Page 1

Issue 11 - August 2013

ThePaddler ezine com .

International digital magazine for recreational paddlers


Norway coast

Madawaska Kanu Centre






Contents August 13


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

Advertising sales

Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081

Cover: Kristi Page

Victoria, Australia. Photo: Sea Me Surf Photography

Not all contributors are professional writers and photographers, so don’t be put off writing because you have no experience! ezine is all about paddler to paddler dialogue: a paddler’s magazine written by paddlers. Next issue is September 2013 with a deadline of submissions on August 20th. 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. ThePaddler 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. The publishing of an advertisement in ThePaddler ezine does not necessarily mean that the parent company, 2b Graphic Design, endorse the company, item or service advertised. All material in ThePaddler ezine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without prior permission from the editor is forbidden.

Where we’ve been… 20 32

44 52 60 66

75 82



Barren Lands, Canada Canoeing above the treeline. By Alex Hall

Northern Forest Canoe Trail 2 New Hampshire and Maine. By Katina Daanen

Issue 11 Canada 20


Norway WW waterfall paradise. By Flo Fischer

Ontario, Canada The Women’s Retreat Week at MKC. By Shelagh MacDonald

Norway 44

Jackson Zen review By Phil Carr

Awareness Being aware of how to avoid the dangers of the ocean in fishing/sea kayak. By Mark Crame SeaBird Scott review By Scott Edwards

Awareness 66

Yak Gear profile The past, present and future of Yak Gear, By Bill Bragman


Norway Sea kayaking the rugged Norwegian coastline to the North Cape. By Alice Courvoisier

106 Plymouth Sound, England Open cockpit sea kayaking. By Simon Everett

Kristi Page 116


Photo of the month for August 2013 Bergsfjorden, Senja, North of Norway By Frode Wiggen 4 6 12 16


Eight of the very best Eight must see paddling videos. Coaching Prevention is better than cure. By Dave Rossetter

Testing, testing The TevaSphere shoe, VE Split Paddles and K3 Paddles. Paddle Expo 2013 What the exhibitors have to say for Europe’s largest paddle sports show.

114 ThePaddler’s Planet By Leslie Kolovich

116 Kristi Page Interview The rising star of the SUP scene, By Peter Tranter

England 140

126 Dave Chun Interview The owner of Kialoa Paddles, By Peter Tranter 136 Joe Thwaites Interview The owner of Loco SUP, By Tez Plavenieks

140 Yorkshire, England SUPing Yorkshire by ocean, river and canal. By Dave White

Hawaii 154

154 M2O, Hawaii, United States SUP Radio interview with Jeremy Riggs. By Leslie Kolovich

158 Cuba to the United States Ben Friberg’s record breaking SUP crossing. By Leslie Kolovich

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Substantial Media House International

“The Holy Waters”

Kayak Laguna San Rafael

Outdoor TV Chile

River a Week, #8

1st descent - RioTejo by SUP

SUPxscape Portugal

Substantial Media House North America

Liam Chambers Sermenza - Val Sesia, Italy

Standup Paddle Swallow Falls Kayak Borneo - Part of the Plan


110h18 Norway

Fred Norquist Highlight Reel

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Tom Haywood Borneo

SeaMonsterMedia Pennsylvania, USA


This year’s new colours for our freeride wonder jacket. XP 3-layer fabric • 4D cut • GlideSkin neck • Latex gaskets with Twin Wa aist neoprene ne cufffs fs • Breathable stretchy Twin Searc ch online for Palm Equipment

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By Dave Rossetter –paddlesport in The article focuses on white water kayaks, however, the areas could translate across other disciplines.

Prevention is b Safety starts before we even go paddling


Time spent outfitting your boat before hand can help you out in whatever environment you are paddling in.

Front airbag

Hip pads

Stern airbags


For example if your legs go to sleep due to a tight footrest or over padded seat then are you still going to have good control over the boat? Lack of airbags can lead to loss of boat altogether not to mention how difficult it is to move the white water kayak to the side of the river. Spending time ensuring that your boat is well outfitted will aid you in the control of the boat as well as making any rescue potentially easier.

The following is not an exhaustive list but certainly starts you thinking: Take time to sit in your boat in your normal paddling clothes and adjust all aspects of the boat as required.

Footrests: Fullplate/foam/footbag. Make sure these are fixed in and allow you to stretch your legs so as to keep blood moving. Being over tight in a kayak can lead to loss of circulation and ultimately poor power transfer through the feet. Whatever the kayak ensure that you can push through the footrest but also extend the leg that will help when edging.

Seat: Adjust the seat as to have an even balance point of the boat and so you have the ability to reach the water effectively. Many of the kayaks are getting deeper due to having more volume but this can mean paddlers loosing contact with the water and lack of control over their strokes.

To get the seat right for you sit in the boat on flat water. Ensure that there is an equal distance between the water and the bow as there is on the stern. Once this has been achieved then look at the height of the seat so that your elbows are above the boat and that you can reach the water effectively. Be careful of padding the seat to much as a ridge on the underside of the thighs can cause numbness in the legs. However having some form of pad there prevents slipping on the seat and adds to the overall comfort.

Hip pads: Make sure that your hip pads don’t impede on a wet exit and are firmly fixed in place. Hip pads are a great way to help transmit energy into the boat that aids greater control of your boat. Having even a thin piece of foam is better than nothing at all.

Backrest: A poorly fitting backrest is one of the biggest problems people have with their boat so time spent on this saves loads of time on the river. Your backrest also aids keeping your posture correct which in turn helps keep greater control. The backrest should be resting and not holding you in position.

Thigh or knee grips: Make sure that when you are sitting in your boat the knee or thigh grip is giving you grip so as when you lift the leg you are using the grip to maximum effect. Having a thin piece of foam on the point where you are applying the pressure helps with the comfort and the control. Again make sure that it doesn’t impede you on wet exiting.

Make sure you have padded conservatively to allow some movement inside and also so you are not hindered in wet exiting the boat.

The use of airbags in the back of the boat is very important in helping the rescue if you do have to swim.

This speeds up the rescue as well as keeping as much water out of the boat to keep it floating higher when full of water. Don’t forget about the bow. With the big creeker kayaks available the bow can get damaged easily if the kayak swamps. So the addition of foam or an airbag up front is very useful.

Take time to kit the boat out for you so you know where you will pack your kit.

Can you locate your throwbag in a hurry? A lot of boats now have a drinks bottle holder in between your legs that can make excellent holders for your throwbag and allows you always to get it in a hurry. Make sure your throwbag has a good closure on it, as 15-25 metres of rope floating about inside your boat will not make an easy wet exit.

structor at Glenmore Lodge

etter than cure Outfitting your boat is not enough by itself.You should also look at your other equipment:

Buoyancy aid – enough buoyancy / space for equipment / harness.

Throwline and rescue equipment – suitable length / tape and krab / knife / whistle.

Spare paddles – where to carry.

By taking the time to prepare properly can help you have a much more successful time on the river. Too many paddlers get themselves into difficulty by not taking the time to outfit themselves or the group they are leading and end up struggling to paddle and rescue successfully.


“The art of staying out of trouble”

When paddling any river there must be some clear and flexible ideas on how a group of paddlers is going to get down safely and in control.This is clearly going to depend on; the size of the group, the groups’ ability levels and the nature of the river.With this in mind the following mnemonic is helpful for the group while river running;

C.L.A.P Communication / Line of sight / Avoidance is better than cure / Position of maximum usefulness

Communication: The important factors with this are that everyone within the group is aware of how the group are going to keep in touch and if signals are being used that they are kept simple. Often it is easy just to chat to each other. However, there are times when this is not possible so having some signals agreed can help. Any more than five signals and things are going to get complicated.

Suggested signals: Stop / Go / Left / Right / Eddy. Safe river running seems to break down most due to lack of signals or poor signals. As a group get to know each other, other signals may get added but keeping it simple is the key. Signals are a two process and work best when they are acknowledged.

Line of sight: Keeping line of sight of where you are going as well as your paddling companions is the golden rule. By ensuring you know where your next eddy is on the river means you have a stopping option. Keeping your paddlers in line of sight makes signals much easier and helps them see the paddling line.

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ThePaddler 8 Avoidance is better than cure: The over riding principle in safe river running is the art of staying out of trouble. To help achieve this we need to know what the hazards are and where to find them. We then need to spend time working on our skills so we can position ourselves in such a way to avoid those hazards. Ultimately we can always walk a rapid, as it will always be there for another day.

Position of maximum usefulness:As river leaders we need to strive to find the position where we can be of best use to the most number of the group for the greater amount of time. This is not only important when protecting a rapid but also when paddling. This doesn’t only apply to the river leader but also to the group. Instilling this into the paddlers we are leading will help in the success of the trip as well as them becoming independent of us.

Following this mnemonic will help you as a leader focus on leading safe trips and will provide a framework for the day. This is not meant to be THE way to a run a river, it’s a way.

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“Never go where the mind hasn’t been before” “Think there = Look there = Be there”

An area that perhaps doesn’t get mentioned a lot is inspecting or scouting a particular rapid.When looking at rapids there seems to be two camps; those who can instantly see the line and those who need a lot of time, chat and thought over the proposed route.To help those who are in the second camp and also river leaders or those who are coaching then the following mnemonic can be particularly helpful:

S.C.O.U.T Section / Current / Obstacles / Understanding / Training

Section: When scouting a rapid it is important to break it into manageable sections.To do this we start at the bottom of the rapid and work back upstream.This allows us to see where we want to end up and will start to dictate where we enter the rapid.

Dave is the full time paddlesport instructor at Glenmore Lodge – Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre. He 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 and specialises in white water kayak and open canoe where he will most often be found. He is supported in his paddling adventures and coaching by Pyranha Kayaks, Mad River Canoes and Palm Equipment.

Current: What is the current doing? Is it going to help or hinder us? Is it predictable? By asking these questions we start to have an understanding of what our options are.

Obstacles: What are the obstacles that I have to avoid? Are there any blind spots that I could of missed?

Once we have decided on what obstacles are in the way then we can start to have an understanding of the route down the rapid.

Understanding: Once the above have all been determined then we have to make sure that; 1. I have an understanding of what I am going to do.

2. My group have the understanding of what they are going to do.

We might need to repeat some of the above if the understanding is not there.

Training: Then it comes down to the training we have ourselves or the training that we have given our group. Do they / I have the skill to complete the route. It might be that I do but not today! Has the group got the skill to make that line or do we need to go back some stages to re-assess the line.

Following this guide

will help you as the leader or group member have a clearer picture of what’s involved to paddle that particular rapid. It can confirm that you can OR can’t paddle it. It is a tool for new river leaders.

It is a good idea to take your paddle and throwbag with you.The paddle is great for pointing, stability and a reaching aid while your throwbag is ready in case someone slips in or to speed up setting up safety.

The South West T


Entr y!


The Quay, Exeter, Devon 10am ² 5pm

+ Boats, Kit, paddles and accessories from the worlds leading manufacturers on display. + New products for 2013/2014 + Free demos on site. + Expert advice and information. + Clubs, trips, tuition, coaching, holidays and further education. + Beginner to expert, inland, coastal, white water, sea, surf, SUP there is some thing for every one. + Visit the website for more details including travel, parking, attractions and exhibitors.

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

Haven Road, Exeter, EX2 8DP 01392 219600 w


ThePaddler 12

The new TevaSphere

When you get the opportunity to try new stuff for free, it’s so easy to accept and forget. Although with the opportunity to test a new shoe it’s hard not to notice the subtle difference made by spending all day on your feet and in and out of the water. The TevaSphere shoes in short are designed to be a true multi-sport shoe, which offers performance benefits across a wide range of activities such as trail running, walking, hiking, cross training and in my own scenario SUP!

The guys at Teva have really identified the connection between science and athletic development in these shoes, as I have worn them over the past month.

Stand up Paddling this summer has exploded as the hot weather has given a rise to people spending more time on UK beaches and therefore increasing visibility to the emerging and versatile watersport known as SUP.

To wear shoes for stand up paddling may sound like a joke, but since teaching SUP across Wales for six years I often hear cries from my customers about foot comfort and especially in the arch areas of your feet which ground your support through the board whilst standing and paddling.

Testing, VE Split Paddles By Dale Mears

It gets to a point in your paddling career when you push yourself further and further until eventually something goes wrong; for many this may be a big swim, a near miss, or damage to equipment. For most eventualities there is a solution: bring a spare boat, pack some extra male/female pride and deal with your swim booty or carry spares.These are all good solutions if you can get back to your mean ride. For years now one solution for getting out of trouble on the river is a good set of splits. Generally it will be your paddle that takes the hit first, whether landing a big drop, waterfall or just an unfortunate rock that got in the way. It is a common preconception that splits are these horrible paddles that sit in the back of your kayakheavy, seriously un-cool and if your life depended on them? Well...

I was lucky enough to get hold of some of VE Paddles new splits this week and give them a blast at the National Water Sports Centre. Firstly, I paddle with VE

First impressions were very good; I have a set of Pro Glass VEs on a carbon shaft so am already familiar with how these paddles handle. For those who have not paddled with a set of VEs yet, these paddles are very light and I couldn’t ask for any more power from each stroke.They are manufactured using very high-end materials and you can feel the positive effects of this Spherical heel

Stability in the these areas wearing the quick drying TevaSpheres is unsurpassed, two support pods give you the freedom of a 'centred' experience through the board without feeling like you are actually wearing shoes, so standing up and paddling has never felt so comfortable!

Three models available:

TevaSphere Speed RRP PRICE: £90.00 $120.00. €119,99 TevaSphere Trail eVent® RRP PRICE: £110.00 $140.00. €139,95

A spherical heel helps the heel to role aiding in a minimalism to the shoe which feels very natural, I really enjoy wearing them on or off the water.

Matt Barker Smith

paddles and have done for years - this is no secret. I paddle with them because I love their light weight, power and style. I also love the fact they are manufactured in Nottingham and a firm believer in investing locally.The splits I picked up were destined for Sam Ellis, the UK’s version of ‘Rambo’, for his up and coming trip to the Stikine - enough said!

Support pods

TevaSphere Trail MID eVent® RRP PRICE: £120.00 €149,95



e will b nd it ed a view t re uc od

ter of in

dle rs - e mail us: r eviews@t hepad dler ezin e

m .co

Performance wise I noticed no difference to my usual paddles; the same reliable power, swing weight, strength (even when really working the paddle) and they are still super lightweight unlike most split paddles. I was really impressed with how these paddles handled. They still had the flex I wanted from a glass paddle but with a slight bit of rigidity in the middle of the shaft due to the spigot. I also found them great for putting in my van - they took up far less room; this would also make them a perfect option for trips abroad where luggage size is an issue.

If you want y o tion. u rp sta r st

The VE splits I tested featured a two-piece black glass shaft split with an aluminium clamp - lever-locking mechanism.This is used instead of the old fiddly sprung button system.The aluminium clamp mechanism allows you to easily unlock the shaft at the flick of a lever, change the feather to whatever you require using the graduations on the clamp, and even switch from right to left handed (perfect for a group of paddlers with all different requirements). When you have your blade set up how you want it, you simply lock down the lever and you're ready to paddle off.To test this I tried a few different setups changing the feather as I went in the various eddies. I found this effortless and even when wet the mechanism was bomb proof; I could not twist the paddle shaft.

est pad to

when you paddle with them. The splits I demoed were two metres long so I noticed the extra power straight away. I paddle a Wavesport Recon and I could fit these paddles in the back of my kayak easily. Sam paddles a Pyranha Everest and can also fit these in no worries. If you’re unsure about fitting some of these splits in your kayak, give Stu at VE paddles a call and he will discuss the length requirements.

ThePaddle r ez ine te

These splits will also be extremely popular on the VE paddles touring range where length and angle adjustment is required to compensate for kayak load and prevailing conditions.

When I am heading out on a big trip, or even a club trip, where there is a chance of paddle loss or damage, I will be carrying these splits. At the end of the day, as paddlers, our paddles are an essential and important part of our kit, especially when stuck in a gorge without one, so a good reliable set of splits are well worth the investment.The split joint is available on every paddle in the VE range costing £55 per straight shaft and £80 on a crank shaft. For touring range it can also allow for up to 100mm of length adjustment. All VE paddles are custom made to your requirements so check out for more information.

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K3 Designs Battle Blade and Bamboo Blade SUP paddles By Tez Plavenieks

K3 Designs are a south coast (UK) based, home grown windsurfing and stand up paddle hardware company who specialise in high end pre-preg carbon equipment.

The brand’s SUP paddles have been getting a fair bit of interest of late with a healthy number of recreational SUPers choosing to go down the K3 route. I recently got hold of K3’s Bamboo Blade and Battle Blade to put through their paces. Here’s what I thought.

Sexy, sexy

On first look both the Bamboo Blade and Battle Blade are top shelf, sexy looking pieces of SUP kit.The shiny patterned carbon of both shafts, and contrasting bamboo scoop of the Bamboo Blade, bold K3 Designs graphics and attention to detail give the impression that these ‘spoons’ are top shelf Gucci products. Well designed, manufactured and finished, the K3 paddles look fit for purpose and ready to go to war.

Battle Blade

The Battle Blade is unique with its shallower blade angle.The idea behind this is to give a powerful and quicker stroke. Without loss of oomph, the rider should be able to catch, pull, release and recover in a more efficient manner than with more conventional scoops.

The Battle Blade shaft is narrow in diameter with a comfy ergonomically manufactured T – Grip sitting on top.

Bamboo Blade

K3’s Bamboo Blade has a more conventional swept back scoop than its stealthier looking sibling and the bamboo constructed blade is billed as more of a wave shredding tool due to the narrower width which should ensure quicker rail to rail changes.

A slightly fuller shaft than its brother, but no less comfortable, with a bulbous top grip completes the look.

Onto the water

I tried both K3 SUP paddles in a variety of different scenarios – from waves to flat, small to big and choppy to glassy. Both performed incredibly well in each environment and actually it was hard to separate the two in terms of performance.

The Bamboo Blade, with its narrower scoop is great for rapid and efficient changes whereas the Battle Blade is the most efficient in terms of power delivery and acceleration.

For recreational cruising either paddle would be a good choice.The shafts on each stick are both super stiff, with minimal bend, ensuring SUPers get the maximum out of each stroke and therefore over exertion should be kept at a minimum.

Speed, cruising and waves

Partnered with a speed/race board I tended to favour the Bamboo Blade for shorter sprint oriented sessions while the Battle Blade was better over longer distances (going against everything that, on paper, the two sticks are designed for – a complete role reversal!) The angle of the Battle Blade’s scoop meant I could keep up a higher stroke rate without loss of forward drive. Its narrower shaft felt more comfortable over distance and help prevent fatigue. For cruising and exploratory missions I usually grabbed the Bamboo Blade as this felt better in the hands when just dabbling with a paddle.The narrower blade width was also easier going for lazier sessions.

The most interesting find came when I took the K3s into waves. Although the Bamboo Blade is marketed as the brand’s wave weapon, and in theory, with its sleeker scoop, should be the case, I found myself time and again switching to the Battle Blade.This was a purely personal preference and may not be the same for everyone.

With its narrow diameter shaft and (for me) more comfortable T- Grip, the Battle was my ‘go to’ spoon out of the two for SUP surfing.The slightly more efficient power delivery made for greater acceleration and therefore later drops right as waves were about to pitch. (I tend to sit right on the peak rather than paddling for a set further out back and therefore appreciated the instant ‘red line’ nature of the Battle Blade). Even though the blade is slightly wider than the bamboo version, I never felt this was an issue and could still swap from rail to rail easily.

This isn’t to say that the Bamboo Blade is any less of a performer; it’s just that the Battle Blade suits my style better.

