I wrote this blog a few months back but forgot to post it, Hope you enjoy
After a long time out of the water due to injury, I am finally feeling back to my old self. So I felt it was time to grab my new Jackson Kayak Rockstar 4.0 and meet up with fellow team member Dan for a weekend boating in the Thames Valley.
Due to living in the South West, it has been a good few years since I have been to Chertsey Weir and I had forgot how much of a fun feature it is. From loops to phonics monkey, most tricks can be achieved in this feature.
The sun was shining, the short sleeve cags were on (well for me anyway) and the rockstar 4.0 were out to play. After some time away from playboating, it was nice to back on the water and throw the boat around.
It was nice to get on the water and meet up with Dan over the last few days. Hopefully now that I am back on track and injury free I will be spending most of the summer in my rockstar having fun.
Last weekend I headed up to Bedford for the 2018 River Festival to try my hand at the Big Air Ramp with the guys from Canoe Trail (www.canoetrail.co.uk)
Once I got there I was super excited to get on the ramp and have a go. Sitting on top of the 6m ramp for the first time I am not going to lie there was some nerves. As I peered over the edge I knew there was no turning back. The first drop happened very quickly and before I knew it i was upside down headed towards the water.
After a few more practices I had some moves in the bag and was ready for the show on Saturday. Throughout Saturday we ran 4 shows demonstrating freestyle kayaking firstly on the flat water then on the Big Air Ramp. With the fourth being ran in the dark with the addition of flames and fireworks.
The next day we had three more shows to do. Feeling a little sore from the day before, it was time to keep the crowd entertained and get back on the ramp.
It was a great weekend showing people what can be done in a kayak and explaining more about the sport. I would like to thank the guys from Canoe Trail for inviting me along and the team at Tribe Active UK (tribeactiveuk.com) for keeping us on the water.
A big thank you to the team at Forge Photography (www.forgephotography.co.uk) for all the time they took to get some great shots of me on the ramp.
As I spend most of my time in a creak boat these days when Jackson Kayak announced they were making the Nirvana I could not wait to try one out.
So at the start of this winter I finally got my hands on the Jackson Kayak Nirvana and we had rain. Unwrapping it in the car park at Dartmeet I was like a kid at Christmas. All I needed to do was put a few hip pad shims in and it was ready to go.
I went for the Medium size and found it was the right size for me.
That weekend I spent all my time on the water around Dartmoor check out the video of that weekend below:
Next on the cards for the Nirvana was a trip to North Wales in December. This would be a good test for the boat and it did not disappoint. The boat dealt with everything I did really well. It’s fast, manoeuvrable and comfortable.
During our time in North Wales we had all types of conditions, with high and low water levels, even snow! It was a really good trip and I cant wait to head back there!
The next trip this winter was when fellow Squarerock team members Dan and Heidi came down for a week of South West boating. They could not have timed it any better as we just had a load of rain and the rivers were up. We even got a few laps on the East Lynn, one of my favourite rivers down here, and I could not wait to show them the lines.
It’s been a good winter of boating for me and the Nirvana was the icing on the cake. Below are some photos of the boat in Dartmoor.
So the last few weeks have been very busy for me, with lots of boating and even more driving. First stop for me was Scotland and it was time for my Advance White Water Leader ( Formally 5 Star) Assessment.
It was a great opportunity to get in some new rivers under my belt, and there was even time for some Scottish classics thanks to Sean Quinn at PhotosbymeSeanQuinn for the photos!
Second trip was to the mighty Tryweryn for some coaching work for Rock The Boat Activities It was great to see the guys enjoying themselves and developing there white water skills.
Check out the latest video edit from last weekends trip to North Wales, Full of river running, surfing, tail squirts and rock spins with the Jackson Kayak Antix. This boat still does not disappoint to put a smile on my face.
For 2017 season Immersion Research launched their updated 7 Figure dry suit, which in IR’s range is their highest performance dry suit. With IR comparing the suit to ‘running shuttles in a luxury sedan’ and ‘making you feel like a million bucks on the water’. I could not wait to try one out.
I have been using the previous 7 figure and was very impressed, so was keen to see how they could improve an already great suit. Form the start of 2017 I was lucky enough to get my hands on one and have been wearing it ever since. Whether it’s for white water, freestyle or coaching, the 2017 7 figure has been my go to piece of equipment. The 3 layer 100% pcw recycled polyester has held up extremely well and keeps me dry even when used day to day for work.
There are a few noticeable changes to the 2017 model which I could see as soon as I got it out of the packet. Firstly, is the colourway. With green being my favourite colour I naturally went for the Lime Punch/ Black Iris, which not only looks rad in photos it’s also super bright making it easy to be seen (this is great for safety and making sure I can be seen by clients). I found on the previous model the white on the arms could look dirty after time. This has been solved with the introduction of the black iris being used instead of white.
The second change I noticed straight away was the wrist construction. Gone was the Velcro from the previous model and in was the volcano style neoprene overcuffs, not only looking smart but making the suit super easy to get on and off over the wrists.
IR have also introduced a handy chest pocket perfect for storing my waterproof key in making sure I never leave it behind on a shuttle, which has happened on many occasions prior to this suit.
The next substantial change I found with the suit was once I put the suit on. The cut has changed from the 2016 model. Giving the suit a closer feel. I have a medium in both and have found the 2017 model to have less bagginess under the arms for a more athletic feel, but still having adequate space for my IR Union Suit to fit underneath and not being too tight.
I have been happy how the first 6 months have gone with the suit. It’s been hardwearing enough for long days coaching and durable enough to withstand walk ins to rivers, but still gives me the flexibility for freestyle and creaking in, while keeping me dry. Good job! Immersion Research you have made yet another great product. I will keep you posted on how the suit is doing after a year’s use.
The Antix is the latest creation from Jackson Kayak, this boat is described by Jackson as “a new creeking/river running kayak that is fun, easy to paddle, runs the river like a dream but with some groove in the hull design to allow for continual play all the way down!” (www.jacksonkayak.com)
So I have been using the new Jackson Kayak Antix for the last few months down in Devon and it does not disappoint. This boat turns quickly, squirts, spins and splats rocks like a dream! While still being able to get you down the river with ease.
I normally paddle the large zen and I sit at the bottom of the weight category so have lots of volume so with the Antix I decided to go for a medium as I sit at the top end of the weight and wanted the boat to feel more sporty. The slicey stern makes it easy to stern-squirt and rock splat adding more fun to my local runs. With the fuller bow this boat is not only about spins and squirts but it has the volume up front to get you down the river.
I have used this boat on most of my local runs and it never disappoints to put a smile on my face, it’s definitely one of my go to boats at the moment. If you are looking to spice up your local run, the Antix is well worth a spin.