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Issue 23 April 2015

ThePaddler ThePaddler ezine com ezine com ..

International digital magazine for recreational paddlers


The beautiful colours of Les Écréhous

From Longboard to SUP

By Pete Marshall

JACKSON interview Eric






Andrew Morris, labrador, Canada Photo: Pete Marshall Editor

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

Advertising sales

Covers: Eric Jackson, River Nile, Uganda

Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081

Additional contributor credits: Phil Carr, Aidan Egan Tranter, Tez Plavenieks, Andrew Morris, Dale Mears, Phil Carr, Frode Wiggen, Amy Elworthy, Susan Doyle, Carlos Ares, Claudia Van Wijk and Katrina Van Wijk. Not all contributors are professional writers and photographers, so don’t be put off writing because you have no experience! The Paddler ezine is all about paddler to paddler dialogue: a paddler’s magazine written by paddlers. Next issue is June 2015 with a deadline of submissions on May 10th. 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. The Paddler ezine encourages contributions of any nature but reserves the right to edit to the space available. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishing parent company, 2b Graphic Design. The publishing of an advertisement in The Paddler ezine does not necessarily mean that the parent company, 2b Graphic Design, endorse the company, item or service advertised. All material in The Paddler ezine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without prior permission from the editor is forbidden.

Issue 23 April 2015

004 The Paddler’s Planet By Christian Wagley

006 The rodeo roll

By Steffan Meyric Hughes

010 Coaching

Improving by Dave Rossetter

016 Testing, testing

Tons of new kit reviewed and tested

036 Coaching

Breaking in and out by Paul Bull

040 Paddling food

By David Truzzi-Franconi

048 An interview with… Eric Jackson

058 Sulawesi, Indonesia

The fantastic five by Beth Morgan

066 Canada

Paddling the Mackenzie River by Carlos Rodríguez

078 Italy

The King and Queen of the Alps by Luca Dapra

088 Canada

Madawaska Kanu summer school by Aldrick Brock

096 Bailiwick of Jersey

Les Écréhous by Derek Hairon

106 An interview with… South Africa’s Tarryn King

114 Spain

Mallorca by Richard M Harpham & Cody White

126 Canada

The big lands of Labrador by Pete Marshall

136 United States

Paddling Rhode Island by Chuck Horbert

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h e ls i vic e o l L o K

Photo: Joan Vienot

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

By Christian Wagley

Those who read The Paddler’s Planet regularly know that I often speak of the value of community in helping us live in more harmony with this place we call home. Once basic human needs are met and we can expand that to not just living but living well – with great physical and mental health – we are best able to make sure that planet Earth is healthy, too.

As paddlers we get to regularly commune with some of the most wonderful people. My paddling friends are “Where we are Standing Up bright, helpful, sharing, and show great care for much for the Planet!” more than just themselves. I often find the same spirit in my neighbours – who recently gave me a good reminder of how healthy communities lead to a healthy environment – and how leading with action can be better than leading with words. Spring is bursting-out here on the northwest Florida coast, and like many I’m spending more time in my garden as it transitions from winter crops of lettuce and broccoli to summer crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. I use a system of gardening called ‘lasagna gardening’, which uses layers of cardboard on the ground topped by layers of mulch and compost. As I refresh my vegetable beds they look so vibrant, with fresh hay atop layers of leaves, and new seedlings rising from neatly-ordered beds. And with this system there are no weeds and so no weeding! A new neighbour took interest in the system and asked me to help her install beds in her front yard. She assembled the materials from the list I gave her, and after just a couple of hours of work she had two beautiful beds full of vegetable plants. Within a couple of days a young man who lives next door to her showed up in my yard asking all kinds of questions about how to build his own beds. I happily

repeated the instructions for him, and also went to his yard to direct him in making sure that the beds were built right from the start. As he got things going in his yard, my favourite neighbour of all – a 73-year-old man who has lived in the home next to me for over 50 years – knocked on my door to see how he could join this growing trend.This is the neighbour who faithfully goes out every morning in his truck to gather castoff metal cans and appliances to sell to the scrapyard, and quietly knows all that is going-on around us, without being nosey. I did the same with him – he picked-up all the materials and I showed him how to lay it all out. He now has two beautiful beds along the street where all can enjoy. I never once preached to any of my neighbours that they needed to have a vegetable garden. They all simply admired the beauty of mine, and decided that a garden was right for them, too. The end result is that we will enjoy more fresh, healthy food and the physical and mental benefits of working our hands in the soil. But through the gardens we also now have better friendships among all of us, which is a huge benefit to our well-being. We know that we are social creatures, and we tend to be healthier when we spend good time with others. Researchers have also found that neighbourhoods where residents are more connected are more resilient to disturbances and change – like the hurricanes that often strike my town. In times of need, people who know each other are better prepared to help each other. Our little collection of front yard gardens and the fellowship they build helps create a community in which humans live happy and well. That allows us to extend our full care to the natural community that sustains us all.

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The rodeo


The kind folk at The Paddler have given me a platform to whine on about grammar and words on a regular basis here in the magazine, which will come as a relief to paddling companions stuck in cars, who have so far been my only captive audience. My aim is not to tell you how to paddle (I’m far too crap), where to go or what gear to buy (although that’s easy – stick to a twotone palette and you’ll look great and remember, red and green should never be seen).

No, I’m going to be the word guy – the resident nomenclature and etymology geek. In forthcoming issues, I’ll guide us through the maze of ill-defined terms that litter our sport. Like ‘grade’ or ‘class’? Canoe of kayak? Phonics or Phonix? And why the monkey? At times, I will moan about the encroaching Americanisms in paddlesport, not because I dislike them, but because I think they have no place on the Upper Treweryn or HPP. Sometimes, it’s just nice to speak properly and use the right terms. Language is important, and nearly always overlooked in kayaking. Sometimes, the wrong term causes genuine confusion, and that’s the case with this first instalment, which tackles the beautiful roll known alternately as the rodeo, dry-head, and back-deck roll. I’ve taken the liberty, on this occasion, of going into a few of the myths surround it as well – it’s as misunderstood as it’s misnamed. Not really knowing what to call it confuses not only whitewater kayakers but, potentially, C1 paddlers and sea kayakers too. Like many things in kayaking, there is no official right or wrong on this. But I suggest we stick to the terms below, as they are the only way to logically define these three subtly different manoeuvres.

The back-deck roll is millennia old, one of the many rolls used by the Inuits and others. It refers simply to a roll where the power blade is swept forwards from the stern, with the corresponding body throw moving forwards; the opposite to a ‘normal’ (screw) roll. The rodeo roll is a ‘trick’ variant of this in which the entire 360-degree rotation is carried out in one motion, skipping the set-up stage. The dry-head roll is a refinement of the rodeo roll, in which the technique has advanced to the stage where the paddler keeps his head dry by flicking his boat over his head as he rolls.

The myth

The rodeo roll is surrounded by bad press and bad knowledge. Firstly, a number of its fans describe it as an easy roll, which is misleading and not very helpful if you’re still struggling (as I was) after 500 attempts to truly nail it! The truth is that it’s quite an easy move to pull off, but harder to master. From that shoulderwrenching first attempt to having the move wellsussed can be a long journey.

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Photo: Dale Mears

Steffan has been paddling on and off since 1988, when he first stepped into a Perception Mirage. He is a keen historian of the sport and author of Circle Line: around London in a Small Boat (2012). These days, he paddles a dark blue Jackson AllStar (2010). He is a full-time yachting journalist in his day job.

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The reason for its difficulty is two-fold: firstly, it is a disorientating move that feels improbable from the uncomfortable start position. This is a move that only starts to make sense once you are performing it, so it is difficult to plan; it’s partly a commitment thing. Secondly, as an uninterrupted barrel roll, the momentum gained makes it possible to perform the rodeo roll without a hip flick (hip snap to US readers). This sounds like good news, but it is the downfall of the many who can perform the move, but not perform it well. A good flick is vital to coming up fast and positively and keeping your shoulders from strain. The second bit of misinformation about this roll is that it’s potentially dangerous, and only suitable in freestyle. This only comes from those who can’t perform it – or can’t perform it well. Some of these detractors are referring specifically to the rodeo roll, some to the rodeo and back deck rolls. As they call them by the same name, it’s impossible to know what they are saying, hence my wish to sort out the terminology! The truth is that the rodeo roll is largely a trick move – it’s not often used in anger but looks wonderful when it is – but the back deck roll is something every paddler should learn. And the rodeo roll is a fun way to learn it. The reason it is potentially dangerous, say the detractors, is that the paddler’s underwater position exposes his face to the river bottom. Something that top US paddler Ken Whiting pointed out makes a complete nonsense of this. If you flip lying back (the most common scenario), then in order to set up for a traditional roll, you have to lean all the way forwards into a tuck anyway, thereby exposing yourself to the bottom of the river considerably more than by simply flipping up from the back deck.

Other points to consider are that, if performed well, a rodeo OR back-deck roll is much shallower than a traditional roll and much quicker, again lessening that exposure. And finally, a rodeo or back-deck roll will bring you up in a neutral position with your strong side blade planted at the bow of your boat, ready to pull through. The third myth about the rodeo roll is that it is a strain on the shoulders. Until you nail the move properly, that much is true. But once the move is performed correctly, it’s as easy as any other roll. I’ve certainly never experienced any problems, and I’ve been doing 50 a week for a few months now.

What’s the back deck roll for?

The back deck roll is well-known among freestyle paddlers (or ‘playboaters’) as well as surf kayakers, as a trick move. It’s the basis of the entry move (performed while dropping into a stopper/hole); the airscrew (one of the iconic wave surfing moves), and the kickflip, a downriver move. It’s also just a coollooking roll to perform as you’re flipping back up in the wave train. If you are a river runner, these won’t be of interest to you; but it’s the safest, quickest way to right yourself after an inversion lying back, and that should be of interest. In an ideal world, kayakers would come up from an inversion in whatever position they were flipped. In over half the cases, this would mean a back deck or rodeo roll. As a very fast move, it’s also a good way to get used to the dynamism of playboating manoeuvres, where many moves (the cartwheel is a classic) happen so fast, they leave your reaction times lagging. It’s interesting to note that those with a good rodeo roll or back deck roll usually use it as a first choice. And it’s also interesting to note that playboaters and surf kayakers, the two most dynamic disciplines in kayaking, and who flip with the most regularity, use it almost exclusively.

Ken Whiting’s instructional video on how to rodeo roll, despite being in 240p, is the best on YouTube.

Next issue:

America and the UK – two countries separated by a common language? Hip snap or hip flick? Grade or class? Eddying out or breaking out?

Kayaking is fun… Bruce Jolliffe Kayak Coaching Kayaking Catalonia – Spanish Pyrenees In 2015 we will be offering our: Revolutionary Week – for budding freestylers, freeriders and freedom fighters. Focussed on playing, both park and play and downriver fun. (Freestyle 3 Star and possibly 4 Star available on request). 4-11th July. Improvers Evolution Week – for river runners that wish to push their grade in as forgiving a learning environment as is possible. 11-18th July. Learn to Guide Week – for those that wish to grow their river sense and look after others on the water, this includes the BCU WWSR and 4 Star WW Leader course. 18-25th July.

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By Dave Rossetter –paddlesport instruct

What do you do Whether you are a coach, leader or just paddle for the sheer enjoyment the need to improve and hone our skills is always there. Whether it’s bigger surf waves, rocky coastlines, longer distances or harder grade of water the need to test and challenge our existing skills is a constant draw.

Coaches are always looking for ways to test those that they are coaching, to ensure that the skill has been grooved and learnt. Leaders also struggle with the dilemma of when to lead their paddlers into that more committed environment.

This short article looks at some of the ways that we can go about improving our skill.The skill could be a technique or tactical ability but could also be the skill as a leader or coach.The content will be applicable to each of the roles and will stand as a reference for coaches and coach educators as well as the paddler who is looking to push the grade of water they are on.

Options Structure of practice There are a differing ways in which we can go about our play/practice time.There are plenty of times when you see the same paddlers use the same bit of water and do the same moves constantly.While this familiarity breeds some confidence and sense of satisfaction of being able to reproduce certain moves it can let us down when we head off to somewhere new. Don’t get me wrong, this reproduction of moves does lend itself to improving the muscle memory and attaining new knowledge. However, paddling takes us to new and exciting places where we our skills and knowledge are put to the test. As well as this massed practice we should be compelled to add variety to our practice.This variety sees us challenge our skills and helps when we find ourselves on the different side of the boat, different angle of wave or wind. By looking to achieve our favourite moves in differing ways sets us up well for when things don’t go to plan. Our paddling becomes adaptable and flexible.We have built up differing ways to achieve the same outcome. Rolling is a prime example. How many can roll their kayak on one side 80-100% of time where you can get back up with the paddle starting in many different positions and the other side 50% if you are having a lucky day?

We practice and perfect on our favoured side until the skill has become so strong and autonomous that our other side is severely lacking.You then have a challenge in your paddling where what happens in the gorge, when you can’t get the paddle to your preferred side? Are you having a lucky day or not? Surely it would be better to be in a position with knowledge that you are strong on both sides. The final part for us here to think about would be how we go about distributing our practice. Paddling in any form of water and especially moderate / advanced conditions requires the constant recalling of different strokes, skills and tactics to achieve the desired outcome. Putting yourself in a position where you have to use a skill for a short period of time then a different skill before having to use the original skill again forces the speed at which you can recall the skills. This is critical in more advanced conditions where we are constantly switching between skills to achieve a successful outcome.

tor at Glenmore Lodge

to Improve?

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Deliberate practice Taking this a stage further in being able to improve, then there is research (Simon & Chase 1973) about how to become an expert, which details how we need 10,000 hours/ten years to get there. While this may be true, what we can look at is the work of deliberate practice as highlighted by Gilbert and Trudel (2012) when looking at defining what makes an expert coach. Three areas come through from this research and from Ericsson (2003): 1. Clearly defined task designed with the appropriate level of challenge for the specific learner. 2. Provision of unambiguous feedback. 3. Repeatable to allow for error correction and subtle refinements. This focus on task and using the feedback to help focus on any adjustments aids in the quality of what is happening. By forcing us to always be in a cognitive and/or practicing stage means that we are constantly thinking of how to improve what we have. As soon as we become autonomous this deliberate practice tasks us to gain feedback and focus on the improvements means we concentrate on the improvements. This means that we are asking the questions of others and re-establishing what we have. This marks us out on the path to improvement in performance.

Reflections on activity – if and then questions

To improve we need to reflect on what we have been doing. This aids us in critically analysing our performance. A great way to structure this is the use of ‘if’ and ‘then’ questions. ● If I did this then what will happen? ● If you were to do it a different way, then what would have happened?

These questions can be posed pre or post activity and are a great way to start the reflection process. We are very good at going out and having experiences but are we good at reviewing them with a view to learning from them?

The next time you are out paddling before making a manoeuvre ask yourself ‘if’ and ‘then’ questions pre task and post task. When combined with the structure or deliberate practice then we are well on the way to improvement.

Coaching – get some!

Stuck on that plateau and can’t get off it? Struggling to answer the ‘if’ and ‘then’ questions? Struggling to know what aspect to vary to see if the task could be achieved a different way?

Well, coaching can help unlock all of those for you.

If you are a coach, then an interesting area that you may want to look at is that of using a constraints-led approach to your coaching. This is based on the work of Brymer and Renshaw (2010) where they look at three constraints and how by developing coaching in these aids the learner in developing skill.

The constraints of: ● Individual ● Environment ● Task

Are worked on as a way for the learner to develop ways to achieve the outcome. For example if someone can achieve the task it may be that we look at reducing the effort. So the outcome remains the same, the same environment but we ask the learner to reduce the effort.

Other examples could be going for a wide arc break in. Once the learner has achieved the task set the challenge (task) of reducing the size of the arc.

For the environment this could be staying efficient forward paddling despite going different directions to the wind.

The critical part here though is the questioning and reflection afterwards. What did the learner do to achieve each of the outcomes? They have completed an outcome and then the constraints are changed to force the learner into a period of working it out and coming to a conclusion. This of course doesn’t stop the coach in helping the learner but allows the learner the freedom to experiment and develop variety in their approach and helping shape the thought that are many ways to achieve an outcome.


Recently I have been looking into coaching and how best to get coaches to improve. One thing that keeps coming up is that of mentoring. Having that person that you can share your thoughts with that group of friends where the question of how do you do something is raised is essential if we are to improve. Having a community where you can call upon to aid you in solving issues will stand you in good stead.These communities are more accessible now than they have ever been. With internet forums and the use of social networks and media it is now possible to have thoughts from all parts of the world.These can be a great way to share the knowledge and go to for different ways / opinions on how to do different skills. This mentoring will be invaluable to new coaches coming through the system. It is part of the BC Level 5 programme but the introduction of the UKCC awards mentoring is now part of all the awards.This sharing knowledge and having that trusted mentor to aid in our thinking, helps with the improvement in our coaching.

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Without we struggle, we need it to help with reflection and to improve.All of the above force feedback. It is the essential thing that happens in all of the above. By gaining feedback from mentors, coaches, the environment and the outcome of tasks aids us in our reflection and this in turn helps us move of the plateau.

Continual professional development

Seeking new knowledge and challenge/confirm existing knowledge – what a great way to improve.

By entering into these with open minds ensures that we can move on in our development. Symposiums, conferences, workshops, skill development weekends, coaching matters/update events and courses all help us with our development. Come to them with an open mind and you are sure to improve.

You will improve if there is genuine new knowledge available or a different way to achieve an outcome.You can also gain confidence in that of sharing your knowledge and skills to others.

Not afraid to experiment – play time!

All of this means it’s time to get out and do! One strong areas in those that achieve is the determination to get out and do.They are not afraid to pit their skills against different

environments or different ways running the same rapid on their doorstep.This child-like approach to trial and error and being unafraid to get it wrong, is one of the ways that paddlers can develop. ● Are you happy to get it wrong in front of your peers? ● Do you not want to get the swimmer of the year award and drink the swim booty? ● Or do you believe if you are not swimming you are not trying motto? Whatever it is, isn’t great that we have the opportunity to play with a purpose and use the thrill of getting right to develop that critical questioning of why it worked. If it didn’t work why not?

