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Issue 17 - April 2014

ThePaddler ThePaddler ezine com ezine com ..

International digital magazine for recreational paddlers International digital magazine for recreational paddlers



Through central Africa

Dragorossi The bigTamur 88 and River Liquid by Stan LogicRicketts Remix







The 15th century Château de Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France. Photo: Paul Villecourt Editor

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

Advertising sales

Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081

Covers Kayak: River Zambezi by Mat Dumoulin SUP: Vanina Walsh by Ben Thouard Salty: Greenland by Søren Telling OC: Elba island by David Truzzi-Franconi

Additional contributor credits: Phil Carr, Richard Cree, Dale Mears, Jan Carol Phillips, Cuan Coetzee , P.Y. Photographic, David Pierron, Gael Kernin, Nick Troutman, Leslie Alsheimer, Jim Walsh, Philipp Klement, Simon King and Steve Seinet-Martin

Not all contributors are professional writers and photographers, so don’t be put off writing because you have no experience! ThePaddler ezine is all about paddler to paddler dialogue: a paddler’s magazine written by paddlers. Next issue is June 2014 with a deadline of submissions on May 5th. Technical Information: Contributions preferably as a Microsoft Word file with 1200-2000 words, emailed to Images should be hiresolution 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 17

April 2014

004 Eight of the Best

The best films from around the planet

006 Rivers under attack

Links to petition sites to halt the damming of rivers

008 Photo of the month

From the National Student Rodeo

010 Testing, testing

Tons of new kit reviewed and tested

020 Buying your second boat first Scott Edward’s advice on buying your first kayak

026 Nepal rafting

Stan Ricketts blasts down the Tamur River

042 Coaching

WW paddling skills by Dave Rossetter

046 UK National Student Rodeo By Nathan Ellis

054 Mexico

Michoacán expedition by Seth Ashworth

068 Zambia

Zambezi River paradise by Mat Dumoulin

086 Interview Dr Jessie Stone

098 Central Africa

Alex Sergison’s SUP odyssey across central Africa

114 The Paddler’s Planet By Christian Wagley

116 Interview Vanina Walsh

128 Norway

A year in Senja by Frode and Wivian Wiggen

144 Greenland

Northeast Greenland by Søren Telling

154 Cold water safety part 4 Golden Rule No.5 by Moulton Avery

160 Italy

Beach hopping Elba Island by David Truzzi-Franconi

ThePaddler 3

Once around Algonquin - teaser

Kevin Callan Canada

Book of Legends

Jared Meehan Siberia, Russia

India Surf Festival 2014

Sebastian Vilari単o India

Southwest coast of Norway

Neptun Kajakk AS Norway

Full descent of the Stikine

Serrasolses Brothers British Columbia, Canada

SUP Movie - That First Glide

XTreme Video Hawaii, United States

The Dance, Ep. 5

The Dance Patagonia, Chile

Sea Kayaking Sweden

ThePaddler 4

mfred2 Sweden







■ Dagger Katana E Kayak

■ Venture Islay 12’ Kayak

■ Palm Loweswater Deck

■ Venture Combi deck

■ Carlisle 1pc Paddle RRP £748 OFFER PRICE £650

■ Carlisle Enchantment Paddle ■ RRP £853 OFFER PRICE £740 These are just examples, for package suggestions tailored to you please call/email!


Sweet Protection Shadrack RRP £400 Now £175


Kanu Lock Straps From £44.95 Palm Fuse £199

Palm Safety Tape £14.95


Palm FXR £109

Palm Amp £149

Palm Extrem ££169

Palm Velocity £109

Palm FX £79

Peak River Guide £139

Peak Adventure Vest £119

Peak Airbags Palm Roof Straps From £9.95 Palm Surge £169

Palm Ariel Womens £169

(Pair) £30

Palm Zenith £129

Palm Hydro Adventure £74.95 Yak Kallista Legacy £50

Peak Adventure Single £175

Peak Neo Shorts £36

Peak Freeride £169

Peak Neo Pants £45

Peak Combi £165

Palm Blaze Shorts £39

Palm Snake Sling £13.95

Yak Blaze £32

HF Weasel £24.95 Sweet Rocker 2014 £189 Sweet Wanderer 2014 £129 Sweet Strutter 2014 £169

Palm Bullet 15m throwline £34.95

Mystic Poncho £35

Sweet Rocker 2013 RRP £189 Now £119

Sweet Wanderer 2013 RRP £119 Now £69

Sweet Strutter from £99

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK FOR DAILY OFFERS @ ROBIN HOOD KAYAK CLUB, CENTRE OR SCHOOL LOOKING FOR KIT? DEMO FLEET & INDOOR HEATED POOL ■ Large whitewater and touring fleet available! ■ Indoor heated pool for free boat tests! ■ 15 years supplying commercial paddlesports! ■ Trade rates and credit account facilities available! ■ Roho van available, convenient & well priced deliveries! 01924 444888

■ Staff on hand to help with advice and outfitting! 152 Leeds Road, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, WF16 9BJ

ThePaddler 6

Under attack and time to fight back!

On every continent, the planet’s river systems are under threat from dams and hydro schemes, which are seen as quick fixes for countries energy shortfalls. Here’s a collection of dam/hydro projects that will kill not only the river but the surrounding ecological system in tandem plus a few success stories:)

The Batoka Dam

Zambezi River Zimbabwe and Zambia

The Isimba Dam

River Nile Uganda

HidroAysén Project

Baker and Pascua Rivers Chile

Belo Monte Dam

Xingu River Brazil

Save the Tapajos River People!

Tapajos River Brazil

Ilisu Dam

Tigris River Turkey

Baram Dam

Sarawak River Malaysia

Return of the River

As paddlers, we have a vested interest in ensuring the world’s arteries remain free from these clogging dangers, so please sign the petitions to help the cause.

Jessica Plumb Washington state, United States

We are Scotland's National Outdoor Training Centre located in the heart of Cairngorms National Park. Learn, develop or qualify in an adventure sport of your choice. Our goal is to inspire adventure by teaching beginners, coaching intermediate/advanced and delivering training and assessment courses for leaders and instructors.

White water water White

Open canoeing canoeing Open

ayaking Sea ea kkayaking

Surf kayaking kayaking


First ai aid d & rrescue escue

ThePaddler 8


Photo of the National Student Rodeo 2014

Photo: Phil Carr. l

ThePaddler 10

Peak’s Pants w

Peak UK has two new waterproof pants in the range for 2014.

The Tourlite/Multisport Pants are constructed from tough x2.5 ripstop fabric with reinforcements in all the right places. The flat elastic and shockcord waist and neoprene/Velcro ankle seals make these pants ideal not only for kayaking and open boating, but also for other activities such as walking and biking, saving you money and space in your luggage!

The new Semi Pants are made out of Peak’s eco-friendly recycled polyester and feature an Aquaout waist seal with double Aquaout outer/Superstretch neo cone inner ankle seals. The Semi Pants are ideal for most scenarios and complement perfectly Peak’s new Semi Jacket.

The Tourlite/Multisport and Semi Pants are both available now and retail at £89 and £115 respectively.

Testing, in association with

in association with

Palm FXr PFD By Phil Carr

The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has been around in one form or another for years and has been one of Palm’s top sellers throughout its lifetime. In 2013 Palm took the FX and totally overhauled its fit and the material used.

spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of Palm’s rescue belt. This is the same system used on Palm’s entire rescue PFDs and includes a metal Oring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ring and rescue belt can be easily removed.

The FXr like the FX is a slab design that is put on over the head. The slab is a much better fit than on The new FX has been such a success that it seemed the previous FX model, as it has been shaped to to make sense to move things up a gear and develop contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. In a rescue vest using the same platform. Palm have done   profile design  addition the low of the FXr allows for exactly this and have released the FXr in early 2014.  great range of movement. Adjustment to all of the straps is simple and straightforward. The waist I have used the FX for almost a year for playboat duties and have used a Palm Extrem River Vest whilst band/belt is coated with a rubber material (3d anti ride up), which helps to keep the PFD in place. out in my creek boat of river runner. The FX is a superb bit of kit and I was intrigued to see how the The fabrics used are pretty heavy duty 500D Cordura, FXr would measure up against both the FX and the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River Extrem PFDs. Vest and match in colour to those used in the dry top range.The FXr is available in Sherbet (a bright orange In many respects the FXr is just the same as the FX. with contrasting blue zips/stitching) and Aqua (a bright The majority of the features have remained the blue with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches same. However, some improvements have been made in a number of key areas. The easiest change to like the contrasting stitching and reflective piping really makes the FXr stand out.



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Features include: â—? â—? â—? â—?

â—? â—? â—? â—? â—? â—?

â—? â—?

Low profile foam panels. Slimline front pocket with inner compartment, key ring clip. 3D anti ride-up waistbelt. Easy Glide strap adjustment throughout. Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps with strap keeper pockets. Reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels.

dle rs ema il u r s: eview s@ t hep ad d lere z in e

m m .c.coo

Palm have made a really good looking and highly functional PFD with the FXr. It has taken the FX, which is a superb PFD to a new level. Palm has a PFD that I think will be a huge success with a wide range of paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. Creekers and river runners will like the robust fabrics and addition of the rescue belt. You have therefore a PFD that can be used equally as well in a number of different scenarios. The only negative I have spotted is the odd fact that Palm may have inadvertently created a lower cost PFD that is actually better in many respects that the Amp PFD.

waanntt yy IIff yyoouu w oou tiioonn.. u r r sttaat pprr sstt s

In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. This is located above the main pocket and runs horizontally at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is easy to find/access and is fastened shut with a pressstud. I have tried a couple of folding knives in this pocket and have found that it works well.

eesst paadd t ttoo p

The front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a large zip. Inside is a useful clip in point, D ring and small mesh panel for keys etc.The zip is easy to spot as it is in a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD.The pocket and the foam slab sit low on your body, which again gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare, I say it, makes swimming pretty easy.

ThePadd le r ez ine te

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

View Palm FXr video

ThePaddler 11


s Pants Biolite stove

in association with

in association with

two new pants in the 14.


Testing, testin

ThePaddler 12


By Richard Cree

01642 01642520234 520234

palm of your hand. It will burn almost anything; I found it to be most efficient using small dry sticks and a small piece of firelighter to get it started! We often camp using a tipi, previously we would carry a large fire

ultisport Pants are box that burns although hot, very inefficiently it creates lots of I first saw Biolite stoves a couple of years ago, I was om tough x2.5 smoke and uses a huge amount of fuel, the Biolite stove has with reinforcements interested, although not enough to purchase with an changed this, we now for almost the same heat burn a fraction of places. The flat price of £150.00, I felt it was a lot of money for yet ckcord waist and the wood without the smoke damage! stove! Move on six months with 20% discount I another ro ankle seals make al not only for thought, I need one! The stove I am reviewing I have been The addition of the grill makes it possible to BBQ, feeding the fire is pen boating, but spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of using for 18 months or so, and the grill attachment still as easy, just flip open the lid and drop your sticks in. The grill has activities such as This is the same system used on Palm’s rescue belt.for Phil Carr ing, saving you Palm’s entire rescue PFDs and includes a designed metal Osix months. I paid for them both! the lastBy been so the heat output is zoned, one side being ideal for The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has ace in your luggage! ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through cooking the other for keeping food warm or much slower cooking, been around in one form or another for thetakes PFD, which gives the PFD a really the fabric of it stove is a genius piece of camping equipment; The Biolite Pants are made years and has been one of Palm’s top sellers the grill isn’t huge but big enough for four burgers. nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ring and co-friendly recycled throughout its lifetime. In 2013 Palm took and makes it clean what is usually a fairly inefficient dirty process rescue belt can be easily removed. eature an Aquaout the FX and totally overhauled its fit and the and efficient. It uses thermoelectric technology turning heat in to The stove comes in a handy carry bag to keep it all together and double Aquaout The FXr like the FX is a slab design that is put on material used. etch neo cone electric, this electric in turn powers a fan aiding the kit from the inevitable soot,isthe withviaa a the head. The slab is a muchsave better your fit thanother on overcombustion The front pocket hugegrill and iscomes easily accessed The new FX has been such a success that it seemed ls. The Semi Pants model, as it has been shaped to the previous FX large zip. Inside is a useful clip in point, D ring and making the fire more efficient, the remainder of electricity that is very handy lid tat covers the cooking area so limiting the need to small to make sense to move things up a gear and develop ost scenarios and contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. In mesh panel for keys etc.The zip is easy to spot as it is in a rescue vest using the same platform. Palm have done made can be used to charge small portable appliances for example     wash it. erfectly Peak’s new addition the low profile design of the FXr allows for a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD.The pocket exactly this and have released the FXr in early 2014. great range of movement. Adjustment to all of the mobile phone, satnav etc. and the foam slab sit low on your body, which again ToThe summarize the Biolite stove gives andgreat grilllevels willofnever replace my straps is simple and straightforward. waist I have used the FX for almost a year for playboat movement for paddling and dare, I ultisport and Semi band/belt is coated material (3d anti duties and have a Palm Extrem The burns veryused hot boiling a River litreVest of whilst water in a very shortwith a rubberPrimus multifuel, however, I am using it more andpretty more. swimming easy. It’s a great say it, makes available now andstove ride up), which helps to keep the PFD in place. out in my creek boat of river runner. The FX is a d £115 period ofsuperb time,bitnot slower multifuel. After piece of kit and with the ability to charge mymain equipment, makes it a In addition to the pocket is a small knife pocket. of kitmuch and I was intriguedthan to seemy howPrimus the The fabrics used are pretty heavy duty 500D Cordura, Thistrips. is located above the main pocket and runs would measure against the FX and could be held in the FXrof four hours burn timeupthe ashboth produced necessity the same as used in the more expensive Extremon Riverextended wilderness horizontally at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is Extrem PFDs. Vest and match in colour to those used in the dry top easy to find/access and is fastened shut with a pressrange.The FXr is available in Sherbet (a bright orange In many respects the FXr is just the same as the FX. stud. I have tried a couple of folding knives in this with contrasting blue zips/stitching) and Aqua (a bright The majority of the features have remained the pocket and have found that it works well. blue with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches same. However, some improvements have been Palm have made a really good looking and highly made in a number of key areas. The easiest change to like the contrasting stitching and reflective piping really functional PFD with the FXr. It has taken the FX, which makes the FXr stand out. is a superb PFD to a new level. Palm has a PFD that I think will be a huge success with a wide range of paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. Creekers and river runners will like the robust fabrics and addition of the rescue belt. You have therefore a PFD that can be used equally as well in a number of different scenarios. The only negative I have spotted is the odd fact that Palm may have inadvertently created a lower cost PFD that is actually better in many respects that the Amp PFD.

Palm FXr PFD

Features include: â—? â—?

â—? â—? â—?


Low profile foam panels. Slimline front pocket with inner compartment, key ring clip. 3D anti ride-up waistbelt. Easy Glide strap adjustment throughout. Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps with strap keeper pockets. Reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels.


One PFD to do it all

FXr The comfort and simplicity of the FX freestyle PFD, fitted out with a rescue harness, extra floatation and Removable chest harness • Cowtail park • Easy access knife pocket • Failsafe shoulder straps • Relective details

a knife pocket, making the most versatile unisex PFD ever.




new in the

in association with

Après – the hot recovery drink By Richard Cree

Palm FXr PFD

need to eat to recover, or I have used the FX for almost a year for playboat again you crumble and duties and have used a Palm Extrem River Vest whilst recovery boat ofBad river runner. The FXcan is a out in my creek stop! superb bit of kitresult and I was to see how the in intrigued lost training days! FXr would measure up against both the FX and Extrem PFDs.

I first discovered Après Hot Recovery In many respects the FXr is just the same as the FX. Drink at a cycling event, and it got me The majority of the features have remained the thinking, how many calories dohave youbeen burn same. However, some improvements in aday number key areas. The–easiest to aftermade a big onofthe water 3 tochange 4,000? What’s the difference between a big day’s kayaking and a cycle race? In your body’s opinion very little. Glycogen has been depleted, muscles are tired and sore, you’re dehydrated and you need to recover. I spoke to Après and discovered surfers, runners, cyclists and anybody doing anything that your body needs to recover from already use the drink!

The science behind Après Hot Chocolate is based on the 3:1 carbohydrate to protein content along with natural flavourings of quality organic cocoa and antioxidants of malted barley. It contains vitamins, electrolytes and L glutamine.

Studies have shown that there are up to three times more antioxidants in a serving of cocoa than in green tea and twice that of red wine. Malted barley has antioxidant properties and has been shown to aid circulation and reduce cholesterol. Lactic acid build up is like a rust, which antioxidants help to remove, which is why Après has been fortified with antioxidant vitamins as well as B vitamins for cardiovascular health. Après is available in 2kg pouches (£59.99) for using at home and in smaller handy sachets (£1.99) for taking on your multiday trips! I think it tastes great, isn’t too sweet and does you plenty of good. Why wouldn’t you have a cup at the end of a day’s paddling?

01642 01642520234 520234

Palm Ion Bib dry trousers By Dale Mears

I bought myself a pair of Palm’s new Ion Bib dry trousers last year ready for the cold winter months. Now in their second season these dry trousers have had some serious use. I love them!

The Ion Bib is the new version of the Sidewinder Bib; great fitting, tough wearing dry trousers for all occasions. Mine have mostly been used in Nottingham’s floodwaters and bearing that in mind I went for spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of the Saffron colour. I have been muddy fields, waded through dirty Trent floodwater and when not Palm’s rescue belt. This is the same system usedthrough on entire rescue a metalaOPalm’s paddling, satPFDs on and theincludes bank with camera and they still are in pretty good nick.

ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through which gives the PFD a is really the fabric TheoffittheofPFD, these dry trousers excellent. I’m 5’11� medium waist (34�) and have a medium nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ring and legs are an excellent length and they don’t ride up too high; they bag slightly over river The rescue belt can be easily removed.

in the Ion Bib. boots, which is how I prefer to wear them. The ankles feature a Velcro adjustment if you prefer them tight to your The FXr like the FX is a slab design that is put on aThe feature neverfit than used. advantage of the waterproof socks, which are quite over ankle, the head. slab is aI have much better on The Ion bib has theThe front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a model, as it has 9-10 been shaped the previous large zip.That Inside issaid a useful in point, D ring and small large –FXI wear a size shoetoand there is plenty of room. theclipsocks are flexible enough to fold contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. In mesh panel for keys etc.The zip is easy to spot as it is in up/move any unwanted sock without bulking up in your boots.  profile  of the FXr the low design allows for addition a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD.The pocket great range of movement. Adjustment to all of the and the foam slab sit low on your body, which again The dry trousers themselves are made of a three-layer fabric, which gives the trousers plenty of strength straps is simple and straightforward. The waist gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare, I band/belt coated with afor rubber material (3dThe anti seat and knees are say and isprotection your limbs. re-enforced due pretty to these it, makes swimming easy. being the areas where ride up), which helps to keep the PFD in place. wear would normally occur either in your kayak or onInthe bank. addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. The fabrics used are pretty heavy duty 500D Cordura, This is located above the main pocket and runs the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River Of course what you all want to know is how do I takehorizontally a pee right? trousers at theThese top of the foam The come pocket iswith a Vest and match in colour to those used in the dry top to find/access andquite is fastened shut if with a presseasylocation, Flexible TiZip MasterSeal front relief zip in the necessary also handy you want to let a bit range.The FXr is available in Sherbet (a bright orange stud. I have tried a couple of folding knives in this with of contrasting and Aqua (a bright air in. blue Thezips/stitching) waist is extremely comfortable and not too bulky when pocket and have foundcombined that it works with well. the Atom cag blue with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches (obviously any dry cag will also link up with these trousers). The waist stretchy made a reallyisgood lookingneoprene and highly with Velcro Palm have like the contrasting stitching and reflective piping really functional PFD as withathe FXr. It has taken the FX, which adjustment also featuring a twin waist making it excellent if using two-piece immersion suit. I prefer to the FXr stand out. makes is a superb PFD to a new level. Palm has a PFD that I use a two-piece over a dry suit, as it is easier to replace one part. think will be a huge success with a wide range of paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. The Ion Bib come in two colours of Saffron and Jet Grey – I own both, they that good. The neoprene Creekers and river runners willare like the robust fabrics and addition of the belt.way You have therefore a upper body adds a lot of warmth and the webbed braces do not getrescue in the whilst paddling. PFD that can be used equally as well in a number of scenarios. The and only negative I have spotted is water. All in all a great dry trouser for any paddler wanting todifferent stay warm, dry comfortable on the the odd fact that Palm may have inadvertently created a lower cost PFD that is actually better in many respects that the Amp PFD.

Features include: â—? â—?

â—? â—? â—?


Low profile foam panels. Slimline front pocket with inner compartment, key ring clip. 3D anti ride-up waistbelt. Easy Glide strap adjustment throughout. Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps with strap keeper pockets. Reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels.

est pad to

ort Pants are ugh x2.5 einforcements The flat d waist and kle seals makeWhen I’m not filling my spare time only for with kayaking, I spend it training for oating, but es such as Ironman triathlons. By Phil Carr aving you Palm Equipment has The FX PFD from When doing longer your luggage! been around in one form or another for distance training days are made years and has been one of Palm’s top sellers endly recycled the fourth throughout its lifetime. In 2013discipline Palm took is e an Aquaout the FX and totally overhauled its fit and the nutrition – you have to e Aquaout material used. eat to fuel your body – if neo cone The new FX has been such a success that it seemed Semi Pants you things don’t up you a gearcrumble and develop to make sense to move enarios and a rescue vest usingand the same platform. Palmend haveyou done  stop. At the y Peak’s new exactly this and have released the FXr in early 2014.

ort and Semi ble now and 15


Testing, testin

ThePaddler 14

in association with





new in the


Testing, testin

ThePaddler 16

in association with

in association with

Astral Rassler shoes By Phil Carr

01642 01642520234 520234

SylvanSport GO

Valke Outdoors successfully launched SylvanSport’s flagship

Palm FXr PFD

the kit you normally carry on a river is very useful. I wouldn’t demand such a feature as standard but it’s a great idea.

The Rasslers have a good compromise between support and bulk.The fit is pretty good for me although I did find the notch in the ankle cuff to be a little strange when I first put them on and I can feel it whilst walking but once sat in the boat it makes perfect sense. I can quite happily wear them within by playboat without much in the way of discomfort.

A car park poll found that most but not all of the paddlers liked the black and striking lime green colour scheme. I personally love it. I’ve been using the Rasslers for around six months and have been really pleased with the way they have held up.

Features include: For more information about the SylvanSport GO, visit, Low profile foam panels. email or call Slimline 0844 front 381pocket 9255.with inner compartment, key â—? â—?

â—? â—? â—?


ring clip. 3D anti ride-up waistbelt. Easy Glide strap adjustment throughout. Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps with strap keeper pockets. Reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels.

est pad to

ort Pants are Finding a good shoe or boot that is robust enough for long walk camping trailer, the GO – described by National Geographic as ugh x2.5 the ‘coolest camper ever’ – at this year’s Caravan and Camping ins/outs, offers good levels of protection/support and is einforcements Show. The flat comfortable to wear all day, is pretty tough.Thankfully a number d waist and of big players have begun to expand the range of shoes available. kle seals make The SylvanSport’s GO is one of the most unique camping and travel trailer For the last couple of years I have been using a pair of Five Ten only for you’ll find, designed from the frame up to be a one-of-a-kind mobile oating, but Water Tennies and really like them. But I also spot between theof FXAstral and FXr is the addition of have a set adventure es such as Palm’s rescue belt. This is the same system used on trailer that’s possibly more versatile than a Swiss Army knife. This Carr are great in my playboat.ThePalm’s By Philwhich Brewers, Brewers dry PFDs much aving you entire rescue and includesproduct a metal O-is now available for the first time in the UK, exclusively through Valke The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has your luggage! faster that the Water Tennies but don’t havering clippinglevel in to. The through theforsame of belt is threaded been around in one form or another for Outdoors. the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really are made protection the Five hasstiffness been one as of Palm’s topTens. sellers years and or nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ring and endly recycled lifetime. In 2013 Palm took Rassler isitsAstral’s newest boot takes the Brewer beefs Thethroughout belt canand be easily removed. Beyond its surface, no design element has been left untouched. The GO is a rescue e an Aquaout the FX and totally overhauled its fit and the multifunctional camping trailer designed, engineered and built to give years of fun for tougher e Aquaout it up The FXr like the FX is a slab design that is put on used. walk ins/outs. material neo cone over the head. The slab is a much better fit than on and adventure. The front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a The new FX has been such a success that it seemed Semi Pants The Astral shoes come with Five Ten’s Stealth Stealth previous FX model, as it has been shaped to the sole. large zip. Inside is a useful clip in point, D ring and small to make sense to move things up a gear and develop enarios and contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. In mesh panel for keys etc.The zip is easy to spot as it is in rubber is vest superb and has a good grip and  a rescue using the same platform. Palmbalance have donebetween  addition the  A fully loaded SylvanSport GO includes: y Peak’s new low profile design of the FXr allows for a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD.The pocket exactly and haveIreleased FXrthe in early 2014. range length ofthis service. have ittheon Five Tens I great wear both on and of movement. Adjustment•to allSylvanSport of the mobile adventure tent system. foam slaband sit low on your body, which again and the trailer andastraightforward. straps is simple The waist havewater. used the The FX forsoles almost can a yearalso for playboat be easily replaced using DIY gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare, I ort and Semi off Ithe • Bed/table panels allows up to six different interior configurations. and have used a Palm Extrem River Vest whilst band/belt is coated with a rubber material (3d anti say it, makes swimming pretty easy. ble now and kit duties available from Five Ten or can beis done for at one oftoFive rideyou up), which helps keep the PFD•in place. in my creek boat of river runner. The FX a out Four self-inflating mattresses – a GO sleeps up to four, comfortably, on a king15 In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. superb bit of kit and I was intrigued to see how the Tens approved shoe repairer centres. Cordura, The fabrics used are pretty heavy duty 500Dand-a-half sized bed. This is located above the main pocket and runs FXr would measure up against both the FX and the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River the top of the foamspace. slab. The pocket is • Awning kit – adds 80sq. ft.horizontally of extraatoutdoor living PFDs. have good grip on wet grass and green concrete and TheExtrem Rasslers Vest and match in colour to those used in the dry top easy to find/access and is fastened shut with a pressrange.The is available bright orange In many FXr is just the same I’d as the FX. rocks, Therespects grip istheexcellent which expect from theFXr Five Ten in Sherbet (aFor I have a couple of folding knives It in this stud. kayakers and canoeists, the GO is tried a great shuttle vehicle. will hold two with contrasting blue zips/stitching) and Aqua (a bright The majority of the features have remained the pocket and have found that it works well. sole. They are definitely a bit stiffer than the Brewers and they feel underneath when in its fully closed, transport mode and you can stack as blue with lime green zips/stitching). Nicekayaks little touches same. However, some improvements have been Palm have made a really good looking and highly as ifmade theyin are made from tough Cordura fabric. tongue like A themesh contrasting stitching and reflective piping really a number of key areas. The easiest change to many on top as your imagination will allow. Not only can you haul multiple kayaks functional PFD with the FXr. It has taken the FX, which the FXr stand out. makes provides a level of breathability and aids in the drying process. a superb a new level. Palm a PFD thatcomfortable I anywhere you want, but with isthe GO,PFD youtocan camp in ahas spacious, think will be a huge success with a wide range of environment when you get there, offering an all-in-one base camp where you The also drain really well with holes mid way along the sides and paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. can eat, plan, socialize and sleep in comfort. Creekers and river runners will like the robust fabrics a larger hole at the heel. When I climbed pack in my boat I and addition of the rescue belt. You have therefore a didn’t bring in a pile of water from the shoes. With an easy, tool-free removal, converted anofopen-topped PFDthe that GO can becan usedbe equally as well in ainto number different scenarios. The only negative I have spotted is day use. utility trailer capable of turning your car into a pickup truck for day to A nice touch is the fact that the pull on loops at the heel will the odd fact that Palm may have inadvertently created The GO offers a tough, durable platform from building also accept a regular sized karabiner. So hooking up to dry using a lower cost PFDfor thattransporting is actually better anything in many materials, to refrigerators. respects that the Amp PFD.


The FULL range of Esquif boats now in stock

40tude launches 2014 London SUP charity marathon

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Entry fee

The entry fee @ £195 (or £160 if you own your own paddleboard, paddle and buoyancy aid) includes all the event costs including loan of paddleboards, paddles and buoyancy aids, an event T-shirt, qualified instructors, full marshalling, safety boats, first aid assistance, licence fees, transport of equipment, snacks and energy drinks, breakfast, lunch and party in the evening on the riverbank in Putney (excluding drinks).

40tude curing colon cancer is inviting participants to join its 26-mile endurance SUP charity challenge on Saturday 14th June on the River Thames in aid of colon cancer.

The challenge starts at Shepperton finishes at Putney and the course will combine tidal and non-tidal sections of the river – passing through three locks and under 14 bridges while taking in some of the River’s most picturesque sights – including Hampton Court, Syon House, Kew Gardens, Ham House and Richmond Hill. Our event safety standards require that all participants must have completed a minimum of three hours ‘coached’ training on the Thames prior to completing the 40tude London SUP Marathon – and there will be plenty of opportunities to join Active360 training/practice sessions throughout the Spring as well as to hire boards. All fundraising, sponsorship and any profits generated from the event will be channelled, via 40tude curing colon cancer, to the St. Mark’s Hospital Foundation and from there into 40tude sponsored projects. We fully recognise that some people are more able to raise sponsorship than

others for all sorts of reasons, and we will help everyone who takes part to set up a 40tude charity giving page and provide lots of encouragement to raise funds for this important cause – without putting anyone under pressure 40tude curing colon cancer is an organisation that has been established to fight the second biggest cancer killer in the Western world. In the UK alone, there are over 40,000 new cases of colon cancer each year, and over 16,000 deaths. The good news, however, is that colon cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat if it is detected early.

To find out more about the Challenge

Visit where you can download further information. To take part, please contact: for all the registration details.

Daniel Clark-Basten will be kayaking 1,700 miles solo down the River Danube - a 46 day journey to raise £20,000 for his local hospice.

£20,000 River Danube Challenge

Dan will be setting off on the 7th July from Ulm, Germany and will be covering approximately 40 miles a day until he reaches the Black Sea, Romania. Having lost his mum to cancer and knowing friends who have it, he decided to raise money and awareness for the hospice.

Most people are unaware of the amazing support and care that hospice’s offer at no cost to the patients or their families. Everyone knows someone who has or had this terrible disease and if each reader donates £1 then Dan will hit his target.

Follow Dan on his website at: where you can also donate, blog, Facebook him, or just browse. Dan needs further equipment including a buoyancy aid, spare paddles, gloves and a cagoule – so if you feel you can be of help please get in touch.

Photo: Dan receives his kayak from Peter at the Whitewater Canoe Centre in Shepperton.

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Normal size cockpit with thigh braces and backband

Buy your boat first Photos: Jan Carol Phillips

Hull rocker and chine

Cockpit cover


s I have watched and participated in the growth of ThePaddler ezine, I have been taken on a virtual trip around the globe and seen some of the finest kayaking going on. It was with this in mind that I spoke with Peter the editor about writing something for someone who is not going to kayak Viet Nam anytime soon, or try a first decent of a world class white water falls.


By Scott Edwards

In fact, I am writing this for the person who may not even have their first kayak yet! I have seen so many people buy their first boat and have their mind filled delusions of grandeur, only to have them dashed because the boat of their dreams has in short order become inadequate to match their rapidly growing skill set. Unless your plan, going in, is to just float around the lake at the summer place and that’s it, it is probably a good idea to avoid the ‘big box store’ kayaks that are as suited to being a planter as a kayak. There are a handful of things that I recommend you look for when buying your first kayak, and most of them will not be found on kayaks from ‘Super Outdoor Store’. Now mind you, getting the ‘right’ kayak is going to cost you more, but, it’s still less than buying the ‘wrong’ kayak and then having to go out and get the ‘right’ one a year or so later (the average I’ve experienced).

What kind of kayaking?

Now, mind you, the first things you have to decide is what kind of kayaking you are going to do the most. If you are going to try your hand at white water kayaking, your needs are going to be different than someone going sea kayaking. What I am going to discuss is a good ‘all around’ kayak affording the paddler a plethora of paddling opportunities. It is very hard to have one kayak do everything well, which is why kayakers who paddle diverse types of water have more than one kayak. For instance, in

my area we have a lot of small, very twisty creeks that wind through the woods. Trying to wrestle a 17’ sea kayak down these rivers is near impossible, while taking one of the hybrid white water boats, with a skeg and hatch across an open bay is going to be exhausting, so, without splitting hairs too finely, I’m going to describe a good all around, multi purpose kayak. A good starting point is length of the kayak, and 12’ is about the shortest you want to consider. Shorter will put you at a decided disadvantage when keeping up with whomever paddling with. Despite the fact that you can probably throw it in the back of the mini van with no problem at all, move up to at least a twelve-foot (3.65m) kayak, you’ll be glad you did.

Event of a capsize

An advantage of going with a longer boat and a major safety feature is that most kayaks of 12’ or more will have a front bulkhead behind the foot pegs. This helps keep your kayak afloat in the event of a capsize by only allowing the cockpit area to fill with water. Having two bulkheads, one in front and one behind your seat are all but a necessity if you are going to be in most any kind of moving water. It also increases the amount of storage space by allowing you to have (reasonably) dry storage both fore and aft. Also, in the event of a capsize, a front bulkhead will prevent your kayak from performing a ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’, where the front of the kayak sinks and the aft end is pointing almost straight up. If the kayak you are considering does not offer a front bulkhead, take heart! There are inflatable float bags that can be put into the kayak to displace water in the event you happen to dump. All things considered, fore and aft bulkheads are a very sound idea.

Learn how to do a wet exit

In talking with folks looking at kayaks, one of the first things to jump out is the fear of a smaller cockpit. People are drawn to the voluminous, wide-open cockpits of recreational boats because they are afraid they are going to become trapped. First and foremost, anyone who is going to really kayak needs to learn how to do a wet exit as soon as possible. You’re going to dump someday. It’s a reality. The more you kayak, the more likely you are to tip over. There are only two kinds of kayakers, those who have dumped and those that are going to. And, if you have a personal floatation device on, it’s going to pop you out of your seat like a cork!

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So, that’s part one

of why you want to go with a real cockpit. The other is if your cockpit is huge and you are paddling and a wave or wake comes over the bow of your kayak, you’re going to have more water in your kayak than you would ever want! A kayak full of water is very unstable and very difficult to paddle. The smaller the opening, the less water that is going to get in your kayak and make it difficult to manoeuvre to a safe place to dump or pump out your boat. You are safer in a kayak that ‘you wear’ or at least truly fits you, than one that is like a bathtub.


Another feature you want to find on a kayak are more than a few elastic ‘bungee’ lines. Bungees are good for holding a limited amount of gear to the deck of your kayak. However, they are not replacements for ‘hard lines’ or ‘perimeter deck lines’. These are the lines that trace the outline of your kayak and do not stretch. These are the lines that you will grab to help pull you back into your kayak should you happen to fall out. If you are in the water and all you have are bungees, stop and think what will happen. They will stretch and you will go back into the water you were just trying so hard to get out of. A combination of bungees and hard lines are how a kayak should be outfitted to best serve you in most any situation. One word of caution about bungees, people tend to put too much on top of their kayak, while neglecting to put stuff in their kayak. These leads to trim (how your kayak sits in the water) issues and your kayak being top heavy, guess what top-heavy kayaks have a tendency to do? That’s right, they tend to want to capsize…something you obviously want to avoid. I also try and keep my back deck clear, as if I need to re-enter my kayak, it’s going to be from the back deck, not the front. As you consider your kayak choice, make sure you can at least sit in it! And, if possible take it for a test drive, um, paddle! A great many kayak dealers are located on or very near a body of water so you can see how the boat feels in the water. Beyond that, make sure it’s comfortable. You’re going to spend hours in your kayak, might as well be comfy. This is also where you find out how the kayak ‘fits’ you. If it’s equipped with thigh braces, do you make contact with them in the correct spots? If they do not, are they adjustable. Does it have a seat back or back band and what is your preference. How do the foot braces feel? Explore

all aspects of fit and feel, and have the person helping you assist in making sure the kayak is set up for you. There are many kayaks that have myriad adjustments for your comfort in the cockpit, fine-tune them to fit you.


