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Issue 18 - June 2014

ThePaddler ThePaddler ezine com ezine com ..

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

2014 OPEN canoe FESTIVAL 2014 OCA canoe FEST DIVING into CORSICA Dr么meValley, France

Exmoor, England

Exploring a stunning island by river

RegularPaddler

KayakPaddler

SaltyPaddler

SUPPaddler

CanoePaddler


Contents

White water in the desert. Wadi Adventure - Al Ain, UAE. Photo: Ian Bailey editor

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

advertising sales

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

Covers SUP: Boyd Jeffery, Kai Jeffery, Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer, Shelby Schweitzer and Kai Lenny by J. Anthony Martinez and Scott Hareland Kayak: Claire O’Hara by Pete Astles of PeakUK Salty: Alaska by Richard Harpham OC: Open Canoe Festival, France by Paul Villecourt

additional contributor credits: Phil Carr, Richard Cree, Dale Mears, Tania Benetiz, Simon Everett, Candice Appleby, Vanina Walsh, Connor Baxter, Matt Becker, Zane Schweitzer, Matty Schweitzer, Jessica Keener, Peter Bishop, Pete Astles, Dave Whortley and Dennis Newton,

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 august 2014 with a deadline of submissions on July 1st. Technical Information: Contributions preferably as a Microsoft Word file with 1200-2000 words, emailed to submissions@thepaddler.co.uk. Images should be hi-resolution and emailed with the Word file or if preferred, a Dropbox folder will be created for you. ThePaddler ezine encourages contributions of any nature but reserves the right to edit to the space available. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishing parent company, 2b Graphic Design. The publishing of an advertisement in ThePaddler ezine does not necessarily mean that the parent company, 2b Graphic Design, endorse the company, item or service advertised. All material in ThePaddler ezine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without prior permission from the editor is forbidden.


Issue 18

June 2014

004 Eight of the Best

the best paddling films from around the planet

006 UK events

a couple of UK events worth considering

008 Photo of the month

From the National Watersports Centre

010 Testing, testing

tons of new kit reviewed and tested

022 Patagonia, Chile

Paddling the Rio Baker in a very unusual craft

038 Kayak fishing

mark Crame gives the lowdown on small game fishing

048 The Paddler’s Planet By Christian Wagley

052 Interview

Boyd Jeffery of the Ultimate SUP Showdown

062 Ultimate SUP Showdown

Bios of some of the leading athletes in the event

074 Scotland

Brittany Parker’s trip to a WW wonderland for SUP

082 Central Africa

Part two of alex Sergison’s SUP across central africa

094 Coaching

Psychological skills by Dave Rossetter

098 Iceland

a mortal’s guide by ian Bailey

110 Ecuador

land of the boof by Sean morley

120 Corsica, France

Paddling on a stunning island by Kirstie macmillan

132 Interview

Freestyle World Champion, Claire O’Hara

142 Scotland

moriston River Race 2014 by Phil Higgins

152 England

the OCa CanoeFest by Greg Spencer

158 France

the 2014 Open Canoe Festival by martin Strunge

174 Canada

Dipper Harbour, Bay of Fundy by Robert Vlug

182 Canada and United States

Paddling the inside passage by Richard Harpham

ThePaddler 3


Dream

NRS Films United States

Water & People, Ep. 5

Jules Domine Colombia

Kayak the World with SBP, Ep. 11

aniol Serrasolses Chile

Kayak bum's perspective

andraž Krpič Colombia

Martina Wegman | Eps1

Kiwi Creations Chile

Floating down the Danube

aris Krautwaschl europe

Experience the Ardeche

mark l France

Huancaya

ThePaddler 4

de Ugarte Burbank Peru


Watersports W atersports aterspor a at its ver veryy best! Island location ideal al for developing your kayaking kay ayaking skills skills,, e equipping you for both sea and inland water passages passages.. Stay with us and enjoy a superb range of paddling o opportunities for all all.. Visit www.nationalcentrecumbrae.org.uk www.nationalcentrecumbrae.org.uk o callll 01475 530 757 to t book b book. k. or

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

ThePaddler 5


ThePaddler 6

Fishathon

Go fishing for fun and raise funds for HOW (Heroes On the Water) at the same time. HOW is a registered and independent charity that provides proven therapy sessions in the form of kayak fishing for anyone injured or disabled during the course of public service.These sessions are provided free of charge and with all kit supplied.The money you raise goes directly into supporting this very worthwhile programme.The sessions have been scientifically proven to: ● Reduce overall stress by 78%. ● Reduce hyper vigilance by 77%. ● Reduce avoidance behaviour by 63%. All you have to do is get sponsored, or make a donation and go fishing. Some ideas that participants have already put forward are: ● To be sponsored per species caught in the period. ● Sponsored for the weight of a specimen fish. ● Target a new species that has been on your bucket list. ● Introduce new people to angling. ● Get your group or family involved in a day beside the water together, having fun and catching fish.

The emphasis is on having fun, catching fish and raising funds for HOW to continue doing their valuable, voluntary work.

Don’t think about it, do it.

Ecover Blue Mile hits Weymouth all roads lead to the UK’s south coast on 19-20th July, when the second Weymouth ecover Blue mile takes place off the town’s main beach. it’s a great chance for paddlers of all abilities to get onto the water for a weekend of fun and competitive racing.

After swimming and SUP events on the Saturday, kayaking takes centre stage on the Sunday, with a series of sprints, 750m and 1,500m races. Participants must be aged 14+ for the races and can pre-register at the Ecover Blue Mile website. All equipment is provided and the Ecover Blue Mile will be unveiling its brand new fleet of sit-on-top Fatyak kayaks at the event.

Throughout the weekend, there are kayak taster sessions for all ages – a brilliant way for families to introduce their children to water sports. There’s no need to pre-register for the taster sessions, just turn up on the day. All equipment and safety jackets are provided. The £3 donation for the taster sessions with trained instructors goes to the Ecover Blue Mile’s charity partner, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Conrad Humphreys of the Ecover Blue Mile said, “Weymouth is the perfect setting for a great weekend of fun on the water. We took the event to Weymouth for the first time last year and were blown away by how many people took part. It’s a stunning beach and it’s ideal for competitive races and for beginners to have a go at kayaking.”

This year’s kayaks are the 2014 Fatyak Kaafu crafts which are designed and built at Fatyak HQ in Somerset. Jayne Blundell from Fatyak said they are built with both safety and speed in

Photos by Sport environment

mind, “The Kaafu is designed so that it’s incredibly stable and because of the way the hull is designed, it can also go great guns.Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott showed us the sort of speeds it can reach at the Ecover Blue Mile in Plymouth.”

For kayakers who also love to swim and SUP, they can make a weekend of it by entering the Aquatriathlon on the Saturday, which features a mile of each discipline.There is a team challenge where three members each tackle one discipline – perfect for clubs to do battle with each other. Families can also benefit from a special entrance price. The aim of the Ecover Blue Mile is to get more people involved in water sports and actively caring about the marine environment. Participants are encouraged to raise money for MCS, who will be at the event. “We’re really hoping that this year can surpass last year’s Weymouth Ecover Blue Mile,” said Conrad. “We want to see the water full with people having a great time.”

Later in the year, on 13-14 September, the Plymouth Ecover Blue Mile takes place off the city’s historic Barbican. For details on how to sign up, visit the website: http://www.thebluemile.com/


ŠEAeder

thebluemile.com

Featuring Naish 12’6 NISCO Paddle Championships Sprints, intermediate and distance one-design racing open for everyone to take part

Weymouth & P Plymouth 20th July

Register today at thebluemile.com and do something amazing i for f our seas

/thebluemile

@thebluemile

14th September


ThePaddler 8

Month

Photo of the

Get Set To Make a Change (GSTMC) rewards day at the National Watersports Centre, Nottingham, UK

Photo: Garry Bowden http://sportinpictures.photoshelter.com


ThePaddler 10

Neoflex Gear w from Palm www.palmequipment europe.com

Now available in a shop near you, Palm’s Neoflex gear is a comfortable, versatile layer designed to keep you warm whether wet or dry. made from super stretchy 1mm neoprene, backed with a soft, insulating thermospan lining for warmth.

Whether you’re racing, surfing, freestyling or SUPing, Neoflex can be worn alone or combined with other layers for colder conditions. The Neoflex line up includes long and short sleeved tops, and ¾ length Capri shorts, both available in Men’s Kaituna range and Women’s Wairoa range.

Available in men’s (S-XL) and women’s (WXS-WL)

Testing, in association with

in association with

Garmin ViRB elite www.garmin.com

By Peter Tranter and Richard Cree

the mounted action camera scene has been dominated for years now by GoPro, however, there is now plenty of competition coming to the market that may break their stranglehold. at the very top end is the Garmin ViRB.

When in position on your helmet, you’ll see immediately that the camera is not as obtrusive as the black square GoPro and is so much more aerodynamic. However, you will notice that it is quite a bit heavier and after a while that does add up.

Recording is easy – just push the large sliding button on the side of the unit forward and off you go. Pull it back again for when you want to finish. That’s the basics and if that’s all you need you will not be disappointed with the results.

There are many budget units around up to the very However, the camera can do so much more if you’re top end units at the upper price range - you take willing to read the instruction manual and if you’re your pick based on what you think you will need.  If  paying so much  for the camera  in the first place - I you need 1080p GPS, WiFi, LCD colour screen etc  recommend you do. then the VIRB will suit your needs every time plus it The VIRB records true 1080p but it can also record has great looks to boot. in various other modes such as 1080p@30fps, So the box arrived and I was more than eager to get 960p@48fps, 720p@30/60fps, 848x480@120fps and my hands on this very sweet looking stylish camera all with excellent stabilisation. inside. The battery comes pre-charged and the only Everything you take is viewable through the top fussy element of setting up the camera for mounted viewfinder, which like most of these units is immediate use is to replace the Mini SD memory a little difficult to view in bright card, which is way too small for capturing a decent conditions, however, amount of footage. it is a big help to I didn’t find it particularly easy to lift the fiddly gate see what you’ve mechanism, which is located beneath the battery already and it took all of ten minutes to get this working recorded and properly but part of that may be down to my large in darker sausage fingers! conditions is absolutely fine. Anyway, once inserted we went out to play. The attachment brackets for sticking the camera to your The VIRB takes helmet, or whatever you prefer, are easy with all the top notch photos as flexibility you will need. This unit came with two well, up to 16 mega attachments but be careful to make sure you know pixels. The camera will where you want to place them – as taking the sticky take photos as you record base off again is very difficult. video with no interruption, either manually on the unit itself or remotely. Combined with a battery that seems to last forever, (Garmin say Features include: ● three hours) and you start to appreciate 1080p HD video recording with 16 megapixel why you paid the extra money. CMOS image processor. ● 1.4" Chroma display Richard Cree borrowed the camera to ● High-sensitivity GPS, accelerometer and record footage from his sea kayak on the barometric altimeter water. One item he would have liked to ● Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (record up to 3 have seen included would be a lanyard just for hours at 1080p) the extra safety when the unit isn’t ● Rugged, durable and water resistant (IPX7) with attached to its bracket around water. an aerodynamic design


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testin www.nswatersports.com

01642 01642520234 520234

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In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. Reason being is that the VIRB is only waterproof for This is located above the main pocket and runs up to a metre depth of water - so dropping it into horizontally at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is anything deeper could be expensive. Garmin do sell easy to find/access and is fastened shut with a pressan optional diving case, which we stud. I have tried a couple of folding knives in this would recommend for pocket and have found that it works well. water use. Palm have made a really good looking and highly However, as you can functional PFD with the FXr. It has taken the FX, which see from the footage is a superb PFD to a new level. Palm has a PFD that I on the right, Richard think will be a huge success with a wide range of gave it more than a paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. fair amount of under Creekers and river runners will like the robust fabrics water use and the unit and addition of the rescue belt. You have therefore a worked perfectly fine, PFD that can be used equally as well in a number of capturing excellent footage. different scenarios. The only negative I have spotted is the odd fact that Palmtomay havethat inadvertently I have confess we didn’t created try the a lower cost PFD that actually betterofinthe many GPS orisWiFi elements camera respects that the PFD. built their reputation on butAmp as Garmin such devices, I think we can take it as Featuresread include: that these features would be � Low profile foam amongst thepanels. very best. � Slimline front pocket with inner compartment, key Would I buy one? Yes with no doubts whatsoever. Its ring clip. build quality, reliability, functions, ease of use and for � 3D anti ride-up waistbelt. the fact it doesn’t look like a box attached to your � Easy Glide strap adjustment throughout. head. It was wrench to have to give the unit � Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps with back! strap keeper pockets. � Reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels. Available only in the colour as shown. £349 UK; $399 US; ₏399 eUROPe

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

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View Richard Cree’s Garmin video View Palm FXr video

ThePaddler 11


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s Pants Palm equipment impact Spray Deck kuk.com

two new pants in the 14.

ultisport Pants are om tough x2.5 with reinforcements places. The flat ckcord waist and ro ankle seals make al not only for pen boating, but activities such as ing, saving you ace in your luggage!

Pants are made co-friendly recycled eature an Aquaout double Aquaout etch neo cone ls. The Semi Pants ost scenarios and erfectly Peak’s new

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Testing, testin

ThePaddler 12

in association with

www.palmequipmenteurope.com By Dale Mears

Palm equipment’s latest offering from their new range for The Impact features a 9.5mm shock cord so is fairly substantial and 2014 brings us the impact Spray deck.at a very competitive grips tight onto the cockpit rim. I will point out however that the deck £89.99 this product is a great competitor to the current does not feature extra material around the rim to seal round your Bungee style spray decks on the market.this is Palm’s cockpit rim something some other paddlers like. I have always had this Palm FXr PFD premium deck built to be used on tough whitewater. Currently on past decks but so far have not found this to be any less dry using spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of www.palmequipmenteurope.com being put through its paces by the UK’s Bren Orton in Canada the Impact. The inside of the deck features a Tatex (Palm’s latex Palm’s rescue belt. This is the same system used on PhilWhite Carr Water Grand Prix 2014, Bythe Palm’s entire rescue PFDssome and includes at holding up on of a metal Oalternative) lining to hold your deck and grip the cockpit rim, this is The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through the during Stakeout and being put through its around the whole spray deck, not just the front which is a nice security beenbiggest around inwaves one form or another for the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really been one and of Palm’s topathlete sellers years and paces byhas Red Bull Palm Ben deck nice andBrown. clean look.this Both the metalwill O-ring and feature. throughout its lifetime. In 2013 Palm took belt can be easily removed. rescue also hold up tooverhauled those busy on the river coaching. and totally its fitdays and the the FX Once on the deck the Impact sits taught, not sagging like some decks The FXr like the FX is a slab design that is put on material used. First impressions the deck looks good, comes black made from different The sections and has plenty of stretch if you are using The with slab is areinforced much better fit than on over theinhead. front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a The new FX has been such a success that it seemed previous FXespecially model, as it has been shaped to an over thruster or other theand neoprene to protect the edges from wear tear, as a large zip. Inside isof a useful in point, D ring and small form deckclipplate. The deck also features to make sense to move things up a gear and develop 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 vestpaddler using the same platform. haveget freestyle those nicksPalm you from smashing your paddles on quite a substantial release loop. It is bright green (luminous) so easy to  done  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. range of movement. greatdelights your deck during moves or on the river the of rocksAdjustment and to all of thespot underwater or in is 38mm webbing so quite theemergency foam slab sit lowand on your body, which again andan straps is simple and straightforward. The waist I have used the FX for almost a year for playboat gives greathas levelsalso of movement for paddling and dare, I other abrasion. The deck is moulded to fit your cockpit so is not a easy to grab and pull. Palm added a nice little attachment clip duties 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. uniform shape; is to make putting theride deck on your cockpit up), which helps to keep therim PFD in place. so you can clip your deck out of the way when hiking in or out. boatthis of river runner. The FX is a out in my creek In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. superb bit of kit andthe I wasdeck intrigued to see the with an over thruster fairly easy easier. I found tight buthow even The fabrics used are pretty heavy duty 500D Cordura, This is located the main pocket and runs FXr would measure up against both the FX and In terms of fit at 12 stone with above 34-inch waist I have a M/L, this fits well the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River horizontally at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is to put PFDs. on, yet tight enough not to be worried about it popping off and Extrem Vest and match in colour to those used in the dry and top the tube does not highand upis my torso. I was a little slimmer easysit to too find/access fastened shut If with a pressimploding. Thethedeck onas the insiderange. andThecomes with inPalm’s FXr is available Sherbet new (a bright orange In many respects FXr is is justgreen the same the FX. a couple of folding how knives in this the deck will I would probably optstud. forI have the tried XS/S it depends much contrasting blue zips/stitching) The majority thethe features the tunnel.with O-ring sealofat tophave of remained the waist This is a two-inch band and of Aqua (a bright pocket and have found that it works well. stretch over time, time will tell. blue with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches same. However, some improvements have been grippy neoprene and works well to hold the deck up. I like to paddle 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 PFD with the FXr. It hasand takenwell the FX, which functional All in all a great product, comfortable stylish thought out. in skins during the summer months and believe willout. really help FXr stand makes the this is a superb PFD to a new level. Palm has a PFD that I keep the water out as one of the biggest problems with paddling skins think will be a huge success with a wide range of paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. is finding a deck that will stay up and keep water out. 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.

Features include: 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.

Vi


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s Pants Joby flash clamp and locking arm and action clamp kuk.com

two new pants in the 14.

ultisport Pants are om tough x2.5 with reinforcements places. The flat ckcord waist and ro ankle seals make al not only for pen boating, but activities such as ing, saving you ace in your luggage!

Pants are made co-friendly recycled eature an Aquaout double Aquaout etch neo cone ls. The Semi Pants ost scenarios and erfectly Peak’s new

ultisport and Semi available now and d ÂŁ115

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Testing, testin

ThePaddler 14

in association with

http://joby.com By Dale Mears

be used for all sorts of uses. I’ve had it clamped to my car windows Joby have recently released their new flash clamp range for and filmed a journey, clamped to signs whilst shooting some DSlR users allowing you to fasten your flash off camera with wakeboarding and the clamp could easily be used on paddles, peli ease or your GoProŽ, ContourŽ or SonyŽ action Cam. i am cases, railings, skateboards, bikes, motorbike, long boards, kayaks etc. reviewing these together as both products are the same but Palm FXr PFD supplied with different colours and where thetheflash spot between FX andclamp FXr is the addition of Joby also sell a GorillaPod arm attachment if you would prefer this to www.palmequipmenteurope.com belt. Thiswith is the same Palm’s rescue comes with a flash shoe, the action clamp comes a system used on By Phil Carr the locking arm, this features five points of adjustment so can be Palm’s entire rescue PFDs and includes a metal Omount. GoPro from Palm Equipment has The FX PFD ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through adjusted without any tightening of ball joints. I guess with anything been around in one form or another for the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really these accessories are down to personal preference. I have a number and has been one ofaPalm’s sellers yearsproduct features clamptopthat can fasten onto anything up to 5cm. The nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ring and throughout its lifetime. In 2013 Palm took of these and combine them depending on what I am shooting. Joby The clamp is made of injection moulded rescue ABS belt withcanabestainless steel easily removed. the FX and totally overhauled its fit and the screwing arm to tighten with a rubber cover. I have thedesign clamp The FXr like thefound FX is a slab thatisis put onhave a range of videos of these in use on their website which material used. the railings head. The at slabHolme is a much better fit than on over demonstrate a goodThe range uses. front of pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a very secure tightened, I used one on the The new FX has once been such a success that it seemed the previous FX model, as it has been shaped to large zip. Inside is a useful clip in point, D ring and small move things up aand gear and develop to make sense to Pierrepont, Nottingham it was very stable. I was shooting from the contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. Designed In mesh panel forContourŽ, keys etc.The zipSonyŽ is easy to Action spot as it isCam in for: GoProŽ, a rescue vest using the same platform. Palm have done   profile action low of the FXr allows for addition thewave. bridge with my released flash positioned Thedesign a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD.The pocket and have the FXr in earlynext 2014. to the inlet exactly this  great range of movement. Adjustment to all of the Product weight and the foam slab sit low on your body, which again clamp is the same size and build howeverstraps theisrubberised features are simple and straightforward. The waist I have used the FX for almost a year for playboat gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare, I Locking Arm: 40 grams dutiesand and stand have used a Palm Extrem River Vest whilst band/belt is coated with a rubber material (3d anti red out much more. say it, makes swimming pretty easy. ride up), which helps to keep the PFD in place. Action clamp: out in my creek boat of river runner. The FX is a 85 grams In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. superb bit of kit arm and I was intrigued to see how the The locking then screws onto to clamp securely and features used are pretty heavy dutytwo 500D Cordura, The fabrics This is located above the main pocket and runs FXr would measure up against both the FX and Dimensions theposition same as used in theflash/GoPro more expensive Extrem River articulating ball joints allowing the user to their horizontally at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is Extrem PFDs. and match in colour to those used in the dry Locking top arm: 51.3 22 x 112.7 mm shut with a presseasy toxfind/access and is fastened wherever is needed. The locking arm has Vest a single tightening knob to range.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 Action clamp: 69.1 x 32 x 129.6 mm lock both ball joints in place and is vibration resistant so you won’t get 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. blueThe with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches some improvements have beena GoPro. same. However, Mount for GoPro: 30.7 x 31 x 27.5 mm those horrible shakes if using with products are very light 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 weighing in at just 131g. The action clampmakes for the theFXr GoPro range could functional PFD with the FXr. It has taken the FX, which 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 View the Joby video 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.

Features include: 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.