Summing up

Both K3 Designs’ SUP paddles are top drawer bits of kit and either stick would be a worthy choice for most paddlers. In terms of which to go for would depend on your personal preferences. If power is your thing, and you have the necessary technique to make wider blades work in waves, then the Battle Blade would be choice. Racers would also do well with this stick. However, if you prefer a more conventional shape and have a longer paddle stroke then the Bamboo Blade would probably serve you best. Whichever K3 Designs SUP paddle you choose you’ll be getting a high end piece of equipment that’s built to last and finished beautifully. If you’ve yet to check them out then now’s the time…


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@ Robin Hood Kayak

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Photographer: Jen Chrimes Paddler: Jakobus Stenglein

Burn Karnali Z1 Varun


Pyranha Rebel Kid Pack

ThePaddler 16

What the exhibitors

have to say… PADDLEexpo / Peter-Lintner Photography

“When I look around our stand and see paddlers from different disciplines and countries, all sharing their passion for paddling with our gear, it’s easy to see why Paddle Expo is such a key a touch point for the paddling zeitgeist.” Paul Robertson, Marketing Manager, Palm Equipment “Paddle Expo is the world’s best place to see all the major paddling brands from around the globe. It’s such a valuable event for us as we see the majority of our customers in a professional and relaxed environment. It is a showcase for our industry and a perfect place to launch our products for the year ahead. For 2014 we’ve been hard at work, re-vamping and improving our high end whitewater and sea kayaking products. Our new pfd line is hotter than the iPhone 6 and just as secret! Come and see it for yourself and join us for a taste of local Derbyshire ale! See you there.” Pete Astles, PEAKUK “Paddle Expo gives us the opportunity to meet our business customers face-to-face, especially as we often don’t see them for the rest of the year. We show new products, test concepts and get feedback on our current line up as well as see what is happening in the rest of the industry. Having all this in one place helps fuel our enthusiasm, generates ideas and keeps Pyranha, P&H and Venture focused on making innovative and respected contributions to the industry every year.” Liz Forshaw, Marketing Manager, Pyranha “Yes it’s a great show. I know quite a few people stay on the camp and recommend it.” Nick Mallabar, SystemX “For Valley Sea Kayaks Paddle Expo has become a regular fixture on their events calendar. The fact the show has grown to become, not just Europes but probably the world’s most important paddlesport show, makes it almost unmissable from a sales and marketing prospective. “Valley has attended the show for several years now and are always easy to spot, with their unique geodome stand. When asked about the structure they

responded, “We felt the trade only nature of the show allowed us to be more creative with how we exhibit our products, we wanted something that whilst not closedin, gave some feeling of intimacy once inside, allowing quality meetings with the many people we talk to. The combination of open structure and graphics panels, showcases our products yet provides good meeting areas that aren’t as clinical as having the traditional closed office area. “This year, like all previous years, Valley will be using the Paddle Expo show to showcase its new sea and touring kayak products and meet a myriad of retailers and distributors from across the globe. Valley feels that the continued popularity of Paddle Expo has shown to be a good barometer for the health of our industry, long may it continue!” Valley Kayaks “I have always been impressed with Paddle Expo, and I am looking forward to the next one. As a dedicated paddlesports show, Paddle Expo is much more compact and focused than the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. In spite of the smaller size and narrower focus, the Paddle Expo draws attendees from all over the world. It is where I get together with my Japanese distributor. Of course, I also talk to my resellers from Scandinavia and elsewhere. “Paddle Expo is where we introduce new products, and this year we have two new recreational folding kayaks. The new kayaks have a fresh modern look, and we have made improvements to both comfort and convenience. Our new canoe seat pads are 1/2 inch thick 3-dimensional mesh. They combine needed padding with unrestricted air circulation can improve the comfort of all traditional style canoe seats. “I find it very useful to talk to many of our European resellers because they tend to have much more handson experience with Pakboats than our American resellers do. This way, I get feedback about what works well and suggestions to improve whatever does not. “I look forward to seeing you at Paddle Expo.” Alv Elvestad, Pakboats

"Even with all of today's technology nothing can replace the benefits of meeting face to face... and Paddle Expo is the best place to do just that. It’s the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the Perception brand and our products and to meet with people to talk about everything that is new for the upcoming season, all the time in a buzzing environment full of like-minded people who are passionate about the paddle sports industry." Perception




OC Paddler

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Welcome to




West of Hudson Bay in Canada's Arctic, an enormous triangle of roadless tundra, twice the size of Alberta or Texas, stretches north to the polar sea and forms the largest single wilderness remaining in North America.

Known as the Barren Lands or simply the Barrens, this gigantic piece of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut wasn't mapped in any detail until the 1960s. Hundreds of rivers and hundreds of thousands of lakes are still unnamed.

With almost half of its surface covered by water, the Barren Lands are perhaps best visualized as a lake-strewn northern prairie, but a prairie with more rugged hills than flatlands and pockets of spruce trees that go on for 200 kilometres or more beyond the so-called treeline.

By Alex Hall

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The weather has been depressing – a gloomy, frigid day with periods of near horizontal,

wind-driven drizzle,

and even a few snow flurries. Summer is late!

More than a dozen herds of

caribou, some containing hundreds of thousands of animals, still migrate across the Barren Lands as they have for millennia. This is also the home of barrenground grizzlies, white tundra wolves and primordial muskoxen. Millions of geese and countless other birds nest here during the brief but intense arctic summer. Since 1975, I have made my living operating fly-in canoe trips on the remote wild rivers of the Barren Lands under the name of my company, Canoe Arctic Inc. This is the story of one of those canoe trips when the animals seemed to make an all-out effort to be where we were. Here are some excerpts from my journal of the first nine days of that trip.

June 28

My clients must have mixed feelings about their first day in the Barren Lands. The weather has been depressing – a gloomy, frigid day with periods of near horizontal, wind-driven drizzle, and even a few snow flurries. Summer is late! The tundra is brown, not long exposed from under its winter blanket of snow. Many snowdrifts remain on the southern slopes and all of the lakes are still frozen. Only the river is ice-free.

June 29

The wildlife, however, has been impressive. As we flew low over the tundra on the approach to our landing place on the river, we saw several herds of muskoxen, about 70 animals in all. There is still one herd of 18 within sight of where we are camped tonight. Despite the sombre look and feel of early spring, there is life everywhere. All of the small birds are here on their nesting grounds including countless Lapland longspurs and even a few robins. There are long-tailed ducks, mergansers, scaup, Canada geese, herring gulls, golden plovers, and arctic terns. This evening after supper, we watched six or seven little wolf pups through our binoculars playing outside their den at the bottom of a sandy cutbank over a kilometre away on the opposite shore of the river.

Today, we paddled 25 km downstream through a number of shallow riffles and rock garden rapids in weather much the same as yesterday. First thing this morning we visited the wolf den, but the pups stayed out of sight, deep inside. One adult wolf howled at us from a hilltop high above the den. Although we saw only one other large mammal all day – a bull muskox – the river was crowded with thousands of moulting Canada geese, and overhead there were long-tailed jaegers, gulls, a few eagles, rough-legged hawks and short-eared owls.

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Right: Small groups of muskoxen.

June 30

The sky cleared at noon and the afternoon was warm, around 20 degrees. This evening we have noticed the tundra is greener than it was this morning. A few hours of warm sunshine have worked miracles, it seems, and even some flowers have bloomed. Just upstream from our camp tonight, the river cuts through an enormous ice field, probably created by layers building up as the river Above: alternately overflowed and froze throughout the The tundra. winter. It was a novel experience paddling down rapids with sheer walls of ice two or three metres high on either side. Along the river today there were a few small groups of muskoxen that allowed us to approach them as close as we wanted for photographs. After we made camp this afternoon we walked back in the hills to investigate a traditional wolf den I had found some years ago. As usual, the wolves were there, but we failed to take them by surprise. They spotted us long before we reached the den and began howling in disapproval. While four white wolves stayed more than a kilometre away, one big male, more brazen than the rest, put on a show as he repeatedly approached within 200 metres of us, barking aggressively.

One big male, more brazen than the rest, put on a show as he repeatedly approached within

two hundred metres

of us, barking aggressively

There were signs of pups at the den and even some fresh muskox tracks. On a vertical sand bank above one of the den entrances we found where a muskox had recently rubbed off some wool and had defecated into the den – a very cheeky muskox! Just then, two bull muskoxen strolled down a hillside towards us, but the howling and barking of the wolves seemed to give them second thoughts and they retreated, albeit at an unhurried pace.

July 1

This morning began with our return to a vantage point near the wolf den where we spent some time watching five cute little wolf pups wrestling each other. When we approached the den we got some close-up photographs of two of these little brown fuzzy fellows before they disappeared underground for good. Only one of the adults was visible in the distance.

Later this morning as we paddled downstream, we encountered two or three thousand caribou that were beginning to swim the river – mostly bulls still in their white winter coats and their antlers not yet fully grown. Just as we approached them in our canoes, a light grey wolf ran through one edge of the herd, scattering many animals. At our campsite tonight, we came upon another five thousand caribou along the steep hillsides sloping down to the river. Predominantly cows with small calves, they eventually swam the river below our camp. Before they did so, however, we spent some time with them at close quarters. It was a very pastoral scene, the cows lying with their calves or nursing them as they grazed placidly on tundra plants. Every once in a while, a white or cinnamon coloured calf would go charging off, kicking up its heels just for the sheer joy of running or burning off energy, it seemed. Earlier this afternoon on the river, we came upon a herd of 17 muskoxen with five calves, as well as seven bulls just upstream from tonight's camp. Then, as we were pitching our tents, we watched a wolf charge down an almost vertical slope into

a densely packed group of caribou. The dust flew as the caribou bolted, and it seemed certain the wolf must have been successful in making a kill, but we soon saw both the caribou and the wolf retreating across the tundra. We've had a warm sunny day, and incredible though it seems, the tundra has turned green in the previous 12 hours. The dwarf birch bushes are leafing out and flowers are appearing all around us. There are pink alpine azaleas, purple rhododendron, cushions of moss campion, yellow and pink lousewort and carpets of little daisy-like mountain avens. Even the lupines are beginning to bloom. Suddenly it's summer!

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The tundra’s wildlife

July 2

Today was actually hot. We made camp just after lunch so we would have plenty of time to swim in some shallow ponds warmed by the sun, then hike in the sand hills nearby. The river valley en route to our campsite this morning was alive with animals; we saw close to 80 muskoxen and a few thousand caribou. After our swim this afternoon, several of us were climbing up through the sand hills behind camp when we surprised a sow grizzly with two yearling cubs that were feeding on the rather ripe carcass of a bull muskox. As soon as the sow became aware of us, she stood up on her hind legs, then thundered off, her great body shuddering with every bound, and the cubs hot on her heels. On top of the sand hills we came upon a herd of 20 muskoxen bedded down on a little plateau just beneath us. There were animals of all sizes, some stretched out asleep, and all of them oblivious to our presence. We sat down to rest above the muskoxen with a spectacular scene of soft green tundra hills spread out before us, and our metallic-blue river winding through the valley far below. As we were sitting there absorbing it all, I noticed the head of a wolf poking up above the curve of the hill just below us. The wolf was watching us intently, but he kept on climbing slowly towards us and walked into full view only a few metres away. An exceptionally large male, and pure white in colour, he seemed at ease but obviously curious as he made almost a full circle around us. After we stood up and moved on, the wolf approached us again, then followed us for a while. But when he caught sight of some other members of our party in the distance, he trotted over to inspect them. On the way, we saw him jump into a little pond, presumably to cool off. Since we wanted to get a look at the country on the far side of the sand hills, we continued walking across the hilltops until a magnificent sweep of tundra opened up in front of us. To our astonishment, it was covered with caribou, tens of thousands of flecks of white scattered across that vast green expanse. There was no telling how many there were because we could see no end of them. For the next hour or more, we sat there high on that hill with our binoculars glued to our eyes trying to take it all in.

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July 3

The river was full of heavy rapids today, several of which we lined and waded down. With the hot sun beating down on us, we moved steadily downstream under a gigantic dome of pale-blue northern sky. Along the way, we encountered 43 muskoxen, a wolverine that swam the river in front of our canoes, and several large herds of caribou feeding and resting along the river, perhaps 30,000 in all. In places we were paddling through masses of caribou spread across the slopes on both sides of the river. After supper we walked over to a particularly large herd that was slowly approaching our camp and photographed caribou parading by us for the next hour. It seemed like the perfect ending to another wondrous day filled with animals, but for some of us there was still another little wildlife drama in store. About 11pm, when most of our party was sound asleep, a wolf walked through our camp where it surprised and caught a moulting Canada goose that had strayed too far from the river. As the wolf lay down to devour

masses of caribou

In places we were paddling through

spread across the slopes on both sides of the river

the goose, a few of us who were still awake watched from inside our tents.

July 4

The river valley broadened considerably today and the steady succession of deep canoeable rapids continued. The riverbanks are turning blue with lupine and their sweet fragrance impregnates the air. Mosquitoes are now numerous enough to be bothersome when the wind abates. Early this morning we paddled by large numbers of caribou, probably part of the same herd we spent some time with last night. They were feeding and in no hurry to move on. Our muskox count for the day was 28. Tonight we have our tents pitched on a high bluff with a grand view to the south.

July 5

There were some rain showers in the night and we awoke to a strong wind out of the north with the temperature near freezing. At breakfast, Fred told us that when he got up

July 6

p in the night he saw a white wolf looking in the door of the tent next to his. Then, a few minutes later, after he had crawled back into his sleeping bag, he noticed the wolf peeking into his own tent. We put a long day in on the river, but the only large mammals we saw were two bull muskoxen. Even though caribou were absent, we were constantly reminded of their presence because the whole country was beaten with their tracks, and white caribou hair floated on the river all day. Tonight we are camped at the base of some big sand hills where we will remain tomorrow for a day of hiking and rest.

a few minutes later, after he had crawled back into his sleeping bag, he noticed the

wolf peeking

into his own tent

During the night, several of us heard wolves howling way up in the sand hills. Then, while we were eating our breakfast, a grey wolf walked behind our camp, and two white ones met up in a big wet meadow just downriver. Certain that we are camped close to an active den, we climbed up into the sand hills after breakfast and followed them north. Cut into these hills are deep ravines, lush with vegetation, where we surprised several small bands of caribou and one herd of 23 muskoxen. We spotted the wolf den when we were almost a kilometre from it. It is perched high in the hills with a commanding view of the river valley. At first, the wolves didn't appear to be home, but then I noticed a suspicious patch of light colour on the side of a gully a few hundred metres behind the den. As we crept closer, we could see there were several wolves curled up asleep there, and eventually we made out a white wolf, a tawny-coloured one and four brown pups huddled together. With the wind blowing strongly, we moved right in on top of them, no more than 20 paces away, before I motioned for a halt. All ten of us were lined up with our cameras aimed in anticipation when I whistled to prepare those wolves for a shock!

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INFORMATION SIZE: At 9,984,670 sq km and comprised of six time zones, Canada is huge!. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. The country is divided into 14 provinces. Canada has got three islands in the top ten biggest islands in the world. They are: Baffin Islands which is more than double the size of Great Britain and Victoria Island and Ellesmere Island which are roughly the size of England. The country also has two of the biggest lakes in the world: Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake. Canada also has the world’s longest coastline at 151,600 miles (202,080 km).

CANADA Google Map

NAME : Canada basically got its name by mistake. When Jaques Cartier, a French explorer, came to the new world, he met with local Natives who invited them to their ‘kanata’ (the word for ‘village’. The party mistakenly thought the name of the country was “Kanata” or Canada.

FLAG: Although Nova Scotia was granted the British Empire's first flag by King Charles I in 1625, Canada did not have a national flag until February 15, 1965, when its maple leaf flag was adopted by its parliament. Before that, the red ensign, a British maritime flag, was in general use.

WILDLIFE: Canada is known as the home of large animals like the moose and grizzly bear, but it is also home to about 55,000 species of insects and about 11,000 species of mites and spiders. Canada is also home to 2.4 million caribou and 15,500 of the world's 25,000 polar bears.

There are million-dollar highway overpasses in Banff National Park which have been used by grizzly and black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars, moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, wolverine and lynx. By 2014, there will be 38 wildlife underpasses and six overpasses from Banff National Park’s east entrance to the border of Yoho National Park. Ontario built its first bridge for animals over Highway 69, south of Sudbury, in 2012.

Wood Buffalo National Park straddles the border of Northern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories. It was created in 1922 to protect the world’s largest herd of roaming Wood Bison, and the park is also home to the last known nesting site of whooping cranes.

ICEBERGS: Every spring, massive islands of ice broken off of glaciers in Greenland parade through ‘Iceberg Alley’, past the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. Entrepreneurs are harvesting chunks of these cool marvels for some pretty unique products, including wine, vodka, beer, and even skincare products.

CANOE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD: You can learn more about canoeing at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario, home to the world’s largest collection of canoes and kayaks. National Paddling Day, which was originally celebrated on June 26th, has now evolved into National Paddling Week, which was celebrated across Canada, from 15-23rd June 2013.

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From the Adirondacks of New York state to the very top of Maine at the Canadian border, this fledgling inland water trail traverses some of the wildest and most remote backcountry of northern New England, but it’s never too far from nearby towns and villages.The route's variety of flat water, swiftwater and whitewater, on a range of rivers, streams, lakes and ponds provide extensive opportunities for canoe and kayak recreation.Vibrant communities along the way offer historic hotels, quaint bed and breakfast inns and camping facilities, as well as dining options and heritage attractions.

Follow Katina Daanen as her journey continues in part two.To see last month’s part one click below:

A journe

Part two by Katina


a Daanen

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NEW HAMPSHIRE: 72 miles (115.9 km)


New Hampshire is all about river travelling until you reach Errol and cross Umbagog Lake into Maine. Linda was my next paddling partner and she met me in Island Pond. We spent six days together paddling under picturesque covered bridges through quaint New England villages as well as witnessing the devastation that a changing economy has brought to this area as we portaged around dams in formerly vibrant industrial towns. We worried families of geese and were rebuked by ospreys as we descended and ascended the watercourses.

The first 20 miles (32.2 km) is a relaxing paddle down the Connecticut, which is also part of the larger Connecticut River Paddler’s Trail. Then it’s back to upstream paddling – 19 miles (30.6 km) of it – travelling up the Upper Ammonoosuc River. Next – a 3.8-mile (6.1 km) portage following roadways connects you to the Androscoggin – another upstream river segment extending 23 miles (30.6 km).

The ‘Andro’ is a popular recreational river with nearby outfitters and shuttle services. Water is routinely released from the dams to create pleasant rafting trips. Unlike the shallower Upper Ammonoosuc with far less swiftwater, the Androscoggin has more than a dozen Class I-II rapids requiring tracking or portaging of the through-paddler. As an upstream paddler, the rapids will provide, at times, a cursed challenge. Paddling them downstream turns them into a joyous ride. Linda’s two sons met up with us in Errol, N.H., and we choose instead to spend the day together paddling joyously.

Stark NH on the Upper Ammonoosuc River. Photo K

Map 6

Lake Memphremagog to Connecticut River.

Map 7

Connecticut River to Umbagog Lake.

MAPS 6 and 7

Along the Androscoggin River. Photo: Kevin Mack

Katina Daanen

Overview and facts

Rivers and streams: Lakes and ponds: Carries or portages: Communities: National wildlife refuges:

22 56 62, totalling 55 miles 45 3

Adroscoggin River Class II-III. Photo: Kevin Mack Skills needed:

Novice to expert, canoes and kayaks. The route includes flat and white water paddling, poling, lining and portaging.

Flow of the trail:

Downstream and upstream. Water levels fluctuate due to spring runoff, drought and dam releases.

Direction to paddle:

Sectional and destination paddlers typically choose to paddle downstream. Through-paddlers travel the trail from the western to eastern terminus that includes 162 miles of upstream paddling.


