Paddle4Play: October 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Clare Glens

SO after a lovely day on the river Maria posted some really nice shots from Big Eas I wanted to share,

take a look

And heres the video

Clare Glens



Thanks Maria for the shots!

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Video dump

So with lots of water about the last week heres a few videos of the fun


First up we found this delightful set of stairs at the get out of the lower Oetz onto the Inn so what else to do but slide on down – Neil Slevin, Dave Holden and Dave Horkan.



Next up we found a dribble of water still running down the Glen mac so with the new burn in tow we took the opportunity for a bounce down the river

Glen Mac

With the levels dropping we were back to the old favourite of the Avonmore with Jenny and Vicky and three lovely Pyranha boats off we went, A nice level with lots of eddies and fun to be had.

Avonmore Pyranha

So with the rain falling we were off to the jewel in the crown one of Irelands most fun rivers with Neil Slevin and Neal Kelly from the Kayaking company, Bernard, Cian and Odhran it was glens time, A classic run with some beautiful moves, boof city, clean lines and good company.

Clare Glens

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Crana 2013

So after an amazing few weeks away in Europe I was back to work with the Brand New 2014 Burns awaiting my arrival,

First stop was Cranafest a weekend of paddling fun for everyone, with coaching workshops and competitions across about every discipline with the big expert Boater X finale to top it all off,

Hosted by Just Kayak in the quiet town of Buncrana co Donegal, a calm quaint river of the Crana sleeps, with a little help from the skies bringing rain and the release of the dam upstream the quiet river brings in a stunning grade 2-4 alongside a riverside park.

At the top of the site hosts the Claw a grade 4 double drop with sneaky holes to keep the very best on their toes further down theirs a series of small almost natural weir style drops, rock gardens and cushion waves leading down towards the sea.

The event kicks off with a meet and greet on the Friday night with people travelling from all over the county its a great opportunity to catch up with old friends,

The Saturday is alive with activity, sea kayak race, coaching workshops, beginner slalom, div 1 slalom, wwr, freestyle comp, the dagger dash, the wavesport big trick and importantly the raft race time trials,


I was lucky to spend some good time dialling in lines on the claw playing in the new Burn before switching back to the big shiva for that extra speed,

Crana Clips

After a small window accident with the work van we headed back to the hotel to clean up before dinner and party,

THe sunday came as boater X day with beginner intermidiate and expert boater x all taking part its a fantastic experience for all. with top slalom paddlers, weekend warriors and ald fellas all competing against each other makes the event special,

The expert Boater x starts a few hundred yards upstream with a flat sprint into some small boulder gardens before lining up for the claw, with guaranteed carnage to keep the spectators happy

After Ciaron took his boater X win it was time to get back in the rafts for the rafter X final with 4 rafts attempting to navigate the lower stretch at the same time was always going to be some fun well done to the WWKC lads for taking the win.

Twat Raft

Well done to Just kayak for putting on another super event we will see you again next year!

thanks to Eamonn and Maria for the great photos

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

October Ramblings – Sickline

After a couple of days of the PaddleExpo trade show it was time to head out and drive down to the Oetz valley for Sickline world extreme kayak championships.

I paddled here back in 2012 and had a fantastic weeks paddling so have been looking forward to being back in the boat on nice water again.

After a long drive down I headed over for a quick look at the course, with no boat it was just looking at lines, before heading upto the registation to pick up my entry pack and bib. Following dinner it was time for a cheeky pre race beer and to meet up with some friends, guys I have met at other events over the years and the Irish Lads from home. Obivously beers with Ruedi is never quiet so a few shots before bed always helps.

We were up bright and early for race day with a different format to 2 years ago this time we had to do 1 mandatory qualification run followed by 2 race runs of which its the total of both runs added to give you a total time. The the top 45 would then progress to the semifinals.

After finding Colm camped out in the car park I collected my kit and got set for my first paddle on whitewater in a creek boat since king of the alps in June, as I put in at the starting eddy I felt confident of the line, I trust my boat and my kit and I was sure I could hit where I wanted.

