Winter Boating with the Jackson Kayak Nirvana


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.

Catch you on the water




The 2017 Immersion Research 7 Figure Dry Suit


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.


Catch you on the water.






The Jackson Kayak Antix brings the fun back to your local run’s


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!” (


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.





Scotland 2015: Kit Planning

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So with only 2 weeks till Pete and I head to Scotland its time to start getting our kit ready. In this post I am going to take a quick look at some of the kit that I will  be taking on our trip.

DrySuit Kayak Extreme 4L

Sweet Rocker: The rocker by sweet protection is a high performance helmet built for the roughest conditions.

Sandiline Extreme 4 layer Kayaking Drysuit: I have been using sandiline drysuits for around 5 years and they never disappoint. Featuring a breathable and waterproof 4 layer fabric with reinforced cordura on heavy wear points including knees, elbows and bottom make this a great hard wearing drysuit choice for white water trips.

Sandiline freeride PDF: This buoyancy aid has been designed for the most demanding white water conditions. This buoyancy aid has over 75N in the S/M or 90N in the L/XL so has plenty of float if you do have an unfortunate swim. It also features side buoyant foam that provides extra protection from side impacts and comes equipped with a large front pocket great for putting all your kit in and quick release system.

Sandiline Kevlar Spray Deck: This deck is a hard wearing white water spray deck with reinforced kevlar for added protection

Six six one elbow pads: While on white water I like to protect my elbows from impacts and I have found the ones from six six one great and work well on top of my drysuit.

Teva Water Shoes: Good footwear while on a white water trip is a must I have gone through many a pair to find ones that suit me. I really like these Teva ones they are flexible and have great grip to stop you falling in while walking on the river bank.


The photo above shows a selection of the safety equipment I like to carry while on the water


The photo above shows the boat that I will be taking to Scotland this year. It’s the new 2015 Jackson Kayak Zen. Jackson kayaks say that “The 2015 Zen bridges the gap between river runner and creek boat” This boat is a great boat for Scotland as it’s super fast and responsive. It offers a new tier in speed and performance while being so much fun to paddle.

One of the things I have added to the boat is some Jackson kayak sweet cheeks (photo below) as I am paddling the large Zen and due to my lack of height I like to be raised slightly in the boat. They also make the seat super comfy for long days white water boating.  


For white water I like to use the Ophion paddles Katana (All Star) with the ergo power torque. More information about these paddles can be found in one of my previous posts click here.


I hope you have found this post useful. As the we get closer to going away, we will keep you posted on training and other useful trip planning tips.

Catch you on the water,


Kit Review: Sandiline Shorty Dry Cagdeck (Pete)

One thing I love about kayaking is being on the water in the sun. Everything just feels a lot better and way more relaxed, none of the annoying shivering, brain freeze or having to keep moving to try stay warm, but best of all, you get to wear a shorty cag!

For some reason I always feel I paddle better in a short sleeve cag, whether that down to the cag, I’m less restricted as I don’t have material all down my arms, or if it’s some physiological thing, I have no idea, but I just seem to paddler better and feel better, and I love it!

I have a Sandiline long sleeve cagdeck and I really like it, and ideally want to stick to a cagdeck if possible, I find them so much better, not having the tight feeling around your waist where you deck is normally. So when the chance for me to get myself a Sandiline short sleeve cag deck came around, I thought I’d jump and the chance and get one. I went for the green, black and white option.

My Tuesday night club session was happening and it had been a nice hot day, so thought I’d try my new purchase and do some flat water freestyle. Just like the long sleeve version, it felt really comfortable to wear, with the latex neck seal keeping my dry and neoprene arm seals which are really easy to get on/off, and still hold the water out. Not once did I feel any water seep in, and I had a great evening on the water, and I will definitely be wearing this throughout the summer.

I’m really happy with this cagdeck, so if you’re on the lookout for a short sleeve cag, I do recommend you give Sandiline a try!

Check out the Video below of my session in my new cag!

See you on the water,


Kit Review: Sandiline Semi-dry Cagdeck (Alex Read)

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So I have recently got a new cagdeck for the summer the Sandiline Semi-dry cagdeck this is a great cag for the summer and if you dislike uncomfortable latex neck seals then this is the product for you.

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The upper garment is a 4 layer breathable fabric, available in green, blue or pink. With twin neoprene cone shaped Neck seals. Latex inner wrist seal with outer neoprene seal protection.