Summary These eight areas are food for thought.They are meant to challenge what you do and if you want to improve from where you are then give them a go. Whatever you do have fun doing it!

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

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Testing, Contour Roam 3 Action Camera By Dale Mears

Now when people say action camera everybody always jumps to the conclusion that its a GoPro. GoPro has become a household name even amongst the none adventure/outdoorsy folk. But there are others, and yes jump on any social media and you get a load of people quoting “get a GoPro” or “it’s not a GoPro”. I’ve used GoPro and a range of other POV cameras and now I use Contour and perfectly happy using them. OK, so I have a number of Contour cameras and their latest edition: the Roam3, is my favourite yet. I know that the frame rates are not as high as the GoPro, I am also fully aware that the still image megapixel rating isn’t quite as high either but there are many reasons to buy the Roam3. Here are some of the reasons I love my Roam3 and recommend it to anyone looking for a good affordable POV camera.

My first reason is style. I studied design and was always told a box was boring, lacked style and most of all lacked creativity – the Contour Roam3 is definitely not a box! The Contour’s form is of a very clean stylish POV camera, the shape is streamline, which allows it to mount easily on the side (yes, side) of a helmet and not limited to the top. Due to the streamlined shape you will notice less drag and air resistance and less of an impact when hitting the water face on, due to the camera having less surface area. The Roam3, unlike any other POV camera, also has a nice feature where the lens rotates through 270 degrees, so you can rotate the lens to alter your shot – ideal if mounting onto a kayak and wanting to mount flat. The Roam3 also features laser alignment, so you can easily adjust your lens whilst on your helmet by switching on the laser and aligning by twisting the lens. Perfect – every bit of footage is straight and at the angle you wanted. Contour have a range of older models that do not need a waterproof housing such as the Roam2, however, the Roam3 has been designed to stay waterproof up to 10m without the need for a case. This not only makes it less bulky but reduces nuisances like the lens misting up in certain climates. I know a lot of people who have this issue, forever buying special wipes or those annoying little absorbent pads that you have to squash into your housing. Without the case means the lens does not become misty, meaning you always get great footage.

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Better still, you can pick up a Contour Roam3 as a very affordable option if you are in the market for a new POV camera.

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The Roam3 is an excellent POV camera, streamlined, hardwearing, simple to use and shoots good quality footage. Ok so it does not compete with the later GoPro on fps and still megapixels rating but on function and usability it excels. Its ease of use makes it a perfect all-rounder – it mounts to a standard quarter inch screw thread to fasten to any gorilla pod or tripod and there is a wide range of accessories available such as ski goggle mounts, suction cups and MTB kits for any mounting needs.

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m .co

Contour have added a new feature on the Roam3, which is a single button on the rear of the camera for taking stills. Although the stills are five-megapixels, which is low, the quality is ample for on the go shots. Let’s face it, most people will only be uploading these shots to Facebook/Instagram anyway and not printing them out. You can simple hold the back button for a few seconds and it beeps to let you know it is on stills mode, then you press the back button to snap whatever you want.

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

The Roam3 defaults at 1080p 30fps and 720p 60fps and you may also use 960p, 720p and 480p at 30fps or 480p at 60fps and 120fps. I personally have only used the 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps and always been very happy with the resulting footage – especially as most video sharing sites compress the footage down to 720 anyway, unless you buy the pro upgrade.

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All Contour camera’s have a single record mode. Located on the top, it is a simple slide switch, which is ideal if you have wet hands or maybe skiing or boarders’ gloves. It makes for easy recording rather than having to check if the red light is flashing and you are on the right recording method. Note: you will have to pre set your recording method, which can be easily done by selecting the settings you want whilst plugged into a computer – it takes two seconds and isn’t any hassle at all. There is a small switch that you can preset. I have mine programmed for 1080p 30fps and photos (one per second) on one camera and the other 1080p 30fps and 720 60fps. You can time-lapse one, three, five, 10, 30 or 60 seconds in photo mode.

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Helly Hansen HP smock top By Peter Tranter

Total waterproof breathable protection in a flexible and lightweight spray top. We’ve long tested Helly Hansen kit and though primarily aimed at the sailing and general outdoor market , they are nonetheless very applicable to the paddling sector, especially where base layers are concerned. In the kayak/canoe arena, a smock top is more generally known as a cag and in that sense the HH top is up against some serious competition that is aimed squarely at paddlers. Cags are specifically designed for differing environments and the HH top fits neatly into touring and recreational. The Helly Tech Protection fabric, combined with the adjustable neck and collar cuffs will keep you dry all day long against spray and rain. Both the neck and cuffs are PU with the usual velcro, whilst the adjustable waist is neoprene/velcro that makes it very easy to get on or off and aids you to quickly cool down when loosened. To be honest unless you intend or unintentionally go for a swim, the combination will keep you very dry in most situations. On the front of the top there is a very large kangaroo pouch, which will allow you to carry various belongings with you through the day plus a clip to extra guarantee some important items will not be lost. The HH material is typically both light and more importantly, breathable, which all-in-all, makes it a very easy top to paddle and live.

Tech specs ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Waterproof, windproof and breathable Two ply fabric construction Fully seam sealed Durable Water Repellency treatment (DWR) Unlined for performance Quick dry inside Hip length Adjustable PU neck and cuffs Adjustable neoprene hem Kangaroo pocket


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

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Palm Gradient shoe

I like these, I mean really like them – they’ve rarely been off my feet in the last two weeks. I never owned the original versions from a couple of years ago, so therefore come at this completely fresh. Palm have the Gradient for sale in two versions: a boot and shoe, it is the shoe we have been using. There is also a third alternative that Palm have named as the Camber, which is a little lighter and not as reinforced as the Gradient but with a harder sole for more general use.

The shoe itself is constructed in a reinforced layered mesh with double-stitched seams, there is good open tongue entry for the foot with tabs front and back and it’s finished off with tie laces. That is perhaps the only area I would change as I personally prefer a type of draw system and if I was being really picky, then the laces don’t have to be so long. Overall though, these are very minor grumbles on what is an excellent water shoe, which performs its job with aplomb.

Like many water shoes now on the market, they can be worn anywhere and not just for paddling. It all      depends on taste really and as to whether you really     01642 520234 like the bright green detailing or not. If you don’t, well that’s fair enough – just use them for paddling or on the river’s edge. Comfort and grip are the two words that will come to mind almost immediately and really apart from that – then what else do you need? Well the Vibram sole really is very sticky, sure-footed with good tread for mixed terrain plus stiffness and an element of protection for the toes. The footbed is nice and wide, which really suits me and if you need more room still, then you can remove the insole as the Gradient has a finished footbed.

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New in town New products, innovation and kit to drool over…

Splash Maps

We will be reviewing Splash Maps brilliant bespoke mapping service where they print any selected map section onto fabric making them waterproof. Convenient to stash in a pocket or even round your neck as a scarf, they are great for creating a bespoke map route for your journey or alternatively as a unique gift

SpaTap Eco Tap and Shower System

Spatap is an ingenious invention made from silicon rubber that fits neatly onto any plastic bottle to transform it into a wash bottle or eco shower. It offers huge water saving potential and is light enough to fit into expedition and camp kit literally saving the ‘kitchen sink’.

Satsleeve Phone

The Satsleeve converts your normal smart phone into a sat phone working on the Thuraya network, which works across the world with the exception of the Americas. It is available to fit with current iphone and Android phones. We will be testing the iphone Satsleeve in a future edition of The Paddler to see how it shapes up on expedition.

Bamboo Clothing

BAM clothing provide high performance base layers made out of Bamboo Clothing which are anti-bacterial, hard wearing and incredibly comfortable. They also tick a few sustainability boxes as well since they are made from sustainably sourced bamboo. They have just released their new collection of base layers, which we will be checking out.

Sealline coming on test

Sealline Kodiak Deck Bag Kodiak Window Dry Bag 10L Kodiak Taper Dry Sack 20L Sealline Seal Pak

All products are designed and tested in Seattle by engineers who know and live our core sports. They match materials and design with a true understanding of the end purpose to create the most specialized, high quality gear protection available. All the products are: ● Waterproof: Constructed with 100% waterproof materials and water resistant closures. These products deliver protection from the thorough soaking delivered by capsized boats, standing water and the wet environments encountered while rafting, kayaking and canoeing. ● Submersible: Our most robust protection rating is reserved for products that have been tested to withstand full submersion in one metre of water for 30 minutes. We will also be reviewing a selection of these Sealline drybag and deck bag products in the next edition of Paddler.

ler 10

s Pants

two new pants in the 14.

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

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

ultisport and Semi available now and d ÂŁ115


Testing, testin

ThePaddler 22

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Peak Design - Capture P.O.V.Action mount By Frode Wiggen

Capture P.O.V. Action mount is a versatile mount for GoPro and point and shoot Palm FXr PFD cameras. Mount it on your belt, the strap of spot between the FX and FXr is the addition of your backpack or as a kayaker onbelt.your Palm’s rescue This is the same system used on By Phil Carr Palm’s entire rescue PFDs and includes a metal Oshoulder strap of your PFD. The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has

ring for clipping in to. The belt is threaded through been around in one form or another for the fabric of the PFD, which gives the PFD a really has an design and top notch years and has The been mount one of Palm’s topawesome sellers nice and clean look. Both the metal O-ring and throughout itsquality. lifetime. In 2013you Palm tookthe camera in place, and tighten When click rescue belt can be easily removed. the FX and totally overhauled its fit and the andlikewill off! The FXr thenot FX isfall a slab design that is put on material used.the screw, it is extremely secure the head.and The slab is a much is that easily, it is light over in weight takes up better fit than on The front pocket is huge and is easily accessed via a The new FX has Disassembly been such a success it seemed the previous FX model, as it has been shaped to large zip. Inside is a useful clip in point, D ring and small to make sense tolittle move space. things up a gear and develop contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. In mesh panel for keys etc.The zip is easy to a rescue vest using the same platform. Palm     have done If you have bad luck and your GoPro remote control isspot as it is in addition the low profile design of the FXr allows for a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD.The pocket exactly this and have released the big FXr in early 2014. of the mount is that you can01642 520234 One of the advantages     of the great range of movement. Adjustment to allout of power. It’s easy to push seebody, thewhich again and thethe foambuttons slab sit lowand on your strapsitison simple and chest straightforward. I have used the FX for almost year for playboat switch fasta and easy from having your to The waist gives great levels ofare movement for paddling and dare, I red blinking light that confirm that you shooting. duties and have used a Palm Extrem River Vest whilst band/belt is coated with a rubber material (3d anti say it, makes swimming pretty easy. holding it in any direction youride want. Release it and point up), which helps to keep the PFD in place. out in my creek boat of river runner. The FX is a In addition to the main pocket is a small knife pocket. it where you want one hand, and have your other superb bit of kit and I was intrigued to see with how the The fabrics used are pretty heavy duty 500D Cordura, This is located above the main pocket and runs FXr would measure up against both the FX and hand on your paddle (you should have a safety cord the same as used in the more expensive Extrem River horizontally at the top of the foam slab. The pocket is Extrem PFDs. and match in colour those used in the dry top easy to find/access and is fastened shut with a pressattached to your PFD). ShootVest photos/film whentothe range.The FXr is available in Sherbet (a bright orange In many respects the FXr is just the same as the FX. stud. I have tried a couple of folding knives in this camera onremained your chest your hand blue beside your and Aqua (a bright contrasting zips/stitching) The majority of the featuresishave the or inwith pocket and have found that it works well. with lime green zips/stitching). Nice little touches same. However, some been kayakimprovements – what dohave you like the blue most? Palm have made a really good looking and highly made in a number of key areas. The easiest change to like the contrasting stitching and reflective piping really functional PFD with the FXr. It has taken the FX, which the FXr And I am sure this scenario ismakes familiar tostand you.out. You’ve is a superb PFD to a new level. Palm has a PFD that I taken many photos on the water only to find when you think will be a huge success with a wide range of paddlers who will love the fit and comfort of the PFD. return home there was a waterdrop on the lens and Creekers and river runners will like the robust fabrics you have to trash all the photos on the memory card. and addition of the rescue belt. You have therefore a Instructional video PFD that can be used equally as well in a number of With this mount you can easily see if there is any different scenarios. The only negative I have spotted is waterdrops to avoid this problem. the odd fact that Palm may have inadvertently created a lower cost PFD that is actually better in many respects that the Amp PFD.

Features include: â—? â—?

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


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Canoes & Kayaks New in town New products, innovation and kit to drool over…

PeakUK Tourlite Jackets

For 2015 Peak UK have updated their best selling Tourlite Short jacket and have introduced two new pieces, the Tourlite Long and Tourlite Storm. All three are constructed from Peak UK’s breathable and durable X2.5 recycled polyester and are available in orange or green with cool new logos. The Tourlite Long features Aquaout neck, wrist and waist seals and the same easy access side zip pocket as its short-sleeved sibling. The Tourlite Storm has a longer cut in the body with a dropped seat making it perfect for kayakers and canoeists alike, whether on the water or in camp. When sized up this jacket will fit easily over a pfd making it a great all round piece that no serious touring paddler should be without. The large adjustable hood also now features an easy stow toggle, so no more flapping in the wind! All three jackets are available in XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL and are out now. The Short, Long and Storm are £89, £99 and £125 respectively.

Quest Folding Kayak

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

Puffin Saranac

We will also be reviewing one of the jackets in the next edition of The Paddler.

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


PakCanoes are excellent for remote wilderness trips or adventures closer to home. Light-weight, compact for easy travel and storage, yet rugged, dependable and easy paddling. Enfield, New Hampshire, USA (603)632-9500 •

ThePaddler 24


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Gill Performance Race Boot

As with Helly Hansen, Gill marine are not a name mainly linked with kayaking and canoeing but there are certainly areas where this boot will easily rise to the challenge.

Developed as a sailing boot and not so much for closed kayak environments, they can certainly be of great benefit to those who take their open canoeing very seriously and disappear for days on end especially in extreme environments. For starters they are tough, very tough and provide excellent protection for both ankles and toes with its double layering. Onshore they have all the agility and grip that could make the difference between success and disaster on an expedition in the wilds. This is provided by a repeating tread design that’s non-slip but with deep enough channels to provide grip, aid the dispersal of water and prevent aqua planing. For less extreme environments it’s also worth noting they are non-marking. Being away for days on end and paddling for long stretches at a time – it’s important for feet to remain dry from both the outside elements and sweating. To prevent this the boots are constructed with a fully


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taped breathable laminate membrane, which vents foot vapour, keeping the feet cool and dry and aided by a removable EVA footbed. To prevent water from entering there is a waterproof internal gusset and secure lacing system. Comfort is provided by a soft wicking mesh lining. The open tongue design plus the rear grab tabs makes it easy to get the boots off and on speeded up with the secure lace design. If you’re after sure footed protection that’s fully waterproof but breathable, then it would be very worthwhile to take a look at the Gill Performance Boot, otherwise you could be missing a trick.

Tech specs: ●

● ● ● ●

Secure lacing system protected by a fully waterproof internal gusset. Ankle impact protection. Soft, wicking mesh lining. Removable EVA footbed. Fully taped, waterproof and breathable membrane technology vents body vapour to keep feet dry. Non-marking and nonslip outsole with deep water dispersal channels to prevent aquaplaning.

ThePaddler 26

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Lifeventure Expedition 100L Duffle

Whether it’s a tough two week long expedition or an overnighter - every paddler needs a decent bag in which to carry their valuable gear. Lifeventure specialise in just that – alongside plenty of other kit for the outdoor adventurer.

Having tested much of Lifeventure’s gear over the years, one of their trademarks is weight saving. The Expedition 100L Duffle weighs just over 1kg, which really counts when you have plenty of heavy kit to lug around with you. The weight savings do not compromise the build quality though. The extra tough fabric and reinforced fabric base makes it the ideal companion for those on the move. There are plenty of handles to grab on the top and side, plus a shoulder strap plus D-ring points. The bag employs a double zip, which for extra security could be padlocked together. When not in use it folds up flat and can be stored almost anywhere using up a very small footprint.



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If there is one drawback it is the lack of pockets - it doesn’t have any and therefore everything has to be stowed in the main bag. This may be the price you pay for the lack of weight - either way it’s your choice. However, if you’re looking for a super simple, large but lightweight bag that’s as tough as old boots – then you’ve found it.

Tech specs

Weight: 1.3kg Dimensions: 320 x 700 x 350mm Capacity: 100 Litres Colours: Blue, Red, Purple, Black

Great Barford

Canoe & kayak hire Stand up paddle board safari


Wild campsite located next to river Tuition, guided tours & multi day trips Canoe & kayak sales Group deals, kids parties & corporate days

The Embankment

Activity vouchers, bushcraft bus & adventure activities Other locations including the River Thames, River Ivel & River Wye

Bedfordshire Canoe Trails

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

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Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L water filter

By Richard M Harpham (see

The Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter is a breath of fresh air with its simple design and features allowing water filtration while camping or on expedition. One of its most impressive features is that it only weighs 290grams and can literally be stowed in a rucksack pocket or dry bag. The heart of the water treatment is an is an UltraflowTM filter element which reliably removes filter bacteria, cysts and sediment to 99.9 % levels. Obviously, it is still advised to select water from a water source with flow and as little sediment as possible to improve the filter performance and life. One of the benefits of this technology and design is no need to pump water through the membrane as gravity does the work for you. The replaceable filter uses a ceramic membrane and can filter water using gravity at and has the capacity to treat 1,500 litres on single filter (un-confirmed by us). Literally with two minutes of assembly, we were ready to go and on a hot day were glugging river water, which tasted great. You can also purchase a shower adaptor to convert this into a shower unit as well. A first-class bit of lightweight expedition kit.

