I just completed an epic voyage from New Zealand to Norway. Epic because between Jordie and myself we had 1 kayak, 1 mountain bike, 3 BIG bags, 2 backpacks, and 2 longboards… Imagine flying with all of that! Just to make the journey a bit more interesting we brought an additional kayak from New Zealand to drop off in Coloma for a friend, had a ten day stopover in California, and a 2 day stopover in London where we had to haul our excessive amount of gear from Heathrow to Gatwick then get on another plane to Bergen, Norway, catch a bus from the airport to Bergen city centre (which was difficult because the first few bus drivers refused to take a kayak onboard). We were then were picked up by the awesome crew from Voss Rafting and driven to Voss. Phewph! Big ups to all the amazing people who helped us out along the way, especially Sara who drove through London traffic for about 3 hours to pick us up and drive us to Gatwick airport!!!
Anyway, amongst all the chaos, I managed to get in one day of sliding down California granite. Heres some photos.
Jamie and I on Autobahn. The one rule of this rapid is no scouting.
Blue angel from the top of the teacups all the way through to the bottom of Skyscraper, yeboi!
Christy taking on Plastic Surgery
Boof boof slide
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, when in California… Drive a big truck!
Looking focused on the eddyline.
The first date of the Palm Big Paddle tour is getting closer, and we’ve got a real treat, in the form of FREE (that’s right!) workshops and clinics from some of the UK’s finest coaches and most talented paddlers. Click here to find out more about the event, and to guarantee your space on a workshop by booking ahead. Check out the Activities here:
Dr Chris’s Kayaking Clinic
Reach for the sky!
Do you want some expert individual advice on your paddling? Some tips and technique specific to your needs?
Available only at the Big Paddle events, Level 5 coach Chris Eastabrook is offering free 1 on 1 clinics to analyse your paddling, and give you the advice you need to improve. Book now to avoid disappointment!
Bushcraft skills from Voyageur Coaching
Learn how to live off the land
This is a bushcraft skills course form Jules Burnard at Voyageur Coaching. Expect expert instruction on some of the forgotten and more traditional skills of shelter building, fire lighting, and cooking on open fires, together with the safe use and care of various tools used.
Beyond the basics – Progress your paddling!
It’s all smiles at Flow Free Coaching!
Have you got the hang of the basics? Or maybe you’re stuck in a paddling rut? Level 5 Coach Lowri Davies will give you the solid grounding and advice you need to progress your paddling further, whether you want to up your game to whitewater, or simply gain the confidence to explore the waterways of the UK at your own pace.
Sea Kayak Essentials with Olly Sanders
Man of the Sea Olly Sanders
There is no way to experience the beauty and wildlife of the UK’s coast quite like taking a sea kayak. Level 5 coach Olly Sanders is on hand to give you the skills, technique, and advice you need to get out and explore the coast.
As well as these amazing opportunities for free coaching, there will be tours, games, and of course the Cardboard Canoe Race.
So come join us for the Big Paddle tour 2013!
This weekend I hopped over to Czech to a small spot in the city of Pilzen for a fun, relaxed, freestyle competition.
It was really good to go to a competition and it have such a good atmosphere around it, friendly people and good weather!
The hole itself was very unusual and quite difficult to set up it, the Czech paddlers definitely have had to learn some unusual techniques to paddle here so it took quite a while for the paddlers who hadn’t been here before to get the hang of how to throw moves here at all
The event was more about socialising, (the punk music was a bit dubious though), playing around in the hole, pushing each other on and paddling for the fun of it. That said in the finals the gloves came off as we all had a good fight to the finish.
I thought either myself or Martin Koll won with Jan spindler somewhere near also. In such a tricky spot its hard to tell what the judges think, so we were all waiting hard to see the scores as it was always going to be close.
This time Jan Spindler won, Martin 2nd & me 3rd. Congrats to Jan!
Here is a short not very edited, selection of the best moves from the finals:
Thank you to all the paddlers, locals and organisers for putting on such a good event and making me feel so welcome to Czech!
Next event is the Lienz rodeo in Austria on the 8th of June, more from me then.