An often over looked feature on a kayak are the ‘handles’ on the ends. Many people are drawn to the luggage type handles that offer the most

As you consider your kay can at least sit in it! And, drive, um, paddle! A grea located on or very near a b see how t

comfortable way to carry your kayak to the water. You see, not only are the ‘handles’ for transporting your kayak to the water; but also, they are what you are going to use to hang onto your kayak if you should find yourself in the water. While they may not be as comfortable for carrying, the ‘T’ shaped toggles on either end are easy to grab hold of and most importantly easy to let go of! The luggage type handle can trap your hand and take you wherever it’s going. I am always going to opt towards something being safer rather than ‘more convenient’.

The paddle

There is one more factor to this equation and it is usually not considered until after the kayak has been picked out, or sometimes it is a ‘throw in’ to complete the sale. And, I bet by now, you know what I’m going to say…it’s your paddle. This cannot be an afterthought, this must be an integral part in your decision making process for your kayaking. The variety of paddles available is almost endless, ranging from aluminium shafts and plastic blades, to ultra light carbon fibre models, as well as Greenland blades and ‘Euro’ blades. All making your decision making process all the more confusing. Add to that the question, are you a low angle paddler or high angle paddler.

Bungy cords on the front deck

yak choice, make sure you if possible take it for a test eat many kayak dealers are body of water so you can the boat feels in the water.

Carry handles

Bow bulkhead and adjustable foot pegs

Hatch cover with reflective deck lines

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This is where you need the assistance of a knowledgeable kayak consultant. They are invaluable in helping you pick out the right paddle for you, your physical size and that compliments your kayak. One of the major considerations for most people is the weight of the paddle. While it may only be ounces on the shelf, multiply those ounces times how many paddle strokes you make on a days paddle. The difference increases exponentially. While you may not be inclined to go for one of the high end, ultra light space material paddles please do not go low end for the simple sake of saving a buck. After your first paddle or two, you will be back in the very same place, looking for something that doesn’t start to feel like your lifting weights after a couple hours.

Now, I can hear you saying to yourself “that’s going to add up to a lot more money, very quickly”. And, you’re right. That being said, it is less than doing it twice. If you get gear you outgrow quickly, the second purchase added to the first is going to be substantially more than if you made the investment in a reputable paddleshop who is looking to build a long term relationship by recommending quality products than a ‘big box’ store who is just looking to get you in, ring you up and send you on your way. Not only that, by making an investment as opposed to just a purchase, you are also making that same investment in your safety (speaking of safety, you’re also going to need a personal flotation device or PFD, but that’s a topic for another article). Rear bulkhead from stern hatch

A lot to consider

This is a lot to consider, and it should be, kayaking can be a lifetime sport to be enjoyed countless ways. Over the years, I have encountered far too many who gave up on kayaking because they quickly became frustrated by the limitations of their equipment. It bears repeating, if you just want to float around the lake at your summer home (or things of that nature), well, you’re probably not even reading this. However, if you want to grow in your kayaking and explore the wonders and beauty that are only accessible by kayak, do your homework. Talk to people, pick a real paddleshop and take their advice. It will be money and time well spent!

Bungy cords on front deck


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Hatch and skeg placement maximizes the storage area in the stern through the large oval hatch




Contour CFS seating lifts and supports your legs, improving contact with the thigh braces



Stable and straight running on the flat, smooth chines and continuous rocker make turns easy when playing


Smart deck rigging like retractable grab handles and securing and carrying decklines

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is home to eight of the world’s top ten 8,000m peaks, and where you find big mountains you’ll find



The third tallest mountain in the world,

“the five treasures of the high snow.” guards the far eastern border of Nepal, which is a Tibetan word meaning,


Story by Stan Ricketts

But the real treasure that flows off Kangchenjunga’s western slopes is the

one of Nepal’s premiere

Photos by Cuan Coetzee and Stan Ricketts


Tamur River, whitewater journeys.

Looking downstream from one of the many hanging bridges over the Tamur River

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en route to the start of the Tamur trek

The typical starting point for the long journey to the Tamur is in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is a fascinating medieval city worth exploring so you might want to consider flying in a day or two earlier for some cultural excursions in and around the city.

Bustling street scene in the town of Dobhan

Kathmandu – it’s a great big slice of colourful humanity, and something not to be missed.

As if the bus drive wasn’t Class V already! Spicing up the journey with a traditional style seat with a view

where you are going, depending on your budget Nepal is where Buddha was born. The most – anything from a 24-hour bus ride packed with significant Hindu temples in all of Asia are locals and farm animals, to a domestic airline magnificent and fascinating to visit. Until flight over the Himalayas and into Biratnagar. recently it had been a kingdom since the 14th Each comes with its own set of spectacular century so grand architecture, palaces and history experience. Ultimately, to get to the Tamur from abound, not to mention the spicy (and cheap!) Kathmandu, you will pass through Biratnagar, delicacies on every corner. There is also amazing and then drive up through the sub tropical hills mountain biking around Kathmandu valley to Basantapur, a small village where all but through picturesque rice paddies. Kathmandu is tractor transportation ends. Here, at 7,500 feet, is a great place to find affordable Nepali home craft where the trek to the river begins. goodies to take back as gifts, from silver jewellery to hand woven clothing, paintings, carvings and carpets! People on the street, seeing anyone who Teaming up with local porters looks like they weren’t born nearby, will Often, the best way is to team up with local constantly try to peddle you “hash, tiger balm, porters to manage all the rafting and camping pocket knives.” It seems you can find a little bit gear for the expedition. The trail is of of everything in the noisy bustling capital. It’s intermediate difficulty, winding up through truly a sight to see all the rickshaws, taxis, buses, Rhododendron forests, following a 10,000-foot pedestrians, porters carrying any manner of ridge line, passing through small farming goods on their backs, and busses flying through communities and offering superb views of the the unmarked, unlit roads at top speed, honking Makalu Massif to the north, and Mount their presence and somehow averting what seems Kangchenjunga in the east. There are options for like disaster at every turn. It’s a great big slice of lodging in classic Nepali tea houses, or to pay colourful humanity, and something not to be farmers for use of land for camping along the missed. way. In any case, the locals always are

Nepal travel

The real story of Nepal and its rivers begins once you leave the cities, however, and travel into the countryside. There are a number of ways to get

accommodating, ready with a Namaste, a cup of spicy ginger chai and a smile. Gardens are bursting with fresh produce and local farmers wave and smile as we pass, happy and content with their lot in life.

The real story of Nepal and its rivers begins once you leave the cities ThePaddler 29

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The trek

from Basantapur to Dobhan usually takes about four days, trekking about six hours per day at a relatively leisurely pace.Temperatures range from 32 degrees F at night and up to 70 degrees F during the day. On the fourth day, the trail descends from the cool heights to the lush tropical valley below where the river adventure awaits. As we near the river we see ribbons of white water around each bend. The first camp is typically on the banks of the Tamur, at the confluence of the Maiwa Khola, a crystal clear tributary that doesn’t come from the snow so it’s a great opportunity to cool off from the trek and have happy hour. Once you put in the river from here, class III and IV rapids await you just after the first bend, and it’s long continuous white water for hours on end - no time for a cushy warm up float here! At lunch, many of the clients joked aloud if they were going to see a second rapid anytime soon…. the entire morning felt like one big bouncy bouncy splashy splashy ride, paddling the entire time. The Tamur has some of the finest white water you’ll ever find, and in between the rapids there is ample time to enjoy the scenery and abundant birdlife. There is often abundant driftwood on

sandy beaches for building fires; many of these beaches are below small villages, and you will be sure to have local children and villagers awaiting you, or arriving shortly thereafter to curiously gaze on everything you are doing.


Cows and goats will wander through camp, along with the occasional friendly mutt. Local fisherman with all manner of traps – electrical, cast nets, river wide nets, hand and rod-held fishing lines – all come around at first and last light to hunt and gather for their families. The women come down in the sun to do the wash and disappear back up into the hills. Children pose for pictures and peer with wonder at our what-must-seem-like elaborate camps and gear.

TheTamur has some of the finest white w rapids there is ample time to enjoy the sc The Nepali guide crew enjoying a fresh brew and some morning sun

British guide Steve Hammond gets in the swing of things during super hero night

Packing dry bags and tents becomes a daily ritual

Early morning views of Makalu and a strong cup of Himalayan coffee tends to put some bounce in your step!

water you’ll ever find, and in between the cenery and abundant birdlife Namaste which country? Russia nice to know ya!

Local fisherman with cast net

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There have been more than a few big time flips and rolls in this long, technical rapid

View from the desk! Another tough day in the office on the Karnali River

There are several challenging rapids the One highlight is ‘Dinosaur Rock’ providing a drenching ride through roller coaster waves on day two. In the middle, there is a good bit of flat water, and several nice options for big beaches and a layover day to just enjoy or go for a hike up to a local village. Local kids will be happy to use your gear while you lounge, or offer you a ride in their dugout canoes. It’s nice to have a little day to relax, because the next day brings a surge in the current where a healthy set of big bouncy rapids leads into the final canyon. There are some fun warm-up rapids before the first class IV scout called ‘Ashram’. There have been more than a few big time flips and rolls in this long, technical rapid. The most recent early season trip

saw the river at high water after a typhoon, and it was an exciting time, to say the least.

Sun Kosi River

After Ashram, there are countless unnamed rapids from big bouncy straight-down-themiddle roller coaster rides to technical boulder gardens with must make moves. Finally, the Tamur flows into the Sun Kosi River, where a nice beach offers a good final camping option. The river volume is noticeably larger here, and the river is now known as the Sapta Koshi (‘seven rivers’), with the Tamur being the seventh and final major tributary of the Sun Kosi. Before the take out there is an opportunity to walk up to a

Paddlers digging in for a fun roller coaster rice on the Sun Koshi

Steve Hammond dropping in to Ashram on the Tamur River

e first two days:

Marc Goddard with a prime viewing seat just before some fish finding action on the Tamur River

Hindu temple called Bara Chatra, incense burning, temple bells ringing and Holy Sardhus, devotees of Lord Shiva chanting their morning prayers. There’s a definite increase in traffic here as you float the final few kilometres to take out, everything from dugout canoes to bamboo rafts to road construction and villagers doing the washing; here is where you leave the hills behind and enter the Terai, fertile flatlands not far from the Indian Border. A local Dal Bhat and Everest Beer is always a welcome sight at any Nepali village, all you can eat rice and lentils with vegetable, meat, and achar while sipping a beer and telling tales of all that you’ve seen and done in just a few weeks.

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Trekking through dense Rhododendron forest

Lunch spread on the river

One of many spectacular camps on the Tamur

Lunch spread on the river

Karnali River

Another great option is the Karnali River. In the remote western part of Nepal, this river offers big white water off the beaten path. It, too, can be accessed either by bus, car, or airplane to Nepalgung as a starting point. From there, the day’s trip along a bumpy road to the put-in is always an adventure. My last trip offered a classic example of transportation, Nepali style. Several hours out of Nepalgung, in the middle of the jungle near Bardia National Park, a truck hauling rocks got a flat tyre and the driver left it – in the middle of the road – while he hitched back to town for parts and a spare. In the meantime, two passenger buses (one of which carried our group of rafters and kayakers) attempted to pass the truck and both ended up precariously tilted at 45-degree sideways angles and stuck in ditches on either side.

Trailers, vans, vehicles carrying chickens, and motorbikes all attempted to pass through with many also becoming more and more wedged in the traffic jam. Hours later, the driver of the truck in question came back, waded through the hundreds of passengers/spectators, fixed his trailer and hauled his obstructing truck and trailer of rocks away. Those in the passenger bus scrambled to hitch rides, on the back, side, and tops of passing vehicles, while those bound for the river eventually found a man with a thick cable and tractor to haul us out.

Morning time in the village of Chauki

Just another day of adventure in Nepal! We made it to the put-in after dark and scrambled around to set up camp, with the mighty Karnali roaring us to a well-deserved sleep.

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couting one of many rapids

Kayakers surfing it up are Costa Rican Jorge Esquivel and local paddler Krish Shrestha

For seasoned kayakers, the Upper Karnali b of class V white water and should not be m

The ride

is well worth it. The Karnali boasts massive wave trains every day. Rapids with names like ‘God’s House’ and ‘Flip and Strip’ have massive holes, big pour overs, and lots of potential for fun. The water is warm and the campsites, like the Tamur, offer spectacular views with sandy beaches and often driftwood for fires. This is one where, as one of our clients, said, “you go big or go home.” For seasoned kayakers, the Upper Karnali boasts loads of class V white water and should not be missed. The beauty of the Karnali, aside from its consistent Class III-IV white water action, is in its isolation. Sometimes we would only see one or two villages a day, or hear a few voices calling Namaste from vantage points well hidden in the surrounding lush forests. It’s really such a unique honour to be able to share this part of nature with such a few families who have been living off of this rugged land for years, and who perhaps see only a few rafts per year pass by. Amazingly, some of these locals, especially towards the take out, actually had camera phones taking pictures back at us! Technology does slowly but surely make its way into even the most remote parts of the world, these days, it seems. It is still a breath of fresh air to be back to quite basic living and going hard in these areas while they are still relatively untouched by the western cultures.

boasts loads missed

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Rigging all the gear at the start of the Tamur. No eddies with Class IV around the corner


And these are just a few of the exceptional rivers in Nepal: the Khaligandaki, the Bhote Kosi and Marsyangdi. If you have some time to spend, also try the rivers around Pokhara, a more scenic and laid-back alternative to the mayhem of Kathmandu. It’s situated right on the lake of Pokhara in the shadow of the Annapurnas. There is also a wealth of opportunities for outdoor adventure of all types in and around Pokhara, whether on the lake, in the surrounding hills and canyons, or as a jumping off point for a trek along the famed Annapurna circuit.

A happy team at the confluence with the Sun Koshi and Tamur

Dave Allardice

Click for Nepal map

In any event, there has never been a better time to check out and paddle Nepal. One of the original white water pioneers there, the late legend Dave Allardice, spent his life navigating the waters and making paddling and canyoning accessible all over Nepal so that we might all enjoy it for generations to come. As a recent shrine to his memory at the big scout in ‘God’s House’ rapid on the Karnali River quotes him:

“Why are you scouting…. It’s just read and run. She’ll be right!”

Namaste and enjoy.

Paul Ramsdale. River Dee. Image: Pete Astles

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Kayak Paddler 042 Coaching

WW paddling skills by Dave Rossetter

046 UK National Student Rodeo By Nathan Ellis

054 Mexico

Michoacรกn expedition by Seth Ashworth

068 Zambia

Zambezi River paradise by Mat Dumoulin

086 Interview Dr Jessie Stone

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By Dave Rossetter –paddlesport instruct This article is all about white water paddling skills

White water kayaking demands a lot from us physically and psychologically.This could be the physical fitness that we have to keep performing at the end of a tough day or being in the correct state of mind for the type of water that we are paddling. I will delve into these in later articles.

This article is about getting the body in the right position to be able to perform well. We will look at key areas:

Paddler’s Box Control of blade Understanding of edging/leaning

WW paddling s

These will form the corner stone or your skills as you develop. It is worth practising these on flat or grade one water and understanding them before applying them on anything harder.

Paddler’s Box

A position that will keep you safe and ready to work

Throughout any strokes paddlers need to be aware of their shape and positioning e.g. the Paddler’s Box. This is the space within which your paddling takes place. This is essential to ensure that you keep your paddling joints in a state of readiness and free of injury by not over extending during strokes. This shape will move with you as your perform your strokes.

The position: While sitting in your kayak with an upright forward posture hold your paddle horizontal in front of your chest. Push your elbows forward so that they are slightly in front of the side of your body. Elbows to be lower than your wrists, shoulders down and relaxed. This space between you and the paddle shaft is crucial to helping you remain in balance and have room to move. This will allow any strokes to become easier and put little strain on your joints.

Paddler’s box shown on flat water Top tip for paddlers/coaches

The analogy that applies here is that of ballroom dancing. They have the frame where each partner holds this space. This is what we are striving for.

Paddlers: Throughout the sequences of strokes look for your frame or paddler’s box.

Coaches: This is one of these core postural aspects to observe in your performers. Fix this and other areas become clearer and easier for the performer.

tor at Glenmore Lodge Paddler with relaxed top hand


Control of the blade

Top tip for paddlers/coaches

The lower hand controls the blade shape and movement. During strokes and throughout any manoeuvres the blade needs to be controlled and moved with the lower hand taking the lead.

Paddlers: While practising these strokes, open your top hand a little to release the tension in the upper arm. Can you waggle your fingers on the top hand through the strokes?

The wrist needs to be able to move to an open and closed position allowing the blade to move from an open ruddering blade through to a closed power stroke.

This all helps with keeping an active blade.

Coaches: Use the lower wrist and the fingers in the upper hand as observational flags while watching your paddlers. If they are struggling to link strokes or get the top hand out and over the water, go back to the fundamentals and look at their posture and muscle tension.

The grip needs to be relaxed but yet positive on the shaft. Too tight and you will not get the blade control or the dexterity through the wrist. Too loose and the water will control the blade and not you.

Active blade

This is where the blade is in a positive position to control/power the kayak.

Note Open wrist is when your palm of your hand faces the front and the knuckles move back. Closed wrist is the opposite. The palm faces back and the knuckles rotate forward.