At a glance features ● ● ● ● ● ●

Comes with carry case Ultralight dry bag style water carrier Feed tube with connectors for hydration packs Integral and replaceable ceramic water filter Simple locking tap system Water level indicator on the fill bag

Weight: Flow rate: Capacity: Volume: Size:

Tech spec

290 grams 2 litres per min 1500 litres per filter 6 litres 25 x 15 x 6 cm

0.2 micron Ultra Flow Filter™ pleated glassfibre removes bacteria, cysts and sediment. There is also a higher capacity 10-litre version of this filter available

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Point 65 Apollo single/tandem kayak

By Richard M Harpham (see

The Point 65 Apollo sit-on-top kayak offers a great occasional sit on top with flexibility as both a single and double and is truly transportable.The fixtures and fittings are basic but solid and work well. This is the transformer of sit on tops with options as a double and single and we had a lot of fun paddling it in different conditions. The Apollo as a single set up is better suited to children through to medium sized paddlers with relatively low volume and freeboard (height of gunnels). Although we tested it in different conditions including light chop on the sea, some fast moving water and slow moving rivers, it is best suited to lakes, slow move rivers and sheltered water. The Apollo once split into its component parts will fit easily into most hatchback cars (with the seats down). One of the negative features of the Point 65 is the positioning of the integral moulded carrying handles that made it slightly awkward to carry.


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The Apollo is particularly suited to families and those wanting an introductory or occasionally kayak to mess around on the water. It would also be perfect for people who enjoy touring with their motorhomes and caravans and wanting to explore. We tested the Apollo on the English South Coast at Shoreham paddling in the river estuary and also on the sea enjoying the Spring sunshine. The Apollo is made in the USA from durable HTP (High Performance Thermoplastic). Performance Durability Fixtures and fittings Responsiveness Value for money Transportability

2 4 2 2 4 5

At a glance – features

Modular sit-on-top kayak for ease of transport and storage. ● Multiple moulded foot rest positions. ● Adjustable padded back support. ● Ratchet strap system to allow storage and transport sections. ● Shock cord for stashing kit. 280cm (420 with three-piece) Length: 55cm Width: 11kg x 2 = 22kg Weight: 140kg (single) 220kg (double) Capacity: ●

This is work?

Share your passion for paddlesports with our young guests! PGL is the UK's leading provider of residential activity holidays and study courses for young people. More than 400,000 guests enjoy a PGL trip each year, and we’re looking for energetic people to work with us in 2015 to ensure our guests have the time of their lives. Canoeing has been at the heart of PGL since 1957 and we have long recognised this sport as a great way to introduce children to the outdoors. We offer a variety of opportunities for qualified paddlers to introduce canoeing and kayaking to our guests. If you're a qualified UKCC Level 1 or UKCC Level 2 Coach or above, you'll be able to lead sessions in addition to consolidating your instructional skills, accumulating log book time and working towards higher level qualifications. The variety of our centre locations means there’s plenty of chances to paddle during your free time, from flat to moving water. We offer a competitive wage, meals and free uniform; accommodation is provided, plus transport from a UK departure point for staff working in France or Spain. Find out more and apply now...

@pglstaff fa

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Helly Hansen Odin H2 Flow jacket By Anne Egan

The Odin is Helly Hansen’s top-of-the-line, high-performance lightweight, waterproof and windproof jacket. Beautifully styled and colourful, it sports bright fuchsia zips with vibrant yellow tags and draw cords – unmissable! The hood is fully integrated and the feel of the outer shell is almost silky to the touch, which I really liked.


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Once feeling warm, the vents operated by zip and located under arm are easily opened to allow the warm air to escape to be replaced by cooler air to be circulated inwards. Up to 30 percent less fabric is needed in the construction – a major reason why the jacket is so incredibly light but warm and comfortable. The zipout softshell snow skirt fits very snugly keeping out the wind and rain. An intriguing and potentially life saving feature is the addition of a ‘Recco’ reflector, one part of the two part rescue system used by Alpine mountain rescue to help locate avalanche victims (see www.recco for full explanation of the system).

The full stretch construction is supple, quiet, and slightly stretchy, giving full range of movement, with the stretch stopping the jacket from riding up.

Together with the fully adjustable hood cuffs and bottom hem this garment felt ideal when tested on a wet and windy day SUPing on the Thames in March.

The Odin offers very roomy twin external chest and generous zipped waist pockets, so there is plenty of space to stash the essentials and easy to access with gloves on. The zips on the pockets and indeed all through are aided with pull cords for ease of use.

For serious adventurers looking for a breathable, warm, lightweight shell, with a detachable soft-shell snow skirt, waterproof pockets and a helmetcompatible hood, I couldn’t recommend the Odin highly enough.

The jacket is extremely well designed for the wearer to control and modify their temperature to the level that suits their environment or activity. The Helly Tech Professional fabric laminate H2flow system is such that it traps air there between the layers. The second layer from the inside being perforated with holes to allow the air to be circulated and warmed.

Tech specs: ● ● ● ● ● ●

H2Flow system with torso insulation. Fully seam sealed. YKK® Aquaguard water resistant zips. Adjustable cuffs. RECCO reflector. Adjustable cuffs.

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Palm Fuse jacket By Phil Carr

The Palm Equipment Fuse jacket has had an upgrade for 2015.The jacket is constructed from a new lightweight three layer fabric and the GlideSkin neoprene neck gasket has also been improved. Gone are the harlequin colours of 2014 and in comes a very smart jet grey colour scheme with aqua detailing. The neck gasket material has seen an upgrade from last year. Having used similar neck gaskets in the past, I have always found them to provide a pretty good seal and this one is no different. Not a totally dry seal but pretty close.The great advantage of the GlideSkin neck      gasket over latex seals is that they are generally easier     01642 520234 on the neck with a reduced chance of neck rash. The fabric used in the Fuse is new for 2015 and is much softer than in previous models. However, this doesn't mean that the fabric feels weak or compromised in any way and can still take a beating. I have found the material to be breathable as any other top recently tried and of course has been waterproof as you would expect.The weight of the fabric means that the Fuse is ideal for spring through to autumn. I have probably pushed the envelope a little over the last month or so but have found that if combined with the correct layering the lighter weight fabric is not an issue in the warmth stakes.

Tech specs â—? â—?

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XP 3-layer ripstop fabric. Pockets:YKK AquaGuard zipped chest pocket. Weight: 730 g (L). Cut: 4D cut. Neck seal: GlideSkin neoprene gasket. Wrist seal: latex gaskets with Velcro adjustable cuffs. Waist:Velcro adjustable neoprene waistband (twin waist). Other features: Fine seam construction increases freedom of movement and perforated reflective details.

The Fuse has a number of standard key features that can be found throughout the whitewater range. For example the twin waist with the inner rubber strip and outer Velcro adjustment.There is plenty of adjustment so getting a good seal against your sprayskirt is straightforward. It also has a chest pocket, which like many of Palm’s other jackets, is not fully waterproof. The new hanger that appears on the Palm Zenith also appears on the Fuse. Being able to hang you gear up is important. It's a small feature but still a very welcome one nonetheless. The taping looks spot on throughout. I’ve never had an issue with the taping on Palm products but I know some paddlers who have and Palm have worked hard on both the cut of the jacket, the number of pieces used and how those pieces are joined together. Now all these features are all well and good but they mean nothing if the Fuse jacket doesn't fit well. I’m 6ft 2�, 43� chest and 200lbs. I usually wear large tops from most manufacturers and the Palm Fuse I tested was large and for me the fit was excellent. Lifting my arms above my head wasn’t restricted in away way by the cut and the main body of the jacket stayed in places – no issues with it riding out of position. Being fully colour coordinated seems to be the in thing in many outdoor sports. If this is your thing then the Palm Fuse in Jet grey coordinates exactly with the new jet grey Palm Alpha PFD. I personally love the colour.

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Palm Kaituna

I have a couple of pieces of gear from Palm Equipment that’s made from Neoflex.The first is a Kaituna long sleeve top that I purchased last year and then there is this short sleeved version, which landed at Unsponsored HQ a couple of weeks ago. The Kaituna range of gear is designed to provided warmth in both wet and dry conditions. When wet the Neoflex material acts just like a wetsuit and traps a thin layer of water between your body and the fabric. When dry the Neoflex relies more on its brushed almost fleece like Thermospan inner to provide insulation.This means that the Kaituna range could be worn as an outer layer in warmer weather or as part of a multi layer system. Both tops have a slightly drop tail which is great for maintaining coverage to your lower back even when bending down. The long sleeved version has had a considerable amount of water time and has been used for kayaking, canoeing, rafting and even a little bit of surfing during the autumn last year. It was also used to extend the temperature range of the Zenith short sleeve jacket and the Fuse. Being so close fitting I am sometimes concerned that chaffing could become an issue. But even after hours of surfing or paddling, this hasn’t been an issue. I have found the Kaituna tops very comfortable when used as outer or inner layers and when they have wet or dry.The use of Neoflex has created a series of garments that are higher versatile in their own right but as I have found, may also add some versatility to other gear that you use.

Palm Zenith jacket

For 2015 the Zenith comes in both long and short sleeved varieties the one reviewed here is the short sleeved version. The days are starting to become longer and the sun seems to be out that little more. It won’t be long until it’s time to be out on the water with a short sleeved cag. For many years I have been using an Immersion Research cag, which is simply awesome but is now getting a little long in the tooth. Last summer I decided to get a Palm Equipment Zenith short sleeved top but I was simply far too late. No dealer within the UK or Palm themselves

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had a top left in my size. Roll on just under a year and Palm have released the 2015 version of the Zenith. So what makes this year’s Palm Equipment Zenith so different to last years. Well, the most obvious is the new colour scheme. The main body of the top is now one bright single colour with the inner skirt tunnel a contrasting bright colour.This particular jacket is Sherbet (orange) with aqua contrast. The other colour way is Aqua with a lime green contrast. Less obvious is the new neck and arm seals. The GlideSkin seals have been significantly updated with a newer material and is now all black. There are no latex seals at all on the short sleeved version of the Zenith. The long sleeve version does have latex wrist gaskets with adjustable neoprene over gaskets just like the Fuse and is also available with a cut specifically for female paddlers. The XP 2.5 layer fabric and feels a little heavier duty than the fabric used in the Fuse jacket and like the Fuse it also has the improved taping. The outside of the Zenith includes a very large zip accessed pocket that spans the chest of the jacket. This pocket isn’t waterproof and includes a drain hole to allow water to escape. Over the last couple of weeks I have managed to try the Palm Zenith out a few times. In all honesty I was probably again pushing the envelope a little. But I found that when combined with a Palm Kaituna Neoflex top it was still comfortable. The Zenith will be seeing a great deal of water times during this summer.

Tech specs ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

XP 2.5-layer fabric. YKK AquaGuard zipped chest pocket. 630g (L). 4D cut. Ultra Stretch neoprene gasket. Ultra Stretch neoprene bicep gaskets. Velcro adjustable neoprene waistband. Twin waist. Reflective details.

Exploring your local waterways has never been easier. Agile and stable, the Roam is at home on whitewater, and also efficient enough to cover miles on the lake. Outfitted with wrap around support from the Contour Surround seat, and smart ideas like the versatile mesh storage bag. Available in two sizes, 9.5 and 11.5.

ROAM 11.5




ThePaddler 36

By Paul Bull –UKCC Level 3 Coach at Paul Foundation White Water Kayak Skills

As we venture from the relative calmness of flat water paddling and take our first steps into the world of white water kayaking we need to develop a range of key skills enabling us to progress safely down a river. One of the key skills to learn is how to break into and out of flows, also called eddy turns.The effective mastering of this skill can ensure that we can start to break down rapids, stop and play on features or just catch our breath!

The technique that I find works particularly well as we start out in the more dynamic white water environment, but is equally relevant and effective as we progress up the river grades, utilises the principles of drive and an active blade as we carry out our turns.The drive and active blade ensures that we cross the eddy line, the most unstable part of the manoeuvre, as quickly as possible whilst maintaining stability.

Breaking in and 1



Bull Coaching Let’s break this down into easy steps, starting with breaking into the flow to progress downstream: ●

Firstly, we need to identify the eddy-line.This is the line generated where the slacker water of the eddy meets the main flow.

We accelerate the boat towards the eddy line using three or four good power strokes.

As our boat nears the eddy-line, we time our last stroke (the key stroke) so that it’s catching the water just over the eddy-line, in the flow, and we drive our boat across this with a good forward power stroke on the inside of the turn.The timing of this stroke so that it catches the water just beyond the eddy line is critical.Too early and our boat starts to slow down as we cross the eddyline.Too late and we have already crossed the eddy-line before we rotate and edge, leading to instability and a potential capsize. (Picture 1)



As we drive the boat forward, the foot on the inside of the turn engages with the footplate and our leg straightens and stays engaged until our boat is pointing downstream. (Picture 2 & 3).

We finish this key stroke behind us with the paddle in a trailing blade position, blade fully immersed in the water. Our front hand is over our downstream knee and our rear elbow is behind the hip and over the edge of the kayak, creating a capital “A” between the boat, our body and the blade (Picture 4). With the correct position we will feel a positive pressure build on the power face of the blade, and by locking that paddle position in place we can derive some really good stability from this pressure (Picture 5). If we have the paddle too wide then we will feel pressure on the back face of the blade and the boat will slow down through the turn.

By developing this active trailing blade position we have naturally rotated our body downstream, looking for our future water and with the right connectivity in place our boat has naturally edged the correct way.Two less things for beginners to worry about!

As we develop this skill, the need to hold the trailing blade in the water is lessened, or alternatively we can be more adaptive and slice the blade through the water into our next stroke.

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So this describes the technique for breaking into the flow, but how do you break out?

Well, this is the beauty of this technique – only one thing changes when we apply this to breaking out, and that’s the placement of that last key stroke. Instead of placing this last stroke in the flow as we do with breaking in, we reach across the eddy-line and plant the paddle in the eddy, driving our boat across the eddy-line again on the inside of the turn.

Now, if we were to complete 100 of these turns in exactly the same manner and on the same eddy-line, we would expect the same shape of turn each and every time all other things being equal. “Not very useful in our dynamic environment” I hear you say. Very true as no eddy is the same and sometimes we need a tighter or wider turn depending on what’s downstream of us or the particular move we want to achieve. Well, the technique stays the same but we need to start thinking tactically. Here’s three ways we can tactically affect the turn for any scenario without changing the technique:

Speed: By varying the speed that we cross the eddyline we can change the shape of the turn. The more speed we carry the wider the turn will be, and we will get further across into the flow. The slower we go the tighter the turn will be. Remember though that the boat needs a minimum speed, otherwise the boat spins out on the eddy-line and we have a wobble!

Angle to the eddy-line: By changing our angle that we cross the eddy-line at we can again change the shape of the turn. Pointing the boat more upstream will create a wider turn, whilst pointing our boat more across the river our turn will be tighter.

Trim: Every open canoeist will know about trim, but what does this mean for kayakers? Well if we microtrim our bodies forward, we release the skeg at the back of the boat slightly which allows us to turn tighter. By micro-trimming backwards slightly, the skeg effect is accentuated and our turns are wider.

All of these tactical variations can be used in conjunction with each other and are not mutually exclusive.

Paul Bull Paul is an enthusiastic full time UKCC Level 3 Coach who’s passionate about helping people to develop and enjoy kayaking and canoeing whether thats more advanced skills on the more technical or bigger volume rivers of the UK and Europe or grass root sessions nearer to home. Paul delivers a range of BCU and personal skills courses in both canoe and kayak. More information about Paul and the courses he offers can be found at or via Facebook at

Using a combination of the same technique, varied tactically depending on the type of turn we want to achieve, makes for really dynamic paddlers.Then it’s all about the planning.What do I mean? Well it’s about sitting in the eddy, taking a look downstream, understanding the water between us and our next objective and deciding what sort of turn is needed to achieve a successful outcome and then making our plan.Then it’s all in the execution. As we go through the learning stages though it’s important for us to complete a review of the last move we made so that we complete that ‘Plan-Do-Review’ cycle and learn from each turn we make, whether it’s a successful outcome or less so.This also starts to build our understanding of the water, any features and how these affect our kayak.

JOIN US FOR FUN ON THE WATER! With the 2016 Rio Olympics on the horizon, we want everyone to feel part of the excitement! There are lots of ways for you to get involved; from Starter Sessions to personal challenges. There’s something for everyone!

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Paddling food Every spring I start to collect food for our annual canoe camping trip, my dry bag starts to fill up with pouches and sachets of tomato sauces, lentils, beans, rice, tuna, tins of anchovies in olive oil, small jars of tapenade and capers, dried porcini mushrooms and pre cooked meals. By David Truzzi-Franconi

& Samphire



The weight factor is offset by using less water and fuel – although on some portages, particularly one last year over the isthmus of Cap Ferrat with a steep uphill haul of 500m in the full strength of the sun, I would have cheerfully sat by the curb and eaten it all had it not been for the traffic!

Another must is a small container of spices and herbs etc. to add your own note and lift your meal. Consider a few stock cubes, black peppercorns, bay leaves, star anise, tubes of coriander and basil puree, dried dill, paprika, garlic and a chilli etc.

Tasty food is good for the morale particularly after a cold wet and windy paddle – in these circumstances a communal meal is a good idea. It is quite a challenge to successfully combine the ingredients into something palatable that does not look like army surplus paint or Cordon Bleagh! I also bag up portions of Muesli and add milk powder, so you simply add water to your breakfast!

A favourite meal is to empty a tin of anchovies with the oil into a pan, add some chopped garlic to gently colour, add sliced red, orange and yellow peppers, aubergines and courgettes. When softened add tomatoes or tomato paste and water, rosemary or basil, black pepper simmer gently – great with fresh bread, fish or steak, rice, pasta – add some tapenade and capers, mush the peppers and you have the sauce for pasta alla puttenesca!

