ThePaddler ezine issue 1 Sep 2012

Page 1

Issue 1

ThePaddler Online digital magazine for the recreational paddler

The Strait of Bonifacio David Truzzi-Franconi

Sri Lanka first descents Niamh Stack and Dave Burne

Montenegro white water l Andy Hall

Montenegro white water ll


First descents

Deb Pinniger

BC calling

Len Webster

Isles of Scilly to Cornwall Jeff Allen and Simon Osborne

Introduction to kayak fishing Simon Everett


Two features on the World’s second deepest canyon

Contents September 12


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

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Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081

Huge thanks to:

David Truzzi-Franconi, Niamh Stack, Dave Burne, Nick Roberts, Andy Hall, Louise Beetlestone, Karl Midlane, Deb Pinniger, Devon Francis, Joe Trapnell, Laurie McDonald, Ed White, Ali McCreery, Kyle Chives, Will Bolton-Jones, Freddie Kent, Len Webster, Jeff Allen, Simon Osborne, Simon Everett and Andy Grimes.

Not all contributors are professional writers and photographers, so don’t be put off writing because you have no experience! magazine is all about paddler to paddler dialogue: a paddler’s magazine written by paddlers.

Technical Information: Contributions preferably as a Microsoft Word file with 1200-2000 words, emailed to Images should be hi-resolution and emailed with the Word file or if preferred, a Dropbox folder will be created for you. magazine encourages contributions of any nature but reserves the right to edit to the 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 magazine does not necessarily mean that the parent company, 2b Graphic Design, endorse the company, item or service advertised. All material in magazine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without prior permission from the editor is forbidden.

Issue 1 Where we’ve been… 8

The Strait of Bonifacio

France/Italy 04

An open canoe adventure crossing of the Strait of Bonifacio from Corsica to Sardinia and back. David Truzzi-Franconi

22 Sri Lanka first descents

A couple of previous trips have been made to the island, but this was the first to be held in August, during the heart of the monsoon. Niamh Stack and Dave Burne

42 Montenegro white water l

Sri Lanka 18

Three kayak voyagers from Wales heard mention of ‘the second deepest canyon in the world’. Andy Hall

50 Montenegro white water ll

The Watermark Experiences youth ‘Tara River Kayak Expedition’, diary of their week-long kayaking expedition to Montenegro. Deb Pinniger

Montenegro 38

60 BC calling

The Bowron Lakes Circuit is the quintessential lake canoeing experience in Canada, and has been rated as one of the top ten canoe trips on earth. Len Webster

68 Isles of Scilly to Cornwall

It’s 54km, the tides are complex, and a mere force two or three headwind could turn the jaunt into a genuine slog. Jeff Allen and Simon Osborne

Montenegro 46

78 Introduction to kayak fishing

There is nothing new about fishing from kayaks, that is, after all, their main function amongst the peoples who developed them. Simon Everett

Regulars… 4

Canada 56


18 Coaching

Uncover the mystery behind balance and what can be done to avoid those ‘wobbly’ moments. Andy Grimes

36 Testing, testing 123

Gill Inshore Lite Jacket and trousers Lifeventure wheeled duffle Opinel No 08 outdoor knife Helly Hansen Daybreaker half zip fleece Paramo Torres trousers Thule kayak carrier system

United Kingdom 64

ThePaddler 3

ThePaddler 4 Crewsaver launches new range of lifejackets for children

Crewsaver is pleased to announce its new range of Children’s Lifejackets, Crewsaver Supersafe and Euro Air and Foam. Crewsaver’s stringent research and development process has led to the creation of one of the safest products on the market. This is the first complete range of new Crewsaver 150N Children’s Lifejackets, designed provide increased performance in the most demanding environments. Crewsaver’s design team has used its extensive knowledge in the lifejacket’s design and development to incorporate many valuable features into the new range.

The cartoon print used on the Euro 150 ensures that the product will appeal to children as well as adults, who’ll be drawn to the high specification safety elements.

Ian Beecroft

I tried to think when I first met Ian, but I couldn't remember a single event or time. It must have been back in the late '70s, during the heyday of canoe slalom in the UK. It couldn’t have been at the “building of the Alamo” at Grandtully - I was the wrong side of the barricades; nor was I in the pyramid building at Linton when Radar fell from the top … but Ian was there and was probably one of the instigators of these and similar escapades. It was, however, at or around these slaloms and the social life they generated that I met up with Ian and many others. When the smoke of many bars cleared and the numerous hangovers subsided I realised I had made many friends, but more importantly a good friend in Ian. If I had to sum up Ian in a word it would be “friendship”. He had a universal generosity to his fellow paddlers. Look at Ian's contributions to the UK Rivers Guide Book forums, look at the time he would take to send people river notes and trip advice, many times to people he had only met in passing, or in an eddy, if at all. Ian was like that. But for those of us who were friends, his hospitality was unbounded.

Ian was one of the original Naughty Boys, and along with Dave Higson upset many a figure of authority in his youth -- tales of which are legend and others will no doubt tell and embellish. Suffice it to say many Manchester parents were glad when the pair grew up and moved on.

Ian gave up drinking several years ago – maybe the steady stream of friends and his boast that no one left his house without a hangover took its toll – but he would still come to the annual gathering in Llangollen, the gathering of the “Bike Shed Crew”, the gathering of friends. This was always a somewhat drunken affair but Ian would be there, not drinking, but being part of that amazing camaraderie that he was partially responsible for. He would be hatching plots, planning expeditions, telling jokes, recounting epics and swearing some of us to absolute secrecy for his major expedition, the Big One, that was always in the background, always waiting for the right conditions, the right team to be gathered, dates to be arranged, etc. Oh, sorry, we were sworn to secrecy so you don't know what it was, Ian's Ultimate Expedition: a source to sea descent of the mighty Goyt with all its logistical problems and dangers – where would we park at the put-in, would there be enough water to float on the upper stretches, would the fishermen attack and would the underground section under the shopping centre “go” or would it be full of shopping cart trolleys. And none of this is really researchable by Google Earth.

Anyway, travelling to Ian's funeral on the train to Martigny from Geneva I browsed one of the free French newspapers – at least the weather forecast, as that is mostly pictures, and the day of the funeral was a sunny day just as the paper predicted and just as Ian was in life. The following day they predicted thunderstorms and lightening, and I thought how apt – Ian and Dave have been re-united and has upset another figure of authority! DAVE MANBY To see more of Ian’s life in photos go to:

For more information Ian on far right on the 2011 expedition of the Karnali and Lower Seti Rivers - Nepal

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ThePaddler 6 Ecover Blue Mile opens the inaugural Marine City Festival

Plymouth’s waterfront looked stunning in the blazing sunshine as hundreds of people took to the water to swim and paddle a mile for the environment.Thousands of people visited the Ecover Blue Mile event village to watch friends and family take part in the challenging one mile course which started from the historical Mayflower Steps.

Members of the public also got an opportunity to see four Olympic Champions as Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott raced against double gold medalist and WWF Ambassador, Andrew Triggs-Hodge MBE in the Fatyak Kayak race.

On Saturday evening over 150 guests enjoyed a fundraising dinner put on by The Boathouse Café, which was fitting as the team had earlier won the Corporate Team Challenge. Ocean rower, Sarah Outen MBE was the guest speaker and she left the audience enthralled by her connection with the ocean.WWF organised a silent auction, with top prize being a signed Fatyak Kafuu kayak and a year’s supply of Ecover cleaning products.The dinner raised £1,500 to support the work that WWF are doing to protect our rivers and oceans. It’s not too late to organise a Blue Mile event in your local waterway, so why not complete your own blue mile? For more information and to register visit

Fast track instructor course An innovative training programme on the shores of Upper Lough Erne is set to welcome participants from all over the UK and Ireland to undertake Outdoor Instructor Training and fast track them into a career in the outdoors.

Share Discovery Village are offering an intensive 15 week modular course focusing on water sports such as Dinghy Sailing, Windsurfing, Canoeing, Kayaking and Power Boating. The Fast Track Water Sports Course enables participants to gain the internationally recognised national governing body qualifications, skills and experience to qualify as outdoor instructors in time for the Spring season when most sun based destinations begin recruitment. As Share Course Co-ordinator Damien Smith suggests, “The course is a springboard for people completing a sports or outdoor related degree to gain the qualifications needed to work in the industry, or indeed for people to gain some sought-after qualifications that will enable them to work whilst travelling the world. Our friendly and highly experienced Instructors are at the top of their game and looking forward to meeting new people and working on the new programme.” With over 30 years’ experience in running instructor training programmes, SHARE is now the largest and most well renowned residential outdoor activity centre in Ireland. Based in County Fermanagh, on the shores of Upper Lough Erne, SHARE offers the ideal lakeside location to deliver, top quality water based training programme. Starting with an open day in late October, potential candidates are welcomed to try out some of the activities, see the vast range of facilities and equipment on offer and have any pertinent questions answered, before signing up for the course which begins in November 2012. To ensure success to instructor level it’s important to have at least a basic personal skills level in each of the three disciplines. SHARE’s ten day foundation level course, run just prior to the main course, offers a kick start to the training in each discipline. Candidates will then undergo intensive month long tuition in each sport developing personal skills before undertaking instructor training. This modular programme enables candidates already holding qualifications in the various sports the opportunity to pick and choose training to suit their needs, ensuring the course is cost effective and all encompassing for people on a gap year or career break, career changers, school leavers, university graduates and outdoor instructors wishing to develop their career further. However signing up for all three courses comes with an attractive 9% discount on the overall price.

SHARE are renowned for their all inclusive prices with no hidden extras, so candidates can avail of full board twin room accommodation in cosy chalets for the duration of each module, qualifications and all associated costs, savings of up to 40% on outdoor equipment, free use of Share Fitness- pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room, and free use of Centre equipment including sailing boats, kayaks, canoes, windsurfing kit and sports hall. Candidates must be 17 years old and over with a good level of physical fitness. For more information contact SHARE on +44 (0) 2867 722 122 or email or visit

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ThePaddler 8


Strait Bonifacio of

An open canoe adventure, wild camping in Corsica, crossing the Strait of Bonifacio and coasting Sardinia and back.

Simon was spinning his son’s globe when he noticed how close Corsica and Sardinia were – almost touching!

After driving 800miles across France throughout the night in relays, fuelled by coffee and sour jelly snakes, we finally spilled out onto the pavement into the already stifling heat of the old port of Marseille. We were ravenous, thirsty and in bad need of a shave!


ThePaddler 9

ThePaddler 10 Marseille is famous for that very French dish, Bouillabaise, a soup of rockfish the local fishermen would knock up on the beach with their bycatch. It now has a much elevated status and therefore is extremely expensive, so a baguette and a beer sufficed and we joined the queue for the evening sailing of the Paglia Orba to Porto Vecchio in Corsica. BY DAVID TRUZZI-FRANCONI

Rising early to inspect

our nemesis as the ferry began to leave the Strait of Bonifacio and describe an arc around the Lavezzi Islands and the private Ile Cavallo it looked serene and ‘doable’.

The Strait has a fearsome reputation amongst sailors and is a sea corridor through which the wind and the mediterranean funnel. It can soon whip up a nasty sea, (the default is usually a westerly wind of 40 knots) and set up a current running at up to 4 knots. Typing Bonifacio Strait into Google will pull up so


Simon King, Steve Seinet-Martin, Steve Hawksley, Dave Truzzi-Franconi.


Navigation discussion off Corsica.