Hello all, we’ve just returned from the Tryweryn Festival in beautiful North Wales. With races of all kinds, freestyle, demo boats, and even a cardboard canoe race, there was plenty to get involved with, and plenty of entertainment for spectators too.
Palm Paddler Lowri Davies narrowly avoids a clobbering in the 8-Ball race.
Seppi Strohmeier enjoying the Sunday Sunshine
The Jitsu 5.5 was popular with the next generation of freestyle paddlers…
A sure crowd favourite was the Dagger 8-Ball race, in which competitors race head to head down the rapids, 4 at a time. The twist in formula is the dedicated team of disruptors, armed with inflatable kayaks, who’s job it is to block, barge, and bludgeon the racers, and generally entertain the crowd.
The formula made for some tactical racing, in which some made it through unharmed, and others felt the full force of an inflatable Orca.
Local coach Andy Turton gets 8-balled by a delighted Bleddyn.
The other racing highlight of Saturday’s line up was the Cardboard canoe race. Here at Palm We’re a big fan of carboard canoe racing , and entered into the spirit of things with a high performance cardboard whitewater racing machine. Although it did not perform entirely as designed, the event was great fun for all, and We’re already working on some revised designs for the upcoming Big Paddle Events …
Nick’s cardboard canoe, performing largely as expected.
Palm’s own Nick Horwood leads the pack in the extreme slalom..
Sunday Bought with it the first ever BCU extreme slalom, as well as a gloriously sunny freestyle event. Judged in an open ‘jam session’ style, the freestyle event was a real crowd pleaser, featuring a range of moves, old-skool and new. Prizes were awarded Carl Mitchell for commitment and enthusiasm, Lowri for bribing the judges (honest at least), and Eddie Mead for the biggest moves overall.
Lowri showing of her lovely Blue Fx and Element Suit combo.
A Big Loop in the Jitsu 6.1
The Shudder Rudder should never be underestimated.
Seppi and Lowri heading downriver, only blue and green allowed!
All in all another great fun event at the Tryweryn, thanks to the organisers for making it happen, and we look forward to more fun next year!
In the Nearer future however, The Palm Big Paddle Tour is rapidly approaching!
With the first event taking place at Surflines Shop in Llanberis on the 2nd June, we’ve got lots of fun activities lined up, from tours and workshops to the cardboard canoe race!
Find out more, and book your place on a free workshop with Team Palm at www.thebigpaddle.com.
The first competition of the season dawned as one of the best days we have had in Cornwall for a long time. Not much wind and the sun was coming out and I hadn’t packed any sun cream! The surf was small as has been common with this competition but was reasonably nice. After the sign in and the brief in which I found out that the heats were to be 13 minutes long. I saw that I was on the last heat so I had time to catch up with friends and to have some breakfast! I wandered around watching the surfing for a while as well and then it was my turn to judge which gave me an idea of how things were looking.
My heat came and I was hoping to do quite well but unfortunately I was trying out some smaller thruster fins and I wasn’t ready for the difference they made! I lost the tail a couple of time but the difference they made when I slashed was amazing. It started to all come together towards the end of the heat but I only managed to get a 3rd place. Everyone were shuffled around in their heats according to where they placed in their previous heats. I was on again about half way through the second round so I stayed in my kit and judged a heat.
The tide had come in by the time my next heat arrived and the surf had got better and I really enjoyed my heat in which I managed a large lip move but unfortunately I didn’t land it fully. I did well though and came 1st which I was really pleased about! I stayed in that heat because I won my last one while the other people in my heat were replaced and so I had a while to wait before my next heat. I again stayed in my kit as it was wet and I don’t like getting into wet kit! My next heat again I did well in and came 1st. Which was great although it wasn’t good enough to get in the mens semi final as I needed to have had two 1sts and a 2nd instead of the two 1sts and a 3rd that I got. I was pleased with my result though, a good start to the year! After the mens final and the prize giving for that and the handicap event we packed up and moved off to the campsite where we were staying the night. We set up our tents had a shower and then headed down to the village where we had a meal booked at an inn with all the competitors.