Wine is removed from the boxes with the foil bladder stowed under the airbags: red in the stern and white in the bows.The addition of rosé last year caused problems with trim but that was soon sorted out! A Chorizo type hard sausage is useful, chop them on a small or cut down chopping board, sweat the sausage in a pan to release the paprika flavoured oil in which you can fry off onions and peppers then add beans for a Spanish style meal or use oil to fry and add a chopped dry sausage like Kabanos to flavour or just to snack on.

I always take two small BBQ trays stowed in several bin bags, ideal for beach cooking or on a bed of stones. Good fish to BBQ are oily ones like Mackerel, Herrings, Pilchards and Sardines. Add flavour by putting rosemary on the fire or adding wild fennel. Other fish can be wrapped in foil, the body cavity filled with herbs with some white wine added and baked on the BBQ.You could bury it in the dying embers of your fire and cover with charcoal, ready when the fish is opaque and you can easily pull the fins away. Shellfish are a problem unless you’re certain of the water quality and it’s safer to cook them placing the oyster shells on the embers and eating when they open – make sure they are closed firmly before you do this. Samphire/Glasswort is a great partner for fish – add to your foil parcel for a very special dish. Again check water quality before picking, the best ones are those that are washed by the tide.When picking take a few and move on rather than clearing an area.

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Another good foraging food is fungi I restrict my collecting to a few that are distinct and truly good eating. Usual caveats apply – consult a good book with good quality photographs (Roger Phillips - Pan Books) or best of all get somebody who knows to show you or go on a foray.

Giant Puffballs are easy to identify – large, white, round and usually in meadows or hedgerows. Pick one that is firm and has a hollow sound when you tap it and slice in half-inch tranches and fry in oil or butter. Chanterelles, if you are lucky enough to find them, are orange/yellow, smell of apricots and are usually hiding in mossy banks. They do not have gills but knobbly ridges running down the outside of the cap that peters out on the stem. Gently fry with a little garlic and fold into some beaten egg for a unique omelette – wonderful!

Boletus Edulis (penny bun, porcini or cep) – the cap looks like a bun (avoid any with red colouring) and is considered to be amongst the best for eating. This does not have gills but a layer of white to cream sponge under the cap that you remove unless it is a good firm specimen. Sauté in oil and /or butter in a little chopped garlic, best remove this after it has flavoured the oil rather than risk burning it.

Boletus badius (the bay bolete) has a dark suede (when dry) chocolate brown cap. The sponge or pores are yellow and turn an alarming blue when removed; they are easier to find than penny buns and less likely to be eaten by maggots. When cooked they are more glutinous than penny buns but still have that wonderful tang of the forest! Laetiporus sulphurous (chicken of the woods) grows on dead or mature hardwoods such as oak, cherry and beech from August to October or later and sometime as early as June. The species can also be found under conifers. It is an alarming yellow and pink colour and yes it does have the texture of chicken and a wonderful fungus smell. As with all mushrooms pick only whole mature fresh specimens and do not keep them in a plastic bag as they will deteriorate quickly. better still, a string bag or basket will help distribute the spores. If you cannot find any – use bags of dried Porcini. Soak the dried mushrooms in some tepid water and when pliable add the mushrooms and liquor to anything requiring. A meaty/yeasty smell and taste, add some to the body cavity of your white fish before baking in foil for an unusual taste – a sort of surf and turf!

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Buon appetito and happy paddling – all over Europe All of the items mentioned are good with pasta and don’t forget to add a little of the cooking water to the sauce to thicken it. Also soak your pasta in cold water for an hour and a half, drain and then plunge it into salted boiling water for a minute until al dente and serve thus saving 10 minutes worth of fuel!

Plastic wine glasses add an air of refinement; a glass of wine, frying off some onions is a good way to stimulate the gastric juices and the imagination. Can’t be bothered, then go to whom supply a large range of quality pre-cooked meals using farm produce such as Gloucester Old Spot Pork meatballs in a sauce – portions are around 300gms. I use them myself and I would add some tagliatelle pasta to them, as they is only just enough for a hungry person and you will need the extra energy to haul the additional weight when portaging!

Nærøyfjord, Norway

Île-aux-Moines, Brittany

Venice Lagoon, Italy

Sept-Iles, Brittany

Maddalena Islands, Italy

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Kayak Paddler 048 An interview with… Eric Jackson

058 Sulawesi, Indonesia

The fantastic five by Beth Morgan

066 Canada

Paddling the Mackenzie River by Carlos Rodríguez

078 Italy

The King and Queen of the Alps by Luca Dapra

088 Canada

Madawaska Kanu summer school by Aldrick Brock

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here and when was your first paddle? My first paddle was at Pine Creek, Pennsylvania, known as the Grand Canyon of PA. It is a class 1-3 river and we always did it as a two day trip. My dad’s friend from work had a home-made kayak that I begged to use any time he would switch with me, out of the front of my dad’s canoe. I got to paddle it in the easier rapids and was hooked.

What and where was your first competition? My very first competition was a canoe race in Florida that my friend Greg and I won and it led me to believe I was a good canoeist For whitewater, my first race was the Kenduskeg Canoe Slalom event in 1983. This was a 26-mile downriver race that I raced in a wildwater boat I borrowed from Jeff Wren, the swim coach at the University of Maine where I attended and I also borrowed a canoe from my calculus professor. I won every slalom event (single and double canoe, as well as kayak for slalom) but was second to a Canadian guy named Robin Lang in the downriver race. I got the bug, however, to begin racing.

What got you hooked on white water kayaking? The freedom and the challenge.

Before we start – just let our readers know a little about you, your family, background, etc. My family is middle USA, Hard working, lower middle class, from Ohio. My dad was a Green Beret turned engineer, so a very black and white person, while my mom was a very kind, caring, soft hearted person.They were both excellent parents and examples for me. My dad taught me to think big and to always try to be the best and my mom taught me to always be kind to people. My sister was five years older than I was and was a horse person who became a life-long farmer and still farms in Massachusetts today. I moved to Pennsylvania when I was three, and went whitewater canoeing and kayaking there for the first time at age six with my dad and his friends from work. I also competed as a radio controlled pilot in our local club. At age 10 we moved to Florida where I became a bass fisherman, and still doing R/C flying but there was no whitewater. Finally at 15 we moved to New Hampshire where we picked up kayaking again, buying our first boats, Lettman Mark IVs.

Eric Jackson Emily on Baby Falls. What has been the biggest accomplishment in your life? My biggest accomplishment? Really is a tough one. Certainly leading by example with my kids and having them become so successful is perhaps the one I am most proud of. Keeping my family together, travelling, living, and being best friends is my big life accomplishment, I think, so far. Certainly I am proud of my athletic accomplishments. My many years in racing, both slalom and extreme racing stand out for me, some of the hardest won events will always have a special place for me. My breakthrough year in 1998 in freestyle when in the Wavesport X was one of my most special seasons, as it was the beginning of a decade of domination, winning 11 events in a row. It was when my wife, Kristine, gave me my Norse Rhune the ‘Tyr’ for victory in competition on the front end of those wins. While I was already the current silver medalist in the worlds, it started a new era for me.

Of all the championships you have won in your career – does any one of them stand out above all others? My 2005 World Championships win was one that was, in many ways, the sweetest for me. I started Jackson Kayak in 2004, and it was uncertain if I could compete at a world level and run a kayak company of my own at the same time. I believed I could (or I wouldn't have started it) but, proving to myself, as well as winning the first world championships in a Jackson Kayak – a boat with my name on it, was special. The 2007 Worlds was also hugely special because it was the first big wave world championships. Winning the Gorge Games Extreme Races are also near the top as they were coveted and heavily stacked competitions. It was in the heyday of my racing career and being able to win a number of them back to back, both boater cross and extreme races was something I am proud of.

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Have you ever been scared and if not – what would it take? I have gone through the evolution of the, “I am the most bad-assed kayaker in the world” mental phase, which starts with the younger kayaker whom wants to be known as fearless and runs everything, plus more – that was me in the 80s-90s. Fear took a back seat to the desire to be first and best. It is, unfortunately, not a healthy way to live, and can kill or hurt kayakers. In 1997 I messed my back up really bad on a waterfall and couldn’t paddle for some time. It helped me understand the mortality of my body and that if I wanted to be doing this for my whole life, I needed to be smarter about it. It isn’t fear as much as deciding if I am comfortable with the chances of success on the rapid or waterfall to take the leap. I leave some margin for error now, walk things that I would have never hesitated to run, but still run things that are big or hard from time to time if I am confident in the line and feel I have some margin for error. I also find that being a little more conservative around Dane, in particular, is important, as he’s on the wrong side of the fence, in my opinion, on leaving margin for error. He does run just about everything, and I don’t want him learning his lesson, like I learned mine. When I walk something, he at least knows that if he does too – he isn't being wimpy. Not that it should matter, but it plays out in a 21-year olds head.

Favourite freestyle move? Mcnasty, probably. It is just one of those super technical moves that when they go well, they really feel good. Being a creation of mine back in 2002, it also changed things quite a bit on the freestyle scene. It became one of the first ‘gymnastics’ type of move that really separated out the field.

Over the years, which event has left a lasting impression? One of the biggest impression events, ever, was the 2001 World Championships organized by Luis Rabaneda in Sort, Spain. This event was heavily attended by the city people, by paddlers from around the world and had all of the elements of a crazy good time. There were raging parties during the event by the competitors who had been eliminated, as well as the locals and family and friends, night time semi-finals in a stadium type atmosphere and a very exciting competition. It set the new standard for freestyle events and it wasn’t matched again in terms of that atmosphere until 2009, in Thun, Switzerland.

There is no specific answer to this question. At home, (four months/year), Kristine cooks breakfast most days, four eggs, bacon, some kind of bread (often home-made), coffee, juice, milk. On the road in the RV (six months) 50% of the time is eggs, and 50% of the time cereal. Lunch is also a variety – often cold cut sandwiches with Coleman’s mustard (compliments of Rhona Dempsey from England), or Kristine’s soup – she makes a whole range of different soups!

Can you talk about your training? Greatest inspiration? Role models/who/what kept you motivated? Richard Fox, from England, was my first true role model in this sport that really affected my training. I was also influenced by Jon Lugbill, Davey Hearn, Kathy Hearn, Fritz and Lecky Haller, but Richard changed my thinking in one training camp in 1988 in Brazil, forever. Everyone always told me that Richard was simply the best technician, with the best technique and that is why he was the fourtime world champion. When I went to Brazil that year, he needed a training partner and asked me to join him and Miriam. We set up gates, and started training together and the sheer volume was double what I was used to. Three sessions a day minimum, which included long endurance paddles (70 minutes), lots of interval training, as well as technique training, running, etc. I raced him in every workout, every run, every day for six weeks! By the end I had improved so much that I won my first two events at home in a row, where beforehand, I had never won a single event (competing against the best in the USA). I owe much of my success to Richard and setting the bar much higher than I thought it could go.

Can you tell us a little about being a ‘Pear Sports Coach’?

What would a typical food day be for you?

One of the things I feel the world needs is more focus on fitness. As the population become fatter, not unlike the movie ‘Wall-e’ it needs more examples of how to stay healthy, more fun tools to stay fit, and more coaching. Pear Sports is a very unique interactive coaching program that literally puts my voice in your head, coaching you along the way for each workout. If you are not going fast enough, I’ll let you know, or if you are going too hard for that segment, I’ll also let you know. It’s a combination of GPS tracking and heart-rate tracking to create an interactive coaching system. I have created two ‘on the water’ workouts that you can do in flat or white water and they can be done in a play or flat water sprint boat. I also have an indoor treadmill workout, a circuit weights workout for the gym and one outdoor running workout. My daughter, Emily, really seems to like the ‘Run, Jump, Push, Run’ workout for outdoors. She did it almost every day in Africa.

How else do you use kayaking to help others in life?

I like to use kayaking as a way to get people to travel. Travel is one of the most valuable things anyone can do to become a good citizen of the world. Most of the world’s issues are created by those who bunker down in their hometown somewhere and don’t understand people in other places. Travel really shows you how nice people are everywhere. It also helps people put their lives in perspective, feel good about themselves and become and stay more active. Kayaking is one of the best excuses there is for travelling. Cold in the winter? Find a place in the south were it is warm and go kayaking there for a couple of weeks and you’ll come back a better person. For kids, I try to make kayaking something that they strive to be able to do more of. The simple act of finding ways to participate in your favourite activity is a life lesson.

When I say – go south for two weeks in the winter – there is a way too big a percentage of people who think, “Oh yeah, you are lucky to be able to that, but what about normal people?” There is no such thing, there are those who make it a priority and find a way and those who don’t and wish their life away, assuming they were dealt a bad hand. When kids learn to kayak, they tend to find ways to travel, around their own country first, but eventually out of the country and that lesson sticks with them for life – that they have a choice.

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At the half century mark – what keeps driving you in competition?

Being competitive, being in good shape, having fun with my family and team are all motivators. Simply put, I love competing. With that said, I like variety and therefore skipping some competitions this year that I have done many times before and taking part in some different ones. The USA team trials at Glenwood Springs, Colorado, will be super fun. The World Championships on Garburator (assuming I make the team again for my 26th season) will be my highlight event of the year for sure – perfect venue! I am adding Bass fishing competitions to my schedule this year, something I am also obsessed with and want to try to be the best at over time.

You suffer from severe hearing loss – was this a consequence of paddling?

No, I had Scarlet Fever at the age of two, which took away most of my hearing. I wear Starkey Hearing Aids, which make my life much easier. They are a family owned business and the founder, Bill Austin, still works hard, but most of his time is spent giving away hearing aids to those who can't afford them!

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

Two rivers that are going to be gone, forever – the Nile and Zambezi – they are bucket list under any conditions but it’s now or never!

To say you travel would be an understatement – is there anywhere you still regard as home?

My home is Rock Island, Tennessee. I have a nice house there, lots of land, my kids all still live at home, including Nick Troutman, my son-in-law and Tucker my grandson. We love coming home and hanging out here. Lots of fun things to do!

Eric Jackson

With your travels this year – what’s been your favourite experience?

Being on the Zambezi again, this past November, was perhaps my highlight trip. The entire family travelled, we went to Botswana for a safari, and the river was epic, of course. However, so many awesome trips – China was a first, Mexico was epic again, Austria was super fun this year, as we did some cool activities (paragliding, high ropes course, and the adidas Sickline race).

What are your plans for the next 12 months?

The entire plan? That is almost one event every weekend… I have seven major fishing tournaments to compete in, all of which are new! GoPro Games, USA team trials, time on the Ottawa River training for the Worlds, World Championships and the Sickline Extreme World Championships are some highlights...

What’s the most important singular piece of advice you could give to an up coming young paddler?

Paddle for fun! Training and competing can and should be fun first. Don't make kayaking a job. If you’re doing it for the right reasons, because you enjoy it, you can learn faster and go further. Many young kids set goals, such as being on their national team.They focus all of their energy towards that goal and their enjoyment factor is specifically tied into how close they are getting and once they get there, they have a new goal and they are still not having fun. The key to having fun is to make every time in the kayak a game. If you are training, make a game out of that training. Get enjoyment out of that training session, every time, even if you lose the game.

Variety: change things around – try a C1, go to a different river, paddle with somebody different. Try different moves and techniques for the same objective. What makes kayaking so special are the things you do in training that you would want to do even if you are not training. This isn't the case for most sports.

EJ’s epic Nile River Whitewater and fishing trip 2015

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

Pick two celebrities to be your parents… Sorry – I want my own parents, but thanks for asking.

Favourite pastime? Duh... kayaking.

Cats or dogs? Both.

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.

An ideal night out for you is?   A night in with Kristine.

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

What do you get really angry about?   I don’t get angry.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now? Too much food.

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

Kristine has too many things to guess which one… likely something on the grill.

Bucket list top three paddling locations: Zambezi, Futalafu, Grand Canyon.

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

Favourite sport’s team? Team Jackson Kayak

Fill in the blanks: I am ______? EJ.

Final shout outs?  

Thanks to all of my fellow boaters who have been a big part of my life, to Kristine for being the best life partner of all time and my kids for staying by my side even as adults!

Many thanks EJ for all of your help on this – we really appreciate it and all the very best for a successful 2015.

Eric Jackson Dane Jackson approaching Baby Falls ThePaddler 57

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When Beth Hume and I started planning our next kayaking adventure, we discussed various possible destinations. Sulawesi was not one of them. In fact, I did not even know where Sulawesi was – one quick Google later helped me discover it is one of Indonesia's islands. Indonesia was recommended by our friend Tim Burne, with the promise of a beautiful, cultural country and some fairly relaxed paddling, which sounded ideal given that our initial plan was to travel there as a pair.

Fast forward a couple of months and I noticed Amy asking for Christmas trip ideas over Facebook. After fairly minimal convincing she was in, and a couple of days later two of her friends, Jenny and Susan, asked if they could join us. All of a sudden we were a group of five.This was a pretty exciting prospect because we could now look at doing rivers which we could not otherwise have attempted, in particular the Lariang. Recommended by Tim as one of his “dream missions”, the Lariang is the largest drainage in Sulawesi. The top part down to Gimpu has been successful descended by six groups, all with rafts and all earlier in the season when the water level was lower. We knew that now we had a big enough group this river would be the main focus of our trip. We just had to pray for the right conditions. By Beth Morgan

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It was the perfect warm up – easy kayaking in a stunning gorge with

iguanas jumping into the river in front of you every few metres

The kayaking was fantastic, mostly continuous grade 4, ranging from the low volume


up to the big volume style of the Lariang and Sa’dan

On our arrival in Sulawesi, we set off on our warm up trip on the Maulu, one of the main rafting runs in Toraja. It was the perfect warm up – easy kayaking in a stunning gorge with iguanas jumping into the river in front of you every few metres. It felt so good to have arrived, and to be on a river as a group despite not having previously met two of the team!

