Page 1

ThePaddler ezine com

Issue 14 - November 2013

Cold water safety by Moulton Avery


International digital magazine for recreational paddlers


Exploration of western China








Gerd Serrasolses ‘Las Nubes’, Chiapas, Mexico Photo: Francisco Lisci Editor

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

Advertising sales

Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081

Cover: Tomass Marnics, Siberia, Russia Photo: Matt Corke

Additional contributor credits: John Wrenn, Elam S. Stoltzfus, Rob Mazzetti, George Hendrix, Brittany Parker, Tomass Marnics, Dan Yates, Travis Winn, Tom Mclay, Mark Allen, Barney Young, Barry Shaw, Sean Morley, Leon Somme, Sarah Outen, Dave Wilson and Mike Arkley.

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 December 2013 with a deadline of submissions on November 25th. 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.

Issue 14

November 2013

004 Eight of the Best

The best film from around the planet

006 Testing, testing New kit reviewed

008 Competition

win an aquapac whanganui waterproof case

012 Interview Karen wrenn

022 World Paddle for the Planet Day Christian wagley and Leslie Kolovich

026 Whitewater SUP By Ian Smith

032 Jimmy Lewis Stun Gun review By Tez Plavenieks

036 SUP tools for boys and girls Choosing the right kit by Joe Thwaites

040 Thailand

Paddling around the isle of Phuket by Quintin Clover

056 Norway

open canoeing in southern Norway by Matt Thompson

073 Russia

Into the Siberian wilderness by Matt Corke

090 China

Exploration of western China by Sam Ellis

102 Kayak review

The Zet Director by Phil Carr

108 Kayak review

The wave Sport Mobius by Dale Mears

114 Kayak fishing

Lures by Ian ‘Dizzyfish’ Harris

122 Kayak fishing

Sea rigs and tackle for fishbaiting by Mark Crame

130 Interview

Justine Curgenven

140 Greenland paddles

Tradition meets technology by Scott Edwards

144 Hong Kong

a very different perspective by Douglas Kidd

152 Cold water safety

The golden rules by Moulton avery

156 Canada

Sea kayaking vancouver Island by will Brown

168 Competition

win a tremendous swag bag of watersport goodies

ThePaddler 3

New Highlight Reel

Nick Troutman International

Naish International Las vegas, USa

Peru Sea Kayaking

alvaro ali Peru

2013 year recap

Mathieu Dumoulin International

Ogna - Hellvik

roald Holm Scandinavia

Julie Lang UK

Canoeing in Bo, Telemark

Jan van Hees Norway

2013 N1SCO World Champs

Seth ashworth International

Julie Surfing Backwards

WWGP 2014 Video Entry

ThePaddler 4

Want to Work in the Outdoor Industry?

Looking for an INTENSIVE OUTDOOR INSTRUCTOR TRAINING PROGRAM? * * * * * * * * * * * * *

16 Week Intensive Course BMC SPA Single Pitch Award Training in Climbing MLTE ML Summer Mountain Leader Training OR MLTE WGL Walking Group Leader Training NARS/RLSS Beach Life Guard Award UKCC BCU 2 Star in Kayaking & Canoeing UKCC BCU FSRT Foundation Safety Rescue Techniques Certificate BCU 3 Star Sea Kayaking UKCC BCU Level 1 Assistant Coach First Aid Qualification SUP Instructor Award Gym Instructor Award Future Employment Opportunities

Tel: 01841 540 346

B oo fo k r 20 NO 14 W


Then look no further!



If you want y o tion. ur sta pr st

ThePaddle r ez ine te

ter of in

est pad to

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

ThePaddler 6

m .co

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

NrS Desperado wetshoe By Peter Tranter

Perfect time to test these toastie warm wetshoes from NRS as the temperatures plummet and the need to keep the extremeties warm becomes important for comfort.

The comfort is provided by the VaporLoft interior lining, which keeps the feet super warm, whilst making it easier to get in and out of the shoe. To make sure no gritty debris ruins the day – the HydroCuff seal does a first class job of keeping small stones, grit, sand and other nuisances out, which is a real benefit to any paddlers spending time walking on gravel, sand etc.

Reinforcements are provided by rubber bands along the side plus an extra layer of rubber for the toe area to prevent stubbing and added support for the heel too. The 3mm sole offers more than adequate flexibility and excellent grip and added protection for the sole when having long portage, put-in, take-out walks etc and the extra toe space ,akes them comfortable for long periods.


These will be a favourite of mine for a few years to come.They have many features, for a comparably inexpensive price and are very well put together. They can be worn for ww kayaking and rafting as well as stand up paddling, river surfing or anytime that you need a low volume, flexible, nimble, yet supportive river shoe. Material Upper: 3-mm Terraprene™ neoprene Sole: 3-mm rubber Insole: 3-mm neoprene Shim: 2-mm plastic shim Closure System: HydroCuff™ Taped Seams: No Features: VaporLoft™ lining Naturally shaped toe box Protective rubber on toe and heel Lateral support bands

Supplied for testing by rapid Kayaks


LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES FOR ADVENTURE Are you drawn to the excitement of whitewater, but want the freedom to paddle further? The Katana will take on rapids and glide over calm water. You’ll find the cockpit more spacious than traditional whitewater designs and there’s plenty of room in the stern for camping gear. Available in two sizes; 10.4 and 9.7 – and two specifications; adjustable Contour Ergo and robust Action outfitting. WWW.DAGGEREUROPE.COM


ThePaddler ezine com International digital magazine for recreational paddlers


Celebrate one year of ThePaddler

Aquapac together with ThePaddler would like to offer our readers the opportunity to win one of ten small Whanganui™ waterproof cases. Simply ‘subscribe’ to ThePaddler ezine at: to be entered into the draw. The first ten to be drawn will win one of the cases. The draw will be published in the December 2013 issue.

Terms and conditions apply: please visit for full details. The results will be announced on November 30th 2013.

Aquapac was established in the UK in 1983 when founders needed a waterproof case to house their personal stereos whilst windsurfing. Today Aquapac produces two ranges: Stormproof™ and Submersible, aimed at keeping personal belongings dry, dust and sand-free whatever the pursuit.

"I rely on Aquapac products for my adventures all over the world, to keep essential electronic equipment safe and dry. From satellite phones and tracking systems to cameras, Aquapac has a solution for everything." adventurer Justin Miles

All entries will be shared with our partner Aquapac please state on your email entry if you do not wish your details to be shared.


■ Pyranha Rebel River ■ Palm Colt Paddle ■ Yak Zinc Spraydeck RRP £480 Pack Price £420

■ Pyranha TG Master ■ Yak Kyu Fabric Deck ■ Palm Drift 1 Piece Paddle RRP £465.00 NOW £410.00

Dagger Mamba River Pack

LiquidLogic Remix Pack

■ Dagger Mamba River

■ LiquidLogic Remix

■ Werner Powerhouse

■ Werner Powerhouse

■ Dagger Impact Spraydeck RRP £1249 Pack Price £1089

■ Nookie Absolute Spraydeck

Pyranha Burn 2010 Deal

Pyranha Burn 2014

RRP £919 Just £649 (Call for live colour stock)

Demo Available

RRP £1094 Pack Price £949


MAIL ORDER/ADVICE LINE 01924 444888 Yorkshire’s Y orkshire’s Premier dealer. Premier canoe, kayak and sit-on top dealer. We offering fering sound advise and competitive e specialise in being a paddler run store store of W deals for individuals, clubs and centre, across centre, acr oss the whole of the UK. Please call for a custom quote. All major brands stocked. stocked. 152 LEEDS ROAD, HECKMONDWIKE, WEST YORKSHIRE, WF16 9BJ


@ Robin Hood Kayak

ThePaddler 9

Photographer: Photographer: Jen Jen Chrimes Chrimes Paddler: Paddler: Jakobus Jakobus Stenglein Stenglein


Pyranha Rebel Kid Pack

ThePaddler 10

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

ThePaddler ww kayak collection


d ture a e f s ition d e xp nlinr We o r W fo best ll be i y r w e v the ler ezine ollection 13 f o 15 ePadd W c r 1st 20 W h r T in dle vembe 79 d a P The rom No 9 - €2. f sale 9 - £2.4 $3.9

SUP Paddler

ThePaddler 11

ThePaddler 12

Somewhere around mile-40 along the Hudson river, NY. The train was a great distraction at this point, eeven getting a little whistle from the train.

The lonelines

KarEN Interview with

SUP endurance racer


100 Mile Paddle NYC Champion SUP 11-CityTour Champion

ss of the long distance ThePaddler 13


efore we start – just let our readers know a little about you, family, background etc.

I live in Portland, Oregon where I was born and raised. I’m raising my family where I grew up. I have three incredible children, an

amazing husband and my adoring parents right down the street. It has been special to have my kids go to the same school and even have a teacher of mine that is still there. I don’t always love the weather here in Oregon, but that’s what airplanes are for. I got involved in water sports right after college. I followed my dream of being a windsurfer and moved to Hood River, Oregon. After confirming my love for windsurfing and watersports I headed off to Maui to windsurf year round. I also lived in Puerto Rico and then Whistler, British Columbia, Canada where I also found my passion for the mountain and snowboarding. I moved back to Maui and was there when the first Wipika kites for kiteboarding showed up. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some kites in the beginning and was one of the first girls to ever kiteboard in the world. It is kind of unreal to think about being a pioneer of a new sport. I discovered stand up paddling on a kiteboarding trip to Maui in 2007. The wind wasn’t blowing and we saw a few stand up boards go by. We rented a board and my family couldn’t get me off of it the rest of the week. I didn’t know it at the time... but that day would help shape my families future and me. I have had the opportunity to help with the growth of another sport and it’s been quite a ride. I’ve met incredible friends and sponsors that have become like family. I have gone on crazy adventures and travels that I never dreamed of. Stand up paddling is definitely a big part of my family life and day-to-day lifestyle.

Firstly, what boards do you own?

Naish has sponsored me for about five years and I have a nice assortment of Naish boards. My husband accuses me of being a board hoarder. We can’t park our cars in our two-car garage anymore. But, every board has a story and special significance to me. My favourite board right now is the Naish Javelin LE 12’6. I never thought I would admit to liking a 12’6 board, but this one is fast, light and manoeuvrable.

What and where was your first competition?

My first competition was in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon at the 2008 Gorge Games. I was the only girl. I came in third place out of all the guys. KIALOA paddles at the race discovered me and that’s when it all began.

The start of the 100-mile paddle started with the most amazing sunrise.

ThePaddler 14

Karen wrenn

What got you hooked on long distance/endurance SUP racing?

I’ve always been a good endurance athlete with a competitive background in long distance running. For some strange reason I enjoy the pain and mental aspect that goes along with it. In my head I always know that I will make the distance and that’s a big piece of it. It definitely becomes a mental game. I like doing things that makes people’s head hurt at just the idea of it.

How does SUP give you satisfaction?

Everything about stand up paddling gives me satisfaction. I am a very competitive person and stand up paddling has given me the avenue to compete in something that I am passionate about. I love a good adventure and stand up paddling is a great tool for adventure. I am very independent and I spend a lot of hours alone on the water by myself, and I enjoy that. Even though I am independent, I am also very social and SUP is a great way to explore with family and friends.

ThePaddler 15

ThePaddler 16

Paddling long distances in your races – have you ever been scared or vulnerable?

Yes, for sure. I have paddled for hours upon hours in shark infested water and have never felt so vulnerable in my life. I have also been in a long distance race during a lightning storm. I had to hide alone on shore under the trees. I thought a tree might get struck and fall on me. I always have to worry about my hydration and nutrition on my long distance events. I know if I become dehydrated or cramped up, that’s the end of that adventure.

What is the biggest accomplishment in your career to date?

The Channel Islands crossings that I successfully completed are my biggest personal accomplishment. It was a solo, five-day, 150-mile paddle. I crossed seven open ocean channels to connect eight islands. Weather, sharks and daylight played a significant role in the adventure. I had to make sure my mind and body held up. I had a crew of people on a boat and my parents taking care of my kids at home. I didn’t want to disappoint myself or anyone else. It was the most satisfying and emotional phone call to my parents and kids telling them what I had achieved. You can watch the whole adventure on the 12-minute video here

What would be your ultimate achievement?

My ultimate achievement would be to continue doing what I love. Continuing with the adventure and a true passion for the sport.

Can you talk about your training? Greatest inspiration? Who/what kept you motivated?

I spend most of my time training on my local river by my house. I train alone because there isn’t anyone to train with. I like training alone though, it’s my time. People ask me why I am so comfortable in the ocean when I train on a river? I remind them that I lived in Maui for seven years. I use my past experiences to remind myself how comfortable I am in the ocean. My greatest inspiration is my kids. They think stand up paddling and seeing their mom in magazines is really cool.

What does it take to be a long distance/endurance racer?

Having a background in endurance definitely helps. But, I think endurance is mostly a natural thing. You either have it, or you have to work really hard at it. For me, it’s natural. So, the mental aspect is the biggest piece. You have to be able to mentally believe you can do it. You have to be able to keep telling yourself that when your body is aching and your mind is tired.

What’s been your most memorable race?

I couldn’t pick just one. The SUP 11-City Tour, a 220 km race through Holland is definitely at the top of my list. It was an amazing experience to paddle through the channels in Holland into cute little villages. We slept on a boat and got to know the people you were racing with from all over the world. I was proud to be the winner of the 11-city tour. The 100-mile paddle NYC is also high on my list. We started in a small quaint town on the Hudson River where greenery was all around and then to end up in Manhattan with towering buildings and the bustle of a big city was quite a contrast. I will never forget either of those races.

What advantages are there to being a Naish rider?

Being on the Naish team is like having a big family no matter where you are in the world. Being with a company that has distributors all over the world has advantages when traveling. When we are in Maui, where the International office is located, we are well taken care of and happy to see our Naish family. In Hood River, where I spend most of my summer, is another Naish office with some of my favourite people and definitely an advantage to have a warehouse of amazing boards where I live. Naish is always striving to make the best quality and fastest boards on the market.

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

As my kids get older they are getting busier and busier, which makes it harder for me to travel as much. So, I continue to narrow my races down to my favourite discipline, location and to new and fun destinations. I always want stand up paddling to always be a positive thing for my family and me.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

In 20 years I hope to be as active as I am now. Gerry Lopez is a huge inspiration to so many others and me. He is still out there charging and having fun and that is what I hope to be doing as well.

What do you get really angry about?

I don’t get angry with much. I think being angry is a waste of time. I always tell my kids, “You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be mad. I choose to be happy.”

Any regrets?

I don’t have many regrets. I am a believer that everything I have done, good or bad, positive or negative, has all led me to where I am today. I am in a great place in life and super happy.

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

I would recommend Maui. It is beautiful, easy and safe. There is a ton of SUP rentals and lessons. You can learn to SUP surf, downwind and flat water paddle all in the same place.

My husband John, my biggest fan, happy to have me back on land after the 100-mile race

Watch Karen’s 150-mile Channel Islands crossing @:

Lake Tahoe, California. The smile says it all... I love what I do.

ThePaddler 17

I can finally see Manhattan. So close but so far away

ThePaddler 18

OK Karen let’s finish with something

Pick two celebrities to be your parents Richard Branson and Gwyneth Paltrow.

What’s on your TiVo recorder?

Homeland, House Hunters International and Seinfeld.

Favourite iPod track? The National

If you won $20 million on the lottery, what would you do with it? Travel, shop and have a ton of fun!

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now? Tofu, hummus, carrots and eggs.

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

Salmon, Caprese salad and roasted vegetable quinoa salad.

Karen wrenn

g short and snappy…

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

Any broken bones?

A broken finger at BOP and two knee meniscus injuries, one in Maui and one in Hood River.

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

I would want to fly. Imagine the freedom of being able to fly anywhere you want.

Favourite team?

My favourite team is whatever team my kids are playing for at the time. I like to watch sports but I’m not a die hard team sports fan.

What three words would you use to describe you?

Thanks for your time Karen:) Loyal, athletic, and mellow.

ThePaddler 19

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,

Photo: Joan Vienot

h e c i i l y s B e ov L ol K

ThePaddler 22

World Paddle for the Planet Day 2013. By Christian Wagley


nybody who attended last month’s ‘World Paddle for the Planet Day 2013’ is probably still on a spiritual high from all the good paddling and good people that came together for a good cause. The event was a great lesson in how our love of paddling can bring us to celebrate and protect the natural world that inspires and sustains us.

with Mekko Locv Hajo, Ceremonial Chief, to lead the group in a silent reflective ceremonial first loop around the lake.