A difficult paddle to the mainland found us drawn up outside an open fronted driftwood beach bar with the sound of reggae coming across the sand. The bar looked out over the bay of Piantarella and we could watch its maritime comings and goings whilst drinking a few rounds of the local Corsican beer named Colomba, which is an unfiltered wheat beer ome alarming sequences posted by yachtsmen. The Bouches flavoured with herbs of the maquis and was the perfect compliment to the day. On waking the de Bonifacio has teeth, tide had crept up to the tents further than one granite ones! Most famous of would have expected, we went up to the its many wrecks being the headland of Pointe Sperone to check the sea Semillante which sank with all state,it looked to be a Force 4, the Strait was hands off the Ile Lavezzi in 1855 striated with white caps. bound for the Crimea with nearly 700 troops and most recently, the We decided on a stiff paddle back to our site of breaking up of the tanker, MV Erika, in a the previous night, calling in at the bar for a heavy storm and the resulting environmental baguette and a beer. The spot I chose on the disaster in 1999. beach was a pile of dried seaweed like tagliatelle The van trundled down the ramp into the sunshine and within the hour we were parked unloaded and ready to launch from the perfect cove of Sta Guillia. Sliding silently over the clear water, skirting the rocks, we headed out to sea. Paddling was idyllic as we coasted south following the granite spine of Corsica clad in its forest – Corsica is called deservedly the Ile de Beaute and the Mountain in the Sea. The intense smell of the maquis wafted in on the breeze, myrtle, lavender, rosemary, thyme and cistus, all creating a heady aroma as we worked our way down the coast in the sun. By late afternoon the wind was starting to increase, so we headed for Ile Piana to see if it would make a suitable campsite. We had just started our second glass of rose, when a kayaker who was fishing nearby mentioned that camping was forbidden and the island was patrolled. So after some discussion we also felt we could be stuck there if the wind increased further.

behind a thicket of juniper which was good to sleep on but I still managed to get sand into everything. Frogs called in waves of sound from a stagnant lagoon behind us and a solitary owl made a wonderful accompaniment to the lapping of the sea. When we rose on the Saturday the wind was still strong, so we paddled past the reef and reached the cove before the point. From here we could walk on to the headland and survey the Strait. Again it was white with waves and definitely not for us! Tracking across an onshore wind of 25 knots trying not to be swept on to the reef and avoiding the wind surfers, we made landfall once more on Ile Piana, crossed back to the bar and lazed some more before heading to ‘our’ beach. It was our third night here and our hopes of crossing to Sardinia were fading. Sunday bought with it a light westerly wind, so once more we paddled up to the headland,


Sunset off Sardinia.

ThePaddler 11

ThePaddler 12

Nelson’s eye was shot by a Corsican sniper at Calvi


Steve S-M off Lavezzi Isles.

a long paddle Today was joyous,

grouped up and decided to attempt the crossing to the Lavezzi Isles. It was a Force 2 with some swell from the previous day. Aiming for the middle to avoid the waves breaking on its southernmost point and three-miles later we were beaching and off to recce the Strait. It looked certainly no worse than our crossing. Launched again, we were now heading SE and aiming for a rock outcrop called Spargi to offset the current which was bearing us to the north. The sea was building gradually and we rode in a beam sea amongst a four-foot swell with the occasional breaking wave usually on our stern quarter! Nearing Razzoli Island we skirted some rocks awash with breaking seas over them and threaded our way to the beach. Thankful that the only wave that washed over us was one of relief! Hauling our boats above the surf we had covered 6.5 miles in 100 minutes. Checking the chart against the land we confirmed our position and found we could pick our way between these windswept islands, thus avoiding the headland by crossing a buoyed off area around a restricted beach and landing on the NE end of Budelli. We lazed on the white beach and swam in clear waters, a pink beach is also close, composed of coral but has no access for people or boats due to the removal of the coral sand by them. After our

along the magnificent coastline of Sardinia


Dinner at Porto Quadro.

rest another crossing was made to the largest island in the Maddelena Archipelago La Maddelena itself. Surfing on to an empty beach across the bay and were shortly hauling the canoes up it, 14.8 miles had been covered and a rest had been earned. The next day we reached the principal port of the Island La Maddelena, known well to Lord Nelson who dropped Victory’s anchor nearby in Agincourt Sound. We pulled up on a slip on the outskirts of the port and minutes later four salty individuals were in a pavement cafe ordering an ‘American breakfast’, which consisted of two fried eggs and pancetta/bacon – not very adventurous but very welcome! A conversation with a couple adjacent to us elicited that they were great fans of Nelson and his local activities and perhaps not a little taken with our much smaller maritime activities. Sadly we were unable to donate silver candlesticks to the local church as the great man had done, but at least we still had binocular vision (Nelson’s eye was shot by a Corsican sniper at Calvi). Stocking up at a local Spar store, I stowed trays of frozen langoustine and sea Bream under the canoes airbags and we launched once more past Agincourt Sound and headed for the Sardinian mainland. Today was joyous ,a long paddle along the magnificent coastline of Sardinia without the impending stress of

ThePaddler 13

ThePaddler 14


Dave cooking and Steve S-M laughing.

the crossing. The wind was behind us, but as ever some pressure was upon us as we had to meet the ferry at 6pm on Thursday. Reaching Sardinia’s most northerly point, some concern infiltrated our idyll, as the pilot stated that a strong current was likely at the headland of Punta Marmorata and Falcone. However, Neptune was kind and we passed without mishap entering Above: the Bonifacio Strait once more. We surfed on a The ferry from following sea and after an enchanted coastal Sta Theresa Gallura. paddle approached Porto Quadro, a site found by Steve H on Google earth. I was convinced that being so close to the ferry port it would be habited, but fortune prevailed, it had a crescent of beach surrounded by a meadow of wild flowers and a stand of bamboo. I lit the barbecue trays and 16 langoustines sizzled gently, shortly to be replaced by Sea Bream. Sadly the rose and the white wine had been drunk and we were reduced to drinking red wine with seafood – such is the hardship we endured! A Melon was cut up and a bottle of spiced rum I had made, was drunk with some dark chocolate. An immensely satisfying day with 18 miles covered and the ferry to Bonifacio a few miles away.

Our ferry had ‘low cost’

emblazoned across its sides

but despite much negotiation our canoes were charged as a car each!

A short paddle the following morning took us past the navigational markers set into the cliff and into Porto Longosardo reaching the ferry berth at Sta Theresa Gallura. We eventually found a low stone wall we could haul out over, attached our wheels and passed through the town joining the traffic queue for the ferry. Our ferry had ‘low cost’ emblazoned across its sides, but despite much negotiation our canoes were charged as a car each! After a nine-mile crossing we snaked up the fjord into the port of Bonifacio (it was already an established port when mentioned in Homers’ Odyssey). The bow thrusters of the ferry were shuddering as we negotiated its sinuous path, debouching down the ramp on to the narrow quay. Launching from a nearby pontoon we joined the melee of powered boats motoring up and down the inlet,one in particular called Libertas carved a swathe of water towards us, but we

9th Century Citadel The buildings of the

Below: Steve H entering cove. Left: Steve S-M crossing from Pointe Sperone.

lined in ranks 230ft above us all along the deeply undercut cliffs like lemmings frozen in the act of jumping.

were hardened and swung into his wash as one and rode it. Before long we turned to port and were embraced by the Bay of Bonifacio and its immense scoured limestone cliffs. The buildings of the 9th Century Citadel lined in ranks 230 feet above us all along the deeply undercut cliffs like lemmings frozen in the act of jumping. We paddled quietly past lest they plummet into the sea, also aware of the fact that again we needed to move quickly in the opposite direction up the coast as this was an unforgiving stretch. We got out on a rock slab for a leg stretch and a quick lunch. On one brief exploration we entered an arch into a circular amphitheatre open to the sky and beached. However, we had company: a large rotting swordfish and so our stay was curtailed. In the distance storm clouds were moving across Sardinia, we pressed on into an increasing headwind. At one point we were barely making 1mph as we struggled up the coast towards the point we had used to check our crossing some days before. Eventually we tucked in behind it for a rest, before tackling the point itself, after much flailing and digging in of paddles, we drew up onto the sheltered sandy

cove of La Petit Sperone and wondered what all the fuss was about. Being out of the wind, with the warmth of the sun permeating our bones again, all was well. We had only covered eight miles and it had taken three and a half hours but we had made important headway as we knew the wind was set to increase in strength. In view of this we decided to press on and camp nearer Sta Guillea, this in hindsight was a bad move. We continued on a further two miles into a brisk headwind of Force 3 and a short choppy sea and we were in our tents by 8pm listening to the rain and thunder. Launching at 8am we set off into with a brisk SW wind on our quarter which sent us skidding across the sea as sudden squalls hit us. It

ThePaddler 15

ThePaddler 16 was necessary to come off the kneeling thwarts and squat low on the floor to reduce our windage. We rested in a sheltered bay just before the headland of Punta di u Cappicciolu, behind which lay the two-mile wide and long Golfe de Sant Amanza, which by now we knew we could not cross but hoped to stay in the lee of the cliffs and battle our way to the head of the gulf where we knew a road to be. However, creeping up round the point we could see a continual succession of white horses and we retired to the safety of our cove. However, it did have one drawback – we were embayed, there was no way we could climb out and no phone signal to re-book the ferry if needed. I had also dumped half my water supply of 10 litres in readiness for our departure, as we watched with some apprehension as ‘williwaws’ clouds of spume were whipped of the sea by the now Force 6 wind. In our bay all was still, Simon snorkelled, Steve SM read his paper over again, while Steve H snoozed and I cooked up a meal consisting of pouring a tin of anchovies and their oil into a pan adding chopped garlic, peppers and finally tomatoes, which we ate with pasta and rice. We were waiting for the evening and hoping that the wind would abate. By 7.30pm it had subsided and we were off to the headland once more, the

sea was short and steep and three foot waves surged past us we turned into the bay. We made very little headway, whilst a catamaran kindly stood by thinking we were in trouble. We turned with difficulty and went back – if we had capsized at this point, we would be swept out to sea by the strong offshore wind! Pushing on into the wind, trying to find a site we could walk out of if needs be, a mile and a half further down the coast we found one, although we estimated that it was a couple of miles from the road through the maquis. We made a simple camp and slept in our clothes, Steve H in his bivvi bag and I lit a driftwood fire. We were hoping to leave before the land warmed and the wind increased again .I woke at the first crack of light, all was still and calm, we were ninemiles from the van and a few miles north of Piantarella. Deciding not to try the gulf again, we made the beach bar by 7.40am and rang for a cab at 10am. The van hove into view and we were £100 the poorer for the fare – apparently it was a religious holiday and special rates applied! We went to Bonifacio and did the tourist bit, crossing the drawbridge into the Citadel, once used by the Foreign Legion and mooched about the narrow cool lanes and peered down at the bay and across the strait we had recently paddled. We felt a great sense of satisfaction and relief!



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Corsica is a paradise for enthusiasts of sea and watersports, in all their forms. Discover magical places where crystal-clear water, tiny deserted creeks and wild cliffs stand side-by-side. Corsica lends itself to a slower pace of life. Where better to enjoy this than by the sea, which plays such a key role in island life?

With its more than 1,000 km of coastline that are home to crystal-clear waters, vast fine sandy beaches, small deserted creeks and granite cliffs inhabited by sea birds, Corsica offers a variety of marine landscapes that is unique in the Mediterranean. Even in the height of summer, it is not hard to find a quite little creek in which to paddle.

With water temperatures suitable for bathing between May (19°C) and October (20°C), and reaching 24°C in July and August, Corsica is a dream setting for paddling.

See Corsica map:

Useful websites:


Sardinia has more hours of sunshine than any other part of Italy and lies closer to the coast of Africa than to mainland Italy. Known as the ‘Island of Wind’, Sardinia enjoys offshore breezes throughout each season, which happily reduces humidity and have made the island a top location to spend the summer

Visitors should realise that trains, buses and ferries often do not run outside high season or run to very restricted timetables.The majority of hotels, B&Bs and restaurants are closed.To avoid disappointment it is important to ensure that transfers, and accommodation are available and confirmed prior to flights being booked.

Sardinia has been occupied over the centuries by armies from the various Italian kingdoms, Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Byzantines, Arabs and lastly Catalans. These have now all gone. but have left evidence of their presence in the language, traditions and food particularly around the coast.

See Sardinia map:

Useful websites:

ThePaddler 17

ThePaddler 18


Coaching by Andy Grimes of Fluid C In this article I hope to help uncover the mystery behind balance and what strategies we can use to help avoid those ‘wobbly’ moments. Right so let begin. Initially let’s make sure we know what the term balance actually means:

Chapter 1: We have all been in a position in our paddling experiences when things may not

“An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” Time for some self-analysis!

So lets break that down. First, "distribution of weight", this statement can be put down to a word we should all be aware of "trim". Trim basically describes where we put ourselves in are boats or how we distribute our weight. If we can master this we can potentially avoid any negative balance issues and gain more from our paddling.