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The cut of this cag deck is based on the Slightly closer fitting Slalom winter combo I have gone up a size as my Sandiline dry cag deck is a medium but in this cag I have gone for a large. The deck on the cag deck is a more durable whitewater spray deck than the one on the winter slalom combo. The deck is available in Keyhole or big deck with a latex inner coating.

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I have only been using this cag for a week and it is perfect for summer freestyle session on whitewater and flatwater. I have been using it in our sea pool and it’s great as the pool is salt water and due to the twin neoprene neck I do not get any rubbing on my neck. As I use this cag more I will keep you posted on how it is going

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This cag deck is Available here for only £199.00 and if you need more information checkout

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See you on the water,


Kit Review: Thermals (Pete)

Before I left for Italy earlier this month, I realised I didn’t really have many decent thermals. Hot sun, 20+ degrees, but can sometimes get cold when the sun goes in, or when you’re deep In a gorge with steep walls and/or trees blocking out the sun, and then Ice melt water, splashing in your face or when you inevitably go over. So I wanted something which would keep me warm when needed, but didn’t want to be Sweating inside my drysuit all day.


I was looking at the Thermatech SpeedDri unltasport base layer, as its lightweight, gives you lots of movement and the different features it says it has sounded really good, such as fast drying, has the properties of merino wool, which I’ve heard good things about, and the best sounding one, odour resistant! We all know how bad thermals can smell after just a day’s paddling, let alone 9 days in the sun in Italy.

Matt Newton (From Canoe Kayak Trader) also told me how good other people have said it is, so I thought id give it ago, and see for myself how good it is,


I also decided I’d go for the Palm Indus 4 core thermal, as it was a bit thicker, being more of a mid-weight thermal, and also super comfy. There’s nothing worse than having a horribly uncomfortable thermal under your cag/drysuit all day. I thought it would give me that extra bit of warmth I may need if the sun isn’t around, as well as being good for a chilly day boating in the UK.I really liked them both!

On the really hot days, I would use the Thermatech base layer under my PeakUk drysuit which worked out to be perfect! Didn’t feel it was making me too hot, and didn’t once get to cold with it on either. I couldn’t really notice I was wearing it when paddling as it’s so lightweight and gives you all the movement you’ll need which was really nice. And after the paddle, whilst waiting for the shuttle, it was thin enough and breathable, so if I wanted to, I could carry on wearing it out of my drysuit and still not feel too hot, and avoid getting sun burnt.

I would definitely recommend this thermal to anyone paddling in a hot country or on a hot summer’s day in the UK. Apparently it’s meant to be good at keeping you warm in the winter too, but I haven’t yet been able to test that!

If we planned to be out for a long day deep in a gorge, or when it wasn’t quite as warm as other days, I opted for my Palm Indus thermal to provide me with that extra bit of warmth. This was ideal when we did a section called the Heidi run as it was high up the mountain, but deep down in a gorge with high trees blocking lots of the sun, and we ended up being in there for a while so a lot of the day’s heat had gone. Again, this top was really comfortable to be wearing all day under my drysuit, and it also has a handy chest pocket, which could be used to store a bit of money or something in, in case needed. I would also recommend this top as well and look forward to seeing how well it will keep me warm when winter comes back around, as currently, I only has a onesie for winter paddling.

pete italy

See you on the water.


Kit Review: Ophion Paddles

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I have been using Ophion paddles for around the last five years and I really love them, so I have written a little bit about them and why I like them.

‘Ophion paddles are all about creating high performance paddles to serve your passion, they are individually designed, hand-crafted and are made from the finest materials available. Ophion paddles are proud to be produced in Slovenia, just a stone throw away from the Soca River.’

I am currently using two different paddles from Ophion, one is the Katana All Star with an ergo power torque.

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This blade shape is design to be on the river for all aspects of white water kayaking from playboating to river running or creeking, it does everything. I have teamed this blade with the ergo torque shaft which from the photo you can see that the shaft’s crank puts the blade in front of the paddle.

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This means that you gain a greater reach out in front of your boat giving your strokes more power on the water. I have been using this combination for the whole white water season in the UK and loved them. Finding that I can drive the boat where it needs to go.

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Second I use the Katana trickstar with an ergo neutral bent shaft. This is the paddle that I use for playboating as the trickstar offers a blade that is perfectly balanced and aggressive at the same time making it great for freestyle moves.

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For more information on Ophion paddles check out or if you are looking at trying some out check out to find your local store stocking them in the UK.

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If you see us on the water and want to have a go just ask, we are more than happy to let you try them out!