the tiny pastures used for their sheep – and one could only wonder how it had been to live here, in this sheltered little nook of the world.

What makes it more spectacular is the finding of a cave up on the hillside – with cave paintings dating back thousands of years. They are small and seem insignificant, even hard to identify, but they are there. The cave is called Reshålå – which means Witchcraft cave – and shows that the locals indeed have been aware of this special place for a long time. In addition, the samis (Laplanders) have been walking these regions for hundreds of years, herding their reindeer between the mountain and sea.

Being a nomadic culture, they did not leave behind many traces in forms of buildings, but rock shelters are still to be found, along with some artefacts. Perhaps the clearest evidence of their use of the land is the numerous sami names on lakes, rivers and places throughout the Vistenfjord. It is no overstatement to say that I went to bed that night feeling slightly overwhelmed – the nature, the history – the place itself made an impact on me that I had not anticipated – and the trip was far from over.


On our second day we were up for a grand adventure, and one that I had much been looking

The nature, the history –

the place itself made an impact on me that I had not anticipated – and the trip was far from over

Thomas and Mariann are paddling at an easy pace to admire the beauty of Inner Visten. Photo: Carl Norberg

At the remote farm of Bønå, one can rent a boat and a guide and go fjord-fishing - popular with school classes and other groups. Photo: Carl Norberg

forward to. You see, in the inner part of Visten, the sea pushes inland into an area called Strauman, or ‘The currents’. It creates a tidal river, which pushes upstream at certain times of the day and then flows back out other times. When the ebb is dominating, there are rapids in this tidal river that can get navigated, but it is also why it is smart to swap the sea kayak for a sturdier river kayak, which can be done at the farms of Aursletta or Bønnå.


Strauman is a protected area that was created in 2009, which together with the Lomsdal-Visten National Park, is meant to ensure a unique piece of nature from source to sea – an area where the tidal currents are special and where fresh water species and sea species mix in the lake of Lakselvvatnet.

It consists of a ten-metre layer of fresh water on top of sea water – creating an unusual habitat that resembles a melting pot of modern times. This area is also newly opened again for fishing and both sea trout and salmon are frequently caught as more and more fishermen find their way into the inner Visten.



SĂŚtherelva River is a beautiful peace of water shed stretching far into the Lomsdal-Visten national park. Photo: Carl Norberg

It is a special experience to paddle into Strauman wildlife reserve, where the fjord turns into a tidal river. Photo: Carl Norberg


As we make our way across the lake, I study the abandoned farms here. There are many stories of accidents and drownings in the winter – there were and still are no roads. Thus the locals used the treacherous ice to walk out to the main fjord, and sometimes they paid the highest price as the tidal currents created an ice cap that was not always solid.

There is rich birdlife in the Vistenfjorden, with many sea gulls, woodpeckers and eagles to be seen. Photo: Carl Norberg

The farms are surrounded by deep forests and fishing and wildlife was rich, making it possible to create a life in this remote corner of the world. Today it is hard to understand the hardships of such a life – but it is easier to see why one would come to love this brutal natural beauty – the scenery is raw and powerful. We decided to try our luck up one of the rivers that flow into the lake, and see how far we could go. As it turned out – not too far.

The Vistenfjord is 22 kilometres long, but it feels far shorter as one paddles toward the Lomsdal-Visten National Park. Photo: Carl Norberg

A map is necessary to be able to find all the hidden away spots in Vistenfjorden. Photo: Carl Norberg




Where: in the county of Nordland in Northern Norway, just north of Brønnøysund.

Access to the region: the domestic airport of Sandnessjøen, with connections to international airports of Bodø, Trondheim and Oslo is about 1 hour away.

Above: Paddling back down the Sæterelva to paddle some small rapids. Photo: Carl Norberg

The river Sæterelva tumbles down from the mountains in the inner regions of Lomsdal-Visten, but in its final stages it meanders its way down to the lake Lakselvvatnet, only occasionally being disturbed by large waterfalls. The waterfall Mølnhusforsen is one of those, and the last one in the river bed before it meets the ocean. We can hear it from afar as we paddle up the crystal clear river. Big pines surround the river bed, and there are numerous signs of beaver all along the water.

In a way it more seems like a river taken from the Canadian wilderness, not in arctic Norway. Chatting our way upstream, we fall silent as we spot the waterfall. It is a great giant of cascading water and mist, roaring with power in this desolate, yet lush valley bed. We linger there for a while, soaking up the raw nature and pulling from its energy. Some places are pure magic. And as we turned our kayaks back downstream, to find our way back to civilization, we agreed that the Vistenfjord is simply that: Magical beyond means. Mølnhusforsen marks the end of the paddle stretching more than 25 kilometres from the outskirts of the fjord to the border of Lomsdal-Visten National Park. Photo: Carl Norberg

Access to the fjord: one can use a speedboat (daily departures) from nearby towns of Tjøtta and Visthus to avoid paddling the entire fjord to Inner Visten.

Time to go: June – August. September can be spectacular, but the weather is usually rougher.

Kayak rental/accommodation: or

Fishing licence:

Lomsdal-Visten Nasjonal Park:



Main Symposium Weekend 4th – 6th May 2019 Course Week 6th – 10th May 2019 Email: T Telephone: +44 (0) 1407 765550 To advertise email: or call +44 (0)1480 465081


ULTRALIGHT KAYAKS award winning design, class leading construction.


British Canoeing Launches Access Charter in Westminster

A SUP’pers Yukon 1000 Read more on page 12

Read more on page 6

Focus on Falcon Canoe Club Read more on page 16

Photo Credit: Tony Bain

Winter 2018





From David Joy




Qualifications and Awards



News p5

Access and Environment British Canoeing Launches Access Charter in Westminster

NEW Personal Performance Awards


NEW Personal Performance Awards p14

Coaching and Leadership 6

British Canoeing Launches Access Charter in Westminster p6

Upcoming Events Winter Paddle Challenge

A SUP’pers Yukon 1000

Which qualification or award is right for me?


Which qualification or award is right for me? p15

Focus on Clubs 8

How Falcon Canoe Club offer paddlesports for all!


Trade Partners

Go Paddling! 9

Wave Sport... a 50 year history


Take time to join in


Cotswold Outdoor - Our Story


Take time to join in p10

Wave Sport... a 50 year history p20

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

Say hello to fresh and new



to the winter edition of Canoe Focus.

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the festive period and that you are looking forward to the year ahead. There’s certainly a lot planned within British Canoeing in the next twelve months. Highlights for 2018 include; membership numbers at a record high, membership satisfaction scores up, changes to the coaching and qualifications being well received and recognised as industry leading by UK Coaching (Page 5), more trails and challenges launched, athletes winning more than 100 European and World Medals across all of the disciplines, the launch of a new online store, record numbers of clubs and paddlers involved in our river clean up with Surfers Against Sewage in October, and most importantly the launch of Clear Waters, Clear Access. Members have told us repeatedly that bringing clarity to the challenges around access and working to protect the environment ought to be key priorities for British Canoeing. We have listened closely and were delighted to launch the new Access Charter in Westminster at the end of November 2018. This sets out our position very clearly and we have made some very positive early progress towards our aim to ensure fair, shared, sustainable open access on and along inland waters is recognised in law (Page 6).

As we work together to deliver the targets within our four year strategy – Stronger Together, there are big plans for 2019. Look out for the relaunch of Go Paddling, which has been designed to engage those new to the sport or to British Canoeing, the promotion of the new Club Associate membership category and the new club management system within clubs; the launch of a new website which maps the rivers in the UK, the access and egress points, car parking etc, a suite of new resources for clubs and centres and the launch of the new Personal Performance Awards (Page 14). Olympic and Paralympic qualification for Tokyo starts in 2019 and our top slalom paddlers will be in action at Lee Valley on 14-16 June 2019 when we host an ICF World Cup event. Tickets go on sale again in late January. Our AGM, Club Conference and Annual Volunteer Awards will be held this year over the weekend of the 9-10 March at Eastwood Hall near Nottingham (Page 5). If you want to hear more about our progress and plans or are thinking about ways to develop your club, why not join us this year at the AGM and Conference?

David Joy Chief Executive


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.

British Canoeing win two honours at UK Coaching Awards British Canoeing won two awards at the prestigious 2018 UK Coaching Awards. British Canoeing Coaching Culture Organisation of the Year Matt Lawrence High Performance Coach of the Year British Canoeing picked up the award for Coaching Culture Organisation of the Year, after a transformational few months which has seen a huge improvement to the coaching experience.

AGM, Stronger Clubs Conference and Volunteer Awards

Gold medal for women’s rafting team in head to head event


After claiming their first medal during day one of the Championships, the women’s rafting team added a gold medal to their collection, winning the head to head competition on day two! After another consistent international competition, the women’s team finished in third place overall, adding a bronze medal in the down river to their haul.

Click here for more information

To all of our members, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of our 2019 Annual General Meeting which will take place on Saturday 9th March 2019 at Eastwood Hall, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG16 3SS.