The trail passes through hills, mountains, forests, farmlands and village centres.

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MAINE : 347 Miles (558.4 km)

Rangeley sunset

Map 8

Umbagog Lake to Rangeley Lake.

Map 9

Rangeley Lake to Spencer Stream.

MAPS 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 A psychological shift occurs when you depart Errol.You are almost halfway done.The rest of the journey will be spent solely paddling through one of the most forested and least populated states in the nation. It’s impossible not to feel awestruck at the foot of expansive lakes and rugged mountain ranges. So it comes as no surprise that the trail passes through dense wilderness areas.Three people joined me at locations along the trail in Maine to help navigate through this great backcountry: Joyce, Kacia and Kay.

With the exception of Lake Champlain sandwiched between New York and Vermont, the largest lakes of the trail are found in Maine as well as longer portages and the longest river segment. Everything about Maine is big including the spectacular 40 foot Grand Falls, one of several waterfalls the trail skirts.Wildlife sightings, as well as the opportunity to see moose, a lot of moose, grow exponentially. After traversing Lake Umbagog and passing through a third National Wildlife Refuge, Joyce and I paddled for several days across a grouping of lakes each brimming with magnificent vistas and commonly referred to as the Rangeleys. These headwaters of the Androscoggin River include the sandy beaches of Upper and Lower Richardson Lakes, the well-oxygenated waters of Lake Mooselookmeguntic – and Upper Dam where Fly Fishing legend Carrie Gertrude Steven’s 1924 record-setting brook trout was caught and picturesque Rangeley Lake. In early August, Joyce and I also hit peak blueberry season. It is here that the Appalachian Trail crosses paths with the NFCT in the towns of Rangeley and Stratton, where backpackers share hostels and swap stories with paddlers.

Kacia found me in Stratton and we put-in on Flagstaff Lake.The impressive Bigelow Mountain

Range rises from Flagstaff’s southern shore.The lake itself was formed when the Dead River was dammed in 1950.Two villages were evacuated to make room for the new reservoir. On windless days, submerged masonry – evidence of the doomed communities – can still be seen lurking in its watery depths.

More portages. More lakes. More rivers

The trail leads onward through the most remote backcountry of the entire trail. At one point, Kacia and I had to walk up predominantly waterless Little Spencer Stream for miles – a stream that no one but a through-paddler would be travelling – especially heading upstream. I started second-guessing taking my daughter here. It took 12 hours to reach our campsite on Spencer Lake where we set up after dark. A fivemile portage followed the next day, but then it was downstream and smooth paddling all the way to Jackman, Maine, where Kay awaited our arrival.

Kay was with me for 12 days and we did the most camping together.We spent only one night in a cabin on Moosehead Lake after portaging for several miles on logging roads and paddling for a day and a half in the rain.With the 92-mile (148km) Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) stretching ahead of us, this would be the last town before the end of the trail where lodging could be had.

Moosehead Lake is a clear, natural freshwater lake with beautiful smooth pebble beaches.The dramatic 800-foot rhyolite cliff of Mount Kineo rises straight up from the water across from the village of Rockwood. Unfortunately, we couldn’t linger.We left our cosy cabin and were on the water at dawn taking advantage of a windless passage across four miles of open water on this largest of Maine’s lakes.

Grand Falls

Flagstaff Lake

Moosehead Lake

Paddling skills

Many sections of the trail are appropriate for a novice paddler. Most paddlers will choose flat water segments or paddle in a downstream direction rather than commit to any upstream segments, unless through-paddling. Parts of the trail include rapids up to Class IV and large, exposed lakes subject to wind and waves.

The following areas are difficult and recommended only for those who possess appropriate paddling skills:

Map 10

Downstream Class III and above white water sections: MAP 3: Saranac River between Union Falls and Claysburg (Class III-IV ledges and falls) MAP 6: Nulhegan River between Wenlock Crossing and Bloomfield,Vt. (Class III) MAP 9: S. Branch of the Dead River between Dallas Carry and Stratton, Me. (Class III-IV) Spencer Stream to Moosehead Lake.

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New York,Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and


Excerpts for this article were taken from The Northern Forest Canoe Trail Official Guidebook, copyright 2010 and Katina’s forthcoming guidebook,The Northern Forest Canoe Trail ThroughPaddler's Companion.

Map 11

Moosehead Lake to Umbazooksus Stream.

Map 12

Umbazooksus Stream to Umsaskis Lake.

d Maine. 740 remarkable miles.

One extraordinary water trail The trail covers a 17-mile section of Moosehead Lake from Rockwood to the Northeast Carry, following the paddle strokes of naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau who visited this area in the mid1800s. Kay and I traced his route along the Penobscot River to Lake Chesunkook, stopping to eat breakfast at the island bearing his name where he was known to have camped.

Mud Pond Carry

One of the more challenging and even Kay will reluctantly admit, most rewarding portages of the NFCT is the infamous Mud Pond Carry. For two miles it alternates between a three-foot wide stream to a sandalsucking mire, ending with a lovely stroll through a beaver pond. After scooping out the mud between your toes and from under the arches of your foot, you then paddle into the 16-mile long Chamberlain Lake and officially enter the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

The AWW is notable for its remoteness, outstanding scenery and wildlife sightings. It was one of the first rivers in the nation designated and preserved for future generations as a wild and scenic river.There are four larger water bodies breaking up the 77-mile long river with occasional swiftwater to keep paddling interesting. By this point in the journey, it is not unusual for Through-Paddlers to log over 40 miles (64.4 km) in one day.

The Tramway Carry between Chamberlain and Eagle Lakes is unquestionably the most interesting portage along the entire NFCT. Steel tramway tracks and two commanding steam locomotive train engines are rooted within the forest where they were left after the logging boom died in the early twentieth century.You could easily spend hours poking through the rusting history.

Stumbling upon feeding moose or watching eagles soar continue to be highlights of each day. One morning, just after we broke camp and as the ground fog was burning off the mirrored water, a line of geese appeared, skimming the surface of the lake.They silently glided even with the bowline and for the moment, we were part of that flock. And then they were gone.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s last 17 miles (27.4 km) on the St. John River straddle the U.S. and Canadian border. Kay and I paddled those final hours on August 25 sashaying between two nations and under overcast skies to Fort Kent, the end of the trail. After all the planning, all the paddling, all the portaging, this is it.The eastern terminus, and perhaps some friends and family, await you at Riverside Park in Fort Kent, a lifetime ago from when you first launched from the visitor centre at Old Forge, N.Y.

Tramway engines

Upstream sections:

Out of the 162 miles of upstream paddling required for throughpaddling the NFCT, more than half of it occurs within Vermont and Quebec. Upstream paddling means you are paddling against the flow.

Major segments include:

Map 13

Umsaskis Lake to St. John River.

MAPS 4 and 5: The Missisiquoi River in Vt. (74 miles) MAP 6: The Clyde River between Newport,Vt. and Island Pond,Vt./Class II-III rapids around Derby Centre (30.5 miles) MAP 7: The Upper Ammonoosuc in N.H. (19 miles) MAP 7: The Androscoggin along the N.H. and Maine state borders (Twelve Class I-II sets of rapids over a 23 mile length) MAP 9: Little Spencer Stream in Maine (Boulder fields for 6 miles)

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INFORMATION GETTING THERE AND BACK: Sectional and destination paddlers will have little problem utilizing area outfitter and shuttle services, but through-paddlers will need to figure out a way to get themselves and their gear home after arriving in Fort Kent, Maine weeks later by water. There are no trains or car rental services at either terminus points and bus service is limited. A friend or family member typically aids getting through-paddlers to the western terminus and/or meeting them at the end. The nearest airport to Old Forge is located in Rome, N.Y., 1.5 hours away and from Bangor, Maine, Fort Kent is 3.5 hours away. U-Haul truck rental has been the only other one-way means of transporting paddlers and their gear home from Fort Kent.


Google Map

SHUTTLE SERVICES : Shuttle services are limited by region, but available throughout most of the trail. For the sectional-paddler it means a return to their vehicle after completing a segment. For the through-paddler it can mean getting around a dry river or avoiding a long portage.

BORDER CROSSINGS: A valid passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship is required for entry into Canada and back into the United States for paddling the Quebec section of the trail (Map 5.) For more information and a list of acceptable documents, visit the websites of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Canada Border Services Agency.

LODGING AND CAMPING: Overnight options are available roughly every 15 miles ranging from primitive campsites or private campgrounds to lovely inns, motels and cabins.

FOOD AND RESUPPLYING: With the exception of the last section of Maine from the Northeast Carry to Allagash Village, you can easily shop at local grocery or general stores as you pass through the many communities. It is usually possible to resupply every few days. Another option is to send boxed supplies addressed to local post office general deliveries and pick them up as the trail is advanced. There are also many restaurants located along the trail before reaching the Allagash.

WATER: Most sections of the trail pass through areas of exceptional water quality. Even so, water drawn from these lakes and rivers should always be boiled, filtered or treated. You will also be able to refill your water bottles with tap water as you pass through public areas or through towns. There are a few exceptions where planning for your water consumption is imperative – the Missisquoi and Clyde Rivers in Vermont. Both of these rivers suffer from agricultural run-off and it is not recommended that any water be taken or treated from this water.

BEST TIME TO PADDLE: The trail has a seasonal nature due to natural and manmade fluctuations in water levels. In late summer, some sections of the trail may be too dry to paddle. Paddlers also need to be aware of dam releases. Information from water gauges found across the NFCT can be found on the American White Water website. Generally, the water levels (and bugs) are more reliable in May and June, and the sun and warmth are more reliable in July and August. September and October often provide good paddling weather and better water levels than late summer.

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Puffin Kayaks are perfect travel companions. Great stability and paddling performance make Puffins enjoyable on the water. With good looks and light-weight price, they are a pleasure to own.


PakCanoes are excellent for remote wilderness trips or adventures closer to home. Light-weight, compact for easy travel and storage, yet rugged, dependable and easy paddling. Distributed in the UK and ROI by Surf Sales Ltd. Phone 01303 850553 | |

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Kayak Paddler

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: Flo Story by Fischer

ecided d f l e s y and m r e f i e f kayak enni P n B w , o n n o k llipp hat we Nils D t 2 f 1 o 0 t 2 r a e e in lat thern p u m i o t s a e e So m to th ss, Raum o p V i r o t t d a ea n y. r kayak h t of water. So to go o a e t w a r w o e it se: N their wh nning ou u ay h r it paradi e w r a y s a n So on M rw io . o g h t e N r u g o n s r in in the . It was southe re visit h s a t r e r e h o o t iv h n r n w e o e s n th ople main sea f the insa rom Munich to e o Most pe h e t m k. in o s e f rney ecaus catch Denmar u b , o ls jo a t a r g jo h a n S s t e r lo y ir o r early this ferr y in H ar ted ou t d r s e u t d o r n a a d t s e r we ach r ca til we re cked ou n a u p e e iv w r d 18th and long g in t s u a an exh


Lehner, a lg e H by: pon Photos Nils Dip r and ife Benni Pfe er Flo Fisch

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No - this isn’t a car advertisement (car zipping along an empty road), it is the

Perfect start for the trip!

It took us another hour in the car until we reached our first river, called

the SkogsgĂĽa

It took us just four hours on the boat to reach Europe’s white water paradise. Reaching Norway we were a little sad to see it was raining like hell and we were just prayed that it would stop soon. Luckily, as we woke up the next morning, we found blue sky, sun and not a single cloud in the sky. It took us another hour in the car until we reached our first river, called the Skogsgåa. The water was pretty high, so we decided to run the lower part below the big drop. However, the drop looked pretty cool. So we ran the almost vertical 40-foot slide as a warm up!

As we got up late that day and spent a lot of time, taking photos and videos, we left our boats at the drop and searched for a place to stay the night. We were so stoked to be right there in Norway with the sun in the sky and huge water levels. The next morning we woke up with the same beautiful weather – bright sun and 23°C. The lower part of the Skogsgåa started pretty easy with a few big waves and huge holes until you see the bridge at the take-out. We then returned upstream to find more filming areas and we ended up scouting countless huge holes and insane places for video shots.

NORWAY FACT: Glomma River is the Longest River in Norway.

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y wasn’t as luck day’s weather g in w e llo th fo e at Th omerun scouted the H d ha e W ly . al us r fin fo lvi and , the Husevolle Mår, the Gøyst t of rain in the lo a , . However . the Austbygdåi o much water brought way to ck hu ’ past week had park ‘n to make some So we decided pper U e th fossen on on the Spånem ys we met at gu h is gl some En Austbydåi with . the Homerun over to Voss; s told us to go nd ie fr od go e Som ater levels. ld be perfect w ou sh e er th re whe e over, where leave and drov to d de ci de e So w to our boats. to get back in ed ct pe ex lly Fjords we fu with the o of which, for its fjords, tw uch better luck s m ou d m ha fa e is w , ay ss ’ w Nor In Vo jord, nice park ‘n and the Nærøyf d found some le e Geirangerfjord ab th water levels an itage list. nn er ru H nt ld lle some exce NESCO Wor U as l e el th w on as e s, ur feat huck them all, and , the longest of rd jo ef gn . So rs e Th rive cherry and rd, famed for its us many fjo ok er to ng i da lv ar se H al the ited. at Jord The 30-footer ong the most vis photos e trees, are am pl deo shots and ap vi t ge to s ur long ho oney drop was perspectives. M from different Strondelvi Northern lighthstsare a common natural section of the er w lo e th d lig , huge an all rivers The Nor thern way, and are und some sm fo e w lly na Nor thern Nor Fi in t on bi en a as well! om ith en ph ne w ove the Arctic en pretty insa ly observed ab on m m which have be i, co t lv os ne m ei d early spring. e paddle the St late autumn an n ee ltw al be more water. W le sm a irc C and Urdlandselvi Brandsetelvi, Strondelvi. r pe up e th to utary Midnight sutnset in summer over the Arctic unknown trib ip tr k o-wee The sun does no ern Norway days of our tw visitors to Nor th With just a few the ng d ni ea fin m , to le e irc at C e of year. ry fortun of daylight this tim at a left, we were ve s g ur in ho nn 24 ru y vi jo el en Teigdals ting double drop at king in had been scou e w as l, ve ion about kaya le e bad ore informat perfect water Th M . nd er Guide by ha at re w te fo hi ay – The W few days be w or N : as ay w w it or so the falls for a N to rain, (both German that it started Olaf Obsommer d an t is at it Kl t ns news for us is bu Je deos photos and vi e book). difficult to take and English in on ot find a nn ca u yo ch hi w op an insane dr second time.


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O a g f b h N

On the long way back home we decided to take another stop at the M책r and Nils decided he was going to get himself on the big water run over the five waterfalls of the Homerun. It looked a bit scary but he made it! A perfect trip was over and we had to go back home, to continue our studies. Next year Norway? For sure!

Check out their short movie:

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PAMPERED When Penny McLean went rafting on the Ottawa River and saw kayakers surfing the waves and whipping into eddies, she knew that’s what she wanted to do. So she signed up for the Women’s Retreat Week at the Madawaska Kanu Centre and was immediately hooked on the thrill and exhilaration of white water kayaking. She’s been to the course every summer since then and plans to return in 2013.

By Shelagh MacDonald

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“The learning curve is huge and I improved every day. You really have to put a lot of trust in your instructor and, at MKC, they are amazing at building your confidence and putting your mind at ease”, said the 44-year old Automotive Engineer. Penny describes white water paddling as ‘living in the moment’. She says, “You can’t think of anything else; you must focus on what you’re doing and go with the flow of the river.”

Learning to kayak brought an extra challenge for Penny, as she was born with just one lung. Consequently, she can’t hold her breath as long as most people. She worked hard to achieve her goal of being comfortable in the boat – both right side up and upside down! Working in a male dominated field, Penny was drawn to the Women’s Retreat course to meet women with similar interests. She loved the supportive and nurturing environment where everyone cheered on the accomplishments of fellow students. And she left with lifelong friends and a great network of paddling buddies. Astrid Neuland learned to paddle at MKC 25 years ago when she was the head chef there in her 20s. But she hadn’t been in a boat for more than two decades when she decided to sign up for the first Women’s Retreat Week. She was very apprehensive. She was just getting back into shape and worried whether she would fit in the boat and would she remember how to paddle. Well, it struck a chord with her and revitalized her love of paddling. She, too,

has been back every year and says each time she comes home refreshed and invigorated. “Women learn differently than men and it’s inspiring being among people across North America with different perspectives and challenges”, says Astrid.


An exciting moment came for Astrid on the last day of the 2012 course. She capsized near the bottom of Garvin’s Rapid on the Ottawa River. She tried to roll but didn’t make it. She set up and tried again and was successful. “When I came up, everyone along the shore was cheering for me. That was my first white water action roll in 25 years and I was so thrilled”. A former sommelier instructor, Astrid organizes a special wine and cheese session for the Women’s Retreat Week on the shores of the beautiful Bark Lake. “I choose wines from Ontario and British Columbia and also look for local cheeses to accompany the great wines”, she says.

“Women learn differently than men and it’s inspiring being among people across North America with different

perspectives and challenges”

says Astrid.

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MKC is internationally renowned as a place of exhilaration, learning, camaraderie and culinary delights, situated on the banks of the Madawaska River near Barry’s Bay, Ontario. Owner Claudia Van Wijk says, “Women’s Retreat is a unique offering that brings the spa benefits of yoga, massage, wood-fired hot tub, plus the wine and cheese pairing on Canada Day.” There’s also a nutrition seminar, athletic therapy assessment and optional pods on slalom technique, sea kayaking and rescue skills.

Just like all MKC courses, Women’s Retreat is offered in a fiveday or three-day weekend in either kayak or canoe. The 2013 five-day course will feature guest instructors Jesse Stone, a member of the US freestyle paddling team; Gail Shields, an open canoe mentor; and slalom specialist, Katrina Van Wijk. Whether you’re a total rookie or have paddled before, you will be inspired and energized!

40th birthday

In 2011, MKC celebrated its 40th birthday. It was the first white water paddling school in Canada, and some of the world’s best paddlers have taught there over the years. The Swissstyled chalet is the hub of the resort, with its fireplace and lovely post ‘n’ beam dining room. There are three accommodation options: private room, dormitory-style or camping, and you can choose the meal plan or prepare your own food. Facilities include hot showers, either indoors or the invigorating outdoor showers. A typical day begins with breakfast at 8:00; classes start with a warm-up around 9:00, then a great morning of paddling, followed by a one-hour break for a buffet-style lunch on the deck at noon. Afternoon classes wrap up at 4:00 and a freshly baked snack is waiting on the deck. This is a great time to share stories about the day’s activities, relax in the sauna, or just put your feet up. A hearty dinner is served at 6:00, followed by an optional instructional session or film. Classes are generally four to five boats per instructor, divided by skill level. Students range from teenagers up to seniors and come from all walks of life. Throughout the week, students will learn technical skills, safety techniques, water reading and how to have a ton of fun in the waves and eddies on rapids ranging from class I to class IV. Video analysis is used to help paddlers visualize and learn faster.

To avoid mid-week burnout classes finish at lunch time on Wednesdays and everyone heads off to Bark Lake to relax, try different boats or practice rolling and then enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner before heading back to camp. The week culminates with a full-day river trip on Friday to a different river or another section of the Madawaska River, depending on ability level.

If you’re looking for a shorter getaway, MKC also offers two-day and three-day weekend clinics. The Women’s Retreat is also available in a three-day weekend format for kayaking and open canoeing, including the additional spa extras like yoga, sauna and athletic massage session.

