Sponsor me for the LondonSurrey 100 mile ride.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Made a sale!

Today we sold our first surfboard! Until now we've mainly sold clothing and equipment; but today we took an order for a 6"5' Retro board. Some very lucky guy is getting it as a Christmas present from his girlfriend!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

I might be ill?

Saw the doctor last night; he thinks I’ve got a viral infection of the respiratory bronchiole.He wanted to give me a week off work, but I don’t feel ill – just get out of breath when trying to walk or bike up hill – but what’s new.

Real downer is that the weather's good I've got so much to do in the hills and on the water; and I'm being told to stay at home and rest.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Llangollen River trip 16 Oct 2010

Despite suffering with a cold most of the week, I went with Phil to Llangollen for a paddle.Sometimes you just get fed up of living life around the tissue box. I wasn't on form, but still a good day out!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Back in the UK

Pam and I seem to have brought good weather back with us from Lanzarote. We're now getting excited about Newport Nocturne on Saturday. arkayaking are sponsoring a lap and hopefully we will have 2 fantastic big signs out on the course too!!!!!!!!

Friday, 13 August 2010


Lot's of whitewater this week! Weekend at Llangollen running a three star course and then a run down Jackfield on Tuesday.

A big thanks to all those who attended the course and made it a great weekend. Also a big thank you to Jonny - our new wonder kid instructor. If he falls in while surfing with his feet on the deck - he's on his own!
Well done to all the guys on the course for a tremendous effort and it was great to see you all progress so quickly over the course.

Keep an eye on the website for more courses and trips coming this Autumn!

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Month of July

July is traditionally our busiest month. This year has been no exception! Firstly there was the much fated Foundation, Safety and Rescue Course - this course saw attendance beset by illness and exploding engines. Well done to Tony and Phil for passing.
Then came a weekend of BCU Two Star. Congratulations to Harry, Phil and Amy on gaining this award and I hope to see you guys again on the water soon,
The last weekend of good weather saw me out on the hills taking Adrian through his NNAS Silver award. Congratulations on passing the assessment, I'm sure you now know exactly where Cranbury Rock is! I’m sure Adrian took away a lot of new techniques that will keep him safe in the hills and add to his enjoyment of our wonderful uplands.
Then it started to rain! Normally this is a good sign, but for the weekend of a Three Star training course this was bad news. We have to run these courses on grade 2 water. Trying to find a river without a flood warning that had water in it was impossible. So, sorry guys and see you on the rescheduled course on 7th & 8th August!

Our other news is welcome aboard Jonny! The last time I meet Jonny he was 12 and paddling slalom C1, now he's at uni and regularly paddling things his mum doesn't ask questions about. Jonny's going to be joining us to help out with some of the more technical courses, so look out for him if you're paddling with us this summer.

Those of you who’ve paddled with us for sometime know my views on open canoes – old playboaters never die, they just get in a spin! Well we’ve purchased two Venture Ontario Opens from Endless River in Worcestershire. These boats are fantastic – low to the water, easy to paddle, with a good turn of speed and very manoeuvrable. If you want your mind changing on open canoes or just fancy giving it a go, why not come down to the river one Thursday and try one.

On the SUP front, the board has at last been in salt water! Rides waves like a dream, even in a closed out 4 foot swell at Borth. Forecast said waves would be a foot, but didn’t account for the wind - the line up ended somewhere off the coast of Ireland. Anyway I still had fun (among the odd wipeout).

See you all out on the water again soon!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Ups and downs.

Just when you think everything is going great you know life is going to jump up and bite you on the backside. The unexpected summer weather has been great for business - not having to switch to the canal due to sudden rises in river levels, people actually looking forward to getting wet, the list is endless. I'm getting to grips with SUP and making a presence for the sport on the Severn and all our clients are showing a great improvement in their paddling!

Then on Thursday I over do it in an open canoe and rediscover on old injury lingering under my shoulder, just waiting for a chance to bite. About 12 years ago I tore a nerve just below my shoulder blade. Having to paddle with a single blade for a couple of hours reignited the injury - this has just compounded my dislike for opens!

Friday morning I felt a bit stiff and I hoped a day of easy hillwalking would rest it. By teatime I was doing okay and confirmed with Saturdays clients the session would be happening, I had a strange feeling as I clicked send on the email this wouldn't be the end of it. After a quick trip to my parents I was unable to move and trying to get hold of the clients to say I would have to cancel. I always suspected their end of The Gorge had something against me.