Vi


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 ccanoeing anoeing Open

ayaking Seaa kkayaking Se

Surf kkayaking ayaking

Qualifications

First ai aid d & rrescue escue


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in association with

dewerstone life shorts Palm FXr PFD

for different environments, when one item FX for almost a year for playboat I have used the ort and Semi duties and have used a Palm Extrem River Vest whilst could be made to excel in every situation? ble now and out in my creek boat of river runner. The FX is a 15 Wesuperb designed the lifeshort as a clean-sheetbit of kit and I was intrigued to see how the of-paper answer toupthis question, and FXr would measure against both the FX andas Extrem PFDs.

such it’s suitable for any activity you might In many respects just the same as the FX. to potentially throwtheatFXr it, isfrom surf-kayaking The majority of the features have remained the slacklining, travelling to climbing. And to same. However, some improvements have been in a lifeshort number of key areas. The easiestup change to madethe ensure doesn’t come short we applied our smart technical ethos to the design process, resulting in a stylish item which nonetheless contains many innovative features such as innovative fourway stretch fabric and our trademark ‘fly trap’ closure design.�

“And not only is the product innovative, but so is the way we’re launching it.We want our customers to feel they’re part of the dewerstone story, and that’s why the initial launch of the lifeshort is taking place on crowd sourcing website www.kickstarter.com.�

As well as visiting Kickstarter, you can get involved with the dewerstone story by visiting their website at www.dewerstone.com, or via their twitter, facebook and instagram pages. www.facebook.com/dewerstone www.twitter.com/dewerstoneUK www.instagram.com/dewerstone

www.nswatersports.com

01642 01642520234 520234

Keen Class 6 Hybrid Shoe www.keenfootwear.com By Peter Tranter

Throw whatever you can at these shoes and they can handle it. Doesn’t really matter whether you’re walking the streets or wading down a river - they are pretty much at home in either environment.

As an everyday item they are a pleasure to use on hot days around city centres etc (not that we’ve had too many of those yet). They are fully ventilated to keep your feet cool, with funky looks and a nice solid toe area for protection from stubbing. The soles are very comfortable with a raised blocky design that aids spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of circulation, plusis the they aresystem antimicrobial, which prevents smelly feet - something everyone can appreciate. Add Palm’s rescue belt. This same used on and includes a metal Palm’s toentire thatrescue they PFDs are nimble, light andOeasy to take on and off and you’ll see that Keen really do their homework ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through on these types of shoe. Basically, you can come straight off the river and walk into the supermarket and the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really would them a second look apart from admiring their trendy design. nice nobody and clean look. Both give the metal O-ring and

rescue belt can be easily removed.

On the water you start to appreciate the close fit, the grippy nature of the shoe along the river bank and

The FXr like the FX is a slab design that is put on toebetter protection. stubbed their toe on rotting wood in sandals, over above the head.all Theelse slab that is a much fit than onAs someone who once The front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a model, as it has beenunder shapedthe to toe bed - it’s a god send the previous large zip. Inside is a usefulbe clipunderestimated. in point, D ring and small which FX embedded itself and cannot They drain 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 immediately, which prevents debris from building up close to those sensitive skin areas on the foot.   addition the low profile design of the FXr allows for 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 Last but and notstraightforward. least, whether you’re on dry land or the river, what you will really love is their light weight, is simple straps The waist gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare, I band/belt coated a rubber (3d anti bothis on thewith foot and material wherever you need to carry them. say it, makes swimming pretty easy. ride up), which helps to keep the PFD in place. In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. As a used hybrid multi-functional - the Class 6 is top drawer - you will not be disappointed. are pretty heavy duty 500Dshoe Cordura, The fabrics This is located above the main pocket and runs the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River horizontally at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is 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 � � Soft EVA footbed Floats stud. I have tried a couple of folding knives in this with contrasting blue zips/stitching) and Aqua (a bright pocket and have found that it works well. � Softgreen rubber outsole lugs Adjustable back heel strap blue � with lime zips/stitching). Nicewith little touches Palm have made a really good looking and highly like the stitching PU and reflective � contrasting Lightweight upper 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 Available in success menswith anda wide womens. will be a huge range of think paddlers who will love$90.00 the fit and comfort of the PFD.eUROPe £74.99 UK; US; ₏89.99 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.

Features

Features include: 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.

Palm Tempo

www.palmequipmenteurope.com this lightweight new multi sport jacket is designed for those who like to go fast, whether by bike, foot, or paddle.

Featuring a ventilated back and inner chest pocket with headphone port, the Tempo has been designed to keep wind, rain and spray from spoiling your session. A great piece of gear for training in cooler weather, it can also serve as a tightly packable waterproof to carry for surprise downpours.

Available in men’s (S-XXL) and women’s (WXS-WXL).

est pad to

ort Pants are ugh x2.5 Until now, south west clothing brand einforcements dewerstone has been best known for its The flat d waist and wilderness-inspired clothing designs, but kle seals make that’s all about to change as the brand only for oating, but makes its first foray into the world of www.palmequipmenteurope.com es such as legwear, and carves its own niche in the By Phil Carr aving you The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has your luggage!process. been around in one form or another for are made As brand has been one of Palm’s sellers years and co-founder Rory Attontop explains, endly recycled throughout its lifetime. In 2013 Palm took “The philosophy behind the life short is e an Aquaout the FX and totally overhauled its fit and the e Aquaout simple – a garment for every purpose.The used. material neo cone ideaThe came about during trip to Asia; new FX has been such aasuccess thatS.E it seemed Semi Pants to make sense to move things up a gear and develop enarios and why, when living out of a backpack, should a rescue vest using the same platform. Palm have done  y Peak’s new youexactly have this to and pack range the of different shorts havea released FXr in early 2014.

     www.nswatersports.com    

View


Great Barford

ʁ Canoe & kayak hire Bromham ʁ Stand up paddle board safari ʁ Guided ttours ours & multi day trips ʁ Pick-up & drop off service ʁ Canoe & kayak sales The Embankment ʁ Group deals, kids parties & corpo porat rate days ʁ Activity vouchers, tuition & courses ʁ Other locations including the River Thames, River Ivel & R River iver Wye Wye

Bedfordshire Canoe Trails

Call Ashley on 07960 087235 or Richard on 07710 616520 Proathlete ltd trading as Canoe Trail


18 ThePaddler 10

Coleman Peak’ s Pants

Testing, in association with

in association with

Sweet Protection Supernova

paddler well and has been shaped to ensure that this happens. It has to be one of the best fitting cags that I have worn. Arm length is spot on as is the body length. At 6ft 2” I with a long body I www.sweetprotection.com www.peakuk.com sometimes find that some tops are a little short in By Phil Carr: www.unsponsored.co.uk the body and arms but this is not the case with any Peak UK has two new www.coleman.com of the Sweet products I have tested. Now don't waterproof pants in the i have been using a Sweet Protection By Peter Tranter make the assumption that the sizing is out of range for 2014. Shadrach dry top for the last couple of a robust well constructed head torch proportion as fellow paddlers I know, of various years for when it gets a little too warm The Tourlite/Multisport Pants are that’s both comfortable to wear with sizes (but all require a large top) have tried the a full dry suit and it has served me for constructed from tough x2.5 a huge variety of functions. Supernova and have found the fit just as good. well has stood up to the test of time. For ripstop fabric with reinforcements Once on, the superb fit negates the heavier feel of 2014 Sweet Protection has released the The CHT 15 in all Coleman the right places. TheUltra flat Bright the Supernova.There is no restriction of movement Supernova dry top and thanks to the new Headlamp dazzles withwaist a powerful elastic and shockcord and beam from either the design or fabric as I was able to guys at Sweet, i have been able to give that illuminates upankle to 180 feet on the neoprene/Velcro seals make achieve full movement whilst both paddling and one of the new Supernova dry tops in highestpants setting vianot its 150 long ideal only lumens for these swimming! Gunmetal blue a good test for review lasting CREE LED bulbs kayaking and open boating, but spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of www.palmequipmenteurope.com here. also for other activities such as Palm’s rescue belt. This is the same system used on It has seven working modes to chooseBy Phil Carr the neck seal walking and biking, saving you Now I must start off with the fact that Sweet kit isPalm’s entire rescue PFDs and includes a metal Ofrom: extra-bright, high, medium, low and The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has Both the neck and wrist seals are of a high quality. money and space in your luggage! ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through pretty expensive – the Gore-Tex Pro shell strobe white modes with added red and been around in one form or another for The neck seal is protected by an additional Supernova retails at a huge £399 ($479 or €499). the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really blue new modes. SoPants you have the choice ofyears and The Semi are made has been one of Palm’s top sellers neoprene neck cone and the wrist by Velcro Now that this is out in the open and out of the nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ring and just of how much light you need to do throughout out Peak’s eco-friendly recycled its lifetime. In 2013 Palm took adjustable neoprene seals. On arrival I did cut the let’s consider what you are getting for your rescue belt can be easily removed. whatever and you’re doing.anThere is also a the FXway polyester feature Aquaout and totally overhauled its fit and the rubberneck gasket to ensure that I could wear it in hard-earned cash. small seal green lightdouble to advise you on just how waist with Aquaout The comfort FXr like and the FX a slabdry. design put oneasy material used. still isremain This that was isa super much battery life you have left outer/Superstretch neo cone the head. The slab is a much better fit than on Now this is the third piece of paddling kit that I overprocess and a much-preferred approach rather The new FX has been such a success that it seemed inner ankle seals. The Semi Pants the previous FX model, as it has been shaped to have tried that uses Gore-Tex as its main fabric than hoping that the seal will stretch out over time, The head strap can be adjusted and is to make sense to move things up a gear and develop are ideal for most scenarios and contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. In material. It’s hard to judge whether or not this or even force it to stretch, which I know some both soft and comfortable. The unit itself a rescue vest using the same platform. Palm have done  do. profile design  of the FXr allows for complement perfectly Peak’s new addition the low makes the top drier on the inside than any other as prefer to can be pivoted in seven directions and exactly is this and have released the FXr in early 2014. Semi Jacket. conditions of use are so variable but what I can saygreat range of movement. Adjustment to all of the superb for late night running and cycling. I haven’t experienced any noticeable leaks at any of thethe FXface for fabric almosthas a year forfeel playboat is that a great and you can straps is simple and straightforward. The waist We Tourlite/Multisport also took it out on and the kayaks The Semi last I have used the seals or the waist. I did get the odd drip down duties and have used PalmtoExtrem Riverstrict Vestconditions whilst band/belt is coated with a rubber material (3d anti guarantee thatadue Gore-Tex’s week are andboth apartavailable from startling the wildlife Pants now and my neck but this is comparable to every other cag boat runner. is aand sealedride up), which helps to keep the PFD in place. use, that all of river the seams willThe be FX taped - you at wouldn’t to be without it. out in myofcreek retail £89 andwant £115 I have owned and says more about the shape of superb bit kit andtolerances. I was intrigued to see how the to of exacting respectively. The my fabrics arethan pretty duty neckused rather theheavy design and500D fit of Cordura, the top. It runs using three AAA cell batteries, and FXr would measure up against both the FX and the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River On the material, well it feels pretty robust and is the LED bulbs will never need to be Extrem PFDs. A chest pocket with contrasting zip is also included noticeably much heavier than the Shadrach.This Vest and match in colour to those used in the dry top replaced and is water resistant and light at but this is not fully In many suggests respectsto themeFXr just Supernova the same as FX. up torange.The FXr is available in Sherbet (a bright orange thatis the willthe stand just 75 grams. Perfect! waterproof, The majority of the features have remained the some pretty harsh use and come back fighting for with contrasting blue zips/stitching) and Aqua (a bright ● Seven modes: extra-bright, high, although I same. However, some improvements more. Certainly from the time have I havebeen spent with it blue with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches medium, low and strobe white modes have a number of keyofareas. The easiest change to itlike the contrasting stitching and reflective piping really the number portages and climb outs that with added red and blue modes. made in and has gone through it is holding up well.The elbows makes the FXr stand out. ● Up to 180-ft. (54.86 m) beam distance have some additional and even heavier duty rip ● Extra-long runtime, up to six hours. on stop Cordura fabric to defend against rock hits and high and 27 hours. on low. potential tears. ● Lifetime LEDs never need replacing ● Powered by three AAA-cell batteries, the fit included. The fit of the supernova (for me) is simply superb. ● Three-year limited warranty. Rather than being a jacket that has been designed With a model for all occasions, Coleman’s and built up as a basic shaped garment, the new range of headlamps is available Supernova has been built to ensure that it fits a exclusively at Go Outdoors stores nationwide or online at www.gooutdoors.co.uk

head torch

Palm FXr PFD


g

testin www.nswatersports.com

01642 01642520234 520234

found very little water if any actually gets in there. Both this pocket and the outer neck gasket have water drain vents just in case water finds its way through.

Features

rugged sandal equally at home whether hiking or kayaking.They are on the slightly heavy side but that adds to the feeling of the excellent build quality that is second to none.

ter of in

est pad to

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.

Features include: 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.

www.teva.com By Peter tranter hePa4disdTeva’s TVersion ler elatest incarnation of zine sport one of the most popular te They’re a sandals ever made.

The outstanding feature for myself is the raised cushioned heel. I’ve never felt completely at ease with flat sandals as my knees have a tendency to lock out. The raised heel on the Terra Fi prevents that and the shockpad provides great comfort in all conditions and should be great for a long hike. The very comfortable fit is courtesy of the three adjustable straps that provide a very secure fit around usthe : reankle. views@

- emai l

thepad dlsticky ere The outsole is Teva’s super zin Spider Original rubber and the inner e

sole very soft with a reassuring feel plus they are treated with Microban zinc based anti-microbial treatment to prevent odour.

m .co

Super elastic Yamamoto neoprene, lycra on both sides � Thick latex bottleneck neck gasket inside � Engineered for unsurpassed freedom of movement in GORE-TEXŽ Pro � GORE-TEXŽ Pro inner waist tube with taped seams and Gunmetal Blue and super grippy silicone elastic hem Catchup Red � Neck tube drain hole The Supernova is available in two colours: the � Articulated arms for unrestricted Gunmetal Blue as I’ve been testing and Catchup movement Red (below left). Now the gunmetal blue isn’t a � Thick latex bottleneck wrist colour I would normally go for, however after gaskets inside testing the Intergalactic dry suit last year in the � Wrist cuff and gaskets with same colour I do really like it. It’s definitely a colour cuff grab made of unnapped The front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a that looks better on the water and is a little bit large zip. Inside is a useful clip in point, D ring and small velcro Yamamoto neoprene different from the usual. To contrast the blue there � Waist seal tube of unnapped mesh panel for keys etc.The zip is easy to spot as it is in are several little details in orange. The Sweet a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD.The pocket Yamamoto neoprene with Strutter helmet and Shambala shorts are also grippy rubber inside and the foam slab sit low on your body, which again available in the same colours if you want to be fully � Chest pocket with zipper dle gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare, I colour co-ordinated. rs access say it, makes swimming pretty easy. � All-new Hypalon Velcro waist The Supernova is a highly technical dry top with all In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. adjustment for a tight and secure fit of the key features you would ever need. It’s tough, This is located above the main pocket and runs towards spray skirt. robust and should happily give season after season 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. �

TevaTerra Fi 4

If you want yo tion. u r sta pr st

The body tunnel is an interesting one and has been taken from the design of the Shadrach.The inner part is made from the same fabric as the main jacket and includes a rubberized strip along its bottom edge to help the tunnel stay in place.The outer is a combination of the normal jacket fabric and neoprene. It has been designed to give a nice wide opening for getting on/off yet can also be adjusted (without excess fabric) to produce a good seal around the spray deck tunnel. It works incredibly well.

of top service. I love both the fit and performance. Buying a dry top at ÂŁ399 is an investment and should really be seen as such. My Sweet Shadrach has provided a great level of protection over the last few years and I can see that the Supernova will clearly do the same.

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

     www.nswatersports.com    

Performance with a shoe like this is everything and the Terra Fi 4 comes out tops – highly recommended.

View Palm FXr video

ÂŁ64.99 UK $99.95 US â‚Ź65 eUROPe

19 ThePaddler 11


ler

s Pants

kuk.com

     www.nswatersports.com    

in association with

in association with

dewerstone eyewear range

two new pants in the 14.

g

Testing, testin

ThePaddler 20

10

www.nswatersports.com

01642 01642520234 520234

toccoa Daysack 28l www.aquapac.net By Peter Tranter

ultisport Pants are Aquapac have understandably built their reputation on om tough x2.5as well as launching into legwear, keeping your possessions dry and the ‘stormproof ’ Toccoa with reinforcements south west clothing brand Drypack carries on that well-deserved recognition. Rated as places. The flat dewerstone also launches its firstckcord waist and ‘stormproof ’, this back pack will keep everything inside as ro ankle sealsever make eyewear range. dry as moon rock! al not only for pen boating, but spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of www.palmequipmenteurope.com As dewerstone co-founder Ben Coombs Whether areis hiking on used the on water and take a serious activities such as belt. This the sameor system Palm’s rescueyou Phil Carr explains,By “When we launched dewerstone in ing, saving you Palm’s entire-rescue PFDs and includes a metal Osplashing no moisture will get through the all welded The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has ace in your luggage! ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through autumn been 2013,around our goal wasform to produce in one or anotherthe for seamless construction. There is a compromise of course the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really Pants are made and been one offor Palm’s sellers outdooryears kit we’ d has been looking ourtop whole and that is the lack of outside and pouches that nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ringpockets and co-friendly recycled throughout its lifetime. In 2013 Palm took rescue belt can be easily removed. lives, butthe never found – kit which truly eature an Aquaout FX and totally overhauled its fit and the would affect it’s water tight capabilities. What you get instead are two mesh pockets where you can double Aquaout combines fit-for-purpose technical features The FXryour like the FX isto a slab design that issuch put onas drinks. used. material store easy grab items etch neo cone over the head. The slab is a much better fit than on The front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a with the effortless style the The new FX has beenyou suchexpect a success from that it seemed ls. The Semi Pants the previous FX model, as it has been shaped to large zip. Inside a useful cliphook in point,into D ringitand small There’s also a strip of cut outs that can hold lights or anything elseisthat can etc, a grab to make sense to move things up a gear and develop ost scenarios high and street. With this in mind, we developed 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 handle at the   top and very comfortable back paddling with breathable mesh straps, which dry out in erfectly Peak’sour new‘Smart Technical’ ethos, which is behind a 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. range of movement. Adjustment to all of the great a relatively short space of time. Constructed from a really tough vinyl with a roll sleeve top for access, the foam slab sit low on your body, which again and new range of products we’ll be releasing straps is simple and straightforward. The waist I have used the FX for almost a year for playboat gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare, I ultisport and Semi it has no compartments on the inside, which is the only slight downside as there are those times you and have a Palm River Vest whilst band/belt is coated with a rubber material (3d anti summer, of used which theExtrem dewerstone say it, makes swimming pretty easy. available nowover and theduties ride up), which helps to keep the PFD through in place. all the contents to find a small item that could have been held in in my creek boat of river runner. The FX is a out can do without rummaging d ÂŁ115 eyewear range is the first.â€? In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. superb bit of kit and I was intrigued to see how the fabrics used are pretty Not heavy duty 500D aThe pocket or similar. much toCordura, gripe about then reallyThis andis located if youabove do athelotmain ofpocket urbanandcycling etc in hiruns FXr would measure up against both the FX and the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River The Cirros and Stratos range are the first at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is horizontally visibility clothing, then choose the bright green option as it does stand out and you will be seen! Extrem PFDs. Vest and match in colour to those used in the dry top easy to find/access and is fastened shut with a pressresult ofIndewerstone’s Smart Technical design FXr is available in Sherbet (a bright orange many respects the FXr is just the same as the FX. tried this a couple of folding knives in this Ifrange. youThe need a drybag with the extra versatility of a ruck stud. sackI have - then is your solution. philosophy, laminate with contrasting blue zips/stitching) and Aqua (a bright The taking of the features have remained the majoritycutting-edge pocket and have found that it works well. blue with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches some improvements have been same. However, monocoque construction and the latest Palm have made a really good looking and highly the contrasting andgreen reflectiveand pipingdark really blue. institching bright made in a number of key areas. The easiest change to likeAvailable advancements in polarizing lens technology, functional PFD with the FXr. It has taken the FX, which the FXr UK; stand out. makes ÂŁ50.00 $75.00 US; â‚Ź65.00 eUROPe is a superb PFD to a new level. Palm has a PFD that I and combining them with a handmade retrothink will be a huge success with a wide range of modern style which oozes confidence. paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. Creekers and river runners will like the robust fabrics The dewerstone eyewear range is available and addition of the rescue belt. You have therefore a PFD that can be used equally as well in a number of from a variety of watersports and outdoor different scenarios. The only negative I have spotted is retailers across the south west of the UK. the odd fact that Palm may have inadvertently created a lower cost PFD that is actually better in many You can get involved with the dewerstone The bag is available in three different sizes, respects that the Amp PFD.

Palm FXr PFD

Upano Waterproof Duffel bag www.aquapac.net By Anne Egan

story by visiting their website at www.dewerstone.com, or via their twitter, facebook and instagram pages. www.facebook.com/dewerstone www.twitter.com/dewerstoneUK www.instagram.com/dewerstone

40L, 70L and 90L. For the review purposes I Features include: used the smallest size which was ideal for the Low profile foam panels. very short trips I was taking. Many features about Slimline front pocket with inner compartment, key ring clip. the Upano make it attractive but the first is the 3D anti ride-up waistbelt. colour. Most of it is charcoal grey/brown Easy Glide strap adjustment throughout. Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps with however this is uplifted by bright burnt orange strap keeper pockets. side panels and the characteristic blue Reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels. Aquapac logo. It is easy to locate in amongst a great pile of bags and cases. The construction is really solid, is rated 'stormproof' and will keep your clothes and gadgets protected from the elements. â—? â—?