Click here for more information

Matt Lawrence won the second award of the night for British Canoeing to claim the High Performance Coach of the Year accolade. Matt is a podium technical coach for the paracanoe programme. He is one of the leading paracanoe coaches in the world and he has coached his athletes to a wealth of international medals.

Inaugural Slalom Inspires event a huge success The first ever Slalom Inspires weekend, was a huge success, with almost 60 female paddlers from around the UK taking part.

Click here to read more

Click here to read more

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

Held at Lee Valley White Water Centre, the event was created and run by European and World gold medallist, Eilidh Gibson who wanted to create an inspiring weekend for women and girls who compete in canoe slalom division one and premier races from all over the UK.


British Canoeing Launches Access Charter in Westminster Last month British Canoeing launched its access and environment charter – Clear Access, Clear Waters - at an event held in the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Pauline Latham MP. It was attended by more than 20 Members of Parliament including Tom Watson MP Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and John Grogan, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways. More than 60 people from across the canoeing community including British Canoeing President Ivan Lawler MBE, the Access Advisory Group, Regional Chairs and guests from key stakeholders, were also present. Clear Access, Clear Waters argues for the right of the public to enjoy access on, and along, all navigable waterways to be confirmed in law. This would be a move that would bring England in line with Scotland and many other European countries. Currently, out of the 42,700 miles of English inland waterways, only 1,400 miles (just 4%) can be enjoyed uncontested, leaving paddlers at risk of verbal or physical intimidation and the threat of prosecution for trespass. British Canoeing has, based on a wealth of historical evidence, long argued that there is a public right of navigation under common law on all rivers that are physically capable of being navigated. This is a right that stretches back centuries, when people used rivers for travel, trade and pleasure.

Professor John Coyne CBE, Chair of British Canoeing, said: “The aim of producing this Charter has been

to provide clarity. Clarity on our policy, clarity for all water users and clarity on our vision for fair, shared, sustainable open access on water. “It is our firm belief that the outdoors should be open to the public to enjoy the health and well-being benefits of recreation on and along the water.” Pauline Latham OBE, MP for Mid Derbyshire who sponsored the Westminster launch, said that open sustainable access would not only benefit the environment and the wellbeing of individuals, but also the local economy. She added: “With Brexit on the horizon, this is a perfect time to start having conversations about the positive changes that are needed to achieve the pledges made by the Government in Defra’s 25-year plan for the environment. A collective effort is required by everyone to protect and enhance our environment and it is vital that all users of waterways feel fully engaged. “I would like to see all parties come together to agree fair, shared open access on the basis of mutual respect and shared responsibility to act responsibly. I really welcome the British Canoeing vision, to see all users, enjoying an equal right to enjoy all waters respectfully, responsibly and equally.” Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Inland Waterways and member of the Select Committee for Environment, Farming & Rural Affairs, Mr John Grogan, MP for Keighley & Ilkley, added: “In Scotland the right to paddle in the nation’s rivers is taken as a given and anglers and canoeists seem to get on just fine. We need to catch up south of the border in England and Wales.”

The Charter is based on three key pledges:

Get involved! We achieve much more when we work together. When the paddling community gets behind national campaigns, we make an incredibly positive impact. Getting involved in things like river clean-ups and ‘check, clean, dry’ are fantastic - shouting about them is just as important!


Contact your local MP Advice on how to do this is available on the charter page of our website (www. how-to-contact-your-mp)

Share the Space Be a Champion! We need people to carry the #ClearAccessClearWaters message far and wide,

beyond just the paddling community. Whether that is on social media or through involvement in a local forum, it is vital we get our voice heard!

It is up to us all to set an example of how we want to see our rivers fairly, shared by all users. Consider your actions when out paddling, be sensitive to other users, always consider the impact you are having on the environment, aim to minimise disturbance and leave no trace.

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

To find out how you can get involved, please go to


fade with the autumn colours! Following the success of the August Paddle Challenge we now bring you the Winter Paddle Challenge! As the nights draw in and temperatures start to dip it can be tough to keep up your paddling motivation. We want to give you all a little extra incentive to get yourself out of the door and into a boat this winter. This January and February we are challenging you to paddle 30, 60 or 120 miles to earn yourself a snazzy new boat sticker! With 59 days to complete the challenge, it’s time to chuck on your thermals, hit the water and bag your boat some bling. You can take part in or on any type of paddlecraft and as it’s winter, we are allowing miles paddled on an ergo to count nice are we?! Once you have racked up your miles you’ll be able to register your achievement with us to receive your free boat sticker.

Learn more about the Winter Paddle Challenge here

Prizes to be won from Kayak Pro

You might choose to have an epic weekend on the water and collect all your miles in one go, or you may prefer to put in mile or two each day. It doesn’t matter how you do it or what kind of craft you paddle, so long as you hit the 30, 60 or 120 mile target a shiny new sticker can be yours.

You don’t need to pre-register that you are going to take part in the challenge with us. Once the challenge starts, on January 1st, just complete your mileage, fill in the registration form to let us know which distance you have done and you will get your sticker.


Go Paddling!

Say hello to fresh and new The Go Canoeing initiative has been a staple introductory participation programme run by British Canoeing for 5 years. It’s primary objective is to encourage new people onto the water, inspiring them to develop a passion for paddllesport.

Go Canoeing has served us well but following feedback and research we knew it was time for a little refresh. So, from now on Go Canoeing will become Go Paddling. We see this as a hugely positive change as using the word ‘paddling’ instead of ‘canoeing’ in the future is more reflective of the wide variety of options the world of paddlesport has to offer. Making it easier for people to understand and more inclusive. To support this change we are very excited to be launching a new Go Paddling website in the New Year. The website will be a one-stop shop for people to find out how and where to get started. The site will support the delivery and certification of the new introductory Paddle Awards; Start,

Discover & Explore. Everything will be in one place; from inspirational articles to a bank of information on where to go and what to do, including over 140 paddling trails. Alongside the overall programme name change, Go Canoeing Week will now become Go Paddling Week. This year the event runs from 25th May to 2nd June. Make sure you get the date in your diary and think how you will take time to join in! If you are a coach, leader, club or centre delivering introductory activities or are interested in getting involved, sign up the Go Paddling programme. By joining our growing network of providers you will be listed on the new website and gain access to bespoke information and toolkits to support you with the activities you deliver.

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

Register your interest today by contacting: craig.duff@ britishcanoeing.


With 2019 on the horizon, plans are afoot for the next Go Paddling Week. For clubs, centres and coaches now is the perfect time to think about how the week will feature in your plans for the year. In this article you can learn more about the theme and the great changes to the week for 2019.

The light bulb moment This Go Paddling Week we are taking time to go back to the basics of what the week is all about. The aim is to get as many people on the water enjoying themselves as possible! In 2019 the week will run from 25th May to 2nd June. We hope you will be getting involved.

Over the years our mileage targets have been a great way of recording how far people have paddled but we recognise lots of people want to take part but don’t know their mileage. So, this year we are setting a people target, to get as many people on the water as possible.

Time to relax

In the past we feel we missed out on the ‘I just got in a boat for the first time for 20 minutes’ and the ‘but I’m a playboater’ and even the ‘how many miles is 8 times down the white water course?’ type of paddlers feeling they could participate. We hope that just being able to record that you went for a paddle will make taking part in the week far more accessible to all. It will also make it easier for clubs, centres and coaches to record their figures for the week. Instead of adding up miles we just want you to tell us who you put on the water.

Time to learn

Time for adventure

The theme


Drum roll please...

We know that people take to the water for a huge variety of reasons. From exercise to headspace, exploration to challenge, spending time with people to spending time away from people. Whatever the motivation we are going to be encouraging people to ‘Take Time’ this Go Paddling Week. Stepping away from the usual routine of life to discover all the amazing things padding has to offer. We would love for you to help us with this by putting on activities throughout the week and registering them with us. We can then promote your activities through our website and send you materials to help you advertise to club members or the public.

We’re sure you’re all desperate to know what the target is for 2019! Changing from miles to people has meant we had to have a good hard think about a tough but achievable target. We hope that you will help us get 10,000 people on the water throughout the week!

Watch this space We have a fresh new logo for Go Paddling Week, which you can find here. Please feel free to use it to promote any activities you are running throughout the week. Over the next couple of months the website will be having a facelift and further resources will be developed and released.

We really appreciate all the support clubs, centres and coaches have shown to the week over the years and hope you will all Take Time to join us again for 2019.

Time to get fit

Time to explore

Time for fun

START DISCOVER EXPLORE Start Award Your first time on the water, ‘having a go’!

Discover Award Developing your skills Explore Award Learning to make confident choices The Paddle Awards are for those new to paddlesport. Enabling you to develop the skills to feel confident and safe on sheltered water in your chosen paddling craft.