In an amazing feat of endurance and commitment, three paddlers paddled the entire 24 hours: Bob Purdy, Sunjammers Watersports team member Paul Zipes and Justin Riney of Mother Ocean. After the event Riney said, “World Paddle For The Gathering on Lake Powell in Panama City Beach, Planet 2013 was one of the most, if not THE most, Florida, organizers Bob Purdy, founder of Paddle “where we are Standing Up for the Planet and Leslie Kolovich, producer/host of memorable and emotion filled events of the year.” for the Planet!” The Stand Up Paddle Radio Show, brought The message of World Paddle of the Planet also reached across the world, as paddlers in Australia, everyone together along the shores of this rare South Korea, Canada, and many other places held and beautiful coastal dune lake that occasionally their own simultaneous events, sharing the mission empties into the emerald waters of the Gulf of to change the way we live on the planet. Mexico. It was a full weekend of paddling, education, music, film, art, and wonderful World Paddle for the Planet succeeded in a big conversation as we explored our connection to way in showcasing how paddlers can come the planet and raised awareness and money— together to advance the event’s mission to “…as proceeds went to the non-profit Mother Ocean. watermen and waterwomen, send the message to Mother Ocean was founded by fellow paddler ‘Be the change you want to see!’” I’m convinced Justin Riney of Expedition Florida 500. He has been that paddling is an amazing way to reach people paddling the coastlines and inland waterways who have tremendous energy to do good in the throughout the state of Florida on a year long world, helping us steer our course back toward journey to help people understand their one in harmony with the planet. The spiritual, connection to the water and lands and inspire intellectual and emotional power of the paddling passion to protect them. community is limitless – let’s keep that power going and harness it to protect the waterways we Leslie described the 24-hour paddle event, which paddle and the only planet we have! began with ‘a reflective silence’ as some 60 paddlers created a procession behind the elders Planning for World Paddle for the Planet 2014 is from the Muskogee people, the original caretakers underway. For more information on the 2014 of the region. The lake was dotted with colourful event, or to host a local event in your community, canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards all stay connected to the event website at: throughout the 24 hours… The word for the event seems to be “Powerful.” Muskogee elder Marcus Briggs-Cloud, who paddled his canoe along

ThePaddler 24

World Paddle for the Planet Day 2013 Photos by: Elam S. Stoltzfus

ThePaddler 25

ThePaddler 26


A reflection of gold and red hues radiate off the glassy surface of Slippery Rock Creek in western Pennsylvania.We drift slowly downstream amidst canyon walls ablaze with autumn foliage, feeling like subjects in a Monet. The stream meanders through massive boulders and we can hear the roar of the next rapid approaching. The awe of the landscape soon gives way to the exhilaration of running rapids on a standup paddleboard. Rob and I widen our stances and lower into a surf-style crouch, readying for a narrow slot where the river disappears between the rocks, barely wide enough for our boards to squeeze through. We embrace the increasing speed and power of the current beneath our feet. From our vantage, the river falls away beyond a horizon line where the drop, similar to a small waterfall, begins. The anticipation gnaws at our nerves as we pass the point of no return, committed to downstream.


A new ap to wh



pproach hitewater Ian Smith on the Savage River in Maryland. Photo: Matt Embrey

ThePaddler 27

ThePaddler 28


e launch over the chute with an aggressive paddle stroke, maintaining our balance as a blanket of focus envelopes us. For the moment, our world is brighter. Barely submerged rocks and frothy pillows of recirculating whitewater approach with incredible clarity. Our bodies react unconsciously to manoeuvre around hazards and through a labyrinth of boulders and conflicting currents. This is no place for hesitation. It is a game of chess; always needing to be several moves ahead to stay on our feet and in harmony with the river’s flow. We make it through smoothly and peel into an eddy, a place to catch our breath and gaze back up at the cascade through which we just paddled. The mix of scenery and adventure is intoxicating, and the reason whitewater SUP is the most captivating sport most have never heard of.

The criteria is simple; riding standup paddleboards, also known as SUPs, through rapids, surfing them on standing waves, launching over waterfalls, or any other form of conceivable fun a board can offer on creeks, rivers and even tiny streams. Still in its infancy, a variety of styles and forms of the pursuit have taken root in

Standing waves offer inland paddlers a place to experience the thrill of catching and

riding waves

similar to those in the ocean

Brittany Parker surfing the Glenwood Wave – Colorado. Photo: George Hendrix

isolated groups around the world. We are not alone in our passion, though the secluded gorges and canyons that have become our second homes often suggest otherwise.The solitude of rarely run creeks and rivers are another alluring prospect of surfing here. While some whitewater destinations can be incredibly crowded with hoards of kayaks and commercial raft trips, far more are left for intrepid explorers to enjoy for themselves.

Whitewater SUP, down-river and surfing can be broken down into two basic groups,

rapids, drops, surf waves,

A down-river trip will consist of

or even waterfalls as you make your way downstream

Rob Mazzetti negotiates the crux section of the Savage River. Photo: Matt Embrey of Embrey Exposures. For more of his Matt’s photography, please visit:

Down-river paddleboarding

consists of putting on a river at a certain point called a put-in, and traveling downstream to another spot, the take-out. A down-river trip will consist of rapids, drops, surf waves, or even waterfalls as you make your way downstream, negotiating the river’s challenges. Elements of adventure and problem solving are omnipresent in down-river SUP trips, even on familiar runs.The whitewater environment is a dynamic and constantly changing venue, always offering a unique experience.Varying water levels, for example, can alter the difficulty, turning a gentle stream into a raging torrent. It is not uncommon to scout, or analyze a rapid’s character from the bank. In most cases you are able to portage or walk around a rapid or waterfall that looks too difficult or dangerous and continue downstream.The power of flowing water can be incredibly deceiving so it is important to start on easy rapids and progress slowly as you acquire swift water skills and experience.


A second genre of whitewater SUP is Under the right circumstances, the flow of water constricting and flowing over rocks causes the formation of standing waves. On these features, the water recirculates and propels you forward as the rest of the river flows beneath you. Standing waves offer inland paddlers a place to experience the thrill of catching and riding waves similar to those in the ocean. While a typical ocean wave might only last a few seconds, standing waves give you the chance to surf for extended periods of time. I have heard stories of surfers spending over an hour on a river wave. In the same way down-river SUP is affected by water levels, the character of a standing wave can change dramatically with varying amounts of flow. Waves can be so small that they are barely visible, or become colossal masses of water that build and crash in violent surges. The larger the wave, the faster you will be moving across its face making it more difficult to stay in control. Higher speeds and larger wave faces, however, do offer the chance for more dynamic turns and surfing. Regardless of the wave’s size, you must be very careful to understand what lies beneath the wave and downstream before attempting to surf. The dangers of whitewater environments are often subtle or even invisible so approach new spots with caution.

ThePaddler 29

ThePaddler 30


Although it may seem like a highly specialized and inaccessible sport, the opportunities for whitewater paddleboarding are far greater than most people realize. A little research and some exploring can often lead to vast playgrounds of rivers, creeks, and streams that are perfect for SUP. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are often established practices in these locations and a network of information is already in place from which you can draw from. Guidebooks and online references can be incredibly useful in finding the best destinations in your area, and will also provide the optimum flow levels, grade of difficulty, and helpful information about hazards, access, and even driving directions. American Whitewater ( offers an incredibly robust database of whitewater locations for the United States or for the UK, Europe and beyond.

Even in places where the terrain is relatively flat, there are often sections of creeks or rivers that offer swift water fun. In some areas, “play parks,” are engineered to offer a surf wave for paddlers to enjoy and hone their skills where, before, there was just a calm stream passing by.They are built by modifying a natural waterway so that rapids or surf waves form in a designated location. Play parks are generally very safe and provide a perfect venue for beginners and young paddlers. Even advanced surfers can utilize park waves to work on new tricks and skills, as they are often some of the best and easiest to access.

Even if you can’t find suitable conditions near you, travel and exploration is part of what makes whitewater SUP so enjoyable. Finding a new wave or down-river stretch is one of the greatest rewards of the sport. Don’t be afraid to strap your boards to the roof and set off into the unknown.There is a good chance no one has paddleboarded where you’re headed before and there are waves just waiting to be found.

Brittany Parker shredding turns on the Glenwood Wave – Colorado

Watch the video

Rob Mazzetti negotiates the crux section of the Savage River. Photo: Matt Embrey

In the next edition of ThePaddler ezine, Ian describes the gear used in whitewater SUP and what you will need to get started.

Credible sport

The influx of new locations and passionate participants has rapidly transitioned the pursuit from a novelty stunt to a credible sport and viable means of paddling whitewater. Technical rapids, steep drops, and waterfalls are now being landed, or, ‘stomped’, with regularity. An arsenal of tricks are being invented and mastered on standing waves such as the Ollie, 360-spin, and Pop-shove-it. The barriers of what is possible are being shattered with frequency as the progression of the sport moves faster than it ever will again. In its early, malleable years, everyone has the unique opportunity to take part in its formation. Whether you set off on your board down an unknown section of river, or feel the pulse of a standing wave deep in the heart of a canyon, you are carving the path of whitewater paddleboarding.

Author: Ian Smith

Rob Mazzetti eddy hopping down Slippery Rock Creek, Pennsylvania. Photo: Ian Smith ThePaddler 31

ThePaddler 32



he house of Jimmy Lewis is world renowned for producing kick ass top quality equipment and with the Stun Gun range this trend looks set to continue. Mr Lewis has been creating ocean riding vehicles since 1978, spanning a number of disciplines, and his SUP range has hordes of fans. Surfboards, kiteboards, tow surfboards, foilboards and stand ups all sit side by side in a line that caters for all types of watermen and women – no matter how they choose to tackle Mother Nature.

Jimmy Lewis Stun Gun 8.7ft

Tez Plavenieks got his grubby mitts on the

to put through its paces as the first swells of autumn roll onto UK beaches – read on to see how it fared.


First look

Straight out of the box the JL Stun Gun 8.7ft wears its distinctive minimalist livery – a familiar trait with all JL boards. No lairy graphics or ‘punk as f@@k’ screaming attitude; instead colour schemes are simple with an emphasis on finish and quality workmanship.

Lying on the beach the Jimmy Lewis stick has a very gunny outline; pointed nose, narrow tail and thick voluminous mid-section.There’s a fairly pronounced rocker running along the board’s profile, suggesting a manoeuvrable personality. A Futures Fins thruster set up completes the package.

The SG is comfortable to carry and the compact nature even allows it to fit neatly inside most cars, avoiding the necessity of strapping to the roof. All in all the Stun Gun looks like a quality piece of kit ready and willing for wave sliding and I couldn’t wait to get it wet.


Unfortunately, living in the UK we’re very much at the mercy of the inclement weather – presenting challenges when searching for quality conditions.The start of autumn has seen some prolonged bouts of significant swell – both on the south coast and more exposed south western locations.This has also been accompanied with particularly hard blows that have made finding optimum offshore swells tricky. During the testing period, chest high peelers were the biggest size the SG was thrown at with breaks in the weather short and sweet.This was actually great for testing the ‘splash and dash’ nature of the Stun Gun.

ThePaddler 33

ThePaddler 34

Heading out

The Jimmy Lewis Stun Gun 8.7ft measures up as 110 litres X 29.5” wide. On paper this should make for a moderately ‘sinky’ and unstable platform – something that paddlers stepping down from bigger boards will find challenging but have performance to grow into.

SUPs these days are tricky to judge performance wise by simply reading the marketing blurb and the Stun Gun was no different. From those very first paddle strokes it was obvious the SG is a super stable and composed bit of kit – a little bit at odds with the quoted statistics. Intermediates and heavyweights should rejoice as, based on float alone, the Stun Gun would make a great change down stick for paddlers looking at smaller SUPs.

Climbing the froth

Another noticeable trait is how well the Jimmy Lewis climbs over oncoming white water. The pronounced nose and ample rocker ensures getting over approaching humps is made slightly easier.

Standing in the centre of the board, adopting a surf stance, and giving a few powerful strokes should see most SUPers getting out back in a quick and efficient manner. One word of warning though; if you should step back too far then the narrow tail sinks quickly and could see you dunked in the drink.

Drop, lock and load

Once in the zone it’s easy to manoeuvre into positions should you need to sweep wide or long to avoid clean up sets or place yourself better for those bigger bombs. The Stun Gun is a long SUP for its quoted volume and width and this helps with tracking as you paddle around the break. Taking off is also a breeze as the glide helps with dropping in early and as long as you stay in the sweet spot, until you’ve reached terminal velocity, paddlers will have no troubles picking up waves from way out back.


Initially I was sceptical as to how hard I’d be able to turn the Stun Gun. Boards this long and stable are often inhibited when it comes to carving. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I laid the board on its rail during that first bottom turn. Like a knife through butter it cuts progressively through the water, projecting the rider back up to the lip in preparation for


Four sizes starting at 8.2ft for the 150lb and under surfer and continuing with the 8.7ft, 9.2ft and 9.7ft.

Five fin box setup 8.2ft and 8.7ft have five future boxes but is supplied with a 4.5" thruster set of fins. The 9.2ft and 9.7ft will have four future boxes plus a centre US finbox. The supplied fins with the 9.2ft and 9.7ft will be a 5.5" centre fin and 5" future side fins.

the next move. Banking off the bottom the thruster fins held well and at no point did I feel like I would lose the tail.

Carving off the top and bashing a lip was extremely rewarding with full G redirects a possibility with weight and technique behind the turn. Light or featherweights may struggle slightly to get the most out of lip smacking as there’s still a decent amount of board underfoot.

Sliding the tail out didn’t come particularly easy, although it could still be done. However, if you’re a skate style rider then the Stun Gun in small to medium waves probably isn’t the board for you – you’d do better with the 8.2ft.

Summing up

The Jimmy Lewis Stun Gun 8.7ft really surprised me. Out of the box I expected it to perform similarly to other boards of this size, volume and width. It actually turned out to be a lot easier and therefore would be perfect for an intermediate SUP surfer taking his/her first steps in the world of short surf SUPs. Although compact the Stun Gun feels bigger than its stats would lead you to believe – heavyweights would do well by choosing this size.

For advanced riders, the Stun Gun would make a perfect stick if riding at a choppy or windy break when a bit more stability is needed. It’s also perfectly suited to heading offshore and searching out those big wave bombs. With a healthy amount of length to get you to your destination and drop in early the Stun Gun would be a magic big wave SUP.

ThePaddler 36

SUP tools forb

Advertorial by Joe Thwaites of LocoSUP Ultimately a surf SUP should be manoeuvrable and the riders not risk giving themselves a hernia just by laying a rail.

rboys and girls

It may sound obvious when we say that getting the correct size of stand up board is key to paddling success; but you’d be surprised how many paddlers are riding SUPs that just aren’t suitable. You can, of course, end up with too small a stick, but far more sweepers end up on much too big a board – especially in wave environments. ThePaddler 37

ThePaddler 46

By and large,

brutish men are the current dominants within the sport but more and more women and grommets are hearing the siren of SUP calling. In these cases it’s vital that riders are on the right gear once the basics have been mastered.

Most brands out there produce surf SUPs that are applicable to riders of all weights, sizes and abilities. However, due to the general demographic of paddlers marketing blurb can sometimes confuse when it comes to whom these pieces of equipment are for. Loco SUP are bucking that trend by providing optimum wave riding vehicles aimed squarely at getting groms involved and the fairer sex hooked on SUP for life. This can only be achieved by optimising design characteristics of boards to suit this market.


Weight plays a big part in SUPs that are suitable for kids and lady paddlers. It’s no good producing something supposedly petite that then weighs a ton. These bits of kit have to be easy to transport, carry to launch spots and provide carving ability in wave environments. Width, length and volume also come into play with shapes needing to be configured for performance. Sticking an 85kg+ paddler on a 115-litre board will see carves and turns no problem. Swap this for a 60kg featherweight and although there’ll be amazing stability on offer initially, having dropped into a wave, this size of stick will just refuse to turn. Frustration is then usually par for the course when it should be stoke and enjoyment.

Loco’s range of SUPs feature three different sizes that should get ladies and groms frothing. The 8.9ft ers on the larger side and would be a good choice for those heavyweight rippers or those looking at intermediate style after stepping down from a beginner board. The 7.10ft and 7.4ft are more suited to higher levels of riding and give great carving performance. All three Loco sticks are loose and manoeuvrable and deliver fun rides across a variety of different conditions. The 7.4ft (Loco grom rider Finn Gamblin’s preferred board) was the smallest stick in the 2013 Loco line and therefore would suit more skilled paddlers – particularly those who’re looking for a SUP to punt airs on and throw skate style tricks. Those looking for maximum competition surf SUP performance should be aiming for the new 2014 competition spec 8.9ft x If you’re a competition 30”, 8.6ft x 28”, 7.9ft x paddle surfer, lady or 27.5” and 7.2ft x 26’’. grom paddler looking for your next surf SUP WindSUP then the new range of As we all know SUP is a Loco sticks could be diverse beast and lends just what you’re looking itself to a variety of for. To get your rip stick different environments. For in time for March prethose who fancy a bit of orders are needed by windSUP action there’s the 26/11/13. Head over to choice of including a mast or give track for attaching a boss man Joe a call on windsurfing rig – turning 07779 127230 for more your wave riding vehicle information and advice. into a true all round ocean going toy.


ThePaddler 40



Left: Sunrise near Friendship Beach. right: Break time at the renaissance Hotel - The ‘r’ on the boards stands for renaissance as they were big sponsors of the event and provided all the food for us to cook.

Stand Up Projects is an adventure paddle board company offering tours in some of the world’s most beautiful locations, all the while directing profits towards worthy projects that they then manage and see through until completion.

In March 2012 they made the inaugural paddleboard trip around the entire island of Phuket: 150km, three nights camping and four days hard paddle. It was all for charity.

This is their story:

The crew: Quintin Clover,Tim Campbell, Nathan Chilcott, Andrew Eadie,Tal Dehry, Arend Moelich and Luke Remmers.