Takeout for the Lariang – Amy Elworthy Putting up the hammocks – Amy Elworthy

the Matallo (we ended up walking out due to rising river levels and illness within the group), and a twoday New Year’s trip on the Sa’dan rafting run, a lovely conclusion to our holiday. The kayaking was fantastic, mostly continuous grade 4, ranging from the low volume Rongkong (grade 3) up to the big volume style of the Lariang and Sa’dan. Definitely enough to keep us entertained, with the added excitement of having no idea what was around each corner. It gave me the opportunity to push my leading skills, knowing that Beth was right behind me if I got something wrong or chickened out of going first. I also discovered how the 9R paddles with kit in the back – the answer is really well. Once I got used to it, it tracked on line perfectly and punched through holes with ease. Very happy!

Of course, it is not an expedition without a bit of carnage

On the Massupu we had been warned about a nasty rapid which could be difficult to walk around in high water. On the second day, we reached the entrance to a gorge and a rather ominous looking horizon line. Sure enough this was the portage; the river-left side a disgusting mess of siphons with a tree across the whole river. The river-right side was a shallow slide into a pool and then involved paddling through a gap under a giant boulder to escape.

Massupu portage – Beth Morgan

After the success of our first day we were all excited for the rest of our trip. Despite a few logistical and transport issues (including the discovery of the lack of road to one of the rivers we planned on doing), we managed plenty of paddling in our three weeks: a three-day multi-day warm-up on the Massupu, a couple of hours on the Rongkong rafting run (to break up a ten-hour truck journey), four days on the Lariang, two days on an attempted first descent on

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The river was a bit too high

to scramble down the rocks so Beth and I discussed our plan of attack. The best option appeared to be to paddle off the slide.

We lowered Beth’s boat down first, but managed to lower it into a siphon that none of us had noticed and get it stuck. Really really stuck. Two hours of failed rescue attempts later and we managed to scramble through a bat cave, through the jungle and on the top of the giant boulder before hauling the boat upwards to freedom. Such a relief! After throwing the rest of the boats down, a bit more cave scrambling and a slightly sketchy ferryglide above an undercut, we were all sorted and ready to finish the river.

Jungle bashing

We also had a bit of an epic on the Lariang. On the first day we reached a big rapid, which we were not all confident at attempting and so, keen to stick together, we looked at portage options. Having being told that “everything is easily portageable”, it turns out this is not necessarily true in higher water. After an hour’s worth of jungle bashing we emerged the other side, exhausted. I have previously been advised to always sleep on a portage, the reason for which became evident when two boats ended up floating off down the river. Beth and I jumped in and chased down probably the biggest rapid I have ever run blind.The rescue was not without difficulty, with Beth sacrificing her paddles to jump to the side with one boat and me getting a vine wrapped around my paddles and BA on the opposite side of the river with the other boat.

We ended up in the less than ideal situation of being in two groups, separated by jungle-covered cliff with about an hour of daylight left. Beth and I gathered up some overnight things and set off upstream. Unfortunately it got too dark and too steep for us to carry on so we spent the night on a cliff attempting to sleep whilst worried about how the others were getting on and about the potential creepy crawlies in the jungle with us (especially after seeing a giant centipede!). We set off again as soon as it was light and thankfully, after a bit more jungle bashing, we were all reunited, feeling pretty broken (the others had experienced an equally nervous night, attempting to sleep three in a hammock in wet gear).

Generous hospitality

Despite these problems we all had a fantastic trip and there were many highlights of our trip in addition to the kayaking. The people in Sulawesi were incredibly generous and made us feel so welcome. Whilst on the Massupu, we were invited into the home of a lovely Indonesian man who spoke no English. He let us cook on his stove and sleep under mosquito nets on his floor. He even wanted to share his food with us – such generous hospitality from someone who has so little (although, despite living in a shack in the jungle, he did have a TV!).

We ended up in the less than ideal situat separated by jungle Massupu Indonesian Man's house Susan Doyle

tion of being in two groups, -covered cliff with about an hour of daylight left

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We also received a warm welcome in the town of Gintu, before our trip down the Lariang. We were taken on a tour of the local area, visiting the local Megalith, and were invited to the women’s Christmas service where, much to our embarrassment, we were ushered to sit in the front as honoured guests!

And would I go back? If we got a group together to do the whole Lariang, down to the sea, I would definitely consider it. It would be a great achievement to have successfully completed the full river. Overall we had a fantastic trip. The country is beautiful, the people are very friendly and the kayaking was much better than we ever imagined. Now I just need to start planning the next adventure!

So would I recommend Sulawesi? If you want a trip with no hassle and easy logistics where you get to scare yourself silly every day then this is not the place for you. However, if you want an adventure where you get to mix your kayaking with culture, scenery and wildlife, sleep in hammocks on the side of the river and explore rivers that, although they may not be the hardest in the world, have seen very little exploration to date, then this could be one for you – particularly if they build a few more roads to improve the access to new rivers.

'It's all part of the adventure' - Kayaking in Sulawesi:

Children in the Bada Valley - Amy Elworthy Luxury transport - Amy Elworthy

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Night paddling

RReasons & forWIDE kayaking the Mackenzie


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The Mackenzie is Canada’s longest river and the 13th longest in the world; it’s a huge challenge to paddle down such an enormous length of water. It carries 10 percent of the fresh water entering the Arctic Circle… it’s not just long – it’s huge! With an average volume of 11,000 cumecs, it’s awesome! The river flows along a 1,000 mile route that heads directly north; an incredible journey from the heart of the North American continent to the Arctic Ocean Another good reason: the Arctic itself. We'd be going from a vast tree-covered expanse to treeless tundra; we'd be travelling through the rawest wilderness for days on end… there would be bears, lots of bears…

and huge fish, all kinds of birds and stunning landscapes… nature in all her untamed glory. At the end: the delta. The Mackenzie Delta is one of the largest in the world, with a 210km long labyrinth of channels and stretching 90 kms wide at the mouth. The last great challenge of this trip would be to reach the Beaufort Sea and what’s more, the delta is chocka-block with Beluga whales… amazing!

How we got on

Once at the water's edge, we spent three hours trying to cram all our stuff into our kayaks. It was hard work and brought some unpleasant surprises… there was no way to get that second pair of boxers in and without that second pair, we realised that the journey was going to be a whole lot worse than we'd imagined. Right from the start we were coming up against really harsh conditions with force 4-5 winds whipping up the waters of the Great Slave Lake so that it looked

more like a sea than a lake… and we still had three days to go before officially starting our route at Zero Mile (M ZERO is where the Mac officially starts). We felt a little bit tense as we started the first stage of our complete descent of the Mackenzie.

revolting… and it tasted pretty strange too! When one of the two filters we were carrying eventually stopped working, we started to take more extreme precautions – the fight to not to screw up so far from home had started way too soon.

After passing the Zero Mile we discovered an immense mass of fresh water, a constant truly breathtaking moment along our voyage. But in spite of the beauty, a threat was hanging over us that prevented us from relaxing and enjoying ourselves: foul clouds of black flies and mosquitoes were waiting for us along the entire shoreline. There were always swarms of them buzzing around and biting us at our campsites, so despite the incredible scenery, our sole desire was to get back into our kayaks and move on as quickly as possible. Also we had to drink from fairly dodgy places as water in the river was very silty, and if we hadn't had the filter we would have pegged out within a few days. Even so, the water we obtained frequently looked

But in spite of the beauty, a threat was hanging over us that prevented us from relaxing and enjoying ourselves: foul clouds of black flies and mosquitoes were waiting for us

along the entire shoreline

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However, with every day that passed, we crept closer to the

Arctic Circle

and our increasing proximity to the north began to make itself felt:

Fort Simpson

After our first 10 days paddling we arrived to Fort Simpson, our last chance to stock up on provisions over the next 490kms. Behind us lay the more than 600kms we had paddled and we wanted to keep making headway at all costs, so when we got to Fort Simpson we bought all the food that was humanly possible to stuff into the kayaks and within a few hours we were back on the river. Our aim was to carry on putting 70, 80 or even 90kms a day behind us, to exceed all our expectations and have time to enjoy the sea when we got there. However, with every day that passed, we crept closer to the Arctic Circle and our increasing proximity to the north began to make itself felt: the temperature began to fall and huge storms of wind and rain unfortunately started to become frequent. Conditions on board the kayaks were harsh, and things weren't much better tucked up in our wet tent. In a place like this necessity is the mother of invention, and after a couple of comical experiments we eventually discovered that the tent footprint made a perfect sail and for a few days life was magnificent. We had reached the zenith, the “it doesn't get any better

than this” moment, the climax of our lives as river gypsies, which culminated with 115 kilometres in one day without putting paddle to water once… mar-vellous-s, and perhaps an experience of a lifetime! Instead of being a time to rest, each camp being surrounded by such wilderness, involved hours of preparation and work, as in that far off place it was vitally important to protect the kayaks from damage and the little food we had left from a curious or hungry bear… and of course ourselves, too. We constantly carried our anti-bear spray and bear bangers ready to hand, while we were gathering firewood and we set up our cooking area away from the tents, which meant carrying all the equipment over and over and over again. Before going to sleep, we had to gather everything up again and store it all in the kayaks, setting up anti-bear alarms in the process by putting all the cooking equipment on top of the boats. If a grizzly or black bear so much as touched our kayaks, the noise of the pans would bring us out of our tents to chase the animal away.

The Ramparts

Carlos The Arctic

When crossing the Arctic Circle we had set up and broken camp 22 times, drunk from revolting streams and followed the tracks of wolves along the entire shore from the beginning. We had reached the halfway point and had seen incredibly beautiful places and, most importantly of all, we had left behind the clouds of black flies. Now we were going to wind our way down the river's biggest river rapids and through canyons as steep as they were impressive: the Ramparts. Over the last two weeks we had paddled through a stunning but also monotonous landscape of rugged shores and coniferous forests‌ so when we saw this spectacular white limestone canyon, which plunges steeply down to the river opened up before us, we were overcome by the need to stop and look, to let ourselves be filled by the sensation that proximity to the Arctic Circle transmits in this special place like no other.

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Solitude The tent also made a good sail

Mini delta HQ

Ice on the Mackenzie

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The delta

One week later, when we entered the world of the Inuvialuit, a world which has been dominated for thousands of years by the Eskimo tribes (Inuvialuit means Eskimo, the Western Canadian Inuit), a sign that the delta was coming, our pace became steadily slower day by day. We simply couldn’t go any faster, the result of the mounting number of days without rest and “our daily dialogue with headwinds.” Getting thinner and weaker by the hour, we were fully aware of how our adventure was on course for disaster… a long and emphatic lesson that will take us a long time to forget. Just 120kms from the end of this penultimate stage of the Mackenzie River, and amidst the worst wind conditions we’d experienced throughout the entire voyage, we arrived at Separation Point, the point where the Mackenzie divides into the thousand channels that make up the delta.

Separation Point

We never imagined we'd arrive here in such a sorry state. It was here that we said goodbye to the rugged banks where we had found reasonable campsites, and were received into a world of mud and clouds of mosquitoes under the constant midnight sun. Four more eternal days in the delta exhausted our supplies and our strength, and we moved as if in a dream – or a nightmare – through the labyrinth of the delta’s channels. Eventually, at the very limits of our endurance, a beached boat drifted into view through the trees, and then houses appeared in the distance and a port – we had reached Inuvik! After 32 days of paddling without pause, we could finally stop for a few days and eat our fill before facing the end of the delta and the beginning of the sea.

After 32 days of paddling without pause, we could finally stop for a few days and

eat our fill

The labyrinth

We spent three days in Inuvik eating and thinking nonstop about how to tackle the labyrinth that is the delta. Although we kept up a reasonable pace as we left Inuvik behind, by the next day we had slowed down again in the face of the bitter north wind. However, the delta had renewed our motivation, all around us was a new world opened up for us to roam and explore.

Historical sites associated both with the Inuit and the early Western settlers who had battled against the land and lost: Reindeer Station, Swimming Point, the mythical Kitti (where in the 1950s more than 200 kayaks gathered for hunting whales, old fish-drying houses‌ all abandoned now to the swarms of mosquitoes, the vegetation and the ice.

Isle of Salvadora

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The Beaford Sea

We had been paddling in the waters of the Beaufort Sea since the previous day, although the labyrinth of channels continued for many more miles offshore, a true paradise for sea kayaking and a place in which to take refuge from the heavy stormwaves on the open sea. As usual, necessity eventually drove us to make the right decision and at the end of a long inner channel named Whitefish Station, the local Inuits’ whaling base, loomed ahead, silhouetted against the sea...this was an unforgettable place. We were welcomed and fed and looked after wholeheartedly. At the start, we saw things we had never seen – or eaten before. Huge amounts of fish and whales – after all, it was a hunting base and the people were experts in the noble art of generosity. These are people who live from fishing and hunting, people who learn early on that you have to help everyone so that everyone will help you… thank you forever and ever friends.

ahead, almost as if it were coming to meet us from the ends of the earth to demand that we stop – that we put an end to this mad dream of wanting to go further and of managing it. From the heart of the continent to the sea, from the boreal forest to the tundra… by river… the Mackenzie had been so long, it had brought us so far and was as wild as we could ever have imagined.

For all this, we are eternally grateful…

The Mackenzie River: Long Far & Wild trailer

After Whitefish Station, we noticed a profound change, both inside ourselves and outside too. Inside, we begin again to feel the tranquillity that our previous exhaustion had wrested from us. Outside, the Beaufort Sea, surrounded by tundra, was everything an exhausted body and a soul yearning for peace could ask for. There, we paddled side by side with white Beluga whales, surrounded by the incomprehensible beauty of the Pingos (Arctic mounds of ice-covered earth), from whose summits we drank in the unforgettable sight of the route we would take to Tuktoyaktuk (which means place for hunting caribous). Each campsite, each thrust of the paddle, was once again a gift to the senses, once more we could enjoy the world and life as whole people, as travellers of fortune. Day 42, 1,950 kilometres covered. Even as we heard the breathing of the last whales under our kayaks, all too soon our destination of Tuktoyaktuk appeared

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‌ t e s , y d Rea

s lp A e th f o n e e u Q d The King an June 12-14th Written by Luca Dapra

y), South Tyrol (northern Ital On the River Passirio in and ty par to et me world paddlers from all over the ts reme kayak race that tes ext an in e titl the battle for urance and speed to see technical skills, stamina, end and g and Queen of the Alps who will be crowned Kin are s zer ani org e Th n. pio Cham of course, the European ed few years, they have manag very proud that in only a ing kayaking world by becom to make their mark in the international circuit. an important event on the

O ThePaddler 79

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e Alps The very first King ofratth hon followed by a

ma consisted of a mass start 32 on a class IV boulder t bes the boater cross for r slalom course for the garden section – the forme e event managed to attract yearly ICF competition. Th nt nations, including the 50 athletes from six differe his ampion Sam Sutton and ‘Kiwi’ three-time World Ch brother Jamie. r s’ number s increased to ove The next year, the athlete s itor s pulling in compet 60 from 10 different nation . and in 2014 due to ssia Ru from as far as Chile and ry was added. The final demand, a junior’s catego in order to suit the more course was also changed anded. The course was ‘extreme’ paddler as dem h the put-in at the mighty moved 20km upstream, wit above the dam, where the Passer Gorge (V-X). Just and narrow and named river becomes ver y steep -metre long section, which ‘The Intimidator’. It is a 300 itewater action including offers the ultimate in wh es… and no eddies! The drops, slides, big waves, hol tre weir after which the start is above a three-me r complete the scenario afte steepest par t follows. To 10 es in with about the last slide, a tributary com e slide! hug a m cumecs dropping to for much more than just But the King of the Alps is races! There are also extreme white water and all the rivers of this organized guided tours on on ade II to V), rafting tours wonderful region (from Gr events like a movie night the Passirio, as well as side t of course the favourite par on the Friday evening and par ty with rivers of beer! for every paddler: a huge

The competition

g a 6.5km marathon, startin The first par t consists of at g shin fini Quellenhof and with a multi-line class IV at ope Eur in e reme kayak rac Riffiano. It is the longest ext river-reading abilities, ’s lete ath and really tests the ly the 16 fastest from the stamina and endurance. On the the second par t, which is marathon go through to t of par cal hni and more tec final, a much shorter, faster n tow the in tion is situated the Passirio River. This sec tric lec roe hyd the Enerpass of Moos directly opposite meets the mighty falls of o siri Pas station where the epete in head-to-head tim Stieber. The finalists com ak kay e difficult extrem trials on one of the most , the ‘King of the Alps’ is son rea courses and for this athletes from around the attracting more and more that miss the top 16 places world. Even the athletes , action on the final section can still be right next to the r. rive the of s from both side with ample viewing spots paddle the final section, Not everybody is able to or because it’s too whether they didn’t qualify r an open race is yea hardcore. Therefore, every compete – here you can rs organized where all paddle rs, it paddler! Through the yea do not need to be a fast a to g-r unning competition has passed from a kayakin g for 2015 they are lookin ‘street-kayaking’ one and posing something new. forward to once again pro

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Location Merano is one of the mo st varied and touristicaly noted regions in the Alps. Situated at the foot of a numerous 3,000 peaks, it is renowned for its warm climate and unique vegeta tion. Merano also offers a great variety of recreation al activities, with huge sco pe to provide specifically for the outdoors. In each loc al valley you will find a torren t of water, which provides the perfect ambience for those who are passionate about their water sports .

Side events

Kayakers will have the opp ortunity to par ticipate on courses to improve their technique and with guided tours where a ‘local’ will sha re their endless amount of river knowledge and exp erience. Of course not everyone has to be a kay aker for a river descent as there is also a rafting tou r down the marathon sec tion where you get a taste, hav e plenty of fun and share with your friends! People , who like to stay dry, can enjoy the sports at the mo vie night with a beer and last but not least we nee d a par ty king and queen!