â—? â—? â—?

â—?

Next it is incredibly lightweight, don't over pack it, or the cleverly designed closure system may be unnecessarily difficult to fix in place. Having said that the Upano benefits from an air release value which you leave open whilst closing the bag, forcing any extra air out. Remember to close the value when you have finished securing the roll over flaps, sealed with the velcro strip and secured the excellent compression straps. This bag gives you choice - the option to carry by hand, over your shoulder and even as a regular backpack. Shoulders are protected to a degree by the padding included in the removable carry straps whilst carrying in this mode. It easily accommodated a full soggy wetsuit, towels and other regalia whilst attending a recent SUP event and was a pleasure to use.

Aquapac seem to have considered all angles and produced a very functional product in three practical sizes for the outdoor enthusiast and we feel it will be very useful for paddlers of all crafts. Three sizes. 40 litRe W46Cm x H28Cm x D30Cm 70 litRe W71Cm x H30Cm x D33Cm 90 litRe W79Cm x H30Cm x D36Cm

Vi


Paul Ramsdale. River Dee. Image: Pete Astles

Whitewater Suit. River Guide Vest. Bull Bag.

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ThePaddler 22

CREATURE S T R O F M CO on the

e k Ba Rio


er

tez. less stated: Tania Beni un s to ho P ls. ko uc N e By Georg ThePaddler 23


There is a magical place

ThePaddler 24

where the wind blows down river from the northe

Photo: George Nuckols

Patagonia is one of those areas that is reserved for the determined traveller, striking awe in its visitors, who can see clearly the transitory nature of their situation in the resolute look of the locals who know this land as their own – the few who truly understand its soul. We felt a very warm welcome but our journey did not begin in Puerto Bertrand but in Grand Junction, Colorado. The canyons on the Rio Baker were not just a run from a dream list of rivers. The river, Patagonia’s largest in terms of volume, flows out of Bertrand Lake and runs along the east side of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. Its characteristic turquoise-blue colour is due to the glacial sediments deposited in it.

the threat of damming

However, there is a very real threat to this free flowing river with ENDESA’s plans to dam the river with huge hydro projects, as has happened on most of the larger rivers on the planet – however, for the moment, the dynamic Rio Baker still flows free. The pilgrimage to the Rio Baker, even if only to sit on the riverbank to feel, hear, smell and see this force of nature, is worth every step of the long journey. When you are there the place holds your focus. It is this realm where your mind goes when you daydream and to be there is like a lucid dream where every colour and moment is so vivid. With the proposed dam comes a sense of urgency – in fact this trip would likely not have happened but for the threat of paradise lost.

P


ern Patagonia ice cap and the forces of nature are raw like the jagged peaks carved by glacial flow. To feel, hear, smell and see this force of nature, is worth

every step of the long journey

Photo: Patagonia sin Represas

ThePaddler 25


“Patagonia Sin Represas”

ThePaddler 26

(“Patagon

Hydro Aysen, a subsidiary of the international energy conglomerate Endesa, have plans to build dams on the Baker, Pasqua and even the Futaleufú rivers that would be lost to ‘progress’ like the legendary Rio Bio Bio, that is now flooded. So with the Futaleufú river now ‘saved’ for the time being, the few kayakers who paddle the Rio Baker or the very few who have paddled the Pasqua should feel emboldened for the win but resilient because Hydro Aysen are still dredging gravel from the rivers and building roads to the proposed dam locations right now.

However, unlike other areas of the world such as the Yangtze River, China and its Three Rivers Dam, in Chile there is a population that has a voice and a deep connection to nature where you will see many “Patagonia Sin Represas” stickers meaning “Patagonia without dams”. The people are passionate about this and speak in harmony so to be heard over the roar of ‘progress’ that drives the stock price of Caterpillar. Copper mining is where the hydropower will be directed. Trying to convince people hydro projects can be done without devastating the river systems is just old thinking.


�

nia without dams�)

Rejected

To get our Creature crafts to Patagonia, we built a crate at Darren Vancil's house in Grand Junction, Colorado. However, after towing it to San Francisco through a winter storm on a snowmobile trailer behind a Toyota Prius, the crate was rejected for not being certified wood. So we missed the ship and had to fly it in a new box to Santiago. I landed at 0900 hours into Santiago International Airport and by 1700 hours the 1,200 pound box was released from customs heading to Puetro Montt on a truck with me on a bus.

ThePaddler 27


ThePaddler 28 Getting to Futaleufú is like arriving home for me with the smiles and greetings from the people in the street. Anthony (Tony) Marini and I opened the box and tested the crafts on Inferno Canyon, talking some locals into joining us. Maria Jose the Riverkeeper and Tania were less than impressed, when I managed to pin our boat in-between a boulder and cliff at the end of ‘Salida’ Rapid. This was a needed reality check for me, Memex helped sort out the pin and then row the infamous Zeta Rapid that my paddlers chose to walk and take photos. Feeling now like the trip was in motion with plenty of momentum we headed south. Getting around this far south in Patagonia is no guarantee even with a good pickup truck; so connecting with Todd Richey was like the southern stars aligning for us. Not only a good soul but also Todd led us down the Rio Baker confidently and yet were totally humble. He also had a beast of a beat up pickup truck, so we loaded up two boats and Tony headed south (without the pump) to pick up Darren and John.

My three hours behind in the other rig turned into four days of walking/hitch hiking back and forth between Futa and Cara del Indio Camp trying to get to the Baker. A few days later I bumped into two big Norwegians asking if anyone spoke English. They wanted to get on the water and that they were heading south to sell their van and so we struck a deal.

the terminator

Creature Crafting the Terminator run on the Fu seemed like a good way to see if these guys wanted take a ride on the Rio Baker and my friend Fico needed a practice run as well. Fico is as distinct as anyone you will find anywhere in Patagonia. The Peruvian had been part of so many big adventures including the Baker and this time he was heading down to run it and so we all piled into the yellow van.


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‌the three of us floated sidewise into theTer what was fortunately just a brie


after the ride

we rode the Terminator (class V) though it didn’t seem certain the Norwegians were that stoked to step it up and to be honest, we got absolutely stomped in a small R2 with me in a back seat. With the Creature Craft, the person who paddles the hardest into the hole will end up on top. As I yelled, “paddle, put your paddle in the water” from the back seat we took a hard right turn as the huge Norwegian on that side, not really a river person and still figuring it out, retreated into the centre of the craft, then received the high-speed rinse and came up without his paddle where upon the three of us floated sidewise into the Terminator hole for what was fortunately just a brief disorientation. The rest of the run I paddled and found that the seats were set up way too far to the outside and were very uncomfortable – my fault!

With the gasoline we bought in Futa from a guy selling it in glass five-litre jars, we headed for Coyhaique with Tonya to take photos, Don Fico my hitchhiking partner, was driven by the Norwegians. When we hit the road there was only one response to the washboard road (ripio), which was to drive like crazy into the hairpin corners and watch hundreds of pounds of gear and two crafts shift on top of the van.

rminator hole for ef disorientation…

Photo: Patagonia sin Represas

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Dylan and Aaron were not hard to find behind their mountain of gear bags in the plaza,

Photo: Anthony Marini

where with a quick stop for supplies and we were back out heading for the Rio Baker where we assumed the rest of the group were. They were not yet acclimatized to Patagonia time so they were wondering how I could just disappear for days – I told them that the confluence of river and Patagonia time is an easy place to get eddied out! We needed to pay for the van or lose our ride, so Dylan and Aaron forked out all their cash within minutes of getting picked up and then we went on to buy food, beer and Pisco (pronounced “Pisss co” the locals don’t really say it right...). The next leg of our trip can best be described as a 12-hour ride in a rock tumbler! It’s hard to feel the remoteness of these roads until you break down but the little bus we called the creature cramper, apart from the suspension’s complete surrender to the road craters, kept rolling down the road at about 10mph. “You must be the guys with the pump,” said the truckload of kayakers heading the opposite way north but it came as no surprise to find Darren hadn’t waited to get on the river where Todd had borrowed a pump. They had a good run and the report was good motivation to get there but it was hard to go a mile without stopping for photos.

The first canyon had its powerful rapids, then the second canyon with crazy eddy lines we called

classV flat water

Safety meeting

Darren was really serious, it was clear that the river held his respect and the focus was on having a safe paddle and therefore we had a for real safety meeting. The next few days of boating were beautiful and we all agreed that the Creature Crafts were very much at home here. Fico had a clean run but Aaron broke his finger and I let my boat float out of the eddy over the falls. We saw Pudu (small deer) and Tony just had to drop into one of those huge holes just to see what would happen.

The first canyon had its powerful rapids, then the second canyon with crazy eddy lines we called class V flat water! A few of us then went onto the third canyon with the Portage Rapid being the bid deal. Kayakers have ran this drop but most portage it for the reason that it is ugly – just a huge drop that pushes into pocket eddies. We looked down at it from the rocks and the whole thing seems to flush out so we jumped back in our boats. Making it out of the eddy was about impossible and I actually hit rocks on the left of the river, dropping in, the whole boat submerged in the green water as I held onto my seat. The boat popped up and was already being pushed into the rocks on the river’s right. Meanwhile, Darren came up sidewise in the other boat rolling it quick but still pushed into a mean eddy where on the scout he said, “there is no way a boat would end up there”! Tony made it look easy in the smaller Creature Craft and John worked hard to just barely make it out of the eddy with Dylan taking photos from the back seat of the big red boat ‘La Peruanita’. With one broken oar swapped out for the spare, we hit the current with the wind at our backs. Chasing Tony I couldn’t believe how he just took off down the canyon. When I finally did catch up to him the wind blew me straight past the eddy he was in and downstream where I flipped the next rapid, missed more eddies and finally got landed in a huge one.

Photo: Patagonia sin Represas


Photo: Heber Vega

Photo: Patagonia sin Represas

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Photo: Fico Gallese Eventually we all collected and floated around in this eddy, yelling at each other until we figured out an exit but mostly we all had a huge adrenaline rush to process. Reading and running big rapids without much idea what is around the corner was so much fun and by the end of the canyon run we were very spread out. The final rapid is just one giant wave. I could just see John’s boat as he is tumbled along, so my plan was to take an easy line to the right of the river. The Baker gets pushy though and it propelled me over backwards into the huge standing wave followed by a big barrel roll.

Click for Patagonia map ‘El Salto,’ the falls through the third canyon, has to be one of the best days of boating in the world but only a few people have been lucky enough to paddle through it. We are just a group of friends who run big water in boats that Darren Vancil builds in his garage in Colorado, but running the Rio Baker will make anyone feel like a legend.

Reading and running big rapids without much idea what is around the corner was so much fun

The kayakers had fun too:)


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Aquapac Outdoor Champion for 2014, Dr Jessie Stone, is working hard with her dedicated team in Uganda, to reduce the infection rates of a life threatening disease.

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ThePaddler 38

You’ve heard of big game fishing surely? The kind of thing they get up to in the warmer, bluer, brighter parts of the world where the fish grow bigger, run faster, eat larger and fight like demons.Well I’ve been there, done that; the t-shirt faded and became holed by moths years ago with only the occasional fix coming since. It’s not enough to stop me fishing mind you and though I go for some of the more sporting of the UK’s fish and get my kicks doing it from my Scupper Pro sit on top there’s something I do from time to time that always has me grinning.

Yep, I go…

By Mark Crame

Small game


kayak fishing

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ThePaddler 40

It’s kind of silly really,

harking back to a childhood chasing tiddlers with nets and buckets on the marshland across the road; the first caught by accident when trying to find frogspawn for school. The nets are gone now, the preserve of my own children for occasional forays into pond-dipping. No. Nowadays I’m converted, hook, line and sinker.

Over the last couple of years a new style of angling has reared up out of nowhere. Called LRF, short for Light Rock Fishing, it makes use of ultra light fishing tackle and small lures or replicants to catch miniature species not normally targeted. Old hat to me, that’s another t-shirt already crumpled on the floor. My reputation of defying the ‘why bother?’ brigade is renowned. For years a gudgeon or ruffe of a few inches would make my day, my month a greater success with a new PS (Personal Smallest) than a new PB (Personal Best). Mostly though they were what a trawlerman would call bycatch, incidental captures while fishing in general. That all changed when I decided to target the humble goby.

Humble. Not the way I wrote it up! I’d been out after bass and mullet at the back end of the harbour but had seen the gobies scatter as I launched. Coming back in I decided to give them a try. On kayak, on film and by head torch.

Let me explain further for there are other things at play here. I collect species, or at least the capture of them. For a couple of years I’d hoped to snag myself a stickleback in the river to no avail. Gobies, however, held a special place being one the earliest fish I actually caught, in a net on the wall of the mooring near my grandparent’s house in Spain. I’ve never seen one as large since but I often used to fish for them after that, obliging and fascinating as they are.

So there I

was, with my bow on the shoreline and looking at an illuminated metre-wide circle of ground a foot below the surface. A size 18 hook, the smallest I had on me, was baited with a morsel of harbour ragworm and, weighted with a single bb shot, was dropped down to the bottom. The fascination, suspense and downright hilarity of my first dedicated Small Game Kayak Fishing session has never left me.


The first goby,

an inch long, was on the bait in no time. Perfectly camouflaged they were hard to spot at first but once they started moving it wasn’t too difficult to distinguish one from the background. So there it is, nibbling, chewing, gulping and trying to rip off pieces of worm to fit into a mouth a few millimetres wide. And I’m sitting with bated breath as the tiny hook is becoming more and more exposed. But it stopped. No! It couldn’t be full up surely? It wasn’t. A crab, a couple of centimetres across was waddling sideways into the pool of light. I roared with laughter; I hoped no-one was watching! Out of the frame went my hard-backed friend and then the goby began again and ‘as I struck into the goby’, as I put it at the time, a wriggling sliver of life came up through the water and into my hand. I’d done it! Perhaps the first goby caught on a kayak in the UK, certainly the first caught by design.

I dropped down again and when another crab of similar size came along the goby nibbling stopped and I snatched the bait out of the way. A flurry of silt a few centimetres across clouded the water and I snatched the line up to be rewarded with the tiniest flatfish I’d ever seen, a mere inch across! Superb! I’d cracked this now and with a few more gobies and a prawn with attitude (and glowing red eyes) under my belt I was hooked.

Over time I became more dedicated. I built the tackle I needed, a quivertip transformed into a rod with a key ring flyreel attached. I bought smaller hooks, size 24. I set up the most ludicrous fishing tackle I’d ever heard seen. People laughed at me. Each summer a night or two was dedicated to the gobies. Meanwhile, out on the rivers, I was targeting micro versions of my normal quarry with those same hooks and the smallest baits. Miniature chub and dace, small ruffe, baby perch and micro pike all became valid targets. But still the sticklebacks eluded me.

ThePaddler 41


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Until recently.

In breeding season male sticklebacks develop a red belly. A fiercely territorial fish, anything red sends it off the wall. I was out scouting on the marshes for some decent roach in a spot I’d seen them twenty years before. My single red maggot, when reeled in by the reeds, brought a swarm of tiddlers after it and, held there I spotted the tell-tale signs of spiked backs. I’d finally found them and, returning the following day with some size 24s and my kayak (it doesn’t count otherwise) I set about trying to catch them on a normal, 7ft rod.

It took an hour to develop the right tactics – short hooklength below the float, short distance to rod tip for the required lightning strike, swing it in quickly as they generally drop off, use a red maggot, fish close to the weeds where they build their nests…I became an expert over the following hour and then, giggling, went home. Within a week I’d taught a couple of friends and they, too, had caught them from the kayaks.

Minnows followed, a hundred mile round trip to a location a friend knew of saw me bagging one in a couple of minutes after I’d launched. I repaid him soon after with his first ruffe and, that afternoon, we took it full circle and he became the first person I converted to the delights of the humble, common goby which, having become too easy for me to catch static, I successfully caught on the troll as I’d done 20 years ago with yellowfin tuna in my days as a Big Game Angler – and why not?

Fishing is supposed to be fun!

Stickleback

Ruffe

Perch

minnow

Goby

Chub

Bass


!


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ThePaddler 46

SUP Paddler 048 The Paddler’s Planet By Christian Wagley

052 Interview

Boyd Jeffery of the Ultimate SUP Showdown

062 Ultimate SUP Showdown

Bios of some of the leading athletes in the event

074 Scotland

Brittany Parker’s trip to a WW wonderland for SUP

082 Central Africa

Part two of alex Sergison’s SUP across central africa


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

Photo: Joan Vienot

ThePaddler 48

equal beauty and wonder in nature and humankind For more information on how you can participate wherever you may be on the Planet visit www.supradioshow.com/wpftp Stay tuned for my weekly podcast of the Paddler’s Planet with my guest host Christian Wagley on www.supradioshow.com,

By Christian Wagley

We spend much time celebrating the beauty and wonder of nature. along with that can come a lack of appreciation for the beauty and wonder of that created by humans, or even of humans themselves?Yet there is just as much to celebrate in our own existence as in that of the natural world around us.

I find as much joy and wonder along a wonderful city street as I do in the middle of a pristine forest.That city street, full of outdoor cafes, beautifully shaded public spaces, interesting “Where we are Standing Up little storefronts, and people walking, relaxing, and for the Planet!” conversing, is a healthy and traditional form of human habitation that has proven itself over many centuries in cities throughout the world.

In her classic 1962 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the famed American urbanist and author Jane Jacobs wrote about the active street life and social order of her busy New York City neighbourhood. Jacobs outlined a place where children played safely along sidewalks and interacted freely with all, and people got to know each other casually while protecting their privacy. Merchants helped monitor and rein-in children who misbehaved, and the whole neighbourhood took an active role in keeping peace and order better than the occasional policeman could ever do.This type of traditional pattern of cities and towns brings people together in ways that allows them to exchange goods and services and—because we are social creatures--to meet our basic needs for interaction. It is entirely a human creation. Jacob’s description of a healthy neighbourhood shows it as an ecosystem of its own, a perfect parallel to the ecology of the natural systems we encounter while paddling.Those

complex ecosystems are arranged in multiple layers and establish necessary interactions based on a variety of natural forces.The more I learn about nature, the more amazed I am at the myriad ways that plants, animals, and all organisms work together to create healthy systems where energy and materials flow in efficient ways.

With equal amazement I marvel at the ingenuity, creativity, and spirit of human beings.These manifest in a lovely painting, a finely crafted piece of furniture, a poem, a lush garden, and even a city. We have been given the most incredible gift of life. Regardless of where one believes that gift originated, it is one to be celebrated and lived to its fullest.

That includes celebrating our fellow men and women, rather than allowing the ugliest among us cause us to indict humankind. We are largely kind and compassionate beings, and as I mature I have come to greatly appreciate the relationships with others that are a great part of the beauty of our existence.

Just last week I spent the morning working from my laptop computer in a coffee shop in a small Florida town. Over the course of the morning and two cups of coffee that eventually ran over into lunch, I had an on-going conversation with the shopkeeper. We spoke about the quality of her coffee, the changing town, and how she cooks black beans in the style of her native Venezuela. It was a warm and pleasant interaction of a type that only a fellow human can bring.The more I live with love and appreciation for those around me, the more I have such healthy and positive experiences. Nature is beautiful. People are beautiful. As we live with equal respect for both, we have better relationships in our lives—with each other, and with the planet.


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Ultimate SUP

ThePaddler 52

ThePaddler gets an interview with the main

Read the views of the man who wants to spread the word on stand up paddling to, “people who have no experience of SUP… reaching a new audience” by Peter Tranter


UP Showdown: man behind the

BOYD JeFFeRY

ThePaddler 53


ThePaddler 54

F

irstly, how did you get involved with SUP?

Great Story! My family moved to Maui two years ago. I was interested in paddling since I saw everyone doing it, but I needed a board, so I contacted a guy selling boards on Craigslist. I went to his house and he had a big shipping container in his backyard.

He opened it up and there were about 20 boards inside! There were also posters of a surfer in action all over the walls. I glanced again and noticed that guy on the posters was the guy showing me the boards – Connor Baxter! (#1 SUP paddleboard racer in the world!) I did not buy a board because they were too small and aggressive, but I have always learned sports from the best teachers so I asked Connor for lessons. He said sure. We hung out. The rest is history!

What gave you the idea to come up with the SUP Showdown?

Middle of the night one night after Connor and I discussed having an event on Maui, I called Jamie Mitchell (10X World paddleboard champion) wildly excited after dream style thoughts. I literally saw a “W” buoy race course inside a large wave surf break! I saw the first surf/race! Jamie loved it and so we went with it. Jamie keeps me focused with his incredible knowledge and experience. (Especially since I have none) I believe I woke him up in France or somewhere but he is so accommodating, he shared the excitement with me.

Before we start – just let our readers know a little about you, family, background etc. Born and raised in Canada, moved to California at age 19 to go to school and got married 12 years ago. I have a 7-year old son named Kai who is the next pro SUP surfer! (Or the next shortstop for the New York Yankees).

After that I had conversations with Chuck Patterson and Dave Kalama to get a better perspective on what has worked in the past in regards to format and that’s how we have the Ultimate SUP Showdown. Also big thanks to athletes such as Zane Schweitzer who are excited to train and prepare to be the Showdown Champion! The athletes are the most important part of the Showdown equation and will be the reason for our enormous success. Without them, we have nothing. I feel they should be treated with the respect they deserve.

T K t


SUP Showdown is part of Duke’s OceanFest – how important is this collaboration?

Duke’s OceanFest in Waikiki, has been great! The history of the legendary Duke Kahanamoku is amazing and I was honoured to share in a small part of celebrating that feeling of ‘aloha’. As a visitor to the islands, I have made a point of learning their history, the culture, the traditions, and the spirit. It all starts with respect and a common courtesy to share positive energy. The local communities have opened up their arms and their families have shared their own history with me and the festival was the starting point. There is a pre-existing following of all water sports at this festival and I am proudly representing an SUP portion. As a new event last year, we were graciously given one day to compete, this year they gave us three!