ThePaddler 41

ThePaddler 42

BBQ and a few beers…

We came up with the idea of paddling around Phuket at a friend’s BBQ over a few beers – seven of us decided it was possible but would need a lot of preparation. Phuket can at times have very strong currents and the general conditions fluctuate massively with the wind. We needed a seasoned pro to help and advise us. This came in the form of the infamous Captain Jim Garrard from Stand Up Paddle Thai in Phuket. Jimbo provided us with a support boat, tidal knowledge and much needed assistance whilst looking for camping spots each evening. Much of our trip was going to be paddling point to point to avoid going into large bays, this meant at times we were going to be 7k out to sea, this is where

We began planning at Christmas and by March we were set to go. So at 05.00 on the Tuesday the 13th we met at Kamala beach to load supplies onto the boat – tents, food, hydration packs and medical kits. By 05:45 we were on the moon lit mercury coloured water of the Andaman Sea, just before the sunrise. At this time of the morning the phosphorescent plankton glows as we glide through the water creating a ‘Tron like’ effect on our boards and

arrend paddling supplies the boat

Day 1

the support boat was extra critical, Jimbo was always on hand should anyone need to be rushed to land (fortunately this never occurred).

paddles. The trip had begun and spirits were high – we set off from kamala beach and we headed north towards Surin with the sun gradually beginning to rise over the awakening tropical island to our right.

The trip and the welcome home party raised over 1.5 million THB to build a new school for underprivileged and abused Burmese immigrant children that have been trafficked into Phuket.

The good cause

The children in their old school

Finding suitable land for the build

Clearing work begins

Morning one – big ship!

ThePaddler 43

As well as Jimbo, ThePaddler 44

on the boat we had Anna and Grace who were constantly preparing electrolytes and throwing us snacks at pre-defined rest stops along the way. We were very lucky with the weather on morning one and by about 13.00 we had made it the Nai Yang reef – this is where we stopped for lunch and a brave few of us snubbed rest time in order to catch some waves on the rocky reef.

Sunset night two

Arrend soaking it up

After a brief stop with one of sponsors, the Renaissance Hotel, we paddled on for three more very tough hours, the wind had changed and the waves picked up – conversation was off the cards and everyone knuckled down to paddling on only one side to reach our campsite at the North of the island.

It was definitely worth the extra push as we had achieved a further distance than planned in order to reach the most northern tip of Phuket. It was stunning. We unloaded the boat and set up camp. As the sun was setting Nathan fired up the campfire and began cooking our muchneeded feast. After a few beers and some campsite laughs we were all ready for bed by 21.00.

Foundations going in

Draining the land

The ground is cleared‌

The kids visit the site

ThePaddler 45

ThePaddler 46

Day 2

We woke with the sun rising and the light ocean breeze coming through out mosquito nets. There is nothing quite like camping on the sand, emerging to watch the sun rise over the water whist coffee is brewing on the open fire.

Sarasin Bridge

Phuket sunset

After we finished a hi-protein breakfast and packed up camp leaving no trace of our visit, Jimbo arrived with the boat and we loaded up for the second day of our trip. If we timed this right it should have been our easiest day, as we should get flushed with the rising tide through the channel under the Sarasin Bridge heading east.

This route took us along some beautiful old Thai fishing villages. Many smiles and waves from the fisherman, as well as a few very puzzled looks from the kids greeted us. Things were going great as we passed under the significant milestone of the Sarasin Bridge that connects Phuket to the mainland.

After this the wind began to turn against us and we had a battle of endurance on our hands, whilst the scenery was amazing, there wasn’t much time to stop and take a look, any let up in paddle speed meant we would be losing ground. By 11.00 the sun was really beating down. Eventually small islands began to appear on the horizon; these marked the junction where you can turn south to towards Phuket’s east side or north toward the Phang – nga national park. After a long hard relentless paddle we reached the islands, which were our indicator to turn south, in the hope that the currents would be in our favour. We were now on the north east corner of Phuket effectively going around the bend, literally and figuratively, which kept going and going and going, beautiful bays and coves that we hadn’t seen on the map seemed to roll into one another.

andrew Eadie aKa ‘Easy’ cruising through the shipping lanes

The kids making wishes on what they want to be when they grow up. Everyone put one THB in the first wet foundation

wood frame created in preparation for concrete

And the new school starts to take shape‌

Ground floor nearly there

Starting to look like a school

ThePaddler 47

ThePaddler 48

We decided to head into a gorgeous bay were the water was like a blue lagoon – here we ate lunch on the sand and took naps gently floating on our boards. Getting started again was going to be a tough call – but we still had a long way to go. Next target was Ao-Po Marina – this was another huge slog – things were going slow so Jimbo headed off to locate a camping spot for the night. However as soon as we made it around the corner of the marina and headed dead south, we couldn’t have stopped if we wanted to. We were flying down with the current – this was what it is was all about, the sun on our faces surrounded by lush tropical islands, crystal clear water, perfect currents and great mates! None of us wanted us to stop and as the sun was beginning to set, we had nearly reached Cape Yamu – way further than where Jimbo had expected to find us – after a tense half hour he showed up and in open water we loaded our boards and headed back north to our second camp site of the trip that we had already passed. We camped on an island that according to the grounds man is owned by an ageing film star – there is a pearl farm on the island that legend has it was built only for Elizabeth Taylor and the pearls were worn by her in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – very few people have ever set foot on this island let alone camp on it. A huge storm was rolling in so we strapped everything down and watched the impending clouds approach.

Day 3

The storm passed in the night and we were greeted by yet another perfect morning – light sea breezes blowing south and hazy sunrise. Packing the camp up was a little slower this morning as there were some fuzzy heads and aching bodies. Jimbo turned up and gave us a kick up the butt as we were in danger of missing the breeze in our favour. We loaded up the boat and Jimbo used his GPS to drop us at exactly where we had finished up the day before. As soon as we hit the water we knew this would be our toughest day. The currents were strong and as soon as we past Cape Yamu the winds and swell picked up dramatically. The next three hours were lonely ones – each of personally battling the elements, falling off with increasing regularity, every few minutes at some points. These were long point-to-point crossings and just like paddling over moving alpine moguls. It was too rough to land Calmer waters

the boat so lunch and breaks were taken behind cliffs wherever Jimbo could get some cover – the days pit stops were very short as we couldn’t stay in one place too long as the conditions would not allow it.

In the 18 months since then we have gone onto raise a total of almost 10 million THB and the kids move into their new school in mid-November 2013. Structure almost complete

The boys set up camp on night two

roof on!

Plastering – a big job here in Thailand

Paint time!

ThePaddler 49

ThePaddler 50

a very nearly finished school

We managed to get to Koh Tapao Noi (a very small island used by immigration) regroup and take a much-needed walk on dry land. Once we set of from here we headed to Cape Panwa – the conditions improved a lot as we arrived at the Sri Panwa Hotel beach, where the staff very kindly arrived with drinks and snacks. It was getting late in the day and we needed to get to Friendship beach in Chalong before sunset. We left the beach and paddled towards Chalong Bay, once we were in the bay the water was like glass and glowing orange with the lowering sun – this was paradise and much deserved – the bay looked awesome and the water was crystal clear. Jimbo was driving along with us with Anna and Grace and also Kat who had been ensuring all the supplies had been getting to Jimbo’s meeting spots on land. Our campsite was at Kitesurf Phuket, where Dave and Bui, the owners, provided us with BBQ, beers and showers. We didn’t take full advantage, as by around 8pm we were all ready to pass out.

Day 4

Tal and Grace – always there for each other. also recently married, congratulations guys!

We agreed to get up before sunrise and get packed for an early start, as conditions would be ideal early on. There was one small problem – we had agreed to meet Jimbo later

in the morning as we would be hugging the coastline for the first few hours and were safe without him. The boat was moored with us in the bay and we were to load it up and Jimbo would jump in later and catch us up. Unfortunately we had left it at the high water buoy and the tide was going out fast. Chalong Bay has a very large reef that is exposed at low tide. The boat was about a foot above the reef at this point and Jimbo had the keys. The way we dealt with this must have been one of the funniest moments of the trip, seven guys straddling the sides of a seven-metre boat, paddling it out with just our SUP paddles to the low water buoy in semi darkness. A very funny, but tiring start to the day. Nap time!

This was actually supposed to be our penultimate day of paddling. Once we were out of the bay we headed to Promthep Cape, which was our biggest worry of the trip as it gets all the weather and is very exposed. We were in luck and the conditions were perfect, a slight swell around the point but nothing like the day before. Once around the cape we flew north, just eating up the bays. Once we got to Kata it became apparent that we might be able to make it back to Kamala in day. We made the decision to push through. It was a seriously long day – but as soon as we started to see the familiar sights of Patong and our local beaches we knew we were home free. When we turned the corner into Kamala bay Jimbo came and gave us all beers from the boat as we paddled the last 40 minutes into the beach. It was such an awesome feeling – not only were we the first people to ever circumnavigate Phuket with a paddle it was also all for a great cause.

For info on the school or if you would like to paddle around Phuket please contact

Tours are run from December through April.

Thanks to: Skyla's Surf and SUP club and also Stand Up Paddle Thai Tim loving every second!

The final few metres – with Dave from Kitesurf Phuket along for the ride

ThePaddler 51

ThePaddler 52

INFORMATION LoCaTIoN: Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in southeast Asia. Thailand shares a border with four countries: Myanmar (formerly Burma) to the north and west, Laos to the north and east, Cambodia to the southeast, and Malaysia to the south.


rELIGIoN: Thailand is a deeply spiritual country, with 95% of the population belonging to the Theravada branch of Buddhism. Visitors will see gold-spired Buddhist stupas scattered all across the country. Thailand is nearly equal the size of Spain.

Google map

CUrrENCY: The basic unit of Thai currency is the baht. There are 100 satang in one baht; coins include 25-satang and 50-satang pieces and baht in 1B, 2B, 5B and 10B coins. Banks or private moneychangers offer the best foreign-exchange rates. When buying baht, US dollars are the most accepted currency, followed by British pounds and Euros. Most banks charge a commission and duty for each travellers cheque cashed.

CoSTS: Thailand is an inexpensive country to visit thanks to advantageous foreign currency exchanges and an affordable standard of living. Those on a budget should be able to get by on about 600B to 700B per day outside Bangkok and the major beach islands. This amount covers basic food, guesthouse accommodation and local transport. Travellers with more money to spend will find that for around 1500B or more per day life can be quite comfortable.

wEaTHEr: The Thailand climate is controlled by tropical monsoons and the weather is generally hot and humid across most of the country throughout most of the year. While Thailand’s seasons are generally divided into the hot, cool and rainy season, in reality it’s relatively hot most of the year. The weather in central, northern, and northeastern Thailand (the landlocked provinces) is determined by three seasons, whereas the southern, coastal regions of Thailand feature only two, making the weather in Thailand quite easy to understand. In Thailand’s inland provinces the seasons are clearly defined: between November and May the weather is mostly dry and the cool season and hot season occur from November to February and March to May respectively. The other inland season, the rainy season, lasts from May to November and is dominated by the southwest monsoon, during which time rainfall in most of Thailand is at its heaviest.

vISaS: The Thai government allows tourist-visa exemptions for 41 different nationalities, including those from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and most of Europe, to enter the country without a prearranged visa. Check:

wHaT’S IN a NaME: The longest place name in the world is the full name of Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. It means ‘City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest.’ Photo:


Kayaks and PPaddles addles Kayaks We offer expert, friendly advice and support We offer Kayak Kayak and equipment hire If we don’t have the product you are looking for, for we will happily order it for you Check us out on Facebook Facebook Join us for our annual Sea Symposium


We offer the UK’s widest range of BCU coaching, performance & safety qualifications. All delivered by the UK’s most experienced and most qualified instructional team. bespoke dates, tailored courses, off-site training, group bookings and non residential prices all available upon request

OC Paddler

ThePaddler 55

ThePaddler 56

Departure – what lay’s ahead?




Last July I spent a few days in southern Norway paddling and hiking with a great bunch of folk from Suffolk. The Telemark region famous for its ice-climbing during the winter months and for its historical association through the classic film ‘The Heroes of Telemark’ provided some stunning backdrops for our adventures.

g n s f .


ithin three hours travel of Oslo, which is easily accessible from the UK by cheap flights this region makes an ideal location to spend a short or longer period depending on your needs. We based ourselves at Dalen for the first night before heading into the hills to hike in the woods and up to the 1,000m contour, camping by small lakes and hiking untracked routes.

Heavily wooded with pine and birch, this area provided a cool climate from the high temperatures that Europe was experiencing at the time. Isolated cabins and old farms, timber houses with grass roofs, the clanging of bells on the sheep, lots of wild flowers and Cloud berries everywhere the hiking is easily accessible and not too strenuous.

ThePaddler 57

ThePaddler 58


se interior Traditional hou ’ delivery ‘Fireside seating


en ts Skien to Dal Canal connec k ar m le ng Te lo e l Th ng severa orway by linki in southern N . It originally ed ien watersh lakes in the Sk Norsjø–Skien o canals. The consisted of tw d Løveid, was cks in Skien an Canal, with lo d Skien with 861 and linke built in 1854–1 ak–Nordsjø e longer Band Norsjø Lake. Th ened in 1892. Canal was op orsjø Lake e canal from N It extended th vatn id Sod Roofed n and Kvitese In . ke through Flåvat La ak nd et) lakes to Ba (Kviteseidvatn he eighth l was seen as "t na ca is th , pe Euro ished. The e time it was fin wonder" at th nly built for m Canal was ai jø ds or –N ak Band gers, log ods and passen transport of go g. Log floating in event flood pr to d an g in float ern section ticed. An east ac pr er ng lo is no Notodden Norsjø Lake to om fr ss ce ac s give lsvatnet. via Lake Hedda 18 locks, is anal consists of in altitude The Telemark C total difference a s ha d an ng 105km lo ase lock is e biggest stairc of 72 metres. Th and a lifting five chambers s ha ch hi w s, rik Ibsen Vrangfos e riverboats Hen Th s. re et m 23 height of s from Skien to vel with tourist and Victoria tra s travelled the seid. Victoria ha Dalen via Kvite 82, and the Canal since 18 Norsjø–Skien opening. Canal since its Bandak–Norsjø and sits at the all community Dalen is a sm (L. Bandak), it ke/canal system head of the la which have a supermarkets has two small foodstuffs you supply of the more limited t enough to re in the UK, bu would find he – prices were d varied meals create good an if you were than in the UK, slightly higher ouldn’t add an driving it w was flying rather th is respect, if I trip cost in th les ap st t greatly to your ou to take ld be tempted driving I wou . (and alcohol)


miner’s house

trainin Pre-trip Paddle

ThePaddler 59


ThePaddler 60

Dalen has a great campsite with options for camping, bunkrooms or family rooms; a small shop; possibility to store belongings; it is also right by the river with easy access to the water and down to the lake.

Our canoe trip would take us 70km along the lake system from Dalen to Lunde, with a couple of portages around the locks (Sluse) that make up the canal sections of this area. Below Lunde are more locks bringing the route from sea-level to a mean height of 72m a.b.s.l, the most famous of these being the flight at Vrangfoss. Along this route and the extended system to Norbotten and Skiane run the old ferries – these lovely boats would provide a great way of shuttling as they will carry canoes also. The lakes themselves are not too long at about 20km on average – with their sides dropping straight from the 300m – 600m contour into the water, great sweeps of rock and slopes densely wooded with pine and birch. Our days were quite leisurely, with around six hours of paddling involved. There are numerous opportunities to stop in sheltered bays with occasional opportunities to actually get out of the canoes and stretch your legs on small beaches.

intermediate wild camp options

For groups over four persons there are very few intermediate wild camp options, but with some ingenuity you could rig a hammock or small tent almost anywhere! We had no trouble in finding a space that could accommodate a group of 14 around the ends of the lakes. The sites we found had lots of driftwood for fires and we resorted to cooking over the fire rather than using individual stoves. Our last wild-camp on Flåvatn provided us with a great beach site and a fantastic swimming location. We were fortunate with the weather, very warm; and also the wind – there was none to speak of, the lakes though do develop an afternoon breeze as the valley warms up in the sun and can generate some strong winds, which would leave you in an awkward/exposed position. Strong ‘solo’ paddling skills or better still, paddling ‘tandem’ would be a necessity. The water in the lakes is about as clean as you could hope for, no shortage of excellent potable water. The group I was with did chlorinate their water, but I just drank straight from the lake without any problems.

We were fortunate with the and also the wind – the

Waiting for dinner

e weather, very warm; ere was none to speak of

ThePaddler 61

ThePaddler 62

Norway Fjord Scapes

ThePaddler 63

ThePaddler 64

we were lucky

to see a few sightings of wildlife along our journey – two beaver sightings and an adder, a few herons. Close to the campsite at Lunde the hosts told us of a family of beavers in a small backwater that were observable in the early evenings. Fishing for lake trout is possible with permits available from local tourist offices.

As you travel east, there are more and more cabins and occasional small communities dotted along the route, but they blend in with surroundings to the point of being almost unnoticeable; you will see occasional motor boats and the ferry of course, but again these don’t really detract from the wilderness feel of the trip. Once you reach the canal sections you have the choice of portaging or using the locks, trollies are available for free, the egress and access points are very easy to find and use and the portages are short being less than 100 metres; there is a small charge of 50 NKr for using the locks.

'Flag' stepping stones at Dalen

Looking back

Fishing for lake trout is possible with perm available from local touris

mits st offices.

Cave exploration


Eating the miles

ThePaddler 65

ThePaddler 66

Half-way camp

Wilderness Canoe Feature by Matt Thompson of

Wilderness trips, workshop days in flatwater, river and traditional skills. Wilderness Canoe provides programmes of outstanding quality, with a variety of expeditions and skills based programmes from a half-day to multi-day in length, primarily in NW England, the Lake District and Scotland.

Our aim is to provide safe, educational, ecological, unpressured experiences for all levels of participation.