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Rivers This is a wonderful region, with amazing nature and river to be paddled. Firstly, of course, the Passirio, which is our home river and offers numerous sections with a huge character variety. Starting from the top there is the pushy final section, followed by a technical gorge (V). After this, a technical forest gorge (III-IV) follows and from there (village of S. Leonardo), you have 30km of class III-IV including the marathon section. Just before the city of Merano the river becomes steep and narrows again and offers you a 300m class V rapid. From here a nice boulder garden flows to the confluence with the Adige. The other river close to Merano is the Adige, which offer some incredible big water runs (III-IV) as well as easy class II sections. Another big volume river west of Merano is the Noce, just a few kilometres over the Palade pass. Driving on east from Merano you can find numerous class III to V runs such as the Aurino, the Rienza and the Isarco. Going north from Merano, in less than an hour you will land in the mighty Otz Valley, theatre of the adidas Sickline.

For more info about the event, region and rivers check out:

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SUMM Kayaking class IV rapids is not your average summer camp activity, but for teens in the Whitewater Riders program, learning to boof is only the beginning.Whitewater Riders is a fully immersive two week camp for kayakers aged 13 to 17 looking to take their boating to the next level. It’s offered through the Madawaska Kanu Centre, two hours northeast of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. By Adrick Brock

school‌ in the Mad


dawaska Kanu Centre style ThePaddler 87

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Riders is the brainchild of extreme paddler KatrinaVan Wijk Van Wijk has competed internationally in slalom, freestyle and creeking. Her parents, Claudia and Dirk, own and operate MKC, the world’s first commercial whitewater school. A stone’s throw from the banks of the Madawaska River, the facility features a log beam chalet, lodge, and sauna, and serves as the base camp for the Riders’ two-week stint. Unlike a lot of youth kayaking programs out there, Whitewater Riders promises to put kids in all kinds of boats, not just the ever-popular playboat. The program starts on the Ottawa River at MKC’s sister company, OWL Rafting. During these first introductory days,Van Wijk refreshes the Riders on the basics: paddle strokes, river reading, the whitewater role, and surfing. The group is challenged to work together as a team early on, to watch out for one another on the river, and to achieve their personal goals.

Top freestyle competitors,

The Riders are joined for the freestyle unit by top freestyle competitors, Martina Wegman, Kaleb Grady and Dane Jackson. These guest instructors take advantage of the Ottawa’s deep water and worldclass features to demonstrate and teach the specifics of spins, loops and blunts, challenging the Riders to push their playboating limits. Next in the curriculum is a full day Swiftwater Rescue course taught by a certified SRT technician. The lesson takes place in the water and on shore, highlighting things like team awareness, rescue techniques and ropes systems. For Van Wijk, this is the side of paddling that more youth programs need to incorporate. Her focus with the Riders is to create what she refers to as ‘complete boaters’, not just hot-shots. “We’re trying to build these kids into self-sufficient kayakers who don’t just focus on themselves,” she says.

Van Wijk’s focus with the Riders is to create what she refers to as

‘complete boaters’,

not just hot-shots ThePaddler 89

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After the high-volume Ottawa River, the Riders are shuttled an hour west to the MKC facility. Here they hop into slalom boats on the Madawaska River, a friendly but technical section of class I to III rapids down the hill from the canoe and kayak school. The crown jewel of the river is Chalet Rapids, which features a 25-gate slalom course. This summer’s session will be captained by Canadian and US national slalom team members Thea Frollick and Ashley Nee, and culminates in what’s become an annual tradition at MKC: the Whitewater Rider’s Race.

River running

After the race, the group transitions back into plastic boats and turn their attention to river running. Van Wijk uses the idyllic Madawaska to review the basics of scouting, boofing, and the combat role and then boats are loaded onto trailers and the Riders head off to one of the local creeks to spend a day putting their technical skills to the test on larger ledges and chutes. The MKC base is situated smack in the middle of Ontario’s whitewater mecca, so the Riders can choose from a smorgasbord of the region’s finest. Among go-to destinations are the Upper Madawaska, Petawawa, Gull and Rouge rivers. After creeking, the Riders pack up their gear and head out on a three-day canoe trip. The trip is lead by Katrina’s sister, Stefani Van Wijk, who is a whitewater canoe instructor and professional wilderness guide. She instructs the group in more than just tandem canoeing – the excursion is an opportunity to teach tripping basics like camp set-up, cooking, and navigation. Evenings are spent around a campfire. At the heart of the Rider’s experience is getting outside, away from Facebook and Instagram.There’s a strict no-internet policy and phones are allowed only for calls back home to mom and dad.

Connect with one another

Van Wijk has seen first-hand what the break from these devices can do. “At first they’re really upset about not being able to check their emails,” she says, “but after a day or two they completely forget about that world. They start to connect with one another and with the river.” She’s part of a paddling family, and knows first-hand how important it is to get out on the water together. She sees Whitewater Riders is a natural evolution in MKC’s Family Week and Kids Kayak programming, that are pillars of the school’s summer schedule. MKC has been offering monthlytwo and fiveday family courses for almost three decades. “Paddling is a lifestyle sport,” says Katrina’s mother, national slalom champion Claudia Van Wijk. “It’s so important that your kids fall in love with it alongside you.” The real draw to their program, according to Claudia, is that families arrive together but are challenged at their own individual level. One person may prefer canoeing, for instance, but their spouse may be a kayaker. Kids are grouped together, meaning adults get to focus on their strokes while their children rip around at their own fearless pace. Classes are small, split by skill level, and lead by certified instructors.

says Katrina’s mother, national slalom champion

“Paddling is a lifestyle sport,” ClaudiaVan Wijk

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ThePaddler 92 For those families who come back year after year, it’s an easy-to-love tradition. MKC teaches everything from hydrology to strokes to river rescue in hopes of creating self-sufficient boating families. “It’s amazing to see families growing together,” says Claudia, “They continue to expand their paddling experience with river trips for years to come.”

Katrina agrees, “Young paddlers need the passion and support from their parents,” she says. “Eventually it turns around, and it will be the parents looking to the kids.”

She has been pushing boundaries herself, following and (and perhaps overtaking) her parents’ footsteps. Katrina spent August of 2014 completing two second

descents in Norway and her record time at the Green River Race is still unbroken in the women’s category. Her most recent exploit was the first female descent of Toketee Falls, an 85foot drop in central Oregon.

Despite the international adventuring, Katrina admits it’s the July and August Riders installments she’s looking forward to the most. It’s an opportunity to hang out with some of the most promising young boaters from Canada, the United States and beyond.

“It’s incredible to share my knowledge with these kids and see them crush it. They’re going to be way better than me one day.”

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Salty Paddler 096 Bailiwick of Jersey

Les Écréhous by Derek Hairon

European Distribution by System X

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Jersey Sea Kayaking


Écréhous a splash of colour

On a paddler's window sill lies a collection of stones. Beneath each stone on a tiny piece of paper a date and a few brief details of a trip to Les Écréhous.Their window sill is now overloaded with memories.There must be something very special about a place that draws sea kayakers back again and again… By Derek Hairon


is a BCU Level 5 sea kayak coach who has been paddling in various places around the world for more than 41 years. He is Director of Jersey Kayak Adventures Ltd and organises sea kayak tours and courses around the coastline of Jersey and to the offshore islands. He is co-author of the Channel Islands sea kayaking guide book. Published by Pesda Press (due out summer 2015)


Jersey has some of the highest tide ranges in Europe (up to 12.5m) and with it the chance to see a mass of different sea kayaking environments.Though only 45 square (118 sq km) the island offers a huge range of activities and experiences to suit all interests.The island is well served by air from many UK airports and ferries operate from Poole and Portsmouth.


There is a surprising number of things to do and a huge range of accommodation.

Further information on Jersey can be obtained from Jersey Tourism,

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Five nautical miles north east of Jersey across a fast moving tide stream a splash of colour breaks the ocean blue horizon, a cluster of tiny buildings clinging onto a rocky reef: Les Écréhous. For many local sea kayakers this is their classic paddle. Traditionally fishermen sailed to Les Écréhous from the small harbour of Rozel. Today a few houses cluster around the small harbour, a couple of restaurants, pub and not to forget the Hungry Man harbour café which is a great place to feed hungry paddlers with bacon and egg rolls and lots of cake. Just don't wait too long in the queue because many a sea kayaker has discovered that even a 30-minute delay can turn a pleasant crossing into an eddy hopping exercise against 5-knot tide streams. Save the egg roll and cake until your return to Jersey.

A 30-minute delay can turn a pleasant crossing into an eddy

hopping exercise

against 5-knot tide streams


Jersey man's character For the amateur geologists many granite walls around Rozel include Les Écréhous stone. Given the abundance of quarries on Jersey, the quarrying of granite from the reef must have required a considerable amount of effort and danger for little return given the poorer quality of the Les Écréhous stone. However, this ignores a key feature of the traditional Jersey man’s character.Though Les Écréhous granite was of poor quality, it had one big advantage: it was free! Once afloat the need to aim well to the west of Les Écréhous often feels strange, but given the strong crosstides in Le Ruau channel, it soon makes good sense. If you leave Rozel around low water, there is a good chance you might spot a pod of dolphins about a mile off Nez du Guet. Jersey is fortunate to have over 100 dolphins resident all year off the east coast of the island.

Beyond Les Écréhous lies the Normandy coastline (14nm from Jersey) and on a clear day buildings are visible. It can be disconcerting to watch the transits on buildings and rocks appearing to be on rollers as they slide sideways due to the cross tide stream. This is when having a compass course helps. Look up and you may see Gannets en route to their feeding grounds. Almost all will have flown 35nm from Alderney which is home to one of the largest gannetries in the British Isles. Tracking devices have revealed these huge birds may fly over 340km in search of food in 72 hours! Near Les Écréhous the water gets shallow and the tide stream increases so it's not a good idea to start aiming directly at La Marmotière too early. As you approach, the brightly painted huts nestling around this tiny rocky outcrop become clearer.

is fortunate to have over 100 dolphins resident all year off the east coast of the island Gannets As you paddle further away from land you might encounter a westerly swell. If paddlers are unused to paddling offshore, it is common to find your average speed drops as people begin to feel more exposed and insignificant. Here there is no coastline to handrail around, just the expanse of ocean. Though lying north east of Jersey, Les Écréhous can be an exposed place. If, even on a calm day, you see swell breaking onto the western reefs, you can expect to encounter swell. Once ashore the regular paddler may point out storm damage to the fishermen’s cabins and even where entire buildings were destroyed during storms.

On a sunny August weekend the lagoon may already be filling with visiting yachts and boats. Nearby is the islet of La Maître Île which during the bird nesting season is uninhabited. The smell from the Cormorants puts most people off from landing.

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Previous inhabitants In the 12th century the priory of Saint Mary was established by Cistercian monks on La Maître Île. It is likely that the monks who founded the priory selected this wild and lonely location with a little land and water to graze and grow crops because it allowed them to observe their key beliefs of manual labour and strict observance. At this time Les Écréhous may have been a larger islet made of loess – a fine wind born dust – which was easily washed away in the storms which hit Europe in the middle ages. Outside of the bird nesting season the ruins of the priory can be explored.

Smugglers In the 19th century it was not just fishing which generated an income around Les Écréhous. The reef was also the centre of a highly lucrative smuggling business between France and Jersey in both peace time and war. There is even reports of an Elizabeth Remon owning a hut on La Maître Île where ‘grog’ was brewed and sold to thirsty fishermen, seaweed gatherers and smugglers. Life on the reef must have been hard as writers describe fishermen sleeping on beds of dried seaweed.

The Boots the chemists connection In the early 20th century, La Maître Île was leased to Lord and Lady Trent (Jessie and Florence Boot), the founders of the Boots retail chain. Florence was a Jersey woman whom Jessie met while convalescing in Jersey. For the Boots and their friends, a visit to their cottage on Les Écréhous was a civilised affair. On one occasion a butler dressed in white uniform was in attendance to serve meals. Low water fishing was their main pastime and breakfasts might consist of lobster and champagne. One group of visiting workmen were reluctant to leave the reef saying to the Boots, “The Grand Hotel couldn't touch your cooking.” Today sea kayakers who are prepared to paddle amongst the reefs at low tide stand a good chance of catching a lobster or two but don't expect the locals to tell you where the best holes are. Wild oysters are more plentiful.

Crystal waters Kayak around the reef at half tide and the area is a mass of channels and lagoons. Here the sand really is a beautiful white colour and the waters are crystal clear. For many this feels like paddling in the Caribbean while you glide over an aquarium of marine life in the lagoons.

Time the tides correctly and it is possible to explore the entire reef at low tide. It's even likely to spot a few Grey seals. Today Les Écréhous is an internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands site and while access is mostly unrestricted, a respect for the marine and wild life is advised especially in areas ashore where Terns nest.

French invasion The Terns’ nesting site at Le Blianque Île suffered considerably when a demonstration over fishing rights in the Channel Islands was organised by French fishermen. Though sometimes viewed as a storm in a teacup, by 1994 relations with French fishermen over fishing areas had become tense and the 155-year old Granville Bay fishing agreement was in tatters. Designed to cope with the now extinct oyster fishing industry the law was obsolete and out of date. French and Channel Island fishermen were in dispute over fishing grounds at a time when catches were declining and legal routes were bogged down in a quagmire. French fishermen resorted to direct action both at home and in the Channel Islands. In 1993 St Peter Port was blockaded, two Guernsey fisheries officers were hijacked while boarding a French boat and taken to France and 50 fishermen landed on Les Écréhous and hoisted the Tricolour and Normandy flags. When in 1994 reports of a large demonstration to reclaim Les Écréhous were received, Jersey's emergency council met. Concern increased when it was learned that the demonstrators comprised of Norman separatists, extreme right wingers, a group wanting the restoration of the French monarchy, a Catholic priest intent on saying the Latin mass and a group of fishermen. On 9th July 150 French demonstrators were met by 30 police officers, the St Martin’s honorary police and an even larger contingent of journalists. Events became heated with demands to raise the French flag on the main flag pole. British compromise and diplomacy ensued and the protesters were permitted to hoist their flags on Le Blianque Île while a Latin mass took place on La Taille bank. At 12:00 there was a sudden change of mood; protesters sat down and the demonstration turned into a large picnic. National pride was restored and the fishermen’s concerns were noted in Paris. Finally, in 2000 a new fishing law was ratified. All was eventually settled amicably but the Terns’ nesting site took many years to recover from the invasion.

Remains of the hut that belonged to Lord and Lady Trent of Boots the Chemists

One group of visiting workmen were reluctant to leave the reef saying to the Boots,

“The Grand Hotel couldn't touch your cooking.” ThePaddler 101

A night in the Customs hut

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If staying overnight, don’t expect to find a nice grassy camp site. You'll also need to bring your own water and food and it’s a good idea to be prepared in case the weather deteriorates and you become storm bound. Expect to sleep on the shingle bank or if La Marmotière is quiet, you might be able to bivouac in ‘The Royal Square’ beside the Impots (Customs) hut where the rocks make good tent pegs. If you are better organized, it is sometimes possible to hire in advance the Impots hut from Jersey Customs for the night. Take a moment to read the Impots hut log book which records the French invasion from a policeman’s perspective and also the names of local sea kayakers who have stayed overnight in the cabin. The building is small and at a push can sleep more than the

Right: Time for a beer

advertised four people. One entry records 10 sea kayakers spending a no doubt noisy, smelly and intimate night. Wake up early and watch sun rise over Normandy. The bench beside the flagpole is perhaps the favourite breakfast spot with a view looking back to Jersey and a huge panorama. Enjoy the silence of a very special and remote place. For many sea kayakers, once visited, Les Écréhous is a place to remember and revisit. Return with pebbles to place on your windowsill to remind you of a very special place. Experiences often feel better when made under your own power and skills.

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SUP Paddler 106 An interview with… South Africa’s Tarryn King

114 Spain

Mallorca by Richard M Harpham & Cody White














14’0” X 26” ASTRO RACER 12’6” X 26” ASTRO RACER


16’0” X 32” 14’0” X 31” 12’6” X 31” 11’6” X 30”


12’0” X 33” 11’2” X 32” 10’5” X 30” 10’0” X 35” 9’0” X 30” 8’2” X 32”


11’2” X 40” 11’2” X 40” 11’2” X 40” 11’2” X 40” 11’2” X 32” 10’0” X 35” 9’6” X 36”











stronger / stiffer



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South Africa’s Queen of Longboarding has arrived on the SUP scene and looking to make an impact!

Before we start – just let our readers know a little about you, family, background etc. I am a 25-year-old from sunny South Africa. I love the ocean, I love my family and I love my life. I am motivated, out-going, friendly, ambitious, loyal and have big dreams that are becoming a reality every single day and I have just recently married the love of my life. We will both be competing on the SUP world tour this year, so keep an eye out for us;) In South Africa, I manage Africa’s first SUP store called, Xpression on the Beach, this is your ultimate one-stop SUP shop – probably one of the best jobs in the world ☺

I started surfing when I was 14 years old. I kind of did things backwards. I started on a 5;8 shortboard and competed for four years then started longboarding when I was 18. I still compete on a longboard and started SUPing three years ago and haven’t looked back since.

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Firstly, what boards are you using? My quiver consists of one Coreban Dart Pro, A brushed Carbon 7’4 and a brushed carbon 7’6 Coreban Platinum and a 9’1 Signature longboard.

When did you discover SUP and what prompted you to get involved? I got introduced to SUPing by Gary Van Rooyen, I went to support a friend at the South African Champs at Tableview one year and Gary handed me a board and paddle and said, ‘ You in the next heat!’ The rest is history!

What and where was your first competition? As above – at the South African champs at Tableview, Cape Town, South Africa.

How does SUP give you satisfaction? I can ride my SUPs in any conditions. If there are no waves then we downwind or do some flat water paddling. Being on the water, getting fit and staying healthy is great satisfaction.

Only early doors but what is the biggest accomplishment to date? My biggest accomplishment to date is fifth place at the Huntington Beach Pro, California, last year as well as having represented South Africa twice.