Find out more: Copyright © 2018 British Canoeing

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

Your journey into paddling


A SUP’pers Yukon 1000 Tony Bain, a SUP instructor who runs Green Dragon Activities in South Wales is an avid white water and adventurer SUP’er and no stranger to a challenge. Among his long list of adventures, including coast to coast challenges in his native New Zealand, mountain descents and being the first to circumnavigate the Isle of Anglesey nonstop on a SUP, he had another adventure on his bucket list...the longest canoe race in the world! By Tony Bain Starting in Whitehorse, Yukon territory, Canada and finishing on the Dalton Highway, Alaska where it crosses the Yukon River (it is the truck stop immortalised by the TV show Ice Road Truckers”) The Yukon 1000 is not for the faint hearted and is billed as the longest canoe and kayak race in the world. Carrying everything you need for the whole journey, the race takes you hundreds of miles from civilisation. Travelling through the wilderness alone could be risky. Potentially you could end up sleeping on a beach with a grizzly, brown or polar bear so you have to complete it as a pair. I approached the event organisers and told them a little about my paddling background and training, and to my delight they told me I had passed their selection process. Well that was just dandy, but I still needed a partner! To my delight they informed me they had a guy from The Netherlands who’s team mate had pulled out, and was looking for a replacement. I was sent Alex’s contact details and we soon began planning.

Our boards had to be big enough to carry all our kit, including bear barrels to protect our food at night! Farrel O’Shea and I had designed a 17’ 4” board for my attempt to become the first person to nonstop circumnavigate the Isle of Anglesey on a SUP in one go. The ‘O’Shea GTOcean’ was more than adequate for the tide races of Anglesey, so I knew it would be suitable for the Yukon 1000. On race day, the day was warm and the sky clear, we were set for a week of good weather and all the teams were ready to go.

After the first 400 miles the river was going to be filling with sediments from ancient volcanic eruptions and natural soil erosion, so our biggest challenge was how we were going to get enough clean drinking water. The first section of the Yukon 1000 is the 33km river to the start of Lake Laberge. There were roads in this section, so some interested locals and the Yukon 1000 organisers came down to the river’s edge to cheer us on. As we passed the last river check point, Lake Laberge opens up before you but you can’t see the end as it’s 55 kms away. We were lucky the weather was on our side, otherwise we’d have been paddling waves of around 2 to 3 feet. We reached the end of the lake around 9.30pm and instantly set about powering our way down the river, as we still had 1.5 hrs before we had to stop for the night. The time went quickly and we found ourselves with a steep river bank to the water’s edge on river right, and on river left a flat narrow grassy margin to some low scrub. Rather than incur penalty points we decided to pull up for the night. It wasn’t a great choice of site as the grass margin was basically a water logged bog. Race rules say that you have to stop at 11pm and can’t resume until 5am. There was no time for a leisurely breakfast as 18 hours of paddle time was in front of us. This was a race and we were already the 14th team (that meant last place) so we packed our kit as we made our breakfast, set off on the river and ate as we went. As this was a race re-enacting the early gold mining days, it was about being as quick as you could. If you got to the gold fields first you got the best land to set

up your diggings on. For us, our gold was the Yukon 1000 medal at the end of the race. But if we didn’t get there before the end of the 10th day we wouldn’t get it. The end of day 2 was looming, the river was keeping us on our toes and we were loving every moment. Night 2 came and went, our campsite was much better and we were quicker at setting up our tents and getting our one hot meal of the day. At the end of the end of day 3 we set camp just the other side of Dawson city. The further north we pushed towards the Arctic Circle, the longer and lighter were the nights were and we could still see the lights and hear the river ferry carrying its loads across the river. After leaving Dawson City we were heading away from civilisation again into the mountains. They were majestic, from tall bluffs towering above the river, to a patchwork of green trees covering steep rocky peaks vertically reaching for the sky. As the event started in Canada and ended in Alaska that meant we had to deal with a border crossings. ESTAs need to be arranged prior to the race so we could enter the USA. Once we arrived at Eagle, the border crossing point in the USA, we had to report to the border authorities. We ditched our boards and headed for the town (more a small village as we saw it). Hidden in town on the side of a building was a yellow phone that put you in touch with the US border control, this was the first time in my life I had never had to queue to get through border control.


The flats seemed to drag on for day, a few scattered settlements appeared and then disappeared, clearly we were getting somewhere. More mountains appeared and we realised we were in the final stretch. The speed picked up as the river became more defined again and the last 30 kms didn’t seem to take long to pass. In fact it went too quickly.

Floating past bears and their cubs feeding on the river banks, camping in the arctic circle, and paddling down a massive river through forest fires, the Yukon 1000 adventure had past so quick that I didn’t want it to end. But round the bend it came. That was it, the finish. We had made it, we paddled on to the end, not really wanting to, it wasn’t as if we could stop it happening, as if we had stopped paddling the river would just carry us on. I didn’t want to stop but the cheers from the other 2 SUP teams and the Yukon 1000 organisers brought us back to reality.

The End was here, it’s time to rest, eat and sleep well. And time to ponder on the next great SUP adventure.

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

It was late in the day and as we left Eagle we had about 1 hour before we had to stop. We found a lovely flat campsite with plenty of wood for a fire. So far we had managed a fire every night except the first. A fire helps to keep animals away, but most of all it dries your clothes, body and soothes your soul. Crossing the Arctic Circle and heading into the flat lands brought long days of paddling and the slower river speed was having an effect. The winds hit us on day 6 so we had to box clever at times to make headway. The winds were too strong in the middle of the river to paddle against, even with a strong downhill water flow we were not moving forward so we needed to employ other techniques to move ahead. At times paddling was the only way to battle the head winds as the banks of the river had now turned to cliffs of silty soil and muddy foreshores.

The evenings were much colder and the light stayed most of the night. We pulled up one night thinking that we had found a great place to camp only to find a set of distinctive paw prints in the muddy river bank. The one Bear that we really didn’t want to meet on this trip had passed that way. Usually this big white bear is found much further north but these days the search for food has brought the polar bears much further south.


NEW Personal Performance Awards Want to try Flat Water Freestyle? Looking to become an Open Water Tourer? Want recognition for your SUP skills?

Then the Personal Performance Awards are for you! The awards allow paddlers to develop their decision making and fundamental skills, working towards the award of their choice. Each discipline has 3 awards, allowing you to focus on the area you want to progress. All of the awards are direct entry and there are no age restrictions to any of the awards.

So what are you waiting for, take your Personal Performance Award today!

Click here to find out more

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

Which qualification or award is right for me?


With the introduction of the Paddlesport Leader and the Coach Award, and the launch of the NEW Paddlesport Instructor Award in 2019, you may be wondering which qualification is right for you, your club, centre or organisation. This guidance will give you a clearer understanding of the options available to you and your paddlers wanting to start their journey on the qualification pathway. These are all direct entry awards which could be the first step for any aspirant Instructor, Coach or Leader.

Paddlesport Leader Launch:

April 2017

Aimed at:

paddlers leading on sheltered water environments, running safe and enjoyable trips based on their group’s needs and aspirations.




The Paddlesport Leader can lead any craft, from any craft.

Prerequisites: One day First Aid and membership. Training:

Not compulsory. Candidates can cross check their requirements and opt for bespoke training opportunities, for example, in-house training at your club or working alongside/shadowing other leaders at your centre.


1 day assessment


In a recreational club, the Paddlesport Leader could be leading journeys, providing a safety framework for multiple craft or in a racing club, could provide a safety overview on a training session chaperoning other paddlers.

Paddlesport Instructor Launch:

January 2019

Aimed at:

Paddlers whose main focus is to deliver paddlesport taster/starter sessions, games and short journeys in very sheltered water environments, within the safety management systems of clubs/centres or other organisations.




Stable craft - kayak, open canoe, sit-on-top and Stand Up Paddleboard

Prerequisites: Membership and Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT) Training & Assessment:

2 days combined


Organisations running introductory sessions for those who have never tried paddling or clubs playing games to progress their new paddlers paddlesport skills.

Coach Award January 2018

Aimed at:

Paddlers who wish to coach those who want to gain/improve paddlesport skills within a chosen discipline. This will include coaching beginners new to the sport, or paddlers looking to develop their skills in the given discipline/ environment so they can paddle safely without the need for a coach.


16 or over at the time of assessment. 18 for advanced water options.


18 options available covering all of our main disciplines and environments

Prerequisites: Membership is the only prerequisite of Core Coach Training. Training:

2 day Core Coach Training, 2 day Discipline Specific Training.


1 day assessment


A Polo club looking to develop their athlete’s skills or a club coaching sea kayaking sessions in a moderate or advanced water environment.

Canoe Focus Winter 2018



Minimum fuss and maximum friendliness is the motto for Falcon Rowing and Canoe Club in Oxfordshire, who have become a household name in their local area for offering fun, accessible and engaging paddling sessions for all.

From helping prepare adventurers with learning disabilities undertaking charity canoe challenges, to pool sessions and afternoons on the River Thames, the club, who pride themselves on being inclusive, work with a host of local organisations to ensure as many as possible can enjoy the benefits paddling can bring. Doug Staff of Falcon Canoe and Rowing Club explains how these partnerships are helping everyone to enjoy making a splash.

“Canoeing is a fantastic example of a pursuit that most people can access and have a positive experience. Falcon RCC often receives enquiries from people with learning, social, emotional, physical and health difficulties who wish to join one of the club’s taster fun sessions.”