Where we actually put ourselves in our boats is so important as this can make the difference between hitting that must make move or not! In most situations we should be aiming to be sat in a forward position so to help move the balance position over the front deck rather than the back deck see diagram A. We can’t do this with a bad fitting boat so make sure your boat is fitted properly before you continue.

Lets imagine a time when you may have had a ‘wobbly’ movement.

Got one? Try to picture the sequence of events up to the point in which you capsized or had a bad recovery. Were you over the front deck of the boat just before the point of capsize/recovery? Were you driving the boat forwards just before the point of capsize/recovery? If you answered no to either of the above questions that is likely to be where you failed. The biggest tip any paddler can use is to keep the boat moving forward especially in moving water. If we were to drift at the same speed as the water we are at the mercy of the water’s forces and have no control of our own therefore creating a more reactive style rather then proactive driving style of paddling.

Combinations Kayak Coaching and Guiding

t have gone to plan and we have ended up in a wobbly or unbalanced movement. By leaning forward we keep the boat balanced and combined with forward momentum we will gain stability and hopefully enjoy a successful outcome!

Cutting Edge

Lets look now at the photo sequence on the left, as we can see in slides 1 and 2, the paddler has built up some positive lateral momentum across the river and is sitting in an upright positive position and creating a proactive start to the activity. If we look at slide 3 we can see the paddler reaching over the eddy line into the eddy itself with his left stroke. Once the left paddle blade strikes the water and the paddler rotates towards his stoke we can see the boat is put on a positive dynamic edge in slide 4. If we now focus on slides 5 and 6 we can see the paddlers is continuing to lean forward and rotating upstream as well as keeping the boat’s momentum in the carved turn and not using a speed killing stroke like a reverse stroke. Rather than focusing on the paddle strokes we should try to focus on the paddlers trim. We can see that at no point is the paddler leaning onto the back deck, instead the paddler is consistently driving the boat forward through the turn and keeping the boat moving which gives us stability in a potentially very unstable environment.

Continuing on from the area of rotation there are some points we should all be aware of. Let’s look at the image below and how the paddler is rotated towards one side but still keeping his weight forward and trimmed properly.

Time for some activity!

Sit in your boat in a eddy or area of flat water and rotate your body and head to one side as seen in the top photo. Does the boat stay parallel to the water or sit on and edge?

Using the top photo, it appears the boat is not parallel and sits on an edge towards the rotation. If we were to give some forward momentum to this paddler in a moving water environment he should carve a smooth turn towards the side he is rotating to as we all know! So in theory all we need to do to make turns in control and with support in moving water is have positive lateral momentum and rotation towards the turn this is where the old saying “look where you want to go” really comes into play. A good example of this is the sequence on the left.

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Hold that thought

Right lets dice things up a little and talk about balance in stoppers. Let’s put this into a little context we can all relate to. Imagine we have dropped into a stopper sideways after a failed movement and are in a side-surf.

We now have a choice, we can either lean or edge see images E and F on the left. If we edge we can see more around us but can make us unstable and violently bounced around by the stopper. If we lean we can push the boat over and away from the water that is dropping in a lot more, and in turn hopefully commit to a more productive driving stroke to pull us across and out of the stopper.

E. Leaning

A lean is very similar to the end part of a roll or recovery stroke. The reason for it being there is to change our centre of gravity. It is all controlled by our head position, leaning; being low and over the front deck keeping our gravity position low and compact rather than edging; staying upright and exposed.

Next time you’re near a friendly stopper try getting yourself on a side surf and compare the difference between edging and leaning whether one is more stable than the other. Don't forget to practice on both sides.

In summary

For us to gain maximum support in our movements forward momentum is key! ●

F. Edging

By leaning forward we keep the boat trimmed and balanced accordingly and keeping a proactive paddling style.

Always looking the way we intend to go combined with body rotation in the same direction will edge the boat in a positive form towards the direction of intended travel and creates stability in the turn.

Andy would like to thank his sponsors systemX and liquid logic kayaks Andy is the managing director of Fluid Combinations kayak coaching and guiding for further information and courses please see

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Riding the tears of Budd

Sri La an expedition with a difference In 2011 a group of six kayakers from the UK completed a successful expedition to explore the white water in Sri Lanka. There had been a couple of previous trips to the island before, but this one was the first to be held in August, during the heart of the monsoon.

A year on Niamh Stack gives us a recap of the expedition and takes a look back as some of the thoughts and descriptions written while on the Pearl of the Indian Ocean...

The expedition saw the team searching out rivers in the Southern Central mountain range. Some rivers, such as the world-class Kokmole Oya, had seen previous descents. However, there is still so much to discover on the island and the expedition claimed numerous first descents. There was another major aim to the expedition though – to leave a lasting legacy in Sri Lanka. This was achieved with the help of Borderlands, a rafting and outdoor education company. I was one of the six kayakers from the UK who decided to plan an expedition to Sri Lanka, chosen for its mountains, climate and lack of kayak exploration so far. The news of a fledgling outdoor community that we felt we may be able to help was the final attraction, so we got hold of Borderlands. Over a Skype conversation with Wade (the Borderlands director), in the plush base camp longhouse surrounded by chilled out tunes, a happy crowd and beautiful jungle, we became very excited to start this partnership. As kayakers planning to explore the country with very little prior information, it was of great help to have someone on the ground to help us with initial planning. This continued with airport pickup from a smiling Mahesh (driver, raft guide, chief scout, friend and all round top guy) to a meeting with the Educational Secretary of UNESCO, the current General Secretary of the National Association of Canoe and Kayak Sri Lanka who backed us on our expedition. Wade also arranged for Chanaka, a local with lots of river knowledge to assist with our initial findings. We then headed to Kitugala, Wade's beautiful setup in the jungle for some warm ups on the lovely local runs.



Left: The impressive Laxapana made a perfect start to the Kelengamu. Unfortunately the river directly downstream did not live up to our hopes.

After a day of portageing we called it quits. However, some heavy rains overnight inspired us to return to the lower section of the river which turned out to be a great move. It cleaned up to be one of the best first descents of the trip.

Words: Niamh Stack and Dave Burne Images: Dave Burne and Nick Roberts To see the expedition video and for more information on how Niamh, Dave, Nick, Sean, Tom and Will (or 'the team') got on, visit

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Dave said at the time, ThePaddler 24

“Not only are we exploring the rivers in the country, but we have also been working closely with the rafting and outdoor education company Borderlands to try and develop the kayaking scene in Sri Lanka. This has become of increasing importance with the news that Borderlands main rafting river, the Kelani, is to be dammed.”

Yearning for more adventure we loaded the distinctive Borderlands truck and with Mahesh behind the wheel we set out on our travels. And what treasures did we find... We started in the upper Sitawaka region, a beautiful unexplored area with a set of seven magnificent waterfalls spread up the mountainside. We managed to reach the bottom one, which was runnable! After a not so quick scramble up to halfway with a boat, we were offered an exhilarating ride back down with incredible photos! For an exploration trip it was a surprise to paddle every day. On top of

receiving the friendliest hospitality from the people in this area, it was a great start to the trip. Dave described the nature of the rivers of the headwaters of the Sitawaka, “Here we found lots of smooth bedrock slides and even more boulder garden fun. The rivers can rise and fall fast, which has taken some time to get used to (think two foot rise and fall whilst on a dry day run, and the water colour turning from clear to orange in a matter of minutes). August is the run off of the monsoon for the south west of the country (where the Central Highlands are), so there is a lot of water about (a nightmare for drying out kit!). The rain showers are quite intense, but weirdly really localised. Much more so than expected. “Despite one pretty epic day getting stuck in the jungle after a long leech infested portage, everything has so far(!) been as efficient as could be hoped. Our big 4×4 truck and nails driver have been getting us everywhere we need! Cheers Mahesh!”

Tom and Sean play paper scissor stone for the first ever descent of a big slide on the Goorook Oya.



this a birt and

Nia m line h cele in t brat he Sita es styl i wa ka V ng ano alle t ys. her

cheers made

thday for Tom to remember d a river not to be missed

Will taking on a tricky combination rapid early in the expedition. Our first first descent of the trip.

s, flares, grinds and

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ThePaddler 26 With clothes and us starting to smell, it was much appreciated to come back to the chilled haven of Kitugala, home! We recuperated, replenished, and organised our plans for the next few days. This time we headed north of Kitugala with one of Borderlands raft guides and a developing kayaker. After an interesting night sleeping in a tent shaped puddle we found the Goorook Oya, a world-class river of Grade IV-V rapids, which turned out to be a first descent.

Dave throwing (accidental) shapes at the start of what turned out to be an epic day on the river. Clean lines down world class rapids were interspersed with lots of portages...we only just made it out before dusk set!

Dave describes

the build up to the Goorook Oya, “We left our base at Borderlands ready for our next exploration after going to the Perihara ‘Festival of Lights’. This takes place in Kandy, where a huge procession of musicians, dancers, fire spinners and of course, 85 elephants in fairy lights! The major reason for the festival is to parade Buddha’s tooth. It is said that this tooth was pulled out and made Buddha cry, so signifies the start of the monsoon season in the north of the country.

“The suggestion of more rain is just what we needed to top up the rivers in Sri Lanka, so we were in high spirits. Unfortunately, after scouting a few dry riverbeds, we were beginning to worry that Buddha wasn’t crying hard enough. This all changed the evening after we scouted the Goorook Oya River. It looked good to go from the road and as we camped near the put in, the dark clouds gathered. It was only then that we realised the tent we’d borrowed from Borderlands was one that was marked for repair. Error! “We emerged in the morning soaked to the skin, but buzzing with anticipation. We weren’t disappointed! Boofs, flares, grinds and cheers made this a birthday for Tom to remember and a river not to be missed if you ever find yourself in Sri Lanka.

“T more special b

“Despite the long bush whack


getting on just below the impressiv

This was a fantastic achievement

and highlight of the expedition for us, particularly to be done with a local boy. Following this we continued to explore the area and ran two sections of equally top standard, above and below the impressive St. Clairs falls on the Kotmale River. Things weren’t always rosy in Sri Lanka, and the need for energy to drive Sri Lanka’s economy often gave the expedition a set back, but as Dave describes, this time we were fortunate, “Dam projects are becoming an increasing problem for us searching for new rivers to paddle. More than once we have arrived at one, which looks, from the maps to have a good catchment, good gradient and good road access, but a mini hydro project has thwarted our plans.

“One river we planned to paddle was the Kotmale Oya. Parts of it have previously been paddled by a group of Russians. This was before the massive dam project, which is currently very near to completion. Fortunately we managed to get there before they completely stopped the flow. Who knows, this could be a second and last descent!

it was a first descent

his world-class (probably) first descent was made even because for the first time in any of our paddling careers

with a team member from the host country. ack, born in the village of Kitugala near the Kelani River, paddled his third ever river with us. And nailed it!”

Thilack on the Upper Kelani near the Borderlands base. His abilities on this river gave us confidence that he would be capable of stepping up and joining us with our exploration.

ve St Clairs Falls was pretty cool and the full 15km of grade 4/5 made the section all the sweeter! This river just kept on giving!”

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big slide up the SitawakaValley Dave Burne takes off on the

completing an excellent kayaking:driving ratio. Six days paddling in the first week of an exploratory trip is good going! Not to mention that some of these rivers had never been paddled before! This was the final fall of the spectacular 'Seven Waterfalls'. ThePaddler 29

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To help give a

little of what Borderlands had given to us we assisted with one of their corporate programmes. We were impressed by how smoothly the weekend ran and really enjoyed being part of it. When the clients had left we spent a couple of days running some sessions for the raft guides showing them different techniques and safety methods. One of the major things we tried to do though was to inspire the locals to view kayaking as a hobby, not just a job. We really want to change the mentality of the staff to playing the river, not just surviving the rapids.

We also managed to help Borderlands out directly. Again the kayaking and safety sessions, but also in our recommendations of potential alternative rafting runs, which may be required when the Kelani River (Borderlands current base) is dammed (building has not started yet).