How does it feel to represent South Africa on the international stage? It is the most incredible feeling in the world, firstly, you are representing your country and secondly the amount of support and encouragement from friends and family is unbelievable!

Are you naturally competitive? VERY! :p

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

Tarryn King

First thing is warm lemon water, green juice, oats OR eggs. A sandwich or a salad and then protein and veggies for dinner. There is usually a sneaky chocolate thrown in between those meals ☺

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Besides SUP, you compete in Longboard and Shortboard which of the three do you prefer?

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

SUPing is number one but I really do enjoy a good old longboard session.

Bali was incredible, but The Huntington Beach Pro in California was one not to be forgotten.

Downwind or surf?

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Six months ago I would’ve without a doubt said surfing but after this downwind season it’s a close call!

Have you ever been scared and if not – what would it take? Yes, often but I think it’s what keeps me coming back for more.

What has been your best ever day on the water? Probably surfing cooking waves at Uluwatu with my husband.

I see myself being the typical surfer mom, sitting on the beach week-end after week-end in wind/rain/sunshine, supporting my kids and sharing the line-up with them ☺

I’m into SUP and going on vacation, where would you recommend? South Africa is actually a great destination.The water isn’t tropical but the waves are consistent and the wind is epic in the summer for downwinds ☺

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Pick two celebrities to be your parents…

Kelly Slater and Richard Branson ☺ and for a mother I would be happy with…

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

Favourite film? Dirty Dancing.

What would you do with $20 million?

Invest some and spend the rest surfing all over the world.

Cats or dogs: Dogs.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Easter eggs and ingredients for a green juice.

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

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

An ideal night out for you is? Dinner with friends.

Bucket list top three SUP locations: Hawaii, Maldives, Australia.

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

Fill in the blanks: I am ______? Ready.

Final shout outs?

Massive thank you to all my sponsors for helping make my dreams come true. Coreban Standup Paddleboards, Holdfast Roofracks, Roxy Wetsuits and Apparel, Xpression on the Beach, Overboard Africa, Signature Surf+Skate, Onit Pro, Surferskin Sunblock! Thank you!

Tarryn King Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule:)

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Mallorca by

This adventure had been a long time in the planning. I had met my expedition buddy, Cody White, an American paddle board racer on one of previous trips, the Spare Seat, from Niagara Falls to the Statue of Liberty in 2012 ( Our original plan was to try and circumnavigate the island by paddle board. This would involve travelling extremely light with just one change of clothes and paddling kit, which coined the phrase, “How short is your toothbrush?�

By Richard Matheson Harpham & Cody White

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Our plan seemed foolproof scheming from opposite sides of the Atlantic, paddle around Mallorca, wild camping along the coastline. December was the window of opportunity and we gave it the green light. We arrived excited at the prospect of warmer weather to find the worst storms forecast in 10 years. We wandered around Palma, looking a bit of a sight, carrying everything including our inflatable Naish One Paddle Boards, chosen for their speed and weight, food and small stove, a tarp and our sleeping bags.The storms meant cold ambient temperature, so evenings were looking a bit on the chilly side. We stashed our spare kit at the hotel we had booked for the first night and prepared for the off. With bad weather due we reviewed the wind and wave forecast and concluded our best option given confused conditions was to run with it at the start and take our chances. We headed anti clockwise to pick up the following seas and breeze towards the Southern Cape. Leaving Palma felt good and we were pushed along on two-foot swells – the sun was shining and we were in good spirits. It took a while to adjust to the boards with extra kit and nose weight, we were using Riveria Vantage Carbon paddles for the trip which had the right blend of weight and power. Almost from the start we began to appreciate how stunning the coastline of Mallorca really was with sandstone, rocky outcrops and what we called, “A monopoly of cool caves”.

Eating couscous and tinned fish

Researching the trip we had discovered that general camping was frowned upon, presumably to avoid the large tourist trade descending on the beaches in summer. Funnily enough in winter, we seemed to have

the place to ourselves and apparently seeking ‘shelter’ for the night was allowed. Our first campsite involved nestling our sleeping bags onto a sandstone ledge with a small cave. It was perfect and we reviewed the day whilst eating couscous and tinned fish. As darkness fell we spotted some fishermen in the bay so lights out for us to avoid any hassles.

Bad weather approaching

The night was cold and morning was a struggle to get going. Once paddling we again found lots of interesting caves and gullies to explore. As the sun climbed in the sky it took the edge off and we got into our stride. Cody, who races in America and runs Nomadic SUP in Key West, began to give me a few coaching tips on using my power better on a SUP. As dusk fell we scouted our second campsite spot just short of Colonia Sant Jordi – it was a 10m wide letter box cut in the cliff and with a bit of scrambling we were checked in to the second best camp spot. More food and our spirits were high but we knew bad weather was approaching fast for the next few days. To make matters worse my camp mat sprung a leak overnight and I took to sleeping on the Naish One.

Cap de Formenta Beach

Guitar Cody

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More food and our spirits were high but we knew

In a boat shed

bad weather was approaching fast for the next few days

Sand cave campsite

Cold was becoming an unpleasant factor simply since we had

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packed so light,

therefore we gratefully enjoyed the warmth of the café and some hot food

The weather didn’t disappoint, and we awoke to grey skies and light rain.We stopped for lunch at an old boathouse at S’Estanyol De Migjorn but as we got back on the water, it deteriorated quickly and we were faced with swell and waves over a metre and strong gusts. I had two dismounts surfing down some waves but fortunately the water was still warm. Suffice as to say we got a bit trashed and eventually were literally brought to our knees but we made land after crossing about 10km of open water in the bay.Touching land was a welcome relief and we were greeted by a German tourist who had been tracking us with binoculars and wanted to check we were OK.Thanks buddy.

We scouted a beach that was out of the way and 3km out of town for a campsite. This time a tarp and two paddle boards as sides, was our makeshift bedroom. We stashed our kit and wandered into town for some food and to charge electrical kit and find an internet connection. Cold was becoming an unpleasant factor simply since we had packed so light, therefore we gratefully enjoyed the warmth of the café and some hot food. Eventually we beat a retreat in the rain to our shelter and spent the night shivering in a heavy storm.

Morning greeted us with more sunshine but really strong winds and waves made SUPing round the cape at Cap de ses Salines a real problem. We could see white caps and big waves from our beach location and decided to scout

it. Before we went we hung our wet kit onto a local tree aka ‘The drying tree’ and walked the 6km to the cape. Everywhere was jagged razor sharp rock which was getting battered by big waves and white caps (that day was 30-knot winds and 2.5-metre swell) with a southerly wind. Our concern was getting blown south into the Med with no easy get out on the rocks if it all went wrong. We were stranded and returned to our camp deciding to wait for a better window.

The next day the wind dropped slightly and we were still clinging to the idea that we might make it round the island, so we returned to our boards and pushed for the Cape. Rounding it was like getting caught in a huge wind tunnel. We were becoming massive sails being pushed in the wrong direction with strong gusts. We oscillated between kneeling and sitting, gritted our teeth and fought our way north.

This was nothing like the pretty catalogue pictures, it was a pure grind. Slowly we made progress northwards but could feel our original mission slipping from our grasp given our limited window of time. We both agreed our original plan would be tweaked to ‘Exploring Mallorca by SUP’. We were exhausted having battled with the elements for most of the day but one of the highlights was paddling through the natural archway at El Pontas, which providing the obligatory posing shots.

We reached Cala Santanyi and checked into a hostel for a night to use the internet and work out a new plan. We wanted to continue pushing north but the weather was against us for the next 3-4 days with the tail end of the storm. Most places were shut and deserted given the offseason but we did find a local seafood restaurant and figured we were in calorie credit – the local food was amazing and we ate well.

The next morning we continued northwards again mainly on our knees, which felt a little pointless given we were supposed to be stand up paddle boarding. After another morning of being battered we concluded it was time for a change. We reached Porto Colom and conceded, there was no fun to be had fighting the elements.

We did the obvious thing and literally tossed a coin for heading to the North or the West. North won and with the kindly assistance of local Jaume we headed to Cap de Formentor to explore. We met Jaume whilst grabbing a coffee in a local cafÊ and he literally came to the rescue with a night in his flat, sampling local food and providing a taxi service to the North – what a legend! He runs Mas Nautica, a chandlery and hire shop in Portopetro, so if you are passing please give him your business. It is amazing how you can travel anywhere in the world on adventures and meet like-minded people.

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Jaume drove us north to Port de Pollenca and then into the hills of the North Cape. We scouted a location close to a hotel and ended up having to hide in the bushes to dodge a renta-cop. It must have looked a bit suspicious with us diving into the hedge and Jaume left to do the explaining. We made camp again with our minimalist kit and reflected on our good fortune. We had three days to explore Cap de Formentor without fighting the wind! In the morning we pushed off the beach with stunning aquamarine waters, threaded through a small rocky island and started to explore coves and caves galore. It was like being kids again, as we rounded each cove and outcrop and found new places to play. We were joined by a fair few jelly fish, which added to the incentive to remain on the board. As we pushed north, the wind again picked up but thankfully less than before. We found a quiet bay for lunch and without time pressures of our exploration mission decided to walk to the top of the Cap and see the view. Our camp that night was literally on a grass bank nestled under some trees perfect. We had practiced planking on rocks that day, explored many more caves and really grew to love Mallorca. Next day we headed for the lighthouse on the Cap.

The final day saw us head up to the Cap de Formentor, again with heavier seas and strong winds with the highlight of our day spotting a small gap in the cliff only a foot high that revealed a huge hidden cavern. The colours were simply breathtaking and I loved the fact that if you had been a speedboat you wouldn’t have even seen it – that’s why I choose human powered adventures. We explored around and then headed back south towards our wild campsite for one more night of freedom. Reaching Port de Pollenca, the weather lashed down again, however, for us towns were a bit of a problem as we simply couldn’t hide away easily and so were forced to spend money we didn’t have. Luckily we met Emma and Simon Brookfield who took pity on us and allowed us to share their apartment overnight. As luck would have it they were heading to Palma the next day and also gave us a lift.

Final part of the journey

Our final part of the journey was to paddle board back across Palma Bay to the hotel to retrieve our kit, where again we struck gold and were accompanied by a dolphin for part of the trip. The last few days were incredible with stunning caves offering a kaleidoscope of colours which coined our second description for the trip, “A monopoly of cool caves.” Ultimately with the weather our original goal to circumnavigate the island in the time we gave ourselves was simply not possible but it did remind us that just exploring for the sake of exploring is so much better. Hopefully we will return to Mallorca at some point.

The colours were simply breathtaking and I loved the fact that if you had been a speedboat you

wouldn’t have even seen it –

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Cody White

Cody lives in Key West and runs Nomadic SUP, a stand up paddle board eco-tour business and takes part in SUP racing in the States. Nomadic SUP specializes in Eco Tours which offer professional instruction that ensures new and experienced paddlers will safely be able to enjoy the sport of SUP in the pristine eco systems surrounding Key West.

You can see a short video of our trip here

Richard Matheson Harpham

Richard is a human powered adventurer and inspirational speaker who has completed many iconic adventures He runs a canoe, kayak and SUP company with his wife just one hour north of London called . They provide adventurous activities and paddlesports for companies and groups and have a wild campsite that is accessible by canoe or kayak. He also co founded social enterprise which has inspired over 26,000 young people and communities. Richard is proudly supported by: Paramo Clothing, Sealline and E-Case products, Riviera Paddles, Bamboo Clothing, Leatherman Tools, Mountain Fuels, Valley Sea Kayaks, Aquabound Paddles, Reed Chillcheater, Surly Fat Bikes, USE Exposure Lights, Garmin GPS systems.

Richard and Cody with the bar owners

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SUP Mag UK is your one stop shop for all things stand up paddle related from our green and pleasant land. Awesome travel features, spotlight focus interviews, with the stars of the sport, grass roots level reports, gear reviews and everything else in between. BIG savings over the printed version also comes with support for mobile devices - no need to install apps at all with HTML5! Optimized for all major mobile platforms including iOS, Android and Win8. And it’s available in print. Printed on top quality matt paper with thick laminated covers - it’s top notch! To subscribe to the digital copy visit: Prefer the app? Download the Joomag app from and read your purchased ezine through the app on IOS. To subscribe to a printed copy visit: Pre-requisites Compared to flat water paddling, SUP surfing takes place in a more demanding and dynamic environment. With regard to both water movement and the behaviour of other water users, you need to take this into account. For safety and to ensure a good time it’s advisable to have your basic skills well pinned down before getting stuck in. You’re going to need a good, effective paddle stroke and be able to use a variety of strokes with confidence.

First strokes to SUP surfing stoke

In sheltered flat water and ideally also in more exposed conditions your balance should be well honed and you’ll need the ability to move your feet from a parallel paddle stance to the classic surfing stance with one foot leading and the other back towards the tail. Being able to complete a pivot turn in both directions (clockwise and counter clockwise rotations) will come in very handy manoeuvring your board in the surf and also help when we actually start to ride waves, as the movement patterns are very similar to some used whilst surfing.

Words: Rob Small Pics: Julie Small SUP surfing, stand up paddle boarding, sea sweeping; whatever you call riding waves on a SUP board with a paddle in your hands, it’s a dead certain that it’s almost too much fun. Tiny ripples or booming o v e rh e a d S U P s u r f i n g i s o n e o f t h e m o s t fu n o c e a n a c t i v i t i e s e v e r. Here’s a guide to getting your first waves safely and stylishly.

If you’re not confident that your SUP skills are up to scratch don’t rush it; take a little more time getting prepared for your first SUP surfing sessions – it’ll stand you in good stead in the long run.

Equipment Ok so we’re up to speed skills-wise but we’re not sure what sort of equipment will work best for us. What shape and size of board? How long should the paddle be? What other specialist kit will I need?

Let’s check it out: Boards: SUP surfing boards come in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes and constructions and it can be a bit of a minefield making sure you’ve got the right one. Broadly there are three ‘classes’ of surf SUP boards: Pro Wave or Surf: Shorter, lower volume boards that resemble enlarged, regular shortboard surfboards. These are often available in 100% carbon constructions as well as regular epoxy builds. Their design is primarily about performance on the wave face, which leads to a definite reduction in stability and paddle efficiency. Unless you are very light (50kg), have years of open water SUP experience or are a professional level surfer/windsurfer/kitesurfer etc then in all probability these types of board will be extremely frustrating and won’t facilitate progression at this stage of your SUP surfing journey.
























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All Wave or Surf: Wider surf dedicated shapes that are often offered in both regular and premium constructions. All Wave boards will be notably more stable than the skinnier Pro Wave ranges and are easier to paddle and catch waves on. They also provide the rider with the possibility of an impressive level of surfing. Experienced SUP surfers will often enjoy the lower volume versions of these full template boards in smaller, weaker surf. If you have some surf sports experience and are relatively confident then a longer, higher volume All Wave type of SUP can be a good choice as a first board. All round: All round SUP boards are the most popular choice for the great majority of SUP paddlers in the UK. With a similar ‘lollipop stick’ shape to a surfing longboard, parallel rails and a round nose, this style of board will have more volume and length than the surf specific models. This results in much more comfortable flat water paddling, a nice level of stability and lovely ‘gliding’ surfing in smaller waves. Being available in all constructions, you will find all round SUP boards under the feet of both beginner SUP surfers and experienced riders who prefer a style of riding more akin to longboard surfing than the cut and thrust of the shortboard influenced Pro and All Wave models. The higher volume and longer, straighter templates also work well on flat water. All round SUP boards give great value, work in varied conditions and are often the ‘go to’ board for riders getting into SUP surf. Note that there are many fantastic inflatable versions available. Whilst they will surf just fine in small, gentle conditions, they won’t give the performance that rigid constructions do in bigger or more challenging surf. Paddles: Your paddle is going to be your best friend in the surf so it pays to take a little time and get it right (see a theme developing here?)  Over the last couple of years paddle lengths have dropped and nowhere is this more evident than in SUP surfing. Whilst flat water paddles are hovering at 6-8 inches above height, surf paddles are trending at around height. This allows for an easier paddle switch whilst in the compressed surfing stance and more comfortable paddling in the surf zone and line up. A good idea is to have a few try out paddles with an adjustable shaft before settling on a length that suits you. Blade size is important too. Many dedicated SUP surfers like a lower area, narrower blade. This allows a higher cadence and helps with the sometimes arrhythmic nature of surf paddling. You’ll feel as if you’ve dropped a gear or two if you’re used to longer, higher blade area paddles.


If you have any queries please call: 01480 465081 Email:

The printed paper copy costs £6.99 inc P&P for a single issue or £24.99 inc P&P for a subscription of four magazines. Due to demand, next year there will be four issues starting in late February 2015. Please check the website for details and yearly subscription rate.

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Canoe Paddler 126 Canada

The big lands of Labrador by Pete Marshall

042 United States

Paddling Rhode Island by Chuck Horbert


G LAND By Pete Marshall

Labrador, Canada Dark clouds swarmed over the bluffs on the far end of the lake. The waves picked up under the wind and crashed into the shore. It was our first night on trail. We had eaten dinner, our packs and canoe were secure and our tent was staked down. Normally I wouldn’t have been too anxious about an approaching storm but our situation was far from what I considered normal. After paddling over 10,000 kilometres through some of the most remote regions in Canada, adventures the had taken me to the Inuit communities of Gjoa Haven, Kugluktuk and Chesterfield Inlet, across the three Territories and included two expeditions that had lasted over 120-days, this was an adventure trip unlike any I had ever attempted.

The obvious difference was that the outfit for this expedition consisted of equipment people would have travelled with a 100 years ago: a canvas tent, wood burning stove, tin-cloth rain gear, and a beautiful cedar-canvas canoe. With this historic gear, my paddling partner Andrew Morris and I had set out to retrace a historic route: Mina Hubbard’s 1905 expedition into the interior of Labrador and north to the Ungava Bay.

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The story of the expedition began when Mina’s husband, Leonidas Hubbard set out to follow an ambitious route through this unmapped region in 1903.Through a series of poor decisions and bad luck, the three men almost immediately became lost.Too stubborn to turn around, they pushed on until the coming winter forced them to retreat.