Hand position within forward paddle

The upper hand needs to allow this to happen. This is best achieved by having a relaxed hand so that the top hand has the freedom to be out and over the water.

Fix: Ensure the blade is fully engaged and has caught the water

Weight: Once the blade is fixed get weight on it. This is where you are ready to provide pressure through your feet and up through the connections points with a strong lower handgrip.

Open hand/wrist position with rudder

Drive: Once the blade is fixed and weighted, drive off the blade.

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To hold the kayak on its edge

Edging is one of the techniques used to change the kayak’s profile on the water. It is used in a variety of contexts and within different techniques and skills. The way the kayak turns while it’s on edge has to do with a range of factors including – last stroke used before edging, strokes used while the kayak is on edge and the environment. To edge ● While sitting upright with the kayak flat, raise one knee and straighten the other leg. Keep your horizon line horizontal with your head above the kayak rather than out to one side. You will need to have a loose core to do the above. The upper body also needs to have a slight forward tilt. Your centre of gravity remains inside the kayak with your balance point being over the lower edge. ●

Ensure that your contact points are switched on. This is your foot on the low side of the kayak pressing forward. The other foot will the heel pressing down into the hull of the kayak. The knee on the low side will be loose (less pressure than when the kayak is flat) while the knee on the high side is fully pressurised. This will give you a wide base to balance on, as you will be fully pressed into the seat.

Leg and upper body position to hold an edge

Top tip Get someone to watch you as you show him or her your numbers. Paddle through a series of movements and get them to watch your edge control. Talk to each other afterwards and compare how it felt to what was seen. Was there a difference? Use of rating scales It is useful for you to be able to define what edge you are on. With flat being zero and three being the maximum you can achieve, find your one, two and three edge. Three will be your limit that you can hold without losing balance or doing lots of upper body movement to hold it.

Once you have your numbers, shut your eyes and feel what happens within your contact points so that you can repeat these in a number of environments.

Below: edging in action


A way to help initiate turning in a kayak

Leaning is another of the techniques used to change the kayak’s profile on the water. It is used in a variety of contexts and within different techniques and skills. The way the kayak turns while it’s on edge has a lot to do with a range of factors including – last stroke used before leaning, strokes used while the kayak is on edge and the environment but it will generally turn to the side of the lean. To lean: ● While sitting upright with a flat kayak straighten your lower leg and press forward while the upper knee raises and presses up into the kayak. ●

Allow your body to move over the side that your leg straightens on. Your horizon line changes and comes off the horizontal. Your centre of gravity will move outside the kayak and you need to keep momentum on the kayak to remain in balance.

Use the rating scales from earlier to check where you are so that you can repeat on demand.

Using these core concepts within your white water paddling will help you move up the grades with confidence.

Happy paddling and hope to see you on the water.

Dave is the full time paddlesport instructor at Glenmore Lodge – Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre. He has been involved in the development of the new awards and provides expert advice throughout the industry on all things to do with coaching, safety, leadership and personal paddling. He is passionate about all things paddling and specialises in white water kayak and open canoe where he will most often be found. He is supported in his paddling adventures and coaching by Pyranha Kayaks, Mad River Canoes and Palm Equipment.

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Words: Han nah Ellis. Pictures: P.Y . Photograp hic

Photo: pray

ing for the

sun – Men’s In



20 14

On 7th Marc h 2014 stude nt kayakers from across the lan d descended in their hundred s upon the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham for the Natio nal Student Rode o, one of the highlights of th e paddling ca lendar that has gone from strength to strength sinc e its inceptio n in 1996. This freestyle kayaking competition, run by the U niversity of Leeds, hos ts around 1,0 00 students from over 40 differ ent universities fr om year to y ear.They are coaxed o ut of the woo dwork by the glorio us prizes as w ell as the promise of m assive parties , outrageous c ostumes, and some rather decen t company. Once

the students had arrived and pitched tents (quite their an impressive feat in the m night and a cl idst of a dark oud of inebri ation), the Fr party got un iday night der way. This was, as alway to welcome s, a great way everyone to NSR: dancin three huge m g in wellies in arquees coul d never be an than hilarious yt hi ng other . Between th e toplessnes around, and s, gallivanting staying out w ell past bedt sensible onlo ime, no oker would believe that campers wo these happy uld be throw ing moves o water course n the white at 8am the fo llowing day.

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Minions! Budding Bananaman

SATURDAY Absolute carnage in the Men’s Novice

Everyone loves the Rodeo Rabbit

at first, Saturday morning saw a bright and early start on the NSR campsite with (almost) everyone up and off to the course to take part in the Extreme Slalom. This determines your competition category, based on your ability to amuse and awe the judges posted along the way. Competitors battled to get on the water and prove their worth, creating a great atmosphere on the course as everyone paddled down. Music and chat from the Extreme Events DJs eased the morning along, lulling everyone, competitors and spectators alike, into the beautiful bubble of boating bliss familiar to all who frequent such events.

Duo race heats Hit that ball!

Much to the delight of the prize-hungry students, the NSR’s resident mascot Mr Rodeo Rabbit was on hand. This fluffy-eared, buck-toothed individual is deployed sporadically over the weekend, indicating ‘open season’ and starting quite a chase. Successful hunters – those who manage a rugby tackle – are regaled with kit from the event’s fantastic sponsors. Despite valiantly hoppity efforts, the pile-on is inevitable and generates pride for the victor and envy for those who weren’t quite fast enough… this time around.

The industrious kayaking charity River Legacy hosted a sumptuous dinner of sausages, mash, and Yorkshire puddings, which lined everyone’s stomachs for the night ahead. Digestion time was afforded by the film showing, which was ‘Kadoma’, a visual spectacle telling of Hendri Coetzee’s evocative expedition to the Congo. It certainly caught the imaginations of the room’s more adventurous types.

Saturday night’s party then swiftly got underway, with everyone emerging from their tents kitted out in elaborate costumes. Heroes and Villains sprang to life in line with the theme chosen by Rodeo Bosses Sam, Andy, and Sean. There were some great group fancy dress efforts, especially from Plymouth, who stayed in their Incredibles costumes all weekend (presumably interspersed with showers at some point), as did the Miniature Heroes from Birmingham and the Minions from Loughborough and Nottingham. The most original costume award should perhaps go to the boy dressed as Margaret Thatcher, who wandered around the marquee quoting her speeches; a jolly good show, if a divisive one. Another highlight of the night was when the entire marquee sang along together to the rather appropriate Hero by Enrique Iglesias – NSR was definitely feeling the love.

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Popouts galore in the Old School

The crowds line the bridge


Albeit with some reluctance

SUNDAY ThePaddler 50

Early morning wake up on Sunday morning was eased by the blazing sunshine pouring down on the campsite even from 7am. Several brave individuals were even seen sporting shorts. The day kicked off with the novice heats on the PGL-sponsored Inlet Gate, which saw an enthusiastic turnout despite some significant hangovers for most competitors and spectators. The novice events are all about general carnage, craziness and hilarity, with the aim to get as many people passionate about paddling as possible. Both the heats and finals wowed the crowd and judges with their sheer originality and silliness: highlights from the women included a girl pouring a bag of flour over her head whilst surfing the wave, two girls kissing in a duo, and a delicious looking cake being hurled at the judges (to wistful looks from many spectators).

Meanwhile judge Jake described the men’s event as, “a bonanza of kayaking prowess combined with a symphony of heroism and a smattering of German sparkle party.” (For the readers who have not experienced German sparkle party, I would only hesitantly suggest that you look it up.) The men’s final saw some jumps, solo chariots and even a backflip thrown in: the talent was impressive this year. However the judges did express their disappointment that the only bra flung towards them (an NSR tradition) failed to make contact. The novice events perfectly showcased two of NSR’s specialities: carnage and real paddling skills, and well-deserved wins went to Thomas Horne from Nottingham and Katy Farmer from Birmingham.

2014 was a milestone for NSR as it was the first year that there has been a Women’s Intermediate category, due to increased demand. This was a runaway success, with around 30 entrants, all of a remarkable standard. This is such exciting news for the sport as it shows its growing popularity amongst female paddlers, a group that sometimes lacks the representation it deserves. The first-ever winner of Women’s Intermediate was Sacha Corby from Edinburgh. Men’s Intermediate was full of great paddlespins and several rowdy competitors pushing each other over whilst attempting to surf the new 'Bridge wave' in a style non-representative of their hangover. The winner was Vincent Lemonnier from Edinburgh Napier, whose surfing really stood out.

Sunday morning wakeup blues


Get paid to paddle with PGL Get paid for doing what you love and share \RXUSDVVLRQIRUSDGGOLQJZLWK3*/œVJXHVWVOHDGLQJanything from taster sessions in the UK to river descents in the Ardèche. With 24 locations across the UK, France and Spain, PGL offers unrivalled opportunities for you to turn your hobby into a career. Paddling is the heart and soul of PGL ¹ DIWHUDOOWKDWœVZKDWLQVSLUHG3HWHU*RUGRQ/DZUHQFHWRVWDUWWKH company in 1957; after he took part in a canoeing trip down the River Danube. Now nearly 60 years later, PGL provide 400,000 children a year with amazing adventure holiday experiences that last a lifetime. Many of these learning basic paddle skills and getting into canoes and kayaks for the very first time. Some RIWKH8.œVOHDGLQJSDGGOHUVVLWH3*/DVEHLQJUHVSRQVLEOHIRUVWDUWLQJWKHLUREVHVVLRQZLWKOLIHRQWKH water. So what better place than the NSR to find our next generation of PGL Paddle Instructors... This year was the 8th \HDULQDURZWKDWZHKDYHVSRQVRUHGWKH1652YHUWKH\HDUVZHœYHSURYLGHG essentials like 900 competitor bibs, first aid equipment, prizes and most importantly ¹ hot drinks and toasted sandwiches to keep the judges and safety crew warm throughout the weekend! :HFRXOGQœWZDLWWRMRLQVWXGHQWSDGGOHUVDWWKH1DWLRQDO:DWHU6SRUWV&HQWUHLQ1RWWLQJKDPDQGRXU WHDPZHUHVRRQVXUURXQGHGE\KXPDQFKRFRODWHEDUV0LQLRQVDWHDPRI,QFUHGLEOHœVDQGHYHQ,URQ0DQ As always, the weekend was an incredible success and we were delighted to award Falmouth University the much sought after ¾6SLULWRI3*/œaward for showing the most positive spirit both on and off the ZDWHU7KHZHHNHQGILWVLQSHUIHFWO\ZLWK3*/œVFRUH values of working hard, but having great fun doing so and learning and growing as an individual. Some of our best Paddle ,QVWUXFWRUVDUH165¾JUDGXDWHVœZKRFDQVWLOOIRQGO\UHPHPEHU WKHLUZHHNHQGVLQ1RWWLQJKDP MXVW

Turn you hobby into a career with PGL


Working for PGL is an amazing way to spend your summer or your gap year. We have a large number of locations in the UK and overseas and roles starting from April onwards. All of our roles offer a competitive wage, onsite accommodation, meals package, free uniform DQGLI\RXDUHZRUNLQJDEURDGZHÂśOOHYHQ WDNH\RXWKHUHÂŤDQGEULQJ\RXEDFN

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Minions everywhere!

king of the wave

Both the Men’s and Women’s Expert finals , on the Twin Wave, pulled in large and excited crowds, eager to observe some impressive moves and comedy showboating. A game of king of the wave went down particularly well during the men’s final, as jostling entrants attempted to knock eventual winner James Weight of Loughborough off the wave, where he had been performing several big moves and loops. The judges and spectators were also treated to some impressive Phonix Monkeys and McNastys, with both technical moves and crowdpleasers being high scorers. Islay Crosbie from Nottingham put in an impressive performance to win Women’s Expert, with some incredible loops and cartwheels.

The duo final, in the AdventureX-sponsored Looping Pool, was an excellent end to the weekend’s events, with all the other competitors gathered to cheer on the finalists, who had competed in a series of speed races and more technical heats on the Saturday.The final showcased some impressive skills with some big popouts and impressive synchronised rolling. With some pairs holding hands across their duo, and another pair who wore helmets which gave off bright pink and orange smoke (although probably less enjoyable for the person in the back of the duo!), this event was as ever a crowd pleaser.The winners were Gareth Lake and his partner from Aberdeen.

Shudder rudders for the win

Loop the loop

spirit of pgl

Prizes were awarded on the Sunday afternoon in blazing sunshine which by this point perfectly mirrored each and everyone’s moods. Leeds came third overall, winning a Wavesport D75, while second prize and the Zet Raptor went to Southampton. First place, along with the coveted Dagger Supermamba (impressively decorated with a Superman theme) went to Nottingham. Every year PGL awards a ‘Spirit of PGL’ prize to the University, which showed most positive spirit on and off the water. This year the award deservedly went to Falmouth, who had been dancing around all day on Saturday and Sunday, having an amazing time at the parties and encouraging everyone to get on the water and make the most of the event. Peak UK also awarded a prize: for the best University in the novice category, which was given to Loughborough, all of whom made a fantastic effort on the water with some very original novice ideas!

Of course the Rodeo would not have been possible without the efforts of everyone from Leeds University Union Canoe Club, who all had a great time volunteering over the weekend to make the Rodeo happen, as well as the University of DamX Safety Team, who tirelessly fished everyone and their mothers out of the Trent. Members of the team summed it up as tough work but also the best and most rewarding job to do at NSR.

Duo dunkings


Everyone’s a winner

As well as running the competition admin, the Leeds club was kept busy throughout the weekend feeding the safety team and judges and ensuring smooth running of the whole event. Nadine, one of the Leeds volunteers, summed the weekend up as one of ‘volunticipating’ – volunteering and participating and getting equal enjoyment from both. This definitely sums up the NSR spirit: it is an event, which is both non-profit and run entirely by volunteers who do it for the love of the sport and the event.

Safety Superheroes

Smokescreens: this year’s must-have... (split photo)

Finally, of course, the event wouldn’t exist without the generous participation of all of the sponsors who unrelentingly amaze us with their contributions of kit, coaching, and other support.

After an incredible weekend of boating and partying, students all over the country are now suffering from the post-Rodeo blues and the return to real life: roll on NSR 2015, themed as The Carnival!

If this interests you, find the Rodeo on social media under @NSRinfo or National Student Rodeo on Facebook. We’d love to see you there.

Extreme Events provide the tunes

Cake or death?

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of one…

Definition… [idiomatic]

The two alternatives are equivalent or indiffe matter which one they chose – it was dange

Stay at home and miss the chance: da Travel to Michoacán, Mexico and mee company: dangerous to the body!

International paddlers:

Seth Ashworth

Joel Kowalski

Rafa Ortiz

Photo: Ciaran Heurteau crushing one of the many amazing drops on the Hoya Del Aire

Dane Jackson

Juanito De Ugarte Ciaran Heurteau

erent; it doesn't erous!

angerous to the soul! et the wrong

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The story of the mission to Michoacán

A Canadian, an American, a Mexican, a Peruvian, an Irishman and an Englishman set out together with one goal. Sounds like the start of an awesome joke right? Actually it is a true story of six kayakers, on one epic adventure.The goal they set out was to explore uncharted white water in the volatile state of Michoacán, Mexico.

Intense scouting

Throw and go portaging during the first descent

Michoacán is Mexico’s western state, famous for producing most of the world’s avocados, most of Mexico’s strawberries and also for being extremely dangerous. Most of the danger reported in the media in the last few years has stemmed from violence linked to the areas large drug cartel, The Knights Templar. Former President Felipe Calderon was positioning the Mexican government in a way to tackle these ruthless and quite violent cartels.

Brutal executions

As a result of this, the leadership of The Knights Templar underwent constant change with each new leader trying to make his mark on the cartel bringing on a new round of violence. This ranged from robbery to kidnappings through to brutal executions – Michoacán stayed in the press for all of the wrong reasons! For Joel Kowalski this was a big problem, his sights had been set on Michoacán as a destination to explore for white water rivers for a long time. Joel’s research started four years ago after seeing a picture of a waterfall, the Tzararacua on the Rio Cupatizio. The image showed a double drop in a deep canyon of unknown size – one thing was for sure – it was big! Crude estimates put the drop at a 50-footer leading to a 90-footer but with only one way of knowing for sure, which was to go and find out.

Ciaran watches on as Dane Jackson takes a turn at Cascada Maria de Gloria

Joel’s research started four years ago after seeing a picture of a waterfall, the Tzararacua on the

Rio Cupatizio ThePaddler 57

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Sequence shot of Joel Kowalski in the Crux Rapid of the Rio Cajones Canyon

From tha

Too much water in the tight, narrow canyons could spell disaster but too little would make it

mission impossible

at first sighting, Joel began his research using Google Rafa Ortiz taking the First Earth in his free time to scour the areas around that waterfall in search of other With a heavy heart, Joel rivers, with the targets of his search changed his travel plans and being rivers similar to what he had explored in 2008 in Veracruz, eastern the ‘Mission to Michoacan’ Mexico. The key factors being gradient, rock type, drainage area, access and human factors such as dams or hydro projects.

D of Cascada Maria De Gloria

was shelved

After countless hours he was left with a few interesting prospects, the Rio Cupatizio, Rio Cajones and the Rio Hoya Del Aire as well as a few potential ‘park n’ huck’ possibilities – all close to the town of Uruapan. Timing would be crucial in terms of water levels. Based on his existing knowledge of Mexican white water with similar geology, he knew too much water in the tight, narrow canyons could spell disaster but too little would make it mission impossible. Late November to early December would likely be far enough behind the rainy season to afford a good window, or so he hoped.

Kidnapped and killed

So with his research in place in 2011 Joel was all set to go, when only a few days before he was due to travel, news came through from Michoacán that a number of international tourists had been kidnapped and killed. Friends within Mexico called and begged him to reconsider his plans. With a heavy heart, Joel changed his travel plans and the ‘Mission to Michoacán’ was shelved, for the time being at least. Joel had high hopes for resuming his plans in the near future to see the Tzararacua waterfall for himself. Fast forward to 2013, the picture that Joel first saw of Tzararacua that raised hairs on his neck had now been shown to five others from five different nations. This team of six was no average team; they were an international team of heavy hitters – experienced white water kayakers from all over the world, all of whom wanted a taste of Tzararacua.