“Our mission, since we’ve chosen to accept it, is to try and find a suitable river for Borderlands to move to. The first few days of our expedition were spent with Sri Lankan kayakers on rivers that had previously been run (if rarely!). The lower Sitawaka seems to have potential as a rafting run a step up from the current norm.

We were then off exploring again. This time it was the Kelengamu, which provided us with more world-class water. With Sri Lanka providing us with 'liquid gems' (as Wade likes to call them) time after time, an incredible driver and so many successful days we were starting to worry the trip was turning into a holiday.

The Kelengamu, a tributary of the Kelani, seemed super steep on the map, but we knew the massive Laxapana waterfall soaked up a large portion of that. How much though, we couldn't tell. With heavy rain in the valley, we decided to hit the gamble button.

Unfortunately the gamble did not pay off. Four hours of walking to, through and around a river left us exhausted and made us remember how lucky we've been to find the amount of clean classics we had done so far. It was like canyoning... but with awkward heavy boats. After putting in at the Mahoosive waterfall our portage fest (helped by yet another mini-hydro project) around the next 4km left us leech coated, aching and knackered, but also feeling content that we were satisfying our mission to explore Sri Lanka's rivers. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

After our interesting previous day and with limited time left, some of us were dubious about returning to the same unsatisfying river. But with monsoon rains pouring all night long the majority were confident that the river could turn a corner into another Sri Lankan classic. And guess what... it did!

We had to work hard for this one, but an intense four hours of continuous grade 3-4 grew and grew with the addition of numerous pumping tributaries, ending in clean grade 4-5 boulder garden excitement.

And the best bit about the whole river? It flowed straight into the tonking Upper Kelani, then through our home run (the rafting section) and it was just a 10-metre walk to the cold beers in the fridge back at Borderlands base! We didn't know it at the time, but for this first descent, the effort was well worth the reward!

Another weekend between exploring we returned to base to run some kayak clinics for some of the Borderlands staff as well as be stars of a Sri Lankan TV programme. It was fantastic to leave a bit of knowledge and passion for the sport and also be celebrities for the day! As Dave suggests, perhaps the next first descents we hear about in Sri Lanka will be by a group of Sri Lankan boaters? “The only real disappointment we’ve had is that we missed high flows in a little creek near to the Borderlands camp. A scouting mission showed us a clean 30-foot park and huck with some more slides downstream, some nice, others a little on the dirty side!

“This super sweet little gem we’ll have to leave for a future expedition to conquer. Or who knows, with the coaching sessions we’ve provided for safety kayakers at Borderlands maybe it will be a Sri Lankan who claims this first descent! Let’s hope!”

We continued to succeed in finding incredible 'liquid gems', many of which were first descents. We finished the trip with a wrap up evening organised by Wade, which included a short film premier and little presentation from us. The idea of this was to show various people we had met along the way what their help allowed us to achieve, bring together lots of locals with an interest in the outdoors, and have a celebratory night out!

All the work Wade and the Borderlands team put in really enhanced our experience and helped us get the most out of our stay. We were very grateful and very much enjoyed working with the crew.

‘liquid gems’,

We continued to succeed in finding incredible many of which were first descents

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Dave sums up how we felt about the country, it was almost as if it was as the first. The exploration has continued and the quality rivers have

“Convenient rainfall has come at the right time and in the valleys and making sure we make the right choices to get t than alright right now!”

Sri Lanka - what a place! Be sure to get in touch beautiful island – there is still so much more

Will taking on another steep clean Sri Lankan slide, deep i

Thilack gets his first taste of freefall...and loves it! His third-ever river was the Goorook Oya – a world-class first descent.

Niamh Stack was introduced to white water whilst carrying out a voluntary project on the banks of the White Nile. The big volume rapids got her hooked and she has since been travelling with her kayak on various adventures, from first descents in Georgia, to multi-day fun in Colombia. After the Sri Lanka expedition Niamh spent two further months working with a rafting company; safety kayaking and coaching local kayakers.

Palm Equipment Europe, ZET Kayaks UK

The team w

for the

itching to be explored, “Our last week in Si Lanka has been just as busy e kept flowing.

right places, it is almost as if the country is guiding us up the right the maximum possible boating done with our limited time. Life is more

if you want more information on this e potential to be discovered... n the jungle.

Sean styles the crux rapid on the Sitawaka - a potential new base for Borderlands to move to should the proposed dam project of the Kelani go ahead.

David Burne is a medical student who has a passion for kayaking. Many Alps trips with his family in his youth stood him in good stead for a trip to British Columbia at the age of 16 with his older brother, Tim. Since then he has caught the travelling bug and dragged his kayak round many continents of the world. Amongst other places he has even completed first descents in Outer Mongolia. Dave would like to thank Zet UK and Big Stone for their support.

K, Lyon Equipment and of course, Borderlands

would like to thank

eir support.

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INFORMATION Visas: Since Jan 2012 British citizens now require a visa to enter Sri Lanka. Most nationalities now require visas for entry, though the cost will vary.

Sri Lanka Getting there: As tourism grows, more and more airlines will fly

to Sri Lanka. Do a bit of research on the airlines before you go to find which will be most likely to take your kayaks without giving you grief. From London, £500 is a very good price for a return ticket on a decent airline. We went with Sri Lanka Airlines who had no problem with our boats. BMI have cheaper flights but it’s an extra £150 (return) for oversize luggage.,80.529785&spn=21.58295,15.117188&t=m&z=6.

Language: Few people speak English. Having Mahesh as a translator and

driver worked brilliantly in extracting that essential local knowledge. He was also a raft guide which came in handy with knowing exactly what we were after and finding out if there was anything around, and on more than one occasion he found tributaries that had potential while we were enjoying the main river.

Getting around: Borderlands were brilliant – their truck was perfect for

the six of us and handled all the off road with ease! It helped having a pretty bad ass driver too.

Religion: There is a whole mix of religion in Sri Lanka, and the overall picture is that the majority of people are very religious. 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, 15% are Hindus, 7.5% are Muslims, and 7.5% are Christian. Sri Lanka was ranked the third most religious country in the world in 2008.

Seasons: Traditionally, being tropical, Sri Lanka has distinct dry and wet

seasons.The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August, the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s south western and central areas where the majority of the mountains are, while the dry season lasts from December to March.The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the flatter north and east, while the dry season is from May to September. Unfortunately for the past five years or so, the seasons have been all over the place. June, July and August seem to be the best bet. But really, who knows! Again, Borderlands are your best bet for information like this.

Money: The currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). 1 US Dollar = 132 LKR. There are cash machines in the big cities but are limited in other areas.They do exchange US Dollars, Euros and British Pounds.

River guides: We didn’t have a whole load to go on when we arrived.The

Sitawaka and Kelani (G4 and G3 respectively) had both been run regularly, and we knew there was some potential in the rest of the area. We have now got more details of river guides at is some information from Andreas Sommer and some Russians on the Playak site. There is enough scope for a week of easy paddling before exploring the rest of the country on a holiday. Borderlands will help you out with this.

Maps: Maps of Sri Lanka aren’t too difficult to come by.We have left our

detailed ones with Borderlands in the hope that some locals may be inspired to go and explore! Get in touch with them if you are keen to head out before buying your own

Paddlers: Rosie Cripps, Ben Brown, Images Š Dagger Europe

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ThePaddler 36

New paddles PER NILSSON

The PER NILSSON is a handcrafted boat built on the banks of the River Tamar in Cornwall. It offers more than a Canadian canoe or rowing boat can with great stability, practicality and safety. It has been designed and styled to allow you to row, paddle or motor with an engine at your pleasure.

The PER NILSSON has been designed, tested and manufactured to offer you a product of the highest calibre. It has been crafted with traditional boat building techniques and the latest in fibreglass products too.

Key Points: ● Has higher sides and is wider than a normal Canadian canoe for stability and safety. ● The materials used will take more wear than a Canadian canoe. ● You can use up to a 4hp engine. ● Can be rowed, paddled or motored. ● Has water tight bulkheads that also act as storage. ● Low maintenance. ● Will take up to four adults. If you would like more information on the boats or are interested in becoming a stockist or dealer please email:


Gill Inshore Lite jacket and trousers

Roll-away hood with two-way volume adjustment and front zip storm guard.

Gill is maybe not a familiar name with many UK paddlers but if the quality of this gear is anything to go by – they soon will be.

Nick Gill started the company in the late 70s primarily for the UK sailing market and became the official supplier to the British Americas Cup entry in 1980 and onwards to being the clothing supplier for the GB Olympic Sailing team in 1994. Strong growth in international markets has led to the company receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year.

Zipped hand pockets as well as an internal security pocket and cuff and hem adjustment.

Hanging around on draughty wet river banks - the lightweight entry-level Inshore Lite Jacket is ideal. Preferable for wet Spring and Autumn days, the mesh lining and interior circulation will keep you warm when needed but cooler in warmer conditions.

However wet the weather – this jacket will keep you dry due to Gill’s own unique construction. Traditional ‘Goretex’ branded jackets keep the moisture on the top level by beading the water away. Unfortunately, after many washes, the Goretex layer may become worn and less capable of withstanding moisture.

Gill’s answer to the problem is to build the water repellant defence as the second layer beneath the top fabric. This way it is harder to wash away and remains waterproof for longer – simple but logical. This coat would be a really good addition to your outdoor wardrobe. In short, it’s light, adaptable, waterproof and if you want more – it is also good looking.

Made from lightweight waterproof and breathable 2Dot™ fabric featuring softtouch laminate technology. Self-draining side pockets and adjustable ankle closures.

Like the coat – then also buy the trousers. The same deal applies for the legs as it does for the torso. Extremely comfortable and light. Colours: graphite in sizes: XS-XXL

Men’s Inshore Lite Jacket, colours: red, navy, silver. Sizes: XS-XXL. Women’s Inshore Lite Jacket, colours: silver and sky Blue. Sizes: 10-16 JACKET PRICE: £115.00 TROUSERS PRICE: £55.00



1, 2, 3…

First-rate outdoor knife, probably best suited to sea kayakers and kayak fishermen.

The Opinel pocket knife, first devised in 1890, is a renowned, yet really affordable pocket knife, usually ideal for everyday use. The No 08 outdoor version however is designed for outdoor activities on the water or in the mountains.

Light, grippy, robust and resistant to temperature change, this excellent knife is great for the outdoors. This blade also has a toothed area for rope cutting, a lockable safety ring and a handy and very loud whistle built into the handle for emergencies. Well built, handsomely finished - a quality product!

of be will

Available in blue, orange, green, Grey and yellow. PRICE: £24.95. AVAILABLE FROM: WWW.WHITBYANDCO.CO.UK

il us: revi e

ws@ thep ad d


Opinel No 08 outdoor knife

addl er s - em a

.co. ler

Available in black. PRICE: £49.95.

interest t

The wheels have a decent tread and are tough enough for many uneven surfaces.


d it d an ove

There are many duffle bags on the market but at 120 litres, this is one of the largest, plus it has wheels and rolls up into a very compact space. Unfortunately, the adaptable way the bag folds up means the base lacks rigidity and sags when being pulled. Another issue for some would be the pull handle isn’t long enough and consequently, the bag clips the back of your heels. Ending on a positive note, it is built from a tough fabric and looks very smart.

rem uct od pr

The strengths also contribute to the weaknesses.

There are three carry harnesses on offer, comprising a bag-length shoulder strap, a handle for pulling the wheeled base, and two mid-handles with a clasp.


f you want tion. I y o sta ur


t es

Lifeventure wheeled duffle

ThePaddle .

Handle is bi-material, polyamide and glass fibre and polyamide elastomer, providing grip and resistance to extreme temperatures.

Stainless steel sandvik blade.

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New paddles

Helly Hansen Daybreaker half zip fleece

Counteracting the chills of Autumn.

Tootega's new ace of clubs

Pulling another excellent product out of their sleeve is becoming the norm for the guys at Tootega, but they have launched the new Club-Spec Pulse sit on top kayak.

Tootega have gone back to the drawing board and over several months simplified the standard Pulse to just its essence.

The Club-Spec Pulse has been developed with professional users, canoe clubs, and budget conscious consumers in mind.

Less weight does not mean less warmth though – in fact if anything the Daybreaker is even toastier. With a weight of only 260g, it is exceptionally comfortable to wear and makes either an ideal midlayer in colder weather or a suitable top layer for milder evenings.

