Saturday, 2 August 2014

Broken Teeth on the Trywern

After coming home from the alps where I spent the guts of two weeks paddling every day I was suffering from post whitewater depression ! The only cure was a trip to the national whitewater center in Wales with Tullow and Lacken kayak clubs .....even though i was only told about it 9 hours in advance .


View from the tent 
After several hours of driving we arrived at the center and went kayaking straight away .Every one seemed happy to be back on some moving water!
Slide in at the put on
After a great afternoon of kayaking the group went  to the campsite to set up camp and get some food. From my own personal experience of camping, food means burnt sausages and or pot noodle ,it seemed Dale from Tullow had a different idea and I was more than surprised when i saw pizza being made from scratch and cooked by the fire !!!
Campfire Pizza 
We woke up the next morning ate some porridge and set off to the river . Tullow had brought there dynamic duo so me and David Doyle called first go in it and went for a speedy lap down the river.
Surfing in the Duo was fun for me at the back ,less so for David in the front!
Later in the day borrowed a wavesport project x and went in search for the playspot above the normal get on .Found the small but deep hole and soon discovered that my playboating skills had completely vanished since my last time in one around a year ago but i enjoyed it non the less .
Play spot behind me 
After this I decided to run the rest of the river in the playboat and got on great until I came to the aptly named ''graveyard'' section where avoiding a sneaky rock made me go over and smash my face on another rock and then another and another and another when I could feel my teeth cracking and then taste them in my mouth I thought it was time to swim .I got to the bank sat down let my boat and paddle float away for someone else to get ,I was pissed off and annoyed more than sore .
   The rest of the group who were behind me by a good bit came around the corner and got my boat and paddle they also made sure i wasn't concussed or too badly hurt .Donal then took me to first aid in the center where they also checked if i wasn't concussed and set up an appointment at the dentist in Wrexham for the next morning !
Not looking my best 
So the me to next day Donal drove Wrexham to find the dentist closed !So we headed back to the whitewater center where the group was still paddling .By this time my eye was almost swollen shut and my nose was swollen up too ! But the weather was brilliant so I took my camera out and started shooting .

Thanks to everybody that made the trip happen and everyone who helped me after my swim :)




























Sunday, 16 March 2014

Irish Whitewater League


''The Irish Whitewater league, has been set up and organised by kayakers for kayakers. We want to promote having the laugh along with kayaking good whitewater. This league is all about the banter, meeting new people and enjoying the river''



So far I've competed in three of the races held so far ....The Flesk Race, Ennistymon Race and Galway Fest



Flesk Race ....The Flesk race was held on the 30th of December 2013 .After a long drive down with non-stop rain coupled with the fact ive never ran the river before and didnt really know anyone going I was quite nervous heading down to this race .When I pulled up to the put in for the river it was tanking at a level that was way too high to run the race on after about an hour or so we were told that instead of running the race over the whole river that it would be a sprint race from the put in to about 200m down.After 3 or 4 practice laps of the short course I was feeling pritty confident of my line.My race run went well and got a time of 1:07 since I was the only u18 there that time in mens would have placed me 9th out of 14 but i still got first place points for the junior league table :)
Angle Drop High Water 
After the race I tagged along with a group to run the full section of the river at a high level of 1.6 it was one of the best runs ive ever done in Ireland.Big thanks to Andrew Regan ,David Higgins and David Glasswell for letting me tag along and showing me lines . Video here
Flesk Race Course 

Ennistymon Falls Race....This race was held on the 15th of February 2014. Originally this was ment to be the glens race but thanks to huge storms in Ireland the glens was and still is chocked with trees :( .So Ennistymon Falls was the back up plan .This was another short race with the falls and rapids only covering around 500m .This set of rapids is right in the middle of the village of Ennisymon and features a 18 ft waterfall leading into a set of rapids with loads of ledge drops and slides with plenty of different lines to make things interesting.After a few practice laps I was buzzing to race and ended up getting a time of 1:44 only this time I wasn't the only person in u18 males Sean Cahill was also raceing in this class and bet me with a time of 1:42.Video here.

Walking Back up for another lap 
Ennistymon Falls



Galway Fest ........Was held on the 1st of march in Spidal on the Boluisce from the foot bridge to poll gorm after breaking my paddle the week before on the glenmacnass I was paddleing with a borrowed paddle id never used before and also had sprained wrist from the swim that broke it so I wasn't very confident about how i was going to do in the race.With no practice lap due to the course being too long to walk back up .I ended up comeing 2nd out of 10 in the u18 mens with a time of 6:25 so i was pritty happy with that .....After this tagged along with another group to run the top drop all in all it was a super race with a great atmosphere with 130+ racers .
Last Few Strokes to the finish line 

Super Sexy Race Face 

Over all each event was awesome its great being able to paddle new rivers with new people and do abit of racing as well so thanks to Barry and Andrew for running the league aswell as each of the races!




Thursday, 24 October 2013

Crana Kayak Weekend

So a few days ago I headed up to Crana kayak fest .For those who don't know Crana Kayak Fest is a multi discipline kayaking weekend held every year in buncrana with events from boatercross to rafting along with guaranteed water from a  dam release  makes it one of the biggest whitewater events of the year.

The river itself has everything from grade 4 to the sea within a kilometer or two and is enclosed by a park with paths running along the river with concrete steps and put in spots every 100 meters or so, in short it is one of the best rivers to hold an event of this type on .
The Claw

Day 1 :On the saturday I entered novice slalom partially because i don't have a real slalom kayak and also because im not very good at the whole gates thing ;) this event took up most of the morning.
 After this me and my friend Eoin headed up to do some laps of the middle grade 3 section along with a few laps of the grade 4 ''Claw'' Drop this was the first time Eoin had ever ran anything that big and he styled it :)
 That evening we went to the awards in the hotel and in true kayaking fashion it started two hours late .