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Lunch stop on the Rio Cajones

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Mexican Rafa Ortiz had been lined up to go to Michoacán in 2011, also joining them would be Freestyle Kayak World Champion and twice winner of the Whitewater Grand Prix, Dane Jackson of the United States, veteran Peruvian kayaker Juanito De Ugarte, Well travelled Brit Seth Ashworth and 20-year slalom competitor and Sickline Extreme race World Championship super finalist, Ireland’s Ciaran Heurteau would round out the team to six.


After a couple of very quick days warming up on the classic rivers of Veracruz, the team saddled up and drove in one afternoon almost all the way to their destination of Uruapan. Spending a night in a highway motel, the team arrived in Uruapan with a whole day of scouting ahead of them and one thing was on everyone’s mind, an itch that had to be scratched: Tzararacua. When the team arrived at the waterfall, which was a big tourist draw, they started the long walk down the hundreds of uneven dirt steps to see the drop which they had lit the fire for each and everyone of them. A fast walk soon turned into a run to get down and see the beast, the excitement was palpable! Arriving at the lookout the team was silent, in awe. They were looking upon a 35footer, which lead directly into a perfect, clean 70-footer. What the team couldn’t see from their low angle at the base of the falls was the dangers this drop held.

A fast walk soon turned into a run to get down and see the beast, the excitement

Ciaran, Joel and Juanito at various stages of the Hoya Del Aire First Descent

Media reports from Michoacán were still more negative than positive but in general it seemed the situation was beginning to settle. Closer research of these reports seemed to indicate that the areas closer to the coast experienced more trouble than the city of Uruapan, which was to be the base of the mission to Michoacán. Driven by the pictures they had seen, the team was willing to take a chance and so the dates were set. Joel would finally get to take a look at the Tzararacua waterfall for himself.

was palpable!

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Juanito de Ug First Descen Cupatizio in Uruapan

That first day the team paddled around 9km of virgin white water and were rewarded more than anyone could

Los Zetas a gnarly, narrow rapid

have expected

Dane Jackson Picking a line on one of the more remote drops of the Hoya Del Aire

garte on the nt of the Rio downtown


After another hour or two of hiking, climbing to various vantage points and taking photos, the group consensus was that the drop was unrunnable. Although the first drop had a clean entrance, the landing was directly onto a huge boil, which was also the lip of the second drop. This compounded with the fact that the boil pushed into a pocket eddy, which fed behind the curtain of the first drop with no means of escape or rescue – it was nicknamed the swirly death cave! Undeterred the team set about making plans for their next target, the Rio Hoya Del Aire. Scouting the various access points in one day, the team started at sunrise and was in for quite a treat. Over the course of that first day the team paddled around 9km of virgin white water and were rewarded more than anyone could have expected. The run was very clean with minimal portaging. Clean drops raging from 5-40 foot, fun slides, tight and winding rapids, each separated by a calm pool, each one scout-able and manageable. In the course of that day there was nothing but wide smiles from every member of the team. When they reached their intended exit point for the day, at just over half way down the run, everyone had the same feelings of tired accomplishment. The mission to Michoacån had discovered a gem, a treasure that will draw paddlers here for many years to come. And that was just the first river they explored.

Joel Kowalski on the ZigZag Rapid of the Hoya Del Aire

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'Balls to the Wall drop' on the Hoya Del Aire

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A very gruesome reminder

First Descent: Michoacan - Ep 3

First Descent: Michoacan - Ep 2

First Descent: Michoacan - Ep 1

Watch all three videos so far…

Ten days after the trip had concluded and the team had left Mexico, five decapitated bodies were found in Michoacán’s capital city Morrelia. A shocking and gruesome reminder that when traveling in Mexico – it is important to be careful at all times.

Red Bull

Click for Google map of

Michoacán, Mexico Red Bull

Red Bull

BIG. ThePaddler 68




Zambezi River Visiting an African paradise

Story by Mat Dumoulin with fellow paddlers David Pierron and GaeĚˆl Kernin

T ThePaddler 69

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ep! suck you in de and whirlpools , ge hu d e an ar a es ile, Ugand avy, wav Streams are he er, the White N at w gh hi at c er Quebe big wat After I visited ve satisfied my ce, I couldn’t ha an Fr zi River. The in be es av am w Z big ddled the pa ng vi a ha re fo ct, big, and has experience be the river is perfe e us ca en be l be ia ve ec ‘Zam’ is sp es in kayaking ha y. Many big nam eating new glorious histor the Zambezi, cr on t or ing sp e th g pushin techniques. Putt es or paddling ap sh k ya ka , of es mov s feeling u a spontaneou ur in there gives yo nnected with yo co lly u are tota ul tif happiness – yo e: beau g utopia is ther d wishes. Paddlin arm weather an w , rf su es to r rapids, huge wav la cu ecta cal life and a sp water, joyful lo natural setting… cement out the announ After hearing ab this t, the future of of a dam projec d I hope an t, ub do is in African paradise of the was not the visit our trip there g water before bi ‘museum of big e s took over th energy busines planet.’

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a bi The Zambezi is Its river in Africa. fourth longest on d the rainy seas basin is huge, an to m December hits the area fro an oria Falls gives March. The Vict ction ng flat water se end to a mile lo bezi am waters of the Z and drops the . a basaltic canyon 300+ feet into the perfect river That’s what it is: there r kayaking and configuration fo s for this! are many reason tant and on gives a cons The rainy seas w rise. predictable flo r for trees so is a natural filte The flat water of water and it is only made the river below rocks. a natural d the falls offer The canyon an crocs. nst hippos and protection agai and saltic bedrock carved in the ba e ar ds pi ra e Th stable. therefore very u can paddle ts rising and yo ar st er l at w e th es, trying out al In December, ws up to big on flo w lo ry ve t m ur to eigh this section fro e river takes fo in between. Th ns io at ur ig nf the co each day. inches of water

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Steve Fisher, Nico Chassing, HervĂŠ Amalbert,Alex Nicks and more h

have inspired us…

The good old days

If we have an idea of where we are going when we book a flight to Zambia, that’s because a solid group of kayakers forged the way 20 years ago. A revolution in our sport started there in the nineties. If you are lucky enough to have seen the ‘Wicked liquid’ videos, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the golden age of kayak bums who developed commitment in freestyle and big water kayaking. After taking a one way flight to get there, they charged every day for years on this amazing white water playground, setting the standards of paddling on this run and pushing the limits of what can be done in high volume rapids. Steve Fisher, Nico Chassing, Hervé Amalbert, Alex Nicks and more inspired us enough to get on the plane with no doubts about where we were going. Huge thanks to them for this gift!

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Loose and powerful movements are needed

‘Stairway to Heaven’

has seen many freewheels and failed boofs over the years and managed to take everybody on to their A game for the

rest of the day

‘Stairway to Heaven’ #5

Every day you put your kayak in right below the Victoria Falls – it’s an unreal place. Renowned as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, it has been known amongst Europeans after Doctor Livingstone discovered it during his exploration of southern Africa in the late 19th century.

The number 5, the Stairway to Heaven

The place just fills your mind with happiness every day. The Zambezi River swells up to a mile wide and plunges into a 300+ foot high crack. Then the river bed narrows again across the crack and takes the water down a huge canyon, which is the height of the falls, as the plateau above keeps going flat. On the Zambian side, you can stay in Livingstone where the Jollyboys Backpackers offers a great place to stay with the kind of traveling atmosphere that keeps you up late and allows you to meet many awesome people.

The Zambezi River offers a huge amount of fun every day for the lucky kayakers who make their way to Zambia. The section of white water you get to paddle is taking you step by step to a higher level of stoke, from easier rapids in the morning to bigger ones later in the day. You can also find many types of surf on your way down, and as the water level gets higher different big freestyle waves come in. The river draws crazy turns in the canyon and gradually takes you to the right mind set, a mix between fun and adrenaline, to go for the big stuff.

Rapid number five is the first highlight of the day. There is a huge rock in the middle right of the river that creates a big jump ramp. The ramp throws you from eight feet high into a continuous series of crashing waves and holes until you get to the reception pool. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ has seen many freewheels and failed boofs over the years and managed to take everybody on to their A game for the rest of the day.

After going through ‘Devils Toilet’, a huge whirlpool that randomly kicks egos, you get to rapid number 7, ‘Gulliver’s Travel’. This is another big piece of your daily adrenaline meal. It’s a long rapid with a burly entrance that tires you before you even start the big moves. After two minutes of fighting against this unpredictable stream that tries hard to flip you, you get to the crux section. It’s a weird piece of white water, big crushing inconsistent waves that slow you down before you have to thug a big hole. If you get surfed, you end up in a crack on the right bank. Once you’ve gotten through this, the river rewards you with a long section of big waves that kindly smash you around until you manage to stop in the eddy to look above and see how your mates are doing.

After a short breath you go down to number eight, ‘Star Trek’, a typical ‘Zambezian’ move as you make speed to throw yourself into a huge hole and try to get through. If it doesn’t work, the best you should do is just give happy signs to your friends who watch you. It’s a big thing on the Zam to show how much you enjoy getting smashed. The river is as big as it is forgiving so it feels good to just show some excitement when you should be scared, as you know that you will come out fine from pretty much any situation on those rapids. Once this is done, you start being ready for rapid number 9.

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A few seconds of calm in the air

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The diagonal number 9, above which it must pass to reach the springboard output #9

‘Comme Suic

The rafters portage appreciate the sh

it on the right bank and seat all the clients on the rocks to

ercial cide’


o let them

Morning Glory Morning, rapid awakening

This is the name given to the biggest rapid of the descent, the one that will keep you smiling for the rest of the day. The rafters portage it on the right bank and seat all the clients on the rocks to let them appreciate the show. This is the famous ‘diagonal’ line. A long line that takes you from boofing a diagonal wave to escaping infamous holes into a huge green ramp. If you push your boof too hard over the diagonal, you end up in the left hole where you really don’t want to end up. If you don’t push enough on that stroke, you get surfed in the diagonal and end up on the centre hole that is a violent place where you will probably get ejected from your kayak.

Gael in the number 9, with his audience on the opposite bank

Once you’re out of the green ramp, you paddle hard for about ten strokes to the right of the river in a very pushy section, and you get ready to thug a big hole. If you get surfed in that one, you’ll probably feel the fastest surf of your life before seeing the right bank rocks quickly becoming way too close to you! That’s where people can get hurt, but it doesn’t usually happen. You are travelling so fast into that hole that you normally get through it easily, taking just a big hit on your way down.

Once you’re there, rapid number 10 is way back to a lower level of emotion, before the lunch break. You can either stop at rapid number 10, which is the ‘half-day’ section, or keep on paddling until rapid number 25 for a ‘full-day’ of fun. From rapid number 10 to 25, moves are easier and you can spend more time on the river to chill in this amazing canyon, and appreciate the scenario of this perfect day on the river. It’s also the opportunity to see the wildlife this place has to offer: monkeys, eagles and crocodiles.

Will have to go under!

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Zambia Victoria Falls

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A tight community of pe

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around the river and


white water activities

The way to become a raft guide is long and hard. Local people usually don’t know how to swim, so learning starts from there. There is no easy section or flat water that doesn’t have hippos and crocs so you can’t really practice anywhere before trying it in the hard section. So learning how to navigate on a river is a long process that takes people to a high level of skill that’s worth the work. After a couple of years rafting down the rapids A relaxing with clients and a landing before graduated guide, the returning to lucky ones that present good potential for Livingstone becoming a guide can finally take people in a raft themselves. The learning process is so long that guides get very attached to the company they are working for, and it creates a warm family atmosphere around the river where people care for each other, earn their living and have a lot of fun.

Malvin, a guide for 10 years and an avid fisherman

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Cheers, especially to the efforts of Steve Arns, Ric Moxon and other local kayakers.

Gael performing a Helix

Big volume rivers: a specific way of paddling

Kayaking on these kinds of rapids involves different techniques than creek boating. On our Alpine style rivers we have ‘clean lines’ where paddlers don’t get wet going down a rapid. This is different in big volume rivers, as it’s quite impossible to stay dry. You learn to shut down your ego and be satisfied with going through rapids under water, as long as you get through. You learn to thug a hole (plunge into it in a specific position that goes through it), you learn to take speed where the waves go down, or to throw your boat on the right stream over a drop to make sure it catches the right tongue that will keep you on the way down.

The Nyami Nyami legend

Click for Google Map: Victoria Falls/Zambezi River

The Nyami Nyami is the god of the Zambezi River. It used to show up in the river in periods of famine to let the people eat meat from his own body. It’s highly recommended to wear one if you paddle on the ‘Zam’.

The long rapids in a bed of basalt rock aus asceĚ reĚ es teeth

Above: Four walls! Below: freestyle session

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A dam project: the Batoka Dam

Watch Mat’s film: Kayaking the Zambezi River

The Zambian and Zimbabwean governments are negotiating an agreement on the Batoka Dam project that would flood the whole section up to the bottom of the falls. It feels like there is no real development project behind it, and that short term financial interests that are involved in the dam construction are trying to win again against the respect of nature and the environment. If you disagree with this idea, here is the petition you can sign to protest: 2/994/796/stop-the-batoka-dam/

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Dr Jess

US freestyle kayak team member; Founder of Soft Power Health Founder of Inner City Kids Kayak Camps; Medical Doctor. Interview by Peter Tranter

A fascinating

converge When two worlds

ssie Stone interview with a remarkable woman:

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hat kayaks do you own at the moment?

Well, a lot of them – mostly Jackson kayaks but a couple of old Wave sport boats too from when I paddled on their team. I keep a fleet of Jackson kayaks in the basement of my mother’s house for the inner city kids kayaking camp! My favourite boat at the moment is my 2014 Rockstar-S.

Where and what was your first paddle and what got you hooked?

What got me totally hooked on paddling was attending several days of a beginning kayak school at Sundance Expeditions in Oregon. It was so much fun and after experiencing what play was possible in a kayak, I was totally hooked!

What and where was your first competition?

My first competition was on the Skykomish River in Washington State during the summer of 1998.

What was the biggest accomplishment in your kayaking career?

That’s a hard question. I have been really happy to make the US freestyle kayak team twice in my forties, and I was really pleased to be the first woman to paddle a hard shell kayak down the Cotahuasi River in Peru, but I think my biggest contribution in kayaking has been starting the inner city kids kayaking camps, to really try to bring kayaking to kids who would never otherwise get the opportunity to try it.

Before we start – just let our readers know a little about you, family, background etc. I am a 46-year-old medical doctor and kayaker from the US. I have been a two-time member of the US women’s freestyle kayak team and I founded a non-profit organization called Soft Power Health to provide health education and medical treatment in Uganda and to teach inner city youth in the US to white water kayak 10 years ago. I was born in Purchase, NY, went to university in California at UC Berkeley, where during my summers, I worked as a white water rafting guide. After guiding on several rivers around the world such as the Zambezi and the Bio Bio River in Chile, I became interested in learning to kayak and I needed surgery on my shoulder. The process of having surgery piqued my curiosity in medicine, and I subsequently decided I wanted to become a doctor. After attending a post-baccalaureate pre-med program, I went to New York Medical College to get my MD. Subsequently, I left medicine to kayak full-time.Though I had been teaching kayaking during my summers in medical school, a pivotal moment in my kayaking life came when I met and took a lesson from Eric Jackson.

River run on the South Fork of the Smith in California

Any advice for those starting out in freestyle?

Don’t be afraid to make many mistakes and spend a lot of time upside down under water – it’s all part of the learning process. Everyone goes through that and continues to go through it as you try and learn new things. Be patient with yourself. Even those people who look like they are at the top of their game are always working on stuff and trying to improve, learning from what they are doing wrong.

Are you naturally competitive?

I am naturally competitive with myself. I am interested in seeing what I can do, what I am capable of and trying to achieve that. I try to stay away from comparing myself to others – that is never very productive, but I like to push myself.

Competitive kayaking or expedition paddling – which do you prefer?

Hard question, they are so different and you really learn different things in each environment, though the one thing they both share is keeping you very much in the moment of what you are doing. With competitive kayaking, you have the opportunity to work on things and learn things almost all the time and it’s a low stress environment for the most part. Expedition paddling is incredibly exciting and exhilarating and can be pretty stressful depending on where you are and how your team gels. At this point in my life, I don’t need to be super stressed most of the time.

Expedition paddling is incredibly exciting and exhilarating and can be pretty stressful depending on where you are and how

your team gels

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Soft Power Health Full Movie - watch it here.

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

Honestly, I think one of the reasons that I initially liked kayaking was because it scared me a little. Feeling the fear, made everything more exciting. So in my kayaking life, I have been scared a lot! These days, it probably takes less to scare me than 10 years ago but essentially, any situation where there is a life threatening consequence or a risk of bodily harm is going to scare me!

What has been your best ever day on the water?

Another hard question, because there have been so many fantastic days on the water – it’s hard to pick one! Recently, EJ celebrated his 50th birthday party with a huge paddling party of anything but kayaks out in the Nile special wave train. I had not surfed a raft or paddled a sit on top in ages and we had a blast! We surfed all the usual suspects such as Nile Special, Club Wave and Bells and it was awesome!! There was lots of swimming through the waves as well as surfing. My stomach hurt and I was crying from laughing so hard!

What’s the maddest thing you have ever done? Take a kayak lesson from EJ!

What’s the most courageous thing you have done in life?

Take a kayak lesson from EJ. In the best way possible, EJ pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you see what’s possible and what you can do.

What’s your ratio of time between Uganda and home in the US?

I spend 4-6 months a year in Uganda, a few months in Switzerland, and a few months in the US, so I am a little peripatetic.

After paddling rivers across the planet - where is your favourite river and why?

Another really hard question because there are so many great rivers and each has their own special characteristics. I love the Nile – big warm friendly water and incredible play. I love the Rogue in Oregon for a gorgeous multi-day wilderness trip. I love the Futaleufu for its great rapids and beauty. And I love the West Branch of the Penobscot in Maine, great river running play.