Women’s Retreat is a unique offering that brings the spa benefits of yoga, massage, wood-fired hot tub, plus

the wine and cheese

pairing on Canada Day

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ThePaddler 58 The quality and professionalism of MKC instructors is second to none. They all have a passion for paddling that is contagious and their knowledge and teaching skills inspire and instil confidence in their students. Safety is paramount at MKC. All instructors must have certification in first aid and safety techniques. One of the unique things about MKC is that instructors don’t teach for the whole season. There is a rotation of instructors and many of them take vacation time from their regular jobs to teach a week or two because they love it. Another great thing about paddling in Eastern Canada is the warm rivers. Most of the rivers are controlled by surface-release dams, which skim off the warmest water from the lakes to send it downriver. MKC is fortunate to have an agreement with Ontario Power Generation that ensures a steady flow of water throughout the season.

For active women looking for a fun, social and exhilarating holiday this year, the Women’s Retreat should be on the list. Madawaska Kanu Centre 247 River Road, Barry’s Bay Ontario K0J 1B0 Tel: 613 594-5268

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Com Phil Carr

es to his mes


The Zen is Jackson’s medium volume river running machine. The Zen is designed to sit somewhere between the full on creeker the Karma and the Star playboat range.

Jackson has designed the Zen to be a performance river runner that is capable of tackling most grades of water. Having spent a great deal of time paddling the Liquid Logic Remix and Wavesport Diesel over the last couple of years I was interested in how the Zen would perform.

Photos: Phil Carr. Paddler: Sam Harvey of Eden Valley Adventures. ThePaddler 61

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I paddled the Zen 75 over a

couple of months in a number of different white water and flat water locations. I sit right within the middle of the recommended weight range.

Firstly to the outfitting. Jackson have taken a slightly different approach to outfitting and have avoided the use of ratchets and what some regard as an excessive amount of bolt holes. They have opted for a much more simple approach without losing comfort or adjustability. The outfitting on the Zen takes the form of Jacksons ‘Surelock’ cord and cleat backrest system. As someone relatively new to this kind of outfitting I must admit I had a number of concerns over how effective a rope and cleat system could actually be. The hip pads include a pocket system that allows you to add additional shims of foam or indeed anything else to achieve the required fit. I used a couple of the provided shims to get a nice snug fit. The footrest is the Uni-shock system that is used in all of the Jackson creek boats. The system is based around the ability to allow a small level of give if you were to piton the bow. This will help save ankles and knees during a large impact. Add to the fact that the system can be adjusted without any special tools without any possibility of losing key components. In addition the system can can be adjusted from the cockpit which is pretty impressive. It turns out that this is a

super simple yet effective system and gets away from the issue that some other manufacturers have with rusty/corroding ratchets. It also saves a great deal of weight by reducing the number of weighty metal fittings. So despite my initial misgivings the system works really well. Very much like a creek boat, the Zen has multiple grab handles. There are handles bow and stern and a further two grab handles located on the back deck around midway between the cockpit and stern. The handles are a great shape and even when using them to carry a couple of boats over a long distance I didn’t find them overly uncomfortable. They are also very easy to clip a carabiner into should you ever need to. The Zen has a pretty flat planing hull with a moderate rocker. The ‘edge’ on the Zen is nice and progressive, they run for around half of the boat’s overall length and taper nicely towards the bow and stern. The flared sides provide the Zen with a high level of secondary stability, this combined with the great outfitting makes the kayak always feel under control even when edged heavily for carving or turning.

Whitewater kayakers have been asking for a “true” river running boat from JK for a long time and now you have not one but two exceptional options to offer them. The Zen is going to give a whole new generation of boaters the ability to experience attainments, enders, and the fast flowing whitewater kayaking that so many of us built our paddling lives on. The speed of the Zen is already become that of legend.The Zen has proven itself as the kayak of choice for those looking for speed! Zen 55: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Volume:

36 lbs 7’11” (240 cm) 24” (60.3 cm) 13” (30.5 cm) 60 US Gallons (219 litres) Ideal Weight Range: 70-120 lbs Cockpit: 32.5′ x 18.5’ Zen 65: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Volume:

39 lbs 8’4” (254 cm) 25-1/2” (64.8 cm) 13-3/4” (32.4 cm) 70 US Gallons (257 litres) Ideal Weight Range: 120-180lbs Cockpit: 34.5′ x 20.25’ Zen 75: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Volume:

44 lbs 8’10” (269.2 cm) 27” (68.6 cm) 14” (35.6 cm) 80 US Gallons (295 litres) Ideal Weight Range: 150-230 Cockpit: 36′ x 21′

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What Jackson Kayaks say…

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On that note the Zen

carves and turns really well, pulling into tight eddies was straightforward and I never experienced any issues with the tail being grabbed by the current. This was even the case when I intentionally forced the Zen to lean the wrong the way.

Point it in the direction you want and the Zen will go. It will hold the line really well and has a really good level of speed on

Essentially if you are not in the market for a full on creeker you may want to look at a river runner such as the Zen. This area of the market is one that I think a great number of paddlers overlook, as many tend to go for a creeker and/or a playboat. I have done just that for a number of years. But having returned to paddling river runners and appreciating the need of such a design type it is great to see Jackson putting a design into the mix. The Zen would be more than enough boat for most paddlers.

both flat and moving water

Moving from a playboat or creeker to a river runner always amazes me as river runners tend to be significantly faster and this is certainly the case with the Zen. Point it in the direction you want and the Zen will go. It will hold the line really well and has a really good level of speed on both flat and moving water. I found no issue with drifting and falling downstream as I cut across the current from one eddy to another. The primary stability of the Zen is simply superb. For a river runner it also boofs incredibly well and feels very composed in even the largest of water.


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A couple of years ago we had an incident one winter’s morning while fishing at anchor out on the east coast whereby a drift net caught two kayak anglers in error. Potentially this could have had a far worse outcome than it did and, having established contact through the coastguard, myself and the skipper whose net it was met up for a beer and a chat to try and educate each other on what both sides did and how to avoid future issues, something which has proved to be very useful since and has led to friendships and a wider respect being formed on both sides. Incidentally, it also established a strong working relationship between our local coastguard station and us as a large number of local kayak anglers.

eness By Mark Crame

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VHF Radio

As is well known the VHF calling and emergency channel is 16; none of the following overrides the fact that this needs to be monitored, which is not a problem with dual watch radios of course. The generally (though not exclusively) channel unofficially adopted by kayak anglers for interboat communications locally had been channel 6 for a few years, chosen due to the lack of traffic and therefore avoidance of being a nuisance to other craft. This had never been an issue before. In our area, however, the local boats use Channel 8, designated for commercial intership and like this an awareness of where they are and what they are doing as well as where we are and what we are doing can be easily monitored now that we have adopted the same. Like this if I now hear that, for example, a drift net is going in the water in the area that I am in I can call up and just mention that I am in the vicinity, at anchor or drifting or what have you. Be aware that an angling kayaks presence may not have been noticed or taken for what it is.


Predominantly we have brightly coloured kayaks. It’s not long before these become silhouettes however and we are also low in the water. Looking into the sun we disappear easily as we do in chop and/or swell, and in surprisingly calmer conditions than we might otherwise think. We are also unlikely to appear on radar; we are not reflective and whatever signature we have will more than likely be filtered out as clutter. Shipping relies heavily on radar, especially in fog or darkness. The option of a radar reflector was one possibility mentioned during our discussion, however, we have two issues here. There’s a fair bit of research available online where tests have been carried out on kayaks. The main problem is a lack of height and with the need to have a relatively large reflector mounted high up we then come into the issue of decreased stability from an altered centre of gravity and susceptibility to wind and gusts. Non-moving plots would give advance warning that we are anchored however, provided we are in range. Another accessory discussed was high-visibility flags which although of some use to other watercraft in spotting us visually they do not indicate anything in terms of meaning.

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Visual signs

My assumption was that sitting still at anchor in a tidal area would indicate that we were anchored. From the land of course it will (which has resulted in concerned members of the public calling the coastguard before now) but this is not the case from a boat, especially one that is moving.Though the skipper mentioned at the time that he was shooting a net and it would pass under the kayaks if it got too close he didn’t at any time realise that the kayaks were anchored.With the anchor line dropping down at the stern this was no real surprise, with hindsight.Theoretically we would be drifting at the same speed as the net‌so, how could we indicate that we are indeed anchored? The recognised sign is a black anchor ball.These are available as a collapsible plastic item that is formed from two discs in a cross shape, pretty much like a radar reflector which can be problematic for the same reasons as mentioned above. At night ensure that you are showing an all-round white light when anchored. Note that there is no legal requirement to hoist either with the length of craft we operate however it is for larger craft and, as part of COLREGS*, qualified mariners would immediately understand their significance. SOLAS reflective tape is another highly useful addition; it’s passive and requires no effort to use being stuck to the hull and left to its own devices. Reflecting light at high intensity it is a major bonus in a search and rescue scenario and also useful to locate friends when fishing in darkness.

*International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972.


People aren’t generally aware that we anchor kayaks or even that we can. People aren’t aware that we launch and fish at night, or in fog (usually when caught out), or in large seas. Quite frankly we can be a surprise. Surprise is NOT a good thing where safety is concerned and our safety is paramount. Word has got about locally regarding us so that considerations are taken but we also need to be aware of other potential hazards. Drift nets are one – they move, quickly and are heavy. Shipping channels are another – they don’t move but through looking at charts and learning what the different buoyage means we can place ourselves in areas where we avoid completely any risk of collision. Having forgotten everything about buoy information that I’d read before as ‘I know where I am’ and look for the spots I want on the charts I now realise that I need to be thinking of how they can signify information that is useful to me, i.e. safe areas.

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Reliance on electronics…from where I sit I have my fish finder that is giving me depth etc and as it’s a combo unit it also gives me speed over ground and my position.With detailed charts loaded I can visually see exactly where I am and what is around me; I also have and study paper charts at home on a regular basis, mostly to look for likely spots to fish but I have picked up a clear mental image of my fishing grounds from this. I can see the buoys, the land, the bottom soundings and so on. Apart from the obvious factor of it not working for whatever reason there is still the need to be visually aware of what is around; we’re usually in sight of land so should take note of our position in relation to landmarks (or lights at night). However, on a commercial boat there will also be radar, AIS and so on. A watch still needs to be kept. Anchored and facing one direction can cause you to miss what is going on behind – check regularly, you may not hear something approaching. Oh…one last and most important thing. Electronics = batteries = failures. Usually at the worst possible time. Always, ALWAYS carry a compass and know which way land is.

Safety equipment

We’re generally pretty good in the UK kayak angling community. Our kayaks are stable and tough. We have them set up to anchor from effectively. Most of my associates regularly practice capsize and re-entry drills. On the equipment front we wear buoyancy aids and dress for immersion (drysuit, wetsuit, undergarments etc) relevant to the conditions. We do need to carry more than a whistle though and the vital equipment needs to be attached to the person in case of separation from the kayak. A sharp knife, preferably serrated so it cuts line easily and isn’t going to get used and blunted cutting bait is very necessary or a line cutter as an alternative (I have both). Carrying a spare paddle is good practice in the event that the main paddle breaks or is lost (it should be leashed to the kayak once out of the surf zone). Bear in mind that it will need to be readily and safely accessible whilst on the water. Sometimes a VHF signal is blocked where a mobile phone isn’t and therefore a mobile should be carried as well. It needs protection from the water and an aquapack will keep it dry and useable. A VHF is a lifesaver as well as an informant of what is going on around you (it’s legally required that you have a licence to own and do the course to operate one). Any transmission will be heard by anyone monitoring that channel so use it accordingly. Flares are another useful addition; handheld red flares and handheld orange smokes which can be carried onboard and miniflares which are kept on the person. Know how to use them correctly. Some of us have now started to carry PLB’s too; these send a distress signal to satellites and are registered to us. We can be placed accurately and are not reliant on radio signals with these. Not cheap but nor is a funeral.

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Finally, register yourself and each of your kayaks under the Coastguard’s CG66 safety identification scheme. It is free and will only take you a few minutes to fill in but will speed up response times in case of emergency. Call up the coastguard by telephone or VHF to inform them of where you’re going and what you’re doing; they will appreciate it. Please remember to let them know when you’re off the water too and, as a direct request of one watch officer, please have your name somewhere on or in your kayak.

At the beginning of this article I explained what had started it. I think that I shall give the last words to the skipper whose net it was and also urge you to build relations within your own locality:

“What I explained from the skipper’s point of view is we adhere to Rules of the Road, lights, buoyage, general seamanship, so had I seen on the radar fixed images of the kayaks I would know straight away they were anchored; a black ball would also tell me the same.We commercial craft use channel 8 and they would have heard me call the other boats with my intentions. Given the conditions I gave the kayaks half mile verbal warning of approaching nets but what good is that if you aren’t aware of what that means and I’m not aware you’re anchored?

So we agreed in a friendly manner that we are all anglers and we all love our sport whichever way we go about it but sometimes education on both sides is paramount! I would willingly educate any angler starting out boating as any local skipper would I’m sure as safety is first on any list and no one likes casualties at sea.As skippers we need also to be educated to be aware of small craft like kayaks, how they perform and their limits etc”

Cardinal Marks These indicate the best navigable waters and warn of areas less than ideal for mariners. Warning of hazardous areas, they relate to compass indication and indicate which side to pass for safer water.

Two black cones pointing inwards.Yellow base, black middle, yellow upper.White light, very quick flashing (9) 10s OR quick flashing (9) 15s. Placed in the west quadrant of the hazard; stay west for safer water. Marked as YBY on chart.

West Cardinal

Green, red, green. Group flashing green light 2+1. Marked as G on chart.

Two black cones pointin upper. White light, very Placed in the north quad for safer water. Marked

North Cardinal

These mark po of channels us conventiona when approac etc from seawar along we eastwards al

Red, green, red, Group flas Marked as R on chart.

Navigation and IALA Buoyage

Predominantly intended for mariners it is necessary to know what these visual indicators mean to ensure safety at sea and not create a hazard to other water users.The following buoyage on the right is in use internationally.

Port Preferred Channel

Yellow cross topmark. yellow light, any rhythm not used for white lights. Marked as Y on chart.

Starboard and Port

Starboard Preferred Ch

Safe Water Ma

Indicate navigable water al alternating around sides.W OR single long flash every Marked as RW on chart.

ng upwards.Yellow base, black quick flashing or quick flashing. drant of the hazard; stay north as BY on chart.

Lateral Marks ort and starboard hands sed in conjunction with al directions of buoyage; ching a harbour, estuary rd; Running northwards west and east coasts and long south coast of UK.

shing red light 2+1.



all around. Red and white White light, occulting or isophase y 10s.

Two black cones pointing away from each other in a diamond. Black base, yellow middle, black upper. White light, very quick flashing (3) 5s OR quick flashing (3) 10s. Placed in the east quadrant of the hazard; stay east for safer water. Marked as BYB on chart.

East Cardinal

RED. Red light, any rhythm except 2+1. Marked as R on chart.

Port Hand

Special Marks

These indicate a special area or feature, which may be determined from the chart.

Special Marks

Isolated Danger Mark

Indicates isolated danger of limited extent with navigable water around. Double sphere topmark.Alternating Black and red.White flashing light showing group of 2 flashes. Marked as BRB on chart.

Two black cones pointing downwards. black base, yellow upper. White light, very quick flashing (6) plus long flash 10s OR quick flashing (6) plus long flash 15s. Placed in the south quadrant of the hazard, stay south for safer water. Marked as YB on chart.

South Cardinal

GREEN (exceptionally may be black). Green light, any rhythm except 2+1. Marked as G on chart.

Starboard Hand

YELLOW. Yellow cross topmark. yellow light, any rhythm not used for white lights. Marked as Y on chart.

Starboard and Port

Emergency Wreck Marking

Indicates a recent shipwreck. Yellow and blue alternating around sides.Yellow cross top mark may be fitted.Alternating Blue and yellow flashes (1s).

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Scott HV by SeaBird D


“A boat with my name written all over it, figuratively and literally�


By Scott Edwards ThePaddler 77

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One of the newest additions to

the SeaBird line of kayaks is the Scott, designed by Rob Feloy and production designer Len Ystmark. It is available in tree configurations to fit any paddler, a Low Volume, Medium Volume and High Volume. With the kind of kayaking I enjoy and my size, I am writing about the HV version. It’s a hybrid of different designs both above and below the water line, making for a high performance kayak that is easy to paddle, edge and surf. When I first laid eyes on the Scott, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful fit and finish front to back. All the little details were covered, extra classy things added. I am still thinking about the first time I wrapped my hand around the polished red wood toggle to put the boat on some camp chairs to give it a good once over. The very first thing you notice about the Scott is the use of clear coat over the carbon fibre as highlights of the boats overall look. It is beautiful to look at and adds a unique touch to the aesthetic of the kayak. The colour is brilliant and deep, looking like the finest automotive finishes. As I showed the Scott to several U.S. dealers this summer, everyone commented on just how beautiful it was. I could find no flaws in the finish or seam work. The boat was as smooth as glass, no lumps, and no bends in lines that didn’t belong there. The Scott is amazingly light for it’s size 544cm (17’10”) and volume, this being the HV model, yet it felt very solid. I had no trouble getting it on top of my Honda Element, which is not exactly a shoulder height car. The Scott nestled into the saddles and sat the rollers perfectly, allowing me to confidently secure the boat for transit. Something that is seemingly never mentioned, but, I’ve always taken note of, especially when so many paddlers travel great distances to get in the water. I always enjoy the peace of mind when a kayak sits in the racks well. The hull design here works very well. The design of the Scott keeps the paddler in mind at all times. From the very comfortable seat, the twist off deck storage compartment, the ample amount of hard lines and bungees, and a very serviceable day’s all here for you. You would have to work very hard to a) fill up all this space, making the Scott HV an excellent expedition kayak and b) think of anything else you could add. The hardware is exemplary and the lines taught but usable. It is obvious to me that a lot of thought went into designing the very user-friendly cockpit. The foot pegs are of the turn and slide variety and feel exceptionally solid. I found them easy to adjust and helped keep a strong connection to the boat. As I am sure you can imagine, I was very anxious to

get this boat in the water, so a couple days later off I went. A beautiful late spring day, accompanied by 20-30 knot winds, gusting to 40. Exactly what I was hoping for...a chance to get bounced around in the Scott. I climbed in, and got situated and took off straight into the chop, the Scott sliced through it like a hot knife through butter, as one would expect it would with its ample rocker. What really impressed me initially when I turned the Scott to take on quartering seas, and then beam seas; it handled them with equal grace and ease. The boats stability was solid without being limiting. At no point during my shakedown cruise did I have any issues with feeling secure in the kayak. As the wind strengthened, and I felt myself getting blown around a bit, I simply reached for the skeg slider and dropped what has to be one of the best performing skegs I’ve ever used. It locked me into a straight on track, a real plus for those long open crossings a kayak like this is made for. That being said, the minute I pulled the skeg up, I could make the kayak dance whichever way I wanted, truly enjoying it’s responsiveness to every paddle stroke.

The Scott HV is the large capacity expedition version of the ‘Scott’ family, suitable for the larger paddler and carrying expedition loads. The Scott HV still retains the manoeuvrability and stability, comfort and seaworthiness of its smaller versions.

The hull has a deep rocker curvature, shallow V form with flat bottomed midsection and hard chines, allowing the kayak to edge and carve well in turns. The rocker and high volume ends make for an easy boat to surf, equally at home rock hopping or playing in tide races.The ‘fish form’ below water lines and ‘swede form’ deck profile gives a sleek and easily driven craft to allow you to cover the miles. The high fore deck and key hole cockpit with comfortable seat allow a dynamic paddling position. Fit with a four-hatch deck layout, two large hatches with ample storage for expedition use with day hatches in front and behind the cockpit. Deck lines and bungees are for storage of spare paddles and gear. Length: Width: Height: Volume: Paddler Weight:

Capacity: Cockpit:

544 cm (17´1´´) 58.4 cm (23´´) 41.9 cm (16.5´´) 340 L (89.8 US gal) 80 – 115 kg (176 – 253 lbs) 175 kg (385 lbs) 85x42 cm (31.5´´x15.7´´)

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What SeaBird Designs say…

I look forward to every year. My trip to Maine and the myriad paddling choices within easy reach. It was time for the Scott to get it’s first cold salt water bath. As I have written in a previous article, the state of Maine offers some of the finest paddling on my side of the pond, including the Maine Island Trail, voted best paddling trail in the US. As luck would have it, I would get to Maine during one of it’s few and far between very warm summer spells, which tend to flatten out the waters quite a bit. However, it does hide the currents and races as the water flows around the geography. I purposely tried the Scott at every tidal aspect I could put in at, and pushed it through narrow gaps between islands and around headlands.