A quality, lightweight garment you will not regret adding to your kit. Polartec® 100g fleece half zip construction.

Mens in navy and black. Womens in red, blue, white and black. PRICE £45.00

Paramo Torres trousers

A very comfortable and roomy fit, that can be worn over your normal trousers and there's a shiny inner lining that slides over layers.

Focusing on the Pulse's performance hull, durable build and deep supportive seat well, they have stripped out all nonessential components to create a fully upgradeable package at a competitive price point. Available in either Tootega's standard colour range or a simplified colour palette which is suited to club or centre use.

For further information check out Tootega’s website at: or: tootega.kayaks

If this fleece lasts half as long as the last one I bought in 2003, then I will be pleased. The fact is the 2003 half zip fleece is still very much around, wearable and presentable – is a testament to the quality of Helly Hansen products. The difference between the 2003 and today’s half zip fleece is the new one being about half the weight of the original.

Webbing belt with waistband tunnel plus hook and loop tabs to secure.

Lightweight insulated and waterproof trousers that can be worn for both comfort and survival in needed. The trousers have a shaped knee to aid movement and side zips mean the trousers can be put on whilst not having to remove shoes, boots etc.

Simple ‘zip off ’ construction allows Trousers to be put on or taken off without taking one’s feet off the ground or sitting down

The design of the zips at the top curve inwards and rather than a conventional zip fly and a waist opening there is a velcro-fastened flap. The trousers are incredibly practical, as the design means you lose no body heat whilst putting them on and have a simple conventional feel to them - an incredibly simple idea to what can sometimes be a very demanding task in the bitter cold, particularly if you have just exited the cold water and your hands are so numb, they refuse to do as you ask!

The Torres Overlayering Insulation range includes a gilet, smock, sleeves and the Torres Trousers for a complete outdoor solution if needed.

It is a simple solution to a common problem and one that is well executed by Paramo. Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL PRICE £110.00

ThePaddler 40

Thule kayak carrier system

The safest way to carry a kayak is no doubt with the Thule K-Guard – it involves a couple of hours work but you will not regret it.

First of all, let me point out that the Thule 840-K Guard is part of a system and you will need a pair of Thule roof rack bars plus the Thule Rapid System to lock onto your car’s own sidebars. All in this would come to a hefty £350 or so, however if you already have the bars and the Rapid System, this drops to around the £180 mark for the K-Guard alone.

First, you have to fit the Thule Rapid System.

Without doubt – this is well worth the expense and time as it makes life incredibly easier thereafter. As when putting anything together from printed plans, it makes life simpler if you empty everything out of the boxes first and patiently follow the instructions without taking short cuts or thinking you know what comes next.

I was sent the Thule Rapid System to connect to my Toyota RAV4, the Thule Aerobars and the K-Guard and had it all up and running in less than 90 minutes, which included putting on the Aerobars, the wrong way round and then having to correct it! As the photos show – no tools are needed to set up the carrier and when fitted correctly – the complete system has a quality, sturdy and stable feel to it and with the Aerobars – looks pretty snazzy as well. The Aerobars are a notch above the normal Thule square bars as they not only look better but their design assures better wind dynamics. The kayak is also cushioned by the rubber supports that adapt to the kayak’s shape.

The K-Guard is also tiltable for easier, safer loading and unloading – an ingenious addition to an already impressive system. When the K-Guard is no longer needed, they can be simply unlocked and stowed in the garage, leaving the Aerobars in place for other uses. The level of security for the system is also impressive, which starts with the lockable Rapid System, then the K-Guard can be locked down onto the bars and finally, the kayak can be locked onto the K-Guard via the very tough straps.

So all in all, easy to set-up and even easier to use.

The K-Guard has won the acclaimed and prestigious Red Dot Product Design Award, which acknowledges innovative and excellent design.

If you own a well used, battered everyday kayak, the extra cost of these bars may well put you off. However, for those who may own the more expensive expedition, touring or sea kayaks, this is the the most convenient and safest way to transport your pride of the fleet, plus it’s protected against bumps and scrapes and those who would like to relieve you of your boat!

Go to to watch a Youtube video on the simple assembly.

Very easy to adjust into its final positioning.

The Thule Rapid System can be securely locked into place.

Finally, mount the K-Guard into place, which also comes with a set of lockable straps for extra security.

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Go solo, go tandem go triple - go bananas! The Martini snaps apart and re-assembles in seconds. Snap in the mid-section and your Solo transforms into a Tandem. Add another mid section and it’s a triple! Keep adding mid sections to create the perfect team-building excercise.

Snap in the mid-section and within 10 seconds, your Solo transforms into a Tandem! - add another mid-section and it’s a triple and so on. The sit-on-top Tequila!, has a comfortable molded in seat and features a bottle holder, foot-braces and storage space for your dry bag and is made to accommodate fishing equipment. The optional ingenious Tequila! backrest offers comfortable back support. The Tequila! is designed for both children and adults. Whether paddling, fishing or just relaxing, it is the ideal choice for family fun on the water. Point 65’s modular kayaks are easy to handle on and off the water. Kayaks that you can carry with a smile on your face, store under your bed and transport in your boat, caravan or in the boot of your car.

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Distributed in the UK and ROI by Surf Sales Ltd. Phone 01303 850553 | |

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Powerful turquoise waves in wavetrains. Tara gorge day two


or bust

Know a country where it’s cold and wet in May, has green mountains, good rivers and the inhabitants speak a strange language and are fervently defiant about their larger neighbouring countries?


ly sounds like Wales

but the title is a give away… Montenegro is a small country formed out of part of the old Yugoslavia in that bit of Europe above Greece known as the Balkans. Balkans sounds like Serbia, Sarajevo, Kosovo and wars and that’s certainly part of the area’s history, but Montenegro would like to be thought of as one of the National Geographic’s top 10 world-wide destinations. It gets that accolade because of its white beaches, undeveloped mountains and deep canyons. Add to that, a friendly population of only 678,000 and the fact they have only been independent since 2006 and you’ve got an exciting and relatively unknown destination.

For us the deep canyons had been on the kayaking radar for a while. We three kayak voyagers from North Wales, had paddled some great rivers in Europe and further afield and had heard mention of ‘the second deepest canyon in the world’. It sounded unlikely but had the sniff of adventure. Flights had always been the stumbling block, but a new Monarch flight from Manchester to Dubrovnik (in Croatia but close to the MN border) opened the door. Internet research produced a kayak guide, and the ubiquitous Deb Pinniger (thanks Deb!) gave concrete advice… so we booked for the 12th May to maximise snow melt.

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Fun fact: Despite it’s small size there are seven countries in Europe tha smaller (Kosovo, Luxembourg,Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Ma Vatican City) and it is the least densely populated country in s (672,000 residents, or 48 people per square kilometre).

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Come the day, and we were met by balmy sunshine on the runway. Good start… not so in the car hire (see notes) but we did eventually get away with a solid vehicle, three burns on the roof and depleted wallets. The Croatian main road into Montenegro was one long dirt track, and we thought customs would prove a problem with Croatian car and British shifty looking occupants. No problem though, banter with the English speaking and pretty Montenegrin Border guard did the trick! Next morning saw us in Podgorica crossing the Moraca River and soon heading up its spectacular canyon. The guide warned of some grade 5 and a ‘no-go’. The road here is high above the river in a limestone box canyon, with thunderous lorries squeezing under a succession of tunnels and overhangs. We stopped in the occasional lay-bys to check out the river and only succeeded in frightening ourselves… one particular tunnel with an angular concrete

drop. It didn’t look good, and the road was at least 200 metres above us, and though we were all climbers, it looked hard…Lateral thinking was the answer, our brains had focused on the obvious chute with the stopper, but below was a steep twisting drop with no stopper. We needed a log, but there was none… but there was Karl! A description shouted across the roar of the water, and he was down in one piece! Minutes later and we were all together massively relieved and the rest of the river seemed a blast of play waves and chutes. I hitched back to the top with a madcap Serbian driver intent on Kamikaze, overtaking lorries on blind bends. Reunited, we were well chuffed with our first Montenegrin river and had sausage and chips in a rainy Kolasin to celebrate. Next morning and it was obvious that it had rained all night; Kolasin is the ski capital of MN and it was so cold it was dumping snow about 300 metres above the town. Perhaps skiing was the better option but we decided to check out the

Paddlers: Louise Beetlestone and Karl Midlane sorted most of the trip. Written by: Andy Hall (www.Ou and see for a possible guided trip in the future. Photographs: Karl Mid entrance and solar panels had a view below it of a very big stopper and tight manoeuvring. We settled on our get out point below a scree and boulder slope to avoid the invisible ‘no-go’, and headed up river to find our access point just across the river from the Moraca Monastery… one of the country’s premier tourist attractions. Of course, by the time we had got on the river the sun had gone and the water was cold and grey, narrow but powerful… and many kilometres downstream in an unclimbable canyon was a huge and growing stopper! Good psychology for our first river! Further down though, we were feeling more confident… tributaries had joined, we’d survived some minor epics, and the river had turned bright turquoise in the sun, with some stunning springs cascading out of the now sheer sided walls. But there was still that stopper… a little beach gave some time to plan a way above the nastiness and we saw ourselves through initial rapids, but then the river sight line disappeared over a jumble of huge rocks. These rocks were the life line we needed and Louise and I scrambled precariously onto one of them above the biggest

river Lim, a watershed away over a backcountry switchback. Access and egress were more obvious in this wide pastoral valley (though we couldn’t see much of it through the swirling cloud and rain) and we got on in Plavsko Lake. Just as we left the lake, dodging the usual array of plastic bottles and other rubbish, an otter poked his head above the water to check out these strange visitors. We had seen no sign of rafts or kayaks since we had entered MN. The Lim was another grey cold river, big and powerful, reminding us of the Inn above Landeck, with the occasional uprooted tree jammed into the bank or floating menacingly downstream. And we were pleased to find that we had avoided a few gnarly pourovers as we floated past, more by luck than good judgement. Sounds fairly grim, and it was, but we enjoyed it for its power and speed. A fair drive down the Tara valley ensued, gradually steepening from the town of Mojkovac to form the Devil’s Canyon. As part of the UNESCO biosphere agreement this part of the Tara is banned to paddlers and patrolled by rangers… but it does look good! Some 40 kms down this canyon is ‘the Great Bridge’ rebuilt

The Moraca box canyon and the grade 5 section

in a limestone box canyon, with thunderous lorries squeezing under a succession of tunnels and overhangs.

The road here is

high above the river

at are actually arino, Monaco and southern Europe dlane and Andy Hall

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‘Below: Goodbye but we’ll be back’- the shuttle back from the Tara gorge.

Main: The river had turned a bright turquoise.

We needed a log – Karl styling the grade 5 on the Moraca.

No thought to environmental s

National Park permits after being blown up by an original builder turned partisan (and now national hero!) to prevent Germans from using it in WWII. Next to this, on the west bank, Miro of Zabjlack Tourist Agency has some lodges and a café. He speaks English, runs a big rafting setup later in the season, and can arrange the shuttle and can arrange the shuttle and National Park permits.