ThePaddler 67

ThePaddler 68

INFORMATION CAMPING. Dalen: Buøy Camping 3880 Dalen,Telemark Norge, (+47) 350 775 87. Email:, Lunde: Telemark Kanalcamping AS, Skoevegen 54, 3825 Lunde, Norway, +47 35 94 90 68. Email:,


OUTFITTING. Lunde: Telemark Kanalcamping AS, Skoevegen 54, 3825 Lunde, Norway, +47 35 94 90 68. Email:, A range of either Mad River canoes or Grummans, knowlegable and very helpful hosts who also run the camping site.

TRANSFERS, AIRPORT AND SHUTTLES: These can all be arranged directly with Telemark Kanalcamping. There is also a train station and buses from Lunde directly to/from Oslo Torp airport.

TRIPS AND EXPEDITIONS: If you would like to explore this area or paddle the canal route Wilderness Canoe are running two trips in 2014. These are based on a fully outfitted basis including meals and transfers from the airport but excluding flights. Cost is £575.00pp. For more details contact: or via our Facebook page: For further images see:

PADDLING: The Guardian newspaper put Norway on its list over top ten sea kayaking destinations. “No collection of sea kayak venues would be complete without including the Norwegian fjords and islands. The ultimate experience is the Lofoten Islands.This is a mountainous archipelago with deep blue shimmering seas where kayaking trips can be combined with climbing and mountaineering. Wilderness is just around the corner yet civilisation is reassuringly close at hand. The fjords and island groups close to Bergen are more accessible for the first timer”.

The rest of Norway also offers great opportunities for canoeing and kayaking. Paddling on Lake Femunden in the wilderness of Hedmark is especially popular. You can also go sea kayaking on the Oslofjord or on one of the many lakes in the forests that surround Oslo.

WEATHER: Norway enjoys a mostly temperate climate thanks to the Gulf Stream, but precipitation and temperatures depend largely on the time of the year and area of the country. The coastal regions, particularly the southwest, have the mildest temperatures and most rainfall yearround while the interior mountains and far northern (sub-Arctic) regions have more extreme temperatures and more snowfall in the winter.

Keep in mind that weather conditions can change quickly in any part of Norway. No matter the season, you should bring water-resistant outerwear (preferably insulated for winter) and extra thermal layers, especially if you’re doing any water activities.

CURRENCY: The Norwegian Krone is Norway’s currency. One Norwegian Krone (NOK 1) equals 100 øre.

LANGUAGE: Norwegian is the official language of Norway, and there are two official forms of the written language, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Almost all Norwegians speak English (over 90% of the population by some estimates). Even so, it is always helpful to be able to understand a few basic Norwegian words.

22/23 March 2014 The Scottish Highlands The Challenge... 21.5 kms of canal 60.5 kms of Scottish Lochs 10 kms of Grade 1 & 2 river descent 1HVVLHÂŤ Are you ready?

Head to for more information and enter today!

FOLDING Canoes & Kayaks

Quest Folding Kayak

The Quests combine great looks with comfort and efficient cruising performance. Quests are ideal travel kayaks. Very light, yet ruggedly-built with space-age polyurethane materials which contain no toxic chemicals – the planet will thank you!

Puffin Saranac

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.


Maverick the whitewater paddle from Palm

Three year limited warranty on all Maverick paddles: G5, G3 and G1 models

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. Search online for Palm Equipment

Enfield, New Hampshire, USA (603)632-9500 •

Kayak Paddler

ThePaddler 71

ThePaddler 72

ThePaddler 73

iWB t h E il E dE r rn i Esa s n

By M att Co rke

T a s he S ho ay r a f m or t di n M fo oun padd stan oun th r th tain lin ce tain is e ou g, fro s tri ad s w m in p; ve w ith L S th n ild o ak ibe e K tu er nl e ri ito rou nes y a Bai a lie y a s p s, few kal n e a it eff nd B ddl offe gro and ar t or ilu er. rs up Irk he t r ti. W su s ut bo eq Bo e p a y sk rd uir th we erb ea . A er ed sp re m r v litt w ge ect to ult ent le k ith tti ac pa i-d ur no M ng ul d ay in w on th ar a dle op g in n r go er n tw p to e lia e. d w o or t gio , or riv tun his n th er itie yo so s ft n he

In to

ThePaddler 74

The headwaters of the Kitoy River

can be found in the Kitoyskiye Goltsy mountain range. The drive from Irkutsk takes seven hours and takes you past the south western tip of Lake Baikal, before heading west along the border with Mongolia and finally north into the mountains and the start point of what was to be a spectacular 10-day self-supported trip.

I found out about the trip via a friend in January. Tomass Marnics from the Adidas Sickline Team was advertising it on his website and we quickly signed up. I hadn't done a multiday before, let alone such a long one in such a remote location. Many questions come to mind when planning for such a trip. Can I get away with a superlight sleeping bag or will I need something warmer? How many sets of thermals will suffice? How will we pack 10 days worth of food into our boats? What happens if we become ill or injured and are unable to paddle out? And probably the biggest question on our minds was just how hard the walk in to the Biluti was going to be. All of these thoughts added to the sense of adventure and ensured that we were all excited (and perhaps a little nervous) for what was to come. Arriving at Tomass’s lockup in Irkutsk at 7.30am we began the arduous task of loading our kayaks with all the kit we would need for trip. Forgetting an essential bit of kit at this point would be a disaster. Thankfully, despite our jet-lagged states this eventuality was forgone. The truck that Tomass had organised to transport our boats arrived, alongside the mini-van to take our international group of paddlers that had signed up for the trip to the put-in.

Adidas SicklineTeam Tomass Marnics from the

was advertising it on his website and we quickly signed up

ThePaddler 75

ThePaddler 76

The put in was spectacular Turning off the main track, onto a smaller one we reached the river. The track ended abruptly and continued on the other side of the river, presumably used come mid-October when the river begins to freeze over for the long and bitterly cold Siberian winter. Whilst we marvelled in the beauty of this exceptionally remote put-in our minds were soon brought back to the fact that we were about to paddle into the middle of nowhere. No roads, no shops, no other people, no communications and no real shelter for the next ten days. Kitted up and boats loaded we peeled out of the first eddy, and embarked on this adventure.

That first day we paddled for just one hour until reaching the tree line and our first camp for the night. Initially the food was good with fresh and bulky items to use up. Our first meal was chicken with fresh salad. The following night we were treated to marinated steak by Seva (the Russian on the trip) who proclaimed “I don’t like expedition food. This is better!” However, as the trip progressed the quality of the food lessened somewhat. Buckwheat was a regular, as was horsemeat from a tin with pasta

a. Distinctions between breakfast and dinner meals became irrelevant – it was just what we had. This was a bit of a concern prior to departing having heard stories from those on previous trips exclaiming their dramatic weight loss! Thankfully, a plentiful secret stash of energy bars and some good fishing spots helped to supplement our calorie intake and provide a little variety.

The paddling over the first few days was relatively easy but in a beautiful setting. The Sayan Mountains, whilst not being the highest, are certainly dramatic. On the third and fourth day though things began to pick up with some powerful grade 4/4+. During the fourth full day on the water we entered Motkin Cheeks, the second canyon of the river, which contains the largest and most powerful white water. With a medium/high level following a little rainfall the rapids in here were quite intense. Portaging would often have been a more arduous affair than running them and so on the whole we had to just get on with it. Following Tomass instilled confidence, as with such a smooth paddling style everything was made to look effortless. Granted we didn’t always follow with such grace and a few sketchy moments were had by some members of the team.

ThePaddler 77

ThePaddler 78

er Biluti Cany A perfect six-metre drop into the Low of creativity to The 'trail' required a significant dose ts, follow, all whilst moss covered tree roo

par tially decayed

fallen trees, and over hanging branches tried their best to ruin our day

The beginnings of a day of pain

e Tom, Tomass and Fredy running the sam



Flag illustration by Garyck Arntzen

night was par ticularly grim The worst day of rain – camping this

e creative solutions at times Moving our boats around required som

ThePaddler 79

ThePaddler 80

Russian Federation Siberia

ThePaddler 81

ThePaddler 82

‘Rapid 47’

is the largest and most committing rapid on this section. To get to a point at which you can view the rapid at river level you pass the point of no return. Instead we took out before the rapid, emptied our boats of kit and walked this for 30 minutes to a small clearing high above the river. From here we scouted the rapid, with everyone deciding that the river and commitment level was a little too high. Whilst scouting though we saw another boat float down the rapid some 100m below us. Three of us were rather fearful it was our own boat having the same distinctive yellow and orange colour scheme. Nervously we returned to our boats upon which we came across a group of Russian kayakers also paddling. It turns out they had had two swimmers above the rapid and lost the boats! A huge sigh of relief for us, but rather unfortunate for them! Luckily though we managed to retrieve one of the boats, whilst they later recovered the other. We would later learn that those losing their boats at this point in the trip would have to endure a lonely four-day walk through the thick pine forest blanketing the mountain sides in this remote location to get to the nearest road.

The biggest unknown

The biggest challenge, and the biggest unknown for us, was the walk in to the Biluti River. This is a tributary of the Kitoy and has some incredible pool drop rapids to delight in. However to get there requires a six-mile walk over two days with loaded boats. This may not sound too bad, however the 'trail' required a significant dose of creativity to follow, all whilst moss covered tree roots, partially decayed fallen trees, and over hanging branches tried their best to ruin our day. The walk was hard. We suffered, a lot. However, looking back on it you forget the pain and remember the incredible white water that we were lucky enough to paddle. The first day on the Biluti starts in earnest with a fun four-metre drop into a low gorge. More drops follow with some sticky holes to avoid in places. Halfway down the run is a rarely paddled gorge with some horrific looking drops hidden within. Naturally, we walked this but the route back to the river was far from obvious. In the end we lowered our boats into a side creek, climbed down to a slippery rock ledge, cautiously sat back

in them, before sliding then falling six-metres back to the river! We ended that first day at the 12-metre waterfall that some members of the group were keen to run the following day. Tired and satisfied to be back on the water, safe in the knowledge that there was no more hiking to be done we retired to our campsite perched high above the gorge that was to be paddled the following day.

First american

Tony was the first to paddle the fall the following day, and in doing say also became the first American to have paddled it. Matt, Tomass and Fredy also paddled whilst the rest of us waited below with cameras aimed in anticipation. The next few drops were sublime; nice clean lines over steep but not overly serious drops. This culminated in a must run six-metre drop, and a tricky double drop that only Tomass and Iain ran. The remaining paddling on the Biluti was continuous class 3-4 in a spectacular deep canyon. We soon reached the confluence with the Kitoy and paddled down to some huts where we were to stay for one night. Never before has a roof over my head and a bed been so welcome! The ‘sauna hut’ was also very welcome having not really been washed for eight days. A 'saunariver-wash-sauna' dash was repeated a few times. It’s true that you never really appreciate the little things until you go without them for a while. Feeling clean is certainly one of those things!

It’s true that you never really appreciate the l Feeling clean is certainly

little things until you go without them for a while. one of those things! ThePaddler 83

ThePaddler 84

watch the video

Watch ‘Tameless’ - Rivers of Siberia

Having started above the tree line at 1,840m near the source of the river, we had descended 1,300m over our 330km journey that weaved through the wilderness of the Sayan Mountains, a

majestic and truly unspoilt place

See more of over www.cor

With most of the significant white water now complete, the end of the trip and getting back to civilisation was beginning to play on many of our minds. In the way was a 90km paddle out that would take nine hours. We completed this over two days, the first of which was a 70km slog. Tomass’s instructions for the day were to, “keep paddling for about seven hours and then you will see the campsite on the right.” Each setting off when we were ready and paddling at our own pace, I found myself on my own for the duration. With no watch to keep of time, it was a case of just maintaining a rhythm and letting your mind wander is in order to pass the time and forget the numbness creeping into my legs. We set off shortly after sunrise on the final morning in order to get to the take out at the village of Razdolye by 10am. Looking back upstream, the mountains in which we had spent the previous days had vanished. The landscape, now flat and expansive brought a sense of completion to the trip. Having started above the tree line at 1,840m near the source of the river, we had descended 1,300m over our 330km journey that weaved through the wilderness of the Sayan Mountains, a majestic and truly unspoilt place. Feeling tired yet exhilarated it had been a privilege to be here with an amazing group of people from around the world. Celebratory beers and snacks were purchased from the village shop before heading back to Irkutsk to begin our journeys home.

Matt’s photos rleaf and at:

ThePaddler 85

ThePaddler 86

siBErian WildErnEss Into thE

ThePaddler 87

ThePaddler 88

From Russia with blisters

By Sarah Outen. Photos by and Justine Curgenven

‘It’s nearly one in the morning and I’m sat in my tent listening to sand being blasted against the walls. I am absolutely zonked. Having cycled thousands of miles across Eurasia I am fit but my body isn’t used to paddling. My shoulders feel like cement, my hands are blistered and my back squeals regularly. The transition from Hercules to Nelson has been gruelling for both mind and body, and I am only three days in… To read further visit:

Trucks, tanks and kayaking By Majoy Cascade

Bummer! Shrinkavision strikes again. But once you’re in, there is no escape from the Majoy cascade - double bummer! Sitting in an eddy above any difficult rapid is always a nervous experience, but after watching three of your friends casually getting tossed about (upright and upside-down) like decapitated heads at a chicken factory above what can most simply be described as ‘300m of mess’, it’s worse. Ooooh yes, much worse! Triple bummer! Dave Burne is a little concerned!

To read further visit:

Photos:DanYates Photos:TravisWinn Words:Tom Mclay Photos:Sam Ellis

Flag illustration by Garyck Arntzen ThePaddler 90


The gem cannot b

CHINA The continued adventure of river exploration in western

be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

Chinese proverb

ThePaddler 91

ThePaddler 92

Do not ever go kayaking in China in the year of the Dragon


t will meddle with you in more ways than you can imagine. Choose a less deadly animal, perhaps the year of the Pig? Pigs are not known for their widespread destruction of humanity and possess a slightly more rational demeanour and in this part of the world are constant entities. Not ones to rear their heads occasionally instilling fear into all.

As superstitious beings, you may think a friend and I would have accounted for the Chinese zodiac calendar in the planning of a kayaking trip to the second largest drainage in China but we failed to fully consider the ramifications. Something we were made acutely aware of from the moment we arrived in rainy Qinghai province.

The plan

Sourcing in the Bayan Har Mountains on the eastern flanks of Yushu Tibetan autonomous region, the Yellow River, or Huang Ho, carves a path 3,395 miles long through nine different provinces before emptying into the Bohai Sea 200 miles south of Beijing. Our targeted section of river begins 150 miles from the source and we planned to

complete close to 100 river miles. The estimated gradient over the section was quite high, considerably higher than some of the big rivers in Sichuan province paddled previously by some of the team members. We rationalized this by predicting more continuous white water, rather than pool drop style big rapids. Satellite imagery confirmed that this would be the case and there would be very few flat sections, albeit the dam reservoir near to the take out.

We would not be the first group to attempt to navigate this puzzle of canyons and rapids. During the Chinese river exploration era of the late 1980s, a team of rafters had attempted to complete a source to sea descent of the Yellow. Inspired by events from the Yangtze expeditions in 1986, a team of seven began in the summer of 1987 only to meet ill fate, resulting in the entire team perishing in the section we planned on paddling!

ThePaddler 93

ThePaddler 94

Affording both a roadside put in and take out, it seems bizarre that no other group of kayakers has attempted to paddle this section in the 25 years since its first attempt. A very sobering thought, but with lower water levels, modern equipment and a few more river miles under our belts we felt confident at the prospect of tackling the Yellow.

on the road

Climbing high onto the Tibetan plateau, the altitude squeezed my lungs, demanding more and more exertion from me, whilst two 6’ 2” men squeezed me from either side like bullies in a playground. Crammed into this minivan alongside me were Travis Winn (USA), Dan Yates (GB), Sam Ellis (GB) and one incredibly brave driver. Arriving at our intended put in, we were greeted by a bank full river going like a freight train into the unknown. Kidding ourselves that this couldn’t be our river, we were after the Yellow River not the Brown River we were forced to rapidly re-assess our situation. The Dragon was upon us. Unusually high rainfall for the month of May had brought the river level up significantly. Many local people were as unhappy about this as we were as May/June is prime caterpillar fungus collection season. Harnessed to the roots of certain hillside shrubs one can find caterpillar fungus that looks much like a shrivelled chilly. This is extremely valuable in China for its powers of virility and many people pay not only for the fungus but to harvest certain land for it. Travis wilfully translated as people exclaimed how the high rainfall had spoiled the crop and ruined many peoples normally lucrative trade. Sharing their disappointment I couldn’t help but think in a nation of 1.3 billion, virility doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem.

Decision time

Climbing high on a small road we were able to view a small section of the river that hadn’t been channelized through our put in town. Comforted by the sight of big eddies, beaches and rocks lining the bank we knew for certain that the river hadn’t hit flood stage yet.

Estimating the flow to be about 800 cubic metres per second, we made a group decision to put on the river and after packing boats for six days we started with some easy water. High-resolution satellite imagery had shown us exactly where we would find out biggest concentration of rapids and in fact the biggest rapids, dubbed by the team ‘Terror 1’ and ‘Terror 2’. This 21st century tool is certainly useful, however it does have the tendency to draw out the anxiety the paddler

beaches a

Comforted by the sight of

lining the bank the river h

and rocks big eddies,

nk we knew for certain that hadn’t hit flood stage yet.

feels over a number of months and perhaps presents a different version of exploratory kayaking than the true white water pioneers of past generations.