Apart from kayaking and Soft Power Health, do you have time for another main interest in life?

Jessie on the White Nile Photo: Nick Troutman

I really love ski touring, tennis, ping-pong, yoga and meditation. And I think I am always in search of a really good chocolate cake! I am really interested in true-life stories of amazing things that people do!

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The clinic in its earlier days

Congolese Refugee receiving and appreciating her mosquito net. Dr Oliver educating a father of a malnourished child at the clinic EJ,Kristine and KC visit the clinic

You started Soft Power Health to combat malaria in Uganda and then went on to advising on family planning matters – are there further health issues you now want Soft Power Health to pursue? Since I started Soft Power Health, a number of health needs for Ugandan people have become apparent. Information about conception and contraception is not well understood by the majority of the population but that is changing which is great to see.

We treat a large number of malnourished patients at the clinic and surveying the local communities revealed that most people don’t understand nutrition and malnutrition well either. Though they have access to a variety of foods, Ugandans generally stick with only one type of food that they like. Learning this was the impetus for starting our latest outreach – the nutrition/malnutrition outreach. So far it’s been very well received and we’ll see if it lowers the number of malnourished patients that we treat at the clinic. Ultimately, in Uganda, education is the scarcest resource and that includes all health education. In addition, quality, affordable, reliable healthcare is also incredibly rare, so keeping all that in mind, we are just trying to meet a small part of that need in our area through the clinic and outreach programs. I don’t have a grand plan to expand but just to address needs as they arise in the communities and continue to increase the general level of health education in our area.

The Soft Power Health project has taken over from kayaking in your life but does paddling still give you satisfaction and do you still find the time to get on the water?

I think I am always trying to seek the balance between the two – ideally I would like to paddle six days a week and do Soft Power Health about the same. In Uganda, it’s easier to achieve that balance than almost anywhere else because both the paddling and healthcare work are easily accessible – I can walk to the clinic and I can walk to the river from my banda where I live. I continue to get tremendous satisfaction from paddling – maybe more now than ever because I appreciate being healthy and able to do what I can do at this point in my life and have a lot of fun!

Have you managed to engage the village locals with paddling?

Definitely, lots of locals are engaged with paddling – it’s a great job for them to teach kayaking or work as safety kayakers for the rafting companies. Many men become paddlers – it’s harder to get women out on the water, but it is still possible. There are two very good women paddlers, both called Amina, who work for the rafting companies as safety kayakers. They are both very impressive. And it would be great to get more local women paddling! Overall, there is a big interest from the local population.

Tel: 01753 655455



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OK Jessie let’s finish with something shor If you could paddle with anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be?

The Jackson family – all of them, Juerg Ruf, Ruth Gordon, Margie and Hayden Glatte, Dave and Paula Saaf, and Andy Khulberg.

Pick two celebrities to be your parents Allan and Clare Stone – my parents!

Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?

I think I’d be incredibly uncomfortable watching anyone play me in a movie! Maybe Kristin Scott Thomas?

Favourite iPod track?

Titanium or that one I can’t remember the name of!

If you won $20 million on the lottery, what would you do with it?

Create a foundation that supported teaching underprivileged kids to kayak through high school so they had a really good foundation not a one off experience, and I would donate to really worthwhile small grass roots NGOs that work on the ground throughout the developing world.

Cats or dogs?

Dogs – I am totally allergic to cats!

Facebook or Twitter? Neither!

I am not on either one and feeling pretty happy about that!

An ideal night out for you is?

Post paddling beer and pizza with good friends and if we’re not to tired – a little dancing is always fun too!

Jessie on the Bujagali Falls Photo: Leslie Alsheimer

rt and snappy…

What’s the one luxury item you miss most in Uganda? A really good pillow!

Biggest turn-off? A fragile ego.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now? Nothing because I don’t have a fridge!! Though if I had one, you would find chocolate for sure!

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

I am a serious non-cook though my boyfriend makes a mean spaghetti Bolognese so that would be on the menu for sure and a great salad – I am really good at preparing that! Good wine, bread, cheese and chocolate cake would be there too!

Any broken bones?

Yes, starting with my left leg when I was 5 and fell out of a tree! The list goes on from there.

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

I would be Recycle Woman! She is able to take any garbage and make incredible cool stuff like kayaks out of it!

If you could be a wild animal – what would it be?

A black Rhino – impossibly cute, fierce, fearless and seriously endangered. Plus they have a prehensile lip for browsing – they can grab anything!

Fill in the blanks: I am ______?

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule:) Enthusiastic and determined to a fault.

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SUP Paddler 098 Central Africa

Alex Sergison’s SUP odyssey across central Africa

114 The Paddler’s Planet By Christian Wagley

116 Interview Vanina Walsh


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There is something about Africa that draws a few to experience so much. Once it is in your blood it is hard to shake and your life becomes centred around dreams of adventure and foreign lands. In reference to his journeys across the African continent the great explorer Livingstone was quoted, “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.�

Livingstone would have loved paddle boarding


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After months of planning we rolled our Toyota Land Cruiser off a container ship in Walvis Bay, Namibia.The next 10 weeks were to be dedicated to travelling coast to coast across Africa, paddle boards at the ready, with the mission of immersing ourselves into African life.The following are extracts from my diary and detail just a few of the incredible experiences that we had‌

Day five:

The Skeleton Coast, Namibia

I first heard of the Skeleton Coast as a teenager and have lusted after visiting ever since. Barren and brutal, there is no water here apart from the icy Atlantic. Other than the odd fishermen who regularly haul shark and other large game fish onto the beach and colonies of fur seals who rule the waters from the rocky points interspersing the coastline, this is an empty wilderness. I paddle boarded this afternoon and frankly the boarding was far from quality. The water froths around the rocky shore and in the sandy bays remains choppy and uncomfortable to paddle on. My God, it is atmospheric though. The water was inky blue and I was on my own. I couldn’t shake the thought of the animals we have seen pulled ashore by rod. I know they aren’t far from me at any time. The sky is vivid blue and the rugged hills and mountains which border The Skeleton Coast glow yellow and gold in the afternoon sun, speckled with clumps of green shrubbery clinging to the slopes in the hope of rain and sustenance. We camped at a fishing out post this evening. Fishermen travel miles by dirt road to this area and camp out for months at a time enjoying the solitude and sport. It seems they bring their entire lives with them, packed neatly into four wheel drive vehicles. One such chap who made a visit to our little camp was obviously surprised to see our puny tent pitched neatly in the vast space we had been allocated. He couldn’t believe we could both crawl into this cramped home and sleep comfortably. It took some time to convince him we would be just fine and we didn’t need to be given shelter in his luxurious canvas palace for the evening.

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Day 17:

The Okavango, Botswana

It was with a heavy heart I paddled clear of the Okavango. This morning we woke on the third day of our paddle through the maze of channels which snake between ever changing islands and swamps. Up early we surprised a herd of giraffe as we crawled from our tents. After glimpsing us, they bolted for cover as did the Springbok and Zebra that we discovered just a short distance from camp. I walked with our guide for an hour after sun rise this morning. He showed me how to read some of the more basic tracks left in the dirt from the previous night and with relish I tried my hardest to remember what he was telling me. The Okavango is a paddle boarder’s dream. Glassy water ways and solitude. There are other groups here, ferried by dugout in groups around the borders of the true delta. But if you are motivated a watery wilderness awaits you. We startled two hippo this morning, the first catching us by surprise as it crashed from its hideout into a nearby swamp. The second made us paddle for our lives as it hauled its lazy bulk up to speed and charged us from the reedy bank. Katy and our guide were clear, but with all our kit strapped to the front of my board and being closest to the shoreline I was less lucky. This beautiful lumbering beast made it to within a few metres of me. I consider this encounter a close call. Paddling for up to six hours a day in the scorching sun is certainly draining. Yet despite the lure of the surrounding water a quenching dip comes with some risk. Crocodiles lurk, hungry and ready to strike. The brief rest bite we managed this afternoon on the home straight was in a strategically located pool with plenty of visibility.

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Day 26

Mr Wellington, Zimbabwe

We should have learnt; don’t trust maps and always give yourself an extra 50% time to make a journey. Last night we had to pull over in a remote section of the Matopos Hills, south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. After so many wonderful experiences on this continent, it is easy to become blasé about travel; yet this is still Africa and if you don’t use common sense you put yourself at jeopardy. The usual protocol for an unexpected stop is to head straight for the nearest school as, despite their ramshackle look, they almost certainly have a compound fence offering some degree of security. As we pulled into this village, it was apparent something was up. Although we didn’t

get to the bottom of the story, it became apparent there were some dangerous men in the area and the villagers felt we were too exposed camping within the village grounds. With night upon you, potential hostile locals in the area and no way of negotiating a horrendous road in the dark sometimes you have to trust your instincts. When we were invited by Mr Wellington to take refuge within his compound a short distance from the village, we had just a moment to size him up and decide whether to trust him or not. We woke the next morning within Mr Wellington’s compound to the sound of his excited extended family waiting to meet the

“My daughter has never met white people before. The next time she does I know she

won’t be afraid.”

foreigners. A more gentle and obliging family would be hard to find. We spent the morning playing with his very young son and six-year old daughter and on a private tour of their small plot of land that sheltered melon, maize, squash and all sorts of exciting fruits that I wouldn’t be able to name. We left a token of appreciation of a few dollars for the local school. As we departed Mr Wellington confessed how lucky he felt on meeting us. “My daughter has never met white people before. The next time she does I know she won’t be afraid,” he said.

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Mana Pools, Zimbabwe Day 39:

We barely slept a wink last night. There were hippos chewing cud around the tent and grumbling to themselves, lions roaring and elephant pushing their way through the undergrowth. We experienced our first mock elephant charge as we pulled into the reserve. Catching a large bull by surprise as we drove round an overgrown corner, he made his displeasure felt, pulled his trunk clear, tucked his ears back and postured no more than 10 metres from the car. All we could do was sit tight, remember our advice (turn the car off and keep utterly still and quiet) and hope he decided we weren’t a threat. He was too close for us to make a run for it and eventually after cutting the distance to just five metres, he slowly backed away back into the bush leaving our hearts racing. As twilight enshrouded us at camp, a hippo walked past causing us to hold our breath and freeze in our seats. Before taking refuge in our skimpy tent, we watched hyena peering at us through the gloom obviously wondering if we were predator or prey.


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We saw two prides of lion today. This afternoon’s pride we found no more than two minutes from our unfenced campsite. We gazed upon 13 females and juveniles for almost two hours as they bickered about a wart hog kill and lazed in the shade of some scrubby bushes. We were a little disappointed as they started to move off, as we haven’t seen any of the large males yet. We followed them down a dusty track and there, just round the corner, was the King of the Jungle. Over 400 pounds of muscle and arrogance, this fellow knew where he stood in the pecking order. He had obviously already feasted and had been keeping watch over his extended family. No wonder the encircling hyenas had looked so jittery.

Click for Google map of

Central Africa

I came close to pumping my board up. I am afraid this place has beaten me, the banks are lined with creatures which wouldn’t think twice about gouging, trampling or eating me. Who knows what lies beneath the waters, brown from the recent rains? I have paddled enough to know that whilst you are on you board you have little to fear. However the Zambezi is flowing rapidly over hidden sand bars and waterborne debris, ready to catch a fin and throw a rider to an almost certain dinner date with something green and scaly. I will be back Mana Pools. When the dry season arrives and the water flows clearer, I look forward to paddling through this area of fierce beauty.

June issue

Alex’s African journey continues in the

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A different perspective By Alan Feldstein

At a recent adventure show a speaker discussed the top three places you should visit before you die. She said two should be wherever you want but the first and number one thing you should do is go on safari in Africa. I could not agree more! It is a once in a lifetime experience to see lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, monkeys and all the other animals that continue to roam the vast plains.

To read further visit:


Stories from an equatorial outpost By Craig Rogers

To read further visit:

We were children of great fortune – our father was shipped to East Africa on an expat assignment in the late sixties and my two brothers and I were born in Nairobi, Kenya. Whilst he missed out on flower power, free love and the music of Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, we grew up in a tropical paradise with year-round sunshine and a swimming pool in the garden. I learnt to swim by the age of three and started windsurfing at the age of six.

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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!

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



Canadian Wilderness 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.

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

Photo: Joan Vienot

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Nature’s disorder adds to diversity of life in our waterways 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,

By Christian Wagley

Nature is often untidy to the human eye, a seemingly random mix of plants, animals, ecosystems, and events that create the wild places we know and love. When we look closer there often is a logical order to it all, though it rarely appears so on the surface.

Humans tend to favour order, which is why we arrange furniture neatly in our living rooms and build formal and symmetrical features on our homes and buildings. Nature favours disorder and asymmetry, save for the occasional “Where we are Standing Up uniformity of a vast expanse of grassland or the pure for the Planet!” white sand of a tropical beach.

We see this along the waterways and shorelines we paddle. Rocks emerge atop the beach, trees hang out over the water, and natural debris floats downstream or piles-up on the shore. It’s anything but neat, but that stuff we often dismiss as debris floating randomly in the sea or clogging our favourite little stream is actually bringing great life to our waters.

So when a storm sweeps a tree from its earthly foundation and sends it barrelling down a stream, it often lodges in a bend or sinks down and becomes embedded in the bottom. The flowing water scours sediment away from the trunk and creates a deeper hole in the bottom. That adds more diversity of habitat, and many organisms small and large move in to feed and take shelter in the deeper water. The logs and fallen branches in our streams we now call woody material rather than debris, in recognition of its positive role in the ecosystem.

An example of what happens when we ignore that valuable habitat comes from here in Florida. Years ago a State fish hatchery released 500,000 sunfish into a nearby river despite warnings from biologists that there was not enough habitat to support the fish. Over the years people had removed logs and branches from the river to clear a path for boats, or to mill the older logs into very expensive lumber and flooring.

With the woody material missing from the river, the fish literally had nowhere to go and little food in the form of smaller fish and invertebrates. When scientists surveyed the river one year later they could not find a single one of the released fish.

In the ocean, large mats of sargassum weed—a brown algae--float on the surface of seas worldwide. Once again, what might appear to be of little value is actually home to hundreds of animals small and large living within and around the algae.

And in coastal areas, seagrasses and kelp detach and wash ashore onto beaches. Once there they continue to provide habitat as small crustaceans like isopods feed on the kelp, and larger animals like crabs feed upon dead animals caught in the vegetation.The vegetation ultimately decays and provides nutrients to nearby plants and other organisms, showing again that nothing goes to waste in nature.

There is much disorder in nature. Whether it’s logjams in rivers, sargassum bobbing on the sea, or kelp washing onto our beaches, what can look random and without purpose at first glance is actually a vital part of the health of our rivers, streams, and oceans.

Multi courses Kite and SUP courses through 24-7 Boardsports. Kayak/Canoe/Windsurfing Courses through Calshot Centre. Free parking while in the shop, friendly help and a large demo fleet (we have water within 30m of the shop on both sides at high tide, sometimes a good deal closer!)

SUP Club (Kayaks/Canoes welcome as well) with frequent suggestions for social paddles and fantastic spot for coastal paddles and walks. Calshot Activities Centre is one of the biggest watersports/landsports centres in the country with outstanding facilities including Bar/Cafe, Climbing, Skiing, Velodrome, Archery, full range of RYA courses, BCU Courses/Sea Kayak and showers. Great membership packages! Phone us on: 023 8089 4000 Visit us at: Email us at: 24-7 Boardsports Calshot Activities Centre Jack Maynard Road, Calshot Southampton SO45 1BR Open 7 days a week: 10am-6pm 10am-5pm during winter

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

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to Waikiki & beyond..

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From Phoenix

ThePaddler ezine interviews the young woman who just loves to surf – so much so, she persuaded her parents to move to the World’s surf capital – Hawaii! Interview by Peter Tranter Photos by Jim Walsh and Ben Thouard



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irstly, what boards are you using?

I am riding Starboard Standup Paddle boards, these are some of the most high performance carbon fibre boards on the market right now. I’m using a 6’9 and a 7’1 stand up paddle board for surfing and a 12’6 turtle bay model race board for racing.

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

My first time surfing was at my home break at Waikiki Beach. My dad pushed me into my first wave and once I caught my first wave I was hooked! There is no feeling in the world like surfing – it was the best experience.

What and where was your first competition?

My first surf competition was the China Uemura Classic at Waikiki Beach, where I won my very first surf board.

How does SUP give you satisfaction?

I love SUP because I can do it anywhere, On a lake, a river, the ocean, as long as there is a body of water I can paddle on it! Sup is fun for me when the waves are big or even if there are no waves. I think this is why it is the fastest growing sport in the world.

Only early doors but what is the biggest accomplishment in your career to date?

Last year I came in second in the world for stand up paddling on the world tour.


I’m Vanina Walsh, I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and spent a lot of time in Mexico when I was younger. I grew up speaking both Spanish and German since my mom is from Germany and my dad spent many years in Mexico. When I was about seven or eight years old, my mom got a job for the airline and we began traveling to Hawaii and I fell in love with surfing. Within a year I convinced my parents to move to Hawaii and my surfing career had begun!

Are you naturally competitive?

I’m actually not very competitive. In contests I just surf my best and let my surfing do the talking!

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

I don’t have a set training schedule but I make sure that I’m always active every day. I love to be outdoors and on the ocean. When I’m surfing and standup paddling it doesn’t even feel like I’m training because I’m having so much fun doing it! I also love to go swimming, running, and hiking. My greatest inspirations are my parents for always encouraging me and looking out for my best interest. I am pretty self motivated to surf and train to stay healthy and in good shape.

My greatest inspirations are my parents for always encouraging me and looking out for

my best interest

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What would a typical food day be for you from breakfast to supper?

I usually have a big breakfast such as an omelette with avocado and vegetables or sometimes just eggs, bacon and toast. For lunch I like to make green smoothies, acai bowls, or quesadillas, quesadillas are my weakness! For dinner I love to have fish and rice, chicken and salad, pasta, or whatever my mom is cooking.