Even though the river here is only grade 3-4, we knew it was high and for 83 kms it goes through a deep inaccessible canyon. Apparently it is 1,300 metres deep, only 200m less than the Grand Canyon! Having done both, it’s stretching it, I think! Whatever, it was with trepidation that we little three floated under the ‘Great Bridge’ next morning, facing a marathon 50+kms to a rafting camp in Bosnia. The day was overcast but the river was bright turquoise and the waves were big and powerful, but not retentive (though

Spectacular streams fell into the river from either side in filigreed patterns,

handing Karl an epic day


with his camera

you always thought the next one might be!) We saw vultures and eagles and imagined bears and wolves in the forested gorge. Spectacular streams fell into the river from either side in filigreed patterns, handing Karl an epic day with his camera. A couple of ancient rickety cable bridges defined the past life of people in the gorge, their descendants long gone to the city or to fight in the ethnic wars. How far to go? Not wanting to get wet in the cold curtailed our play action and after only a couple of stops we reached the ‘Encijan’ camp. Two raft guides welcomed us to their marooned existence, no-one else at their 50 bedded wooden encampment. Soon they had us drying out our wet gear and strained bodies in front of a raging wood fire. Later they fed us local dishes until we crashed early with stories of “much bigger rapids tomorrow” a mean threat that shortened my sleep! Next morning hot pancakes, dry kit and patches of blue sky welcomed us. Not to mention two hours of big waves. It turned out to be the highlight of the trip, not technically difficult, but powerful turquoise waves in wave trains on virtually continuous rapids. The raft guides had counted nine rapids to the end of the river at Scepjan Polje; but we’d counted nine after 30 minutes! Maybe this section would still be good later in July/August, but we definitely stole it at its best. The get out on the Bosnian border bridge came too soon, but here we had to stop to pick up the prearranged shuttle back to our car at noon. Rare sunshine dried our gear as we pondered the ethnic cleansing that had taken place over the border not too far from here only 20 years before. The return shuttle to the car gave us a view into the Piva gorge and the karst scenery of the Durmitor Mountains. That night found us back in our Kolasin room weighing up next day – on the river or climbing? The day dawned wet (again!) and so the upper Tara section of grade 3 from Kolasin to Mojkovac proved its worth despite the freezing temperatures. The following day dawned dry and we spent two days cragging and working our way back to Dubrovnik… but that’s another story. I would definitely recommend Montenegro as a paddler’s destination from Britain, the Tara is a world class 3-4 river and the Moraca is a canyon as spectacular as any other in Europe.

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Climate: Mediterranean.

Beaches: There is 293km of coastline with 117 beaches covering 73km.

Sunshine: Average 240 days per year.

Language: Serbian, but English is widely spoken.

Main cities: Podgorica - the capital, Kotor and Budva. Time zone: + 1 hour GMT, + 2 hours in summer.

Visas: Tourist visas are not required, but work visas are required. Area: 13,812 km2

Population: 672,000

Flying time: 2.5 hours from the UK

The name Montenegro: Means Black Mountain which was probably derived from the thick ‘black’ forests that in the mediaeval times covered Mount Lovcen.

Montenegro has always been a problem for cartographers as it is almost impossible to write all the letters of its name into the small space it takes up on the map.

Montenegro was declared an Ecological State in 1991.

Bjelasica & Komovi

Kajakfahren Kayaking Kajakaški Vodicˇ

According to the World Tourism and Trade Council 2004 report, Montenegro is the fastest growing tourist destination in the World.

Flights fly to Dubrovnik with Monarch or Easy Jet: Both carriers will take kayaks for a price. We figured the overall Monarch package was slightly cheaper from Manchester but I’m sure this will vary from time to time. Both our outgoing and incoming flights were delayed (but at least I got to watch some of the Champions League final!) and Easy Jet claim to be more reliable. EJ only gives you 32kg max weight allowance and a boat is around 26kg! Cost is around £220 per head. Flights exist to Podgorica (MN’s capital, but they are more expensive, but it would certainly be more convenient).


Currency: Euro.

Car hire or get picked up: We booked a car with Auto Europe and took roof bars on the assumption that the Skoda estate we’d booked would have suitable rails… of course it didn’t and we had to upgrade to a VW Touran – you could see the car hire staff’s eyes light up at the extra income involved! You could negotiate a pickup with Miro, but it would limit your flexibility and might mean you only paddled the Tara… worth an email though (! Around £400 in total with about £70 fuel.

Where to stay: Plenty of rooms to rent – see signs on houses by the road, like our B+Bs but without the breakfast at about £10 per head. Campsites seemed closed and it would be wet and cold and not much cheaper!

Shuttles: We hitched and used taxis (which were very cheap compared with Britain – our section of the Lim, (about 25 kms, cost £10) and paid Miro for the Tara transfer (about £100 for the three of us and our boats… good value for a three hour trip!)

The bad bits: £60+ to the Durmitor National Park for two-days access on the Tara gorge, and no access to the upper Devil’s canyon. Plus the rubbish… bags of trash liberally thrown into the rivers with not a thought to environmental sustainability, or the future of tourism!


Paddling dee Monten

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’M d n u F e r o l p Watermark Experiences‘North Face Ex

Watermark Experiences youth ‘Tara River Kayak Expedition’, was a week-long kayaking expedition to Montenegro. Two days were spent as a warm up, kayaking on the Moraça River, followed by a day of equipment and food preparation, before embarking on a three day self support white water kayak expedition on the Tara River Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the World and a UNESCO World heritage site.

Supplied by Deb Pinniger. Written by the expeditions’ participants.

August 3rd-10th 2012

ep in negro

a K y a h t k ing Expeditio u o Y o r g e n e t n Mon

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Day 1 By Devon Francis – Age 16

After a 1.30am start we dragged ourselves to Gatwick’s south terminal, where we met Ali, Laurie and Freddie. Having been dreading the check-in, we pushed our kayak filled trolleys through the airport, causing chaos, followed by a welcomed smooth check in of our boats and luggage. At the oversize baggage check-in we met a Kiwi girl, who had been doing freestyle kayak demonstrations at the Olympic kayak slalom event. After chatting for a few minutes she mentioned that she had been paddling with Dane Jackson, a worldclass kayaker, who just happened to be asleep upstairs. Star struck we ran up the escalator to meet him in a Starbucks, where he lay curled up in a chair, dazed and confused at our sudden appearance. We arrived in Croatia to the blazing heat, and travelled for a few hours into Montenegro in a stuffy minibus to a town by the coast, where we spent some time swimming in the sea to cool down. We were soon back in the bus for another beautiful driving trip to the Morača valley, our first campsite.

We met a Kiwi girl, who had been doing freestyle kayak demonstrations at the Olympic kayak slalom event

Day 2 By Joe Trapnell – Age 17 Today had a lazy start for me; I rolled over several times and struggled out of our new snazzy North Face tent. After lunch, we donned our kit and damn near drowned in our own slimy sweat before we had even started the two minute walk to put on the Morača river, in temperatures of 40+ degrees. Most of us swam in the amazingly cool and clear spring-fed river before we even entered our kayaks!

Several huge launches, After paddling down a short section of the river we came to a sweet deep pool with a high rock hanging over it with a slide to seal-launch. Several huge launches, back-flips, belly flops and back-flips, belly flops pictures later we decided that we had wasted a little too much time playing and hurried on down and pictures later we the river. Where we paddled a few awesome rapids with no dramas and eventually hit the flatter decided that we had run out. Some small waves and holes kept Freddie interested and the odd truck carcass fallen from the road high above the river, made an interesting twist to the stunning natural scenery of the wasted a little too Morača valley. much time playing and It was getting late when we began to think that we may have missed our get out and the shuttle hurried on down the bus, so Deb decided that we’d get off where we where and she and Chris would walk to the main road and hitch back to the bus and van. After having to pay a local in a bar 10 Euros for a lift, we river. eventually reunited at the get out and set about making our way back to the campsite.

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Every turn is likemovie, paddling into the next Pirat the scales of the rock

Day 3 By Laurie McDonald – Age 13 The day’s paddle started with everyone rolling or swimming to cool off after an hour spent in the sun waiting for the shuttle. The river had the same small, technical rapids from the day before and they were really fun to paddle and manoeuvre through, although they were perhaps not perfect for Steve’s brand new scratch less Jeffe!

About halfway between the put-in and lunch the first swim of the trip happened as a result of a tip and an up-stream edge against a giant mid flow boulder

About halfway between the put-in and lunch the first swim of the trip happened as a result of a tip and an up-stream edge against a giant mid flow boulder. The rapid was a chute into a chicane and everyone, including the swimmer, enjoyed it! We paddled on into the Morača canyon where we saw a beautiful waterfall spouting out of the limestone cliffs twenty feet above us. Paddling on until the cliffs either side became a box-canyon and we hit what is a solid grade VI rapid in higher flows. On the day we were there it was low water and consisted of a chute into a drop that had a large rock at the bottom. After a while of trying to work out the safest route down the rapid, during which Freddie and Devon tried the drop from different angles we decided to portage it in order to look after ourselves and our boats.

Soon we stopped for lunch and whilst heading off to “see a man about a dog” in the bushes, Joe came back with an inner tube from a truck. After having lunch and a few rides down a rapid in the inner tube, we set off for the rest of our day on these small, technical rapids. At the get out, as we waited for the shuttle to be run, we found great jumps and after a few cool back-flips by Sam and a massive back-flop by Freddie, we came home. We went up to a town called Kolasine for dinner, about 30 minutes up the valley and ate in a really nice local Montenegrin restaurant. We had some amazing cheese and a great stew. After an ice cream and some people watching from our seats on the town fountain we drove home and everyone went straight to their tents knackered.

Day 4 By Ed White – age 15

After our last day on the Morača, I think I knackered. Because of this I guess it was al day without paddling.

We arrived at Miro’s After breakfast we the last time an rafting station and for an hour to explore spent at least half an We left Kolasine at hour admiring the World’s smallest N 170m high bridge, sort out what kit to that spans the Tara After drying off fro

the group loaded i stint towards the put in of the Tara River. W spent at least half an hour admiring the 17 bought Tara River T-shirts.

We drove to our first Tara camp, however D they had to leave for the five hour shuttle t

We decided to get everyone sleeping outside for most of us) because of this, some of us (

tes of the Caribbean k faces are simply unreal.

can safely say that we were all pretty lmost a relief to us that we would have a

packed all our gear and left our campsite nd headed back to Kolasine where we had e and shop.

t around mid-day and headed to the National Park for a barbecue lunch and to o take on the Tara, with us.

om a quick swim in the lake (well, sort of) in the van again and began the last driving We arrived at Miro’s rafting station and 70m high bridge, that spans the Tara and

Deb and Chris saw very little of this as to the take out and ride back with Miro.

e for a bit of Bivvi fun (without Bivvi bags (including me) found it difficult to sleep.

Day 5 By Ali McCreery – Age 14 Today was the start of our multi-day trip through the Tara Canyon. The shuttle was done last night, so we were set to put on the river first thing in the morning. We got up early and packed our boats, with Joe taking one for the team by finding enough space for a whole North Face three-man tent, some group food as well as all of his own kit. When everyone was suitably sweaty from tying the boats on to a beaten up flat bed truck, we jumped in an old beaten up rafting Land Rover and drove to the river. Whilst Deb went to buy the permits to make it legal for us to paddle the canyon we unloaded the boats and got on the water.

The colour of the The colour of the rivers has been one of my favourite things about paddling in Montenegro and the Tara certainly didn’t rivers has been one disappoint, with crystal clear water flowing through a of my favourite beautiful deep canyon. Throughout the day the quality of the that we had was really sweet; it wasn’t too scary, things about paddling white-water but it was amazingly fun. There were loads of really cool rock in Montenegro and spin opportunities. the Tara certainly After lunch we had a quick swim, before we boogied on didn’t disappoint, down the river. We arrived at our first camp site (The National Park campsite) bang on time at four o’clock and with crystal clear put up our swanky North Face tents and had a big game of water flowing “one-knee, two-knee”. A couple of us then went down to the through a beautiful river for a few photos and to chill for a while. Dinner came in the form of a bri (a South African wood BBQ) and deep canyon another big bowl of chef Chivers Coleslaw! ThePaddler 55

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Day 6 By Kyle Chives – Age 17 Well I can honestly say that today has been pretty eventful, to say the least! After completing our first leg of the great Tara canyon followed by countless games of ‘one knee two knee’ and risky games of Frisbee by the river. I woke up the following day next to the campfire after making the decision to bivvy without a tent due to the shear heat in the canyon meaning I would rather take my chances with the local wildlife than wake up in the scorching heat.

The springs are a thing of beauty, usually erupting from rocks or dropping from waterfalls surrounded by thick foliage

Breakfast was over and after Will, Ali and I, had cleaned the dishes in the river we packed our boats and headed for the river.

As the river progressed it was clear to see the volume was building. The one thing that hit me about the Tara was the numerous springs this river is fed by, the springs are a thing of beauty, usually erupting from rocks or dropping from waterfalls surrounded by thick foliage. You could tell a spring was near by simply putting your hands in the water, the spring water was freezing and after previously rolling on flowing rapid sections of the river rolling in one of these spring sections could only be compared to surfing back at home mid February.