I peeled out of the top eddy and through the slot, keeping the boat up on edge, driving the boat across the pool aiming for the corner of the rock, at the last minute getting carried by the flow and towards the corner of minus one, punching minus one and keeping the bow high to ride into the pool, while driving the boat around the rock and peeling around setting up for the champions killer the biggest drop on the course. A delayed boof to kick out the nose reaching forward for the next stroke to hold the bow down without going tail happy now driving for the slot and onto the flat pool, an absolute killer on the arms before hitting the flow and pushing down towards the slalom course trying to avoid the rocks and keep the bow riding high through the holes. Driving hard now for the line, the relief of crossing the line is immediately mixed with the thoughts of what mistakes were made and where can time be made up in the next run.893815_10151939518148293_1627211263_o

After my first run I knew I could make up time in the lower section as I had a couple of rock touches but generally happy with my top section.


Sickline Run 2

The second run I had a clean line through minus one but then got myself slightly tail happy through champions killer getting pushed left, having to work hard and getting pushed into the rock slot losing time, the lover stretch I made up time but couldn't beat my previous run.

After the two runs I was left in 89th middle of the field, having not paddled anything big in a while and my first time on moving water straight into a G4+ race I was happy to have clean lines and not get a surfing in minus one nor a swim in champions killer like so many others,996602_10201543499962729_572575178_n

Not making the cut for top 45 it was now time to go paddling,  we loaded up and made our way upto the upper Let's for a nice spin in a good flow bounce and fun, holiday had now started,

After the losers party it was finals day with semi in the morning followed by the superfinals that afternoon, with Ciaran qualifying second fastest out of the semis he was second last up. A fast top section was put to bed with an unfortunate surf in minus one and finishing his hopes of getting into the hot tub.

Well done to Joe Morely the new Sickline World Champion with a faultless run smooth and concise a very confident run from the English lad.

After the race we got another spin down the upper with the overnight rain lifting the level to make things a little sportier.904113_633562679998014_175513738_o

Over the next week I had the opportunity to paddle plenty of the Oetz  and Vent valleys with so much to do this is a really nice destination to head for.GOPR2866

If paddling not your thing (your probably reading the wrong blog) but theirs some class biking and climbing in the valley as well as rafting.

I managed to then get a few days in Switzerland before heading back for Dublin and back to work.

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Thursday, 3 October 2013

PaddleExpo 2013

Once again the circus roles into town, from hype machine to secret designs this years PaddleExpo was no different. A new hall and a condensed show continued to bring new product to retailers across Europe.

On first glance the show looks smaller with less big names than previous years, but step inside and you'll. Find all the big Brand names are about,

My show started with a Palm mega meeting looking through what's happening for 2014 after last years huge push on new products we wer'nt sure what to expect.

With a huge emphasis currently on updating and improving we were excited to see updated colours and styles across the range, with some really exciting developments in the kids department.

First off the amp and extreme vest have had some nice colour updates to smarten things up along with the Fx which is now coming in a sherbet colour to match up with the Fuse jacket.

A new piece for this season is the FXR which is essentially an Fx with a facelift and rescue harness to create a low cut, high buoyancy (70n+) pfd. This is a piece to come up against. The Zen from Nrs with an attractive array of colours this will work for both the freestyle superstar as well as the ultimate river rescuers. Ultimately this will replace the existing Axis pfd which has served many people really well over the past decade.

Other new product would include the updated team jacket now the Atlas along with the tempo two pieces which allow you straight from the mountain to the boat whether biking, riding, or hiking these pieces can go anywhere.

A really exciting piece for next year is the new women's Lofoten drysuit to complete palms range of drysuits its a women's specific touring and sea kayaking suit complete with drop seat. A women's Aleution something which has been missing from the line up.

