Monday, 16 April 2012

Olympic Dreams - C1 Winners

Women's C1 - Unfortunately not an Olympic event
Mallory Franklin from Shepperton took the honours. 
These shots were taken in the warm up area, thus the lack of white on the water!
Men's C1 - an Olympic event. Don't ask me why the men get in and the ladies don't!
Dave Florence took the men's title. 

He didn't even look too knackered!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Olympic Dreams - K1 Winners

There is only one slot available at the Olympics in each competition category for each nation.
The Men's K1
 Richard Hounslow was the winner in a very hard fought and close race.  


  Women's K1 
 The winner was Lizzie Neave from our local club, Stafford and Stone.
Both will now be nominated to the British Olympic Association to compete in their respective disciplines.
Well done both!

Olympic Dreams Part 1

This weekend has seen the British Olympic selection event for slalom take place at Lea Valley near Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire.
The event took place on the same facility that will be used for the Olympics.
It's big water!
and it's a long course.
Complete with a kayak lift to take you from the lake up to the start.
Add some commentators........... (Andy and Kevin)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Cymyran Strait

 I've been sea kayaking around the Anglesey coast for several years but had never made the detour in to Cymyran, despite passing the entrance several times. From Rhoscolyn you head south, passing some interesting rock hopping territory where the swell and angle of the rocks on this day would have been unforgiving to any boat in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
After the broad arc and surf of Silver Bay you pass the old block-house and then turn in to Cymyran. 
 Immediately you notice the sheltering affect of the topography and it is quieter - no more booming as the unpredictable swell hits an exposed coastline. Left shore is Holy Island and the right  is Anglesey.
 What looks like an old trawler lies abandoned up a wide side bay
 and a fisherman's hut huddles close up the low cliff.
 To the south you can see the dunes that lie between the beach and RAF Valley. Paddling further up there are some small islands before reaching Four Mile Bridge but all too soon the ebb tidal flow turns you, accelerates and spits you out back in to the sea.
 Some small south facing bays close to the rip provide nice shelter for a lunch stop and an easy exit route to the open sea avoiding the surf.
 With plenty of time left I paddled north to Rhoscolyn Head and its cave. The ebb tidal flow had picked up and at times I paddled to a standstill in confused water against the flow in the inside passage,
before breaking out to the more predictable outside flow further offshore. Although the sea seemed reasonably calm, every  now and again massive swells would build and occasionally break in front of me, so it was important to stay focused. I passed around the outside of beacon rocks, then weaved my way through the numerous passages between them, sometimes pushed by a big swell set being funnelled in to them and breaking on the rocks to the side. Very noisy and best not to look back in those circumstances!
Back in the shelter of Borthwen the old lifeboat station emphasises the dangers of the coast hereabouts, although I wouldn't like to launch below high tide these days on the shortened ramp!

Monday, 26 March 2012

...and about time too!

There's always something mildly chaotic with the first paddle of the year.
 Like, what have I forgotten? Sun hat on this occasion, so a rolled up thermal balaclava will have to do instead. Oh, and look at my foot. The zip on my boot has seized, so it won't zip up, yet. 
 Gradually order emerges from faint disorder.
 At least I remembered to charge my VHF radio! But in this heat I don't want to get my dry-suit on just yet.
 ... and what a game that was! My old one of five years was leaving me slightly damp and the zip had become unreliable, so I'd invested in a Kokatat Meridien for the new year. I'll have to practice dressing again as it was a bit of a struggle and an exercise in contortion! Head last or head second? I'll let you know!  
 A few final adjustments....
....a push back, bum in the boat, legs in, deck on....
 ....and breathe, I mean paddle....
 It's good to get out and paddle again.

Well done to my good wife for her pictures. She hasn't laughed so much for ages.