I found the Scott to be more than equal to any task I could come up with. Quartering seas on a flood tide, coming out through a narrow gap between two islands, and the kayak was both agile and stable at the same time. Its performance at rounding headlands and riding out swells coming from any direction was excellent, feeling almost playful. Catching some of the waves was also very easy, as I fast found out just how much the Scott likes to surf. It holds a line very well, it’s pronounced rocker making it effortless to keep the bow up and execute any manoeuvre I wanted. I would have liked it a bit larger, but the conditions did not cooperate. There are two very unique features on the Scott that I’ve not encountered before. The first is a full width day hatch. At first, I was taken by surprise, but, considering this is a true expedition kayak, this is an ideal place to store water or heavier items that need to be placed amidships for proper transport. While it does have the standard ‘day hatch’ sized opening, potable water in flexible containers, cooking gear, etcetera can be stored there and you still have the cockpit hatch for things you want at easy reach. If you want a day hatch behind you that doesn’t have that much storage space, a buoyancy air bag inflated inside it will give the easy reach you desire.

Another feature is a solid tube running horizontally through the kayak. I’m told that this is not unusual in Europe, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it in the States. It is to accept the non- ferruled side of a two-piece paddle (of smaller than average diameter) in the deployment of a paddle float for self-rescue. You do not have to either fight to get the opposite blade under deck lines, nor hold on to the paddle and the kayak to use a paddle float. It provides a very solid outrigger and much quicker re-entry to the kayak in the event of a capsize.

The Scott HV has everything you could want in an expedition/sea kayak, solid, nimble, steady, fast and a pleasure to paddle. If I had to pick the places that I would improve it would be the seat, back band and thigh brace adjustability and padding. When I first sat in the Scott, I found that I could not pull the back band far enough forward to catch me in the small of my back with the seat in its original position. Fortunately, the seat tray itself is scooped enough and comfortable enough that I could still put it through the paces and adjust everything later. It cannot be done on the water. I discovered that I had to move the seat tray back two notches for the back band to be in its proper place. Which in turn means the thigh braces needed to be moved as well. To properly adjust the seat, I had to completely detach the seat and slide it backwards, and then re-bolt it back into place. I set about moving the thigh braces and found that the holes for the bolts did not line up perfectly, so, it took some extra elbow grease to get the bolts back in. I also highly recommend the addition of some closed cell padding to the thigh braces to improve both comfort and connection. In summation, before you take the Scott out on the water, sit in it and make all your adjustments on land. That being said, it is a delight to paddle and is a worthy addition to the SeaBird line. I believe as more people get into this kayak, it will prove itself to be a favourite amongst the sea kayaking choices.

Best Features: Fit and finish, manoeuvrability, stability throughout and functionality of skeg, large carrying capacity.

To be improved: Back band and thigh brace adjustments.Thigh braces could also use some padding.

Its performance at rounding headlands and riding out swells coming from any direction was excellent,

Then came the time of year

feeling almost playful

ThePaddler 80

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

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ThePaddler 82

Bill Bragman Yak Gear of

gives us his unique viewpoint of the past, present and future of the company. It is very seldom that a company really gets to share their history with the public, especially a startup company like Yak Gear. People often mistake us as a corporate company just looking to increase profits for either our own benefit or for the good of the nonexistent shareholders. That is the wrap we are given for distributing to big box stores. Truthfully, the dynamic of our company is the complete opposite and has been since the first time my paddle hit the water.

The first time my paddle hit the water, I was hooked. I was hooked in more ways than one, as displayed by the bend in my rod and the smile on my face. At that moment, kayak fishing combined my love of fishing and appreciation for the outdoors, a combination stronger than fried crawfish on my special-recipe Cajun pizza. The experience was not just catching my first fish, but also paddling past a flock of resting pelicans, seeing the beautiful morning sun rise over the water, and most importantly watching my son’s eyes as he showed me his prized trout.

As a result, my son Myles and I began to tinker with our kayaks, doing a little here and a little there. After all, I am a firm believer that even the caveman didn’t get a complete kayak from the manufacturer when he crawled to the nearest kayak shop some 200,000 years ago.

Right: Myles and Mark Young

This tinkering habit grew. My son, his best friend, and I spent blistering hot Houston afternoons in the garage working on our kayaks. Like Santa and his elves, I manned the saw and drilled the holes, while the kids held the screwdrivers, complained about the heat, and made lemonade runs to the kitchen.

guys, we want to keep rigging

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ThePaddler 84

Like all kayakers,

we didn’t create brand new products. Instead, we read what others were doing, on what was then the limited number of kayak fishing forums, and proceeded to personalize these ideas. The end result – a unique kayak fishing machine.

We got pretty good at this. In February 2005, we got our start as Reel Deals, an online retailer of two basic leashes and fishing reels. As a kayak angler and curious inventor, I slowly expanded the line to include rudimentary imitations of what is now Yak Gear’s extensive line of rigging kits and leashes. With the manufacturing help of the kids from the garage, we handmade every kayak accessory that went out the door. After all, I offered cable TV and a $3.00 per hour wage, what more could a 15-year old want?

The expansion continued through November of 2007 when Yak Gear reached its 20th product in our paddlesport accessory line. It was then that Yak Gear faced its first incoming tide and began offering products to nationwide retail stores.

As the product line continued to expand, Yak Gear began to gain the attention of multiple retail stores, ranging from nationwide big box retailers to family owned, single location kayak shops. Yak Gear currently holds agreements with multiple retail sporting goods stores (Academy Sports & Outdoors, Cabela’s, Dicks Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain, Sport Chalet, Sportsman’s Warehouse and West Marine), as well as over 75 speciality paddlesports shops, with product assortments ranging from 10 to 40 products. On top of these agreements, Yak Gear distributes for other up and coming paddlesport accessory companies, hosts a

retail showroom in Houston, Texas, and operates a multinational, e-commerce website.

Little did we know, seven years later the kids from the garage and I are still at it.

Some things have changed since our start in the garage. We have added 12+ other people to the payroll, moved into a 7,500 square foot warehouse, and the kids finally learned how to use the saw. What hasn’t changed is that we are still hand making every leash and counting every screw.

With the new growth of Yak Gear, as symbolized by the new logo and website, and the past success that paddlers and anglers all over the world have helped us achieve, we feel that the guy and two kids in the garage, who used kayak fishing and kayak rigging as a Sunday afternoon hobby to spend quality time together, are proudly waiting to head inside, ready to call it a day. After all, we’ve rigged our kayaks and have helped many people rig theirs.That’s good enough, right? Sorry guys, we want to keep rigging.

As you can see, we’ve been at this paddlesport rigging game for a while now. We saw it grow from a do-it-yourself hobby to a mainstream industry. We were there for the emergence of leashes, no longer just a dog walking accessory. We were also there for the broad use of paddlesport rigging forums in the reporting of accessory innovation, and seemingly countless re-designs of the Attwood, Scotty, Ram…let’s just say external mounts.

In such a rapidly changing space, it’s hard not to get pulled into an ongoing analysis of where we are and where we’ve been to find out where we’re headed next.

What’s next for Yak Gear?

You’ll have to check back with us soon, but we think it will ‘light up’ your imagination to the endless possibilities of paddling and kayak fishing.

ThePaddler 85



Your paddles, courses, jobs and travels

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BEST KAYAKING LOCATIONS IN THE UK North Wales is renowned for having some of the best kayaking locations anywhere in the UK. From the lakes and rivers of Snowdonia to the coastal waters surrounding Anglesey and the North Wales coastaline, there really is no better place in the UK to come kayaking. At Plas Menai we run a wide range of kayaking courses suitable for the complete novice right through to advanced paddlers and those wishing to get qualified as instructors. We also run a number of sea kayak expeditions each year.

Full details of all our kayak courses and expeditions can be found online

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Explore Milos Island, Greece 6 Day-trips with 8 nights B&B for €560 pp. Genuine hospitality, quality equipment, an amazing place to paddle. BCU qualified coaches. We are open all year, everyone is welcome.


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Canadian Wilderness

The all-round sit-on-top. Beach, coast or lake this boat loves it all. Pick up a paddle and get going! Available in Standard, Sport and Angler specs from £349.95

The Conoflex Jedi Series of boat rods are all suitable for kayak fishing

The thought and energy that’s gone into this stylish sit-on-top renders it deserving this award


Salty Paddler

ThePaddler 89

ThePaddler 90

to the




North Cape By Alice Courvoisier My friend Ruth had taken part in the 1995 Arctic Canoe race in Lapland and always felt like returning to kayak down the Finish-Swedish border rivers ( nd.html). Looking at the map in 2008, we realised that the starting point was a mere 30 miles from the Norwegian sea. “Maybe we could paddle a wee bit along the Norwegian coast on the way there? It looks nice with all those islands and mountains,” I had suggested, with naïve enthusiasm. And Ruth wasn't against the idea. Several years later, we had arrived in Trondheim with all our equipment. Before heading for the river, we had decided to visit the North Cape.

Torghatten, a hat-shaped mountain with a 160-metre long hole running straight through it.

A cold start It takes us four hours of active packing under a grey sky before we are ready to depart. A timid sun welcomes us on the sea as we leave Trondheim harbour and paddle westward along the coast, past waterfalls still frozen to cold, barren rock. Dark green pines and purple birches stand out sharply against a backdrop of soft, golden larches. Then the weather closes in, and the landscape loses all colours, turning grey, shapeless, like a badly printed black and white picture. As night falls, we pitch the tent on a flat snowfield by a navigation light. The following day, damp and drizzly, brings us to the mouth of the Trondheimsfjord and the next morning, to our great delight, the sun makes its first prominent appearance since our arrival in Norway. Heading out of the fjord, we see to the northwest a band of colourful houses that seem to levitate above the light blue sea. We head in their direction, sneak under a causeway, and follow the coast northwards, paddling on turquoise waters through the Grandefjæra nature reserve, home to seals and a rich avian life. It is March 28th and our journey to the North Cape has truly begun. We have reached the skjærgård, a rampart of thousands of islands, rocks and skerries that protects the Norwegian mainland from the worst of the sea and allows for a relatively sheltered coastal passage. Clear days reveal a collection of small, barren islets to the west and snow-sprinkled, craggy hills to the east. We start noticing sea eagles, and the occasional otter: Ruth nearly bumps into a snoozing specimen one day, and watches fascinated as it dives deeper and deeper in the transparent sea underneath her kayak.

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Stop and go Our rest day is sunny and windy, we wash clothes, survey the equipment, recharge batteries. For dinner, Ruth concocts a delicious lentil, carrot and tomato stew, seasoned with herbs and topped with suet dumplings. Whilst on the move, menus are less elaborate, but we always make sure to have a hot lunch. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we catch the weather forecast on the VHF. We hear a few ‘frisk bris’ (force 5) and even a ‘kuling’ (force 6 to 8). Four hours later, as we shelter from the strengthening wind and rain in the tent, a gale warning is issued in English. The next day, we prepare to launch against all odds and, growing increasingly impatient, we finally leave at noon as conditions quieten. But the lull is short lived and a strong front quarter wind quickly develops, forcing us to stop after covering less than 7km. The Norwegian coast is well known to be deeply indented by fjords, ancient valleys carved by the action of the ice then flooded as the sea level rose. As a result, our daily paddles are punctuated with crossings a few kilometres wide as inlets of varied depths open up to our right. According to the map, we have now arrived close to the mouth of Skjørafjorden, so we walk along the shore to inspect the next crossing. The ground is boggy and covered with pastelcoloured mosses. Smooth, barren headlands jut out into the sea, isolating small rocky bays, sandy at low tide. Inland, a sparse woodland of dwarfed, twisted pines and bare birches soon

gives way to rugged cliffs. The place looks savage, with no other human trace than the occasional boat motoring past. Wearing our bright yellow storm cags over bulky buoyancy aids, we stick out of this wilderness like two Tweety Pies escaped from a Disney Park. Eventually, we discover that Skjørafjorden is a windswept expanse of water and reluctantly return to the kayaks to set up camp. We pitch the tent where we landed, on a small grassy beach littered with jetsam. The next day, I open my eyes at 7.30, but decide it isn't worth getting up just yet. I hope that by dozing a bit more, I will magically awaken to a windless day, but so far this has failed. The tent is shaking in every direction and there is little prospect of getting on the water any time soon, if at all today. In the end, we decide to explore our surroundings rather than get ready for a doubtful departure. It is a beautiful day: the wind has chased the clouds, sea eagles are soaring in blue skies and we enjoy great views of low-lying islands to the west. After a short walk, I feel warm enough for a shower in the nearby stream and soon we're off with soap and towels. The air is cold and windy, the water is icy and we fight the chill with many “uhs” and “ahs”. Ruth exclaims how much she relishes feeling the sun and wind on her skin. Then we notice the extended family walking in our direction. They form a group of about 25 people and must have witnessed our prancing around from afar. So much for the wilderness and isolation! We greet them shyly and retreat towards the tent, too intimidated by their number to start a conversation.

Above: Easter sunset in the skjeargard

Visit to Utvorda Over the next three days, conditions are calmer. We make good progress until we reach the southern side of the Namsosfjord, then strong winds are back. We are stuck at a place called Utvorda with, ahead of us, the exposed waters of Folda. In the evening, the owner of a nearby cabin suddenly materialises. Hans had not expected to meet campers this early in the year and isn't surprised to find out that we are foreigners. Since the wind hasn't abated, we visit him the following morning. A candle is lit on the dining table; gentle heat comes from the wood burning stove; our mugs of coffee are steaming; through the window, we can see overfalls breaking over the shallows to the north-west. The conversation turns towards World War II, a topic difficult to avoid when following the Norwegian coastline, which is littered with the concrete remnants of Hitler's Atlantic wall. At Utvorda, the German fortifications were designed to protect the approach to Namsos. Torch in hand and armed with a map provided by Hans, we spend the afternoon exploring the site. We walk along trenches and underground tunnels, climb out of ringstands using rusty iron ladders, enter casemates and shelters with steel roofs and two-metre thick concrete walls. The

command bunker is imposing. We penetrate the structure via a partly buried observation post at the top of a hill and walk three floors down a lengthy staircase into giant rooms blasted out of the rock. In one of the many concrete rooms, protected by a piece of perspex, is an unsigned and undated drawing. It represents a thatched cottage in a strikingly peaceful setting. There are ploughed fields in the foreground and conifers reflected in calm lake waters to the left; hills are outlined behind a small water pump next to the house; four birds fly above the chimney; an avenue of cedars leads to a church spire on the right. Does this place exist? We imagine the artist to be a German soldier yearning for peace and a return home. We finally leave Utvorda on April 8th. The next section of coastline is more exposed and, with no offshore islands large enough to protect us from the Norwegian seas, we travel in the deepest swell so far. Lumps of solid spume float by, a testimony to the strong winds and high seas of the previous days.

Does this place exist?

We imagine the artist to be a German soldier yearning for peace and a return home.

ThePaddler 93

Above: Climbing down into Utvorda.

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Before the last crossing to Bodo

Foldfjorden itself is calm as a pond however, and we see our first porpoise, its sleek, black body knifing through the oily water surface. Further north, we journey through a maze of rocks and tiny islands east of the main shipping route through Nærøysundet, the narrow sound which separates the Vikna archipelago from the mainland. The sea to our port is grey, overcast with dark rain clouds and busy with traffic. In contrast, to starboard, fields and rolling hills shine yellow in the declining sun; an isolated white church, bright as a beacon, is a welcome landmark. After approximately 35km, our record so far, we stop for the night on the island of Marøya. We pitch the tent on long, bent lyme grass in a very damp area. Water runs down the moss covered rocks nearby and, later in the evening, I can see my breath as I write my diary by torchlight. The next morning, low clouds slowly drift in the sky and we enter Rørvik harbour under light rain. Ruth asks three Norwegian seamen whether we can moor the kayaks in the marina whilst shopping. In response, she is shown the guest harbour facilities and, after two weeks of wild camping in the cold, we can relish a hot shower. Conveniently, the shops we need are close by. We begin with the pharmacy, where I show my hands to two nonplussed chemists. Mysterious, red, swollen spots resembling insect bites have appeared on the back of them. They subsequently evolve into small blisters filled with clear yellow liquid and, once pierced and bloody, end up looking like tiny erupting volcanoes. The chemists blame exposure and sell me an antibacterial ointment to help the wounds heal. We then visit the supermarket to buy fresh products, and the petrol station to refill the fuel bottles. Shortly afterwards, we leave the guest harbour to spend a damp evening 10km further north.

Challenging days The following afternoon we get our first glimpse of Torghatten, a hat-shaped mountain with a 160-metre long hole running straight through it. Such a geographic oddity demands an explanation and geologists suggest that the gallery started as a sea cave, which rose as the land was relieved from the pressure of the ice some 10,000 years ago. For others what we see is the path of the Horseman's arrow through the hat of the king of the Sømna mountain. The Horseman's intended target was the young maiden Lekamøya whom he wanted to ravish, then kill as she was about to escape him. The story's characters are linked to distinctively shaped hills, which, in line with our own experience, provide mariners with extremely useful landmarks. It is possible that the legend of Torghatten was one of many tales used by ancient sailors to memorize and pass on their navigation knowledge at times when maps and charts didn't exist.

A couple of cold but tranquil days bring us to the foot of Torghatten and we settle to camp a few kilometres short of Brønnøysund. The next morning, the stove refuses to start. We dismantle it, remove the soot, clean the jet following the instructions, but to no avail. In the end, we are forced into town to buy a replacement and somehow end up enjoying a hot shower at the welcoming harbour master's office! By the time we return to the water, the day has turned windy and rainy; the sea is choppy and white-capped; the landscape is alternately grey and yellow, following the succession of showers and brief sunny spells. On exiting Brønnøysund, we follow a rocky coastline with few landing spots. At twilight, we eventually find where to camp by a small harbour near a local ferry terminal.

We are close to the guesthouse now and after three weeks of paddling in cold conditions, we feel

ready for a break

Ruth's feet are still suffering from the cold and the state of my hands is deteriorating. We are tired and slow, and the wet, windy weather impedes our progress. Two days after leaving Brønnøysund, we still haven't arrived and conditions are such that I wear my storm cag and mittens throughout the day. By 7pm we can go no further, and with darkness approaching, we land on a pasture island 10km short of our destination. More rain and wind greet us the following day. All we need is to head northwest, but against the westerly breeze, this proves hard work. Ruth's kayak weathercocks badly in the cross wind, so we put a rope between us to act as a directional tow. Soon after, as we attempt to cross a slightly wider channel, we turn to paddle directly against the wind, battling for every metre. The towline has become a hindrance, we try to pack it away but it gets tangled, we lose ground, and I lose my temper. Later, when this struggle is over and we are once more sheltered in the lee of an island, I apologise to Ruth. I could no longer cope and my behaviour could have been dangerous. We are however thankfully past the most exposed area and can hop between islands, fighting the wind in short bursts and remaining in somewhat sheltered waters. Another hour of zigzagging between low islets eventually brings us to Husvær as the sun pierces the clouds. Soon, a soft-spoken Bent Skauen shows us to our bedroom. We blink in disbelief at the beds covered in clean, white sheets and warm, thick duvets.