The history of the legendary Duke Kahanamoku is amazing and I was honoured to share in a small part of celebrating that

feeling of ‘aloha’

In the first event last year – you paid the winners in cash – why was that?

Without getting into the specifics, I feel the athletes definitely earn their winnings after such long travel, unexpected expenses and an unfortunate history of other promoters paying winnings late or not at all. I just wanted to show the athletes, (whom many are underage), that my events will never be late in paying winnings. I made two simple promises to each athlete. (I met most athletes personally for individual lunches to look them in the eye) 1. I would never owe them money. 2. I would never leave them stranded. I was surprised I needed to make these simple promises, but it was my way to start relationships on the right track and I think the athletes and their parents appreciated that. I want to provide the stage for a legitimate career for those SUP professionals that are interested in competing at the highest levels in a new sport within even a newer format. The business model will work because I expect the advertisers that come on board to sponsor The Showdown to hold me accountable to increase their market share in exchange for their support. I take that responsibility very seriously.

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Candice Appleby of the Ultimate SUP Showdown team finishing strong at last year's Showdown

What’s the direction you want to take the SUP Showdown in the future – do you have plans to extend the competition? Humbly, I plan to take this sport to the next level. The athletes and the supporters of this great sport have passion and tremendous ambition. These are also the two things I have overflowing in my system. I have been assembling a team of ‘allstars’ to get my vision to the masses. Matty Schweitzer is my new Director of Operations and he does a terrific job of spreading my vision to the athletes as he is an accomplished athlete himself. His skills expand to video and camera production, as well as public relations, organization, and internet TV editing. There are very few things he cannot do and I am thankful everyday I have him on my team. Our publicist, Jessica Kenner out of Los Angeles is amazing! She runs all of our extensive social media campaigns and is connected to some of the most well known celebrities in Hollywood. She is truly bringing the bright lights to the Showdown and to SUP! She works tirelessly on promoting our brand and shares my vision for success. She is a hard worker and has a terrific imagination which will take our vision where it deserves to go! Our newest addition to the team is Rick Schwartz. Wow! I cannot express how fortunate I am to have Rick not only on the team, but as a mentor to navigate the complicated television and media industries. He is our executive TV producer in charge of securing any and all television and

video exposure. In his first few weeks he already has met with the president of CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports Network and NBC Sports. His experience allows us to eliminate most of the red tape when trying to get a new concept on television. I have no doubt Rick will get us to where everyone can watch and enjoy the Showdown concept both internationally and domestically. He also thinks outside the box and is talking to Netflix, X-box and Hulu for original programming. He deserves and commands respect. Our title sponsor is Honolua Surf Company. They are incredible and Randy Blumer, original partner and founder of Honolua Surf Co., has shared my vision since day one. He just gets it! I want to perform so badly for him to reward his confidence and support. I love Honolua Surf Co. and what they stand for which is the waterman lifestyle on the islands with ‘aloha’. He likes to stay under the radar but I cannot be more impressed with his business style, personality and willingness to support the local community. Last but not least is our board sponsor: Rogue SUP. Rick Karr out of California makes super fast and responsive SUP boards. His graphics are very cool on both his male and female boards and he is a pleasure to work with. He was an original sponsor from our 2013 event before he knew anything about my vision. People, and companies like this, will get my complete support and best efforts to sell more of their products.


What makes the Ultimate SUP Showdown different from other races or surf events? The format which one TV network executive called ‘the secret sauce’ is what makes us truly different. There is currently an SUP race and SUP surf tour but neither have the exposure or support needed to propel this sport to the next level. Business wise it makes more sense to combine the two as the sport is still in its infancy and therefore needs to go through growing pains. I took that business concept one step further and not only combined the two disciplines, but made the first ever surf/race! This is the concept: there is an ASP-Hawaii judged SUP surf competition, and then there is an exciting SUP sprint race through the surf break. The top 50% from the surf competition and the top 50% from the sprint race competition face off in THE SHOWDOWN! (That just sounds cool!) So we have the best of the best from all over the world competing in a brand new style competition that tests the strength, agility, mental toughness and navigational choices of the athletes. Imagine a ‘W’, and each of the five points of the ‘W’ are buoys, these buoys are placed in the shape of that ‘W’ directly in the surf break!! Big waves are breaking while you are racing around the buoys! All this action will drive the spectators crazy while the athletes are being challenged which is what these world class competitors thrive on! The lead changes will be insane! First place around the

first buoy could get caught up in a wave, or choose to wait for a set on the horizon to assist in the turn around the second or third buoys…These judgement calls while dealing with large surf could allow the fifth and sixth place athletes to catch up and pass the leaders in the blink of an eye. To add to this made for TV excitement, the competitors have to circle back and go through the course again to get back to the finish line! Just answering this question gets me passionate and excited to see my vision! Remember these athletes are the best of the best and they WANT this competition. They WANT to be challenged. They WANT to feel the crowd’s excitement. They WANT to share their experience with the other racers and fans after the surf/race is over and the ‘trash talk’ begins! This will change the sport. This will allow these young athletes to have a career in the sport they love and this will have a huge live spectator following as well as social media and hopefully and big TV presence. I am just the guy making it happen with lots of support around me from equally passionate people. Hawaii is our starting ground, paying respect to the roots of the sport and the spirit of the people of this cherished land. We are all in this together and I cannot wait to look back at this start 2-3 years down the road and reflect…

Leleo Kinimaka at last year's Showdown

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Do you have one outstanding memory from last years’ competition?

Connor Baxter’s famous dive into the finish line ribbon to win the first ever Ultimate SUP Showdown!

Anything else in the pipeline?

Now that Rick Schwartz has opened up negotiations for our TV deal, my vision is to have the Ultimate SUP Showdown in several countries making up a tour which crowns the Ultimate SUP Showdown champion at the end of the year. Those male and female champions would truly represent the best SUP Paddlers in the world which because they would be the best SUP racer and SUP surfer combined.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation-Hawaii is the charity that SUP Showdown supports, what does the Foundation do?

I have had type 1 diabetes since the age of 10. I started out taking one injection a day of insulin to help manage my blood sugars and ended up giving up to eight injections per day. The insulin pump was something I tried 10 years ago and it has changed my management significantly. It has not necessarily improved my health, but has allowed me to manage it

more efficiently without obvious attention. My newest pump is waterproof and wireless and I can surf with it! The JDRF continues to monitor the changes in technology and applies their contributions in hopes of finding a cure for diabetes. I may be too old for a lot of these changes but I am very encouraged about the technology of the future for change and the effort to help the younger communities of type 1 diabetics both in Hawaii and around the world.

How have you managed to combat the condition and does it affect your sport activities?

The pump I used to use had a 24� thin plastic tube that was connected to my stomach. Living in California and Hawaii where the water lifestyle is so prevalent it became increasingly necessary for the pump to be waterproof. Not only did the new pump become waterproof, but wireless and tubeless and therefore I can participate in all sports without looking like a medical patient. I never gave appearance much importance but I can only imagine the teenagers and their insecurities of looking different and having a visible tube going into their stomach area. So the new pump takes a lot of the insecurities of appearance away, while also staying connected surfing or swimming which is better for blood sugar control.


Boyd having fun while filming a made for internet TV show ‘The SUP Family Feud’ with Connor Baxter, Jamie Mitchell, Josh Riccio and Ashley Baxter

Why do you think you can be ‘the guy’ who can bring the support to the athletes of SUP and it’s advertisers and take it to the next level? Humbly, I just do not know any better. As silly as that comment may sound, it really accurately describes the situation that this new, great sport is in. I have no experience in event co-ordination, I have no experience in the sport of SUP and I have no experience in Hawaii. However, I do have lots of business experience, lots of experience in delivering solutions to people's needs, and lots of experience in seeing a vision through: whatever it takes. The fact that I have no preconceived notion from events have occurred in the past in this sport, it allows me to have a blank canvas to work with. I will try new things such as bringing the 'Hollywood' element to SUP by showcasing the athletes on a red carpet entrance to their after party celebration, or having a celebrity relay race, or just simply showing the respect to the people who are interested in making this sport successful. Bottom line is that I am just not afraid to try anything to see what works and what will bring much needed exposure and money. Put it this way: in baseball you are in the Hall of Fame if you hit four times out of 10 on a career basis. Nobody remembers the six times you struck out as long as you deliver big hits for the other four.

Same thing here. I am not afraid to look silly by trying out a new concept as long as it may result in more positive energy and attention to the sport while maintaining the traditions of Hawaii. The SUP community of athletes have embraced me and I take that very seriously. I have always said that if you give me the support I am looking for, I will do everything I possibly can for you. I just need to make sure I hit a few home runs in those 10 at bats! I plan to keep this positive energy going after we get The Showdown on TV and on the minds of millions of people across the globe. That is my vision, that is my goal, that is what I want my son to remember me for long after I am gone. I am just a very small piece of this puzzle. I see the end game, I see what I need to do to get there, and I am lucky enough to have the finest athletes and support staff to assist me to make this a reality together. We will all be very proud of ourselves when we see The Showdown and its athletes get the careers they have dreamed of. They have given up so much (and their supportive parents) to train and shape their daily lives for us to enjoy the pure entertainment of SUP.

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

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Vanina Walsh at las

Bonga Perkins at la

Vanina Walsh, Connor Baxter and Zane Schweitzer talk about first ever Ultimate SUP Showdown

thanks for all of your help – we really ap all the very best for a successful SUP Show


st year's Showdown

ast year's Showdown

ppreciate it and wdown 2014:)

i’m into SUP and going on vacation, where would you recommend? Hawaii is perfect for everything! Maui is my home.

What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of? My marriage and my son.

apart from SUP what other main interests do you have in life?

Baseball, New York, Canada, hockey, family, friends. Loyalty, support and health!

if you could paddle with anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be? My father.

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

Favourite iPod track? Jay-Z Empire State of Mind.

Favourite film? Wall Street.

Favourite athlete outside of paddling? Derek Jeter.

What would you do with $20 million? No idea.

Cats or dogs Both.

Facebook or twitter Facebook.

What would i find in your refrigerator right now?

Turkey bacon, waffles, stevia soda, pineapples, almond milk, oranges, rice crust pizza and raspberries.

if we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us? Spaghetti and meatballs.

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

What’s your biggest turn-off?

Someone who says “can’t”. Especially someone who says “I can’t”. That is basically my motivation for many things in life. Money has never been my motivation.

if you could be a wild animal – what would it be? Bald Eagle.

Fill in the blanks: i am ______?

Fortunate to have a loving family, and am very passionate about anything I set my mind to. (This is something I am teaching my 7-year old son)

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Athlete’s taking part in the Honolua Surf Co.’s Ultimate SUP Showdown for 2014 Over the next few pages read

what some of the participating athletes say about the 2014 Showdown. Also read the following in-depth interviews from past issues of ThePaddler ezine by clicking on the photos below:

WOmeN:

Annabel Anderson Candice Appleby Vanina Walsh Karen Jacobsen Jennifer J. Lee Jenny Kalmbach Aline Adisaka Izzi Gomez Nicole Pacelli Iballa Moreno Halie Harrison Mariko Strickland Angela Jackson Olivia Piana Shelby Schweitzer Fiona Wylde Talia Decoite-Gangini Gillian Bree

meN:

Connor Baxter Kai Lenny Danny Ching Travis Grant Jamie Mitchell Matt Becker Riggs Napoleon Mo Freitas Zane Schweitzer Noa Ginella Kody Kerbox Fernando Stalla Chuck Patterson Ikaika Kalama Aaron Napoleon Kala Alexander Bullet Obra Brennan Rose Leleo Kinimaka Kimo Miranda Cody Huf Kawika Carvalho Travis Baptiste Noland Keaulana Alika Willis Kainoa Hauanio Chase Kosterlitz Casper Steinfath Jake Jensen Eric Terrien Georges Cronsteadt Beau O’Brian Ryan Helm Sean Poynter Ian Vaz Leco Salazar Matheus Salazar Keahi De Aboitiz Beau Nixon Justin Holland Benoit Carpentier Kai Bates Caio Vaz Giorgiou Gomez Kekoa Auwae Josh Riccio Slater Trout Bonga Perkins


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Appleby

Main photo by Anthony Vela

Photo by Onit Pro

Photo by Atilla Jobbagyi


DOB: September 3rd, 1985 Favourite SUP place: Makaha Favourite food: Poke Surf or race: Both One luxury item you couldn't live without: Hairbrush if you could be an animal what would it be: Octopus Favourite iPod track: ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Favourite athlete: Anthony Vela if you could paddle with anyone in the world, dead or alive - who would it be? My Grandpa George.

What do you expect from the Showdown? Where do you see it in three years? I expect the athletes to put on a great show as they always do, and to have a lot of fun competing. Where would you like to see the Showdown in the future? Which locations? Huntington Beach and Trestles. Have you adjusted your training to include both SUP surfing and SUP racing? I surf my race board everyday and I surf my performance board everyday. This is how I have trained for years. Surfing my race board daily is what has earned by four Battle of the Paddle titles.

When you started your SUP career did you foresee something like the Showdown that would propel this industry to the next level? When my SUP career started I didn’t really know what to expect, beyond the fact that I loved it and I excelled at it pretty quickly. Since then there have been so many events popping up all over the globe. It’s a great thing. are you a better SUP surfer or SUP racer? I would like to think that I'm pretty good a both.

top three winning predictions for the Showdown in Waikiki 2014? Me, me and me.

Which celebrity would you most want to be paired with in the celebrity relay race at Showdown 2014 if you were able to choose? Shaquille O'Neal, because he might not be the fastest, but he would for sure be the tallest and most fun! What makes the Showdown such a great event? Being able to celebrate what we love to do in a positive competitive arena, while showing off a variety of our skills as athletes. Having the event held during the Duke's Ocean Festival is also very special because we get to celebrate and honor the life of Duke Kahanamoku, the first Stand Up Paddler and father of our sport. Your favourite moment from last year’s event? Spending time with my friends and fellow athletes.The camaraderie of our sport is like no other.

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Walsh


DOB: March 3rd, 1997 Favourite SUP place? Pupukea Favourite food?Tortillas Surf or race? Surf is definitely my favourite! Favourite film? Endless Summer One luxury item you couldn't live without? My iPhone if you could be an animal what would it be? A dolphin Favourite iPod track? Too many favourites to choose just one! Favourite athlete? Kelly Slater if you could paddle with anyone in the world, dead or alive – who would it be? Duke Kahanamoku What do you expect from the Showdown? Where do you see it in three years? I expect the SUP Showdown to grow and become more and more popular each year! What is the general feeling in SUP about the Showdown? I think SUP athletes are excited about the Showdown, It is by far my favourite event of the year.

Where would you like to see the Showdown in the future? Which locations? A tour around the Hawaiian islands or even internationally! The options are endless.

Have you adjusted your training to include both SUP surfing and SUP racing? I practice surfing, racing, and surfing my race boards in waves to prep myself for the SUP Showdown. When you started your SUP career did you foresee something like the Showdown that would propel this industry to the next level? I think the Showdown will definitely bring SUP to the next level and hopefully help the sport become more popular.

are you a better SUP surfer or SUP racer? I would say I’m a better surfer than a racer. top three winning predictions for the Showdown in Waikiki 2014? Thats a tough one! There are so many talented athletes attending the showdown, it should be interesting!

What were your first impressions of Boyd and his first event – the Showdown 2013? I thought his first event was a great turn out and he seems to really know what he’s doing, he’s pretty awesome!

What was different about the first Showdown than other SUP events? The SUP Showdown is one of the best SUP events I’ve attended simply because it was so well organized, the athletes were well taken care of, the event was spectator friendly and many more reasons why the Showdown is my favourite event of the year.

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Baxter


DOB: September 15th 1994 Favourite SUP place? Maui, Hawaii Surf or race? Racing Favourite film? Avatar One luxury item you couldn't live without? My iPad if you could be an animal what would it be? A giraffe Favourite iPod track? What does the fox say? Favourite team? Denver Broncos if you could paddle with anyone in the world, dead or alive – who would it be? Michael Jackson What do you expect from the Showdown? Where do you see it in three years? I expect the Showdown to be one of the biggest events in SUP history, with all the best athletes and the best crew to put it on.

Where do you see it in three years? I see the Showdown being the one event that everyone has to do if they want to be recognized. Plus it will have the big prize purse and have the biggest audience. Why do you believe in Boyd? I believe in Boyd because he is a businessman and has the right mindset. He always says “I rather under promise and over deliver. What is the general feeling in SUP about the Showdown? I have a great feeling about the Showdown being one of the main event I am training for. Where would you like to see the Showdown in the future? Which locations? I would like to see it being one of the biggest events and taking place world wide.

Have you adjusted your training to include both SUP surfing and SUP racing?Yes I have adjusted my training. I have been surfing and paddling a lot so feeling ready and well prepared.

When you started your SUP career did you foresee something like the Showdown that would propel this industry to the next level? I knew that someone like Boyd would come and make a great event like this. I am glad that it is Boyd because he is a great guy to be doing this. are you a better SUP surfer or SUP racer? I am better SUP racer. I have the body type and the cardio for it. I have also done a lot better in races.

top three winning predictions for the Showdown in Waikiki 2014? Top three will be Danny, Kai and hopefully myself.

What were your first impressions of Boyd and his first ever event which was the Showdown 2013? The first event was a huge success. Everyone had a great time and got paid so that is always good. Also it was a last minute thing so knowing that it was organized super professional.

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Becker


DOB: September 15th, 1994 Favourite SUP place? Ledbetter Beach Favourite food? Fish Surf or race? Surf. I like racing too. I’ll take paddling in general for the win haha Favourite film? Count of Monte Cristo if you could be an animal what would it be? A pelican, they seem like they just hang out and soak up the sun all day haha Favourite athlete? Bo Jackson if you could paddle with anyone in the world, dead or alive - who would it be? - Samuel L. Jackson. Seems like a pretty interesting guy to talk to What do you expect from the Showdown? Where do you see it in three years? Well I can’t say I really expect anything, but if he delivers like he says he can, I see a tour that people can actually pay attention to and have fun with, like the NFL but only the future can decide that one.

Where would you like to see the showdown in the future? Which locations? I’d love to see it making a stop on every continent, in the centre of the major paddling locations at those various continents.The more people that are exposed to this sport the better!

Have you adjusted your training to include both SUP surfing and SUP racing? Well I haven’t really, I’ve been training for surf/race events my whole paddling career, many of which have been held in large wave conditions. I have been training harder that’s for sure.

When you started your SUP career did you foresee something like the Showdown that would propel this industry to the next level? When I started my SUP career I didn't foresee that there would even be an SUP industry, let alone a fully fledged tour! I haven’t really been able to foresee anything after 2010, it;s all a surprise to me haha. are you a better SUP surfer or SUP racer? I like to think I’m better at both haha.

top three winning predictions for the Showdown in Waikiki 2014? Myself, Zane Schweitzer and Connor Baxter.

What were your first impressions of Boyd and his first ever event which was the Showdown 2013? My first impression of Boyd was that he seems like a cool guy, the event was awesome, I had a fun time and it was run very smoothly. What was different about the first Showdown than other SUP events? That it had surfing and racing so closely tied, he’s not the first to put them together but he is the first to present them in such a way that the competition in both events is right in your face and it makes it really exciting.

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Schweitzer


DOB: September 15th 1993 Favourite SUP place? Maui/Tahiti Favourite food?The kind I catch and grow myself! Surf or race? Surf Favourite film? Hangover One luxury item you couldn't live without? Surfboard if you could be an animal what would it be? Flying fish or eagle Favourite iPod track? Alive by the Green Favourite athlete?Travis Pastrana if you could paddle with anyone in the world, dead or alive - who would it be? Duke Kahanamoku

What do you expect from the Showdown? Where do you see it in three years? I expect huge things from the Ultimate SUP Showdown! Not only is it a great format for athletes but also makes it exciting for spectators to watch, enjoy and feel the excitement that we all share in this amazing new sport! Why do you believe in Boyd? One simple reason, his passion! Not only is he driven to grow the sport of SUP, but his respect and love for the athletes themselves is what really sets him apart from everyone else.

are you a better SUP surfer or SUP racer? I have always loved surfing and wanted to be innovative in the waves. But after last years struggle with sickness, I am pushing myself harder and harder in the races and am really happy with where I am sitting now in the top three! Surfing is definitely more fun, but finishing a race and putting your 110% into it is such a rewarding feeling once you cross that finish line with no Judging or controversy!

top three winning predictions for the Showdown in Waikiki 2014? Haha. Hopefully myself, Connor Baxter and Kai Lenny! MAUI BOYZ!

Which celebrity would you most want to be paired with in the celebrity relay race at Showdown 2014 if you were able to choose? and for what reason? Kate Upton... Do I really need to explain why? What were your first impressions of Boyd and his 1st ever event which was the Showdown 2013? Made everyone from the first pace finisher to the last place finisher feel like a rock star!! What was different about the first Showdown than other SUP events? A full day of autograph signing with all the athletes working together and of course, that red carpet after party event was off the hook! When Boyd says he will 'humbly take over the sport', do you believe him? Some of his Idea's make you think,What? Really! But he has shown to follow through with everything he has promised and I have full faith that he will take this sport to another level and make everyone want to be part of his Journey!