Too weak to continue, Leonidas had to be left behind while his two companions, George Elson and Dillon Wallace, continued in a desperate attempt to reach help and to survive. When the rescue party found him, Leonidas was frozen stiff, dead from starvation for several weeks. His widow, Mina Hubbard, took drastic steps to vindicate her husband’s name. She set out to complete his work, to travel the route herself. And with four Native guides: George Elson (who had accompanied her husband on the first, ill-fated adventure), Joe Iserhoff, Gilbert Blake, and Job Chappies, she did just that.

Wilderness travel

It was an arduous journey through one of the least visited parts of the world. I knew such a trip would draw on all of our combined skills and experiences. We would face some of the most challenging varieties of wilderness travel: pulling a canoe up the steep Naskaupi River, long portages without any trails, the enormous Smallwood Reservoir to cross, breathtaking whitewater, weather, and of course, the ubiquitous cloud of black flies and mosquitoes. For both the human story behind it and the rugged beauty of the land, this was the kind of adventure, with the kind of equipment, I had dreamed about for years.

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My desire to do a trip with traditional equipment arose about nine years before. I was camped below a dam on the Winnipeg River. It was not only the dam, but something about all the plastic and nylon gear I was using just didn’t feel right. Sure it was lightweight, waterproof, withstood any kind of weather, made life on trail easier and more comfortable, but I couldn’t help but feel it took something away from the experience.

I wasn’t quite sure when it would happen, but from that moment I held onto the idea of doing a trip with traditional gear.

Because most of the gear we used could not be purchased at retail stores, I got in touch with a number of local craftspeople and speciality businesses to help with the expedition. Rather than take an item off the rack, I got to know the people who were making our gear directly. Cody Daniel Myers, a blacksmith, forged an axe and knife; Frost River, a local soft goods business in Duluth Minnesota sewed together our packs and canvas tent; my friends at Sanborn paddles provided four handmade paddles; the author Cliff Jacobson gave me an antique compass; my grandmother knit me socks, my fiancé knit me a sweater; and our rain gear was the heavy wax canvas pants and coats from Filson out in Seattle. Our canoe, a 17’6” foot beauty, was made by Rollin Thurlow, one of the best canoe builders in North America.

Everything looked better. A well oiled raincoat is infinitely classier than a neon coloured shell (which I own several) and every other piece of equipment we had was far more pleasing to the eye. Apart from aesthetics, because I had seen so much of the gear being made, there was a much more intimate feel to it. I can’t fully explain it, but there was a different relationship to the gear we had than with something that is mass-produced and shipped in from a factory overseas.

But the crucial question is, how did this old-fashioned equipment hold up? Some items I was skeptical about – namely all the cotton. After all, because it absorbs water and unlike wool doesn’t keep you warm when wet, there’s a common saying among the outdoor types: “cotton kills.” Now we were relying on cotton to keep us dry. Some of our most important pieces of equipment were made out of cotton.

For both Andrew and I, one of the most comforting thoughts on a wilderness trip is that no matter how exhausting and wet the day is, at least I will have a dry tent to get in at the end the day. Our tent was 100% cotton.

We were relying on cotton to keep the rain out! For someone who came of age in the 21st century style of wilderness travel, this seemed impossible.

After five days of relatively easy travel on flat water and the mild current of the lower Naskaupi, we camped below the first major stretch of whitewater. That was the first night it rained. Neither Andrew nor I slept well. Despite testing the tent for waterproofness back home, I wasn’t too trusting of ‘waterproof canvas’. Every hour I was sure I felt a leak. I would sit up and feel around, looking for the pool of water seeping in. But I never found any. To our delight, no water managed to seep through.

The next day we stepped into the river and walked towards the roar of the rapids. Before us was almost four kilometres of continuous whitewater, where the river dropped 30-metres. Every step was filled with the anxiety of losing the canoe to the gnash of rocks and whitewater. Waist deep in the water, it took us six hours to pull and sometimes portage the canoe up to calm water. Despite the difficulty, this was fabulous stuff for the camera.

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Labrador may take the prize for

worse bugs in Canada

The expedition was part of a

larger film project I was co-producing with Twin cites Public Television in St. Paul, Minnesota. The documentary, Labrador Passage, would weave together the historic nature of the expedition with our present day expedition, including profiles and insights form the craftspeople who helped make the equipment. Over and over I had to stop, run ahead and set up the camera, press record then run back to the canoe and continue. Digital cameras weren’t the only piece of modern equipment we had with us. With mothers, grandmothers and fiancés back home, that is, many people concerned with our safety, Andrew and I had fully modern safety equipment: a satellite phone, emergency locator beacon, fully stocked first-aid kit, and very modern life vests.

Everyday after this, there was more whitewater to ascend. The river offered little rest, and added to the difficulty of travel was the constant need to be filming. But the biggest challenge was simply walking. The rocks were too slick to offer anything remotely resembling a foothold. Each step involved my foot slipping, crashing and getting wedged into the crevasse between boulders so that I could move off it and taking a step then repeating the same process. In between were many slips and dunks in to the river that left my shins and legs covered in bruises. Each summer the jet stream over the Atlantic gathers an enormous amount of rain and dumps it on Labrador. These wet summers grow dense forests, heavy carpets of moss, and layers of underbrush that is almost impossible to walk through. Though parts of the province can be aptly characterized as ‘the land of little sticks’, the central region where we travelled was lush with vegetation and thick trees to make it something like a coniferous jungle.

To our relief, the Filson waxed-cotton rain gear we wore performed beautifully, and though some minor leaks developed if it rained more then two nights in a row, our tent kept out the water. Rain was a regular part of travel, and walking waist deep in a flooded river and pulling a canoe up against a stiff current was wet, often frustrating work. Together, these factors made for a very wet daily routine. By the time we came to where the Wapustan River flowed into the Naskaupi River, we were ready to be done with the slow painful task of walking the canoe up river. It was at this point in the route that in 1905 Mina and her guides, in order to bypass a deep canyon on the river, portaged around the shallow and steep Wapustan River then connected several lakes before they rejoined the Naskaupi. No one had travelled in these areas since then. It involved about 20-kilometres of portaging without any trails – through the dense Labrador forest. I knew this would be the major challenge of the trip. I was not sure we would be able to successfully make our way through it. Anyone who has travelled in the north knows something about black flies and mosquitoes. I have experienced some pretty horrible bugs, but I’m prepared to say that Labrador may take the prize for worse bugs in Canada. Pushing your way through the underbrush, tripping over roots and sneak holes with a 70-pound pack on your back was hard enough. Then add in the swarms of black flies, and it was almost maddening. But this was what we had to do. For tenhours a day we portaged back and forth, slowly bringing our outfit around the creek and through the thick forest that at times was almost impossible to penetrate. It took three trips for us to bring every piece of equipment through. This made one kilometre into five.

Gripping stuff


Rubber you can rely on. We use the stickiest R compounds from Vibram for our water shoes.

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After three days we had managed to go less than three kilometres. Due to the rough travel up the river and portaging, both of us had sustained injuries to our feet and legs. Each step was painful. I did some rough calculations and realized we would not reach Smallwood Reservoir until day 40, at best. In which case we would have ten days worth of food to make the remaining 600 kilometers. We were still at a point where we could turn around and paddle

back to civilization. If we continued much further we would have to be flown out. An option neither of us could afford. Two weeks into the trip, we turned around and paddled back to where we began. It was the first time I ever had to turn back, the first time I never completed a route I set out to do. In five days we paddled to shore at the Hudson Bay Post in Northwest River, the same spot where Leonidas and Mina had set out on their journeys over a hundred years before. It was bitter cold and raining, wind howled from the south.

Simply merciless

It was not the gear that prevented us from successfully completing the trip. The bulk and extra weight of the equipment only amounted to about an extra 30 kilograms and as I said, performed great. In fact, on future canoe trips I plan to use the canvas packs and tin cloth rain gear, and in cooler weather, will be no stranger to the canvas tent. The bottom line was that the route was simply merciless. And though turning back was disappointing, the experience of traveling in the cold, isolated region of the world, even if it didn’t end as I had hoped, made me glad that there were still such wild areas, and grateful that I was able to experience one.

On future canoe trips I plan to use

the canvas packs

and tin cloth rain gear

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Once bitten, twice shy By Chuck Horbert In June of 2013 I planned to become the first person to ever canoe the length of Rhode Island, north to south, using a primarily inland route. I had spent the previous two years researching and scouting the planned 100-plus mile route and was confident my crew and I could overcome any likely obstacle. Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Andrea proved us wrong when she went extra-tropical over Rhode Island, dumping 5-7 inches of rain over the state the day before we were due to launch and sending all the rivers along our planned route into flood. Even if we somehow survived the first downstream segments, paddling upstream on a flooded river would be impossible. Nevertheless, we decided to at least do a day trip on the Branch River at what we expected to be a fun level. And it WAS fun‌until my boat got stuffed into a nasty strainer and was wrecked. I was very lucky not to get stuffed along with it! Fast forward a year later, with a repaired canoe thanks to Dave Curtis of Hemlock Canoe Works, and I was ready to attempt it again with another crew. Hoping for drier weather, I pushed the launch date into July. Water levels were low but passable. Route adjustments had been made to avoid dry river segments. Confidence levels were peaking.

(L-R) Jim Co


Chuck Horbert

Dave Smith

Bill Luther

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But the week before we were to start off on the second attempt to paddle across Rhode Island, I got an e-mail from crew member Bill Luther wondering if we should be concerned about ‘Hurricane Arthur’. Wait, what? I quickly called up the tropical weather page of my favourite weather web site, and while it was not yet even a Tropical Storm, this…thing…had just popped out of a mere patch of thunder storms off the Florida coast and thanks to a lack of wind shear and no lack of warm water, looked to be primed for intensification. Sure enough, days later, Hurricane Arthur was slowly moving up the east coast in time to rain on my parade. I was like, “Are you friggin’ kidding me? Two years in a row? The first named storm of the season is going to hit just before we plan on hitting the rivers?” I was a basket case for two days, haunting the weather web sites and river flow prediction centres and planning contingency portage routes.

Cape Cod

Fortunately, Cape Cod got all of the rain, and Arthur dumped only 2½ inches or so on most of Rhode Island, giving some very dry rivers a little bump in flow levels. So with a huge breath of relief, my four-man crew assembled at The Meadows Park in North Smithfield, on the Blackstone River at the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border to start a historic canoe and kayak trip across the length of Rhode Island using a route that had never been completed. A few friends and family gathered for moral support, and some reporters from RI Public Radio and a local paper were on hand to record any other unforeseen disasters. Jim Cole, Billy Luther and I chose solo canoes for our journey. Friend and journalist Dave Smith talked us in to letting him use his river touring kayak for the journey, despite some concerns as to whether his portage cart, which had to be small enough to fit in the kayak, was sturdy enough to handle the lengthier portages. After quickly packing up the boats, and interviews with the press, we were off! Not even half an hour later, we were at our first portage around Woonsocket Falls. Here, we met our first Facebook fan of the trip, who was super psyched to see us underway, clicking away with her smart-phone camera.This type of encounter became a common daily occurrence. We were all amazed at how many people, both friends and strangers, came out to see us, or had heard of us, and were living vicariously through our adventures. By the middle of our week, we were feeling like paddling rock stars! It became evident early on that a lot of people were rooting us on, living vicariously through our adventure, and we sure didn’t want to disappoint anyone. It was ON!

We were all amazed at how many people,

both friends and strangers, came out to see us, or had heard of us, and were living vicariously through our adventures.

Jim Cole (L) Dave Smith(R) leaving Pawtucket

Bike paths provided convenient portage routes Chuck gives paddling tips to youth group

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We were forced to divert our route onto a hot,

shadeless Allens Avenue to start walking our way over four miles south from Providence to Pawtuxet Village

Burlingame campsite on the Pawcatuck River

Portaging through Arcadia State Management Area

And so we trekked onward, paddling and portaging our way across the entire state over the next eight days. We paddled portions of ten rivers, starting on the Blackstone River at the Massachusetts line and finishing on Little Narragansett Bay at the mouth of the Pawcatuck River. Our route followed the Blackstone River down to the Seekonk River which took us to the City of Providence at the head of Narragansett Bay. We planned to paddle down the Bay (more on that later) to the Pawtuxet River, where we would turn for a lengthy upstream segment following that river to its South Branch, up to and across the Flat River Reservoir and most of the Big River. At this point, we needed to cross a major watershed divide, portaging ten miles overland to reach the Wood River, which would take us down into the Pawcatuck River and, finally, Little Narragansett Bay where it flowed into the Atlantic Ocean. We travelled through 18 of the State’s 39 cities and towns. Some parts were certainly difficult and challenging. Other segments were an absolute dream to experience. Along the way we met, and were met by, many great people, and I coordinated a number of public programs with various watershed associations, youth groups, and towns to highlight the good work they all do to keep the State’s rivers a clean and accessible feature of their communities.

Albion Dam, Blackstone River

Approaching Manville, Blackstone River

Fortunately whatever problems we encountered were few and surmountable. My portage cart, eager to contribute a hardship, had a flat tyre by the time we reached our last portage of the first day, but I had a spare tube, and the wheel was fixed later on in camp. On day two, we encountered an incoming tide, and a stiff Southerly breeze that, by the time we arrived at Bold Point at the mouth of the Seekonk River in Providence, had worked itself up to a steady 30mph gale right up Narragansett Bay. We were forced to divert our route onto a hot, shadeless Allens Avenue to start walking our way over four miles south from Providence to Pawtuxet Village. Along the way we met our first ‘Trail Angels’: a coworker and friend, Alisa, who brought us cold energy drinks and lemonade; and another paddling friend, Steve, who supplied us with ice for our afternoon beer. Dave’s kayak cart gave him problems from day one, some of which seemed improved with a new strapping scheme. But on the fourth day, walking along the Washington Secondary bike path into Coventry, it was clear that the cart was not going to last the trip. One wheel hub was actually melting off of the axle. We nursed it along the rest of the day, and contacted another Trail Angel, a canoe pal, Jim, who had offered another cart through a message to the Facebook page. He met us at Zeke’s Bridge at the mouth of the Big River later that day to deliver the cart in time for our next day’s planned ‘Grand Portage’ of ten miles, our longest planned portage, to get to the Wood River. Without that timely help, Dave may not have been able to complete the journey.

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You can visit the Facebook page created for this trip at

The ten-mile portage got a lot of attention! No one who we talked to could wrap their mind around how we could do that. We were reasonably confident that the whole thing could be handled by our portage carts, but no one really knows until you hit the trail. Fortunately, with the exception of a long uphill struggle to get up to Route 3, and a couple soft, sandy patches in some trails, it went very smoothly. We had some rather humorous encounters with horseback riders and mountain bikers on the trails, rolling canoes along with no water anywhere near us.

To make things easier, I had made arrangements with Chris Fox, the Executive Director of the WoodPawcatuck Watershed Association, to meet us where we first encountered a road so we could load much of our camping gear into his pickup truck to lighten the canoes. This worked out well, since we planned on camping at the WPWA headquarters later than evening. An early lunch of burgers and liquid courage at the Cornerstone Tavern at the halfway point of the big walk didn’t hurt either. Campsites ranged from the urban River Island Campground in Central Falls, where we were all treated to a very long, loud and seismic freight train at 2:30 in the morning, to the remote pines of Burlingame Management Area, where we were treated to the calls of barred owls and coyotes. On the balance, every campsite was pretty nice. Except for the fact that we were very close to populated areas a lot of the time, and had cell phone coverage everywhere, this trip was not much unlike many of the multi-day canoe trips I have done in the wilds of northern New England. If any segment exceeded expectations, it was our upstream paddle up the main branch Pawtuxet River. Despite the fact that three major sewage treatment

plants empty into it, and it is lined by two of the most populous cities in the state, and follows along Interstate Route 95 for much of its length, it was a gem to paddle. We saw wildlife galore, including plenty of fish, three species of turtle and a bald eagle! And the current was pleasantly easy to paddle against. I will return.

The smallest state

The route we followed generally weaved its way diagonally across the state on a very crooked line, northeast to southwest, over about 100 miles and took us eight days to complete. We were the first people to complete this trip along this route, which seems a bit crazy considering this is the smallest state in the nation. Rhode Island throws a lot at you though, not the least of which is that there is no major river that entirely bisects the state. And whatever rivers do flow in the directions we wanted to go were heavily obstructed with dams, many with poor, unestablished portage routes. I preplanned many of the portage routes, including one key decision to use a three-mile segment of a bike path to skip a 6.5 mile segment of river that itself contained six individual dams to get around. Even so, we ended up improvising at times, such as when the Bay turned out to be too windy for safe passage. But in any case, on July 13th, accompanied by a flotilla of friends from the RI Canoe & Kayak Association, and after battling another stiff south wind coming into Little Narragansett Bay from the Atlantic Ocean, we pulled into the Barn Island Wildlife Refuge in Stonington, CT, tired but elated at what we had accomplished. The entire time I planned this trip, and for much of the time I paddled it, I imagined this to be a one-and-done journey. But give it a few years… maybe it will call me back for a sequel. Probably just in time for Tropical Storm ‘Angela’.

We saw wildlife galore, including plenty of fish, three species of turtle

and a bald eagle! And the current was pleasantly easy to paddle against. I will return.

The Linville River lies tucked away in the Linville Gorge Wilderness and has long been called “The Grand Canyon of the East.” The forbidding nature of the terrain has made resource extraction impossible, and for some, like Ty Caldwell, that is a calling like none other. Land only Mother Nature can touch. Who could possibly pass that up? Standard Full Cut Flow Distribution: (888) 539-2930 US/Canada 1-250-539-2930 International Email:

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


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

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The Paddler ezine 23 May 2015  

International digital magazine for recreational paddlers

The Paddler ezine 23 May 2015  

International digital magazine for recreational paddlers