Doug Staff

Two of the organisations Falcon has worked with over the past year are KEEN Oxford and Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, who have both benefited from the sessions organised by the club.

KEEN Oxford KEEN is a charity organisation who hold regular social sessions for children and adults with physical or learning disabilities and/or special needs. Having worked with KEEN previously, this year Falcon offered both an indoor pool session and a fun afternoon on the River Thames for KEEN members and their families. In February members of KEEN Oxford joined Falcon for an indoor kayaking session. Falcon uses these ‘warm water’ fun sessions to introduce people to paddling in all types of craft and improve water confidence. Participants were paired up with volunteers from both KEEN and Falcon, and tried out a range of boats - including sea kayaks and racing boats.

“The coaches taught us some basic paddle skills and made even the most wary feel comfortable at our own pace. And if we fell in, that’s where the fun began!” KEEN Oxford


“It was really lovely to see children who would normally be very shy and struggle with new activities take up their paddles and learn new skills. My son had a big smile from the moment he sat in the kayak, and it was an absolute joy to watch him.” Elwira, KEEN parent

The return of the warmer weather provided the perfect opportunity for Falcon to host another session for KEEN members. This time outdoors, and family members were invited to join in with the fun too. With a variety of boats waiting on the bank to try out, everyone took a leisurely paddle down river, either honing their own skills in single kayaks or relaxing in canoes as coaches guided them downstream. Parents and siblings were able to get stuck in too!

KEEN Oxford

Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB) Falcon invited members of OAB’s Children and Young People’s Programme for a fun day on the River Thames. Over 20 members and volunteers took to the river for an exciting paddle, stopping along the way to collect conkers and pick blackberries. The event was a great success with many of the participants asking when they can return to try again.

amazing job and helped us into canoes and kayaks before joining us for the paddle.” Laura Finnis Children and Young People’s Coordinator at Oxfordshire Association for the Blind

Falcon have now booked a programme of winter paddlesport pool sessions starting in December and running through till March 2019 which will include members from both KEEN Oxford and Oxford Association for the Blind.

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

“The volunteers from Falcon did a truly


In Autumn, Falcon RCC’s Kayak Racing Team included paddlers with additional needs who successfully raced in and completed Southern Region Hasler Series events. Karina only started kayaking at the end of July 2018 after tragically having to lose her left leg earlier this year. Falcon worked with Karina to develop her racing kayak skills including devising a system to enable Karina to steer a K1 racing kayak using just her right foot to control the rudder system in both directions. Karina partnered with Fiona to compete in the Division 9 K2 Race at Pangbourne Hasler on Sunday 9th September where they achievied 3rd place. From hosting accessible events, Falcon’s coaches have over time adapted their coaching styles and some club equipment to cater for disabled people.

“Nothing beats the chance to put skills into practice on real Paddle-Ability events and the warm glow that everyone gets after a smile-filled successful event.” Doug and the team at Falcon

Karina a nd Fiona at the Pa Hasler R ngbourn ace in Se e ptember 2018.


Falcon Coaches have taken part in Paddle-Ability training programmes provided by British Canoeing. These allow providers to develop an understanding of the barriers faced by disabled people in accessing paddlesport and what can be done to support their access to canoeing and kayaking.

How have Falcon made their accessible sessions a success?

Take a look at some of Doug’s top tips!

Ongoing communication between both organisations is key and pre event planning is crucial. We ensure we receive all information and consent forms well in advance so we have an accurate picture of needs from each participant.

Falcon recruited enough club members/coaches and volunteers so there was a 1:1 ratio with visiting paddlers.

Canoe Focus Winter 2018

Our visitors were accompanied by ‘buddies’ - a familiar face who knew them, their character and their capabilities. The partnership of KEEN buddies working alongside Falcon members was invaluable and played an enormous part in the events running smoothly.

More information about Paddle-Ability including training courses, elearning and guidance is available on the British Canoeing website


Wave Sport...

a 50 year history British Canoeing Trade Partner Wave Sport has had a busy year with their parent company Gaybo Limited celebrating their 50th anniversary by purchasing and taking full ownership of Wave Sport. Making kayaks since 1968, you may also recognise Gaybo Limited as the company behind Perception Kayaks. We take a look at some of Gaybo Limited’s highlights from the past 50 years, including how they worked with British Canoeing to develop white water competition boats and recreational kayaks which have introduced more people to paddling than any other manufacturer. What began with founders Graham and Bob Goldsmith wanting to find a way to fund their paddling across the world in 1968 soon turned into one of the most successful businesses in the industry; fuelling an explosion in paddling with developments that have redefined recreational kayaking and whitewater disciplines, not only in the UK but around the world.

Nearly 50 years on from building their first boat, you can find Gaybo Ltd in their purpose built factory in Uckfield, where they continue to produce a comprehensive range of kayaks.


The Perception Kiwi is born and redefines recreational kayaking around the world. This short, stable and easy to paddle kayak with its extremely accessible cockpit has since tempted hundreds of thousands of people onto the water and shown how easy paddling can be.


Perception makes their first sit on tops in the UK.

The Trade Partnership follows years of successful working between Gaybo Ltd and British Canoeing. In 1997 British Canoeing commissioned them to produce a plastic White Water Racing Kayak, The Wavehopper. This world renowned boat was designed by World Champion Antoine Goetschy and is still made today - over 20 years later, and Gaybo’s involvement in Wild Water Racing and the Wavehopper challenge continues to this day.

“Banbury Canoe Club, the winners of 2018’s Wavehopper Club and Team Championships were presented with a boat from Wavesport at our Stronger Clubs Conference in 2018!”

The Perception and Wave Sport sit on tops are also the boat of choice for British Canoeing’s outreach programme where in 2018 they helped get thousands of people on the water for the first time, using sit on top boats. 2018 was a big year for the company, who not only celebrated 50 years of manufacturing kayaks; they also completed the purchase of Wave Sport. Gaybo, who initially started with

21 the manufacture of Wave Sport products for the European market in 2008 have now become the sole global manufacturer for the brand, and their successful purchase and ownership will allow them to further focus on projects and designs. Wave Sport and Perception Kayaks have been instrumental in the development of the sport, with their Wave Sport products playing a big part in the racing scene - both in the UK and France. Graham Goldsmith, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Gaybo Limited, says: “It makes me very proud to think that Gaybo Limited has been continuously in business for 50 years. This makes us the “oldest”, that is to say, the longest established kayak manufacturer in the UK still under original ownership! What a way to celebrate with the acquisition of such a well-known brand. It is our intention to push Wave Sport and Perception Kayaks forward together at the forefront of our industry.”


“Wave Sport’s Research and Development team push the parameters to bring you the best performing kayaks on the planet….and always manage to have some fun along the way,” says Graham, and 2018 demonstrated just this, with the launch of a new product which is catching the eyes of paddlers on the Boater X racing circuit.


Wave Sport launch their new fast river kayak, the Phoenix. Prototype models have been catching the eyes of paddlers on the water as they achieve great results in Boater X races on the circuit with Team Paddler Michele Ramazza. For Gaybo the Trade Partnership is an extension to years of historical involvement with British Canoeing with the mutual intention of helping more people to enjoy paddlesport and they note keeping up with the latest trends in the sport as their key to 50 years of success.

Gaybo start manufacturing a couple of Wave Sport models for European distributors. This includes the original Diesels now called the D65 & D75.


Gaybo become the UK distributor for Wave Sport and begin their involvement with future development projects.


The first Wave Sport crossover kayak is launched, the Ethos. In Europe the Ethos is manufactured by Gaybo and offered in a choice of outfitting specifically targeted for the European paddlers needs.


Canoe Focus Winter 2018

Gaybo celebrates fifty years of kayak manufacturing as well as completing the successful purchase and ownership of Wave Sport.

We’ve been writing our story since 1974, helping people to explore the great outdoors and preparing them for adventure with passion and knowledge born from experience. But a lot has changed in 40 years and our story is changing with the outdoors. We want to make sure that the places we explore are preserved and protected for everyone to enjoy for the next four decades, and we’re not the only ones…

In partnership with

Columbia are always looking to innovate and give something back. With processes such as the ReThreads product recycling and donation programme, responsibly sourced down, and by colouring materials without water, they’re working to reduce the environmental impact of everything they do, including kit like the OurDry Extreme Eco jacket, made from 21 recycled plastic bottles and dye-free fabric.

Full T&Cs apply. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Selected lines are exempt. 10% discount only on bikes. Only valid upon production of your British Canoeing membership identification in-store or use of valid discount code online. Offer expires 30.04.19.

Women's Pine Bridge Jacket £180

Jack Wolfskin’s Texapore Ecosphere jacket is a great example of how recycled materials can be used to make innovative, high-quality and reliable outdoor kit, perfect for adventures on and off the water. Made from 100% recycled polyester, this jacket was developed to provide conscious weather protection using a reduced amount of CO2 and performs just as well when it comes to weather protection. Love the rain. Protect the outdoors.