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a w e t i h W

Words and pics: Brittany Parker


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Getting to it

The River Dee, a class I-II and recognised as one of the most scenic rivers in Scotland, was first on my list. Thirty miles upstream I began gearing up, excited for my first SUP in Scotland. Before my board was on the water I had an audience of 10 people leaning over the bridge with inquisitive looks, trying to figure out what this wee girlie was about to do with her surfboard. I attempted to explain but was met with confusion and a bit of concern. It was apparent they thought I was crazy. As I paddled away I received a heartfelt farewell; hands were waving and words of encouragement flowed as I began my adventure.

First drops

The paddle started mellow, allowing me to fully take in my surroundings. Farmlands, quaint cottages, green mossy rocks and bushy towering pine trees lined the banks. I happened upon a few men wading up to their knees, fishing poles in hand, patiently waiting for a salmon to float by. They were surprised to see me but were all smiles and laughter. At points it was so shallow I actually had to get off my board and walk – even the fisherman said this is unusual for this time of year. With lower water levels come more technical runs. The rapids were challenging, channels were narrow and I had to be quick. Another 500 CFS and that run would be an ideal stretch for those wanting to get into white water SUP.

Out and about

While waiting for rain (it’s usually the other way round! – Ed) we found some more touristy things to do. I was lucky to catch a cultural Scottish gem – the Highland Games. Bagpipes were played, kilts worn by ninety percent of the men – it was a fantastic display of Scottish culture. Before long it was time to head north to Aviemore where I took part in the Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon.

River bugging (?)

River bugging is the most popular and unique activity that Splash provides. Described as a small floatation device that closely resembles a ‘lazy boy’ wearing webbed gloves you navigate downstream using your hands as paddles. This seemed like the perfect way to do a test run and get familiar with the rapids. Kevin explained where we needed to be for the upcoming rapid. He’d paddle the line and be ready to catch me if I overshot the eddy and went floating off. Often, I found myself paying more attention to the beauty around me than the water. The river is surrounded by dense greenery making it feel remote. Air was cool and moist, the rocks that blanketed the river bed and banks were polished smooth from hundreds of years of flowing water. It was a river unlike any I had ever paddled before – I was stunned and itching to get on my board.

Sunny days were filled with mountain biking, coastal drives and beer!

River tummel

The River Tummel is a river based on dam release and there was a chance of catching it at a nice level. The Tummel is located two hours south west of Aberdeen flowing near the charming little town of Aberfeldy. The Lower Tummel is the section most frequented by white water enthusiasts, popular for commercial raft trips, river bugging, kayaking and most recently stand up paddling. Graded as a class III ending in a class IV-V drop, this one required a lot more planning and a bit of guidance from the local outfitter Splash Adventures who gladly obliged to take me out and show me the lines. Head guide Kevin was a spirited man with a passion for white water as pronounced as my own. The layout allowed you to park at the take out and walk just a quarter mile up the road and down a foot path to the top of the run – a short but action packed three mile section.

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Scotland River Dee


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Time to SUP!

Having launched I paddled into a channel, then a small drop into a bubbling pool with an eddy not big enough to fit my board. Staggering to my feet and getting low I cleared the first section. Before I could celebrate I was setting up for my next obstacle – a narrow rowdy channel just to the left. Unfortunately, the first rapid pushes you far right into jagged rocks and a solid beating so I had to be agile. Laying back on my tail for a quick pivot turn and a couple powerful strokes I made it and cleared my first rapid – confidence was high. I was now ready to hit the big one – The Falls of Tummel. This grand finale, an exciting descent, amounting to 15 feet altogether. There was power here – enough to melt away all the confidence I had acquired from the last rapid. At this level the drops were very bony. If I chose to do the whole set there was no room for error. Falling meant plummeting down, which could result in getting caught up on a shark tooth rock. This would easily cut through my drysuit and flesh. Deciding the risk outweighed reward I opted to skip the first drop and do the second. Kevin put emphasis on getting as close to that shark tooth rock without actually hitting it. This was the safest line but all I could hear was the roaring falls. My heart was beating out of my chest and I was scared. It was now or never! I pushed off, aimed for the rock but I was too close. My board clipped and sent me flying. But I came up laughing, was unharmed and ready to take it on again. The next time I made it through the slot but gravity, as well as the impact, worked against me and I was swimming once again. I was relentless, lapping the falls over and over again but in the end the Falls of Tummel won and sent me packing.

Reflections

It was the most challenging, technical, and beautiful river I’ve ever had the privilege to SUP. These rivers will mould you into an extremely strong and well-rounded paddler and I only wish I could place this spot in my own backyard in Colorado.

It was encouraging to see locals bringing the sport to life and I can only hope I added to their enthusiasm and opened them up to the never ending possibilities of stand up paddle boarding.

Thank you to Splash Adventures for all their help and sharing their love for the river. Thanks also to everyone else who made this trip possible. I’ll be back Scotland…


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Glassy perfection on the inner reef off Zanzibar

COME ON IN THE WATER’S


Alex Sergison continues his journey across the African continent as he crosses Lake Malawi and onto Tanzania. Click on our friendly crocodile on the right to read the first part.

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Day 48: lake malawi

Fun and games in the shallows of Lake Malawi

After weeks on the dusty road a cooling dip in this vast lake came as quite a treat. Our boards seemed to be a real source of fascination for the local children. Paddling along the lake shore we have come across rarely visited villages where succulent fruit hang from the trees, the men haul fish in by net, which the women dry on the shore in the intense sun. Life is slow here and, although poor, these people seem content and relatively care free. We spent hours playing with the children of one village who apparently couldn’t grow tired of clambering over our boards and throwing themselves into the water, quivering with delight from tip to tail. The fact that these kids have grown up in a fishing community is evident. They are wholly water confident and although not strong swimmers are fearless, both on and under the surface. The boys obviously learn to paddle from a young age, and, although they still use traditional dugouts in which they sit, their paddle skills are evident. The girls, prepared for a life in the village of


cooking and cleaning and handling the precious fishing bounty, took more time to pick up the basics. However, it was upon these little faces that the joy of something exciting and fresh was most apparent. They relished every moment afloat and as we paddled away that evening, it was the girls who waved and shrieked most vigorously in farewell.

However, it was upon these little faces that the joy of something

exciting and fresh

was most apparent

After dark the lights of the fishermen started to appear across the lake. Paraffin lamps are used to lure small fish into a trap of nets and lines. From the shore it is difficult to gauge distance in the dark. Although the stars and moon offer some illumination, this lake is vast and, after dark, glassy and disorientating. I paddled for half an hour on my own before getting close to the men. Cautious of disrupting their efforts, I sat at a distance and watched them precariously balance in their boats, net ready to strike upon any shoal that got too close. The skill of these men is tremendous and although I consider myself proficient upon the water, I am humbled by the way in which they manoeuvre tirelessly around this great lake.

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Day 52

Malaria

It is easy to be blasé about malaria. You hear horror stories, but I have often been of the attitude it’s not as bad as all that. I have on occasions missed tablets and sometimes not taken anti-malarial medication at all. Day 52 was incredibly hot. Humidity levels had been building all week and went through the roof. There was a brief deluge early afternoon and as the heaven opened we pulled the car over leapt from our seats and let the rain soak us offering temporary relief. Later we stopped at a bottle store, same as any other, ramshackle with corrugated iron roof and makeshift walls. Initially we thought it was empty, but just as we turned to leave a young girl struggled

to peer over the counter. Immediately it was apparent she wasn’t well with headache, weakness and intense temperature despite feeling cold. Even to a lay person such as myself and Katy it was pretty apparent this was likely to be malaria. We always carry self-diagnosis kits as we spend some time away from civilisation and medical assistance. Katy carefully pricked the girl’s finger and applied a drop of blood to the test kit. I on the other hand felt faint and very manfully retreated outside to get some air and stretch my legs… Needles have never been my strong point! After a few minutes it was evident she was infected with malaria. Rather than use our own precious supply of treatment we opted to find


There were approximately 6,200 villagers in her district. That week, because of a spike due to the humid weather, she was the 148th person to test positive –

it was only Wednesday!

specialist help if possible. Following a vague map drawn by a local we drove 20 minutes further up the valley, avoiding cattle in the road and through the quagmire left by the earlier rains. Inside a little white clinic we found a nurse fluent in English who thankfully took our young child into her care and gratefully shook our hands. More to make conversation than anything else, I asked if she dealt with many cases of malaria. She dutifully showed me a graph for 2014. There were approximately 6,200 villagers in her district. That week, because of a spike due to the humid weather, she was the 148th person to test positive – it was only Wednesday! I won’t miss or travel without medication again.

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Zanzibar, Tanzania

Day 63:

The spice island is fringed by endless white sand beaches and stunning reefs. I was however, desperately afraid this would be one place it would be impossible to escape other travellers and tourists and find the real Africa.

This is when the paddleboards have really been worth their weight in gold. Who needs to join the hordes on package trips to see overcrowded outcrops of damaged coral? In the light winds we were able to paddle for miles along one of the barrier reefs encountering only fishermen in their sailing dhows. The reef seems endless; the water is clear and enticing along this stretch of coast. However, upon lowering yourself from your board you soon realise it is like a warm bath offering little relief from the blazing heat of the summer. At low tide, the water was incredibly shallow and the snorkelling fantastic amongst the various exotic, painted fish and the intricate and stunning corals. As the tide began to push in, I caught a few small waves on the outer reef and took pleasure in the knowledge this little peak may never have been boarded on before. Just as we pulled into shore, we met some Massai men on the beach, dressed impeccably in their traditional red Shukas, beads and sandals. Two of the proud warriors jumped at the opportunity to try our boards. They refused to leave their daggers on the beach and nervously they took their first wobbly paddle, clearly not used to venturing from dry land. Naturally athletic, it wasn’t too long before they were paddling without support, but I suspect it may be some time before we see one of these tribal hunters on the world circuit. We had come to the end of our journey and time in Africa. In the end we realised ten weeks just wasn’t enough. The people, the wildlife, the landscapes, and the incredible adventures: Africa surprises, invigorates and sometimes scares, but I can’t wait to go back.


Not natural water men, the Massai make up for lack of experience with determination and smiles.

Click for Google map of

Central africa alex Sergison is Head of Outdoor Adventure provision at Weymouth College and delivers adventure training and instructor training at their OFSTED Grade 1 facility. He enjoys the support of 109 Watersports and Naish UK. For assistance mobilising your own adventure feel free to email Alex at alex@adventuresolutions.co.uk.

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Kayak Paddler 094 Coaching

Psychological skills by Dave Rossetter

098 Iceland

a mortal’s guide by ian Bailey

110 Ecuador

land of the boof by Sean morley

120 Corsica, France

Paddling on a stunning island by Kirstie macmillan

132 Interview

Freestyle World Champion, Claire O’Hara

142 Scotland

moriston River Race 2014 by Phil Higgins


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By Dave Rossetter –paddlesport instruct This article is all about the psychological area of white water kayaking

The previous article looked at getting the body in the right position to perform covering areas such as Paddlers Box, control of blade and understanding of edging/leaning.

This article will open up the psychological area of white water kayaking. I am going to look at a few key areas that will help you be in the correct state of mind for the type of water that we are paddling.

The following areas are not the only mental skills training that you can do to help while on the river however, they are areas that I find I am using a lot to help paddlers that I am coaching when they are feeling challenged by the environment.

It’s all in your mi

Mental skills training is a collection of skills and tools that can be tailored to particular situations so enhance our performance on the river. We can use these to manage our stress or anxiety levels to ensure that we are in positive state of mind.

The first area to be aware of is that of arousal levels.

Managing your arousal levels is critical. Being over or under aroused leads to a drop in performance and therefore a poor outcome on the rapid.

Arousal

A common factor is that there will be an optimum level for arousal for the skill/manoeuvre that you are doing. Recognising when we are over or under aroused will help us choose the correct tactic for changing or monitoring the correct level. On your way to the river what type of music do you like?

Is this planned? Do you know why?

Arousing uplifting music is likely to increase your arousal level while more calming music is likely to lower your arousal level. The graph right can help explain why this is critical for us.

This helps to show that as we become more aroused then our performance can improve to a point. Become over aroused and we see a massive drop in our performance. This drop in performance can take a long time to recover from. I am sure that we all know of someone who has suffered this and taken a drop in his or her confidence on the river after failing a roll, missing a line etc. Consider what has happened since top try and recover from this.


tor at Glenmore Lodge

ind!

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Indicators for being over aroused

Recognising the signs of over arousal is critical for us: • • • • •

Racing heart Shallow rapid breathing Sweating Butterflies Dry mouth

As we are all individual what works for me may not work for you and finding the solution for each individual will be crucial. Consider our music on the way to the river where one paddler needs uplifting music and the other more calming!

Other control strategies

increase arousal – exercise including specific warm-ups. Warm-ups are great at getting the body prepared for the activities ahead but can also help with getting the arousal level correct for the up coming activity. This could happen at various points throughout the journey on the river. This includes practicing specific moves leading up to the crux points. lower arousal – breathing control. Looking at relaxing the breathing will help focus the mind on the moves that required. This is crucial to ensure that there is sufficient air in the body to so you have energy for the crux points on the rapids.

Other options

We can use these options to control our arousal level and control the mind to ensure that we are the best possible state to perform are:

• • •

Self talk Pre-performance routines Imagery

Self talk

We all talk to ourselves because after all,

“Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice.”

However, depending on the type of chat you are having with yourself it may not be beneficial.

For example if your chat is negative – “I’ll never make that eddy” or “I hate that rapid I always end up rolling” then the response is a change in the arousal level which can lead to muscle tension, anger or lack of effort. If we can change the chat to positive then this can lead to an increase in control of the muscles and the ability to respond better to external factors.

Positive self-talk examples:

“This time I have trained to hit that line.” Or, “No rolling this time, keep the blade driving through the stopper.”

‘Rules of positive self-talk’ 1) Keep your phrases short and specific. 2) Use the first person and present tense. 3) Keep them positive. 4) Say your phrases with meaning and attention. 5) Speak kindly to yourself. 6) Repeat phrases often.

This in turn can lead to an increase in confidence by focusing on the outcome i.e. where you need to be on a particular part of the rapid.

You can also link any chat that you have with pre-performance routines

Simply put what you do before you perform. Some paddlers will have a lot of habits prior to paddling this could be order of putting kit on, lucky shorts, splash on face prior to running rapids or mantras they say before a manoeuvre. Whatever they are they help serve the purpose of focusing the mind on the task at hand.

If however, you are new to using a pre-performance routine to help with controlling your arousal level then here are a few top tips for you to follow:

• • •

Focus on breathing – this will help deal with distractions and lower the heart rate Be clear on your intent – this focusing on you means that you put you first and helps focus on the performance ahead and desired outcome Transition – where do you need to be/when do you need to be there/spot your place

Critical for the success of these is to review them after the performance. Did they help you? What do you need to change?


Imagery

Perhaps one of the most powerful tools that can lead to an enhancement of self confidence, selection of specific tactics, reviewing past performances and ultimately control arousal levels.

There are plenty of examples throughout sport where performers mention that they use imagery as a tool to mentally prepare for either the match or a specific skill during their performance. Some paddlers are naturally able to tune into the required skills and use imagery to help them. However, if you are new to using imagery then the following model will serve as a tool (from Holmes and Collins 2001) to follow:

Physical – put yourself in your paddling gear sitting in your boat holding your paddle

environment – where does the activity take place, what sounds are around you? Put yourself in the environment where the activity takes place.

task – what is the task that is required? Make sure it is at the appropriate level and that you are not imaging a top skillful performer doing the task. Ensure that is specific.

timing – work in real time. What is the speed that you will be working and imagine this.

learning – like all things we need to continually review. As you improve your skill so you need to delete the old images and create new ones based on current ability.

emotion – put yourself in the position of what you should be feeling. Be positive and avoid feeling the fear and panic.

Perspective – there are times when you need to see the performance through your own eyes such as timing of a specific stroke. However, others maybe are more beneficial seeing yourself as if you are on video. This would be true such as positioning on a rapid and seeing what’s around.

This can be practiced at various points for example before getting on the water at the start of the trip or prior to running a specific rapid.

Four areas of mental skills training that can help you first of understand any issues that you may have then some practical tools that will help you increase your performance and enjoyment on the river.

Ensure that you are training the mind as well as the body. Next time you are out on the river have a go at incorporating these areas into your training.

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. http://www.glenmorelodge.org.uk/ http://www.pyranha.com/ http://www.palmequipmenteurope.com/ http://www.madrivercanoe.co.uk/

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FiRe &

iCe

Iceland – a mortal’s


By Ian Bailey

Sitting drinking in a tea house in Nepal recently, my friend offered me a gem of kayaking wisdom. “There’s not a country in the world that only has hard rivers.” Not having been to every country, I’m happy to accept this Yoda-like assertion at face value. But so far on my travels, he’s been right. For every gnarly, white knuckle, scare-fest, there is usually an equal amount of pleasantly – challenging, easier rivers. Which brings me to Iceland.

guide

Photo: Gullfoss waterfall: by Arctic Adventures

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Iceland is largely the forgotten country, up a bit, left a bit and somewhere near Greenland. For most people, it will have only entered their consciousness twice. Something to do with the recession and the reason why they were stranded on holiday in 2010. Personally, I was no more than vaguely aware of its existence until it featured in a short segment of the kayaking film ‘Dream Result’ in 2010. I was mesmerized, watching Ben Brown and the boys running huge drops time and time again in the arctic wilderness. I knew that they were leagues above me, that I’d never be good enough to paddle there.

Fast forward three years. A rapid exchange of emails after spotting an advert on the internet and I had secured myself a rafting job, guiding in the land of fire and ice. Iceland is still relatively unheard of as a kayaking destination and as such, precious little information is available on the region, pieced together from past trip reports and a guidebook dating back to 20 years ago. As this was my first time paddling overseas, I was glad to find that both EasyJet and Iceland Air will fly in to Keflavik airport with boats. On arrival, it soon became apparent that renting equipment in Iceland would be near impossible and so my decision to take my creek boat turned out to be for the best. Likewise, if you do decide to stay for a longer trip, it is worth packing spares of essential items. The sharp volcanic rock and everpresent ash make short work of any equipment. The best time to paddle is in Northern Hemisphere spring-summer, to catch the glacial run off and make use of the 24-hour daylight. Don’t be fooled in to packing summer paddling gear though… Since Shaun Baker’s publicised descent of Goðafoss in the 90s, the country has gained a rather niche reputation for being the place to go to hunt out waterfalls. The rugged, volcanic landscape breaks off in to thundering cascades, giving an excellent selection of steep creeking runs. But what does it have to offer for the average grade 3 / 4 paddler such as myself? A 90-minute drive out east from the capital, Reykjavik along the south coastal road brings you to the river Hvítá, ‘The White River’. From its source at Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland, Hvítá flows for 25 miles, before dropping over the iconic Gullfoss waterfall. Having never seen a first descent, this two tier drop is well worth a look, if only to stand and point out your imaginary line.

Geysir: by Arctic Adventures


Surfing the Bad Omen, Hvita river by Tom Robb

thundering cascades,

The rugged, volcanic landscape breaks off in to

giving an excellent selection of steep creeking runs.

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Ytri Ranga by Tom Robb

Hunting for rivers by Ian Bailey

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Further downstream,

the usual put in brings you straight in to a section of grade 2+ rapids starting with a huge standing wave. Hvítá is a popular, commercial rafting run, which means that it’s one of the few rivers in the country where you are likely to ever encounter other paddlers. At summer levels the three main rapids – The Wave, The Bad Omen and The Keyhole are an excellent introduction to big water paddling. Waves crash down on you from all sides and it can be tough to keep moving forwards through the monstrous boil lines. This can be considered “Icelandic Grade Two” – best enjoyed with a Waterfalls flow down grade in hand.

canyon walls, the

The river then enters a narrow canyon and eases off, allowing you amongst the immaculate to take in the beauty of your surroundings basalt columns as you float towards the take out. Waterfalls flow down the canyon walls, amongst the immaculate basalt columns. The more adventurous can add a further three rapids by putting in further upstream, although this does involve a rather tough walk in down a near vertical scree slope. A perfect end to the river would be a short drive to warm up in one of the nearby hot springs, to celebrate a day well spent. A five minute drive from Hvítá brings you to Faxi, a river wide, six metre ledge drop, perfect for some park and huck fun in the endless daylight. Flat water leads down to a straight forward entry rapid on river left and a clean pool below. It’s a perfect location for those looking to run their first drop and proof that running waterfalls in Iceland is well within the limits of the average paddler.

Colin Barton paddling Hvita: byTom Robb

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towards the pool below.

hurtling down

My stomach rose inside me, as I pulled on my last stroke, before

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M

Colin Barton running Faxi waterfall by Tom Robb


My first attempt will stay with me forever. My heart pounded as I eddied in to the flow, working hard to keep my bow from getting pushed too far left. As I reached the lip, the world dropped away in front of me. My stomach rose inside me, as I pulled on my last stroke, before hurtling down towards the pool below. I tucked forwards, plugging deep in to the darkness. As I rolled up out of the bottom of the drop, the adrenaline washed over me, leaving me buzzing. “So that’s why people paddle waterfalls!”

A further 15 minutes drive leads to the river Tungufljot. Along the way, the road passes by the famous Geysir underground hot springs which regularly erupt, shooting huge plumes of steam and hot water skywards, soaking unsuspecting tourists. The river itself is mostly semi-continuous grade 3, with some shallow sections that you need to find a suitable path through. The put in is reached either by a sturdy 4x4, or a 45minute walk carrying your boat up through the forest. Once on the river, there are several islands which create different options – I don’t think I ever paddled the same route twice! There are however, two short sections of grade 4, where small ledge drops form powerful stoppers and are worthy of a quick scout. As the river flows down towards the road the last 100 metres form a playground of eddies, waves and different flows, perfect for honing white water skills on. The downside to such great white water? It is bitterly cold and incredibly shallow in places. Unless you’re a tough Icelander, it is worth considering protection for the hands at least. A 90-minute drive east brings you to the Ytri Ranga river, in the shadow of the mighty Hekla Volcano. At the put-in the sheer number of midges caused a quick downwards spiral into insanity. We tried everything to keep the little critters at bay. Towels over the head, getting dressed whilst running and even hiding in the car, nothing seemed to work. I gave up trying to fight them off and instead made a dash for the river to regain my sanity, leaving a scene of carnage behind me.

