10 Years with Square Rock

This year has been another great year for kayaking for me. I got the chance to travel to the Outdoor Mix Festival in France with Mathieu Dumoilin, head to Hurly, and Cardiff White Water Centre for freestyle, and to top it off, took a trip to Scotland in November. While, of course, also managing to fit in some fun runs down some of my local rivers.

I was planing on doing a year review and a video when I realised that this year has been my tenth year paddling for Squarerock. So, I thought I would go through some of my footage over the last few years and put a together short film with some photos of the fun I have had over the last ten years kayaking for the guys at Squarerock.

I would like to say a big thank you to Aaron and Rhona for the support, let’s see what the next ten years have to offer!

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White Water Weekend on the Upper Dart

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This weekend we finally had some rain in the South West and both myself and Chris thought we would take full advantage of a little water in the rivers. The Upper Dart is one of my local rivers and it does not matter how many times I have paddled it you know your going to have a good time! We even got a lap today in the sunshine. Check out below some of my Go Pro shots of the fun times we had on the river.

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France 2016 Road Trip and Outdoor Mix Festival

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For the last two years we have done trips to Italy, this year we decided to do something a little different.

OutdoorMix festival – France

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This year we decided to check out the OutdoorMix festival in France, after being invited by Mathieu Dumoulin to compete in the extreme river race. We thought it would be good to have a go at racing and enjoy the other sports going on.

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OutdoorMix is basically an extreme sports and music festival. So lots of different sports during the day such as, kayaking, slacklineing, bmxing, longboarding and more! The evenings were party time, with the music side of the festival starting at 7pm going on till 3am for the ones that love the party.

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We split the journey up by stopping off on the way at a little Whitewater course called Saint Pierre De Boeuf. Straight away we loved this place! It had two nice freestyle spots, just took a bit of practising to work out where the deep spots were.

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We had a great time at the course getting back into proper freestyle kayaking and practising some new moves.

OutdoorMix started on Friday 13th May, with the first kayaking event being a sprint race, with the top 32 competitors going forward into the boatercross. With no previous race experience, and having only paddled the section once, about 20 minutes before, it is fair to say we didn’t come in the top 32, but we still had a great time on the water as well as watching the other competitors race.

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The next day we thought we would chill out in the sun and check out some of the other sports going on in the event. We also managed to have a go at standup paddle boarding on the lake. We also thought we would try some slacklineing, as they had various lines set up on the trees, and also across the lake. As we were in board shorts already, we thought we would try one over the lake.We got wet. A lot. But it was great fun!

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That evening we thought we would hit up the party as we had been told they were meant to be really good, and they weren’t wrong! Great music and a great atmosphere.

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We liked doing some freestyle on the white water course we stopped at so much, we decided we would skip the last part of the festival and go back there. The next morning we packed up camp had a little walk around the festival again, then started the 4 hour drive.

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We got there in good time so were able to get a good few hours paddling in that day as well as a full solid day the next day. By the end of it we had both learnt some new things and refined our freestyle paddling some more.

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It was then time for the big journey home with Aaron and Rhona from Squarerock kindly letting us stop at there to continue the journey the following day.

We had a great time in France, and look forward to another trip there to explore some more of the rivers available.

Big thanks to Hatherleigh Motor Services for lending us their wicked T4 van for the trip!

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See you on the water

Pete and Alex

Freestyle Boating at Cardiff White Water Center

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So last weekend was Easter weekend and Chris and I decided to spend the holiday at the Cardiff White Water Center for a bit of freestyle kayaking. The journey up from Cornwall is a bit of a trek but well worth it as it was nice to get back into a playboat following a winter of river running and creeking .

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So it was the perfect opportunity for a bit of practice and have a laugh with some friends. The White Water Center in Cardiff is a great place to brush up on your freestyle skills with some good challenging features.

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It was a great day boating, and even the random rainstorm towards the end of the session didn’t dampen our spirits. I always have fun playing around in my Jackson Kayak Rockstar due to its versatility and its ability to go big while looping. Can’t wait to get back out in it soon!

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Alex

 

Hurly Weir on 3 Gates with the 2016 Rockstar

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With the lack of water down here in the South West it was the prefect opportunity to head up to the Thames Valley for a spot of Hurly on 3 gates with my 2016 Jackson Kayak Rockstar . It was a great day with good levels in the sun what more could you ask for. This boat is so much fun!

Alex

 

Scotland 2015 Video

 

Kayaking in Scotland in 2015, With the Dynamic Kayaking Productions Crew Alex Read and Pete Bridgeford and Guest staring Chris Brown Martin. A great trip with some good friends. Enjoy!

Film on Go Pro Hero 4 Black, Go Pro Hero 3+ Go Pro Hero 3 black and Canon 60D
Rivers:

-Allt a Chaorainn
-Allt Mheuran
-River Etive
-River Nevis
-Morriston

Music
Rudimental: feel the love

Scoltland 2015

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I’ve finally got round to writing a blog for our trip to Scotland back in November, what a trip it was!

On our previous Scotland trip we only had one car, and saw nearly no other boaters, so it limited what we could paddle, as we’d have to do the shuttle on foot, which sucked. Luckily this year we had two vehicles, and there was a lot more boaters about, so we got a lot more done.