Men's Sierra Trail Texapore Ecosphere Jacket £165

Clif are passionate about providing positive energy and great nutrition to adventurers worldwide, with an aim to create a more healthy, just and sustainable food system. They’re constantly working to craft food with organic, sustainable ingredients, packed in eco-friendly-packaging and delivered pollution-free.

Using a reusable water bottle or flask helps to reduce the use of singleuse plastic. Sigg go the extra mile to protect and preserve the places we love by creating bottles that are 100% recyclable and eco-friendly, free from harmful substances and look great too.

Clif Bars £1.60

Traveller Bottle 1.0L £17

At Cotswold Outdoor and British Canoeing, we’re trying to do our bit and want to help you do the same this season and beyond. It’s time to make your outdoor story a sustainable one.

Writing our story since 1974

Let’s go somewhere

䈀刀䤀吀䤀匀䠀 䌀䄀一伀䔀䤀一䜀 伀一䰀䤀一䔀 匀䠀伀倀 一伀圀 伀倀䔀一






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

611 e: w: t: +44 1629 732611

Soca Slovenia


t h e

j e w e l

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Story: Steve Brooks Photos: Steve Brooks and Ute Heppke Nestled in the heart of the julian Alps, the Soča Valley is one of the most stunning places we have seen in europe. As a former Republic of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was the first to gain its independence and unlike its neighbours of Croatia and Bosnia, it had a rather smooth transition to independence.

We have been coming to kayak the Soča River since 2001. John Blake and myself were on an early spring kayaking road trip and with no water in southern austria we realised that the Soča River was not too far away. John had no maps in his van and since this was before smartphones existed, we made a quick call to Ute.



She did some research, checked out a few maps and with her directions we made our way to Slovenia. The Vršič pass was closed due to the amount of snow that had fallen throughout the Winter. So with a bit of back tracking, crossing a couple of borders as - our first visit to Slovenia was before it was part of the EU, we ended up trying to explain to Italian officials why two Brits were in a German registered van with a bunch of kayaks in the back looking for whitewater! After a few tense negotiations, the Italians let us through and we were now making our way over the Predil Pass and finally descending to the Soča Valley!


Since then we have been to the Soča valley over 10 times and it still amazes us just how stunning the area is. The river is a crystal clear emerald green colour and is the home to the Marble trout fish, which you can actually see when you eddy out in certain sections of the river. The town of Bovec lies at the base of Mount Kanin and at a pleasant 453m above sea level the town has a great climate with plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants to hang out and watch the world go by. When we first came to the Soča Valley, it was actually cheaper to go out and eat in a restaurant than buying food at the supermarket and try to cook on our small camping stove! Even though, since the adoption of the Euro, this has certainly changed, the food at the restaurants is still plentiful, extremely tasty and the local trout is very hard to beat!

There is now a pub in Bovec that is brewing its own Indian Pale Ale and makes a great excuse to avoid the gassy Euro style beer. If you are not into your beer, the local made firewater called Slivovich (or was we call it after drinking too much of it: ‘Slip in a Ditch’) is worth a try, or if you prefer coffee then this is still around the one Euro mark - you certainly cannot get a coffee for that price where we live in Austria!

in a restaurant than

When we first came to the SoÄ?a Valley, it was actually cheaper to go out and eat

buying food at the supermarket



Since the days of the former Yugoslavia, the locals have maintained a tradition of trying to be self-reliant. Our Slovenian family that we always stay with have their own trout pools, sheep, chicken and with plenty of fruit trees and berry bushes scattered around their land, we are regularly given some of their fresh produce!


The river itself has been called the classroom of European whitewater kayaking and we think this is the perfect description.The friendly colour of the river gives a sense of ease even if you are running the syphon canyon! With plenty of sections of different grades to choose from it gives every kayaker the opportunity to enjoy its rapids. Or by making multiple laps on your favourite section you can try different moves and lines. However, just do not take our word for it, come on a visit to this amazing valley and we are sure you will be impressed – we certainly were and still are!


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. In-between the kayaking season in Austria, Steve can be found kayaking and leading courses, adventure trips and expeditions in the Soča Valley, Indian Himalayas, Peru and Chile in South America. He speaks Austrian 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 mountains of St Anton am Arlberg or riding his Royal Enfield Bullet in search of undiscovered rivers in the Himalayas.

For more information check out: and

Photos: Steve Brooks • Graphics:

Kayaking through the worlds deepest canyons on rivers engrained in Inca culture and history ★ ★ ★ ★

Apurimac Colca Canyon Cotahuasi Canyon Urubamba Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu Cotahuasi Canyon

Colca Canyon Tel.: +43 (0) 676 530 38 78 •



By Andi Brunner and Janosch Plathner Paddlers and photos: Janoschki di Janosch (Janosch Plathner) Andrea il Piccolo (Andi Brunner) Permanenza (Pirmin Dlugosch) Flipper (Philipp Mach) Daniele de Bauero (Daniel Bauer)



What were one Austrian and four Germans doing at the airport in St. Petersburg?

They are trying to get five kayaks to Siberia!

It was raining heavily as our Russian driver and his wife brought us (the one Austrian and four Germans) to a house. We expected to be there at any moment along the way, however, after eight hours of, “We are almost there,” the driver stopped and we finally arrived at the house. The door opened to reveal Vasily, our kayak guide whom with his Russian accent shouted, “OK guys, listen! I hope, you are in good condition.Water level is super high. Are you a good group?”

“Ah, I hope so…”

“Not sure…”

“We'll see…”

All of us were hesitating – then Vasily said, “OK, dawei (Russian for: let’s go)!”





ThePADDLER 100 The group loaded the boats, luggage, a children's bicycle and a chainsaw onto the UAZ 452. Still the heavy rain fell. Nine people on eight seats, a rain jacket instead of a window pane and a leaking roof. All the clichés about Russia seemed to be perfectly true. Our motivation was put to the test for five more hours. In the middle of the night, we finally arrived at the Chuya camp.

The Chuya – upper and lower

The next morning Vasily told us, “Water levels are high, but it’s normal.” So he wanted us to start on the Mazhoy Gorge (a difficult canyon with no escape, but really good rapids). Tired of the driving, we preferred to warm up on the lower section.Vasily said that this section is for girls and not for real men like us, but we did it nevertheless.

Right in the first rapid,Vasily got stuck in a big hole. We expected him to swim out of it, but after what seemed like hours of fighting, he managed to get out. Afterwards he told us, “Ok guys.We have really high water! Normally there is a rock two metres out of the water, not a hole!” The rest of the run was fun readand-run class III whitewater and the perfect warm-up.

The next day, the weather cleared up, the sun was shining and water levels started to slowly drop. So we spent the next three days on the Chuya and its different sections.

The Chuya is an ultra classic glacier-fed river in Altai, that is runnable all summer long. Each section takes over one hour, even if you know the lines, which is typical for Russian rivers (there are hardly any short runs like in the Alps). The Chuya is about 40-70 cumecs and starts with a long read and run class IV, followed by a harder gorge, where you have to scout and/or portage some rapids. However, its more like a box-canyon, which makes it sometimes harder to get out of the boat. So you should paddle with someone who knows the lines.



Upper Bashkaus

After this Chuya warm up, the first bigger trip was waiting for us! We drove six hours towards the Chulishman, with a short stop at the Upper Bashkaus. Again, water levels were very high and what used to be a class III run was super fun, pushy and no longer class III. Plus the landscape was class VI.


On the next day, we continued the drive to the Chulichman. After leaving the main road, there was barely a road anymore. We drove through a forest, went around mud holes, fallen trees, whilst trying not to flip the car. When there was no possibility to drive any further, we stopped and set up our camp next to the river.

The Upper Chulichman is a super good class IV-V river and with around 70 cumecs, it offers some stout rapids and resembles the classics in Voss. All the rapids are runnable, but we portaged some of them. Normally it’s a, “Yeah, second run, double fun” section, but again, water levels were very high. This section took us about three to four hours.

After a siesta at the take-out, we decided to start our first multi-day in Russia on the middle Chulishman that afternoon. Throwback: when we all met in the beginning of the trip (four hours before the departure of the flight), Andi was very surprised to learn, that we would do multi-days in Russia, “What? We need drybags? I did not expect to do multi-days…!”

A little tired, but super stoked, we paddled a class IV read and run gorge to our camp spot, where we changed our clothes and lit a fire. Sat together with a fire at a multi-day is definitely a different feeling than being with a fire next to the car.

On Chulishman things are huge with long, big rapids and the biggest siphons we had ever seen. Nearly the whole of the big volume river disappears under stones at the ‘Gate’ rapid. The take-out is on a wide, open valley, where there were some tourists camping next to the river, which is quite impressive as it’s in the middle of nowhere.


In the evening we went for a Russian sauna where the thermometer showed 100°C! Sasha, our driver, was waiting for us with a whip of branches. The branches are supposed to stimulate the circulation when you whip the back with it.