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T

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Once on the water, the rapids

came almost straight away. Grade 2 boulder gardens lead down to the first ledge drop auto-boof. From there, the river switched between gentle grade 2 and short bits of grade 3 as the river meandered through tighter, walled in sections. At this point, one of our group had an out of boat experience and one of the Icelanders took off to go after the boat. I joined the chase, running a long section of rapids on sight. First rapid on the Ytri Ranga by Dori Bjoss (Rjupnavellir)

lord of the flies:tom Robb

As I rounded the last corner, the paddler in front of me was nowhere to be seen. What could have happened? Just then, I caught a faint glimpse of a helmet, behind the boat we’d been chasing. She bobbed up next to the boat and swam to the bank dragging it behind her. What happened? “I was worried about swimming and losing my boat, so I jumped in to get the boat back instead!” There’s more than one way to get things done it seems! Towards the end, the river stepped up a gear, into continuous grade 3 – a sea of raging white water. Usually the run ends at a road bridge, but there’s treasure waiting for those that persevere. A tight slot leads in to a walled in canyon before one last drop at the end. The lead in is a 90 degree right turn into an eddy, before lining up to boof the drop. A great end to a fantastic river, that’s guaranteed to leave a smile. For the whole of my time in Iceland, I barely scratched the surface of what the country has to offer to the white water paddler. I did, however, find plenty of rivers to paddle within my grade, which just goes to show that you don’t need to be pushing the limits to enjoy paddling abroad.

Ian paddles for Team Canoe Kayak Trader and keeps a blog of his adventures at www.iboutdoor.com


Tinna Sigurรฐardottir on the Ytri Ranga by Tom Robb

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INFORMATION Weather: The weather in Iceland is not as cold as some may

think. (Winter is lot colder in Minnesota than it is in Iceland!) The climate is relatively mild because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream. Average winter daytime temperature in Reykjavik is 31 degrees F. (−1 degrees C.)

Iceland

http://www.visiticeland.com

Iceland lies just south of the Arctic Circle. Winter nights and summer days are long. On December 21st in the capital, the sun rises at 11:30am and sets at 3:30pm. On June 21 the sun sets about midnight and rises at 3:00am. It never gets darker than twilight at night during the late spring and early summer.

https://maps.google.com/?ll=64.595613,-19.27002&spn=10.92226,24.609375&t=m&z=6

Paddling: Iceland with its rugged and deeply indented coastline and many off coast islands, is ranked as one of the best places in the northern hemisphere for sea kayaking.There are many suitable sheltered areas for lessexperienced, as well as for demanding adventurers. One of the most popular places to paddle is Hornstrendir, at the area of Westfjords. Iceland also offers white waters for all standards. Some rivers are clear water (drinkable!) and others glacial melted water with a shining silver surface. Iceland also has the largest waterfalls in Europe! Tungufljot and Hvita are popular rivers to paddle. There are also many good rivers not too far from Reykjavik.

animals: There are not many animals which inhabit Iceland because of the harsh surroundings and isolation. There were two species found in Iceland upon its settlement: mice and foxes. Domestic animals such as horses, cows, sheep, dogs, cats and hens came with settlers to Iceland. Because of the isolation of the island the domestic animals have not changed much and the Icelandic horse remains a purebred.

Population: Iceland is populated by 293,577, which was last estimated 31st December 2004. Visas: Citizens of the Schengen area in Europe as well as citizens from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore do not require visas. Tourist stays are permitted for up to three months and can be extended if needed at local police stations. If you do not live in one of these countries mentioned above, then contact the Icelandic embassy or consulate in your country to check on requirements before entering Iceland.

Health: Life expectancy, at 81.3 years for women and 76.4 for men, is one of the highest in the world with a state healthcare system.

language: The Icelanders still speak the language of the Vikings, although modern Icelandic has undergone changes of pronunciation and vocabulary! electricity: Icelandic electrical standards are the same as other northern European countries (50Hz, 240 volts) round two-pin.

Geography: The Icelandic terrain is like no other. Iceland has many mountains, ice fields, glaciers and the coast is deeply rugged by the many bays and fjords. There are also many natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes. money: The Icelandic monetary unit is the krĂłna.


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Colin Kemp styling a boof on the Lower Cossanga


BOOF

the land of the

[Boof]

The act of lifting the bow of a whitewater kayak while going over rocks, waves, or waterfalls, in order to launch over hydraulics (‘holes’) or rocks.

By Sean Morley

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Amazon and the Atlantic Ocean

It was remarkable to think of the fact that we were now in the watershed of the Amazon River even though we were probably over 4,000 river miles from the mouth of the

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The put-i


in for the Borja Run

In January 2014

I got to go to Ecuador with the Jackson Kayak sales team. I would consider myself a solid Class 4 boater as far as my skills are concerned but my whitewater experience is fairly limited and I knew I would have a steep learning curve. The flight via Mexico City to Quito, Ecuador was straightforward enough and from the moment we landed the JK sales team were in the very capable hands of Endless Adventure International (EAI) - www.ecuadorkayak.com. This was my first time to Ecuador and South America. The two and a half hour journey to San Francisco de Borja (locals just call it Borja) was a wonderful introduction to the landscape of the Andes as we climbed over the Papallacta Pass (3,700m – over 12,000 feet) and descended into the Quijos Valley. It was remarkable to think of the fact that we were now in the watershed of the Amazon River even though we were probably over 4,000 river miles from the mouth of the Amazon and the Atlantic Ocean. Sean running a rapid on the lower Cossanga

Because of the altitude (the Quijos Valley descends from 7,000 to 4,000 feet) the climate is surprisingly cool despite it being so close to the Equator. It rains most days but when the sun comes out it is nice and warm but not crazy hot and that combined with comfortable humidity makes it perfect for gringos. The plentiful rainfall produces a lush green cloud forest that slowly turns to rain forest as you descend. The main road snakes down the valley and affords tantalizing views of the Rio Quijos and too many waterfalls to count plunging off sheer thousand foot cliffs festooned with ferns, lianas and overhanging shrubbery that is home to many species of birds and bats.

Arriving at the small town of Borja we left the asphalt to make our way to La Ponderosa, our home for the majority of our stay. We met our hosts, Chris and Andrea Ryman (owners of EAI) and their delightful nearly two year old daughter Radisson, plus the two extra guides, Nate (from British Columbia) and Andreas (from Ecuador) whom Chris had hired to help manage our large group and the kitchen crew, Jesse and Michelle. We had been travelling for more than 24 hours but that didn’t stop us from getting in an afternoon run on the Rio Borja, a tributary of the Rio Quijos. It was the perfect introduction to Ecuadorian boating. Shallow, fast and quite steep, this ‘easy’ Class III creek demanded attention to avoid the bigger rocks and some low hanging trees but it was just fun all the way to the confluence with the Quijos. I was paddling a Zen 65 – my favourite all-round river running kayak. Others were paddling a mix of Karma and Hero kayaks. As soon as we hit the Quijos the volume increased significantly and thus the size of the waves. We carried on down the Quijos past the Bridge 4 takeout and La Ponderosa and onto the El Chaco section. We scouted a rapid called El Torro, named not for the large boulders impeding one’s descent but for the many cows (and bulls I guess?) wandering the river bank. I watched Dave and Chris nail the line but then watched others have not-so-clean runs and I decided that I was tired from travelling and didn’t want to push it on the first day. We upped our game the next day with a solid Class IV run on the Upper and Lower Cossanga. The Upper section felt similar to the Borja with a bit more volume. The Lower section really got our attention with some challenging moves and big holes to avoid or boof over. It was fantastic and was capped off with a run down the Quijos to Bridge 4 and the take out with just a short walk to La Ponderosa.

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The next day

some of the crew decided to chill out, take a break and rest their backs – boofing is hard on the body, but Marty and I joined Chris on a low flow run down the Rio Sardinas Grande which is a Class III creek at that level but MUCH steeper than anything I had ever run before. It was crazy fun and I was very glad I had chosen to use the medium Karma. As Chris pointed out, all I needed to do was keep the bow pointing straight down river straight and the boat would find its way. Elbow pads were very necessary on this run and it was no place to swim but it was 35 minutes of pure joy with more boofs than I had the energy to hit. We were laughing the whole way down and Chris seemed to enjoy watching his boats get hammered before his eyes. I had asked Chris earlier if he minded me practicing my boofs and he told me he would be upset if I didn’t.

Damon Bungard dropping the Upper Hollin

It was raining and the Quijos was rising. Chris suggested we go higher up on the Quijos and do the Bridge to Bridge run. Marty was all fired up and I just went with the flow. When we arrived at the put in at Bridge 2 I thought I might be taking on a bit too much. The Quijos was big and brown! The difficulty starts immediately with some big moves and the river definitely pushed me all the way. By the time we took out at the confluence of the Sardinas Grande that too had turned brown. Marty was on fire and wanted to immediately go and run it again. I asked for a break and we returned to La Ponderosa for a late lunch and to pick up Nate and Andreas. A bigger crew proved useful when we returned to the put in for Sardinas Grande because it had turned into an exploding brown staircase. The majority of the rocks were hidden but had been replaced by some chunky-looking holes that we would need to avoid. I checked with Chris – should I do this? He thought I was good to go.

Sean running the Sardinas Grande


over the fall at the start of

The run is really one continuous rapid but the very first series of moves is the most difficult and saw Marty out of his boat and bouncing off submerged rocks. Chris had him into the bank (river right) in no time then chased down his boat with Andreas. Nate had his paddle (river left) and it took a while to reunite Marty with this and his boat. As his adrenalin rush faded Marty felt a bruise on his pelvis and sensibly decided to walk to the road. I asked Chris if I should continue. He responded by saying it was my call but he would enjoy doing the rest of the run with me. His answer was spot on and just what I needed: not pushy, it allowed me to make my own decision. I felt good and decided to continue. The rest of the run was a total blur. The creek was almost unrecognizable, even though I had run it just hours earlier. It was the most challenging whitewater I have ever paddled and I found myself breathing hard powering through countless holes and fighting to stay upright. I kept telling myself - just keep the boat straight!

We were down in just 25 minutes. I was mentally exhausted and whilst Marty wanted to immediately go back and slay the dragon, it was getting dark and I was done. We headed back to La Ponderosa where Marty faced up to the inevitable booty with characteristic fortitude. The next day we headed over the mountains to the put in for the Upper Hollin, a Class II and IV overnighter in the jungle. The two hour drive provided more incredible views of the cloud forest but all the Andean ridges remained stubbornly obscured by cloud. Chris was anxious about the river level – he has been caught out by flash floods on this extremely committing river. From the put in once you descend the first few rapids there is no way out other than to paddle to the take out 72km downstream. The run has been completed in a single very long day but Chris likes to do it over two days. It would be easy to spend three days on this incredibly beautiful river and explore the many waterfalls, tributaries and take the time to swim and fish.

The majority of the rocks were hidden but had been replaced by some chunky-looking holes that we would need to avoid. I checked with Chris – should I do this?

He thought I was good to go

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The run starts with

m l

a high volume 20ft waterfall with a very straightforward line. Chris, Andreas and Colin were the only ones to successfully boof the drop and remain upright but even so they each had some downtime. The rest of us were swallowed up whole by the curling lip and taken deep down into the plunge pool. But we all rolled successfully and there was no real drama but a lot of high fives and smiles after this spectacular drop. I was really impressed with Joe Pulliam’s performance. The 58 year old paddle sport industry veteran tackles Class IV with style and grace. Jake had wisely opted to walk the waterfall with the IK but after lunch he took on the challenge of solid Class IV with tenacity and good humour. One of the most memorable rapids enters river right into a deep cave-like undercut perhaps fifty feet deep and a hundred yards long. Calcium formations line the roof and walls of the cave and the sound of the rapid reverberated through my boat. I have been in many sea caves but this was very different, sunlight penetrating through the draping ferns highlighting the rapid that required a solid boof to avoid a real boat-eater of a hole. Many more Class IV rapids followed and it was almost completely dark when we arrived at our campsite marked by a house size rock blocking the river’s path. Paddling Class III/IV at dusk is interesting to say the least but I will never forget the experience of floating the flat water sections listening to the jungle, watching swifts and bats chase erratically after invisible bugs, trickster fire flies catching your eye before disappearing just as suddenly, and herons squawking as we disturbed their fishing. As soon as we landed a full moon rose above the tall trees defining the crest of the ravine making head torches largely superfluous. Hanging out by the river was a wonderful experience made even more enjoyable by the camaraderie and rum and coke! As clouds increasingly obscured the moon I retired to my hammock wondering if we would experience a night-time tropical downpour. Our campsite remained dry and the river level actually dropped slightly during the night and we woke to find our kayaks still safely stashed high in the bushes. Judging by how late I slept in and how great I felt in the morning I must have slept really well and was ready for another long day in the kayak. By 11am after a relaxed and extremely enjoyable morning it was time to start heading down river. The next section was supposed to be much easier and whilst it wasn’t the “dos mas” (Class II+) that Marty had described to Jake when he’d persuaded him that it would be navigable by IK, it did get easier and Jake styled many rapids. One rapid got named “Shit Show” after it produced multiple capsizes and three swims. We all blamed Damon who had taken the lead on this one not quite realizing the size and number of holes at the bottom of it. It reminded me how lucky we were to have Chris take the lead for the majority of the river, which allowed us to really enjoy the run. Despite his relaxed demeanour, Chris was super attentive, checking every rapid for wood before committing us to it. I never once saw him lose control of the group and he worked seamlessly with his guides. A late lunch at yet another spectacular waterfall and then the river continued to moderate as we approached the take out, once again timed perfectly to coincide with nightfall. It had been a remarkable two days and without doubt the most enjoyable river journey of my life.

I will never forget the experience of floating the flat water sections listening to the jungle, watching swifts and bats ch

and heron


marty Cronin running the lower Cossanga

On the Quijos

ns squawking as we disturbed their fishing

hase erratically after invisible bugs, trickster fire flies catching your eye before disappearing just as suddenly,

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I should explain that when you paddle with Chris and Endless Adventures International, everything, I mean everything is taken care of. All you have to do is paddle. You get a ride to the put in, there is a ride waiting for you at the take out. We were over an hour late but the three drivers with their yellow pick-up trucks were there, waiting patiently and Chris had planned ahead and cold beers were provided as we changed into dry clothes. Frogs leapt out of the headlights of our convoy as we drove to Ecuador’s boating capital at the confluence of the Rio’s Tena and Pano. After a delicious steak dinner at the Marquee, we sampled a little of the Tena nightlife at the Spider bar overlooking the Rio Tena but it was a fairly reserved affair as far as the JK crew were concerned with the overnighter in the jungle taking its toll on our motivation to party. The following day we looked around Tena for a bit in the morning, checking out the market where you could find everything from disgustingly huge live grubs or unrecognizable fruit to eat, alongside genuinely attractive indigenous artefacts and jewellery and the tackiest Chinese-made ripped off Disney crap you could imagine – it was quite a colourful mix!

On the Quijos Rapid on the lower Cossanga

loading the vans at la Ponderosa

Soon it was time to drive back over the mountains to Borja but we stopped for lunch on the way and admired the spectacular views of the Rio Jondachi – arguably one of the best Class IV+ runs in Ecuador but one that would have to wait for next time… We arrived back at La Ponderosa just in time for a quick run on the Quijos from Bridge 4 to the confluence of the Sardinas Grande. The river was at a great level and I nailed my best boof of the trip, getting plenty of air time and landing straight. It rained hard that evening, over-night and it was still raining on and off in the morning. It was our last day of boating and there was much discussion on what we should run. In the end we decided to make it easy for everyone and repeated the Bridge 4 to Sardinas Grande run. The river was really stonking now and some of the large pourovers and holes looked really ugly. I was so busy looking at one particularly nasty feature I flipped and rolled just in time to miss getting eaten by the next hole. Despite the high flow some of the boofs were still possible and it was a nice way to finish up our time on the water.

a view of the andes from la Ponderosa

This was my first visit to Ecuador and the South American continent but it will definitely not be my last and proved to be the perfect antidote for an abnormally dry

northern California winter!

Th


he Hostal La Pasada in Tena

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pper Golo U e h t n o ndy Holt A : o t o h .P Macmillan ie t s ir K : y

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24 hours of travelling Getting to the island involved a drive to Dover, the channel ferry, a 13-hour drive to Toulon and an overnight ferry across the Mediterranean Sea. This journey allowed the eight-strong team to become well acquainted with each other with most of us having never paddled together before. Despite over 24 hours of travelling, once you’re on the island, the rivers are all very close by and range from relaxing grades 2/3 to some scary 5/6 with siphons the size of cars and portages as long as some British rivers! We spent the first day finding our feet on the grade 2/3+ Lower Vecchio and Tavignano Gorge, working out team dynamics and acclimatizing to the Corsican style. Later in the

Both of these rivers have an incredibly remote and wild feel about them, being boxed in by high canyons and surrounded by dense forest

(roamed by wild boar!) week we paddled another section of the Tavignano, which had some awesome surf spots and flair opportunities, a great river for beginner and intermediate paddlers to practice skills on!

asco and Upper Golo

Subsequent days were spent on the Asco and Upper Golo, the first being a relentless 12km of boulder garden grade 3/4 and the second being a high-

Ian D ovey cruis ing t he w aves on

the T avign ano


altitude grade 4/5 bedrock slide and drop playground! Both of these rivers have an incredibly remote and wild feel about them, being boxed in by high canyons and surrounded by dense forest (roamed by wild boar!). An afternoon run of the Middle Golo was a great warm-down in the glorious sunshine, despite our group stumbling upon the infamous ‘hoover’ rapid which resulted in some green-room down time and a few confused faces!

Fium’ Orbo

At the mid-week stage we opted for the Fium’ Orbo (great name!), a run which we expected to take three hours and thus some of us forgot sun cream and lunch. A whole six hours later after winding our way through bedrock slides, boulder gardens and a flood of German paddlers, we got off the river after 5km and 141m of descent!

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Andy Holt and Ian Dovey planning an escape route below The Rocket on the Fium' Orbo Corsica

France


o

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A vista of the Fium' Orbo crux section above and below The Rocket


Looking down into the Asco at a group of fellow German paddlers

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The crux of the Fium’ Orbo is not any of the grade 4/5 rapids, it is in fact the portages, which involved a trek up the canyon wall, a bit of climbing and a 25m throwline to lower boats back to the river! A truly epic day, and one of my favourite rivers yet, not forgetting the thrill of the 7m rocket drop sandwiched between two grade 5+ unfavourables!

the infamous River travo

After a ‘day off’ which involved a sunbathing session, relentless comedy and a quick play run on the Tavignano, the team regrouped for a descent of the infamous River Travo. This river is the ‘postcard’ of Corsican kayaking with its amphitheatre drops and siphoned boulder gardens, ceaselessly dropping away at


The amphitheatre drops on the Travo 33m/km along its 5km length. This river can only be paddled on a Monday and Friday and therefore we got on early to avoid the bulk of the crowds. It was an unforgettable day, paddling the steepest and hardest rapids I’ve ever tried and watching sponsored teams charge some of the more forbidding grade 5+ cataracts. The Travo proved a little too pushy for me with a smashed GoPro and a granite block to the face, but nothing a booty beer and a few ibuprofens couldn’t sort out! Full facers anyone? After the ‘last supper’ (which involved calamari, pizzas and copious amounts of Pietra Beer or Corsican Vino), we charged the Lower Golo in true German ‘sporty style’, bashing down and piling into some sneaky holes, before boarding the afternoon ferry back to mainland France.

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Huge thanks

To Andy Holt (Escape to Adventure) and Ian Dovey (Dovey Coaching) for the trip. I can’t wait to go back with a little more experience in a few years’ time although it will not be the same without the hilarity of Wendy, John, Mark, Harry and Steve of team ‘old gits’! If anyone is thinking of heading out there, go with a guide/coach and do your research because the rivers can be unpredictable and the season is very short! Be prepared to cover every last inch of your boat in scratches (if it’s not rocky, it’s spikey), take spare paddles, prepare for epics with good safety kit, use sun cream and drink Pietra Beer responsibly!


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Photo by: Peter Bishop

Looking up to a

in the w


Claire O’Hara Two World Freestyle titles Three World Squirt Boat titles Three European Freestyle Champion Squirt Boat titles Nine times British Freestyle/Squirt Boat Champion

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W

hat kayaks do you own at the moment?

Claire at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham sporting her new custom Peak UK kit. Images Pete Astles / Peak UK

Three Jackson Kayak Rock Star freestyle kayaks small (two competition and one standard spec), A JK Murky Water Composite Rock Star freestyle kayak small plus two Murky Water Slip squirt boats.

Where and what was your first paddle?

It was on a small lake in Wales back in the early 90s. I went canoeing on a family adventure activity holiday with my mum and sister and loved it.

What and where was your first competition?

In freestyle my first competition was the Tees Barrage Peak UK Challenge in 2001. I had done several slalom and canoe polo competitions before but this was the start of my freestyle kayaking career. In Squirt Boating my first event was GB team selections at Nottingham in 2005.

After paddling over most of the planet - where is your favourite river and why?

Born, raised and educated in Leeds, Claire captained the Leeds Met University Kayak club and started competitive kayaking in 2001, eventually to become a British team member in 2006 – the rest as they say, is history.