For 2014 neo 3/4 are back something which was missed in 2013 has made a welcome return to the market,

For those junior whitewater warriors we have the new Rocket jacket which is a semi dry (neo neck latex wrist) cag built specifically in junior sizes to keep them warm and dry all year round, this combined with the electron junior longjohn and some junior rock boots will keep them charging whatever the weather.

Over at Sweet Hq weve a couple of new colours plus the arrival of the much anticipated Intergalactic drysuit with a space station sized price point in GoreTex its a thing of beauty,

Boat wise we've all seen the hype with new freestyle boats released in the lead up to the 2013 worlds. With the jitsu available in all sizes and the jed working well its passports turn with the new Mobius with a huge fan base who have been through through the Ezs, and onto the project line ups this is a boat for you. Definitely a boat to rival the Jackson superiority.

Another big talking point of the show is the new Burn or the Burn 3 its one of the most anticipated river boats we've seen in a while. With extra length and longer rails we've a faster more creeky design. After another year of development Pyranha now have a new seating system to compete with daggers popular ergo seat.

The new Pyranha seat to many looks and feels like a traditional bombproof seat which has served pyranha through its connect era extremely well. For the new boats we have a new system this time allowing for the seat to be raised and lowered either front and back or as a complete seat pan this is a great feature for you little guys who want to paddle bigger boats or in the jed wanting to get up nice and high. A couple of simple screws then drop in the foam under the seat pan and you've lifted your self quick and simple. Another new feature is the seat adjustment front and back has now changed to a plate with teeth and wheelnuts so no more having to remove the bolts to get your seat moving, this now offers plenty of adjustment to get your perfect ride.

Not letting an old workhorse die the 2010 burn is to have its rails soffened slightly and drop in spec and price to become the B2 a boat to rival the popular MX series.

Over in the Dagger booth we have their new cross over (yes another crossover boat) the Katana at first glance it resembles a mamba but stretched and now hatched skegged and decklined, asthetically a really nice looking boat in two sizes 9.7 and 10.4 and in both action and whitewater specs.

As we get longer still the new skudder system some say its powered by fairy dust others believe its a little fella in the back hatch but what we do know is it takes a tidy sytem to a new level. With no dirty overstern rudder to snag or take up deckspace the Skudder drops out of the skeg box like a normal skeg but then reacts like a rudder controlled by toe pilot system on the pedels. So no longer does your tail catch in the wind this system is always their when you need it.

This is going to be on the new Jura touring boat at 16ft its probably going to drop nicely in as a modern alternative to the british classic of the Capella. Some smooth lines its hard to see how this wont work another really nice boat by Venture.

With all the hype of recent years of composite playboats I can report their is only one here from an italian manufacturer The Spot from RCS Canoes otherwise its all plastic. But step out into the world of touring and its all on show glass, carbon some very beautiful boats even the epic V14 ski is here to make an appearance.

On the paddle front we have some new blade colours frim Werner as well as the new range if AT paddles, I cant wait to get out and try some of the new AT collection with the Hercules carbon ergo shaft really taking my eye, this will also be available as a glass and carbon straight shaft option. Around the hall I had an opportunity to look at some of the Streamlyte blades, something I havent used for a few years but with a new split blade on the way and some well priced glass options we might be stocking a few extra designs in the future, but dont worry, for any competitive paddlers im hoping to pick up both the Glide wing (braca iv shape) and the Nomad slalom blade to compliment the polo kinetics.

Another cool product I found before I left was a all set dive sit on top, complete with sliding tank holder, anchor, alpha flag and clear hatch to take a peek below. I reackon one of these in the aquatic centre would go down a treat :-)

As paddler this show is like being a big kid in a sweet shop wanting to touch and try everything but as a retailer we have to be realistic we are trying to bring the best range of products back to your local stores. We need feedback from time to time tell us what you like and what you dont, if we are missing something let us know. Ive been with The Great Outdoors now a year and have mostly enjoyed the challenge, We once again have a functioning store supplying you with what you need.


Happy Paddling


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