Chulcha and Kurkure

The next few days we paddled the tributaries of the Chulishman: Chulcha and Kurkure, both of which you have to hike in. The Kurkure is the opposite of what you would expect from a Russian river: 200 metres long, steep and around three cumecs. The Chulcha on the other hand has so many big rapids in a row, that the pools inbetween are barely pools. We spent two days on these rivers, and after each day, Sasha was super motivated for a sauna! After the long hikes we were so tired heading into the sauna and Sasha was waiting for us with the branches...

Bashkaus – the book of legends

The well known book of legends river and finally our journey took us there! On the first day of this multi-day trip you will find only class II for four hours. So we took all the delicious food we needed, as on class II it is not too bad if the boat is heavy. Our plan was to make sausages, stick bread and potatoes.

Unfortunately, the sausages were absolutely not enjoyable, the stick bread raw inside and burnt outside and the potatoes looked like coal! So the food was the opposite from the kayaking on that multi-day (umschreiben).

After the first two bigger rapids, we found the book of legends, which isn’t too easy if you don't know where it is.To be at such a famous place was really fascinating.(ausschmücken) and it was really interesting to read about all the groups, who had been there before. Especially if you know some of those people in person.

balance on slippery ground

It's quite a scary situation to be on a gravel field, having over 25kg of multi-day equipment on your shoulders, trying to keep your

with heavy winds, which was turning the boat all the time

The Bashkaus provides five star whitewater. Some big rapids (nothing too scary) and a lot of class IV in between. Vasily told us about a big landslide, that you have to portage river right – once there, we realised, that it was a really big slide. Nearly the whole part of the mountain fell apart and formed a 45° steep gravel field. As soon as you wanted to set foot on it, everything started to move. We walked a little bit uphill and started crossing the gravel field. Pirmin went first and seemed to be quite comfortable, we followed him and it always looked as if it was getting better a few metres ahead. However, it became worse and worse. To make it worse, the wind started to blow pretty strong.

It's quite a scary situation to be on a gravel field, having over 25kg of multi-day equipment on your shoulders, trying to keep your balance on slippery ground with heavy winds, which was turning the boat all the time. We gave our best to get ahead, when we suddenly heard a scream and saw a cloud of dusk and a green spade kayak air-cartwheeling towards the river. Not able to help Pirmin, we watched the boat bouncing 30 metres downwards towards the unrunnable rapid. Luckily, it got stuck near the river bank.

Pirmin managed to rescued himself without bigger problems and to our all surprise, the boat was still in one piece, it didn't even have a dent! Now even more scared, we carefully continued the portage and were more than glad when we made it safely back to the river – until the moment when we heard the sound of moving rocks! We looked up and saw them sliding down, so we immediately searched for small projections and tried to cover below them. The rocks came flying over our heads super fast! Luckily none of us got hit but it was very scary – take care on this one!


One hour later we arrived at the take-out, totally exhausted, and saw Sasha already preparing the whip of branches for sauna. This is where we noticed him stressed for the first time, because we were late. Thinking the landslide was the hardest part of the day, we came into the the 100°C sauna with a stressed Sasha and his whip!

Barely alive we slept like babies until the warmth of the sun woke us up the next morning.




It is always nice to go back to the Chuya camp for lapping Mazhoy Gorge, drying the gear and chilling in the sun. The Mazhoy Gorge is always fun! After the mandatory portage, we were talking about the next rapid, which we named, ‘Subway of surprise’.

Andi was always nervous before this rapid, so he asked Janosch, “How do you paddle this rapid?”

The answer from Janosch was, “Like always, try to boof somewhere somehow and let the first curler be your subway. Go in and enjoy your uncontrollable ride.You never know where and when you will get out!”

Karagem and Argut

So that’s what we did, before we started our last adventure – the Karagem Argut. The Argut, with its two overnighters, is another ultra-classic and one of the biggest rivers in Altai. It’s a whole day’s drive to get to the put in, that is only possible with a really big car or a tank, otherwise you would have to walk the last bit. So we had to carry our multi-day boats for 5km. Finally at the put-in, we started our multi-day routine:

collecting wood, making a good fire for cooking, getting into our dry clothes, setting our tarps, preparing our sleeping place, cooking and sitting together on the campfire.

The easiest way to the Argut is the Karagem tributary, which we paddled down on the first day. It's a small, fast, rocky and cold glacial river with plenty of wood and nasty stones in it. Not the best river, but for us the only way to get to the Argut. There is another way, but you need a special border visa to do it.

Super good big volume drop and pool character, the second day put a smile on our faces! There are not a lot of rivers like that in the world. If you like the famous Rio Futaleufu, you will love the Argut – the only disadvantage is, that it’s not roadside. In return, you get an inaccessible, impressive landscape far away from everything.

After some hours of flatwater paddling on the Katun (the Argut is a tributary of the Katun), we did the last paddle strokes of our journey. It was time to start our long way back, full of amazing impressions of Russia and a completely new opinion of the very kind and helpful Russian people.

Thank you Siberia for this awesome experience!

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By Angela Ward and Adam Evans Photos: Adam Evans and Angela Ward DAY FOUR

Silently overnight, as if by some magical trickery, the sea had miraculously vanished. Probably less to do with the influence of Harry Potter and more to do with Mother Nature, although still magical nonetheless.The tide had receded by hundreds of metres leaving a carpet of sticky sand-covered black mud and revealing the carrageen-decked sides of Fhaodail Dubh. Dragging our boats through gloopy mud to paddle off seemed pointless on a serendipitous journey like this, so instead we decided to go exploring on foot. Equipped with maps, packed lunches and flasks of piping hot choccamochadoodah, a real boon in winter, we took a look at the River Shiel which was now flowing at low tide.

Yesterday, I'd been amazed that we'd paddled from River Shiel onto Loch Moidart with such ease, as this was in stark contrast with my previous visit in 2014 and what we’d witnessed yesterday. With the tide in, there were barely a few riffles to be seen on the water, which culminated as a small tongue into the sea. With the tide out, it became a steep serious canoe-filling series of drops, with sharp rock edges barely covered by powerful rushing water.

Much like life itself, one of the secrets of canoeing is timing. How and where to canoe are important but when or when not to are key factors to success or failure. Things can go wrong very quickly. Different day, different conditions, different decisions.

As there was no rush and we had no particular agenda for the day, we then meandered along the banks of the Shiel. This gave us a lovely chance to see our paddling environment from a different

perspective. Although beautiful to watch from afar, we both still had a hankering to be on the water rather than next to it.

Whilst we were in the vicinity, it seemed like a smart move to head for the pub in Acharacle, again so that we could get an up-to-date weather forecast and tide times, which would give us the information ‘when’. The opportunity to quench our thirst with sweet fruit cider and satiate our hunger with haggis pizza also seemed wise. Let’s not also forget the opportunity of using a ‘Porcelain Throne’ again!

As the light began to fade, we walked back along the road to Newton Ardtoe and the sanctuary of our tipi home. The fact that we were fed and watered meant there was no need to cook a meal. Instead we had one of usual ‘Cinema Tentipi’ sessions. Films, snacks and whatever alcohol was in our hip flasks.




Further exploration of the peninsula came the following day and we simply enjoyed to soaking up the atmosphere of this magical location.

We walked from our Tentipi Base Camp (TBC) across the marine pastures to pick up the main road to Gobshealach and onwards to Ardtoe, location of a ‘Local Hero’ style marine research facility.

Whilst the tide was out, we explored rock pools on the beach and then made our way across fields of highland cattle and up onto higher ground. Sitting atop the height of Farquhar’s Point, we could see white sandy bays tucked behind black volcanic rocks, shrouded with tall Scots Pines. Our fantastic panoramic vista also afforded wonderful views across Loch Moidart towards Castle Tioram. Picking our way carefully back towards TBC, we inadvertently startled a small herd of young deer, barely a few metres away from us. Only their sudden movement gave them away amongst the camouflaged backdrop of darker

orange heather and ferny fronds, swiftly within seconds they were gone.

The previous day we’d paddled on the South Channel but today, the quickest route back to TBC was by journey by foot along the sea bed. Being able to see our surroundings again from a pseudo-subterranean vantage point was certainly unique.

As the darkness drew in, so did the dark waters of the tide. When we arrived back at TBC, we wrapped up warm, illuminated ourselves and our canoes with several small lights and paddled out into the night. Knowing that we were camped at the limit of the tide-line, we gave ourselves only 90 minutes to explore the dark loch and make it back.

Conditions were so clear and calm that torches were not needed and using starlight alone, we could just make out the sharp roof edges of several small shacks which were dotted along the shoreline, roughly about 2,000m in the distance. In total, we probably paddled for around three kilometres and it was just magical. The ability to navigate under scotopic conditions and identify landmarks using our peripheral vision meant that we could truly feel part of our nocturnal surroundings.

We knew to keep the coastline on our left as we headed back down Faodhail Dhubh until we reached the rocky outcrop which shielded our tipi from main view. Timed to perfection, we reached TBC as the tide was beginning to recede and so the water’s edge was about eight metres from the tipi. It was then a simple matter of dragging our boats up onto the grass, for the remainder of the long dark night. Another micro-portage involving a minimal amount of physical exertion!