What advantages are there to being a Starboard rider?

Being a Starboard rider is great because they have some of the best equipment! Their boards are the lightest, strongest boards I’ve ridden and they make a board for every condition and experience level. I also love being apart of the Starboard team, I get along great with the other team riders and I feel like the team really help and support each other.

Apart from SUP what other one main interest do you have in life?

I have always loved art and design, when I’m not surfing I’m usually painting or sewing. Some day I would love to start my own clothing/bikini company.

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

I have been scared a couple times surfing in big waves, it is important to know your comfort zone and always respect the ocean.

What has been your best ever day on the water?

I have had so many perfect days out on the water its hard to choose just one! But one of my favourite surf sessions has been In Mexico at a spot called El Rancho, I’ll never forget surfing fun waves and eating tacos on the beach with friends!

You’ve been doing a lot of traveling in the past year – what’s been your favourite experience?

I love every place I go to, but this past year I went to France and I loved seeing Paris and surfing the waves in La Torche. I also achieved second place at the Standup World Tour that really made the trip exciting!

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Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Hopefully I’ll have a successful clothing/bikini company and I’ll still be surfing and doing what I love most!

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

If you are a beginner I would recommend Waikiki Beach on Oahu, there are usually fun waves and it's a great place to start!

What’s the most courageous thing you have done in life?

Selling our home in Arizona to pursue my surfing career in Hawaii.

Watch Vanina’s Youtube video as she spends time with Gillian Gebree (Roxy sup Yoga instructor) when she visited Oahu.




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OKVanina let’s finish with somethi

Thanks for taking the time out

hing short and snappy…

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

Pick two celebrities to be your parents Angelina Jolie and Brad Pit.

Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?

My best friend Kaleia Deal (not famous yet but soon to be).

Favourite iPod track?

Way too many to choose from!

Favourite film? The Endless Summer.

If you won $20 million on the lottery, what would you do with it?

Make sure all my friends and family are well taken care of, and invest in real-estate.

Cats or dogs? Cats.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook, but I’m more of an Instagram kinda girl!

What would I find in your refrigerator right now? You will always find tortillas.

What’s the biggest creature you’ve seen whilst surfing? A whale.

What one luxury item would you take with you on a desert island? My phone or camera to take pictures.

Biggest turn-off? A bad personality.

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

A shape shifter, I would have the ability to change my physical form to anything at any time.

of your busy schedule:)

If you could be a wild animal – what would it be? A dolphin.

Fill in the blanks: I am ______?

I am fortunate to be able to travel and do what I love.

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Salty Paddler 128 Norway

A year in Senja by Frode and Wivian Wiggen

144 Greenland

Northeast Greenland by Søren Telling

154 Cold water safety part 4 Golden Rule No.5 by Moulton Avery

LEARN TO SEA KAYAK BETTER in Oban on the beautiful west coast of Scotland Or enjoy one of our great coastal or island trips With

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To explore Senja in a kayak, it is essential you paddle all of the seasons. Why? Well, you would definitely want to see the Midnight Sun, Northern Lights, whales, seals, snow on the mountain tops, the crystal clear water and experience the magical three-month polar night period. F w Photo: Færøya Island, maybe the most visited island at Senja by paddlers. You can reach Færøya easily from several launching spots and it is one of our favourite destinations.

Frode and Wivian Wiggen talk us through a 365-day visual guide to Senja. ThePaddler 129

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About Senja Senja is the second largest Island in Norway. The meaning of the name is unknown, but some say it is related to the verb sundra, which means to ‘tear, split apart,’ attributed to the west coast of the island, which is torn and split by numerous small fjords. Senja has a small population of approximately 8,000 inhabitants and is 1,586km2. The north and western coasts face the open ocean, where the steep and rugged mountains rise straight from the sea, with fishing villages wherever there is lowland. The east and southern parts are milder, with more rounded mountains, forests, rivers and agriculture land. Senja is often referred to as ‘Norway in miniature’, as the island s diverse scenery reflects almost the entire span of Norwegian nature, well known domestically for its beautiful scenery and as a tourist attraction. Senja’s highest point is ‘Breitind’ at 984 (metres above sea level). Coordinates 69°20 N 17°30 E

Getting there

You travel by plane to Tromsø Airport, where you jump on a bus for 20 minutes before you arrive in Tromsø centrum. If you have the time, be sure to spend some in Tromsø, a beautiful town referred to as ‘The Nordic Paris’. From there you travel by boat for a 90-minute sail to Finnsnes. The Gisund Bridge connects Finnsnes to Senja and is the last place you can buy a bottle of wine before you enter paddle paradise. From the harbour at Finnsnes you can travel by bus to your next destination.

Renting a kayak

Sorry to say, but it is not possible to rent a kayak at Senja. The closest place to do so is in Tromsø. We recommend where Alf will look after your needs. From his kayak store, you can take the ferry from Sommerøya not too far away, directly to Senja (in summer time).

South of Senja, Wivian and Trude see the sun for the first time this year. It’s magic, and you can almost feel the heat. No wonder, it´s been gone for two months.

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It is getting a little w has a wonderful be access from the ro

Some years we also have a lot of snow in March, which makes it a little harder to get on the water.

The summer is getting closer wi becomes warmer and the sun ri

warmer and time to start rolling again. Rotvika each with white sand and clear water, with easy oad.

ith every day as it ises higher.

Where do I go?

You will find the tourist information just a few metres from Finnsnes Harbour, where they have maps of the area, great brochures in several languages to help you pick the best places to visit just in case you haven’t done the research before arriving. If you come to Senja for paddling, there are many opportunities. Use Google Maps and you will find a huge variety of places where you can launch your kayak with destinations to paddle, plus extra information can be found at several blogs dedicated to paddling around Senja. The most common area for paddling is around Bergsfjorden, which has many small islands making an easy paddle of island hopping, or if you want a challenge yourself, you can paddle out into the open sea. You will find paddling for all levels in this area. Bergsfjorden gives you green water, white sandy beaches and great wildlife.

Need a place to stay?

There are several places to stay at Senja. You can either live in a first class room near the sea, or choose a cabin with less amenities. Whatever you go for, try to choose a place with a view out to the sea. Ok, so you are a adventurer and don’t want to sleep in a fancy cabin. If you want to enjoy Senja by living in a tent – no problem! You can set up a tent almost anywhere, as long you are not crossing private ground and you are at least 50 metres from a house or cabin. If you are thinking about making a camp on some of the islands, you need to be aware of birds nesting. On some islands you will find fresh clear water and on others you will not, so it’s probably best to stay on the safe side and take bottled water. If you are camping in a tent in the summer (which is very common) be sure to find a place where you can sit back and enjoy The Midnight Sun. Sitting outside the tent with a cup of coffee or a cold beer and watching the sun is amazing. You don’t want to miss it. It’s moments like this that make you come back – because you will come back!

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What time of the year should I go?

It all depends on where you are from, and what you want to experience. A good Swedish friend, Philipp Klement, first visited Senja in the summer and came back in December, which is the darkest period of the year and thought is was even better.


Aah, spring! It’s a sign that the summer is getting closer as the sun climbs higher and higher each day and you can feel it warming your skin. When you arrive at the shore, you can for the first time lie down and relax with the sun on your face. There’s still plenty of snow on the mountain tops and a perfect view. Maybe the most beautiful time of the year to be on the water. Because of the many differences to each season, you can paddle on the same area several times and you receive a different experience each time.


Most people travel in the summer. It is warm and you can relax on a beach and have lunch without freezing but don’t let the sun fool you. The water is still very cold, and if you are on the open sea you should still wear a drysuit. A drysuit is mandatory almost through the whole year.

Spring has definitely sprung – it´s raining cats and dogs. Frode and Philipp paddling, rolling and having a great time in thunder and lightning.

Wivian relaxing in the skull of a whale at Færøya

There’s still plenty of snow on the mountain tops and a

perfect view

On our way to some of the small Islands at South of Senja. It’s almost like a painting.

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Selfjorden – South of Senja. in August

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Y d

Autumn is the time of the year that has the most beautiful colours in the forest. The trees are yellow, red and orange and some days it seems like they are almost on fire. This time on the year you can just glide in the water for hours without saying a word, just taking in the colours.


We say this every year: next winter we will not paddle. We don’t want to freeze anymore! But still we do it. Why? The green water; snow on the mountain tops and the awesome light make it all worth the cold hands and feet. However, you must have the right knowledge to paddle in the winter and if you don’t have the equipment and experience it can be life-threatening. If you flip over into the water without a drysuit, it will be just a matter of minutes before you get hypothermia. Never paddle alone in the winter!

Animal life

You can just glide in the water for hours without saying a word, just t

in th

Luckily we don’t have dangerous snakes, spiders and scorpions at Senja but we do get a lot of mosquitos in the summer. If you are planning to live in a tent, be sure to bring a mosquito net. If you don’t, we can promise you will remember the next time. On shore you will be able to see, moose, reindeer, foxes, hares and maybe some grouse if you are lucky. From December to late January you will see whales in the fjords and if you are lucky and paddle quietly enough, you can get very close to the huge mammals whilst watching them hunt for herring, however beware, and remember this is their territory. When the sun arrives you will see many seals lay on the cliffs basking in the warmth. You can also spot huge eagles at several places on the island and if you are very lucky you can see them dive for their food. When the birds are nesting you need to take cautions. Never camp on an island with birds nesting and try not to disturb them by getting to close to them in your kayak – they may attack, or at least become aggressive.

The winter has now settled in. The mountains in the background are called the ‘Devil’s mouth’.

You can see the colours change from day to day and the summer is almost over.

he colours


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What makes Senja and north of Norway special? Northern Lights

Many people travel to North of Norway to see the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are best observed when it’s a cold and clear sky. Find a dark place without too much light pollution (from roads and houses), and wear warm clothes. If at first you don’t see it, just relax and it will suddenly appear but it can also disappear as quickly, so be outside and be patient to be sure to see it. To be able to get great photos of the Northern Lights you should bring an SLR camera and practice beforehand to get the spectacular photos you will be proud of.

Polar night

From 22nd November to 22nd January, Senja receives no sunlight at all as the low sun disappears behind the mountains – it is called the Polar night. For many people this is not a welcome part of the year. For others it is awesome because of all the many different colours. In December it is magical to be outside just before complete darkness, which is called the blue hour. Paddling at this time of the year needs careful planning for when you get back to your destination point. It is also smart to bring a headlamp as when it gets dark, it becomes pitch black! Paddling light this time of the year is between 10:00 to 13:00 hours.

But remember! Don’t wave to the light – the legend says it will come

and get you…

Click for Google map of

Senja, Norway

Midnight sun

In the summer time we are very lucky to have the Midnight Sun. It is daylight for almost 24 hours a day. If you want to enjoy the Midnight Sun you need to be here between 22nd of May to 22nd of July.


Winter can be brutal. In the past years there have been several avalanche accidents with skiers and snowmobiles. In 2013 Senja had a very sad accident with a deadly outcome. If you want to move in the mountains you must be prepared.

Most of all

The silence, the fjords, the mountains and the animal life are what we appreciate most at Senja. As a reminder jet skis are forbidden, and there is almost no boats on the fjords. You don’t need to paddle a long distance to get the feeling that you are in a remote area. You can paddle around Senja for years and still have many places to explore. It’s a treasure!

See you at Senja

Whilst out paddling at Senja and you notice a couple of paddlers in low volume sea kayaks in tuiliqs, it is probably us. Just come over say hello and have a nice chat.

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FromTrondheim to the North Cape By Alice Courvoisier

To read further visit:

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

The explorers of Telemark By Matt Thompson

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.

To read further visit:

Illustration by GaryckArntzen



Fancy a weekend dedicated to sea kayaking in the South of England? T Take ake your pick from river and sea trips along the River Itchen, River Hamble and the Solent, adventure paddles to the Needles, shore based activities and courses. All levels of ability will be catered for, with camping on site. The specialist team from Woodmill will be on hand all weekend with boats for you to demo, kit for you to try on and sound advice to offer on your purchases.

e r o t S n I k Boo . . . e n i l n O r o


ƒ Skills workshops for beginners, female sea ƒ  kayak clinic and FFUNdamental UNdamental paddling for under 18’ s. 18’s. ƒ RYYAA First AAid,  id, Introduction to charts and ƒ navigation FFSRT SRT course shore based workshops at Woodmill. VHHFF Radio Communications at SSouthampton ƒ outhampton  ƒ Water AActivities ctivities Centre ((SWAC). SWAC). ƒ Transport provided between Woodmill and  ƒ other locations. ƒ Evening activities include BBQ, bar, bar, camp fire,  ƒ high ropes, leap of faith, video sessions and much more.

Scan me

World’s largest

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Kayaking in the

national p


The national park in northeast Greenland covers almost 45% of Greenland and is the world’s largest national park with an area of 972,0002kms. “For me it is important to do my utmost to make sure that everyone has an adventure of a lifetime! Participating is expensive and something most people only get to experience once in a lifetime. We only use highly professional guides, the best equipment and routes we have tested beforehand,” says Søren Telling, founder of the company Outdoorsports and the concept.


The average temperature of the warmest summer month is 3-6 degrees and minus 4050 degrees during the coldest winter months.


The fjords are only navigable about two months of the year, all other months, they are covered by metre thick sea ice.


For many people, it is the ultimate dream to participate in an expedition in one of the most rugged and impassable regions of the world, hundreds of miles from civilization. Serving as expedition leader on Arctic voyages, Søren Telling takes travellers on a three-week adventure of a lifetime to a world far away from everyday life.Thus, the Dane is familiar with some of the most inaccessible areas on earth. Here, only calving glaciers and roaring icebergs break the silence and one must constantly watch out for polar bears – everything is at the mercy of Mother Nature in the world’s largest national park in northeast Greenland. We spoke to Søren about his latest expeditions and about the future.

Expeditions in northeast Greenland start from Iceland, where the expedition leader and participants meet up before flying over the Greenland Sea to the last civilized stop before the expedition truly commences. Kayaks, food and all equipment are shipped in advance before the last flight to the National Park and must be loaded onto a special airplane which can land in the terrain and serves as the only access way to one of the most remote areas in the world. Although the expedition starts in the Arctic high summer, the ice is still several feet thick at the coast, which makes transport by ship impossible. Therefore, folding kayaks are used on the expedition. Preparation is a big task and takes several months, where checklists are carefully reviewed again and again to ensure everything is packed. In addition to the special folding kayaks,

the equipment also includes drysuits, satellite phone, PLB emergency transmitter with GPS location, radio, AIS emergency bearing transmitter, Navtex weather forecaster, rifle, flare gun and rockets, advanced first aid kits, and medicines.

Camp at Kong Oscar Fjord overlooking the mountain Teufelsschloss

About one and a half days after the participants have met for the first time, the aircraft takes off from the makeshift runway in a ravine between the cliffs, leaving group and leader alone in the great outback, all alone. “From now on it will be really exciting,” Søren says, referring to the reflection that occurs for most when the last drone of the aircraft's propeller has faded into the distance and the first task for the group is to find drinking water and ensure that the area is free of polar bears!

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The Twin Otter emptied of equipment

Safety procedures

The next few days are spent assembling the kayaks, finding the group's rhythm and going through safety procedures and equipment to ensure that everyone feels comfortable. “When we land at the edge of the ice cap, we take time to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the endless masses of ice before the paddling journey through the fiord systems begins. Every day a distance of 20-40km is paddled. The total route is typically between 450 and 500km, and the daily distances depend on weather conditions and the possibility to go ashore,” Søren explains.

Safety first!

The water temperature is just above the freezing point and gorges between the high mountains of the fjord system create very strong winds, so one must always be extremely careful when in the area. Help is several days away and capsize can in a very short time become fatal. The weather is very changeable and therefore it is important to seek safety shelter as soon as changes in weather occur, as wind speeds of up to 100km per hour are not uncommon!


The Danish army has 12 people based in Greenland. Sirius’s main task is to maintain Danish sovereignty and act as police and patrol the fjords by dogsled in the winter.

Søren has experienced this on his own body. “During our recent expedition in 2013 we enjoyed almost three weeks of high sun and mild weather but this is not always the case. In 2011 we were seriously under pressure, as a weather change in just 10 minutes created a massive storm in an area where we could not reach the shore. The waves rose several metres high and the icebergs were smashed against the vertical rock faces. We fortunately found a small ledge in the cliff side where we could take shelter and tie the kayaks to the rocks while the storm rode of,” he recalls.

It is important to seek safety shelter as soon as changes in weather occur, as wind speeds of up to 100km per hour

are not uncommon!

Having a break by a piece of glacier ice

In such a situation it is important that the whole group is properly prepared and everyone knows what to do. “The most important task as leader of the expedition is to ensure good group dynamics so that all stand together when challenges arise. Another challenge may be lack of suitable drinking water in the area around the camp or to meet a group of muskoxen or a polar bear,” Søren says.


Swedish explorers tried to map the area for the first time in 1899. In the early 1960s the area was finally mapped using aircraft.

Kayaks out for Waltershausen Glacier

An experience of a lifetime

Covering an area of 972,000 square kilometres, the national park of Northeast Greenland is the world's largest, larger than Spain and France combined. The area offers clear traces of the hunting culture that emerged in the beginning of the 1900s when hunters from the populated area of North Greenland settled there. From the 1920s to the early 1960s, the area was home to Scandinavian fur hunters who lived in the huts

along the coast in small groups of up to three persons. From here they hunted polar bears, arctic foxes and snow-hares in winter and sold the furs in the summer when the only ship of the year docked on the shore.

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The fjord system around the Kong inle

g Oscar Fjord consists of a number of small ets, each of which has its unique attractions. Fact

The area has been protected since 1967 with access requiring special permission from the Greenland authorities and extended insurance with Search and Rescue (SAR) coverage, is mandatory.