Happy to be on the river

Dropping into big wide canyons, we paddled numerous rapids, most not too technical but big, powerful features to negotiate. Everyone was happy to be on the river after countless days of

travelling by plane, train and truck. Gingerly trying to peer round each corner to find out what surprise the river had next we were beginning to gauge the rivers character and encountered the ‘Terror 1’ rapid. We knew we were close when the pace of the water dropped significantly and we entered a natural reservoir; the huge landslide that caused this rapid was backing the water up for over a mile.

ThePaddler 95

ThePaddler 96

Primrose not ‘Terror 1’ After we picked this rapid apart and successfully navigated it, Dan no longer felt the need for it to be called ‘Terror 1’ as it only induced mild terror, so insisted the maps were hastily re-annotated to read ‘Primrose falls’. Between here and the next Terror we had non-stop white-water action with everyone getting used to the style of big water paddling with loaded kayaks. Entering another reservoir everybody individually noted the idyllic camp spot river left with a beach, wooded area and clean water supply. A paradise not for us, we wanted to box off the second Terror before the day was out. The Dragon had been here; half a hillside had been ripped from its roots and dumped into the river creating a monstrous rapid, so powerful we were convinced that any attempt would rip you from your kayak with a deadly swim through sharp landslide rock thereafter. An arduous portage ensued, ascending a scree slope, then a game of negotiating loose boulders balancing on each other like a scene from my favourite Japanese show; Takeshi’s castle. Getting back to river level after four hard hours we were faced with a very challenging rapid, not one to be considering at the end of a big day when running on empty. We opted to camp. Sheltering from the rain, normal multiday routine ensued, flask of tea for everyone, followed by rice surprise for dinner (curry powder and yak jerky were the surprise tonight… and every night!) Sam’s upbeat stories and enthusiasm faded our body’s aches from continuous exercise at altitude and after re-fuelling we all skulked off to find a rock to hug for the night. Some were more successful than others with both Sam and Dan experiencing some ‘technical difficulties’ with their inflatable mattresses. Thankfully I was camped far enough away to be oblivious to Dan’s midnight curses. It took a while to get moving the following morning; namely because of the big rapid downstream, dubbed ‘Happy Hour’. This was by far the most complex of rapids we had come across, with big moves to make, holes to dodge and precise points in the river that needed to be reached in order to ride this beast out in one piece. Carefully scouting from the bank we scrambled back to our kayaks, seal launching in we went all together, heads down and sprinting everyone came through with beaming grins. The punishment of sleeping on cold uncomfortable rock was instantly forgotten and we cranked out a few river miles with delight at every rapid.

The Dragon had been here half a hillside had b dumped i

e; been ripped from its roots and into the river creating a monstrous rapid ThePaddler 97

Vulture nest camp

ThePaddler 98

Sooner than expected we came across a significant rapid and in the rush to inspect it, I almost neglected the fact that I was standing on a pristine sandy beach, with a trickling, tumbling waterfall landing in a grassy meadow behind me. Luckily, this had not evaded Dan and he was currently lying on his back making sand angels on the beach. Since our first day covered so many miles, we opted to have an easy day and rest. After all, we were on holiday.

Like the lost boys we each explored this new habitat with great interest. Drying out kit from the previous night’s deluge, we keenly watched vultures circling overhead, nipping in and out of their cliff top residence. The sun became strong in the sky and after drinking more tea, Sam found amongst the driftwood, an old barrel lid, the perfect Frisbee! This was a keeper and we were kept entertained by this all afternoon and only had to stop to apply more suntan lotion and drink yet more water from our private waterfall.

The next day we started with the camp rapid, coined Frisbee, which set the tone for the day as we paddled mile after mile of continuous read and run white-water all the way to the confluence with the Qiemu Qu; a significant tributary of the Yellow and our next planned river. Taking out at the confluence we hiked upstream to try and gauge the character of the river and inspect what we could. Whilst Sam attempted to tame both

‘Wild Horse’ and ‘Yak’ we felt happy that the gradient was similar to what we had estimated from our calculations, however, we were once again faced with a drainage that appeared to have unseasonable amounts of water in it. Was this a result of all the rain in the last 72 hours? Had it spiked and was dropping off? It certainly looked like it was but we had a couple of days to decide whether we would attempt this river so we pushed on into ‘Whirly Corridor’ where each of us disappeared into the murky unknown a number of times, much to everyone else’s amusement and heckling.

ThePaddler 99

ThePaddler 100

The landscape began to change from big canyons to wide open valleys and the river widened, with rapids easing also. For the next day and a half we churned out the miles, portaging a known dam and finally finishing at 18.00 on the final day. From high on the plateau we now felt like we had paddled into a desert with an arid, dry landscape surrounding us. In awe of our surroundings and elated to have completed the first descent of this section of the Yellow sleep came easy to all, relieved that the year of the Dragon had bared only his teeth, putting challenges in our way but letting us pass unharmed. Let’s hope that the Qiemu Qu grants us such luck.

Dan Yates was paddling the red Dagger Nomad Travis winn the green Jackson Zen Tom Mclay the Liquid Logic Remix Sam Ellis the green Pyranha Everest

Part two Next month

Photos were taken by Dan Yates,Travis Winn and Sam Ellis.

Tel: 01753 655455


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


ThePaddler 101

ThePaddler 102


Directing the action Over the last year or so I have been making my way through all of the new creek boats on the market.This has included paddling the LL Stomper, Pyranha Nano, Wave Sport Recon 83 and 93, Dagger Mamba, Zet Raptor, and now the Zet Director. Paddler: Mark Allen. Photo: Barney Young


ThePaddler 103

Paddler: Mark Allen. Photo: Barney Young

ThePaddler 104

The Director is Zet’s newest

and biggest boat and they suggest that this boat is perfect for multi-day expeditions, extreme races and for all of those bigger paddlers out there, although the specification lists quite a huge paddler weight range of between 80-120kg. I sit right in the middle of this suggested range. Often billed as the big version of the Raptor with an additional 60 litres of volume over its little brother. Although the Director shares many similar features it is not simply a scaled up version of the Raptor. The Director is supplied with Zet's no nonsense no frills outfitting system. Relative to offerings from other manufacturers the outfitting appears quite basic. However it is both easy to set up and comfortable. The hip pads are fixed in place using hook/loop and can be shimmed out for a customized fit. The large supportive backrest is the same as found in the Raptor and is adjusted via two ratchet straps located at the front of the cockpit. The backrest is easily one of the best I have used. It’s a great shape and has a good balance of support and give. The seat itself is pretty comfy although it doesn’t look like it would be. Rather than being plastic the seat is made from closed cell foam that has a textured surface that helps your backside stay put. The fact it is foam also has the advantage of not conducting the cold from the water and is therefore nice and warm. Once set up the outfitting is comfortable and allows you to get a good feel for how the boat is performing/acting. I would have to say that the thigh braces are not the most comfortable for me, but with a little old school outfitting and the addition of an additional layer of foam I was able to get the set up absolutely perfect. Given that this took very little effort I still believe that the outfitting system is very effective. For safety the Director has a total of five safety bars. The bars on the Raptor have been redesigned for the Director giving them a much more rounded and ergonomic feel. They feel sturdy and enough room has been provided behind them to allow for easy clipping in of a carabiner. Zet have worked hard to reduce the number of holes that are drilled into the boats hull. Only the full plate footrest system relies on bolts that are punched through the hull. This goes a long way to reducing the chances of water finding its way in when you are out on the water.

The Zet Director is an extension of the Zet creek boat range but rather than simply create a Raptor XL it has been designed as a completely new boat. Having said that it does share many of the same features as the Raptor.

The Zet Raptor has carved out a niche amongst good paddlers who want a boat that performs well and lasts well. The Director is a boat with similar performance characteristics for: born-big paddlers, paddlers who love pies too much and paddlers who want the perfect expedition boat.

Specification: Length: 268cm (8ft 9.5ins) Width: 68cm (26.5 ins) Volume: 360litres (80 UK gallons) Cockpit Size: 91x51cm Paddler weight: 80-120Kg (12.5st - 18.5st) Weight of boat: 20kg (44lbs)

Strong points: five Standard colours: blue, red, green and yellow Special colours: Sky blue, orange and lime

ThePaddler 105

What Zet say‌

ThePaddler 106

Just in front of the seat is a bungee

system providing a nice little storage area and another bungee storage system can be found on the plastic described as a ‘unique’ foam holder in the blurb. This is part of the plastic that would normally be cut away when the cockpit is prepped, but Zet have used this to create a system that holds the front foam pillar in place without having to introduce any additional parts (and therefore weight). It also serves as a step out pillar if you were to find yourself pinned within the boat. It’s a pretty good idea that works but it does look rather agricultural. It would be very easy to dismiss the outfitting on the Zet kayaks as being quite primitive and I know paddlers who have discounted the Raptor due to the look of the outfitting.

The Director has a displacement hull and sits in the water as if it is hunkering down ready for a fight. As a result the Director feels planted and super stable. The presence of a good rocker at the bow and sharp edges on the side of the hull help combine a good level of speed, excellent primary/secondary stability and amazing turning ability into a package that is simply a joy to paddle. Breaking through stoppers and boofing drops is super easy; lean the Director over and it will also nicely carve in and out of eddies. The good amount of rocker helps you ride over the top of waves / holes with ease with the well shaped deck quickly shedding the water away. The stern of the boat is quite square and blunt at its very end. This aids the Director to be pushed through stoppers etc. when the water is able to push against this vertical wall. Similar design elements can be seen in some of the most modern play boats and I have found that they work really well and it certainly seems to work on the Director.

For such a large boat the Director still feels pretty light. Zet have used what they call ‘Zelezny Technology’ to push additional to high risk/impact areas and less plastic away from those less critical areas. I have repaired a Zet that had suffered a fair old beating from running solo down a series of highgrade rapids and it has faired pretty well considering the hammering it received.

for larger paddlers

The Director will certainly be a great choice

out there and those paddlers that wish to carry a couple of days worth of kit with them

Certainly at the middle of the suggested weight range I feel comfortable in the Director and the boat appears to sit just right. In reality even with loads of kit paddlers at the bottom end of the suggested weight range will probably feel a little bit swamped by the overall size of the Director and although not the same the Raptor may be a better choice. Having paddled all of the major brand creek boats on the market would I own a Zet Director? Well the answer is yes. I really like the overall feel and poise of the boat and having spent some time with the outfitting, I think that Zet are really onto a good thing. The only question is what colour would I have.

Your paddles, courses, jobs and travels Sea kayak Roatan, Honduras this winter! Luxury personal paddling holidays from our private seaside retreat. BCU coach led, quality gear, snorkeling , SCUBA and SUP too! (888) 539-2930 US/Canada 1-250-539-2930 International Email:


Explore Milos Island, Greece 6 Day-trips with 8 nights B&B for â‚Ź560 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

ThePaddler 108

Short Fast Forgiving but very

By Dale Mears


ThePaddler 109

ThePaddler 110

The Mobius is Wave Sport’s new freestyle machine. Currently available in two sizes the 49 and 57 however a 65 is coming early next year. Each of these new kayaks is one gallon larger than its predecessor the Project X series. The Mobius has built on Wave Sport’s reputation for building quality freestyle kayaks and it really doesn’t disappoint.

The Mobius has been designed to be loose and fast on a wave due to a continuous rocker and designed with stern release edges making its acceleration down any wave a breeze. If you have paddled the Project X on a wave, expect more speed and just as much control edge to edge.

The Mobius is quite a bit shorter than the Project X series, two inches to be exact yet it is still extremely well balanced and easy to control in a hole. The major difference between the Mobius and its predecessors is that this freestyle kayak is far more forgiving making it not only the perfect

boat for serious freestyle paddlers but also a great boat for those new to freestyle who are wanting a bit more forgiveness.

Now I have paddled with Wave sport kayaks for a while now and the progression of boats has been great at around 5,11”, 11.5 stone and size 9-10 shoes. The Project X was always the perfect boat for me, so why would I want to change to the new Mobius? Easy, the Mobius is shorter, faster, packs more volume and has more foot room!

I was fortunate enough to take the Mobius out at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham. My first paddle in the boat was good. Whilst sat on the flat the boat felt very stable and very comfortable just like my Project X. I found I sat quite high, which was a nice change as I have always built up my seats for a higher seating position, I like a bit more leverage and feel a raised seat gives me more control. The CORE White Out fittings are very easy to pad out, adjust and personalize. On flat water the

Wave Sport says…

Wave Sport’s new freestyle machine is short and fast with forgiving qualities that allow beginners to the sport of freestyle to learn and progress quickly, while offering seasoned competitors an experience they will too appreciate. Between the rounded edges, the sculpted side walls, and the soft curvature of the bow, this predictable design makes loops, ‘McNastys’ and Phonix Monkeys’ easy to initiate. It is extremely loose and fast on waves, featuring a continuous rocker profile and a stern release edge that allows quick acceleration down a wave. SPECIFICaTIoNS 49: Length: 5'6" 168 cm Width: 24.75" 63 cm Deck Height: 14" 36 cm Weight: 30 lbs 14 kg Cockpit Length: 33" 84 cm Cockpit Width: 19" 48 cm Paddler Weight: 90-160 lbs 41-73 kg Volume: 49 gal 185 L boat is easy to cartwheel and initiate the edges due to the shorter length. I know a number of the female paddlers in the 49 have said that this boat has really helped them get a better feel for their edges and find it much easier to throw around than the Project X.

In a hole the boat felt good, in a side surf the Mobius is very stable and due to a high waterline you can drop slight amounts of edge without catching an upstream edge, making this great when learning to surf and move the boat around.The boat is effortless to spin due its length with far less chance of catching that upstream edge or the stern getting caught in the plume. I think this will be a great boat for learning the fundamentals of freestyle.To cartwheel in a hole the boat is very balanced and quick from end to end. As a fan of the cartwheel it is always a concern that the shorter the boat becomes the less balance from end to end you will get – the Mobius does not suffer from this.

SPECIFICaTIoNS 57: Length: 5'8" 173 cm Width: 26.25" 67 cm Deck Height: 14.5" 37 cm Weight: 32 lbs 15 kg Cockpit Length: 33" 84 cm Cockpit Width: 19" 48 cm Paddler Weight: 130-200 lbs 59-91kg Volume: 57 gal 216 L

ThePaddler 111

ThePaddler 112

For those loop obsessed, wow! The Mobius doesn’t just loop – it takes off! I found as soon as I had initiated the front end I was sat back upright ready to go again. The pop is incredible and due to the short back end it lands quickly. Likewise for other hole moves such as ‘McNastys’ and ‘Phonix Monkeys’, the alterations to volume in the front end make the front edges easy to initiate.You name it this boat will do it in style.

I really enjoyed my paddle at Nottingham and can’t wait to get back in a hole, but at the moment I am waiting for water levels to drop. Luckily being a Nottingham local we have back up plans with the rain with Newark Weir which has been running, so was lucky enough to get the Mobius on there for a surf.

Newark Weir is an odd feature, a very shallow wave, great for surfing, spins and blunts. The Mobius handled really well, I found it very fast and easy to retain even when almost dropping off the wave, the hull speed made it easy to move back down the trough. I found the edges super easy to initiate and very responsive to different amounts of edge just like the X56. The hull speed was also good in a back surf and grinding the face of the wave even on a flushy level was possible.

The Mobius 57 is quite a bit lighter than the Project X56, making it easier to manoeuvre and throw around whatever the feature. I am extremely confident that this boat is about to change a lot of people’s freestyle paddling. The 49 and 57 are available now, so go and speak to your local kayak shop or keep your eyes peeled at a paddling event soon and demo one for yourself.

kayak fishing

ThePaddler 114

The lure of

By Ian ‘Dizzyfish’ Harris

Paddlers and fishermen

Someone once said to me there are two types of kayak fishermen: paddlers who like to fish and fishermen who like to paddle. Well, I don’t know about that, but what I do know, is that fishing from a kayak is great fun.

ThePaddler 115

ThePaddler 116

Lure fishing

There are lots of different types of fishing you can undertake from a kayak. I am a jack of all trades, and I like to have a go at everything. I have fished in the sea, in rivers and in lakes. I even fly fish from a kayak. Maybe one of the best forms of fishing for a beginner is lure fishing. This involves casting and retrieving artificial baits. It is a very mobile form of fishing, which is ideally suited to the kayak. You can paddle around, and explore lots of different fish holding areas. In many places you can simply put a rod in a rod holder and paddle around (trolling) waiting for a fish to bite. In the sea, using this method in the summer, with a set of feathers is a great way of catching a few mackerel to take home for tea. My latest obsession is using ultra-light fishing tackle from the kayak. There is a whole range of ultra-light fishing rods, reels and lures which are available to buy. Primarily, this ultra light gear is intended to catch small fish, but I have found that with a bit of thought, you can catch much larger fish; and that is what I like to do! Rather than explaining the what’s and wherefores of lure fishing in detail, I am going to tell you about one of my latest fishing trips, in the hope that it might whet your appetite !