Tara is a beautiful place! Rarely have the surrounding features fascinated me more from the river but writing about the mountains of Tara simply doesn’t do it any justice. Every turn is like paddling into the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, the scales of the rock faces are simply unreal. Big rocks and deep pools provided an ideal opportunity for some extreme rock jumping an event that proved very popular throughout most of the trip. The wildlife that exists around the river is phenomenal and their confidence in approaching our boats for photos were ideal and contributed to the magical and awe inspiring atmosphere that the canyon has left with me, eagles, brown trout and other small local insects didn’t hesitate to investigate us and even hitch a ride on our boats. After a lunch consisting of Maxi Mart’s finest: tortillas, chorizo, and cheese we ventured off to the next camp. Wave trains, and brown claws a plenty we made the most of the rapids before finding a quaint campsite we’d later be setting up tents in. The campsite had very little in terms of amenities let alone electricity (at least before 8pm) however the entertainment was good and provided mostly by a dog whose key purpose in life seemed to be to chase the campsite cat.

Day 7 By Will Bolton-Jones – Age 13 We got packed up and left the campsite, the first rapids were very good and then we came to a big wave, everyone had a go. Near the end there was another awesome wave with a great eddy and we spent a long time there and got some great photos and some good Spent the rest of the surfs. On the way down we saw the mountains change into hills and eventually we came to the get out at the Bosnian border.

evening milling around At the get out we loaded the kayaks and drove through Bosnia back to Croatia! When we came to the in the mist of people, campsite some of us set up tents and Bivvis whilst the others set up throw lines to dry the kit before the next watching the street day’s flight. We went into the old town in Dubrovnik for dinner and saw a big castle. performers and eating After dinner Freddie and I went back to the campsite because we were so tired, but the others stayed in the city ice-cream and spent the rest of the evening milling around in the mist of people, watching the street performers and eating ice-cream.

Day 8 By Freddie Kent – Age 13

Looking back at the and packed our boats and drove to the airport. Then we unloaded all the paddling and scenery, boats and Chris and Deb went to get it was certainly a trip breakfast. Then we weighed and of “wows”! checked-in the boats and went to the We bivied out last night and this morning we got up at 6am

departure lounge. I brought a tube of M&Ms and it had a free springy M&M man on top of it! Looking back at the paddling and scenery, it was certainly a trip of “wows”!

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fallen from the road high above the odd truck carcass

the river, made an interesting twist to the stunning natural scenery of the MoraÄ?a valley

Watermark Experiences C.I.C and its par ticipants, would like to extend the ir gratitude to The North Face Explore Fund, Palm Equipm ent and System X for their generous financial and product support that they have provid ed for this youth project.

The Zanskar Youth Kayaking Expedition 2013.

Join us. Back after popular demand, Watermark Experiences C.I.C introduce the Zanskar Youth Kayaking Expedition, August 2013. Don’t miss out, apply now. Who? The expedition is aimed at young paddlers, aged 14-19. You’ll be physically fit, self motivated and willing to work as a team to navigate one of the World’s most breathtaking multiday river trips, in the Indian Himalaya. Where? The Zanskar River is known as the Grand Canyon of Asia and travels through an awe-inspiring 150 km gorge, offering exciting class 3+ and 4 white water. When? From 13–30th August 2013. How? The expedition will complete a comprehensive training period of six days, prior to the trip in the UK. There the team will cover fundraising, team building, kayak training, white water safety and rescue and trip logistics. Watermark will also offer BCU awards during the programme. The expedition will be split between travel, acclimatisation, paddling and enjoying first hand the beautiful land of Ladakh and its rich culture.

Apply Now If you think you are a suitable candidate to join a group of motivated enthusiastic young paddlers on this three week Himalayan kayaking expedition to Northern India. Please apply in writing; stating why you think you should be awarded a place on Watermark Experiences’ 2013 Zanskar Youth Expedition. Please email

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One of the jewels in the Canadian park system is Bowron Lakes Provinc

BC CALLS The Bowron Lakes Circuit is the quintessential lake canoeing experience in Canada, and has been rated as one of the top ten canoe trips in the world. The 116km route is comprised of six major lakes which are interconnected by a series of portages and rivers. Groomed canoe paths allow for portages to be completed with the use of carts, upon which canoes are wheeled between lakes. One of the great appeals of this paddle, besides the incredible backcountry scenery of the glacial Cariboo Mountains, cascades and waterfalls, crystal clear waters and virgin forest, is that the chain can be completed without backtracking. You end up at the same spot that you started.

By Len Webster, Lead Guide BC Yukon Adventures

The area was originally peopled by the Takuli or Carrier First Nations people who sustained themselves by trapping, hunting, fishing and gathering activities. As with many First Nations peoples, the tribe was decimated by a smallpox epidemic in the 1860s. Archaeological evidence points to earlier habitation but there is no information about who these people may have been.

cial Park, in British Columbia, Canada

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camping and paddling skills, This trip requires

as well as a reasonable level of physical fitness to complete the circuit

The connection toTakuli

language is still evident in the park. Lanezi (long) Lake, Itzul (forest) Range, Tediko (girls) Range, Mount Ishpa (my father), and Kaza (arrow) Mountain bear testament to this.

In the 1860s, the Cariboo Goldrush, centred in nearby Barkerville, brought many of the first non-natives to the area. Looking for gold, they explored further into the Bowron Lakes and brought attention to these areas. After the gold rush some whites remained, turning to fur trapping and guiding animal hunts. Soldiers returning from World War I and their families, were given land grants in the area. This gave rise to farming and the development of a few hunting lodges. By the 1920s local outfitters proposed that the Bowron Lakes be established as a wildlife sanctuary to ease the decline on the animal populations. This resulted in the creation of a park reserve in 1925. Over the years the size of the area was increased until finally the Bowron Lakes were designated a provincial park in 1961.

Mosquito populations vary according to season, temperature, rainfall, and wind. Be prepared with mosquito repellent and a head net if you have no tolerance for these suckers, especially in June and July.

This trip requires camping and paddling skills, as well as a reasonable level of physical fitness to complete the circuit. Sections of the Cariboo River that connect some lakes are fast moving. Deadheads, sweepers, and sharp bends can prove to be problematic, especially with low water levels. As the lakes are situated in a mountainous area, weather conditions can and do, change abruptly in extremely short periods of time. With some of the larger lakes such as Isaac, Bowron, and Lanezi, winds that are channeled between the high mountains can create dangerous waves. You will need good quality equipment to comfortably get you through the entire trip – a waterproof tent, a tarp and a warm sleeping bag are essential. Even in the summer, nights can be colder than anticipated. Take warm clothing and rain gear no matter what time of year you visit. Wildlife is abundant on the Bowron Lakes. Paddlers are often treated to moose feeding by the waterways, beaver, and otter. The area around the Bowron River is a birdwatcher’s paradise. But, it is bear country, populated with both black and grizzly bears. Bear encounters can happen anywhere along the circuit. It’s very important to be aware of the dangers, and to manage your food, garbage, and personal hygiene in an

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to fish, swim, and take photo Give yourself as much time as possible

And, do allow time to visit the h restored gold rush town of Bar


historically rkerville. By the mid-1860s, Barkerville had a population of approximately 5,000. Although largely transient and dependent on mining, it developed into a real community. It had several general stores and boarding houses, a drugstore that also sold newspapers and cigars, a barbershop that also cut women’s hair, the ‘Wake-Up Jake Restaurant and Coffee Saloon’, a theatre (the Theatre Royal ) and a literary society (the Cariboo Literary Society). Horse racing and prize fighting were common entertainments. Among the so-called ‘sober set,’ church services were extremely well attended. In 1958, the government of British Columbia began the restoration of the town to its old glory and is today a prime tourist attraction.

appropriate and safe manner. You should also know what to do should you encounter a bear. The park is patrolled by wardens who check for park permits and see to any problems that may arise. There are a number of campsites with roofed shelters and radio contacting equipment should an emergency occasion the need for some help. A required orientation session with park personnel before you start your trip will highlight this, plus any other information that will make your paddle safe and memorable.

ThePaddler 65


ThePaddler 66

Additional topics

A fishing licence is required if you intend to fish. This can be purchased online by registering at

Bear safety: bearbowr.html

Getting to the Bowron Lakes from Vancouver, British Columbia Air: Daily flights with Air BC to Quesnel, British Columbia. Taxi service to Bowron Lakes.

Bus: Daily with Greyhound Bus to Quesnel. Taxi service to Bowron Lakes.

Car: 665.9 km – Trans-Canada Hwy and Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N to Quesnel, BC. Take Barkerville turn off just north of Quesnel on Hwy 26. It is 89 km (53 miles) to Wells. Proceed through Wells toward Barkerville. Look for signs for Bowron Lakes. A 28 km gravel road will lead you to the Bowron Lakes.

Useful services and links


BC Parks/Bowron Lakes: wron_lk/

Weather: ct=parksfx&parkcode=CABC0670 Canoe and equipment rentals:

Bowron Lakes guided trips: From Vancouver: Historic Barkerville:




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ThePaddler 68

seas and many variables

Jeff Allen and Simon Osborne of Sea Kayaking Cornwall have been running trips to the Isles of Scilly for seven years, with the idea of crossing back to the mainland. It’s 54km, the tides are complex, and a mere force two or three headwind could turn the jaunt into a genuine slog.

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ThePaddler 70

The first few days are spent exploring the Scillies, cruising in to yellow sands over azure seas, in startlingly clear waters, the kelp forests team with marine marvels. The rocky islands are clogged with grey seals, perched like oversized overripe bananas, surveying us as we glide past, or spyhopping from the waters. On day three we do a big day to practice for the crossing, a complete circumnavigation of the islands, 47km, no landing, eating resting and – yes – peeing in the boat. At times the tide and weather will mean we are giving everything to barely stay still. Big seas take their toll on the nerves; never being able to leave the boat means cramps, rubs, blisters and chafing.

Four hours in and we are all enjoying ourselves, relishing the challenge, and feeling strong and positive. Then we have a food stop and I check the GPS. We’ve done 18km. “We’re going to need to step this up a bit guys” Jeff says in his typically understated fashion. From here on in it doesn’t feel like a holiday. The sun disappears and a cutting crosswind chills the fingers. No one is chatting or giggling anymore. One of the girls is struggling to keep pace, so Jeff puts her on a tow. He promptly disappears over the horizon dragging her behind him. We finish in eight hours, and head straight for the pub. There is a favourable forecast to attempt the crossing on the Thursday morning, so we need to make a plan. Charts spill across the tables between plates of deep fried Pollack and pints of ‘Proper Job’ Cornish ale. There are so many variables to take into account, tidal diamonds, springs and neaps, crosswinds and pressure systems… cerebral fluid starts to leak out of my ears.

47km, no landing,

a complete circumnavigation of the islands, eating resting and – yes – peeing in the boat

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ThePaddler 72

fog is forecast t


The sea is flat calm, the visibility is fine, a

to roll in over the mainland

We are in the middle of a busy shipping lane,

and if we take too long the tide will swing around and be flowing against us faster than we can paddle! We wake on Wednesday to terrible news. Fog! Thick dense fog is forecast to roll in the following day. However, there is still a chance, if we head out on the ebbing tide that afternoon. We break camp; hastily prepare equipment for rough bivvies and an uncertain amount of time at sea. Just over an hour after launching from St Marys and we are on the uninhabited eastern isles, looking out over the open sea towards Lands End. The sea is flat calm, the visibility is fine, and the wind is just a whisper. We are on!

one wing tip coursing the waves. Then the dolphins and porpoise take over. A lone bottlenose coasts past, then a sizeable pod of commons leap and play about us. And then something I never thought I’d see in British waters. A leatherback turtle, the only species that can live in these temperate waters, a reptile that has outlasted the dinosaurs and makes a living munching down jellyfish. It’s a surreal moment, even more so when it swims straight into one of my colleague’s kayaks.

