Tuesday, 13 March 2007
Monday, 12 March 2007
Saw a few Dragorossis popping up here and there… an orange squashtail and two red fish’s but we where still very much outnumbered… ahh well maybe next year.. we’ll certainly see Jessie in DR if Corran makes a little persons one sometime soon.
My personal highlight of the whole weekend was mine and Jessie’s topo duo race (see footage below).
It really was an amazing weekend and props should go out to meg (club vice captain and general organiser of people) for organising the logistics of moving 33 drunks from Bangor all the way to Nottingham!
P.S. this is my first event with Bangor university (since being made captain) where I haven’t been striped naked… This is a memorable occasion for me!
Thursday, 8 March 2007
You get an AWESOME Christmas present! Last Christmas Jessie and Sam treat me to an Oregon scientific standalone head cam. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a head cam for some time now however I was worried about technically wiring myself into my boat… accidents do happen and when that accident happens I don’t want to be attached to a deadweight of kayak floating over some nasty drop.
The Oregon ATC2000 to me sounded like the perfect solution. It’s a wireless camera and its entire media is recorded directly onto a SD card (expandable up two gig). On top quality this allows you to record over an hours worth of footage (great for those play sessions!). Oregon Scientific have also outdone themselves on the attachment system easy to install and use it allows you to take the camera on and off easily (much easier than other wired systems I’ve used in the past).
Play hard, record everything - even underwater with ATC2K, the ultimate waterproof self-contained action cam! Weighing in at half a pound (with batteries), this hands-free action cam delivers full colour digital video in 640 X 480 VGA at 30 frames per second.ATC2K works seamlessly with most video editing software. Expandable up to 2GB, ATC2K mounts easily and all mounting hardware is included. Wipeouts in a white out or an unexpected barrel roll? No worries, ATC2K is waterproof up to 10 feet! Although the manual and packaging states the product is only water-resistant, subsequent tests have since certified the product as waterproof. Please do not be alarmed by this discrepancy when receiving your product. Thank you.
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
I haven’t been out in it much recently. Jessie has a love affair with rivers and I’ve pretty much been going out every other day with her, but when I looked at the forecast and realised that there was going to be a near perfect 4 foot clean set coming in I knew I had to take her out and get her converted.
I love surf not only because of the feeling of freedom but its where I have come from.. my roots in kayaking come from surfing in mini breaks in south Wales. In my mind surf is one of the most perfect ways to introduce a beginner to many aspects of river kayaking… What better way is there to teach edge control and body position I ask you? But also it’s a great place to attempt your first moving water roll in a (moderately) controlled environment. I would never ask someone to throw themselves over on a river but take them out back on a nice surf set and what’s the harm? (obviously you need to pick the right beach!! No reefs people!)
Its all a case of building confidence in people… I find surf a great way to promote learning as people generally feel much more willing to give it a go with less fear. But what they learn can be immediately put into play in a river situation as well.
Paddling through the break without ending up in a back surf = boating through a hole
Surfing a wave = surfing a wave but also lessons on edge control and stability
Anyway I think its awesome!! I can’t wait for some big sets to come in so I can rip it up in my Squashtail!
I found myself in the position a few months ago now where I needed a new lid. The one I had at the time had a large fixed peak and so was causing me a lot of neck pain whenever I rolled my kayak especially in hydraulics. I know allot of people don’t have a problem with the forces on their helmets however it seams to effect me quite allot so I thought it was best to cut my losses and move on. The only helmets I considered at the time were the FNA extra and the Sweet rocker… they both looked like awesome lids and I was keen to try them out. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on an Extra to try it and the sweet rocker same in sizes either too big or too small to comfortably fit my head (the smaller size pinched the back of my scull quite painfully). Its worth mentioning however that I still think that they look like awesome lids its just they don’t fit me and as far as I’m concerned fit is the most important aspect of a helmet.
