Thursday, 3 February 2011

Kayaking Footage now online

I finally got around to editing some footage I'd been collecting in the past couple of years.

The results are now on my youtube channel here

There are also some older edits dating back to about 2001, when I was competing freestyle and travelling the globe a bit more, supported by my older sponsors Perception and Nookie.

Check out the video's they're short and just for fun.

Here's a little teaser, enjoy!

Kayaking into 2011

Last year I went back to university to study for 12 months, so I didn't get up to my usual escapades. However it was every bit an adventure of a different kind.

Being based in the UK for a year had its advantages, I didn’t have to pack and unpack my bags every couple of weeks for a start, and I managed to fit in some quality British kayaking, and I appreciated even more, the time I could spend on the water.

I got to paddle some classic Welsh runs the Melte and the Upper Mawddach for the first time, and in very high water. I have to say when those two rivers have high flows, they are world class!

I dusted off my old freestyle boat and entered a couple of the British championship events. managing a 7th and 4th place in each, despite being restricted to all of the moves I knew when I stoppped competing freestyle several years ago! Time to learn some new tricks!

Have a look at this to watch me try to get to grips with freestyle again and catch up with the kids. You may recognise some of the moves from...uh 2003 ish

Click on this for video

I worked for the rest of the summer on my dissertation project and finished my studies at the end of October, so at the beginning of November it was back to work, and I headed out to the best place for that time of year:

‘The Himalaya’

In the first weeks I warmed up on the Upper Bhote Kosi, then I led a commercial, self supported trip into the Tamur for Gene17. This is the second time I’ve been into the Tamur and the combined 3 day trek/4 day paddle lived up to its world class reputation once again.

7 days supplies for 6, importantly including rum!

Female porters on the trail taking a well earned break.

Our porters on the hike in, doing the 'real' hard work

Snack break halfway up the ridge on Day 1

1 of 4 Bivouac's on the beach

High levels meant most of the rapids for not so recognisable from my previous trip a few years ago and we were less than lucky with the weather. We were also often rained on as we slept on the beaches, but it was a great experience for everyone on the expedition.

Sara styling some of the Class IV

A sting in the tail. The wave gave a big kick, but less so than the hole!

Night lights on the Tamur

I finished 2010 with what could have been the final descent of the Subansari river in Arunachal Pradesh, India. The damn being built on this large tributary of the Brahmaputra will be one of the largest in the world and will flood over 30000 km2 of jungle which is the home to Tigers, Leopards, Elephants and countless other smaller wildlife, not to mention several isolated tribes living in small bamboo villages.

The river itself is one of the most beautiful, pristine rivers I have ever had the pleasure to paddle on. Whilst it was not the hardest white water I’ve paddled, there was plenty of fun to be had on large volume Class IV rapids with abundant play spots for a big boat!

I was safety kayaking for a commercial raft trip and for the upper section this was a first descent for rafts, which provided plenty of entertainment and kept us kayakers on our toes more than once! After three days of travelling to get there, the river trip lasted for 8 glorious days, and it was a pleasure to spend that time in the jungle in a real wilderness with the Indian, Danish and Candian crew, we had great days on the river and mellow * evenings on spectacular beaches.

*(mellow until the rum appeared)

My final adventure of 2010 was to pick up the suit that I’d been measured for in one of Delhi’s many tailors and head home for a snowy graduation and Christmas. I’m now working in Banff enjoying some of Canada’s finest powder snow, but I’m looking forward to whatever 2011 has to offer!.

Norway again

So here are the photos from Norway as too long ago.

I spent just a couple of weeks in Norway this year, so apologies all you hardcore kayakers, I didn't do anything new this year, the photos are from the accessible classics.

I arrived just in time for the Gene17 Ulla Extreme race, and placed 6th in the final.

The format was great, the finish line was the boof, over the last ledge drop, and the time didn't stop until you were upright and head dry, so sticking the last move was important! My practice run was my first time in a kayak for two months at that point so it was in at the deep end, and after just 2 mins of paddling I did my first race run, I was pretty pleased with the result considering, but felt I could have gone a bit faster, as I missed a couple of power strokes between key moves.