Freshwater delight

Llangorse Lake in Wales is steeped in legend. Tales of giant fish abound. It is said that in 1846, the largest pike in the UK was caught in the lake. Whether this is true or not, one thing is for sure, Llangorse Lake is visually stunning. It’s surrounded by the hills and mountains of the Brecons and it was to be the location for my day’s fishing. We are always reading about issues with access to rivers and conflict between anglers and kayakers. So it is refreshing to find a venue which openly encourages a multitude of different water sports. The lake uses a zoning system to keep water users apart and to protect the wildlife in sensitive areas of the lake. Paddlers, fishermen and kayak fishermen are welcomed with opened arms. You can hire watercraft, but if you have your own, then you can self-launch by purchasing the following (also note that to fish in freshwater, you need to purchase an Environment Agency freshwater coarse fishing licence, available from post offices): Kayak permit: Launch permit: Fishing Permit:

£7.00 £1.50 £6.00

So for a very reasonable £14.50 you can fish the lake from your own kayak all day. There is free parking, and a concrete slipway allows easy entrance into the lake.

Llangorse Lake

Hands-free Hobie

One of the best kayaks for lure fishing is a Hobie. As well as being able to paddle a Hobie kayak, you can also use their revolutionary ‘mirage’ drive system. The mirage drive uses a set of underwater fins to power the kayak through the water. The fins are moved using a set of adjustable pedals in the cockpit. The pedals allow you to move and fish at the same time, which is a real advantage when kayak fishing. They also have a surprising turn of speed!

I own a Hobie Revolution 11 fishing kayak. This kayak is light enough for me to carry and lift on top of the car by myself. And at only 11 feet long, also means it’s quite manoeuvrable, which really helps when fishing. The kayak comes with a comfortable seat and a rudder, which is operated by a small lever. Sit on top kayaks make great fishing platforms. They are stable, and relatively easy to climb back on to, should you be unlucky enough to fall in. As you can see from the picture above, kayak fishermen love to ‘pimp’ their rides with all sorts of gizmos and gadgets. I love big boy’s toys, and have an assortment of stills cameras, video cameras, a GPS unit and even a fish finder.

ThePaddler 117

ThePaddler 118

The fishing

Cut to the chase I hear you say! Okay, well as I said earlier, on this particular day, I was going to be concentrating on fishing with ultra light fishing tackle. Most of the lake is very shallow, combined with the abundance of surface weed, this can make fishing difficult. But this is also why there are so many fish in the lake. Now, the thing about plugs or crankbaits, is that you can buy different types, which dive to different depths when they are retrieved. My first chosen spot was across the lake. It was very shallow. So much so, that the other fishing boats could not reach it (another advantage of owning a kayak!). The fish would be hiding in and around the weed. In order to avoid constantly snagging the lures on the shallow weed, I decided to use a surface popper. These plugs are designed to skit, and pop and bubble along the surface of the water when they are retrieved. The tiny popper was tied to a wire trace and cast out. The idea is that you retrieve the popper with a series of short, sharp jerks using the rod and reel, and then add a few pauses. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supposed to imitate an injured bait fish, and the pike cannot resist it. On only my second cast, a bow wave appeared behind the popper lure, and the water erupted in an explosion of spray and teeth, as the pike slammed the lure. The ultra light rod bent double and the clutch on the reel screamed as the fish tried to escape. After a short battle, I gently lifted the fish into the waiting net and carefully unhooked it, before taking some pictures and then quickly releasing it back into the lake. Next I decided to move to the end of the lake, into deeper water. I changed the surface popper for a plug which dived to a depth of 5 feet (Maria MC-1 45F). The plastic bib at the front of the lure causes it to dive and also makes it swim from side to side like a small fish. The fish finder pin-pointed a small shoal of fish which I suspected were perch. I spun the kayak round and cast to the spot. The micro plug was taken with gusto, and the culprit soon revealed itself; a bright little perch. I caught a few more perch and pike that day, but as the light started to fade, I started to paddle back to the launch slip. On the way back, I had to stop. The breeze had died to the merest whisper, and I was rewarded with an incredible view of the surrounding landscape.

SaFETY NoTE: Always wear a PFD and carry a phone or VHF radio. Paddle and fish within your own limits. If in doubt, do not go out.


Veals Mail Order Fishing Tackle Llangorse Lake index.html Dizzyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s free guide to kayak fishing free-guide-to-kayak-fishing/ Hobie Cat Centre:

ThePaddler 119

The Fatyak Kaafu

The Fatyak Kaafu is a one piece rotationally moulded kayak, no seams no joints and is manufactured using high grade high density UV stabilised polyethylene. It has moulded in padeye fixings giving unsurpassed leak protection. All Fatyak kayaks are manufactured in accordance to BS7852 in Somerset England. The 2012 Kaafu from fatyak offers the versatility that Sit-on-Top kayakers want. It’s unique stable lines ensures that children, fishermen, sport and recreational kayakers will all have an enjoyable t

We believe in good value for money and strive to provide you with the best product at a great price. We are innovati looking to expand our range. We have many years of experience in rotationally moulded products and are hand to a questions you may have. Available to purchase from our accessory section are fishing rod holders etc.


“The Fatyak Kaafu is a superb kayak with lots of cleverly designed features. On our tests, we found it a very d water we had in the cockpit area was from paddle drips. The hatches were dry and fixtures well placed.

“The kayak tracked well and paddled really easily. This is a very responsive kayak. It's also very easy to handle rack due to the fixed balanced handles. The recommended retail of the bare kayak is around £300 so this is a option and sure to become a favourite amongst us kayak anglers.” North Wales Kayak Full review:

Ideal Christmas gift! FatYak Kayaks Tel. 01984 632026

KAAFU REVIEW BY TERRY WRIGHT • Easy kayak to lift • Skeg moulding for improved tracking • Stable, deceptively fast and straight • Ideal for lure and fly fishing

“I ended up paddling about four miles and I have to say I was pleas the performance. I am not saying I am getting rid of the P13 or my looking to do just a bit of lure fishing and cutting back on all the ge or grandson out then this is just the job. Others have reviewed the vessel so I will only comment on it as a fresh/flat water fishing kaya found myself smiling as I paddled, it is a a great first kayak for peop also ideal for lure fishing, fly fishing. It is stable and deceptively fast

All Fatyak kayaks are manufactured in accordance to BS7852 in Somerse ISO 9001,14001, 18001 accredited manufacturer.



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

BOOK ONLINE NOW! k Expeditions | Schools | | Windsurfing | Cruising | Sea Kaya Sailing | Kayaking | Powerboating Training | Corporate ctor Instru ts rspor Wate | ps Fun | Grou Youth Activity Holidays | Family

Plas Menai National Watersports Centre, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 1UE

01248 670964

Burtech Trailers


01492 641905

ive and are always answer any

New fishing dedicated website

dry ride; the only

e and put on the roof a very affordable

santly surprised with SINK but when I am ear or to take the wife Kaafu as a saltwater ak. Hand on heart I ple on a budget but t and straight.”

et, England.

“We have full EC Type Approval on all our trailers”

Sea rigs and sea tackle for

ThePaddler 122


a se an



amongst anglers thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always talk of rigs and tackle so Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tied a election of the different traces that I use from both kayak and boat nd will move onto line, reel and rod in future issues.

By Mark Crame

ThePaddler 123

ThePaddler 124



mongst anglers thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always talk of rigs and tackle so Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tied a selection of the different traces that I use from both kayak and boat and will move onto line, reel and rod in future issues. With the exception of the off-the-shelf mackerel rigs I use the same line, beads and swivels throughout and for the purposes of photography I have tied all rigs shorter than would normally be used for fishing and with black line, as they are illustrative only. Hook size has been standardised for the purpose of this thread too â&#x20AC;&#x201C; vary them dependant on target species and bait sizes. As a sponsored angler, all components I use are selected from the Fladen range but of course other brands are available.

I only use one knot for everything: the Centauri. To tie this, put the line through the eye then form three loops over the main length. Pass the tag end through these loops from the rear, moisten and pull tight. Retaining almost all the line strength, it works with mono and braid, as well as paracord and thicker. Tied properly it's neat and small and very strong. It's a big fish knot that is good for small fish too. For rig making on the kayak, I use clear 21.3lb Fladen Maxximus Flourocarbon for both the rig body and snood. Flourocarbon is stiff with little stretch or memory and is thus less likely to tangle as well as having similar diffraction to water and thus appearing almost invisible to the fish even in crystal clear water. Heavier lines are required at

times either because the target species (sharks and rays) have rough skin which abrades the line or strong tides and large fish are likely to be faced. I favour strong, wide gape, baitholder hooks too and my current choice is Fladen Maxximus Jig Hooks in sizes 2/0 and 4/0 being the most commonly used. I build the zip slider into the rig so that it hits the bead (luminous as an additional attractant) stops and sets the hook. I mainly use 4-8oz breakaway leads with occasional use of rolling leads if trying to seek fish out.

Rig choice

Rig choice depends largely on target species; some fish feed on the bottom, some further up. Some like static bait some like movement. Some rigs are easier to cast and some are only usable when gently let down from above. Also, for some fish and some situations the same rig may have a few different methods of putting together â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a two hook paternoster for example may have a long flowing snood on the bottom to attract flatfish with the extra movement down near the bottom while a shorter snood on the top hook may have a different sized hook with different bait to catch Bream or other species that swim off the bottom. Another option might be a running leger pennel with big cod bait down low and a three-hook paternoster above for whiting. Generally, my first choice rig is a running leger pennel rig which is well suited to worm, squid and fish baits and is targeted at cod, smoothound, ray and bass. Often Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll fish this on both rods or, when flatfish and whiting are about I will use one of these with the other rod set up with a running leger wishbone rig. For flapper rigs, which may be fished attached to the above or fished alone; I make a loop in the main body of the rig then tie a centauri knot into the middle, pulling both tight allowing the snood to centralise. The livebait rig is stopped at either end by a bead and swivel with the snood running freely up, down and around to give the baitfish plenty of movement. In the clear water of the south coast I tend to opt for baited feathers or hokkais for fish such as bream, wrasse and other mobile and more visual species.

rig components. Flouro, lumi beads, jig hooks, rolling swivels, zip sliders

rigs 40lb and 90lb braid

rigs packaged against moisture

Livebait rig

running leger pennel rig

running leger wishbone rig

Twin flapper rig

90lb 40lb braid join double centauri knot

ThePaddler 125

ThePaddler 126

Thornback ray


Snood length does have an effect. I tie my pennels with a one-metre length of line and a half metre running leger link. Wishbones have half a metre between hook and bottom swivel and another half metre to the running leger link. A half metre link between weight and bottom swivel and one metre top section for the livebait trace works well and a one metre flapper rig with two or three snoods of 20cm spaced approximately 30cm apart gives sufficient movement without too much in the way of tangles. That said, experimentation is key; sometimes fish prefer shorter or longer snoods, sometimes conditions, such as tide strength or willingness to feed, dictate the optimum lengths required. With the terminal tackle, the business end, taken care of the next consideration is what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be attached to. The trace is usually tied or clipped to a one metre length of fluorocarbon leader, again 21.3lb, which is in turn tied to a three metre length of 90lb Fladen Maxximus Braid. This braid is then tied to the mainline which is 40lb Maxximus Braid and 150 metres of this is wound onto the reel on top of a backing of 30lb Fladen Maxximus Tournament monofilament, connected again with three metres of 90lb braid.

Sounds complicated, right? Let me explain further The Flourocarbon is to make it less visible but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thicker than the braided mainline by quite a lot. For this reason I tie the thicker 90lb braid between the two. Braid cuts through fluorocarbon and monofilament lines with ease and often a big fish pulling hard with a strong tide can cut through the knot if a significant diameter difference is involved. The use of the 90lb between the two acts as a buffer between these with the only drawback being the chance of stopping additional weed. Two centauri knots are tied back-to-back for connecting each line. Braid is used for its low diameter and lack of stretch compared to monofilament lines, cutting through tide and giving a more precise feel to any movement which enhances bite detection and improves the feel of the fight; the drawbacks are the lack of shock absorption with fish that may make a sudden lunge and decreased abrasion resistance compared to mono.

The line is wound onto my standard reel, a Fladen Warbird 3700R multiplier. Featuring a level wind, power handle and a large line capacity ease of operation even in cold, wet conditions, is guaranteed. Three bearings and brass gearing provides for smooth casting and retrieval, especially when maintained properly with regular cleaning and lubrication, made easy by the removal of side plate and spool by undoing three bolts. Formed from a saltresistant alloy with a smooth surface they are easy to keep clean and perform well on the tough conditions they are exposed to on the kayak. These reels are typically attached to Fladen Maxximus 225cm two-piece IM7 carbon rods, which split at the butt. The butt-split allows all the action of a one-piece top section to come into play, giving a smooth transition of power from the tip down. Shaped eva grips and solid alloy reel seats tightened by a double nut and rubber washer allow the reel to be locked into place with no movement, vital when playing a strong fish. They also feature an alloy gimbal butt with a plastic cover, giving the angler the choice of what ending he prefers. The length is important too. These are long enough to lead a fish around the bow and allow a decent trace length to be attached but short enough to handle without moving the centre of gravity too far from the centreline and the fish to be taken hold of without being too far from the boat when raised. At 12lb class they are powerful enough for large fish while still providing good sport with smaller ones and are stiff enough to set a hook firmly on the strike, survive rough landings and double as a jigging stick when fishing for mackerel, cod or pollack.

That then covers my standard saltwater baitfishing.

Catch reports:

Hook tied with a centauri knot

Braid to mono join with a double centauri knot

90lb-40lb braid join with a double centauri knot

ThePaddler 127

Salty Paddler

ThePaddler 129

ThePaddler 130

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Justine C sea kayaking


Curgenven, g film maker and expeditioner.”

ThePaddler 131

Kayaking around Ireland this year. Photo by Barry Shaw

As introduced to HM Queen Elizabeth II Couldn’t have said it better ourselves…

ThePaddler 132


hat kayaks do you own at the moment?

A large abalone washed up onto a California beach makes a new hat. Photo by Sean Morley

A North Shore Atlantic LV, a Valley Etain 17.5, a Valley Rapier 18, a Valley Rush surf kayak, a Pyranha Inazone 220 (mostly gathering dust!) and a canoe.

How did you start out in in what is a very successful career in exploration?

I have always played a lot of sport. When I left university, my best friend started dragging me outside to go walking, mountain biking and kayaking and I soon discovered that I loved fresh air and the ability to explore whilst getting a pretty good workout. Sea kayaking became one of my favourite things to do because you can carry up to a month’s camping kit and food without breaking your back, travel to amazing places, get close to wildlife and have an adrenaline hit in rough waters. I was hooked after my first overnight trip where I caught a fish on a hand line, paddled a 12-mile open crossing and bivvied on a harbour wall with a hip flask of sloe gin, the soundtrack of the sea sending me to sleep.

Of all your explorations – which one have you enjoyed the most?

Justine is an award winning adventure filmmaker and expedition sea kayaker. Justine’s programmes have aired on the National Geographic Channel, Channel 4, Channel 5 and the BBC. She runs Cackle TV and created the highly acclaimed “This is the Sea” series of sea kayaking DVDs. Her films have won many prestigious prizes including best adventure film at Banff and Kendal Mountain Film Festivals. See more at:

I’m the sort of person who likes to see what’s around the next corner so I always look forward to the next exploration. If I had to chose, kayaking 650km along Kamchatka’s surf ridden coast with a novice Russian kayaker still ranks highly, paddling around the south island of New Zealand is memorable for it’s challenges while I really enjoyed 10 days around part of Vancouver island with good friends where we were treated to sunshine, calm winds and lots of chilling time on the land. Wherever I go, I love meeting people in remote places and seeing how they live. Pulling your kayak up onto a beach where ‘tourists’ don’t usually go, or trekking to a rarely-visited village means the locals are usually just as interested in you as you are in them. In Kamchatka, we met two couples that man a remote lighthouse – we were the first people they had seen in eight months!

Have you ever been scared and if not – what would it take?

I’ve been scared many times; most of the time I can analyze it and realize that I’m getting intimidated by the loud crash of waves against rocks or looking at the speed of the tide rushing by. Sometimes anticipation is worse than reality. Worst-case scenario, I’d end up taking a swim but I’m not actually in any danger. In those situations, I try to embrace my fears and get stuck in to whatever is scaring me. I try to use good judgment so that I don’t get into any life-threatening situation but a few times, conditions have surprised me and I’ve ended up in worrying that I’ll get caught out.

Justine Curgenven

My custom Atlantic LV – north Wales. Photo by Barry Shaw

Paddling on the exposed and cliffy west coast of the south island of New Zealand, a headwind picked up to 40-knots. My partner Barry and I didn’t dare turn around to look for the small beach we’d left from. We were making about 1km/hour as long as we didn’t stop to eat, drink or pee. Eventually we reached the shelter of Dusky Sound. It was scary thinking about how we’d safely land if we stopped making progress forwards.

Sea kayaking tends to be a male dominated – how do you cope?

I don’t feel like I have to ‘cope’ with that. It’s not a big deal to me whether I’m paddling with a guy or a girl. I don’t see the physical differences as an impediment. I paddle a lot and have a reasonable technique so can keep up with most people. Being a woman means I am sometimes treated differently to men, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage. Sometimes people are more likely to offer you help or bend the rules, but other times they assume you aren’t up to the challenge. In New Zealand we were offered a bed for the night because a lady we met couldn’t believe I could survive without a shower and a hairdryer! I just get on with paddling and don’t ever consider that I can’t do something because I’m a girl.

ThePaddler 133

ThePaddler 134

On the coast of Sakhalin

Kayaking from Russia to Japan

With Shawna Franklin on a circumnavigation of the Queen Charlotte islands. Photo by Leon Somme

How does kayaking and exploration give you satisfaction?