Blue skies and calm waters greeted us, rather than the near-apocalyptic weather conditions, which had been predicted. Pretty typical for Scotland then! We spent a blissful few hours heading along the South Channel with amazing views across to the snow-capped islands of Rhum and Eigg.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a slight obsession with seals and otters. Thus far in this adventure, we had seen neither so you can probably imagine my delight when we finally spotted a solitary seal. Not as cheeky as the seals of Loch Sunart and Teacuis although still a delight to see wildlife in its beautiful maritime habitat. The only otter we saw on this trip was depicted in the North Channel on a placemat in the pub in Acharacle and if it was to scale it would have been the size of Godzilla. I have it on good authority from Sir Ray Goodwin that these are in fact killer otters and paddlers must beware. Possibly even more deadly than the wild haggis, which roam across Scotland in search of unsuspecting prey. Wilderness paddling is not all fun and games!



for the next 2-3 days

At Loch Eilt, we parked up and quickly got onto the water, only taking with us what would be necessary


I’d only ever seen Castle Tioram from a distance and with the tide in so now we had the opportunity to park up and take a closer look. The interior was a tangled mass of branches, leaves and creeping vines although this only served to enhance the beauty of the castle and its roughly hewn blocks of stone and wrought ironwork.

There’s always something very special to visiting tourist attractions by boat although on this occasion we needed to be mindful of the tidal conditions. Not because of any danger but because we didn’t relish the prospect of a long portage across the sand if we could avoid it. Almost as if we were just lucky rather than having planned ahead and timed it to perfection, we arrived at the shore close to Castle Tioram car park. There we loaded up the boats and kit and headed off on our travels.

We decided that liquid refreshment was vital so we called in at the Glenuig Hotel. After a chat with one of the bar staff, it transpired that for a meagre £3 each, we could make use of their shower facilities. I think that I probably looked in need of a good wash, whereas Adam looked rather rugged. This was without doubt the best £3 that we’d ever spent. Never underestimate the luxury of hot running water especially when you don’t need to repeatedly press a button to keep it running!!

Loch Eilt and in particular, Essan Bothy was a life tick moment because I’m a moderator of ‘View FROM My Canoe’ and was inspired by a photograph, which had been posted there by Andy MacArthur a few months previously. The comment thread involving Andy was relating to unusual things which people had transported in their boats. I’ve helped to rescue a live sheep on the LLeyn Peninsula, I’ve rescued a large radio-controlled model boat on Llyn Padarn and I’ve assisted the Fort William Coastguard in a salvage operation on Loch Lochy. Technically speaking, I did the salvaging while they watched from the beach but that’s another story in itself!

The unusual object in Andy’s photograph was a full-size stainless steel kitchen sink and it’s intended location was Essan Bothy. Apart from paddle exped food planning,

which I really enjoy, domestic duties hold little interest for me and yet somehow I felt compelled to visit the Silver Kitchen Sink of Essan Bothy.

At Loch Eilt, we parked up and quickly got onto the water, only taking with us what would be necessary for the next 2-3 days. Paddling across the loch and inching under the railway bridge and up the tiny river we left our canoes and strolled to the bothy. A large group of friends had already taken up temporary residence inside so we popped in to say hello and pitched our tipi on the large area of flat grassland near the stream and our canoes. Paying heed to the ‘Flash Flood’ sign, we tied our boats to said sign and enjoyed an alfresco evening meal on the nearby small shingle beach.


After a restful night’s sleep, it seemed very appropriate to enjoy a leisurely breakfast of freshlymade pancakes and maple syrup, cooked on our own private shingle beach. Well, it was private until we heard the sound of something approaching along the train tracks and realised it was the Hogwarts Express. I’m not sure who was more surprised, us or the bemused passengers! Once they’d realised that there was indeed a tipi in the middle of nowhere with two people having breakfast, there were lots of smiles and waves. Even the engine driver gave us a ‘toot toot’, which was amazing. Another of life’s perfect moments.

We relocate to the bothy itself as my pilgrimage to visit the Silver Sink of Essan Bothy had still not been completed. Having packed up our kit and moved inside, we decided to go for a walk up a big hill whilst the tipi dried out in the bright Spring sunshine. As much as I love being on the water, having the opportunity to paddle to remote locations and then


ThePADDLER 114 explore on foot, is all part of the adventure. Seeing things from different perspectives always enhances the feeling of what being a wilderness paddler is all about.

From our vantage point high up on Sgurr na Paite, imagine our repeated excitement to see the Hogwarts Express appearing yet again but from the opposite direction. I wouldn’t regard myself as an avid railway enthusiast but to see the plumes of smoke from the red engine against the stunning backdrop of Loch Eilt and the mountains beyond, was truly special.

The experience was perhaps even more special than seeing Andy MacArthur’s legendary stainless steel kitchen sink.

I am a member of the Mountain Bothy Association (MBA) as it’s important for me to support their work. Their aim is to maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places. They’re certainly not holiday homes in the accepted sense as they can’t be booked in advance and there are basically no facilities such as running water or electricity. What they do offer is the opportunity to have solid walls, windows and a roof. There might be raised wooden platforms to sleep on and sometimes there are fireplaces too.

All maintenance work is done by volunteers and is paid for by voluntary contributions. More information can be found at

As the evening drifted on and we sipped hot drinks outside, the train passed by and yet this time it began to slow down to a stop. Pulling away, the train left behind one person who began a slow stooped trudge up to the bothy, the stoop hinted to the young man pushing his touring bicycle equipped with bulging

panniers up to the bothy for the night. Much like us he was exploring Scotland by human power mostly and had use the train to get easy access to the bothy and enjoy the space inside rather than being cramped in his small touring tent.


On the final morning of our adventure, it seemed appropriate to use up the remainder of our exped food. I always calculate things carefully so that we have just enough supplies for the duration of our trips plus a small supply of emergency provisions. Breakfast today was pancakes with mocha spread, washed down with choccamochadoodah. A chocolate coffee pancake morning festival. What’s not to love ?

Back in our boats for the last short hard battle back, we slipped out of the stream under the railway bridge and into the head on Force 5 winds. Tactically making our way up the loch edge into wind free eddies, we finally launched out for a hard 20-minute battle to cross the Loch and also continue up the edge to the layby where the car was parked.



"Wither’s aye changin bit wi the sun on yer face It’s jist an absolutely, incredible, stunnin place."

STKILDA An irresistible opportunity to visit the

A R C H I P E L A G O By Sinclair Molloy Photos: Andy McManus Last October, Castle Craigs Canoe Club in North Ayrshire, attracted two new members to our winter pool sessions. Eric Holden from Canada and Katherine Knight from Weymouth in Dorset, owners of Narwhal Expeditions and their 57foot steel hulled expedition yacht, Narwhal, were holed up in Clyde Marina, Ardrossan for the winter.Their winter project was to get the Narwhal expedition ready in time for their first expedition season, to explore Scotland’s hillwalking and skiing opportunities and to improve their sea kayaking skills over the winter.

Eric and Katherine worked hard at the kayaking and even harder on their yacht Narwhal, throughout a long cold and wet Ayrshire winter. Modest and reserved, we had to ‘Google’ them to find out that both are lifelong keen sailors, adventurers and ‘Cape Horners’ who have competed successfully at international level. Eric is also a professional meteorologist who supported the Canadian Olympic sailing team in 2012. He is currently under contract to the Norwegian Olympic sailing team and Katherine is a physiotherapist who supports the Swedish Olympic sailing team. Eric's background includes skippering the winning Henri Lloyd Clipper in the 2013/14 Round the world Yacht Race. Katherine is a published writer, qualified Yachtmaster Ocean, ocean yacht racer and winner of the European Women's Moth foiling speed championship.



"Tho a scary place wi the mist richt doon”

Castle Craigs Canoe Club

rarely offers club trips far from home. However, Narwhal Expeditions offered an irresistible opportunity to visit the St. Kilda archipelago, some 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides. ‘Mates rates’ and dates were quickly agreed and we found ourselves Narwhal’s guests on their first expedition of 2018.

The weather gods don't offer a guarantee when it comes to getting out to St Kilda. Even after a long settled spell, the Atlantic swell can make it difficult to anchor in Village Bay.The only promise was that we would find somewhere new to paddle. An extra day was offered to improve our chances of catching a weather window, as Scotland had already enjoyed almost five weeks of sunshine and settled weather by the time we wheeled our kayaks onto the Barra ferry at Oban.The longer the good weather lasted, the less likely it was that we would reach our goal. However, sighting a whale, dolphins, basking shark and an eagle en route to Barra, boded well and when we joined Narwhal at Castlebay, Eric confirmed that the forecast was still, “Good to go.” We were quickly introduced to the intricacies of onboard plumbing, water conservation, fire prevention, deck safety and bunk beds with lee boards. After securing our kayaks on board we had time for a booze run to the Castlebay CoOp and an excellent curry at Cafe Kisimul, overlooking the Castlebay RNLI station.


The first, mostly foggy, leg of our journey saw us motoring to a lonely overnight anchorage at the Monach Isles, home to a huge number of Atlantic Grey Seals that mournfully ‘sang’ us to sleep.