Claire is also an aspirant level 5 Kayak coach and a BCU UKCC tutor trainer. She is also qualified to teach and deliver several other outdoor activities and sports. Claire is currently training full time and works as a Freelance Instructor for Claire O’Hara Coaching.

Every play spot I have paddled has it own unique quality that I like so its hard to choose just one. If I had to narrow it down a little bit I would probably choose the inlet gate at Nottingham (UK) and the Pigeon river hole in Tennessee (USA) as my two favourite holes as they are so uniformed and friendly they make freestyle easy which doesn't happen often. They are by far the best places I’ve been to train, learn and develop the big and complicated tricks. Wave wise I would now say Skook, after my recent trip, as that place is incredible. A glassy green wave with a sweet pile and the most amazing scenery and wildlife. Then for squirt boating its got to be Fascination Alley on the Cheat River in West Virginia (USA). Super friendly, it offers awesome long and deep rides with so many different Charc options. Plus the master himself Jim Snyder is living right there and paddling there all the time – it’s great.


Are you naturally competitive?

Yes, very. I've tried to play this down a few times in the past but the truth is I am very competitive. I have always played competitive sport since a very young age so love the challenge of competing and trying to get better and better. I like to think I have a healthy approach to competition though. I want to do well but I also want to see others doing well. For me it’s not all about the winning. Yes the winning is great and I strive to be at the top but even more than that, I enjoy being able to do great performances at competitions and paddle to the best possible level that I can.

What do you consider is the most satisfying accomplishment in your career?

Well in many ways I’ve have to say winning six World Championship titles. But if I think about it a little more it’s probably mastering my white water roll. That opened up so many doors and opportunities that I really think that were my biggest and most satisfying breakthrough moment as a paddler.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

To improve my wave boating skills so they are at a closer level to my hole boating skills. To try and break the 1,000 point barrier in a 45-second competition. To master the tricky wu and lunar orbit on both sides. To be a positive ambassador for the sport world-wide, to help coach and develop other kayakers on their journey as a paddler.

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ThePaddler 136 Five World Championships gold medals, London 2012 ICF gold medal

Enjoying paddling the Grand Canyon 2012 (photo by Dave Whortley)

and BCU Recognition Award

Claire at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham sporting her new custom Peak UK kit. Images Pete Astles / Peak UK

Squirt boating on the Ottawa


the White Nile, africa (photo by Dennis Newton)

Uganda 2013: Extreme big wave surfing. Freestyle kayaking training camp Watch the video…

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

Ah. Now this varies a lot depending on where I am and what I’m doing and if I'm having a good nutrition day or a bad nutrition day. If I’m travelling it can be anything, whatever I can get hold of at the time. But on an ideal good nutrition day it goes something like this. Breakfast: two Weetabix with milk honey and blueberries and orange juice. Snack: fruit (banana or apple). Lunch: chicken salad sandwich. Snack: granola bar and chocolate milk shake. Dinner: meat and veggies with pasta or rice and ice cream or fruit for desert.

Any advice for those starting out in freestyle?

If you enjoy it stick with it. It will be one of the most challenging journeys you go on but also one of the most rewarding. Freestyle is not easy. You have to get a move wrong a million times to even begin to get it right but when you do get it, you will love it and it will be worth it. You will have learnt it and earned it. So ultimately love the journey and the process and try not to be too goal focused. Enjoy being out there just playing on the river:)

What would be your ultimate achievement?

I'm not sure? That’s a tough one. I guess just to keep living an awesome life. To have fun adventures as many days as possible and to share those experiences with awesome people.

Which paddlers out there are currently pushing the freestyle boundaries?

Wow there’s so many right now. In the men, Dane Jackson is absolutely flying, as always. He is constantly pushing the whole sport of white water kayaking forward and I don't see him stopping being up there for a very long time. With him I'd say the one person who stands out for me is Jason Craig. Back after a tough few years he is once again an unstoppable force, unbelievable talented and with the best attitude and approach to kayaking and life. He is going to continue to be the one to watch. Then in the women the depth of field is constantly growing. Emily Jackson of course continues to push and drive the sport forward but she is followed by a whole host of other girls from across the world. Young and old who are throwing tricks well beyond the expectations and level that existed only a few years ago. Plus with so many young paddlers, both male and female coming up through the ranks, the future of freestyle is looking very exciting. It will be interesting to see where it goes next.

Can you talk about your training?

Training is part of my daily life. Every day I wake up and take part in some sort of daily structure that is based around my development as a person and as an athlete. No matter what the day’s activities there is definitely some sort of focus given to how it fits in with my training and whether I am eating right. Whether it’s a work-based day to fund my training, a rest day, a travel day, an activity day or a comp. It’s all set with training in mind.

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Greatest inspiration? Role models /who/what kept you motivated?

Over my entire life I have met and been inspired by so many people. Every day I meet new people who make me think in different ways and who motivate to continue to live the life I live and strive to be the best person that I can. I think a lot of this comes from my awesome family who have always been there to encourage, motivate and support me my entire life and who continue to do so. Plus my awesome friends, who are there to share the adventures with me and keep me on track. They know who they are and I am extremely grateful for them all.

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

Yes, I am actually regularly scared by things but thankfully most of the time its just psychological. I think fear keeps us safe and is an important part of life so I take it as a reminder to always keep thinking and making good choices wherever I can. One of my most recent scary moments had to be my winter in Australia and the wildlife out there. That kept my heart pumping and my mind awake!

What has been your best ever day on the water?

Today was pretty awesome. Yesterday was pretty amazing and the five days before that. In fact thinking about it, everyday on the water is an awesome day.

What's the craziest thing you have ever done?

Squirt boated the Menai Straits in Wales – that was pretty insane. About 12 of us went on a snowy winters day several years ago and had an awesome time but looking back it was crazy. We were all in squirt boats – it was so cold and the water was pretty messed up. There’s whirlpools and crazy boil lines everywhere and we were there in boats that don't float playing them. There's a video online somewhere of it called 'Darkside Eddy!' Yep, thinking back, that was pretty crazy.

I'm a paddler and going on holiday, where would you recommend?

Go to that place you've always dreamt of. The one you've watched on videos, seen pictures and heard stories of and always want to go to. Do whatever it takes to make it happen – because it will be worth it.

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

I went swimming in the ocean in Australia. That felt pretty courageous!

Coaching or competing – what gives the most satisfaction?

Claire at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham sporting her new custom Peak UK kit. Images Pete Astles / Peak UK

Both equally. I love coaching and helping others improve and get enjoyment from this awesome sport and other aspects of life. However, I also love developing and improving myself as an athlete. Working with my coaches to try and get better and better. So both.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Paddling some awesome rivers and taking part in loads of other fun adventure activities with my family and kids.


2 x Double World Champion Claire O’Hara. Image Pete Astles

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OK let’s finish with something short and

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if you could sit down and converse with somebody for an hour - dead or alive who would it be?

My Nan, she was awesome and I would love to tell her all about what my family and me have been up to since she passed away and hear her tell me all her stories and tales again.

Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film? I have no idea!

Favourite sports person? David Beckham.

Favourite kayaking film?

The 2013 ICF World Championships TV production. It brings back so many awesome memories.

Favourite movie?

What would you do with $20 million?

So much, I would by help my family be settled and happy so they didn't have to work so much. I would give some to charity to help young people in need and to give others the opportunity to experience outdoor and adventure activities. I would invest some in helping athletes in unfunded sports so they could train and compete. Then I would invest the rest and use some of the interest so that I could continue to paddle around the world, with my coach Den and several mates and we would coach around the world and help further develop this awesome sport.

Cats or dogs Dogs.

Facebook or twitter Facebook.

Any action movie.

Coaching students from leeds met University for Carnegie Great Outdoors in the lake District (photo shot on Olympus tough tG-2)


nd snappy…

What would i find in your refrigerator right now? Chocolate milk, hummus and carrots!

if we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us? Chicken fajitas.

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

A filter water bottle. Or maybe a plane with a pilot and loads of fuel and some mates so I could have loads of fun on the Island head home once I had explored and had some fun. I guess that’s more than one thing. Unless a full plane counts as one thing!

Biggest turn-off? Arrogance.

Worst injury?

I've been super lucky so far. The worst thing I've had yet is Plantar Fasciitis, a strange heel injury that I’ve been dealing with for the last 14 months. That makes running hard and gets aggravated by wearing flip-flops!

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

Superman, How cool would it be to fly. Teleportation. Imagine being able to go paddle wherever you want whenever you want without the hours and hours of travel. It would be awesome.

if you could be a wild animal – what would it be? A monkey.

Fill in the blanks: i am ______? Claire O'Hara.

a big thank you to all my friends, family and sponsors.

thanks for your time Claire:)

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moriston

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River Race 2014

By Philip Hig

The 25th May 2014 saw the third annual Moriston River Race on the dam release section of the Moriston in the north west of Scotland.This year saw over 100 paddlers taking part in the event, with the quality of white water drawing some of the UK’s best boaters into making the long drive north for the event.


ggins

The event was kicked off on the Saturday night with a great atmosphere, with competitors gathering at the Moriston Gun Club, where they kindly let us park our vans and pitch the tents. Sunday morning started with the unmistakable sound of the event organiser, James Flemming, calling across the campsite, giving everyone the wakeup call. Remarkably all competitors were organised, signed in and transported to the put in by the Glenmore Lodge minibuses. The river was flowing and paddlers were given the chance to become familiar with the river, practice the race lines or just clear the hangovers. By 11.00 all competitors were gathered for the safety briefing then it was race time.

The race is held over the 700m top section, this is continuous length of class 4 white water with enough challenge for even the top racers to get that fast line. The race starts with a slide down the bank just below the dam, giving the paddlers the choice to get into the flow or to turn quick and head straight to the first class 4 fall. Fifty metres of flat gets you in the racing zone before meeting this challenging drop. Getting it right on this drop will make or break your final time. Following the first fall is a section of class 3+, picking your lines keeping your speed up is the challenge here.

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The next major drop on the race course is a ledge drop with a sticky hole at the bottom. The choice here is play safe going too far left will drop you into an eddy or go for the fast line by sticking your boof. Soon after this drop you get to a rapid called Cheese Grater, with pumped arms burning this is a series of moves, starting with a short slide, where you are aiming to be fired out in the centre of the river to find the fast line. Coming out of Cheese Grater too far left will drop you into a sticky shallow ledge, too far right will force you into a few small stoppers. Coming into the last 20m of the race the river turns 90 degrees to the right with some strong eddy lines to avoid, leaving a short sprint to the finish line.

The race format was unchanged from the last few years. Two qualifying runs, these runs are added together to find the top 20 finalists. Soon after the start of the first runs it became obvious that there was some timing issues. Times were published live on a computer screen in a van near the finish line. Though some times were showing as being ridiculously quick and some were missing. The organisers tried hard to fix this behind the scenes, but with the need to keep the racing going the event carried on. James and Giles later on explained that they were unable to have the timing system from previous years and were forced into using a new method which clearly did not work and will not be used again.

Rob Stalker perfect race line on the top drop


Colin aitken entertaining the crowd on Cheese Grater

ed Smith pushing hard to the line

Sam Ellis keeping it clean and dry on the top drop ThePaddler 145


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Winner Callum Strong hitting the fast line out of Cheese Grater rapid

Ben Johnston fan club

Ben Johnston supporting Dan Rea-Dickins above the Cheese Grater


Tim Burne boofing the ledge drop

Once the second runs

were completed the top 20 were announced. To add more drama to the day Rory Woods (last year’s winner) and Ed Smith (last year’s second place) were not in the line-up. However, in the interest of fair play and the amazing sportsmanship attitude of all the competitors, objections were made on Rory’s and Ed’s behalf and they were added to the finalists. The 22 finalists had one run of the course to claim the prizes. The final runs saw some clean lines and some unfortunate mistakes. Each paddler pushing hard right to the line. To close the event, we all headed down to the village hall for the prize presentation and a few more beers.

thanks

On behalf of all competitors and spectators I would like to thank James and Giles for their efforts organising such an awesome event. The safety team, let’s face it without you all the event couldn’t happen. Glenmore lodge, lots of good shuttle karma heading your way. Also to the many individuals that gave up their time to put together such a great race. Let’s not let the timing issues take away from an amazing day and make it a stepping stone to a bigger event next year.

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Lee Royal going fast into the top drop

Results

Open event 1st Callum Strong 2nd Leslie Simpson 3rd Rob Stalker

Fastest Female Sandra Hyslop (10th overall) Fastest Under 18 Ben Johnston (8th overall) Fastest single run Ed Smith (7th overall)

Well done to Jonny Hawkins for winning the Immersionresearch.eu Sportsmanship award.

Sandra Hyslop on her way to winning the female race and smashing half the men’s final times


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Canoe Paddler 152 England

the OCa CanoeFest by Greg Spencer

158 France

the 2014 Open Canoe Festival by martin Strunge


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To register for the Rob Roy Rally please contact us at: T: 020 7830 9337 E: info@robroyrally.co.uk www.robroyrally.co.uk • • • • • •

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2 14

Open Canoe Association Rally


START

Just the

OCA Treasurer Rich Wright rides on flax in the first natural-fibre based "Felicity" to reach UK shores

By Greg Spencer

But what if this is just the start of something which is going to become way, way bigger?

British Open Canoeing has never seen such a period of frenetic uptake, diversification and transformation.This may be taking place a generation or more after British sea kayaking really started to flower, but the pace of change has become breathtaking. After almost 60 years of promoting canoeing, the Open Canoe Association has been rejoicing... but has also been asking a key question: what if this is just the start of something which is going to become way, way bigger?

Recent OCA gatherings have taken place against a background of some headlinegrabbing achievements. At one extreme, Gavin Millar has taken British canoeing back to its roots by journeying 1,000 miles around our coastline by sailing canoe. At other extremes, Samantha Rippington has just become the first woman to high-kneel the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster race, and ‘creeking’ in specialist WW canoes has started truly flourishing. ThePaddler 153


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In the background,

the introduction of British Canoeing's new coaching scheme has given open boating a huge kick-start, with both trainees and established coaches being encouraged to look beyond the many varieties of kayak to have dominated in previous generations. In addition, changes at the lower level of the NGB's awards scheme have massively increased the profile of open boats in clubs and outdoor centres. Even the higher levels of the NGB awards scheme have started catching up. Specialist white water canoeists now have separate awards (so no longer get treated as WW kayakers). At the other end of the spectrum, an entire new class of very open-boat-friendly ‘touring’ awards (developed in part by the President of the OCA) cater for adventurous souls not obsessed with advanced white water environments. The Open Canoe Association's 2014 ‘CanoeFest’ rally was based on Exmoor. As in the past, this event remains in part a ‘gathering’ for volunteers within the ever-changing OCA ‘community’ of enthusiasts looking to showcase canoeing and to reflect our changing times. For the first time at a major UK event, canoeists using modern solo canoes in composite materials were centre-stage. Novices and veterans alike found themselves adjusting to the greater performance levels and responsiveness. Workshops using them covered everything from advanced paddling skills to upwind travel by sail. High-kneeling in fast boats even got a look in.

Coastal canoeing

Alongside all of this, the OCA rally highlighted growing interest in coastal canoeing. Some just got a little taste of this on the River Axe estuary, but on the Sunday, members were invited to join Axe Vale Canoe Club on what is for them a quite typical canoe journey. Sea kayak territory? Maybe, but also territory familiar to Victorian canoeists and the spiritual home of the Open Canoe Sailing Group's ‘adventure sailors’. Sadly, for this year's event, we didn't have easy access to an advanced white water environment. On the other hand, CanoeFest followed the OCA leading a contingent of Brits (and others) to the 5th Open Canoe Festival on the Drôme, France and some departed straight from the rally to a River Spey descent guided by Wilderness Canoe in Scotland. Others headed off from the rally to prepare for forthcoming WW journeying opportunities on the Ardèche and Allier.


Single blade boats take centre stage on the Orchy with Ken Hughes

For the first time at a major UK event, canoeists using modern solo canoes in

composite materials

were centre-stage

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OCSG members Adventure Sailing in Loch Etive, October 2013

CanoeFest 2015 will be a little different We're making plans for traditional ‘journeying’ (on the River Dee), but also for some more serious white water boating (including in specialist canoes) by being within striking distance of Llangollen and Bala in Wales. We're also aiming to up our game on the open water front, with leading lights from the Open Canoe Sailing Group showcasing pathways to ‘adventure sailing’. If we can also get workshops running on the use of Va'a, the IC10 or whatever, we will do so, as that's the spirit of Canoefest!

Beyond Canoefest, we continue to work on many fronts, including: • • • •

Making canoe based tripping and journeying more accessible Inspiring enthusiasm for canoe-based adventure and exploration Mentoring the development of independent canoeists Supporting new approaches and ventures to new areas

We encourage past, present and potential canoeists of all ages to get involved, whether that's in getting out and about with us (e.g. our source-to-sea descent of the River Severn), on the coaching and mentoring front (perhaps within our Leadership Development Programme), getting ‘further afield’ with us (perhaps to Austria or Slovenia), or joining with other members in something independent.

Contact us via www.opencanoe.info to become a part of this adventure!


The FULL range of Esquif boats now in stock


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WOW – the water

Story by Martin Strunge Photos by Scandinavian Canoe Company, Maria Laurberg Danielsen,


W

is crystal clear

Maria’s eyes where shining and her face was one big smile.This time it was really crystal clear, just like in the poster that is taped to the wall in the canoe workshop at home. We had been talking about this moment ever since we saw the beautiful picture from the Open Canoe Festival 2012.

Paul Villecourt, Julien Gontard and Philippe Bouvat ThePaddler 159


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last year was a crazy experience for us, with plenty of rain and a river that was huge and muddy. However, even if it rained and the river was too difficult to paddle, we knew that we were going to return in 2014, as the atmosphere was amazing. Paddlers from all over Europe came together because of a shared passion for being on the water. This passion combined with good wine, food and great people, made it a big success for us even though we did not get to paddle much.

Breaking Danish traditions

This year was going to be perfect. Last year we drove for more than 20 hours from Denmark to the Festival, with only short breaks. It was a tough trip and doing the same going home was even worse. This year we where going to do it differently. We wanted to stop at all the places we drove past last year thinking “that would have been a fun stop”. We wanted to see the wine fields of Bourgogne and taste the mustard in Dijon and most of all we wanted to paddle the Ardèche. The rivers of southern Europe were all new to us; we had paddled many rivers in Scandinavia but never thought of the possibility of going south. The tradition here in Denmark is to go north – to Sweden and Norway, or maybe even Canada. Nobody ever spoke about going south. Last year, everybody at the Festival was telling us about the Ardèche, so we had to visit it during this year’s trip.

Maria and Martin has been paddling together for five years.They live on the bank of the biggest river in Denmark, Gudenåen, where they do skill and instructor courses


The tradition here in Denmark is to go north – to Sweden and Norway, or maybe even Canada.

Nobody ever spoke about going south

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The gorge of Ardeche is a impressive paddle

YOUNG

StaRt tHem


Paddler’s atmosphere After drinking the Bourgogne wine and eating the Dijon mustard, we arrived at the Ardèche and had a couple of beautiful days on the water – definitely not the last time we will paddle that river. Now it was time to go to the Drôme and search for the clear water and the great people and as soon as we entered Gervanne Camping, we felt at home. This time it was a home with warm weather with a clear blue sky and we went straight for the river. We needed to see if it was really as good as it looked from the bridge in the down river town of Crest and it yes – it was! The smiles got even bigger when we met up with friends from last year with the true atmosphere of the Open Canoe Festival already present a day before the festival.

the great descent

The next three days were filled with interesting workshops, incredible food, many great talks, pictures, music, paddle juice, local wine, whisky and much more. The great descent of the river was on the second day and was something we had been looking forward to after a very short descent that ended up with a long rescue last year. It turned out to be as good as we had hoped for. We paddled with two other Danes and met plenty of other paddlers from the Festival during the day. We enjoyed every turn of the river and seeing and joining so many canoes paddling down the same river at the same time was an amazing experience.

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France Dr么me Valley


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Dog Prince from DK

There were many new experiences for us this year: the weather, the rivers, and last but not least our dog Ibsen. It was his first time having long days in the canoe, sleeping in a tent and also the first time he had been through a rapid but his tail wagged the entire time. He really enjoyed standing with his front legs on the thwart going down the rapids looking like the whole river belonged to him. Then there were the nights in the tent where he fell asleep at the bottom of our double sleeping bag where he woke up between his two best friends. All in all it was a trip with many firsts, and we loved them all. We have a saying that it takes three times for something to become a tradition and we want to make a tradition of going to France each spring. We just hope we will meet up with all the good people that share our passion next year, the year after and the year after that… From now on we will tell people to go south to paddle, where the water is clear with its brilliant turquoise colour. See you in France during Easter 2015. You will find us on the Ardèche and hopefully on the Drôme at another eventful Open Canoe Festival

the long descent 28km on ardeche can be done in one day, but if you plan that trip, bring your camping gear

the Danish canoe dog ibsen ●

He is named after the Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen, who lived from 1828-1906. Ibsen was the first to use the word ‘friluftsliv’ in writing, which is the Scandinavian word for outdoor life.

The Dog, Ibsen, is a FT English springer spaniel born In September 2013. He will probably be the first Danish dog to paddle many rivers in the north and south.


it is great meeting all the different nationalities at the OCF. Giusi is a great friend and paddler from italy

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Drôme, sweet Drôme!

Hidden between the Vercors Mountains and Provence, the Drôme is one of the rare French rivers, which can paddled all year long. From Die to the Rhône Valley, the river offers 60km of easy and scenic paddling through vineyards and mountains. In spring, many beautiful tributaries attract paddlers from Europe’s four corners.

Warning: Rivers are changing all the time. The author is not responsible for the possible description mistakes.