The huts of those hunters are preserved in precisely the same condition as when the area was abandoned, and are now used by the Danish Sirius Patrol and the rare expeditions visiting the area. The area also houses the research station Eagle’s Nest from 1931, built by Danish explorer Lauge Koch to serve as a base for mapping the area. The station is located at the foot of the Mount Bastion, which is a favourite place to visit as a hike to the vertical cliff that rises 1,300 meters above sea level brings spectacular views of the whole area. The fjord system around the Kong Oscar Fjord consists of a number of small inlets, each of which has its unique attractions. Closest to the sea is the Alpine Fjord, which is, immediately before the bottom, blocked by a calving glacier tongue that extends far into the fjord. Besides various seal species, stray whales and walruses can be seen in the fjords. On land, it is not rare to get close to arctic foxes, snow-hares and muskoxen. And as they are not used to human contact, they do not feel threatened and run away.


The national park is one of three breeding areas for polar bears in Greenland.

On the way out of Nordfjord

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Teamwork and daily tasks

Taking part in an expedition lasting for several weeks, places great demands on all participants. The participants live under simple conditions and close to each other, and each day brings a number of tasks in which everyone has to take part to ensure that everything works. One of the main tasks is to take part in the 24-7 guard shift routine, to ensure that the camp is always watched and that no polar bears enter. In addition, all participants need being committed to taking responsibility and participating in the daily tasks around setting up the camp, collecting fresh water, washing clothes, maintaining the equipment, cooking, and other common tasks. “Even such a thing like putting the kayaks in the water is a common task, as it requires several persons to carry a heavily loaded kayak and prevent it from being damaged by the sharp rocks,” says Søren. View of the ice sheet We sail inshore in the icy water

“It's absolutely not a beach holiday. I experience that participants gain significant self-in

nsight and reflect on their life situation. The conversations around the fire gradually become deeper during the expedition, and friendships for life are fostered with no regard to age and gender,” Søren concludes. To participate in expeditions, it is a prerequisite that one possesses basic kayaking skills and feels at home in the outdoors. The participants certainly do not need to be top athletes – it is far more important being mentally balanced and open. The price for a three-week expedition in the national park with is $15,995/€11,695 and includes equipment rental, lodging, guide, insurance and transport to and from Iceland.

Often it is not possible to go ashore because of the sheer cliffs

“It's absolutely not a beach holiday. I experience that participants gain significant self-insight and reflect on

their life situation ThePaddler 151

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An expedition to the edge of the Greenland Ice Cap By Phil Eccles “Anything you fancy for the summer holiday, Jo?”

To read further visit:

“Mmm” my wife pondered, “Maybe a quiet beach somewhere with a book to read” She laughed. She knows I’m not wired to sitting still in one place for very long and as the summer holidays roll around each year I need to be off on some sort of adventure, preferably a journey on the edge of uncertainty.

Polar Bears and Paddleboards By Justin Miles

When people think of SUP they tend to think of catching waves on surf beaches, paddling around the Florida Keys or exploring a city by river, so the words ‘polar bears’ and ‘paddleboards’ don’t seem to go together – but they did for a team taking on an ‘Arctic’ paddleboarding expedition! To read further visit:

Taking inflatable SUPs to paddle between icebergs in an area just outside of the Arctic circle may seem like a crazy idea, but a multi-national team of ten have just returned from the first (known) such paddleboarding expedition in Greenland.



10’6 10 6 SPORT SPORT £625*






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By Moulton A

on heat and cold stress who gave executive director of the Center f years and is the founder and direc



This is the last in a four-part series on cold water safety by Moulton Avery – an expert e his first public lecture on hypothermia in 1974. He was for Environmental Physiology in Washington, DC for 10 ctor of the National Center for Cold Water Safety.


When something bad happens out on the water and you’re unprepared to deal with it, you’re in trouble – sometimes big trouble. That’s why it’s a really good idea to make a practice of thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong, and making sure you have those bases covered before you go out.

Knowledge and experience

The safety hurdle faced by many paddlers is that they don’t have enough knowledge or experience to imagine the all the things that can, and often do, go wrong – even on modest outings. This places them at a huge disadvantage when trying to plan for the unexpected. So

what can these folks do to improve their odds? For starters, they can learn from the bad experiences suffered by other paddlers, and thereby avoid making the same mistakes – or at least be better prepared for them.

The value of second-hand knowledge

A lot of people believe there’s no way you can learn to kayak, rock climb, backpack, scuba dive, fly a plane, ride a horse, a bicycle, motorcycle or whatever just by reading about it – that the only way to really learn about that kind of stuff is by actually doing it. That’s true enough, but only up to a point – and it’s a very important point, because as it turns out, there’s a lot of stuff that you really don’t want to learn about the hard way – by direct personal experience. Some sea kayaking examples of this are overleaf.

Imagine the worst that can happen and plan for it ThePaddler 155

ThePaddler 156


One of the best ways to expand your horizon of knowledge is by reading about bad stuff that happened to other people and reading safety articles written by paddlers with plenty of real-world experience.

Deep Survival by Lawrence Gonzales is an excellent book that answers the question often asked after accidents: “What the hell were they thinking?” www.tsunami – The Tsunami Rangers website contains a wealth of information related to safety and preparation, including the following posts: ▪ Risk assessment for kayaking on the exposed coast ▪ Rating sea conditions ▪ Scouting the sea ▪ Between a rock and a hard wave ▪ Kayaking and cold water immersion

What you really don’t want to learn about the hard way ▪

Getting totally creamed when you decide to paddle out that little inlet or river mouth “just to check things out”. Getting swept into a tide race or blown offshore into much rougher water even though the TV weather report you watched in the morning said nothing about dangerous tidal currents or small craft advisories. Watching in horror as your kayak does a ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ or sinks like a stone because it has no floatation. Ditto watching your kayak blow away (more on that later). Capsizing 200 yards from shore in 50F water and finding out that the guy who tried to warn you about the danger of cold water really did know what he was talking about. Getting really and truly lost when fog rolls in and your trusty GPS runs out of juice, breaks, malfunctions, can’t get a signal – whatever – and now it’s getting dark and cold and you don’t have a map and compass and even if you did, you wouldn’t know how to use them. Floating around in the dark, shivering and watching the lights of boats and helicopters searching for you but having no way to signal them because you have neither flares, a waterproof flashlight, cell phone, VHF radio, or emergency strobe light. Breaking or dislocating a finger, or cutting it to the bone. Getting to the take-out and realizing that Mary is missing – she capsized two miles back but nobody knew it because your group didn’t have a designated sweep. Being unable to function because your hands are completely numb – even though your drysuit is keeping the rest of your body toasty warm.

The mistake that led to my 45+ minute February swim in near-freezing water at the mouth of Delaware Bay was basically a failure of imagination. I totally failed to anticipate having the kayak knocked out of my very firm grasp and blown away while I was doing a reenter and roll that I’d nailed hundreds of times before.

During that long, drysuit-assisted swim, I developed a visceral appreciation for the value of a boat tether and belatedly installed one shortly thereafter – as did a lot of our fellow paddlers when they heard about the incident. Ever since then, I’ve been a proponent of using boat and paddle tethers. Many sea kayakers today use paddle leashes, and most carry spare paddles, but it’s worth pointing out that nobody carries a spare boat. Most board surfers consider tethers to be standard equipment, and it appears that most surfski paddlers do as well. For some inexplicable reason, however, sea kayakers rarely use them, although losing a sea kayak can be every bit as hazardous as losing a ski. Many cite a fear of entanglement – an understandable concern, but one that should really be a non-issue. For the record, you can’t get entangled in a yard-long tether. My tether has a working length of 25 inches (<1 metre), and it clips into a stainless steel ring that runs on a line across my foredeck. It doesn’t impede a wet exit from my smaller ocean cockpit or interfere in any way with a smooth re-enter and roll. I unclip if I’m re-entering my boat via an assisted rescue, and also unclip when launching or landing in surf, but otherwise I remain tethered – particularly in rough conditions, tide races, or when surfing offshore bars. After getting back into sea kayaking in 2010, I was surprised to find that commercial tethers were quite long, and appeared flimsy compared to what I use. The forces trying to separate paddler from boat can be huge at times, and under the wrong circumstances, a broken tether can have a fatal outcome. On our National Center for Cold Water Safety website, each Golden Rule is followed by a description and analysis of one or more often fatal accidents. The case that follows Rule No. 5 involves a very experienced paddler who died when the tether to his surf ski broke in very windy, rough-water conditions. You can read it at

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

▪ ▪ ▪

▪ ▪

▪ ▪

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

▪ ▪

Incapacitated by cold. Blown out to sea by high wind. Paddle breaks, drifts away, or is lost in rough water. Tether breaks and boat blows away. Waves dump water into cockpit and boat fills with water. Capsize and can’t get back in boat. Cell phone and/or VHF radio lost when boat blows away. Hit a rock and smash hole in boat. Dislocate shoulder. Caught in thunderstorm. Night falls – can’t see anything. Paddle float blows away. Become seasick or exhausted and can no longer paddle. Lose the cover to the rear hatch. Lose prescription glasses– can’t see.

Pete Astles. Dorset. Image: Paul Ramsdale

Food for thought – what will you do if…

If at all possible critical elements should have a backup – even if the backup is to make a repair. Is all of this overkill? Maybe, but you don’t often hear about ‘overly prepared’ sea kayakers getting into trouble.

Checklists are your friend

It’s easy to forget stuff – at home, in your car, and at the take-out. Consider having a checklist for each situation. ▪ Leaving home: a list of all the things you want to have with you at the put-in. ▪ Launching: a list of all the things you want with you on the paddle. ▪ Returning home: a list of stuff that you don’t want to forget at the take-out. I’ve never regretted being too vigilant, or safety conscious, or infatuated with checklists and meticulous planning, or cautious about my choice of paddling partners, but almost every single time I’ve made the mistake of being sloppy, lazy, or complacent about those things, it’s come back, in one way or another, to bite me on the rump.

Full disclosure

Explorer Suit & Explorer Zip Pfd

I’ve forgotten all sorts of stuff, on various occasions, because I got sloppy with my checklists. Among other things, I’ve left my VHF radio, tow rope, and swim trunks at home, forgotten to pack lunch, left my compass or headlamp in the car and forgotten to bring my wallet, a towel, a comb, and sunscreen. I also lost a very nice paddle because I left it on a boat ramp at the take-out and on one truly memorable occasion, was fortunate that someone miraculously had a spare PFD…●


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Canoe Paddler 160 Italy

Beach hopping Elba Island by David Truzzi-Franconi

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Story by David Truzzi-Franconi Paddlers: Simon King, Steve Seinet-Martin and Dave Truzzi-Franconi ThePaddler 160

Simon with canoe relection in sunglasses

hopping Beach

Elba Island on

With a hiss the laden canoes slid off the beach and were embraced by the clear waters of the Golfo Stella â&#x20AC;&#x201C; our annual adventure had begun! We set off eastwards along the coast and after a few miles found our beach for the night at Norsi, which housed two wooden shacks used as beach bars! We pitched at the far end well above the tide line alongside our launch site at Margidore found on Google Earth and a road map, which were more informative than maritime charts.

Refreshed from a visit to the bar we retired to our tents to sleep off the overnight drive from the UK with a brief enforced rest whilst the Mont Blanc tunnel was cleaned and followed by a harrowing early morning drive in the rush hour through and under Genoa. Elba Island has a long history of iron ore mining and smelting since Roman times but is now covered in a soft green velvet predominantly of chestnut, holm oak and holly with a small fertile plain near Porto Azzuro.

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The wind was gathering in strength (Elba has named winds from every quarter and this one from the NNE was called the Libeccio) and lying in our tents you could hear the boulders rumbling along the seabed. Finally we had to wriggle out of our sleeping bags and drag our tents further up the beach being eventually trapped between the incoming sea and the cliffs.

Two options remained – either build a wall against the surf driving up the beach or decamp to the far end of the beach. Steve chose the first option and Simon and I the latter, pitching under some Tamarisk trees being serenaded during the night by nightingales and rumbles of thunder and then greeted in the morning by the scratchy calls of Sardinian Warblers and the urgency of the surf as it tried to wrest us from the beach.

Eating pizza under palm trees

Steve's barrier had held and we headed toward the bar for breakfast, where munching happily, we could see on the horizon the Island of Monte Cristo with its classic topping of cloud. We spent a lazy day in the sunshine eating pizza under palm trees thinking we could have been in the Caribbean. That night the horizon was strung with the lights of ‘Lamparo’ fishing boats, each with three or four rowing boats with a bank of 30 or so powerful lights fixed to them luring squid from the depths. I counted 19 of them as we ate pickled anchovies and drank warm red wine whilst watching the three-foot high surf storm the beach.

The following morning we took our canoes and kit to the far corner of the beach restowed it and launched in the lee of the cliff making a clean exit into the surf and headed south at last. The sea was still choppy and the wind looked set to increase, so eventually we put in at a small sheltered bay further up the coast at Lido di Capoliveri. We drank iced Limonata, swam, explored and waited for the other inhabitants to vacate ‘our’ beach.

Pitching our tents at dusk we swam again and then fired up the stoves to cook, drink some wine and watch the fireflies steer a seemingly erratic course along the tideline as they switched their bioluminescence on and off. Before retiring we dragged the canoes further up the beach and stayed awake to keep an eye on the encroaching tide, it was cooler now and therefore the spiced rum was broken out. The next morning we left early in order to make some progress before the wind increased again and eventually reached the Gemini Isles. Following the rocky cliffs we headed towards the open sea, which gave us an incoming swell with a claptonic slop of confused water to paddle through for a few miles. We were eventually forced off onto the site of the huge Calamita magnetite ore open cast mine where the beach shelved steeply and I nearly flipped the canoe on the approach as it glanced off a submerged rock and broadsided onto the surf (we reached 6.7mph on the approach!).

Relaxing Golfo della Stella


Steve on Norsi Beach

Beached at the Calamita Mine

Our bar at Norsi

We drank iced Limonata, swam, explored and waited for the other inhabitants to

vacate â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; beach ThePaddler 163

ThePaddler 164

Calamita open cast mine As is often the case in these circumstances it was still and stiflingly hot in our bay, which was black and littered with broken machinery and some wonderfully coloured stones all showing the ore that was mined here until the site was abandoned in the 80s. It supplied the Roman Army in its heyday and enabled them to conquer Europe and beyond. It is now a nature walk and mountain biking trail.

We were entertained at this point firstly by a school of divers who turned up and swam ashore and later by two Peregrine Falcons gyring and stooping in the natural amphitheatre hewn out of the rock. They would approach each other from opposite directions lock talons and spiral earthwards before releasing and repeating the process with their harsh calls echoing across the beach and mixing with the boom of the surf.

Steve and I decided to walk out and see if it would be possible to get the van down through the mine workings but after an hourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s climb, zig zagging across the headland, we found a locked gate. It was also debatable as to whether the van could climb back up again with the canoes on the roof, so we returned and waited for the wind to drop so that we could round the next headland. It was not to be, we had hoped to travel east and then swing north along the coast to Porto Azzuro but it was 20 miles with no get outs as far as we could see, so we convinced ourselves the wind had dropped slightly and launched once more into the surf and once past, stopping to bail our boats. After being pushed along with a big 4-5 foot swell at our backs we made it back to the Gemini Isles only to find a pedalo rounding the headland with a family aboard making better progress than us! We beached at Calle dellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Immamorata and sat in the beach bar with a cold beer and Jack Johnson playing over the sound system wondering what all the fuss had been about. We retraced our steps throughout the day and ended up at Zocola where Steve and I had a fast uphill walk along a twisting road to reach Capoliveri before the shops shut to gather supplies for our evening meal: beefsteak tomatoes, courgettes, fresh garlic, peppers, capers and a large rustic loaf of rye bread.

Spiced rum time

Machinery at Calamita

Dave embayed at Calamita Mine site Open cast mining at Calamita ThePaddler 165

ThePaddler 166 Back at the beach we all set to chopping and dicing, the stoves all blazing as we boiled local Pasta and made a rich garlic sauce to pour over it, whilst the fireflies illuminated our meal! In the distance we could see Corsica topped with snow! Rain came in during the night, particularly through the groundsheet of my tent! The result of dragging it up the beach and stretching it plus the zips were also jammed with fine sand!

Campsite at Norsi Beach

Gemini Isles

Simon off the

Open Canoe Festival 2014

18th-21st April Mirabel-et-Blacons, River Dr么me, France Email :

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ThePaddler 168

Norsi Beach Setting off the next day we had hoped the rain would have subdued the wind passing our launch spot at Margidore. We continued out along the peninsula of the Golfo della Stella looking for the grotto, we wove our way in and out of the rocks passing fantastical geological and volcanic forms all along the peninsula. After rounding the headland we entered the Golfo della Lacona passing more rock formations and eventually landing at the Spiaggia Grande in search of breakfast. Suitably refreshed we walked across the isthmus to retrieve the van and we’re soon pitched on a campsite spreading everything out to dry on the bare earth while we headed for the showers in readiness for a meal at the beach restaurant named Sciabattica, run by a mother and her two daughters. Pasta with Sardello was on the simple seafood menu, which we washed down with repeated shots of the local Limoncello in order to keep the till roll to a healthy length! Our last day was devoted to a sightseeing tour of the island and another wonderfully simple meal at

Steve on the peninsula Sciabattica. The following morning found us early at the port boarding a lurid Moby Lines ferry, which looked as if it had been decorated by hyperactive school children! Leaving the ferry port at Piombino we hurtled back along the ‘White Motorway’ through a very clean Mont Blanc tunnel and spent a pleasant evening in Beaune. The following day found us early again enabling us to return to the scene of an earlier beach landing, at Wissant, for the Moules Frites that we had promised ourselves five years ago after our open canoe channel crossing at the time had to turn back due to our support boat not being prepared to wait for us. So it was good for us to pull up our chairs at Les Sirenes on the beach and drink Pelforth Brun whilst busying ourselves with a large pile off Mussels – it was worth the wait!

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14th September

ThePaddler 17. April 2014 SUP cover  

The International paddling magazine for recreational paddlers, canoeists, kayakers, stand up paddlers, rafters. Read expedition features on...