In so many ways… I feel at peace when out kayaking. It’s probably a sum of parts that I love – the free-flowing untamed nature of the sea, the delicious fresh air, seeing wildlife up close, the physical exercise, the satisfaction from journeying under my own power, the selfsufficiency and independence of carrying everything I need to survive in my kayak, the smile-inducing waves of my local tidal races, the chance to always be learning, and sharing stories with isolated people from different worlds. Something just fits when I’m paddling. If I go regularly, I am calmer, happier.

"Do something interesting" sai Paddling around Mull. Photo by Main photo: Paddling alongside the end of the Andes in Tierra Del Fuego. Photo by Barry Shaw

What is the biggest accomplishment in your career?

I hope it’s another 20 or 30 years before I’m sitting back in my armchair writing lists of my achievements! I’m more pleased by the breadth of my kayaking experience rather than any one particular trip. I usually go on at least one big trip a year including circumnavigating Tasmania, New Zealand’s south island, Sardinia, Ireland and the Queen Charlotte Islands. I’ve paddled from London to France, Russia to Japan, across the Bass Strait and from Wales to Ireland in under 12 hours. Despite many months of paddling, my biggest accomplishment is probably creating the ‘This is the Sea’ series of sea kayaking DVDs. The

id Sarah Outen y Sarah Outen

Click here to see Justine’s, ‘This is the Sea 5’ trailer

films made a wider audience aware of some of the more exciting aspects of sea kayaking and celebrated all aspects of the sport. The first DVD came out over 10 years ago and I now meet enthusiastic paddlers who tell me that my DVDs got them started in sea kayaking, inspired them to push themselves or go on a trip. I love that.

What would be your ultimate achievement?

To be happy, live a full life and maintain good friendships. To continually grow and learn.

Exploration or film production – which gives the most pleasure?

Justine and Barry take a ride in an old gold dredger on their circumnavigation of Tierra Del Fuego

Exploration is my first love. I film kayaking so I can afford to go on trips and travel to exciting places. Having said that, I enjoy the filming and I get a buzz when I feel like I’m capturing some great footage. I enjoy thinking up new ways to film things or tell a story. When things go wrong, I draw some solace from the fact that I’m getting good footage.

ThePaddler 135

ThePaddler 136

What’s it like to meet Queen Elizabeth?

It was great to be invited to a gathering of people involved in adventure and exploration at Buckingham Palace a couple of years ago. There were about 300 attendees including wellknown names like David Attenborough, David Walliams and Bear Grylls, and people who have achieved a lot in all spheres of adventure. We all lined up to shake hands with Queen Elizabeth. When it was my turn, the man next to her read out, “Justine Curgenven, sea kayaking filmmaker and expeditioner.” The Queen looked quite confused but didn’t ask any questions, she just shook my hand.

What's next for you?

In January, I’m helping to guide kayakers on a sailing and kayaking trip to Antarctica. I’ve always wanted to visit Antarctica and kayak alongside penguins and icebergs so that’s really exciting. Next May, I’ll be heading to the Aleutian Islands to kayak 1,400 miles along the chain to the nearest road in Homer, mainland Alaska. I’m joining Sarah Outen, who is looping the planet using human power alone. She’s just rowed the Pacific solo from Japan to Adak island and we’ll pick up the trail next spring. Film-wise, I’m working on a second instructional rolling DVD and download, which will be released in 2014 and an instructional ‘Expedition’ DVD/ download helping people to plan their own trips.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Train with Sarah Outen for the Aleutian Islands trip including learning to sail with a kayak. We have crossings of up to 40-nautical miles to make in a remote, windy and tidal part of the world. I feel that the ability to complete a crossing quicker with a sail will add to our safety so we need to learn how to use one! Successfully complete the trips to the Aleutian islands and Antarctica, release ‘This is the Roll 2’, keep my eyes are ears open for how to keep making a living from kayaking films as the market place changes.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I would hope to be happy in 20 years time, with just enough money to not worry too much. I don’t usually have career plans beyond the next year, as I prefer to follow my impulses and react to the marketplace. I will probably still be making adventure films and going on sea kayaking trips, but I don’t see that as guaranteed. If I get, or make, an opportunity that I like the feel of then I will pursue that. I would like my focus to shift a little more towards helping the environment (from self indulgent adventure) but I am not exactly sure how yet. I certainly don’t want to totally give up the adventure. I would also like to collaborate with others on work projects as I spend a lot of time working alone and I fancy a change.

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

So many choices! Scotland, Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily’s Aeolian islands, the Bay of Fundy, Norway’s Fjords, California for surfing, The Queen Charlotte islands in British Columbia for a beautiful, wild but sheltered destination.

rainbow in far east russia while kayaking from russia to Japan. Photo by Sarah outen

Get your Christmas gifts from Cackle TV We have one of the best selections of DVDs on the market Or if you prefer you can buy all of our films as downloads We stock the best map cases on the market, books, t-shirts and kayaking cards ThePaddler ezine readers can get 15% off films by using the code â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;paddlerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

ThePaddler 138

OK letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s finish with something short

Justine Curgenven

t and snappy…

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

I’m lucky that I get to paddle with fun and talented friends quite often. I miss paddling with Hadas Feldman from Israel. She’s a great paddler and always laughing. I’d love to do another trip with her some time soon.

Pick two celebrities to be your parents.

I’m not really into ‘celebrities’. I never understood why folks squeal over people they don’t know.

which one sportsman or woman has inspired you? Paul Caffyn and Sarah Outen

what’s on your Tivo? Don’t have TiVo.

Favourite iPod track?

I mostly listen to the radio. I like happy music that makes me want to jump around including a bit of 80s disco!

what would you do with £10 million?

Buy some waterfront properties near great paddling destinations. Pay for my favourite people to get for a week of paddling, laughing and eating every year.

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.

an ideal night out for you is?

Camping in a beautiful place after a fun day’s sea kayaking with good friends.

what one luxury item would you take with you on a desert island? A hot tub.

what do you get really angry about?

I try not to get angry but being taken for granted and dishonesty rub me up the wrong way. Playing in Penrhyn Mawr tidal race in north wales. Photo by Ulrika Larsson

what’s in your fridge right now?

Vegetables, jam, milk, beer, cheese, salad, orange juice, butter, yeast, yoghurt, a really old tube of anchovy paste that I bought in Sicily!

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

Roast chicken with roast potatoes and veg and homemade lemon ice cream.

any broken bones?

I punctured a lung falling off a mountain bike.

If you could be a superhero for one day, what superpower would you choose and why? I’d love to be able to fly.

Favourite sports personality?

I don’t really follow sport but Karen Darke is very inspiring.

Favourite team? The Hurricane Riders

what three words would you use to describe you? Adventurous. Determined. Curious.

Thanks for your time Justine:)

ThePaddler 139

ThePaddler 140

By Scott Edwards Throughout my years of paddling, I’ve been encouraged to try various Greenland/traditional paddles. I’d use them for a little bit and return them to their generous owner who let me try it and then pick up my Euro Blade paddle and continue on, really not giving it much more thought.

But, as my experience kayaking grew, as did the circle of friends I’ve made in kayaking, more and more have urged me to really put some time in with a traditional paddle. A paddle that was born when kayaking was born, a paddle that was created for all conditions, a paddle on which its efficiency literally rested life and death for those using them. I figured it was about time to truly find out what everyone was talking about.

All the paddles I had tried previously were wood. I always admired the beauty and craftsmanship in a wooden paddle, and, I must confess an affinity for the artisanship that goes into making beautiful things out of beautiful woods. One of my other passions is playing Native American style flute. I have a full quiver of them, running the gamut from Red Cedar to Apple to Birds Eye Maple with Cherry ends and bird. Things made of wood seem alive to me and I honour those who share their gift of woodworking with the world, whether it be Greenland paddle or an indigenous flute.

I also must confess to being enamoured of technology, the excitement of new things to try. I felt this way when I picked up my first carbon fibre Euro paddle. I was impressed immediately with the feather like weight and the amount of lifting I would be spared over a long day paddling. It was with this thought in mind that I sought out a carbon fibre Greenland paddle.


The Gearlab Carbon Fibre Greenland Paddles

ThePaddler 141

ThePaddler 142

Enter into my paddle quiver the Gearlab Oyashio (215cm) in 12k carbon fibre Enter into my paddle quiver the Gearlab Oyashio (215cm) in 12k carbon fibre. The Oyashio is the shoulder-less model of Gearlab paddles. The also offer the Kuroshio, with shoulders and the Kuroshio WL (wide loom, for those with broader shoulders). All the Gearlab paddles come in the flat black of carbon fibre or a gloss white. The gloss white is very attractive and at the time of this writing, they are experimenting with other colours. These are not custom made paddles, they come in five sizes to fit most paddlers. Usually the high-end wooden traditional paddles are custom made to your measurements.

When I first took it out of the box and snapped it together, I noticed how well it locked together via a snap clip and T-joint. The T-joint consists of two parts, a male and a female. Both the male and female have a hollow wedge-shaped base (the hidden part in the ferrule). In the middle of the wedge-shaped base there is a plastic piece attached by a bolt, as seen in the middle of the T-joint. By tightening the bolt the plastic piece moves up to expand the wedge-shaped base to make an extremely tight installation. The snap clip holds two pieces together, while the T-Joint eliminates rotational play. This not something you need or should do, as they come from the factory all set up. Another thing I noticed right away is that this paddle is hollow, no foam or anything inside. I’d imagine this would be an issue if I cracked it on a rock or something, but, it does add to the paddles overall buoyancy, an added plus rolling or in balance bracing. However, it would make me slightly hesitant to take it down rocky rivers or the like without a reliable spare on board. It’s being hollow however does give it the necessary ‘flex’ to a paddle and I have found it to be remarkably strong and not something that I would consider a weakness. As I simulated paddling through the air, it felt very natural and almost automatic. I was ready to jump out the door and head to the nearest body of water I could find and see what I could do with this very new to me paddle design. Time to go get wet! As one would surmise, the very light swing weight was delightful to paddle with. It felt very balanced as I paddled forward. I noticed immediately how soft on the body paddling felt with this design. It’s worth noting that I have chronic tendonitis in my right elbow, and have been known to wear a brace for long days on the water as well as what doctors have called a form of Dystonia, commonly called ‘writer’s cramp’

(where were computers when I needed them as I hand wrote all those papers in school?). Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. I’ve developed the sense that this paddle will certainly help with those issues, which I’ve learned to ‘ignore’, but hurt nonetheless. I use the word ‘soft’ for the paddles effect on my body, because of the lower amount of torque from having the water spread out over a longer, yet narrower area. For lack of a better comparison, try moving a pancake turner through a basin of water, than do the same thing with a chopstick. You’ll get the idea quite quickly. Because the Oyashio is a shoulder-less paddle, I found it very easy to do slide strokes and extended paddle strokes, it slid through my hands effortlessly and was very efficient in these techniques (a heck of a lot better than I am…for now). Another thought that had always been on my mind with traditional versus Euro-blade paddles was one that I have heard others voice, and that was one of forward speed. I can tell you that there is no concern here. The lesser drag of the traditional paddle allowed me to increase my paddle stroke without increasing my effort. I found myself easily keeping up with and passing other paddlers on the water. The only place where I thought I might like my wider bladed paddle was on the backside of waves. It felt like I just wasn’t catching as much water and not getting as solid a feel. However that could be a case of what I have come to call ‘Picnik’ or ‘problem in cockpit, not in kayak’ or in this case, paddle. I apologize to my technology friends from whom I altered that phrase. Mind you, none of this means I am giving up my Euro blades that I have come to know and love. To me, it means I have learned something, that I have a slightly greater feel for those that paddled Qajaqs before me, and that technique is the key, not the size or shape of the paddle. The Gearlab Oyashio is a wonderful example of two worlds, one ancient and one modern combining to create something very user friendly, very efficient and very enjoyable to use. I heartily encourage all paddlers to spend some time with one of these paddles and take a trip back in time while holding modern technology in your hands. The people at Gearlab have built a paddle that is elegant in its simplicity, a compliment to the history of paddling wrapped in today’s high-end materials.

A t g


a a c

All the Gearlab paddles come in the flat black of carbon fibre or a gloss white.The gloss white is

very attractive

and at the time of this writing, they are experimenting with other colours

ThePaddler 143

ThePaddler 144

KoNG A very different perspective

I have been married for 18 years now. One of the deals my wife and I made way back at the start was that I would move abroad with her, away from my beloved Britain, if she could get a decent job somewhere.To be fair, having made the deal I forgot about it.

Then after 15 years, she comes to tell me we are moving to Hong Kong – as per my agreement. Hong Kong, in my mind is a big city – as seen in scenes from Batman – all glittering lights and big buildings.This worried me as I enjoy country villages and walks in the hills.

Story: Douglas Kidd Photos: Dave Wilson

Having arrived, it turned out it was not so bad.The city is quite cool – safe and sparkly all at once. But more importantly, there is so much countryside. Hills galore, stunning views and ghostly, abandoned villages. Then, one year after arriving we found what came to be the last piece of the puzzle: sea kayaking.

It seemed an odd thing to discover but obvious once you thought about it in a place that is basically a peninsular and 260-odd islands. We joined the sea kayaking academy (SKA) and along with my wife and even daughter at times, have done maybe 25 trips so far.

The diversity available in Hong Kong is quite impressive. ThePaddler 145

ThePaddler 146

we had kayaked in

Britain and Canada, but our Hong Kong introductory course was a little different. It was in Sai Kung, a gorgeous country park in north eastern Hong Kong and on one its best surf beaches. Surf kayaking became a new favourite sport, but I have to admit is one that can strain a relationship if you are in a double kayak. The split second choice you have to make as a particularly impressive wave drives you towards a rock is not conducive to the usual marital discussion! For all of those occasions we settled for capsizing before hitting the rocks and a good compromise.

The day-long kayaking trips in Sai Kung are beautiful. Many of the beaches around the park are only accessible by boat or a hike of a few hours and therefore deserted. The SKA set up a second base soon after we began, in a different area of the northeast of Hong Kong. Still off the

Again it is not something that people associate Hong Kong with, but it does have a rich underwater life with many species of coral. Unfortunately though, overfishing and pollution, particularly from the Chinese mainland, threaten the health of the seas around Hong Kong. The SKA has responded to this and has a link with several environmental organisations such as ‘Plastic Free Seas’ in order to contribute to beach clean-ups and the monitoring of pollution. The first academy session I was involved in leading with my increased skills, was an activity in which our kayakers each took a child in a double sit-on-top for an exploration of a local bay. The event was a partnership with a local charity and all the children were recovering from or undergoing treatment for cancer. We had a great time, augmented oddly enough by the fact

Departing Pak Lap

beaten track, but easier to get to in a small traditional community with a floating fishing village in the bay in front of it. My favourite trip from this base takes maybe 2-3 hours and leads to a marine park. Take your mask and snorkel on the kayak and you can head under water and see some of Hong Kong’s coral reefs.

that we cut the session short due to an incoming storm, which we literally raced in, getting back to the beach just as the heavens opened. It gave all the children that sense of closeness to real nature in the raw and a sense of camaraderie with our kayakers that were more than we could have hoped for.

Natural swimming holes

ThePaddler 147

ThePaddler 148

The most recent project has had the most impact on us as a family. The academy has opened two bases on the largest island in Hong Kong-Lantau. One is in the ferry port in the south of the island and the other of Tai O â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a traditional fishing village with stilt houses and a perfect starting point to see Chinese Pink Dolphins. We had been enjoying the trips from Lantau so much, that when we came to sign up for an extra couple of years in Hong Kong, we moved to the island.

The south of the island has a series of beautiful beaches, including Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest, where we now live. The surf gets up when a typhoon rolls in and there are coves and rivers to explore up and down the coast.

From Tai O we do a fantastic trip that takes you through the village down the river where the stilt houses are. Then we head out into the bay and on all the trips I have done so far we see the dolphins. It is the only safe and non-intrusive way to see them and it can be depressing to see the local powerboats hurtling towards these shy and endangered creatures.

The centrepiece of the trip is actually my favourite as we head into a bay, where horseshoe crabs breed and walk up a river to a series of beautiful waterfalls with swimming holes at the foot of each. Lunch here can happily extend to an hour or two as you climb up, swim in each and jump off the rocks around the pools.

Tung Wan from above

Surfing Tai Long Wan

Big Wave Bay

Remote Tung Wan

ThePaddler 149

ThePaddler 150

Shelter Bay, Sai Kung

Tai O stilt houses

The philosophy of

it is the the Sea Kayak Academy is simple and it: if you ind same for the company that sits beh tline of coas the get people out into the sea, into it love to e com Hong Kong, then they will ple Peo it. after and they will want to look to know. will come to love what they come g, So if you find yourself in Hong Kon e Com . two or trip a join and g come alon h and see how beautiful and how muc s eou gorg y man How is. e coastline ther hins, coral beaches, hidden coves, bays, dolp and surfers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; reefs, marine parks, fishing villages dlers enjoying and join the growing band of pad ld. and taking care of this precious wor


Millionaire's Bay

Por t Island

ThePaddler 151


ThePaddler 152

By Moulton A

lecture on hypothermia in 197 Environmental Physiology in W director of the National Cente Kayaking Instructor and Instruc



Moulton Avery is an expert on heat and cold stress. He gave his first public 74. He was executive director of the Center for Washington, DC for ten years, and is the founder and er for Cold Water Safety. He is a former ACA Sea ctor Trainer.

A little over 20 years ago, Sea Kayaker magazine editor Chris Cunningham stuck his neck out and published my article Cold Shock (Spring 1991). Cold water safety was a controversial subject at the time, and with one notable exception, every single letter to the editor written in response to the article was negative. Among other things, I was accused of scaring paddlers, misrepresenting the facts, and making cold water paddling sound a whole lot more dangerous than it really was.