We set sail early the following morning for this extraordinary World Heritage location with its amazing geology, seascapes and bird life, taking turns at the helm. A five-hour mostly misty crossing saw puffins, shearwaters a lost racing pigeon and a playful Great Skua providing most of the entertainment until Stac Levenish loomed

through the fog. Followed a short time later by Dun and Village Bay on Hirta. Conachair and the other peaks remained obscured by rolling mist throughout our stay.

Initially shocked that none of the many Village Bay photographs we had previously seen, showed the industrial scale of the military presence on the island, which includes a power station on the foreshore, we soon turned our attention to the island of Dun and its massive arch. Within 30 minutes of Narwhal being brought to anchor in Village Bay, we had launched the kayaks and set off to explore Dun. Soon the geology, the sheer cliffs rising into the fog, the caves, arches, gullies, kelp beds, Atlantic swell, the clear water and the overwhelming bird life had us all completely enthralled. The unique atmosphere of this incredible place was breathtaking. So anxious were we not to miss out on any part of the adventure that without

Mingulay swell

“An nithin compares with a big ocean swell� With thanks to a fellow St Kilda paddler for permission to use some of his evocative Doric verse, commemorating his own St Kilda paddling adventure supported by MV Cuma in 2013.


ThePADDLER 120 In the morning he swore that his cabin companion kept calling out in his sleep, “Presumably to warn me about the next big swell coming through.”

sustenance or briefing we set out for a clockwise circumnavigation of Hirta, promising to be back for our tea within three hours. Given how much there was to see and how many features there were to explore on Dun alone, three hours was wildly optimistic. We had to sprint past the last half dozen caves and bays on the way back, for fear that Narwhal might report the loss of their first expeditionaries of the season.

The debrief and reflections over supper that night recognised the need for a stronger focus on group and individual safety, with special regard to tidal streams, erratic Atlantic swell running through features, the total absence of get outs or VHF comms with the Coastguard, mother ship or indeed any other vessel. If there happened to be a walker on the top of a cliff, the fog would ensure that they would not spot kayakers in trouble. We planned a more leisurely anticlockwise circumnavigation of Hirta and Soay the following morning and went to our bunks feeling lucky, privileged, blessed, satisfied and very happy, but yearning for more of the same.

“Mibbe it’s just cos it’s sae elemental That maks ye feel jist richt sentimental”*

There were some big swells overnight, big enough to dislodge one of Narwhal's kayaks, (quickly recovered by the skipper) and to stir some vivid dreams. One of our number snored deeply and couldn't be wakened.

We woke next morning feeling a mix of privilege and trepidation. After another circumnavigation and an afternoon ashore, we found it even more difficult to express how we felt about our extraordinary experience. “Ther hames are still ther bit ther’s naebody hame An fin ye think aa aboot it, it’s jist mair than a shame Bit tae be ther, far they wer, wis a privilege tae me”*


Day two's circumnavigation was even more exciting. We landed on Soay to do some backrest repairs, but kept being swept off our perch by the growing swell. It would have been very good to get round Soay and out to Stac Levenish, Boreray, Stac Lee and Stac Armin but a rising wind and swell affecting the anchorage in Village Bay put paid to that. There was just time for a couple of hours walking and reflection on Hirta before we set off in excellent sailing conditions, back to safe anchorage off Vatersay, with a chance of paddling to Sandray, Pabay and Mingulay and then back to Barra still supported by another overnight aboard Narwhal.

Incredibly, the weather held out and we had time to explore Mingulay and the other islands too. Mingulay exceeded all our expectations and felt every bit as remote and special as Hirta. A must-see island for all serious sea kayakers, but to really enjoy all it has to offer, you should wait for a period of settled weather and a calm sea state, even if you have the benefit of a support vessel.

Narwhal Expeditions aims to inspire adventures and support expeditions to remote destinations (see more at

“Tho nae places tae land tae exercise yer feet"


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N O G U E R A P A L L A R E S A By Thomas Richard Photos: Gautier Boudat Join Fanatic/Ion’s riders Gerd Serrasolses, Nico Fayol and Thomas Richard, paddling down the mythic Noguera Pallaresa River in the Catalan Pyrenees.

In western Europe, the Noguera Pallaresa has become a classic river to run for kayakers, this is where commercial rafting was born in Europe in the 80s. The summer working season is nearing its end and my need for paddling is growing daily despite the dryness of our rivers in France. I received a call from Nico Fayol, “What’s up buddy?” Nico says, “What are your plans next week? I have a plan to SUP on a juicy river, the mythical Pallaresa on the other side of Pyrenees in Catalunya.”

“OK bro I’m in!”


So we drive down to Sort city


Sort is located some 80km south west of Andorra. Here the river has its source in the Val d’Aran, a few metres from the source of the Garonne and flows 154 km to the south before flowing into the Segre and the Ebro before finishing in the Mediterranean.

In Sort we meet local and international kayaker Gerd Serrasolses, from Spain and Gautier Boudat, our official photographer.

Due to the massive snowfall last winter, the thaw had been generous and water levels were still pretty high even in September in Spain! We decided to paddle down, step by step, the 60 km class II-III-IV whitewater from Llavorsi to la Pobla de Segur.


The first section is the classic whitewater of Pallaresa, 11kms of class III-IV rapids from Llavorsi. This village is also the starting point of every rafting company in the valley, where the put-in is on the left bank at the confluence of the Riu de Cardos, which doubles the flow of the Noguera Pallaresa, that’s good for our fins!

We go for a short warm up by inflating our three Rapid Air boards. Gerd and Nico are on 11-foot boards as they are carrying stuff, and the 9’6 for me. The weather is perfect: warm and sunny but the water is quite cold, so we decide to wear our Ion wetsuit and knee pads and we’re ready to go!

The first few kilometres are quite easy, perfect for whitewater SUP paddling where the rapids are deep and we can forget about breaking our fins and paddles – It’s so good after months of waiting!

‘La lavadora’ is the first class IV rapid, where the river speeds up and turns on the right in a big volume of water, waves and finishes with a massive rock in the middle forms a large hole you don’t won’t to play in!

We follow each other, spread our feet, bend our knees, performing strong strokes on our paddles. Gerd shouts, “Now guys, let the party begin,” amidst the strongest rapids of the section with perfect whitewater. Paddling here is so cool and continuous, you can play everywhere with surfing waves, boofing holes, stopping in strong eddies but it’s also sketchy, we lost count of the number of swims!

The river is totally surrounded by nature, there are no factories, power lines crossing the river but just a few cows and horses in the green fields below the massive cliffs. The sun is shining the whole day, that’s so good.




The section between Rialp and Sort isn’t the most interesting part with flat water and small rapids but the view is still beautiful. Watch out for the dam after Rialp, which we walked around to arrive at Sort’s whitewater course.


Sort is the most important city of the valley thanks to its tourism (ski in winter, rafting and whitewater activities in summer). It’s also the kayaker’s basecamp of the valley where you can see boats, paddles and kit everywhere around the city.The locals built a whitewater course crossing downtown and we finished the day playing on the course: boater cross, wave surfing, etc. We decide to camp next to the river, drink beers and eat some tapas in a local bar.Tonight Barça are playing and the sidewalk is on fire with excitement!


The firsts eight kilometres are very easy before the famous ‘Pastis’ Rapid, a class IV IV+ depending on water levels, we’re nervous at the top. You can’t see anything from the side, just massive boiling whitewater, with big, sharp rocks. The line looks simple: entry on the right, paddle through the first wave, boof a big hole then come back into the middle, paddle to maximum speed and boof the second hole.

Gerd goes in first, we watch him attentively, he begins with a nice line but falls in the middle of the rapid, it’s going so fast!

OK so now it’s our turn. I follow Nico and we fall after a few strokes. “It has been a long time since a swim like that,” affirms Nico. “OK guys let’s do it again, we must get back on the pony!” The second run was good for all of us and we continue the descent.



This is the last whitewater section of the Noguera Pallaresa River, one of my favourites, well known for crossing the Collegats Canyon, a famous spot for rock climbers and it’s multiple canyoning courses.This scenery is breathtaking, between two huge multicoloured cliffs and we paddle under la roca de l’Argenteria: a magical waterfall with flashing green moss on orange rock. A kilometre later, the gorge opens up again to become once again the classic Pallaresa style until the end at the lake of la Pobla de Segur.


The Noguera Pallaresa is definitely a river to discover regarding whitewater SUP paddling. The rapids are challenging, plus the environment and weather is perfect for a 3-4 day trip. The best period for good floods is between June and September and midsummer (July and August) is the busy season for rafting companies, where the river can be full of people. We’ll be back for sure!


Fanatic, Ion, Water Well, Altitude Eyewear.

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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


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

ISSN 2397-8597 October 2018



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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: To buy a printed issue on top quality paper with varnished gloss perfect bound covers please visit: 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. Please contact us: 01480 465081 Email:

Profile for The Paddler ezine

The Paddler Winter 2018/19 issue 45  

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

The Paddler Winter 2018/19 issue 45  

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