Day 2 : Sunday for me held the most important event of the weekend the boatercross a style of race where 6-7 people are let down the river at once fastest 2 go to the next heat ,after about 10-15 runs of the claw the biggest drop on the race course I felt pritty confidant I was hitting some good lines and was looking forward to the race.Our heat of 7 got to the start line someone shouted  go, I was behind everybody elce at the start and leading into the first rapid but I keeped pushing and thanks to some advice from Brian Keogh I took the left lines on all the rapids where as everybody was going for right not only did this give me more room to paddle but also put me in a better possission for the claw I hit my line on the claw and paddled hard to the finish where I picked up 3th place since the small numbers in the under 18s there was only one heat and results from that heat were final


On a other noat I had the Brand new Burn 3 out on the water for the first time absolutely savage boat loveing the new design :)
Boatercross


Boatercross

Thanks to Total Experince for supplying me with the new Burn Mk3 for the event  check them out here as well as just kayak for organizing the event !!!




Sunday, 6 October 2013

Summers over and the rain is back !

After a long summer with no rain and water levels at an all time low in Ireland we were finally blessed with some rain over the week. By the time we got to the Wicklow mountains on Saturday the Avonmore was all that was running .We hoped on and did the Lough Dan to Jacksons section with several laps of  Guinness rapid  as well as Trooperstown and the famous Jackson falls .All in all it was a great day ,super happy to be back on some whitewater .

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Bitches Tidal Race

The Bitches is a tidal race in south Wales and is formed by a volcanic reef protruding from the sea bed when the tide starts to rise water is held back behind the reef and eventually flows over and around it causing a set of rapids about 700 meters wide.

On the 21th of August I headed over with watermark experiences to this amazing  place for a weeks kayaking and media studies .



 This place provided one of the most different and odd kayaking experiences of my life between surfing the glassy front wave and the 2nd and 3rd waves that are formed behind it to the play hole and all while having to avoid huge whirlpools that managed to pull my whole burn under water made it an extremely dynamic place to kayak

Thanks to Deb Pinniger 
                Nico Chassing 
                Mark O'Shea-Pert 
                And Pyranha Kayaks 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A French Adventure



Fournell Falls

DAY 1
We packed the boats in our own van and headed to the Lower Guil for a warm up run .We ended up deciding to run it in to the Durance and go all the way to Embrum .Compared to the other runs in the week it was a fun chill run with big bouncy wave trains the best of which being the rabiox wave wich was washed out in to a huge green wave (normally a hole) .


DAY 2 

We decided to head to the Upper Guisane on our second day we got there to find that it was at a nice high level .The river its self starts of as a grade 3 but about 3km down stream lies the s-bend a grade 4 with plenty of pour-overs and rocks to keep you on edge, after getting out and scouting what we could of it we one by one pealed out of the eddy above it and shot down.

     Half way down the first section i saw Joe out of his boat swimming and after about 2km of white water Adrian and Paul mannaged to rescue his boat and paddle but there was no sign of him .Me and Adrian got out and walked up river for about 20 min trying to find him but to no avail we returned to the group to find joe on an island in the middle of the river with a big cut on his cheek but luckily enough still able to paddle after getting to the takeout another 2km of class 3 later he went to the hospital to get stitches.

While this was happening Myself ,Paul,Adrian and Dave went to the put in for another round this time with no swims !

DAY 3

On the third day we took a long drive over the tops of the mountains to the Upper Guil .This was my favorite run of the week mainly due to the gorge section which provided great whitewater and perfect moves !





                                                   
DAY 4

After plenty of discussions we went to the middle Claree ,a river that was so hyped up by the group that i almost didn't want to run it .When we got there my fear subsided to find what looked like a fun manageable section of whitewater and that's exactly what it was .
Guil



After two runs on the middle Clare we packed up and headed to the Briancon gorge this was another of my favorites of the week due to the height and steepness of the walls it really gives a sense of isolation and adventure !

Fornell Falls Boofing to avoid the sticky hole at the bottem

Day 5 
Our week was coming to a close and a few paddlers were talking a days rest but we still had a strong group of four consisting of Myself ,Paul,Adrian and Dave .To maximize our time on the river we ran the Onde into the Gyronde and the Gyrond to the slalom site followed by a short trip to Fornell Falls


Dave handling his situation extremely well on a low onde

DAY 6 
Guil
Our final day came and we had two options the Middle Guil or the Durance Gorge when we arrived at the gorge to check on levels it was a 7 the last time anybody from the group ran it it was a 4 or 5 coupled with not hearing of anybody running it the week we were there we decided to leave for the Guil .The Guil ended up being one of the most fun runs of the week untill we had two swims at once witch in the fast alpine water is not an easy thing to deal with but everybody got of safe .After the Guil Me ,Paul and Dave completed one last run on the Briancon Gorge to cap of the trip and after some self rescue demonstrations by Paul we powered on through the beautiful gorge to the take out ending what had been the most amazing week of whitewater in my life
Smiles all round after the last trip of the week 
Special thanks to :Paul Maguire for orginising the trip
                           Adrian Wimsey for his imput on rivers
                           Joe Coxin for the amazing photos
                           Gerry Hodgers for the 5star food
                            Pyranha Kayaks
                            and everybody who made the trip such good craic !