Unfortunately the inn didn’t open the restaurant on time so we had to wait around and I was getting very hungry! At last we went in and at least there was a lot of food that we could help ourselves to! We didn’t stay long after the meal as we wanted to get an early night in preparation for the next day. We heard though that several people carried on partying till quite late as it was someone’s birthday.
Sunday dawned nice again but it was colder and cloudier than the day before. We got down to the beach and signed in and I was on one of the earlier heats in the mens long. I didn’t do very well although I thought the surf was quite enjoyable. It was a reasonable size but one had to be careful which wave one took as a lot of them were closing out. I got third place in that heat. I went through to the reps because of that placing so I had another heat to look forward to towards the end of the day. Next I had the two junior finals. The junior short was first and the tide had come in a bit so the waves weren’t as dumpy as they had been earlier. I got on the water but unfortunately had to wait several minutes as someone was late turning up which was annoying. I had several good waves but I had no idea of how I had done compared to everyone else.
A few heats later I was in the junior long final. Unfortunately in my first heat of the day I had broken my boat. I had tried to pan-am and had got too steep and nosed dived straight into the sand and split my boat along the seam either side of the nose. It was still surfable but it was taking in water so I didn’t do as well as I could have done but I got several good waves and I was happy with what I had done. I was getting a bit tired by the time my next heat the mens long rep came along. I thought I might not give everything into each wave as I usually do and let someone else go through to the semi final but as soon as I was on the water competition mode switched on and I gave it everything! I had what I think were my best waves of the competition and won that heat which meant I was through to the semi final. I had a heat or twos rest and then I was on in the semi. I had some nice waves but the tide had come in close and it was a bit messy and was closing out. Never the less I did reasonably well coming 4th out of 5. This wasn’t good enough to go through to the final so I was able to get changed and warm. I hung around watching the final and then they set everything up so the prize giving could commence when everyone was changed and ready. It was an interesting prize giving, several people had already set off home. I got a 2nd place in both Junior categories. I was happy with this but of course I would have preferred to have come 1st! Anyway for the first competition of the season I felt I had done reasonably well and I had a good time which is always the main thing! Next competition is the Cornish Open which is being held at Godrevy, it’s one of my local breaks so I don’t have to get up very early which is nice! Till then, Good Bye!
A few weeks ago my buddy Shaun “shifty” Hazel contacted me to ask if he could make a short film about me for his uni course.
Heres the end result -
See you on the water,
This last weekend the Plattling Eurocup Freestyle took place under some extremely stormy skies. Ever changing water levels and tough conditions meant lots of ups, downs, success’s and upsets for the competitors.
All together this made for an exciting and fun event to be a part of.
Myself I was one of very few plastic boats competing in a sea of Carbon, so it really goes to show how good the Jitsu is that I ended up in 3rd place, ironically 1st was also won in a plastic boat by the new German Champion Paul Meylahn.
In the womens Palm’s Katya (my wife paddled really well to take 3rd spot also. Not much separated the top 5 paddlers in either mens, or womens, due to the tough water level. However GB’s Claire O’hara came out in 1st of the ladies.
Palm’s Anne Hübner was doing really well earlier in the comp, even winning Semi’s with an impressive score but just fell short in the finals.
Below are my day to day updates for more on how the event unfolded.
Mens & Womens Prelims are all done. Weather has made for some challenging high & changing levels meaning a few upsets and surprises.Both me & Katya survived to reach Semi’s. I had a horrible first ride then a good 2nd one that saved me.My Dagger Jitsu was the only plastic boat to make the top 10…:-) Tomasz Czaplicki had great rides to place 1st in Mens, Nina Csonkova placed 1st in Womens.
Saturday Semi Finals:
It’s been long day here, rain, rain and more rain, hard water levels but girls kayaked very good…. Palm’s Katya Kulkova made Finals in 4th with a good score of 353, Palm’s Anne Hübner got an impressive 1st with 450, GB’s Claire O’hara also made it in 2nd with 390.