I hate cancelling sessions, not just because of the loss of income (this was only a two hour intro session), but because it messes people around. Pam and I have tried to build a business where that doesn't happen, where sessions are only cancelled in extreme circumstances (usually water levels getting out of hand) and we do our very best to be at venues on time. We've all suffered the poor customer care offered by some more established centres and never want our clients to be messed around in the way we've been messed around when attending courses in the past.

To this end, we don't always offer the cheapest course prices, but I hope we represent the best value for money and the best coaching you could hope to gain!

Monday, 31 May 2010

Low water, rain and BCU 1 Star

Congratulations to Parvez, Maurice and Bryn on passing their BCU One Star on Saturday. Credit must also go to Harry for organising the course and enduring it again under such difficult conditions. As anyone who looked out on Saturday will have noticed, the weather wasn’t ideal for paddling!

Earlier in the week saw water levels on the Severn reach an unacceptable low, so low that I broke a fin off my SUP board trying to get upstream on Tuesday. The fin that broke was a plastic thruster fin which hangs about 2 inches below the board, hence the weekend rain might have been miserable to paddle in, but was much needed. However, the enthusiasm on the One Star Course didn’t let the weather dampen spirits and I hope you all paddle with us again soon – especially now that you’ve discovered that a little bit of white water can provide a whole lot of fun!
And finally I hope the coconut made it all the way back to Birmingham and you’re keeping it safe for your next course down on the River Severn.

Monday, 24 May 2010

2 Star in Ironbridge

Well done to James and Oli who completed their 2 Star Award with us this weekend. As usual with our star test courses the weather hit a new extreme - sun and soaring temperatures this time. I think the river was possibly the best place to be.

I hope the course has given them the experience and skills to go off and explore new waterways for themselves, but I expect the debate over which craft - canoe or kayak -  is set to continue for some time.

After completing their assessment we headed down to Jackfield to try some white water and show James and Oli what they might be letting themselves in for on a 3 star course. In addition to having a great time playing on the waves we were also treated to witnessing the idiot brigade attempting the rapid on a Sit-on without buoyancy aids, helmets and footwear. This resulted in a new injury I never seen in kayaking before - crushed testicles due to being pinned on a rock! After paying no regard to safety the idiot even expected to be rescued and have his kit recovered.

Never the less his suffering did provide some extra entertainment for those of us properly kitted out and a chance to experience first hand the safety element of the course. James and Oli showed some real potential paddling on the rapid and I hope this will lure them into kayaks!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Tryweryn

Firstly congratulations to Phil who came of age as a river runner on Sunday! A trip down the lower Tryweryn from Chapel Falls to Bala without a capsize - no mean feat !! If he keeps this up I think we'll have him running the upper section by the Autumn.

Sunday was also the day spring finally arrived. Despite a poor weather forecast the day turned out warm and sunny with me turning out over dressed and sweaty. We met early (9.15am - well early for me) and as a result had the river to ourselves for the entire run down. It really felt like a wild river without the plastic log jam that can occur on the Tryweryn during the summer months. For those of you not familiar with the river, it is dam controlled, so the water remains runable in dry spells when other Welsh rivers are reduced to a pebble beach.
The lower Tryweryn is only graded at grade 2, but there is plenty to keep you occupied. For those of you have done the slalom site at Llangollen and Jackfiled, just imagine having those two sites linked and repeated for 6km and you'll start to get the picture.

Most of the rapids we ran on sight, with two exceptions. One on a bend that looked tree choked from above and Bala Mill Falls. The Mill Falls are grade 4 and we thought best left for another day, so we walked around this one!
The run from there down into Bala is usually an uneventful one, but on this occasion we met two delightful local teenagers who decided to exchange Welsh insults, their only mistake was the ones I know are far worse than anything they may have learnt in school. Sometimes Welsh relatives do have their uses.

After the trip we returned to the White Water Centre for a bacon butty and a pot of tea. The Tryweryn Centre can be just so civilised! The other great thing about the Tryweryn (apart from the cafe, the facilities, the clean river etc) is that use of the centre and river is free. A lesson that could be repeated at other sites that are far less salubrious.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


Thursday turned into a very long day! Out on the river with the kids from work in the morning, 3 hours paddling a SUP in the rain. SUP boards are great for teaching canoeing and single bladed paddling, also standing up gives you a better view of the river. Only drawback is it hammers the abs and parts of my arms not normally used - then I had the usual Thursday night session to run. So glad to crawl into bed!

Good to see the regulars still building on last year's skill. To get back in a boat and go straight to the river after the winter layoff is some achievement. Well done Tony with his first paddle on the river, we get you join the darkside (short boats) one day!