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North of Arctic Circle en route to Bodo

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Alice cooking.



A welcome rest Bent and Inge's guesthouse is, as many describe, a ‘sea kayaker's paradise’. They have worked hard over the past five years to turn an old fish factory into a truly hospitable haven for travellers, cosy, functional, and decorated with taste. Guests are rare at this time of the year and we have the place to ourselves. We spend three days talking to our hosts, enjoying hot showers, drinking fresh coffee and reflecting on our experience. Over the past three weeks, we have come to realize that a long-distance sea kayaking expedition is as much about camp-craft and coping with outdoor life as it is about paddling. Perhaps more than outstanding kayaking skills, essential qualities would be resilience, patience and wonder. Resilience, or the flexibility to accept whatever the sea and weather throw at you with equanimity. Patience, with external conditions of course, but also crucially with ourselves: the acceptance that as amateurs, we still had a lot to learn and would go at a slow pace. Wonder, or the ability to discover traces of eternity behind every fleeting instant, behind the flicker of a wave crest in the sun, behind the diminishing sound of a cormorant's beating wing as it flies off in the distance. There are dangerous moments when we want to ‘have done’ the trip instead of simply ‘doing’ it. Clocking the miles brings moral support, but this should not be to the detriment of living our adventure as it unfolds. Wonder allows to freeze time, to be fully present to now.


A sea kayaking idyll We leave the guesthouse on April 18th, a glorious morning. A new leg of our journey is about to start. I am slightly apprehensive, but in high spirits: thanks to our hosts' help and advice, I feel better prepared. In contrast, Ruth is homesick and weighed down by doubts, yet ready to carry on. The landscape is bathed in sunshine. To our right, the snow covered peaks of the Seven Sisters (Lekamøya's sisters) glow in the distance. In the foreground, across an expanse of royal blue waters, the wooden houses on Tenna form a thin line of primary colours that stretches along the horizon. However, following the weather pattern established over the last couple of days, a sudden change brings a blizzard that pushes us northwards. By the time we land at the foot of Dønnmannen, the 860m high mountain that dominates the isle of Dønna, the wind has stirred the sea into a restless green expanse criss-crossed by white horses. Tall yellow grass on the shore bends softly in the gusts. Dønnmannen's summit is lost in grey clouds, its dark flanks sprinkled with snow. We pitch the tent in between junipers bushes in a wood of thin, twisted birches, the only location somewhat protected from the relentless wind. Sleet showers race past our camp all evening and we fall asleep to the sound of hail drumming on the flysheet, missing somewhat the comforts of the guesthouse.

The next dawn is misty and damp, but the wind has dropped. Dønnmannen is still hidden when I get up. However, as I perform the morning chores, the clouds thin and spread, gradually uncovering scree slopes and sunlit rocks, their contours highlighted by a fine layer of snow. Every instant the lighting shifts, underlining different shapes of stones in an infinite combination of fractal patterns. I am in no doubt that Dønnmannen is alive. In turn, the mountain hides and reveals its curves, little by little showing more and more, while its summit remains concealed behind a Sleet showers race nebulous and ethereal veil. A mountain's morning all evening and we fall striptease, as she gently welcomes the delicate, warm touch of the morning sun.

past our camp asleep to the

sound of hail

Although we launch in a drumming slight headwind, the sea is peaceful once more. Yesterday's waves have been replaced by gentle, transparent ripples that softly lap the shore. We follow the jagged coastline of Dønna northwards, crossing small fjords, zigzagging amongst skerries or rounding low promontories. Towering cumulonimbus drift past us in the distance. I keep glancing over my shoulder towards the alluring Dønnmannen, now a receding, black and white peak, shrouded in grey clouds that reflect the sunlight.

on the flysheet

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Three days later, we cross the Arctic circle on a beautiful, windless morning, and over the following days, settled conditions allow for steady progress through a landscape of flooded Alps. To starboard, the Svartisen mountains rise from the mainland, offering a grandiose scenery of contrasts, black rock against the whiteness of the snow, sharp ridges rising from creaseless slopes, their dark edges standing out against the pale blue sky. Fluffy cumulus hang atop summits, and we can't tell where the snow ends and the sky begins. This mountainous landscape isn't restricted to the mainland as the skjærgård's main islands en route to Bodø boast distinctive rocky summits, still sprinkled with snow in early spring. According to Norse mythology, Odin and his brothers slayed Ymir, the first frost-giant, and used his body to build the world. The story goes that the blood flowed so profusely from Ymir's wounds, that the resulting deluge drowned all but one of the remaining frost-giants. Perhaps the brine had receded since then, as the water had in Genesis' flood story, and the heads of the frost-giants had resurfaced, creating Helgeland's original seascape.

BodŒ and beyond When we finally reach the southern side of the Saltfjord and views of the city of Bodø under gathering clouds, we know that our weather luck cannot last and prepare for an early start. Shortly after 5am, the dawn atmosphere is eerily quiet and suffused by a surreal glow. The ripplefree, light green sea meets with dark blue clouds on the western horizon, and sunlit rain curtains move silently across the bay. The wind finally arrives as we launch into Saltfjorden and increases steadily, driving sleet showers and generating sets of manageable, entertaining waves. Eventually we reach the opposite side of the fjord, round its northern point, and enter Bodø's small boat harbour in the sunshine. However what has been planned as a brief resupply stop turns into four days of stand still. Arriving on a Sunday when all but the smallest of shops are closed is bad timing, then the wind picks up and leaves us stranded, grateful for the hospitality of a local pensioner who lets us sleep in his boat and shower at his flat.

Bodø lies at the southern entrance to the Vestfjord, which separates mainland Norway from the Lofoten and Vesterålen archipelagos. There the skjærgård thins, the coastline is more exposed and our progress is dictated by the weather. Two days after leaving the town, we land in a small valley where an old, seemingly abandoned farmstead still stands. Ruth goes to investigate, only to be confronted by a herd of about twenty reindeer that swiftly disappear back into the woods, scared by the appearance of this odd, dripping, beecoloured biped. The place is extremely peaceful and we decide to enjoy the afternoon there, lulled into a reverie by the regular sound of the waves breaking on the silvery sand and the soft murmur of a nearby stream. A man walks past and his dog jumps happily on us, but we exchange few words. After doing some washing, I shelter in the tent with a book while Ruth enjoys a cigarette, sat on a rock, watching the sea. She is in good form and has regained some optimism. Later, we talk to an elderly lady who is delighted to meet people from England and recall her time as John Lennon's neighbour in the 60s!

Most of the following day is spent fighting a cold headwind. The only way to stay warm is to keep moving. By the afternoon, we are zigzagging within a maze of skerries and islets, trusting that the channel markers will lead us out of this confusing labyrinth. Funnelled between islands, the wind only ripples the sea but makes any progress difficult. In the end, we give up the battle and land in a small bay at high tide. The ground is hard and the breeze strong so we anchor the tent with rocks. As the sea ebbs, the water retreats to a few hundred yards from where we landed, replacing narrow fjords, constricted sounds, and isolated bays with large areas of sand and mud that stretch out towards the sea. To the south of were we camp, groups of dome-shaped, weatherbeaten rock mounds, sparsely covered with light green moss rise from grassy bogs, like as many molehills.

The story goes that the blood flowed so profusely from Ymir's wounds, that the resulting deluge drowned all but one of the

remaining frost-giants

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The old house at Sordal The next morning certainly doesn't feel like May. The wind is strong still as we venture across the next fjord. Steep, dark green waves assault our kayaks from random directions until we reach some shelter by a tiny sound at the tip of the next headland. In the meantime, the wind has picked up and snow started to fall. I feel that the conditions are beyond my comfort zone, but when we land, we see no protection, only grass, fields and a few houses in the distance. Eventually, we decide to look for shelter back the way we came. The afternoon's weather remains very unsettled, alternating with no transition between blizzard and sunshine. As I sort the camp out, I watch the sea take on diverse shades of blue and green in response to the cloud’s rapid drift.

SŒrdal Conditions are calmer the next day. We reach an area of shallow seas amongst a collection of small islands that remind me of Arisaig in western Scotland. The sun shines, and we paddle on turquoise waters above sand and coral beaches. “It's amazing, it looks as though the sea’s lit from below!” Ruth exclaims. Taking full advantage of the increasing southwesterly wind, we carry on past the island of Lundøya and aim for a place called Sørdal, an “abandoned settlement” according to the map. We find a sandy beach at the end of a sheltered bay where we set up camp. Later,

as we turn in to sleep, a fox runs noiselessly along the shoreline. The following day brings wind and snow, and instead of packing up, we decide to walk towards Sørdal. We follow a narrow woodland path, which echoes with the sounds of birds and streams; spring is on its way, although this far north, at the beginning of May, buds are still struggling to come out. There are no roads to the settlement, only footpaths and an old forest track, with deep ruts and fallen trees across it. The place is accessed by sea during the summer months and close to the shore is a modern, well-maintained summer cabin equipped with photo-voltaics; there is no evidence that electricity otherwise reached this isolated valley. We see older constructions too and indications that the land used to be farmed; Ruth notices a vast number of raspberry canes and some large currant bushes. Inland, towards the rising fells, a group of buildings particularly attract our attention. They are made of unpainted wood and roofed with corrugated iron covered by patches of bright green moss. Straw was used for insulation inside the walls, some of which had been covered by thick,

indicate deserted places, usually at isolated locations that no road ever reached and where, in our modern age, human life is no longer sustainable. painted paper panels sewn together. We climb a wide ladder to the first floor of the main house; one of the rooms is still furnished with a wooden cot and a narrow bed frame. Downstairs, the kitchen looks as if it has been abandoned in haste. The old cast iron stove is still there, with a pan and an egg-slicer rusting on top of it. On a shelf lies a dusty, yellow cardboard pot from a Dutch sugar beet company founded in 1919. Close by is yet another set of buildings from a more recent period. The main house is white and covered by pale green metal roof; through a gap between drawn flowery curtains, we spy wallpaper with big floral prints and a rocking chair. Behind stands a large red-painted shed, part stable, with wooden troughs, part warehouse. Until a few decades ago, people could still subsist along these shores on a combination of fishing and farming. Small-scale primary industries started their decline with the government-led modernisation that followed by World War II. Since then, looking for work, the inhabitants have moved towards more urbanised areas. This rural depopulation is starkly evidenced on our maps where empty black circles appear with increasing density as we progress northwards. They

Our campsite at Utvorda

Visibility is low as we leave the dark green, shallow waters of the bay and enter the calm, grey expanse of Vestfjorden. To starboard, the rocky shore is shrouded in mist and clouds that slowly break up along the mountains' sides. A gentle swell pushes us onwards and by lunchtime we paddle past the red and white tower of the Tranøy lighthouse. That evening, we watch the sun disappear behind the jagged crests of the Lofoten and Vesterålen; the blond yellow grass by the beach remains golden for a long time afterwards. Norse mythology suggests that Odin and his brothers built Midgard, the dwelling of men, and surrounded it by a protective rampart made of Ymir's eyelashes. I couldn't think of a better description for the Lofoten skyline, densely packed with serrated peaks and improbable slopes that now stand out blue, against a pale, pink sky. Tomorrow, we will cross the Vestfjord. Part 2 next month.

sea’s lit from below!” “It's amazing, it looks as though the

Ruth exclaims

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INFORMATION WEATHER: Norway shares the same latitude as Alaska, Greenland and Siberia, but compared to these areas Norway has a pleasant climate because of the Gulf Stream. Late June to early August is when the weather is warmest and the days are long and bright. Temperatures in July and August can reach 25°C-30°C. At the same time there is hardly any humidity in the air. Sea temperatures can reach 18°C and higher, making swimming a popular pastime. The warmest and most stable weather usually occurs on the eastern side of the southern mountains, including the south coast between Mandal and Oslo. Even further north, summer temperatures are rather pleasant – sometimes reaching as high above 25°C.

NORWAY Google Map

TROLLS: Trolls are an important part of Norwegian folklore. They vary in size and appearance, but are invariably ugly and messy creatures, and always mischievous (if not downright nasty). They usually live in caves or deep in the forest, and only emerge from their hiding places after sunset - legend has it that they turn to stone upon contact with the sun. Several places in Western and Northern Norway have been named after them, such as Trollheimen, Trollstigen, Trollhatten and Trollveggen.

THE SAMI: The Sami are Norway’s indigenous people. Travel to Northern Norway to experience their culture. Learn to throw a lasso, or try reindeer sledding.

he Sami people are sometimes referred to as Lapps, but prefer to be called Samis. Their culture has been developing in Northern Scandinavia since the arrival of the first people 11,000 years ago. The Sami were at one with nature, and lived in tents (lavvo) and turf huts whilst they followed the reindeer.

Reindeer herding is still central to Sami culture, even to this day, and crucial to the subsistence of the Sami, providing meat, fur and transportation. Reindeer sledding is popular in Finnmark in winter.

MIDNIGHT SUN: During the Norwegian summer season, the sun never sets north of the Arctic Circle and for a couple of months the sun is visible 24 hours a day. The phenomenon is caused by the tilt in the Earth´s axis – an imaginary line through the planet between the north and south poles around which it rotates. As the Earth orbits the Sun, the tilt makes the North Pole face towards the Sun in summer (keeping it in sunlight even as the Earth spins) and away from it in winter (keeping it dark). Hence the continuous sunlight during the summer.

VIKINGS: The Vikings built longships and raided Europe as traders and warriors. In medieval Norway the basis for agriculture was poor. Many people lived on the coast and boat building skills were easily the best in Europe. The result was voyages of discovery, trade and brutal raids. The voyages began in the latter part of the eighth century and stretched from Greenland in the west to the Caspian Sea in the east.

GUESTHOUSE: The sea kayaking guesthouse Alice and Ruth stayed at was in their words a really great destination:

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A sound

I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean surfers or those who actively seek out big water, I mean ordinary sea paddlers. By far the majority of sea kayakers I have come across take a much more leisurely approach to their paddling. Me included.

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By Simon Everett


There is a misconception that sit-on-tops, or as I prefer to call them, open cockpit kayaks, havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the paddling capability to be taken seriously. For really serious, big breaking seas maybe not, but in reality what percentage of recreational paddlers put themselves through twometre breakers on a regular basis?

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I was down in Plymouth

to deliver one of the specially structured kayak fishing

skills and safety courses and the weather was being extremely kind. The day before the course it was one of those rare days we get now, one with glorious sunshine and I took the opportunity to burn some fat. Cirrus and stratus clouds laced the sky and there was the faintest of breezes. In the panic to drive to Plymouth I left my fishing gear and waterproof camera behind. I know exactly where I left it, in the hall waiting to be loaded into the car, but at 04.00 after a late night I am not at my best!

The kayak slid effortlessly between the moored boats, after a few minutes I got

I chose an easy launch, the excellent public slipway at Mountbatten. I am old enough to remember the last Sunderland flying boat stationed there together with the flotilla of RAF Air Sea Rescue launches sat on their moorings in the Cattwater. The RAF left in the late 1960s and now it ha

into my rhythm The Royal Navyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s HMS Portland.

The cage.

There was a fair bit of commercial traffic moving around so I had to be aware and appraise the safest route that would cause the minimum of disturbance to the working boatmen. I headed across to Drake’s Island to cross the channel at 90 degrees and didn’t hang about. Once out of the shipping lane I eased off and got into a steady cadence, my plan was to paddle the western shoreline to Cawsand Bay. This is an interesting stretch with plenty of rocks, gullies and kelp to weave through. The May bloom had gone and the water was gin clear, I could see fish over the sandy patches between the rocks and weed. Shoals of sandeels were darting about in formation, the piscatorial synchronised swimming team.

Worth exploring

Once I reached Cawsand there was a school for SUP having a session, so instead of going ashore I stayed out of their way and had a cup of mid-morning coffee and a third of my pasty while drifting across the bay a bit. Refreshed and rested I headed on round the coast. As you leave the bay there is a small gulley next to an insignificant building complex. On the seaward side of the buildings there is a narrow chute that comes down a tunnel hewn into the cliff, a portcullis still hangs over it. This little known corner was home to miniature submarines during the 1939-45 war. It was too dark and shady for the camera on my phone to deal with, but if you ever paddle in The Sound it is worth exploring.

as been transformed into a major water users resource, with every facility you can think of catered for. As I left the slipway the tide was on the last vestige of the ebb and normal people were sat in their offices looking out on the wonderful day that was unfurling. The kayak slid effortlessly between the moored boats, after a few minutes I got into my rhythm, it was the first chance I had this year for a day to do my own thing and maybe leaving my gear behind was a blessing in disguise because I would otherwise have been distracted and not gone for a serious fat burning session. This was going to do me some good.

miniature submarines This little known corner was home to

during the 1939-45 war

Rounding the point, keeping the land to starboard, you will pass Penlee Coastguard lookout and foghorn house. They are no longer used, of course but they are in a lovely position, looking out over the main approach to Plymouth Sound. The white and green paintwork is in a good condition and it seems they have been turned into an out of the way holiday accommodation. Penlee point has a reef that extends, like one of Neptune’s Fingers, for about three cables to the south east. When the ebb is in full flow there is a strong pull of tide over the reef and it can build up, today at slack water it was totally benign. I turned to the west and headed for Rame Head, a high hill that tumbles down into the sea and meets the water in a typically Cornish fashion of wave lashed rocks butting up to the lush greenery of cliff moorland. The National Trust have drafted a small herd of Dartmoor ponies down to graze the cliffs and keep the grassland open to allow the wild flowers to flourish. I saw a handful of these ponies on the western side of the Rame Peninsular.

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The rocks change as you round Rame Head itself, the fairly solid splash zone gives way to striated rocks that have been eroded and weathered from the prevailing south westerly. These rocks take the full force of the Atlantic swells as there is nothing between them and Buenos Aires. Tucked into a corrie on the western face of Rame head is Polhaun Cove, a small beach made up of coarse sand and grit that is well protected by the lines of fang shaped rocks. You have to be careful to approach the beach from north of west where the lines of fangs act as wave deflectors and protect the beach from the worst of the waves at low water. At high water this can be a turbulent area, especially in a soâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;wester. Picking your line will bring you in clear of the off-lying rocks.

I pulled the kayak up clear of the gentle swells that were rolling in and got my flask and dry bag of food out. As I ate the remains of my pasty a family of peregrine falcons gave me an aerial display as the parents taught their youngsters how to become masters of the air, all the time shrieking excitedly to encourage the youngsters. Soon afterwards ravens came over, three of them, swooping down and rolling on their backs in mid air and honking loudly no more than 100 feet above me. Encounters with nature of this kind are good for the soul. Refreshed, in body and mind from the sights, sounds and sustenance I hit the water again for the homeward leg. The tide was just beginning to push, evidenced by the swells reaching further up the

beach. As I pulled out of the lee of the cove the afternoon breeze was getting up, just enough to provide a cooling effect, which I was grateful for. I was working up a sweat and the waft of air was wonderful. Rounding Rame I came across two well known sea kayakers, Nick Crowhurst and Tony Marsden, so we sat and chatted for a while, they had the same game plan as I did, heading for Polhaun for lunch.

I pressed on to the east with some assistance from the light breeze and rolling swell from astern, catching a wave and getting a couple of kayak lengths ride every so often carrying me onward. My plan was to paddle to the Mewstone and then in

A family of peregrine falcons gave me an aerial display as the parents taught their youngsters how to become

masters of the air,

all the time shrieking excitedly to encourage the youngsters

through the eastern entrance but a phone call asking if I could pick up a kayak from SMG in Plymouth for Wet and Wild in Hull meant I had to get ashore in time before they closed. I changed course slightly to take me to the Shag Stone to pick up my return course. The breakwater was still an hour away, so carrying on around the Mewstone would have taken me too long.