I’ve been convinced. So convinced that I’ve just ordered Jessie one! Wonderful lids and the quality of service I have received from them has been awesome.
They aren’t a scientific test of the helmets overall strength but they do show 3 main points
The Visor does not shatter in a sharp impact – something that has been a concern on some of the internet forums.
The Attachment points of the visor (and soon the flexi-peak) are strong enough to take a hit.
The Helmet does not move on the head! Although its just been hit with an axe and bounced across Corrans drive the helmet stays in position and DOES NOT MOVE. Remember that most people are killed not by the first but the second impact.
As a Quick note I am NOT sponsored by Gath in anyway. They have however provided me with fantastic service and in return I have tried to send them any good action shots of myself in my Gedi. I went out looking for a goodlid that could take a beating and I found one… I can happily say that this has been the safest helmet I have ever had the joy of using.
Tuesday, 6 March 2007
In my first year I drove through a ford behind my university halls and thought (I wonder where this river leads)… I couldn’t find any guides or information on it and couldn’t find anyone around that had run it… For all I knew It could have been anything from grade 1 to 6. It’s a Ditch and I knew It would need allot of water to get it going but one day after a quick trip down one of my local runs it rained allot... we found it in condition and ready to go!
I expected the river to pick up somewhere as it starts on top of quite a high hill however I was treated to a steady gradient of grade 1/2 . It was still a nice run though there where some really pretty bridges and a really nice little tunnel.
If it wasn’t so tree choked (4 portages) then it would be a lovely river to take the girlfriend down…. In fact… I may just take her down it anyway
Boating with me where Alister and "Doggystyle" Dave, The strawbery blond brigade of Bangor university canoe club
Saturday, 3 March 2007
Of all the boats I have paddled the stinger has been my favourite by far. It’s the first boat that attracted me to the Dragorossi brand and I haven’t been disappointed… I have never tried to convince myself that I have any skill or interest in play boating so I wanted a playboat with a river running twist. Living in north Wales I wanted boats to make the best use of the local rivers the Critical Mass was my choice of creeker but I wanted a play boat that could make some of the local grade 4’s a little more interesting. The stinger was designed as a jack of all trades boat but it really steps up to the mark when put into down river play (or slope style if you’re into fads). It has plenty enough volume to make resurfacing after drops stable and predictable. The rocker profile makes boofing easy and the chunky back end prevents the back end catching on boily rapids and holes.
What I love about this boat is the way I can chuck it into the back of my car and wherever the guys end up going I know I wont be too outgunned in my Stinger. River running, creeking and playboating this boat simply rocks! Its almost like Corran designed a boat just for me… the boat I’ve always asked for.Thanks Corran!
I thought I’d stick up this old video of me creeking in the stinger… Its from a while ago now but it still makes me smile seeing the local run. That video was also my first real test of my new helmet the Gedi aswell… I wont really go into detail about the lid now but I’m loving it so far and I trust it to the point where I’ve also bought my girlfriend one… wouldn’t feel safe with her wearing anything else!
Friday, 2 March 2007
I was lucky enough to be boating with some close friends from Bangor university and this made the slog up the side of the hill totally worth while… luckily Sara is about as unfit as myself so company was never too far away! Once on the river the Mafia handled the run really well, I usually paddle a critical mass but as I had to haul ass up the side of Snowdon it made sense to take the smaller Mafia. This boat has had a huge amount of press both good and bad but it worked well for me… It doesn’t track as well as something like a M3 or Solo but what it loses in tracking it more than makes up for in manoeuvrability and predictability. The continuous rocker on the boat makes boofing super easy in comparison to other creekers I’ve paddled.
My girlfriend also paddles a Mafia and she’s found it a great boat to learn in… I’ve stuck up a few photos of her styling around in her boat as well.
Note – Jessie’s boat used to feature a playboy bunny however a nasty cave pinning on Cobdens falls has killed the bunny… RIP