The finish line!

I couldn't race in the Sweet rumble, as I didn't arrive in Sjoa until after the qualifier, but we had fun watching it from the bank.

The following day I went with Simon, Sam, and Dr Paul to tackle both sections of the Skjerva, this reminds me of a West Coast NZ run, plenty of remoteness and committing technical rapids.

The water was a bit on the low slide, but it meant that almost everything was runnable, including much of the usual portages.

My final time kayaking in Norway was guiding and coaching on a G17 trip, we had a great bunch of Irish, Swedish and British kayakers this year, and we ran all the usual suspects of the Sjoa and Lora (in super high water) and Bovra. Happy days! I

also got to paddle with my old crew Dave Carroll and Sam Hughes for the first time in a long time, and had an interesting last run on the Washing machine rapid, after Sam forgot to put my paddle in the van. So hand paddling down through the Class IV in someone else's playboat is apparently quite tricky, but I survived much to Colin's disappointment as he'd got his video camera out and everything. It wasn't until the end when I felt a sinking feeling that I'd realised I'd left the drain bung out!! Cheers to Dave for the moral support!! He laughed at me the whole way down!! (but did watch me through the short canyon).

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Movie & Sequence Shots from Italy

This Spring I had a very short stint in Italy, guiding then paddling with friends, the cold weather meant the rivers were low even with a large snow pack. I put together a short video of us paddling in Low water just for fun. Below are some single and some sequence shots of some of the best drops and rapids in the area.


Sorba Slides
Sorba Slides

Cylindre sequence

Mastellone Sequence

Egua Hammer Sequence
Cylindre Sequence 2

Thanks to Tim McAfee and Rich Walter for the shots!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Rest of the Winter

The rest of the winter hasn't been great for kayaking. In October I went back into education after a 9 year 'break' and I'm now studying a MSc in Hydrogeology, most of my time is taken up studying so not much time for kayaking recently.

I did however spend most weekends after new year on the Dart or in Wales teaching WWSR, and Skills courses and I also got out kayaking a little for myself. Some highlights were:

A day paddling in the Lakes in the floods, 3 rivers Greta, Langstrath and Caldew all dispatched between 9 and 3 but also sadly a friends car driving through a flood which put an end to our ambitions of a fourth river that day!

Surfing at Porthcawl, short boats for big moves : )

Gene17's Adventure paddlers weekend, good water and paddling with the Palm crew

Taking second place and having a great laugh at the Flower pots rodeo as a card carrying student, paddling a 10 year old design. Report here and video here

and a few Hurley sessions and one Shepperton session at new year.

Right off to Val Sesia on Sunday for some proper spring melt : )

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Sweet September

The very beginning of September I was delayed in Delhi for a few days and as soon as I got home I left again to go and fetch my van from Slovenia.

The 2 day drive back wasn't the best having an unexpected stop in Germany to fix an alternator, but I did get to go kayaking with Nico at Bad Aibling and see my friend Antoine at his home in Lille. Arriving back in the UK I headed to the Bitches for some soul surfing with Deb Pinniger which is always a good idea.

The New Axiom was fun on the swirlies

and old skool in the hole....

..but fast on the wave

After the Bitches I drove with Nick up to the infamous Wet Wet Paddle fest in Scotland to firstly party and secondly paddle on the rivers of the highlands. There hadn't been a whole lot of rain but being spring tides though, the Falls of Lora were working a treat. WWPF report

After a weekend of paddling the Falls, the Morriston and the Garry I stayed in the Highlands for another day on the Falls of Lora and some of Scotlands finest white water in the run up to the Etive race the following weekend. The water was high all week so Dan Heyworth and I enjoyed some great runs on the Nevis and the Etive in preparation for the race, it was a little disappointing then to have low water for the race itself making the flat sections hard work, but Ed Smith and I managed a decent enough time to clinch 2nd place. A great event well organinsed. Report here Etive race

Final drop on the Nevis

Glen Etive looking gloomy

Glen Coe looking stunning in the morning

Hotel Volkswagen