Here’s what Carl White, an editor of ANORAK (Association of North Atlantic Kayakers) had to say about the ruckus, “Moulton Avery’s bombshell COLD SHOCK article in the spring 1991 issue literally poured ice water all over SKIN’s (Sea Kayaking INdustry) notions of how to deal with the cold water hazard. The summer and fall 1991 issues brought forth in letters of rebuttal some of the most absurd nonsense ever seen in the pages of the magazine. The ‘challenging conditions’ argument was endlessly repeated, but was also joined with several readers’ injunctions to avoid the need for wetsuits and drysuits by just avoiding capsizing. Eric Soares’ ringing endorsement of my article and of habitual wetsuit use was the lone exception to this sorry parade of SKIN rationalizations.” Eric wasn’t quite world-famous at the time, but he was a force to be reckoned with in the fledgling sea kayaking community, and when he wrote that the article should be “taped to the forehead of every sea kayaker”, people took notice. I don’t have enough

words or space to describe how much his letter meant to me personally. What I can say is that his firm, unwavering support came at a critical moment, and was invaluable in advancing the cause of cold water safety in our sport. Fast forward 20 years to the middle of May 2010. It’s a gorgeous and unseasonably warm spring day on the coast of Maine, but the water temperature is still a bone-chilling 48F (9C). Irina McEntee, 18, and her best friend Carissa Ireland, 20, decide to go paddling. They are the same age as my own two daughters.

The ‘challenging conditions’ argument was endlessly repeated, but was also joined with several readers’ injunctions to avoid the need for wetsuits and drysuits by

just avoiding capsizing

Wearing nothing more than shorts and light shirts, the pair launch their 12-foot blue-green recreational boats in calm water at 13.30 and begin what they think will be a short, two-mile round trip from Peaks Island to Ram Island in Casco Bay. Irina’s parents actually have a view of the route from their home, and see both girls complete the crossing and land safely on the island. Irina had been kayaking for a number of years, and she’d paddled this route without incident many times before. Carissa, however, had no previous kayaking experience. Other than the PFDs they were wearing, neither girl carried any safety or communications gear. Ram Island is only a mile across the water from Peaks, but the location is exposed – to the east, south, and south east, there’s nothing but open ocean, and neither Irina’s parents nor the girls were aware that the National Weather Service had issued a Small Craft Advisory for that afternoon.

ThePaddler 153

ThePaddler 154

When the girls failed to return home By the time Irina and Carissa launched their boats for the return trip, the weather had worsened considerably. The tide was ebbing and the wind had picked up, blowing out of the north and gusting to 22mph. Unable to make headway in those conditions, they were at the mercy of both wind and tide, which blew them south and carried them east, away from land and into progressively rougher water.

on schedule, Irina’s parents looked out the window and saw much rougher conditions with no kayaks in sight. By then it was 2.5 hours before sunset. They called the Coast Guard, which promptly dispatched the 207-foot US Coast Guard cutter Campbell, launched a Jayhawk helicopter and Falcon jet from Air Station Cape Cod, sent out an emergency broadcast on Channel 16, and contacted their ‘local partners’, setting in motion what was to become a massive search operation.

In some circles, people are actively discouraged from wearing ‘extreme’ clothing like wetsuits or unless, of course, they plan on encountering

their deaths weren’t my fault, but emotionally, as a father, I couldn’t shake the haunting feeling that maybe if I’d done more to promote cold water safety rather than quitting the field at half-time to raise two daughters of my own, Irina and Carissa might still be alive. I wrestled with that feeling for weeks before finally deciding that I couldn’t live with myself if I walked away from this unspeakable tragedy and went on with my life as if nothing had happened.

That was the crucible in which my dream of starting the National Center for Cold Water Safety was formed – a dream that Eric, with his usual drive, passion, and enthusiasm, came to share. Shortly before he died, Eric said this to me, “Moulton, if you just get the ball rolling, good people will come out of the woodwork, as if by magic, to help make this dream come true.”

He was right, of course. Good people have indeed come out of the woodwork, and they continue to do so. The center is incorporated, we’re a whisker away from obtaining our 501(c)(3) nondrysuits – profit status from the Internal Revenue Service, and our website is live. Eric, I truly wish you were here to see it.

‘challenging conditions’

or anticipate ‘being slammed in the face by a cold wave’. As any pilot can attest, it’s not easy to spot small objects from the air. Nevertheless, by 20:30 pm both kayaks had been located, floating in the open ocean roughly seven miles South of Ram Island, and about a mile SSE of Cape Elizabeth. One kayak was upright and contained a jacket and T-shirt; the other was upside-down. Irina and Carissa were nowhere in sight. After a grueling all-night search involving multiple local agencies and more than 150 people, the girls were found by the Coast Guard at 09:00 the following morning, floating lifeless in their PFDs, about a mile apart and two miles from where their boats had been found the night before. I’ve never had an easy time reading about these incidents, and because my daughters were so close in age to the two girls, this one picked me up and shook me like a rag doll. I knew rationally that

At the core of the National Center for Cold Water Safety are five ‘Golden Rules’. Each rule is there for good, realistic, practical reasons that we’re going to explain in detail in future issues. Take a peek at the box on the right. You can find Eric in every single one of them.

A lot of people and organizations pay it lip service, while at the same time jumping through hoops and going to great lengths to argue that it doesn’t apply to them because they are the exception to the rule. In some circles, people are actively discouraged from wearing ‘extreme’ clothing like wetsuits or drysuits – unless, of course, they plan on encountering ‘challenging conditions’ or anticipate ‘being slammed in the face by a cold wave’. If that’s the case, then by all means, suit up. But if they aren’t planning on having any of that rough stuff happen – if they have no intention of capsizing – well, in that case, it’s just fine to skip the protection. This sort of nonsense can be found in videos, books, magazines, and instruction manuals. It’s also quite prevalent on the web.

Let’s look at Golden Rule No. 2: Always dress for the water temperature – no exceptions!

The five Golden Rules:

Common excuses people give for making rule No. 2 exceptions

1. Always wear your PFD

2. Always dress for the water temperature – no exceptions!

3. Field-test your gear

4. Swim-test your gear every time you go out

5. Imagine the worst that can happen and prepare for it

The problem with all these excuses is that although they work just fine in Fantasyland, they’re exactly the kind of magical thinking that can get you killed in the real world. Nobody ever plans on capsizing. Nor do they ever plan on encountering conditions ‘challenging’ enough to kill them. The bottom line for anyone paddling on cold water is whether or not he or she are adequately prepared for immersion, and the only way to be prepared for immersion is to dress for the water temperature. No Exceptions!

I’m not going to capsize.

The water temperature is above 60F.

I brought extra clothing and warm drinks. I paddle ‘close to shore’ or in ‘protected waters’. I don’t plan on encountering ‘challenging conditions’.

They’re uncomfortable and get in the way of my paddling.

I paddle with a group and can quickly get back in my boat. Air temperature plus the water temperature equals whatever, so it’s safe.

The air temperature is too warm and I’m worried that I’ll overheat.

I’m just going out for a quick paddle, not an expedition to the North Pole. They’re too expensive, I’m on a tight budget, and I don’t kayak that often.

What’s your own experience with cold water? What’s your take on the Golden Rules of Cold Water Safety? Are you always prepared for immersion when you paddle on cold water? If not, what’s your excuse? Please comment and let your mates know what you think.

field-test your gear

Cold Water Safety – Golden Rule number 3: next month.

© 2013 National Center for Cold Water Safety. This information is protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced without permission.

ThePaddler 155

ThePaddler 156

Broughton Arc The

British Columbia


by S


Sea Kayak by Will brown

‘Telegraph Cove’ was the put-in point. a small settlement on the north eastern shores of vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Canada’s a big place – it takes four hours to fly to the west coast from the east coast! The reward is there in spades though… for vancouver City, its surroundings and its neighbouring island by the same name, are sights to behold.

ThePaddler 157

ThePaddler 158

Under the direction of our guide,

wee Mike Arkley (explanation later) from Mountain and Sea Guides,

Applecross, Scotland, we five intrepid adventurers converged on Vancouver City at various times in a 24-hour period. We did the usual bonding thing over a few beers on Saturday eve, paid various visits to the Mountain Equipment Co-op for last-minute gear, and took internal flights/buses to Port Hardy on Sunday and Monday for a re-union at Telegraph Cove and a departure on our seven day expedition on Monday afternoon. (Mike and the group had shopped for provisions in Port McNeil that morning, all very convenient for me arriving on a fog-delayed internal flight around 15.00!).

Logging encampment, Echo Bay

ThePaddler 159

ThePaddler 160

Expedition day one:

Under blue skies and a scorching evening sun, we set off, heading south along the island’s east coastline, towards Kaikash Creek beach, and its relatively well equipped camp site (i.e. composting toilet with roof, and designated camp fire site). We heard humpback whales as we sat around the campfire that night – expertly identified by Kate, a local kayak guide leading another group.

Expedition day two:

Mike had courageously set a fairly ambitious route for the week. It would take us around much of the Broughton Archipelago, completing a substantial circuit and risking getting ‘cut off’ from the main island had weather conditions conspired against us. We crossed Johnstone Strait on our first full day, where we encountered strong tides (though with Mike’s guidance avoided the 14 knot peak!) and cruise ships. We camped on Mound Island that night, and met up with four other paddlers – all guys in their late 50s plus (one was 72, the one who had recently cycled the full length of Africa!) just taking time out (in one case about 10 days out) to paddle these delightful waters.

key activity of the trip After paddling, faffing was another

After paddling, faffing was another key activity of the trip. But it has to be acknowledged that faffing time reduced significantly as we became re-acquainted with camp craft skills which were in some cases (mine included) somewhat rusty! One thing that led to delays occasionally – and this was in the mornings – was that you couldn’t take off and pack your nice warm, dry, overnight gear, until you were ready to put on your damp paddling gear, and you couldn’t put on your damp paddling gear until you had, shall we say, attended to the natural things your body tends to do in the mornings… and when your body clock is suddenly thrown eight hours out of kilter this can be a problem!

ThePaddler 161

ThePaddler 162

Expedition day three: We took a slight detour first thing next morning to view a Petroglyph on the northern side of Berry Island. The faded image of two stern looking eyes painted on a rock face suggested to us that this was a place we shouldn’t land, and sure enough, just a few hundred metres along, was a sign stating in black and white that this was a First Nation’s burial ground and that landing was prohibited.

Echo Bay was our destination that day. Spurred on by promises of a whiskey re-fuelling depot (we’d been generous towards other paddlers on the first two nights… and OK, had a few wee drams ourselves too…) we covered around 26kms that day, under blistering sunshine. It was a pure delight – flat calm conditions as we paddled ‘topless’ across Knight inlet, through Retreat Passage (stopping at Health Bay for a brief lunch on the beach and a chat with the natives on their quad bikes). Alas, on arrival at Echo Bay, the store could only provide us with 0.5% low alcohol beer and a few bars of chocolate… but needless to say, we made the most of these and the late afternoon sun to air some gear and chill out! The five ‘punters’ in the group were Mark from Bedford, Ian from Wicklow then Bangor, Clive from Essex then Australia then Essex again, Big Mike from Bristol and me, Will, from N Ireland. Wee Mike was weeer than Big Mike – and that’s as far as the explanation goes!

Expedition day four:

Our fourth day on the water brought the reward of our first Orca sighting as we headed west along Fife Sound! We saw some wild splashing in the distance and the sight of four or five big dorsal fins, viewed through my monocular was quite daunting. The group split as they passed us – the big bull headed down the north side of the Sound while the mother, calf and others passed close by.

Will Brown, Burdwood Islands

We saw some wild splashing in the distance and the sight of four or five

big dorsal fins,

viewed through my monocular was quite daunting

A real treat â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mike even commented on how the pressure was off now! Our first potential campsite in Dusky Cove on Bonwick Island was dismissed upon the discovery of a huge, fresh bear sh** beside the only tent pitch so we paddled on, clocking up 34kms before landing on Owl Island just before dark! That was a cracker wee spot with a nice viewing point where we could watch whale activity into the late evening.

ThePaddler 163

ThePaddler 164

huge humpbackâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Today, sure enough, a

head soon broke the surface, mouth open following a successful scoop!

Will Brown, Outer rim of the Broughton Archipeligo, Queen Charlotte Strait

Expedition day five: We set off in fairly foggy conditions and soon heard the voluminous blows of hump back whales. As the fog lifted, we were treated to the sight of these huge animals surfacing and occasionally beating their tails on the water. A few times, we’d witnessed seagulls in frenzy over a bait ball – an ever-revolving ball of small fish, each attempting to evade capture by individually trying to remain in the centre of the ball. If the seagulls’ excitement doesn’t abate, it’s usually a sign of mammal activity below the surface, keeping the fish within reach. Today, sure enough, a huge humpback’s head soon broke the surface, mouth open following a successful scoop! We were entertained by this for over half an hour, but eventually tore ourselves away to seek out a suitable camp, which we eventually found at the end of Double Bay on Hanson Island.

Expedition day six:

We were well within reach of Telegraph Cove by this stage and were able to explore the Plumper Islands before making a leisurely crossing of Johnstone Strait to spend our last night where we spent our first, at Kaikash Creek. And do you

know what, it rained! And this was a good thing, for it reminded us how lucky we had been all week! My bivvy bag proved to be less than water tight, but things improved when I braved the elements at 03.00 and tied my ground sheet between trees as a shelter.

Expedition day seven:

It just made the comforts of Telegraph Cove all the more appealing. And the wind got up too, so we had a nice 11km push into a headwind on our last day, getting into Telegraph Cove around lunchtime. So what a fantastic week on the water, in the wilds of British Columbia. Good weather, good company, amazing scenery. I did think a few times that more breakfast would be good, but then again, this tended to bring out the huntergatherer instinct a bit more – no doubt all part of Mike’s efforts to ensure we got the most out of the trip! And we didn’t get eaten by killer whales or bears (some of the group heard bears turning boulders on the beach in the early mornings looking for crabs), and amazingly not even nibbled by midges or mosquitoes. Any of these things (some more than others) could so easily have dented our enjoyment of the trip. But no, all perfect. Full marks. Highly recommended! To join this trip or see info on our Scottish expeditions go to

ThePaddler 165

ThePaddler 166

INFORMATION weather: Vancouver Island benefits greatly from being detached to the rest of the continent as it sees a much more temperate climate. The ocean air brings more humidity to the island, keeping it warmer, but this also brings rain. Vancouver Island is truly lush and green with incredible forestland. There is a weather division along the island because of the mountains. The west side of the island sees the snow in the winter and also the most rain. In fact, the west side of the island has the most annual rainfall of anywhere in North America. In return, the mountains protect the east side from harsh winds and weather and thus it is much warmer with mild winters. For very detailed British Columbia climate information, check out Environment Canada's BC,-125.733032&spn=2.48212,5.830994&t=m&z=9 climate page and select the specific locations you're interested in.


wildlife: Killer whales frolic in the waves. Thousands of massive grey whales parade past the shores of Tofino and Ucluelet. Black bears amble along a shoreline turning over rocks in search of crabs. Bald eagles soar overhead while the remarkable phenomenon of spawning salmon fills rivers with dazzling colour. Roosevelt elk, cougars, marmots, porpoises, Minke whales, humpback whales, sea lions, seals, and then there are the birds: well over 200 species are spotted here. The opportunities to see wildlife in the Vancouver Island region are outstanding.

Largest and tallest: With a length of approximately 460 km and an average breadth of 100 km, Vancouver Island is comparable in size to some countries such as the Netherlands and Taiwan. Rain and mild temperatures have fostered the development of temperate rain forests. Vancouver Island is home to two UNESCO biosphere reserves – Clayoquot and Arrowsmith. Della Falls, in Strathcona Provincial Park, is Canada’s highest waterfall, at 440 metres (1,452 feet) and one of the ten highest in the world. Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is home to some of the world’s largest spruce trees, some reaching heights in excess of 95 metres (310 feet) and living for 800 years and more. Geography: There are 9,396 lakes on Vancouver Island and there are over 1,000 recorded caves on Vancouver Island.

vancouver City: Named after Captain George Vancouver, the city has a population of just over a half a million people. It has been voted twice (in 2005 and 2006) as the best city for quality of life. Vancouver is sheltered from any extreme weather by Vancouver Island. Known for its amazing scenery, Vancouver is a city which certainly takes advantage of its great location. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountain range gives the city a stunning backdrop, whilst on the North Shore just minutes from Downtown Vancouver is the North Shore Mountain range with ski resorts and spectacular views back towards the city and beyond.

The North Shore also has areas of temperate rain forest, which years ago covered the whole of this area before Vancouver was developed into the city that it is today.

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

ThePaddler 167

ThePaddler ezine com International digital magazine for recreational paddlers


ATTENTION: All paddlers across the globe – for your chance to

wIN a BaG oF SwaG by 1. Visit: 2. Like: ThePaddler Facebook page 3 Cross: your fingers!

Simply ‘like’ our ThePaddler Facebook page and your name will be entered into our draw.

we have one bag of GoSUP goodies to be shipped anywhere in the world to the first paddler picked out of that draw on Nov 30TH 2013.

GoSUPGEar.CoM: The fastest and easiest way to list used, rental, demo or new SUP gear.

ThePaddler 14 November 2013 WW Kayak Cover  

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

ThePaddler 14 November 2013 WW Kayak Cover  

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