In mens we seemed to struggle more than girls Scores were lower than prelims, the best one was GB’s James Weight in 1st with 626, 2nd Ryan Liquorish with 610 and me in 3rd with 550. Bartosz Czauderna got 4th and Paul Meylahn 5th.
Many paddlers were very close to making the cut, there wasn’t much between us really, feel very lucky to be in the final with such inconsistant levels.
The Plattling Eurocup is all over. incredibly tough water levels today made for a very tough final.
Mens was desevedly won with a great ride for the level of 600 points by Paul Meylahn from Germany, 2nd was Bartosz Czauderna 3rd was me Less than 100 points (one move) separated the top 3.
Womens was won by GB’s Claire O’hara with 276, 2nd was Nina Csonkova with 206, and 3rd my lovely wife Katya Kulkova with 190, all paddled very well considering the difficulty of the hole at this level.German paddlers did very well winning all but 2 categories…
Congrats all winners and those who came close and a big thanks to all the organisers!
What’s up next?
Now though it’s back to training hard, and luckily for me just after the event finished my secret weapon arrived from Dagger….a Carbon Jitsu!!! No more competing in plastic now. I love the Jitsu shape and have been amazed how well the plastic version has paddled. Last night I took my Carbon one for it’s first spin.
It’s the best kayak I’ve ever used by a long way, I think it’s going to be winning a lot of medals this year, it;s simply incredible. Stand by for a little teaser and promo over the next month
Competition, it’s a strange beast – it has the potential to allow you to perform at a higher level and achieve you’re “dream ride” or perform far worse than you normally would. All the while magnifying you’re emotions to a state where sometimes it’s hard to breathe before you’re rides. According to a couple of people, competition gets easier with time…. Personally I disagree; it becomes less and less about achieving and far more about not failing.
I became severely bogged down with this mentality of not failing over the past few years. To the point of throwing up before competition rides, not wanting my family to come and watch me and struggling to sleep the nights leading up to the event. Winning the European championships released me from this mindset, I’ve proved I’m a good boater and now I feel free to do my own thing and paddle the way I want to. My paddling has increased dramatically since winning the euros and I’m happy with what I’ve achieved, but far from content.
My name has been thrown around by a fair few people as a contender to be world champion this year, which is flattering but to be completely honest it has no effect on me, Being World Champion would be an amazing experience and it would be a great way to repay my sponsors, friends and family for their support over the past few years but measuring myself against other people is not what I’m about. I would much rather be remembered as the guy that came along and threw down the best ride ever seen in a competition, as opposed to being the guy that beat everyone else.
This is the beginning of my journey towards “The dream ride”. To performing the highest scoring, most fluid competition ride possible.
See you on the water,
Had a chance to test Palms new rash vest in Baja . Not quite warm enough over here !
Also my partner lissie had one of the new Halo B.A.She thought fit was good allowing freedom of movement and front pocket large enough for essentials . A rehydration would be useful as its on the male versions particularly as it was pretty hot.
The rash vest was comfertable and sizing seemed right.I often wear a rash vest under a neoprene top as its easier to get the neoprene vest on and off .
Looking forward to trying the new Kaituna short sleeve vest, its something i suggested on one of the Gear development meetings,so its good it has been included in the range
You can see why Baja is on one of the 12 best seakayaking destinations , Warm waters , amazing scenary and wildlife, we saw Sperm Whales, Orcas ,Pelicans Frigate birds and Tarantulas!
Last week there was sunshine. In the UK. Even in depths of North Wales! Well, what better time to get out and put the new FX PFD to the test?
I’m so impressed with this buoyancy aid, the freedom of movement is incredible and the amount you can fit in the pocket while it stays out of the way blows my mind! OK, that’s perhaps a little dramatic… but seriously, it’s like Mary Poppins designed this!
It’s proper safe too (and not just cos it keeps to the first rule of safety: Look Cool), the shoulder straps are sewn right down to the waist making them integral to the whole system and less likely to fail when you really need them. Most other manufacturers just sow to the top seam, even on their top spec “rescue” buoyancy aids!
And all that for just £74.95! That’s less than a tank of petrol these days…
I’m looking forward to a summer of fun and adventures in mine. Where will you take yours?