There was a lighter anchored off the eastern passage, just outside the de-gaussing zone and a league race for the j-class yachts was just getting underway. As I gently made my way across, the race started and there soon followed a constant stream of blasts from the committee boat as competitors jostled for position. They were going well in the breeze as they came out on a beam reach with Rame Head in the distance. I had a friend who sailed one of the most successful Jboats, called Jay-Go but we have since lost touch. I looked out for her but didn’t see the name. These boats put my humble kayak into perspective, John used to spend £100,000 a season on sails. That is out of my league, maybe that is why we lost touch!

‘The Cage’

Approaching the Eastern entrance I started to gain the influence of the flood tide dragging me homeward. The breakwater funnels the tide each end, increasing the current as the water squeezes between the land and the massive concrete and granite structure that was built by Napoleonic prisoners of war. On the western end there is a lighthouse, as it is the main shipping channel, here on the eastern extremity. With 1.25 miles between them there is a cone structure made from rings of granite blocks, which balances the perspective. The water is about 15m deep and it is about 50m wide. It must have taken half of Dartmoor to build it and the formidable forts in strategic places overlooking the approach. The cone is called ‘The Cage’ and it is a refuge for sailors in distress should they come to grief on the massive wall. If they could make their way to it there is a watertight door at the top and safety lies within. I was told there are water, provisions and a telephone link to the Royal Navy command centre at Mount Wise.

As I headed in to starboard one of those imposing forts was lit by the strong sunshine, the massive steel doors over the gun ports painted with red lead. The formidable battery no longer keeps the French navy at bay, instead this is home to a commercial diving school and training centre. It is one of the biggest in Europe. It is home to a very important facility for divers, the decompression chamber, many a diver owes their life to it. From here it is only a couple of miles to Mountbatten Breakwater. As I made headway towards The Hoe I heard on the VHF that a submarine was coming in, so I elected to keep well to the east, out of the way. When a nuclear submarine comes into port a ring of fire to keep offensive threats at a safe distance accompanies it. The end of Mountbatten was festooned with anglers, so I gave them a wide berth too. The round trip saw me cover 14.8 nautical miles in just under four and a half hours, including stops. For my first proper paddle of the year I was quite pleased and proved that the couch potato isn’t as unfit as he thought he was.

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

SUP Paddler

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h e c i i l y s B e ov L ol K Photo: Joan Vienot

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For more information on how you can participate wherever you may be on the Planet visit Stay tuned for my weekly podcast of The Paddler’s Planet with my guest host Christian Wagley on,


Stepping lightly along the shoreline By Christian Wagley

s paddlers, nearly every trip we make begins along the shoreline of a river, bay, lake, or ocean. There, the land beneath our feet varies just like the boards and boats we paddle. Sandy, rocky, mucky, covered by marsh grass; brown, black, white, and everywhere in between…Observing and understanding this often dynamic spot tells us much about the waters we paddle.

“Where we are Standing Up for the Planet!” For many of us, we began our shoreline explorations as children, when our smaller stature made it easy to see and investigate the world at our feet. I have fond and vivid memories of sitting at the water’s edge along U.S. South Atlantic beaches, exploring what came ashore as waves gently washed over me. I crawled around on all fours as mole crabs and tiny coquina clams dug beneath the sand to escape my probing little hands.

Those early experiences along the beach imprinted in me forever, inspiring a sense of wonder that pushed me to learn more about marine life. I became an avid reader into my teenage years, exploring page after page of descriptions of fishes, corals, crabs, seagrasses – all the things I found Join us for World Paddle For The washed up or scurrying away in my beach explorations. Planet in Panama City Beach, Florida, October 10-13th. Founder, Bob The curiosity and wonder that made me want to learn more eventually turned to a passion to Purdy, says, “Pick a change, paddle for protect. My adult life has been devoted to preserving the natural world, inspired by my first big a change with us, and commit to that experiences in nature along that dynamic edge that continues to inform me every time I paddle. change until it becomes a reality.” For As we walk along the shore, note and consider what’s there. The colour often comes from the suggestions on how to join us as a source of sediment, which in this age of rising seas is usually the adjacent upland. The grittiness of satellite event anywhere in the world, coarse sand often means a high energy beach; the softness of organic matter denotes a more contact me, Leslie Kolovich, at sheltered area, and often one that’s more biologically productive – like an estuary. The sharp, angled edges of crushed coral and shells tells of nearby reefs and rich populations of mollusks. Take a closer look at the wrack line – the winding pile of marine life deposited by the high tide. This feature is a vital source of food for scavengers along the shoreline, provides nutrients to dune and marsh plants, and on sandy beaches can even trap seeds and begin to form dunes.

Our undulating, shifting, ever-changing shore is where energy and life is exchanged between land and water. As the place where our paddle trips begin and end, it deserves our highest study, understanding, appreciation, and protection. To learn more about the wonderful connection between paddling and the natural world, join Leslie Kolovich and me for our weekly podcast, The Paddler's Planet at

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An interview with one of the fastest young rising stars on the SUP scene today. Watch this space!


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here and what was your first surf and what got you hooked?

My first surf was at Point Roadknight in the middle of winter 2005. It was bitterly cold but once I could was able to stand up and ride, I was hooked and knew it was the one thing that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What and where was your first competition?

My first SUP competition was the Victorian State titles held at Jan Juc in 2009, I was a tiny 12-year old competing in the Open Men's division. It was a typical Victorian winter’s day: freezing, rainy and the surf was looking particularly uninviting but nevertheless we were paddling out. The conditions were really tough but I was determined to make the most of it. It took me until the 29 ½ minute mark of a 30-minute heat to finally make it out the back but I got a rousing applause from the beach and have been competing in local, interstate – and recently even international – competitions ever since.

Surfing or racing?

Hands down surfing – every time!

How does SUP give you satisfaction?

It gives me confidence, purpose and makes me happier than anything else in the world. I know that regardless of how bad my day has been the ocean will always be there, and I can go there, surf and make everything better. It’s my escape from the world and the one place, no matter what I really belong.

Only early doors but what is the My name is Kristiana Page but I’m Kristi to most biggest accomplishment in your people. I have been surfing for about nine years and career to date? SUPing for around five. I’m very proudly a My greatest accomplishment so far would have half-Vietnamese Australian and I live with my to be holding three state titles at the age of 16 or placing fourth in the Australian titles in 2012 – family in the small town of Ocean Grove,Victoria both results I’m very proud of. with Bells Beach pretty much in my backyard. I’m 17-years old and I’m currently completing the equivalent of year 12 at SEDA (Sports Education Development Australia).

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Watch Kristi Page at Ocean Grove KVNPGcOho

What would be your ultimate achievement?

To win a World title in Women’s SUP surfing or to complete the Molokai M20 in a competitive time.

Are you naturally competitive?

Unfortunately I’m not naturally competitive, but I work hard to make sure that I maintain focus and complete competition goals when it matters most, in order to achieve the result I want.

Beside yourself, which young women out there are currently shaping and pushing the boundaries of SUP?

The two young women that I think are shaping our sport are Izzi Gomez and Talia Gangini – both exceptionally talented and really pushing the boundaries in any way they can.

In competition – who would you say is your closest competitor?

In Australia, the women’s field is pretty close but I believe my closest competitor would have to be either Erin Dark or Sharika Westdorp.

What's next in the next 12 months for you in the growing sport of SUP?

In the next 12 months I’ll be training really hard in preparation for the Australian National titles in November and the start of the 2014 Victorian Race Series. I’ll be working on improving my fitness and working on bettering my surfing in any and every way I possibly can.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I can’t tell you where I’ll be in 20 years as that’s an awfully long time. However I’m currently working on the next three and I can say that I aspire to be competing internationally, studying at university, living in California for a year or so and sharing my passion of SUP with others.

I’m into SUP and going on vacation, where would you recommend?

I’d have to say California; after travelling there earlier this year, I fell totally in love. On top of the fact that the people there are so incredibly friendly and welcoming they have some killer beaches and places to paddle!

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OK Kristi let’s finish with something short and snappy…

If you could paddle with anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be?

My grandpa, he passed away when I was two and I’d love nothing more than to paddle with him and show him all I’ve achieved.

Which one sportsman or woman has inspired you?

Sally Fitzgibbons – an amazing surfer and all-round athlete, she’s also incredibly down to earth and a great role model for other young girls and aspiring surfers.

Pick two celebrities to be your parents

I can’t choose, I wouldn’t change my parents for the world.

What’s on your Tivo recorder?

We don’t actually have Tivo in Australia but I think Foxtel is similar. I have a lot of Community, Law and Order: SVU and Drew Carey’s Improv-a-ganza and Whose Line Is It Anyway.

Favourite iPod track?

If These Sheets Were The States – All Time Low.

What would you do with $100,000?

Split it four ways and give one part to charity, one part to my parents, put one part in a savings account and use the last bit to travel.

Cats or dogs?

I have two cats and two dogs, so I can’t choose.

Facebook or Twitter Facebook.

Favourite meal?

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls.

What one luxury item would you take with you on a desert island? Definitely SUP surf board, however, if that doesn’t count, my iPod.

Any broken bones?

I’ve only ever broken my left wrist, but I’m probably the clumsiest person you’ll ever meet – I’m always bruised!

If you could be a superhero for one day, what superpower would you choose and why?

If I could have superpowers for a day, I’d choose the ability to: • Manipulate the elements – then I could have perfect waves or downwinding conditions all day OR • Heal/regenerate – I would donate my day to science and have them take my DNA in the hope they could use it to assist in medical advances.

Favourite team?

The Australian Netball team – The Diamonds.

What three words would you use to describe you? Determined, hardworking and happy-go-lucky. Thanks for your time Kristi:) ThePaddler 123


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with Gerry Lopez Photos by Martin Sundberg ThePaddler 127

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here and what was your first paddle?

My first paddling experience was floating a home made raft on the canal near my house to Kailua Beach. It didn't end well. The volume calculations were wrong and our mastery of rope lashing was incompetent. I was 10.

My first successful paddling experience was with Kailua Canoe Club. I joined a paddling team in my 20s. As a kid, I had always wanted to paddle outrigger, but I thought I was too small. The inclusiveness of our club change not only how I thought about myself, but also how I treated others. Racing outrigger canoes and being a member of Kailua Canoe Club changed my life.

How did you get into the SUP paddle making business?

Gerry Lopez told Laird Hamilton to give me a call. Laird called and asked if I could build a really, really long paddle. I asked him why he didn't just get one from the last guy who built him one. He told me they had all broken. I had some aluminium tubing lying around which I used to build spearguns, so I figured even Laird wouldn't break it. I modified one of my outrigger blade moulds and built him a paddle. The sport didn't have a name, so we called it Stand Up Surfing. I laugh at myself because SUS was a stupid name. Traditional surfing is already a standing sport. This was in 2003.

How did you end up manufacturing paddles in Oregon?

I am Dave Chun, and with my wife Meg Chun, we own Kialoa Paddles. We started Kialoa in my parent's backyard 20+ years ago, in Kailua, Hawaii. We moved Kialoa to Bend, Oregon, in 1992. We build paddles for Outrigger, Dragon Boat and SUP. We build paddles so we can be part of the paddling experience. We blur the line between work and play and work with our friends. We value relationship over transactions and we want to build high performance paddles, which will last a lifetime.

Paddle building is not the most lucrative career and we couldn't afford to buy a house in Hawaii. We had visited Bend, while on a rare vacation, and it reminded me of what Kailua was like when I was a child. Small, quiet, and friendly. When I first moved to Bend, I could paid for things at the store with a check and not have to show the clerk my I.D. I love Hawaii and it will always be the place I call home. But I also love the solitude of the mountains. I am lucky my job lets me â&#x20AC;&#x153;liveâ&#x20AC;? in both worlds.

In your business of paddle manufacturing, what is your proudest achievement?

I try to keep paddle building in prospective. Meg was a teacher for 12 years, and I think if we want to look at achievement, paddle building is inconsequential compared to teaching a child to read. I make toys. But, if I had to pick a moment when I felt proud to be a paddle builder, this is it: I was working at an outrigger race in Hilo, Hawaii. The booth was super busy, and when I finally looked up; I saw this little girl and her family standing in front of me, waiting. The little girl was holding a paddle. When I finally got to talk with them, the mother told me, they had come to see me. Kialoa has an annual paddle scholarship contest for students, and their daughter had won one of the ten paddles we award. I asked the little girl if she was racing, and she told me “no”. I asked where they lived and she said “Kona”. Kona is all the way on the other side of the Big Island, 85 miles from Hilo, much of it on a slow twisting road. I asked why they had come to Hilo. She said to “thank me”. I have made paddles for 11 World Champions, a Battle of the Paddle winner, and a Kialoa steering paddle has been in the hands of the winning Molokai to Oahu steersman the last 13 years in a row. But none of those wins compare with how we were able to make that little girl feel about herself. Simply by winning a paddle contest.

Whom do you sell most of your SUP paddles to – the North American market or is it now becoming more global?

Kialoa sells paddles in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, UK, Brazil, as well as a number of other countries, but the majority of our sales are in North America – the US and Canada.

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Watch Dave Chun and Gerry Lopez on Paddle and Surfboard Design.

Where and how did you meet your business partner and world renowned surfer, Gerry Lopez?

Gerry and I met while paddling on the Deschutes River in Bend. He was on a prone paddle board; I was training with our outrigger crew. I think the first words he said to me were “You da paddle guy?” To which I replied “You da surfer guy?”

Gerry and Kialoa are not business partners, though it may seem that way at times. Gerry is my friend and mentor. We collaborate on projects because it is fun. Our shops share a wall. Gerry shapes surf and SUP boards. I shape paddles. We are just two guys from Hawaii, doing what we have always done, blurring the line between work and play.

How often do you now go out paddling?

As often as possible. I live in the mountains at 3500 feet of elevation, so it is snowy and cold most of the year. I'm a Hawaii guy, so when the temperature drops, I retreat to the weight room. I am also plagued by wrist and elbow problems, both sides, so I have to manage my mileage. These days I seem to be spending most of my time fly fishing on my SUP board.

Your background is Outriggers and SUP – ever been seen in a kayak or open canoe?

Meg and I own an open canoe, but we mainly use it to take our dog Syd out for a spin. I have actually spent more time in a surf ski and a K-1 sprint kayak, than in an solo outrigger. My paddling career pre-dates the invention of the Hawaiian rough water solo outrigger. The surf ski was our only alternative for solo paddling prior to 1990 in Hawaii. I like the surf ski stroke motion and the speed. It is also easier on my worn out shoulders and elbows because of the lower arm position.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

I am working with a new material called CFRT, Continuous Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastic. CFRT is long strands of Carbon Fibre or Fibreglass, which we impregnate with Polypropylene, Nylon, or other polymers, as opposed to the more common resins like epoxy or polyester. We are obtaining weights, which are the same as Carbon/Epoxy, but the paddles are much more impact resistant and less expensive. We are building blades with the CFRT. CFRT is so durable; I can beat on it with a hammer. I talk about hitting it harder than I would strike a nail. This stuff is crazy light, crazy strong and crazy affordable. The problem is it isn't shinny like a Carbon/Epoxy blade. It looks different. So my goal for the next 12 months is to work on gaining customer acceptance of CFRT. Here's the deal, I work with plastic products. Carbon/Epoxy is a plastic too. Plastics pollute the earth. Plastics probably have a half-life in a garbage dump of thousands of years. The only solution I see to this problem is if I make paddles, which last a long time. My goal is to keep my paddles out of landfills. When someone gets tired of their Kialoa Paddle, I want them to sell it on E-Bay, or donate it to a paddling program, or give it to a kid. But what I don't want is for it to break and end up in a landfill. Having to buy a paddle repeatedly because it wears out or breaks, is not good for the customer and it is not good for the earth. My goal is to build paddles, which will last a lifetime.

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Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

In 20 years, I will be 76-years old, and I don't know what I will be doing, but I do have an idea about how I want to live my life. I have a friend who is a sheep rancher. His name is Gordon Clark. Earlier this year, I was visiting and he took me out to the pens where his cowboys and shepherds were using a new ultra sound machine to check the sheep for pregnancy. He told me they were using a bar code system so they could track which sheep bred the best milk producers. In the future they will pair rams and ewes based on this information. Poor milk producers will be channelled as meat livestock, and the high yield milk producers will be for the dairy industry. While most modern ranches probably use a system such as this, what I find remarkable, is Gordon ‘Grubby’ Clark is 80years old. Until 2005, when he closed the doors to CLARK FOAM, Gubby's company produced almost all the foam blanks for the surfboard industry. His 55,000 acre ranch is his retirement.

Grubby is a man who is constantly looking toward the future. Grubby made enough money in the surfboard industry to live anywhere in the world, in any lifestyle he chooses. But he chooses to spend his ‘retirement’ in a mode of continuous improvement. He tells me, he has always liked “figuring things out”. Which is why, at the age of 80, he is just beginning his career as a rancher.

I’m a paddler and going on vacation, where would you recommend?

French Polynesia. The Tahitians are the best open ocean paddlers on earth. To those of us from Polynesia, Tahiti is the birth place of paddling. It is our Mecca, our Jerusalem, and our Holy Grail. And the Hinano beer isn't bad either.


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Dave let’s finish with something short and snappy…

If you could paddle with anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be?

Jeremy Clarkson. I'm a big fan of Top Gear, and I think a paddle with Jeremy would be a non stop laughing fit. The prototype paddles we send out to our testers are marked ‘STIG’, in honour of the mystery race driver on Top Gear. Why STIG? “Because, you can't buy it and we won't tell you what it is…”

Which one sportsman or woman has inspired you?

Abebe Bikila, 1960 Rome Olympics, Marathon champion. He was from Ethiopia and ran in his bare feet. His bare feet symbolizes that sport is about the athlete and not the equipment. Paddling is about people and experiences. Not who has the latest and greatest new gear.

Pick two celebrities to be your parents

Mariusz Pudzianowski, five-time World's Strongest Man, and Jennifer Nettles, lead singer for the band Sugarland. I'd like to have a stronger singing voice.

What’s on your Tivo?

Anthony Bourdain, “Parts Unknown”, I love the cinematography.

Favourite iPod track?

An ideal night out for you is?

I am an introvert and reclusive. I'm friendly and like people, but I'm happy being alone. So, an ideal night for me is being home with Meg and the Syd. Not very exciting, but how does it get any better than being with the ones you love?

What one luxury item would you take with you on a desert island?

My Ford Raptor truck. When it ran out of gas I would just sit there and stare at it. Watch the Youtube link and you will understand… or not.

What do you get really angry about?

People or animals being victimized. I can't even watch this happen in a movie.

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Though I am an introvert, Meg is not. So we entertain frequently. We generally serve the food tapas style. I start cooking when the guests arrive. Serve each dish when it is ready. And stop cooking when everyone has had his or her fill. My cooking style is Europe meets Hawaii.

Any broken bones?

Does the heart count? Had that happen a few times in my youth. I've been relatively injury free for an old guy. My main problem is my elbows and wrist. A result of too many paddles passing through What would you do with $100,000? my hands. But I love to build and I wouldn't trade my job for any I would ask Sir Jackie Stewart, three times Formula One World other. Well…unless I could sing like Freddy Mercury! Champion, if he would give me a driving lesson. I idolized him as a child. If you could be a superhero for one day, what

Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses.

Cats or dogs?

superpower would you choose and why?