Day 1

We wanted to start off easy, check out how well everyone’s paddling, and one of the group Joy, had a shoulder injury so we didn’t want to push it all straight away, so we headed to the Roy gorge, nothing too challenging and everyone had paddled it before. We’d had rather a lot of rain the past few days, so there was water everywhere!

Day 2

We decided to check out the Etive, as after one dry night, we were hoping it would drop, and it had, we were blessed by a perfect level, turned out a few other boaters had the same idea, and as we were checking out the first feature, we bumped into some familiar faces we didn’t know we’re also in Scotland.

We got kitted up, set up some safety, and ran the first section. Unfortunately Joy had to put in a big support stroke on her bad shoulder, and had to get off the water, so she went to the car and came back as our personal photographer/eyes on the back.

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The rest of the river was incredible, higher than I’d paddled it before, which made it that but more pushy, and the holes a bit more grabby.

We eventually got to the main feature on the river, Right angle falls. We got out onto the bank, and this is where the nerves started kicking in, as your stood looking over the lip of the falls.

One by one we all ran the drop, with only two unfortunate swims, including one self rescue.

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Day 3

The water had dropped some more so we went off to check out some of the tributaries of the Etive, the Allt a Chaorainn & the Allt Mheuran. First up we went for the Allt a Chaorainn, with Joy having another rest day, we again had a photographer, an injury doesn’t always mean you can’t be involved! This is such a fun trib, full of some super fun slides and drops.

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Next headed further down the road to find the next trib, the Allt Mheuran. Everyone was looking forward to this, with its big walk in, for about a minute or so on the water, depending how long you sit in the eddies.

We eventually got to the slide, and Alex and I decided we’d go up further and check out the drop above, after working out the line, a quick game of rock paper scissors decided who went first, so I went and got into my boat.

My line didn’t go greatly to plan, having nearly spun around and ran the drop backwards, and a big explicit being said as I noticed I was spinning. Alex then ran it, nailed the line.So back up I went to do it again, this time a lot better!

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We we went down to the next bit which was the slide into a drop, a super fun, super fast feature. We all ran it, all had massive smiles after, so we went and did it again, before the big walk out, this bit wasn’t so fun.

 

Day 4

The day of release for the Morriston, we couldn’t miss out on this. Alex and I had both been wanting to do this river for a while now, so glad we were finally able to do it. It all seems a bit daunting at first, as you get on the river straight into a drop without a warm up, but it’s actually a lot easier than it looks.

We only did the top half, as the water was dropping due to the release getting turned off. Once we we’re back at the car, Joy came up with the idea of driving to the drop on the Nevis, so Alex and I could go run it.

I like Joy, Joy has good ideas! (She also make a great apple crumble)

Off to the drop we went! We got there, for kitted up, and stood looking, working out what lead up line to take, etc etc.

Alex went first, it all went well, know I knew it was my turn, again, everything went well, and we were both stoked !

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Because it kicks you up before you go off the edge, you get a real sense of free fall, which feels incredible. We got off the water and looked at all the pictures, and as we were about to get changed, Matty Nicholas turned up and said he was about to run the whole river, and we could join him if we wanted.

It was starting to get dark, but he said it wouldn’t take long at all, so off we went! It’s fair to say me and Alex we’re both a tad nervous. But my God! What a river!!

As we were paddling down, it was raining quite a bit so the river was rising all the way, from a nice, good level, into a definite high level. It was so much fun, with some good pushy features, it was full on most of the way, kept us on our toes for sure.

This was another river we had really wanted to do, but one we wanted to paddle with someone who knows it, so bumping into Matty was quite handy. Best river of the trip without a doubt.

Day 5

We’d heard a lot about the Coe, and driven past it many many times, but again, never paddled it, and wanted to do it with someone who knew it. We met back up with Matty, and it was a bit low, but raining, so we went for a coffee whilst waiting for the river to rise.

It rose a bit, nothing major, but we still got on and had a great paddle through the narrow, deep gorge. This was done super fast, so we went off to do some slides out in the woods which aren’t ran that often These were also pretty fun, but over fast, so as we still had a good amount of the day left, we decided we’d go back to the Nevis as two others from our group felt up for paddling it this time round.

When in the eddy at the top, I couldn’t work out if I was more or less nervous now I knew what was coming up, but I paddled it a lot better this time round, which I was very happy about.

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We all had a great time on the water the whole week up there, and we all came back home excited about what we’d got done.

We all love paddling up in Scotland, and I know I can’t wait to get back up there paddling again!

Thanks for reading, here are a few more pictures.

See you on the water

Pete

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.

SAFTY KIT

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

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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.  

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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.

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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,

Alex

Trip Planning: Scotland

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So after we had such a good time the last two years in Scotland we have decided to make the long drive from Cornwall to the Fort William area for some good old creaking to hopefully start off a great season of white water boating.

In the next couple of weeks I am going to do a few blogs that take a closer look in to planning and getting ready for a white water trip. Below are some of our favourite photos from our last couple of trips. Hope you enjoy and we will catch you soon.

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