There is an odd sensation to leaving the comfort of pretty, sunshine-blessed islands, and aiming your kayak out into the open sea. The nerves were much alleviated by the unnatural calmness. We paddle strict hour on, five minutes break, hour on again, but the monotony is broken by the most extraordinary parade of wildlife I have ever seen. Firstly for several hours a single fulmar banks and circles around our boats, cruising with

Six hours in and we are more and more glad of our hourly breaks. A paralyzing cramp in my right hamstring means I ache to stretch out, but first have to check the GPS and cram my face full of cake and pork pies. We’re making good time, but mustn’t get complacent. We are in the middle of a busy shipping lane, fog is forecast to roll in over the mainland and if we take too long the tide will swing around and be flowing against us

and the wind is just a whisper. We are on! ThePaddler 73

ThePaddler 74 faster than we can paddle! It’s then, as the light starts to fade that the wildlife encounters get really special. First a minke whale and her calf burst up in the middle of us, then a basking shark, more dolphins… it seems as if the sea is trying to distract us from our task. Then finally the lighthouse at Longships hoves into view. We should be able to see land now, but the fog has totally obliterated it. Now concentration is fierce. We sound off number by number every few minutes so as not to lose anyone in the fog and night. We can hear the shore but not see it, so work purely off the compass. Sennen cove is the only place for a safe landing, and we have to avoid reefs and crashing waves in the dark, with the village lights diffuse in the gloop. It’s an edgy end to a perfect day, and we shake hands and hug on the beach, overjoyed at what we’ve achieved.

Over the next two days we ease our way back to Penzance, on one of the most dramatic paddles in the world. We paddle through natural cathedrals, arches and columns together with wind-carved statues. Skills are tested in amongst the crashing waves of our most iconic coastal cliffs. Basking sharks are everywhere, bold seals track our progress, and we wild camp on deserted coves. We catch our own supper, snagging Pollack, bream and mackerel on the hand line. I borrow a local’s spear gun, and freedive in amongst the kelp, adding a mullet to dinner.

columns together with wind-carved statu We paddle through natural cathedrals, arches and

Skills are tested in amongst the crash of our most iconic coa


hing waves astal cliffs ThePaddler 75

ThePaddler 76

I’m lucky enough to do trips like this for a living, but this was very special indeed.

The southwest of our

country is a jewel and there is no better way to explore it than from the cockpit of a sea kayak.

5th annual Sea Kayaking Cornwall Symposium 2012 The Around Britain Bonanza.

(Four talks over four nights four very different expeditions around GB that all happened in 2012)

This year’s event is going to be bigger and better than ever. There will be more courses, more excellent coaches and more kayaks and equipment to buy and demo. We will be having a ‘bring your own’ BBQ on the Sat night where we supply the fire and entertainment. The courses will be in Falmouth Bay and all over the Cornish peninsular. We will celebrate the amazing achievements that have happened this year in our home waters. Starting on the friday at 9:30 (to allow people to arrive) and then Sat, Sun and Monday evenings we will have talks by: Mid life Kayak, Joe leach 67 days, 100 kayak marathons in 100 days and Home Sea Home.

Book in online now.

Main event: 13th-14th Oct 2012

Courses week: 15-19th Oct 2012

During the courses week we are offering some of our five day courses at discounted prices. This week is a good oportunity to paddle with kayakers from around the world.



If you want to develop your career as an outdoor instructor the Advance Instructor training Programme is for you. The Advanced Instructor Training Programme course includes: ] A full range of NGB qualifications (MLTE, BCU) ] 16-week intensive skills training ] Mentored work experience within the outdoor sector ] UK expeditions

Call us to find out more 01579 372233, email or visit CHARITY BY STATUTE


Outdoor pursuits 185mm x 130mm Ref: dcwhatyoudoing09-12oc





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ThePaddler 78



There is nothing new about fishing from kayaks, that is, after all, their main function amongst the peoples who developed them.




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ThePaddler 80

The Eskimo populations use their kayaks for fishing and hunting amongst the ice floes when the ice is too treacherous to go by foot.They have been using these long, slim vessels for hundreds of years. One of the main barriers for many people using a kayak for recreational fishing has been the fear of the enclosed cockpit.With the advent of the sit-on-top design, kayaks have suddenly gained huge popularity, not least amongst the angling fraternity and others who like to catch the odd fish.

The sit-on-top design takes away the trepidation of having to be able to perform Eskimo rolls and other advanced paddling techniques, suddenly the perception is that kayaks are easy to use because of the open cockpit concept. Certainly for the avid angler the open cockpit design makes a kayak very much more fisherman friendly as there is space upon which to mount various angling accessories and the ability to access tackle carriers while on the water. This has made the kayak very much more attractive and they have been embraced wholeheartedly as a result.

Of course, it is perfectly possible to fish from a sit inside kayak, but the access to changes of tackle and the ability to move about is very much more reduced. Even so, there is nothing to stop people from fishing from a proper sea kayak while paddling from one camp to the next. Very often we will troll a line for mackerel whilst paddling at sea, it is a very good method of obtaining a fresh supper! I have seen touring kayaks fitted with rod holders for this very purpose. One of the problems is where you put your catch once you have caught it. A brace of mackerel can be put in a polythene bag and dropped in behind your seat, or placed in a deck back. Trying to deal with a big fish, the type and size of which anglers are targeting specifically, would be a totally different proposition. For this kind of fishing a well thought out angling specific kayak is required. The modern sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for introducing young children to the joys of paddling and fishing together. The cargo well of some of the larger sit-ons is suitable for taking a youngster out either just for a quick paddle, or to try and catch their first fish. Mum or dad can be in charge of the paddling while the youngster can fish, within reach of the parent, with a short rod or even a simple handline. A weight of about 4 or 6 ounces is sufficient to use for trolling a spinner behind the kayak to catch mackerel. The fish are ubiquitous around our coasts in the summer and are very easy to catch making them ideal

for youngsters to cut their fishing teeth on. Alternatively, a string of mackerel feathers or shrimps jigged gently whilst drifting will also work like magic and soon provide enough fish to feed a family for several meals, or for the serious angler provide enough bait for a day. I would suggest cutting the length of a string of mackerel feathers down to just three hooks as this will make it very much more manageable on the kayak and be less prone to tangles. Beware the hooks above the one you are dealing with because if the weight suddenly drops it will drive the hooks into your hand. The best way of dealing with a string of hooks like this is to maintain a taut line with the weight always on the end, this keeps the line straight and you can unhook any fish much more safely. The beauty of a string of mackerel hooks is that they can also be trolled slowly astern the kayak, while you cover more ground. A handline is best stored on a wooden frame and it takes up minimal room, cork glued to the side of the frame is useful to keep the hooks in safe. The more specialised fishing kayaks are fitted with rod rests, fish finders, anchoring systems and storage facilities for both fish and extra tackle. These specialised kayaks are being used for some serious fishing and even in the UK there are anglers

introducing young children

The modern sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for

to the joys of paddling and fishing together

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ThePaddler 82

regularly going after small sharks, conger eels, pollack, bass and skates. These are experienced kayak anglers who are equipped to deal with the prospect of such a fish alongside, gloves are essential when dealing with the sharks and it stands to reason that these anglers are also fully equipped with emergency and safety gear. A VHF, GPS, whistle, lighting and flares are standard fare for these forays and most people carry a pretty comprehensive First Aid kit too. A hook in your hand a couple of miles out to sea is not going to help the paddle home! For fishing specific marks the kayaks are rigged with fish finders and anchoring systems, which allow the anchor to be handled from the cockpit but the pull is from one or other of the ends, depending on the angler’s preference. A carabiner or snap hook is attached to a haul running along the outside of the hull, so the anchor line can be lead to the bow or stern and yet still be tied off at the cockpit. To prevent snagging, a tripping anchor is employed, so that in the event of the anchor becoming fast, the kayaker simply has to paddle uptide and pull the anchor out backwards, the way it went in, from the heel of the anchor, not the head.

Any of the conventional fishing methods can be used, trolling is a useful method whilst paddling to and from marks, it can be used to get fresh mackerel for bait or used in its own right when conditions are not suitable for other methods. Fly fishing both in the sea and in lakes is very popular, spinning and lure fishing works for predators and bait fishing on the bottom either on the drift or at anchor for the bigger species are all methods employed by the kayak angler. From this it can be seen that a kayak is a very versatile way to get afloat. They are easy to store, transport, launch and are great for keeping fit, so have are beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. They also have a very much lower environmental impact and the ability to get close to your fish is one of the joys of fishing from these simple boats. Indeed, catching a fish from a kayak has a pleasure all of its own. The proximity of your fish enhances the pleasure of even catching mackerel. There is a sense of achievement and of being at one with the water that simply isn’t there in a boat. You should give it try, you might like it.


Light boat gear is all that is needed. I use an 8lb class rod and medium size multiplier reel for bottom fishing and tackling those hard fighting tope. A spinning rod is more than adequate for most fishing from a kayak and anyone interested in fly fishing from one will only require a rod in the #8 class for anything in British waters. Of course, for sharks, conger and common skate more specialist tackle is required in the 50lb class.


Taking to the water in a kayak requires a safe approach. No-one should go afloat without wearing a good fitting buoyancy aid. A compass, a whistle and flares are minimum additions along with a paddle leash to prevent your only means of propulsion from drifting out of reach should you drop it. A VHF and GPS are optional extras, which most experienced kayak anglers don’t go afloat without. A headlamp is

another very useful item, even in the summer many rescues that start during daylight hours go on into darkness and an LED headlamp will last for days on one set of batteries. Ensure you leave details of where and when you are paddling with someone ashore, preferably the coastguard. Give them a time to expect you back by and ensure that they know to alert the authorities unless you contact them. A mobile phone in a waterproof housing of some sort can be useful as there is generally quite good signal coverage around the shore.

Kayak type.

Most kayaks are built to be able to mould themselves to the face of a wave. Beware the very heavy, broad, flat bottomed models. These feel very solid and are fine for sheltered water, but the extra effort required to paddle them soon diminishes their appeal. The better paddling kayaks are also very stable but their ease of paddling makes them very much more suitable for use at sea.

ThePaddler 83

fish that can be caught

ThePaddler 84

Type of

kayak from a


The most widespread species is probably the mackerel, beloved of anglers everywhere. These are probably the easiest fish to catch from a kayak and they make good eating. Found anywhere with a depth of water of about 20-feet or more and can be caught with spinners or feather jigs.


These are found around reefs, rocks, piers and other structures. They are great sport and can be as big as 25lbs. They will take feathers and lures and are relatively easy to catch in the areas where they are found.


Britain’s best loved sporting fish. Bass are very slow growing and there is a minimum legal size of 45cms, below which they must be returned. At this size a female bass has only just spawned once and she will be seven years old. Reproduction of the species takes a very long time, so please be responsible if you catch bass. They are very strong fish and can be caught in shallow water and anywhere where there is a food source. Lure fishing is the most popular way of catching them, but they will also take bait in the form of sandeels, mackerel strips, crabs and prawns.


Plaice, dabs and flounders can be caught from a kayak with ease. A hook baited with worm on a sandy/muddy bottom will catch these well known fish. They make good eating too.


Yes, we even catch sharks from our kayaks, but we are very careful to handle them gently and return them having suffered as little stress as possible. These fish require specialist tackle and a single minded approach, but they provide a massive adrenaline rush and catching them by rod and line is the only way they can be tagged for scientific research. Quite a few kayak anglers are members of the shark tagging programme run by Southampton University and backed by the World Wildlife Fund. Blue sharks are a free swimming shark that we hope to catch this year and porbeagles have been hooked but none yet boated.

ThePaddler 85

ThePaddler 86


SPORTS SCIENCE 1IZTJPMPHZ t 1TZDIPMPHZ t #JPNFDIBOJDT t $PBDIJOH OCEANOGRAPHIC SCIENCE .FUFPSPMPHZ t $VSSFOUT t 8BWFT t 5JEFT t #FBDIFT t $PBTUT TECHNOLOGY and BUSINESS .BUFSJBMT t %FTJHO t .BSLFUJOH t .BOBHFNFOU PRACTICAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT ,BZBLJOH t 4BJMJOH t 8JOETVSรถOH t $BOPFJOH t %JWJOH t 4VSรถOH If you are looking to go to university to develop an academic interest alongside a marine related sporting interest, have a look at our website, or contact us direct. For more information, visit: Scheme manager: Dr Jon Miles Admissions tutor: Matthew Barlow

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