The Drôme is an easy river where canoe rentals are available with or without river guide (be careful anyway). Only experienced paddlers should run Drôme tributaries. the Drôme can be paddled between Die and Crest: 30km of class 2, small 3 with good water levels.

Between Crest and the Rhône Valley: 17 Km of class 2. After Crest, some little dams should be scouted (1km after Crest and 1km before the Rhône). average flow: 30m3/s. Summer flow: less than 10m3/sec.

Easy river. Some waves with a good water level. The Drôme River is really appreciated by European tourists (many canoe rentals available). Beautiful landscapes.


the Open Canoe Festival ●

Paul Villecourt started the Open Canoe Festival in 2011. In 2014 there were 500 paddlers attending.

The festival takes place on the river Drôme in the south-east part of France.

Some of Europe’s best instructors attend to do workshops in everything from freestyle canoeing to safety and rescue. There are also workshops in photo, camping, cooking and much more.

the Danes ●

there are many great workshops at the festival. maria joined this workshop on freestyle canoeing. Getting her ready for the upcoming aCa Freestyle instructor workshop in Germany at the end if June

Maria and Martin own and run Scandinavian Canoe Company and Kanotur.nu.

Maria has a Masters degree in Human Nutrition and is a Danish Level 2 instructor.

Martin has an Academy Profession Degree of Outdoor Education in Theory and Practice and is a Danish Level 3 (highest level) instructor, ACA River Canoe Instructor Solo Level 2 and Tandem Level 3. He also has a BCU 4 Star, and is a 5 Star candidate. They live right on bank of the biggest river in Denmark called Gudenåen, where they undertake the main part of their courses.

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INFORMATION archiane

Located 20 minutes from Die, near Châtillon-en-Diois. The Archiane is one of the most beautiful rivers of France! The river is only running in spring with the Vercors snowmelt and the landscapes are amazing. The water gauge is located near ‘Menée’, close to a tiny power station. 50cm is the minimum level with 65/70 being perfect and 80 more pushy! The road follows the river.

Drôme tributaries

www.opencanoefestival.com

Sections: archiane/menée: 3.5km of class 4. A pure jewel! The first 500 metres are the most technical and then the rapids never stop. Just pay attention to the small dam (visible from the road). Easy to run with a normal water level.

Drôme Valley

menée/mensac: 3.5km of class 3. Many tree branches. Nice but less Alpine than the first part. You can paddle the Bez River after the confluence and stop near Chatillon-en-Diois campsite.

Bez

Near Châtillon-en-Diois. Commonly paddled after its confluence with the Archiane. 5km of class 3 until Châtillon then 5km of class 2 till the Drôme.The first part is nice. Expect many branches. Some big pipes may be present in a quarry in the third part (portage).

Roanne Drôme left side tributary. Confluence near Vercheny (10km above Saillans).You can access to the Gorges via Espenel Bridge (follow ‘StNazaire-le-Désert’ direction). Beautiful and scenic class 2/3 (4-) river. Pay attention to the fact this river doesn't rise the same way as the Drôme left side tributaries (no snowmelt). Sections: St-Nazaire-le-Désert till the unrunnable section located 100 metres above the Gorges Bridge (bridge located 300 metres before a small road climbing to ‘Rimon et Savel’).The unrunnable section is obvious from the road, not from the river… Caution!

14km section. Class 2/3.The first part is easy in a wider valley.Then the river flows into a nice canyon, very easy, class 2/3 (branches and curves). Unrunnable rapid/bridge till the Drôme river (most commonly paddled section). 7km of class 3.The first 3km are rocky then the landscape is amazing and the river easier.

Gervanne

Drôme right side tributary. Confluence at Mirabel-et-Blacons (5km above Crest). Only runnable in Spring and Autumn/Fall and only after rain. Class 2/3 (4).The first part is very remote and beautiful. Fantastic put-in below a 50m waterfall (‘Chutes de la Druise’, 4km after ‘Plan de Baix’).Twenty minutes hike to reach the put-in.The first 300m are the hardest (class 4). Then the river is quite narrow and full of branches – be careful!

7km of class 2/3 till Beaufort-sur-Gervanne. Then 10km till the confluence. Many dams to portage (on private property). Be nice to the locals! For some reasons, fishermen would like to keep this river for themselves.


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Salty Paddler 174 Canada

Dipper Harbour, Bay of Fundy by Robert Vlug

182 Canada and United States

Paddling the inside passage by Richard Harpham


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Dipper Harbour is a wonderful, scenic village on the Bay of Fundy, known for having the highest tides in the world. The harbour has been home to fishermen since its founding in 1785 by Scotsman, Hugh Campbell. Campbell was a soldier in the Black Watch Regiment and had been in action in the US Revolutionary War.a


BALD EAGLE High and mighty in the land of the

Dipper Harbour on the Bay of Fundy New Brunswick, Canada By Robert Vlug

r

.after the war he came to New Brunswick, and as a loyalist, was granted 200 acres of land by King George iii. He

selected this spot and was the first settler in the area. We are not sure how the name ‘Dipper Harbour’ came about. there are two stories. it might have been named after the Bufflehead Duck, which is prevalent in the area and is often called the Dipper because of its unusual diving habit. another possibility is the fact the harbour is the best and deepest harbour along this side of the Bay of Fundy, so it was probably referred to as the deeper harbour, which evolved into Dipper Harbour.

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collision of continents,

Our landscape was created by the

the closing and opening of oceans, volcanoes, earthquakes, ice ages and climate change


After Hugh Campbell

arrived in his sloop and built his home in what is now known as Campbell Cove, many other families arrived, some Loyalists like Campbell, others fleeing Ireland after the potato famine. Hugh’s wife, Martha Seymour was from Exeter, in the south of England. Most of the families living here today have their roots with these first settlers. Campbell was our great, great, great grandfather and his property has remained in the family to this day. Eastern Outdoors operates its tours from his beach. However the history of Dipper Harbour goes back much farther than 1785. We are also situated in the Stonehammer Geopark, which is known for having over a billion years of stories. A geopark is an area recognized by the Global Geoparks Network and supported by UNESCO. Our landscape was created by the collision of continents, the closing and opening of oceans, volcanoes, earthquakes, ice ages and climate change. The Bay of Fundy itself is a failed rift formed during the separation of the supercontinent Pangea. Stonehammer is the only geopark in North America.

When you are in Dipper Harbour you will be looking at a rocky coastline formed 500 million years ago. At nearby Lepreau Falls, a beautiful waterfall, you will witness the effects of erosion on Carboniferous rocks and see fossil evidence of early reptiles. The evidence of the collision of continents can be clearly seen at Reversing Falls Rapids in Saint John, a short drive away. Also at the rapids you will see the mighty Saint John River as it is pushed back 70 kilometres twice a day by the huge tides of the Bay of Fundy.

enjoy bird watching we are on the migration route for thousands of birds. At the peak time over 6,000 birds an hour have been counted at Point Lepreau. We also have nesting bald eagles, blue herons and Peregrine Falcons. Today Dipper Harbour is a working harbour with excellent mooring facilities for the fishing people plying the waters of the Bay of Fundy. There are many varieties of seafood captured in our area. Here you can see one of the largest lobster pounds in Eastern Canada. A pound is a holding facility in the harbour where the lobsters are kept before being sent to market. Hard shell Atlantic lobsters are sent around the world, known for their fabulous taste.

At nearby lepreau Falls, a beautiful waterfall, you will witness the effects of erosion on Carboniferous rocks and see fossil evidence of

early reptiles

Near Dipper Harbour is Musquash Marsh, the largest protected saltwater marsh on the eastern Seaboard. The calm Musquash River runs through the marsh and provides a peaceful kayaking and canoeing spot where you will see a variety of seabirds and other aquatic life. If you

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You can also see

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a herring weir, which nets the herring canned for sardines. You can try your hand at digging clams at low tide or picking dulse, an edible, very nutritious seaweed found on the rocks only at the very lowest tide. Along with the dulse, you can also harvest periwinkles, a type of sea snail. Another local industry is

collecting rockweed, a type of seaweed, which is shipped out for use making fertilizer. A short distance from Dipper Harbour is a number of Atlantic salmon production facilities.


Collecting rockweed Below: Lepreau Falls

A clam digger

If you are lucky enough to have some fog roll in at night you will hear the mournful cry of the fog signal. The foghorn was invented in Saint John in 1859 by Robert Foulis and placed on Partridge Island at the mouth of Saint John Harbour. The island is a national historic site and it was the entry point for the Irish immigrants during the potato famine. While here you have a great possibility of spotting whales: Humpback, Finback, Minke and the endangered Right Whale and the islands are also known for their beautiful old lighthouses: West Quoddy, Swallowtail, Head Harbour and Greens Point are but a few.

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INFORMATION Eastern Outdoors:

the Bay of Fundy Experience starts here, where we have been offering tours for 35 years. We would like to invite you to our backyard – the remarkable, historic, scenic, awesome and world famous Bay of Fundy. We can help you explore the area by kayak, walking trail or along the coastline by bicycle.

www.easternoutdoors.com

Bay of Fundy

https://maps.google.com/?ll=-18.25022,-64.819336&spn=27.007254,20.368652&t=m&z=6

Many activities await you in Dipper Harbour, where we operate a kayak touring company. We have introduced thousands to the sport of kayaking as well as guiding the more experienced. We can escort you on half-day, full-day or multiday adventures. Many choose the day tour from Dipper Harbour.

We leave our private beach and paddle along the shore past caves, weirs, granite cliffs and seaweed-covered rocks and watch for the curious harbour seals and porpoises. After your paddle enjoy refreshment in our comfortable beach house, have a lobster over a bonfire or bake Atlantic salmon over the hot coals. At the end of the day watch the sunset then fall asleep listening to the waves. We can accommodate you in an efficiency suite or a tent under the stars.

We also provide day and multi-day trips to the Isles of the Bay of Fundy, Deer Island, Grand Manan and Campobello (the historic summer home of Franklin Roosevelt). Great accommodation and food awaits you there as well.

Perhaps you would rather bike through the fishing villages of Chance Harbour, Dipper Harbour and Maces Bay. We have bikes and kayaks available for rent and for the photography buff, our amazing and ever-changing coastal vistas along the Campbell Trail will keep you busy for hours.

We can also lead you to beautiful waterfalls and streams, or perhaps you prefer views from our busy fishing wharf and breakwater. Many people like to experiment with time-lapse photography of the constantly changing tides.

Visitors to the area have many options for accommodation from a luxury hotel in St. Andrews to camping by the surf in Dipper Harbour. There are numerous hotels, motels, inns, B&B’s, and efficiency units. We are only a one-hour drive from the United States border by car or the airport in Saint John. Contact Eastern Outdoors at info@easternoutdoors.com.


WOODMILL

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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

WOODMILL 02380 915 740 02380 915740 VISIT WWW.WOODMILL.CO.UK WWW.WOODMILL.CO.UK VISIT

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.

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Paddling

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Heading into Glacier Bay, Alaska, UNESCO World Heritage Site


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By Richard Harpham

The Inside Passage is a maze of islands, channels and routes stretching from Seattle, past Vancouver Island and up to Glacier Bay in Alaska. I didn’t know anything about it, and it didn’t feature on my radar screen until I concocted five kayaking challenges.The Big 5 Kayak Challenge was about personal endeavour, adventure and raising some money for charity. It saw us sea kayak the English Channel, Lands End to the Isles of Scilly, around the Isle of Wight and the length of the River Thames in 33 hours during the blizzards. None of which prepared us for almost 1,000 miles of sea kayaking in heavily laden sea kayaks. However, to put the record straight, we all kayaked but none of us owned sea kayaks when we started out on this mission. ThePaddler 183


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Richard Harpham

Geoff enjoying a lunch break munching Be-Well Expedition rations


So we found ourselves heading for Vancouver on flights

one rest day a week or contingency if needs be. That meant with tides and admin time, about 13 hours on the water of paddling which we split into three-hour stints. It was glorious and invigorating to leave behind the trappings of modern day life and witness whales, bears, stunning scenery and the sheer joy of physical and human endeavour.

They say in this part of the world (we learnt during the trip) that airline tickets and schedules can kill you, forcing you to push too hard and make mistakes. Our schedule was pretty tough, an average of 32 miles a day sea kayaking, in all conditions with

one rest day

Hungry looking grizzly in Glacier Bay

As we packed our sea kayaks for a month’s adventure we realized we had never had to load them or paddle them full. In fact a few years later I learnt more about travelling lightweight and with the benefit of time travel I could have saved us some effort. We were ready for the off, kayaks ready, floating them was a shock, no longer the effortless things of beauty and grace, they were damned heavy. We left Port Hardy with Simon and Martin (filming support) getting some early footage captured and with the sea like glass. Our first target was the scarily named Cape Caution. We threaded through the islands at the top of Queen Charlotte Sound hoping for fair weather and a safe passage. This element of the adventure was open to the full force of the Pacific.

It is hard to do justice to Our schedule was pretty so many amazing people tough, an average of 32 miles and places that we connected with along the a day sea kayaking, in all way, they were all special conditions with and allowed us to experience a real sense of pioneering spirit. One of the first places we arrived was Namu. Historically a a week or contingency if fishing community, it needs be had grown into a canning industry with thousands of employees and a port. Eventually the corporations had decided to streamline their operations and closed the plant. Nowadays, the village is inhabited by the caretaker and his wife. It was an extraordinary place with a glimpse of history captured in a snapshot. Much of the site and area appears to have been abandoned like the ‘Mary Celeste’ with things left untouched since the day it closed.

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We also loved

Bella Bella, a first nation community with a marina, new eco lodges and even a restaurant. We devoured plenty of food and swapped stories with the locals. Long days and hard paddling were beginning to take its toll but we loved this spiritual wilderness. Our routines involved getting up early, food, striking camp and getting paddling as soon as possible. Often given the big tides this involved a major logistics and mountaineering exercise as the tide ranges were many metres, down and out. Evenings ended with finding a suitable camp site, eating and cooking away from the camping area, lifting food into trees to keep away from bears and trying to rest.

We headed into Prince Rupert and the border crossing from British Columbia, Canada into Alaska, USA. It felt like a real achievement and we were rewarded by bad storms around Lord’s Island. On discovering that the one shop was shut in Port Simpson, a local woman named Marjorie, invited us into her home in our wet kayaking kit for food and tea. Exhausted we sat there humbled by her kindness and relaxed with Geoff nodding off at her dining room table. I remember the look of concern on the fishermen as we headed out from Port Simpson First Nation Community (with a kindly donated Sockeye Salmon on deck) as they were battening down the hatches with storms due! Eventually as it approached Force 7, we decided to make camp and take a well-earned rest. We sheltered on a small island, lit a fire and waited for the storm to abate. The next morning it was foggy and once again we were exposed to the full force of the Pacific albeit with better conditions. That morning provided another of those very special moments as we watched Orca’s hunting all around us. The Inside Passage and both British Columbia and Alaska seem to attract rare breeds of both men and women and we met some truly inspiring people along the way. At one abandoned cabin, we were startled by a man coming out of the bushes in the middle of nowhere. He turned out to be Bill, who was paddling a homemade Klepper folding kayak to Alaska. Bill had completed many of the iconic trails around the world and was just 100 nights of 5,000 nights in the wild. He was a real character.

Big boats and little kayaks

Beach for lunch British Columbia


Blue skies towards Cape Caution

Bill the adventurer and his hand-made kayak

The inside Passage and both British Columbia and alaska seem to attract rare breeds of both men and women and we met some

truly inspiring people

along the way

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We also met Glenn the travelling Vagabond who was paddling the Inside Passage solo and two German girls who had mastered baking cookies with a Dutch oven – much welcomed! The rest of the time we were on our own. We saw our filming crew about once a week who captured some great footage. As we approached towns and villages we would dream of home cooked food like fish and chips or burgers. There are so many incredible people who live in this part of the world such as the Reverend Bob in Petersburg who was to my knowledge the only kayaking reverend who carries a six-shooter! At the bear observatory at on Admiralty Island we met Dori who is a ranger and in the city of Juneau, Alaska the lovely Suzanne Mcgee. Suzanne in a supermarket restocking provisions and we ended up sharing breakfast with her family the next day. We were also joined by some other paddling rogues for shorter stints along the journey including Bamboo Clothing’s Dave Gordon, Rob Bates and Olly Jay of Active4Seasons. This of course changed the paddling and team dynamics but they were all part of the Big5Kayak Challenge team. Heading north the adventures continued, our campsite was flooded by the highest spring tides for 25 years – waking up to water in your tent lapping at your face can by quite off putting. We enjoyed the remote locations, islands, waterfall ledges and woodland clearings, all in all, it made us feel alive. The bigger locations usually meant sharing space with passengers from the large cruise ships bringing tourists to the area, which was in stark contrast to the remote wilderness we had come to call home. For the July 4th celebrations we stayed in a great hostel in Wrangell and were made to feel pretty welcome and enjoyed the ‘wild west’ feel with people launching fireworks in all directions.

Camping at St Marys lighthouse


Aisling and Geoff at one of our first campsites near Cape Caution, BC

One of the stand-out decisions was to use the old railway portage near Juneau at the north end of Admiralty Island at Fools Inlet (Admiralty Island has one bear per square kilometre). We arrived at the portage with the tide out and were faced with a large mud flat, so we squelched our way in and found the small line with two flimsy looking handcarts. By the time we returned to the kayaks, the tide had made our life easier to get to the start of the portage. By now Alaska was warming up, although warm days coincided with northerly winds against us and accompanied by squadrons of ‘noseeums’ – the state bird of Alaska. The portage proved a challenge as the carts derailed continuously in the heat leading to some blue language. We made Juneau and took the opportunity to take a well-needed shower.

Launch near the sealion colony

Our target, Glacier Bay was now within striking distance. We needed to paddle through to Gustavus, get a shuttle to a fast cat ferry that would take us into Muir Inlet and Glaciers. This was literally to be the ‘icing on the cake’ to paddle around the Glaciers in this UNESCO World heritage site.

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Glacier Bay, Alaska, A UNESCO wild heritage site

United States


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Turning into Muir Inlet we were filled with excitement, the culmination of a month’s paddling and adventure ThePaddler 192

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Rich, Aisling and Geoff at McBride Glacier

Leaving Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay


We left Juneau heading

We made the fast cat ferry by the skin of our teeth and left Seebreeze Island heading into the aquamarine waters of Glacier Bay. It is a stunning location and again our journey was enriched with Humpback Whales, seals, bears and other animals. Previously none of us had owned a sea kayak and we had only seen these beautiful creatures on TV or in a zoo. Now we had the privilege of sharing these magic and spiritual moments. Many people visit this part of the world on cruise ships but we learnt that using the incredible BC Ferries and the Alaska Marine Highway network, can get you to all the places we visited. You don’t have to paddle 1,000 miles, you can connect with local guides and outfitters and do as much or as little as you want. One of the things we say at Inspired Life is, “The best adventure is the one that you take. Start now.”

Glacier Bay and our first 'bergie bit'

through the delta but as so often the tides were against us and out of sync with the tables as the Passage dried up and we were forced to take tea and wait for the tide to return. The Inside Passage was brewing one last sting in its tail, a Force 6 headwind as we edged into the aptly named Icy Straight. We battled again and this time it proved our longest day with 21 hours of paddling. Exhausted we arrived into Gustavus and slept on the beach. However, morning brought noise as they were demolishing an old pier – seriously we couldn’t believe it – what are the chances?

Turning into Muir Inlet we were filled with excitement, the culmination of a month’s paddling and adventure. Dodging large chunks of ice flowing in the tide was a new experience. We got the obligatory pictures of us in front of the McBride Glacier and as always our schedule meant it was time to head home. Paddling back to our extraction point we met a group of Australians and swapped 10,000 year old ice from the flow for an ice tea. Returning to Juneau we struck lucky with another pod of Orcas and watched them hunt.

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It had been an

extraordinary adventure, for me personally I had experienced ‘an awakening’ and since then I have continued to do different adventures by bike, kayak, canoe and now on ski with the Ski to the Edge Project, in the Yukon. You can read the story of our 700-mile Yukon Canoe trip in August’s issue of ThePaddler. Richard is a human powered adventurer and paddler www.richadventure.com. He runs www.canoetrail.co.uk with his wife and cofounded www.inspiredlife.org which inspires young people and communities. Richard’s adventures tests equipment in the harshest of conditions and he is proud to be supported by Paramo Clothing, BC and Alaska Tourism, Bamboo Clothing, Leatherman tools, Scott Skis, Mountain Fuels, Canadian Affair (airlines), Aquabound Paddles, Reed Chillcheater, Surly Fat Bikes, USE Exposure Light, Up North Adventuress and Garmin GPS systems.

Richard is currently raising funds for Hopes and Homes in memory of his late father so if you want to make a donation then visit www.justgiving.com/AlanHarpham . He is also raising awareness for the River Access Campaign in the UK.


KAYAKING

COURSES and expeditions

Pete Astles. Astles. Dorset. Dorset. Image: Image: Paul Paul Ramsdale Ramsdale Pete

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The Rob Roy Canoe Rally Summer Challenge

Come and explore our great and beautiful River Thames this summer 2014 between Lechlade and Teddington, whilst raising money for Age Unlimited A fun family-orientated event for all ages and abilities using Canoes or Kayaks Incorporated as part of the Thames Festival’s Source to Sea River Relay www.totallythames.org To register for the Rob Roy Rally please contact us at: T: 020 7830 9337 E: info@robroyrally.co.uk www.robroyrally.co.uk • • • • • •

Enjoy a real challenge Paddle the length of the non-tidal Thames 123 miles with 44 locks Explore the River Thames at a leisurely pace You have the summer to do it in Have fun! Scan Scan for for more more details details

www.robroyrally.co.uk


ThePaddler 18. June 2014 canoe cover