Gills to breathe underwater. I want to see what the world's fish Dogs. The latest is Syd. We are her fourth owners. It boggles populations REALLY look like. As you can guess, I wonder if we my mind that someone could have left her at the animal might be commercial fishing a tad bit aggressively. shelter. Syd is the kind of dog who would lie down next to you and die with you, if you shattered a leg and couldn't hike out. I Favourite team? suppose there are cats that would do the same… Lanikai Canoe Club, Kailua, Hawaii. My hometown heroes. Five time winners of the Molokai to Oahu outrigger race. These men Facebook or Twitter? taught me the meaning of teamwork. Defeat tells us more about Facebook, but I've kind of lost interest. The amount of the heart of a champion than winning. Great racers, and even information is overwhelming. I read books obsessively, and greater human beings. I have been their paddle builder since 1991. Facebook was cutting into my reading schedule. I like books because they stimulate creative thought. I don't get the same What three words would you use to introspection reading about someone's dinner at a restaurant describe you? on Facebook. It is nice to know what they ate for dinner, but Grateful, happy and lucky. it's not inspiring material.

Thanks for your time Dave:)

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LOCO SUP Loco are a home grown UK stand up paddle brand helmed by larger than life Joe Thwaites. Known for his passion and strong opinions, freelance journalist Tez Plavenieks sat down with him for a natter about the Loco brand, getting sectioned and the SUP industry. When did you first discover SUP?

About six years ago on a windsurfing holiday. We got skunked for wind and ended up going for a cruise. I soon bought eight boards and started the North East’s first dedicated SUP School in Tynemouth.

Where’s your favourite SUP spot and why?

Tricky one. Bamburgh is particularly special on its day. I also love Fuerteventura, where we refine and develop boards over the winter.

What made you decide to set up a stand up paddle board company?

I used to be a head hunter but this died with the onset of the credit crunch. I needed something new and teaching SUP/windsurfing during the summer and badminton in winter seemed like a healthy new career.

Where did the name Loco and the ‘get sectioned’ slogan come from?

Loco was born in Fuerteventura after a Jaeger fuelled brainstorming session with the missus. It’s better than other dross we came up with. (Let’s not mention Fallen Soul). Get sectioned was a logical progression.

Your boards are shaped by Fuerteventura based Witchcraft. How did this relationship come about?

A friend hooked me up with an intro. Initially I was just looking at one shape but it seemed like a waste to not design a custom board for me (the 9.5ft) and scale it down for lighter guys (8.11ft).

What’s your personal favourite Loco stick and why?

They all have their own merits. I still have a soft spot for the 9.5ft as it’s easy to use and offers great performance in everything from 2ft dribblers to head high grinders.

Which two (personal preferences aside) SUPs are the magic boards from Loco’s range and why?

The 8.11ft is the stand out board as it has great glide but feels smaller once up and riding. The thinner tail block on this year’s 8.11ft makes it even more dynamic and we’re confident the board will continue to be a hit throughout Europe.

The other has to be our 12.6ft Race Tourer as it combines 50s Riva looks with ease of use and practicality.

There might be a couple of new ‘magic sticks’ making an appearance in 2014 too. Stay tuned to for updates and sneak previews.

Loco have a slightly edgier image; why is this?

Who wants to follow the herd? As an upcoming brand we don’t have helicopters and huge marketing budgets so we’re forced to think creatively to generate interest. Our products are pitched at people who ‘like different’, embrace colourful vibrant designs or the ultimate in retro cool and those who appreciate performance at a sensible price point.

Loco recently started selling their SUPs with K4 fins, how did this come about?

My first encounter with Steve Thorpe (K4 owner) was when I organised the Northumberland Wave Slam – a competition for keen windsurfers. We got talking about his new fins and I managed to blag myself a set. After using factory fins last year Loco decided we needed to up our game – K4 was the logical choice.

Having Steve riding for us as well is a real win as we get to test the latest developments and benefit from his experience.

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It’s a difficult market as a new brand. There’s a lot of politics, but we’re getting there.

We all need to work together on building the sport and making it a positive experience. Ultimately we’re all in this because of our passion.

Any thoughts on the global SUP scene?

SUP surf competition really flicks my switch but I can also see the appeal of BOP style events too. Despite the amazing feats of stamina I don’t really get endurance, from a spectator’s point of view. I suppose drawing a comparison to the Olympic 100m versus the steeplechase is the closest comparison. We all know which is the must see event.

Which area of the sport do you think has the most potential for growth?

In the UK the white water scene has plenty of scope with more surfers keen to try their luck at standing waves when the sea is in famine mode.

Given the right design, price point and accessories I think anglers will embrace SUP, in time, as well.

Laird Hamilton was once quoted as saying SUP could be bigger than surfing – could it?

It’s certainly not as big as surfing at the moment and doesn’t have the history and cultural reference points. For sure, big stable boards offer everyone the opportunity to enjoy some flat water time. Whether flat water can ignite the same flame surfing can is debateable.

SUP surfing could become extremely popular simply because it’s easier to access than prone surfing. However, the jury’s still out…

Why do you think SUP hasn’t exploded as quickly as was previously expected?

When I first started my SUP school everyone thought I was mad. Boards were huge and transport, storage and the UK’s iffy weather kept SUP contained. Now that boards are smaller and actually go where you point them we’re seeing accelerated interest.

The recent spell of great weather in the UK has helped as well.

Do you think weather plays a big part in SUP kit sales?

It certainly helps with demo days and taster sessions but it’s not a given. People forget we’re in a recession so everyone’s skint – and even if they’re not they want a deal.

Do you think marketing SUP to a watersports audience is the right way to go?

I believe starting with a watersports audience makes sense as they’re already sold on getting wet. I think cost of equipment is still prohibitive so it’s good we’re seeing more clubs popping up. We’ve recently started our own academy providing quality coaching for kids and like-minded adults and are now looking at a more formal structure.

What do you see as the biggest innovations in SUP over the last few years?

Inflatables have their place for paddlers with storage issues, those looking to travel with kit and white water environments.

I think the reduction in size of surf SUPS has really driven the sport forward in terms of its credibility. Loco’s whole ethos is to make small stable production boards that rip.

At the other end of the spectrum I think multipurpose crafts are very interesting. Brands that can think creatively and make our paddling easier, without compromising on construction, get my vote. This is something we’re looking into at Loco.

Do Loco have any big plans in the pipeline that we should know about?

We’re looking at iSUPs and have a new line of blown up 6.4ft surf SUPs available from September. Due to demand we’ll also be offering windsurfable SUPs on pre-order in time for Xmas.

Loco is also looking to increase its range of merchandise and dipping a tentative toe into other sports. International distribution interest is steadily building so we’re hopeful that Loco will be in various markets for 2014.

“See all,‘ear all, say nowt. Eat al pay nowt. An’ if th’ivver does nowt, allus do it for thissen.” Yes, we are in Yorkshire, England known for suping ale but not Stand Up Paddling – until now! By Dave White

The SUP tour of Yorkshire: ocean, ocean

all, sup all, owt for

n, rivers and canals!

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I’ve never heard my local waters of the Essex, Suffolk border being described as paradise but even if they were I’m sure we’d still have the urge to extend the reach of our paddle. A seemingly endless winter combined with too many nights watching the discovery channel have left us bored stupid, so when a phone call happens to end with “you should join us, it’s going to be like being in paradise”, I just couldn’t resist.

While I tried to delve deeper into what laid ahead all I could glean was that we’d be heading for Scarborough, which was rather apt as this was Britain’s first seaside resort and weathermen were predicting the outbreak of summer. With two days before the off, I made a few more phone calls and scoured the internet to better prepare ourselves. The upshot of which would extend our day trip into what has to be the perfect recipe for a long weekend that would leave us feeling like we could paddle in the clouds. While you could easily paddle the wake of our adventure I doubt you’ll be awoken in quite the same way. Reece and I had driven up the night before to stay with our hosts for the day, Graham Turner (better known as Gump) and Ben Hall from Juice Boardsports, only to find Wouter Arden had beaten us to the spare room leaving us to bunk down in the kids’ play room. Just imagine my delight being awoken by my 6’3” giant of a son squawking, “he bit me, he bit me”. This was the kids’ room and we were not alone, the pet rabbit had escaped his cage and mistaken the toes that protruded from Reece’s duvet as breakfast. Still sniggering we slipped out into the dark where three more would join us, the changing numbers was something we’d soon become used to as each location as newbies replaced those that were left by the road side. Following Gump, I was counting down the miles to Scarborough in my mind when he turned off the main road some five miles early by my calculation and pulled into a grassy car park where everyone piled out of the vans “I thought we were going to Scarborough?” “No lad, there’s owt going on there, ‘ere’s where you want to be whitey”, Oh how I wish text could sound out his broad accent. Here was called Cayton Bay and that car park was not only on top of a cliff but the home to a local surf school that was established back in 1989 and apparently you could rent long before then, though I doubt it would have been anything like we were unfolding.

The Ocean

Cayton B



“I thought we were going to Scarborough?”

“No lad, there’s owt going on there, ‘ere’s where you want to be Whitey”

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Tucked pike

Air SUPs were

going to be th day so we could cut down on the vehicles while still not having to of boards piled on the roof, so rather than reaching for the roof ra hands to the pump.

Walking down the cliff path it was obvious where the peak was bu of us and not being locals we politely opted to pick up the scraps While thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s politically correct the pictures will testify we werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t m quite the opposite as we had the place to ourselves.

The boys could have picked a 100 different beaches in the area, som than others and the same could be said for friendliness, but opted f came out on top and offers three different breaks to ensure you get It turned out we were on a bit of a time schedule and long before we were back at the vans surrounded by the whooshing sound of released from the boards.

Cayton Bay

The magnificent wide sweeping bay is a magnet for summer holidaymakers but Cayton Bay is beautiful whatever time of the year you visit.

It is a favourite with surfers, bird watchers and fossil hunters or those who just want to relax and admire this area of unspoilt natural beauty. what-to-do-attractions/leisure-activities.aspx East_England/cayton_bay/

he order of the o rely on a tower ack it was all

ut with so many to the side. missing out,

Is that one for each foot â&#x20AC;&#x153;Come an ava go if ya fink ya hard enough.â&#x20AC;?

me more popular for Cayton Bay. It in. we were ready, air being

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The River

The Ouse, York

We had a lunch appointment in the walled city of York. While I’m sure the city would offer far more than we would have time for, I wanted to give this my utmost attention having caught sight of Gump’s notes laying in the front of his van, it simply read “paddle and a pint”. The drive into town couldn’t have been easier even if we’d had a police escort, though I couldn’t tell you if this is the norm - the streets were free flowing and the riverside car park was all but empty. The river Ouse runs through the city and a boat cruise is currently the tourist office - best choice to take in the sight, though I’m guessing they hadn’t seen a bunch of SUPs cruising through the town before.


York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural and sporting activities. http://en.wikipedi

Can the real SUPer please stand up.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;You gotta love a bridge Whitey.â&#x20AC;?

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The Cathedral York Minster Ok, they have their disadvantages when you want to take in the sights that lay beyond the riverbanks, we certainly turned some heads when we headed off to find York Minster. With it’s foundations rooted in England’s earliest history this magnificent cathedral can surely tell a tale or two, though I expect a few of the cheering onlookers will go home with a new one. I guess that’s the enjoyment of doing something new, right now we’re still in a time where everyone want’s to know what it is, or jokes about, “where’s the wave”, either way you get the feeling they want to join in.

“Ow ow ow ouch Whiteyyyy.”

and completed in 1472 The present building was begun in about 1230 Northern Europe's biggest Gothic cathedral

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Did he say left at the church?â&#x20AC;?

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“Ok wh

The Pub

The Lowther

That became more evident when we dropped in on the pub, so many questions to answer. They didn’t seem to be listening to our more pressing question, a pint. Actually that pint turned into a pub lunch and undid the goodness from the morning’s workout and it left those non-designated drivers thankful we only had a few hundred metres left to paddle back to the vans. Our next stop couldn’t have been more different, we were still a few miles away from our destination and we were already bumper-to-bumper in traffic. So much so our numbers started to dwindle, only five, but we’re still moving into the last 20-minutes of our journey, sadly it would have taken far less time to walk the 500-metres than it took to drive.

here you all gone?”

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The traffic was soon forgotten as we cruised the canals in silence through ever changing scenery. It was hard to believe we were only a few metres away from the hustle and bustle of the evening rush hour where time seems to drag on. For us it slipped by far too quickly and before we knew it the dwindling light drew our day to a close.

Read day two of Daveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SUP jaunt across England in the September issue of ThePaddler as he goes on to a personal quest: to SUP across a water viaduct!



Leeds and Liverpool Canal

“You go first. No way you go!”

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Leslie Kolovich

talks with Jeremy Riggs

M2O about the 2013 This year's 2013 Molokai to Oahu downwinder race on July 28th turned out to be one of the most gruelling races in its history with virtually no downwind.

Speciality: Downwind paddling Downwind paddling is surfing from point A to point B and paddle back.You should be aiming to catch open the hang of connecting to the swells you can get som

Jeremy Riggs Pro board rider, SUP racer and paddler lives in Maui, Hawaii.

Photo: Franck Berthuot

B without having to turn around ocean swells and once you get me very long exhilarating glides.

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ThePaddler 156 Follow Jeremy on Follow Leslie on

Molokai to Oahu

Leslie Kolovich podcast interview with Jeremy Riggs Hey there! This is Leslie Kolovich and joining me from Maui is Jeremy Riggs. Jeremy has competed in the M2O race five times with this year’s event being his first solo finish taking 27th overall. This is very good considering this iconic downwind race had little to no wind making it a total grind and causing many to drop out. Jeremy describes the conditions leading up to the race and about watching approaching tropical storm Flossie suck the trade winds right out of the course. Jeremy also describes the issues he experienced from having to paddle on one side so long. Extreme cramping in his arms, chest, and legs made it almost impossible to reach into his pockets for food, let alone reach his mouth to take on needed fuel. This year’s event fans were hoping to see a threepeat for Conner Baxter, but it wasn’t meant to be on this eerily quiet course last Sunday. Conner had just come off a win the week before at the Maui Paddle Championships and was looking good. But it was the Aussies that had the upper hand for this windless grudge match. Travis Grant wins on the men’s side and Terrene Black for the women.

M2O: July 28th 2013. 08.38

M2O: July 28th 2013. 11.11

M2O: July 28th 2013. 11.52

Jeremy Riggs

M2O: July 28th 2013. 13.29

Interview listen here ThePaddler 157

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By Leslie Kolovich


Photos: Silvey Huffaker Creative (


t was not surprising to me that Ben Friberg accomplished his mission to stand up paddle from Cuba to the US on his first attempt. I had interviewed and corresponded with Ben before he set off on this expedition, and I knew that Ben was well prepared, logging 55-mile days of paddling and biking the Tennessee River Gorge area near his hometown of Chattanooga. His support team included Bob Olin who captained the support boat for Australian Chloe McCardle when she attempted to swim the same crossing. Ben studied the preparations of other long-distance athletes, and had close conversations with weather forecasters, navigators, and oceanographers, discussing all possible conditions. The straits of Florida are known to bring challenges of strong eddies, adverse trade winds, the powerful Gulf stream, and unpredictable currents. In addition, this attempt would be during the Atlantic hurricane season.

Ben Ben would be paddling a stock Bark 14â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Dominator, which is a little wider and heavier than a carbon race board. He chose this board for the extra weight which he said would help him bust through the chop, and the width would help his legs last longer. This proved to be a good decision.

Ben Friberg, the first stand up paddler to accomplish Cuba to the U.S. ThePaddler 159

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When his team landed in Cuba, Ben was hoping to start the paddle immediately, but the weather conditions were unfavourable. Also the Cuban Commodore (ambassador) had planned an international press event for him, which Ben felt was important to participate in, even though it would delay his launch. Ben had told me of the letters he had to write in advance of this expedition, and hoops he had to jump through because of all of the sanctions and difficult diplomacy between the U.S. and Cuba. The U.S. needed to be assured that this mission was strictly an athletic endeavour. Apparently the Commodore saw this as an opportunity for good public relations.

Shielding himself

The weather wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t much better the day Ben launched, with white caps rolling, a stiff headwind and a nasty side chop, but Ben set out anyway, believing conditions would improve. It was rough going for the first 15 hours, but he was able to maintain a good stroke rhythm. However, when darkness fell, he had to tuck in next to the support boat to shield himself from the wind and the threefoot side chop. The night was pitch black. Ben describes feeling disoriented because his feet were moving with the chop, but he couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see it. Motion sickness set in and the nausea drove him to his knees. After nausea medication, he was able to eat a little applesauce and sugar that helped him recover. Ben describes another point in the night when he was struggling and team member Sam Silvey suggested he paddle only 10 minutes and then rest for two minutes, and after a few of these intervals, Ben was back on track. The moon came up around 2:00AM, the Gulf Stream started to help him, and the wind changed, giving him a little push. He was able to take a few glides off some waves and that gave him a boost of confidence and some fun, even though one of the waves bested him for

his one and only fall. He was entertained by the bioluminescence in the water surrounding his board. He also describes the unreal number of shooting stars, one of which left a trail of sparks across the sky long after it had disappeared.

‘The Wall’

After the sun came up the challenge was the tropical heat and humidity, with the possibility of mission ending eddies on the north side of the Gulf Stream at a place called ‘The Wall’. This was the final grind, the last 10 hours. Great news came from the navigator that there would be no major eddies ahead. The mission would succeed. It took 28 hours and 10 minutes to paddle from Cuba to Key West, Florida. A local paddled out to greet Ben and accompany him to shore. Ben said that it was a welcome sight to see all the people there to meet him. I have always felt that the sport of Stand Up Paddling naturally invokes peace. Ben felt the spirit and goodwill from the Cuban people who he said are just like you and me, and he knows there is potential for peace and love. I believe that athletes doing crossings like this help form a bridge where diplomacy has suffered. Well done, Ben!

Listen to Ben’s Interview with leslie here

ThePaddler 161

ThePaddler 162

INFORMATION TOPOGRAPHY: Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is an island country in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba comprises the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagoes, the main island of Cuba consists of rolling plains. It has a range of mountains at its southeast end, called the Sierra Maestra. The highest point in Sierra Maestra is the Pico Real del Turquino , which stands at around 2005 metres. The Cubans refer to their island as ‘El Cocodrilo’ viewed from above Cuba is said to resemble a crocodile. Cuba is 90miles away from the coast of Florida.


Google Map

HAVANA : Havana is the capital of Cuba. Settled in sixteenth century by Spanish explorers, Havana is an important port and major commercial centre. Havana has often been described as three cities in one because of its three major areas: Old Havana, Vedado, and the suburban districts. Havana has a total population of almost three million inhabitants.

LANGUAGE Because Cuba was a Spanish colony, the official language of Cuba is Spanish. Haitian Creole is the next most widely spoken language in Cuba.

RIVERS: Cuba has more than two hundred rivers, most of which are short and swift. Cuba's longest river is the Rio Cauto, with a length of 370 km, while the mightiest and largest is the Toa, with 72 tributaries. Other important rivers include the Rio Almendares and Rio Yurimi.

WEATHER: Cuba’s climate is moderately subtropical and predominantly warm. The island’s average temperature is 25.5ºC and average relative humidity is 78 per cent. It also sees an average of 330 days of sunshine a year. Cuba’s two clearly defined seasons are the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April).

VARADERO: Cuba's top beach destination sits on a 13-mile-long peninsula with powder soft sands lapped by waters of the Kawama Channel. Resort hotels teem along the shore that U.S. celebrities and gangsters, including Capone, discovered in the 1920s. Clubs and bars provide mojitos and merriment, after long days baking on the beach, golfing, diving or deep sea fishing. Rent a scooter or hop aboard an open-air tourist train or bus to see more of this stunning spot. Caves, keys and virgin forest add to the area's allure.

GETTING AROUND: Cuba has excellent taxi services as well as car, van and motorcycle rentals. Tour buses in Havana and Varadero cover the major sites of interest. Economy travel on buses among major centres around the country is also available through Viazul. For information and schedules, visit

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ThePaddler ezine issue 11 August 2013  

Canoe, kayak, SUP, sea kayaking magazine. The International digital magazine for recreational paddlers, canoeists, kayakers, stand up paddle...

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