Sunday, 18 July 2010

Paddling road trip

Eddie, Colin and myself headed off last Friday for a road trip. The aim was to head to Clifden and surf till the Sunday when Clifden hole started working. On the way we decided to stop and have a look at Ballisadare falls. This is a 7metre drop but at this time of year it isn't a brilliant plan to run it as the salmon fishermen at the bottom (paying 100euro a day to fish there) get a bit annoyed if you drop in on the pool.

We decided to head to Easkey instead as there was no real rush to head all the way to Clifden. This turned out to be a very good move with 3ft surf in Easkey. This has to be one of my favourite breaks to surf in Ireland and I was very glad to get a session in here again.
Having finished with Easkey we headed onto Clifden on the Saturday, arriving just as the feature started working. I always find Clifden a big challenge as it is difficult to get into even more so when you have only 1 paddle blade and youre unstable! However I did manage to get some stuff done in it.
A lot of the local Galway paddlers turned up along with a few dubs and then us. There was quite a lot of Current and Ex team paddlers so was nice to see so much talent on the water and pulling big moves. We spent a very wet night camping on the beach with Tom and Paul. Great craic was had all round though, without the van we would have been pretty much screwed. Tom and Paul's tent had blown away during the day so the other 3 of us decided not to bother and sleep in the van.

The next morning we went back to Clifden again for another session before heading home via Easkey again. I unfortunately had to go back to Dublin after this so was forced to go by bus from Sligo across rather than going back to Belfast with the lads.
Really can't wait to get another road trip done though, hopefully I will manage to get another one done in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Portrush Surf Trip

On Thursday myself and Vix decided to head up and do a bit of surfing. I was very excited as I haven't had a decent session in months! When we arrived we found the surf was about 3-5ft and pretty dumpy which suited me fine. I decided to concentrate on freestyle moves rather than just surfing normally. I was trying to get clean blunts sorted (which still isn't consistent but getting there), also I started working on airscrews. I am getting there but need much more air! I was getting the full rotation but I am not getting high enough out of the water and am completing the move with my head and shoulders in the water which obviously dosent count! Any advice is appreciated.
I also spent quite a while messing in the mush as I found it was great for trying out hole moves. I managed to get Phonics monkeys sorted which was great, actually surprisingly easy in a C1. Maybe I should have started trying them a long time ago, however I have no idea how I am going to manage right handed ones yet but will get around to it at some stage.

Typically for Whiterocks we got some abuse off the local surfers. At one stage I had one to tell me to move off the beach as I was "out of control" and a danger to myself and others apparently. Yes I agree that I can't carve properly in a playboat seeing as it can't grip the wave properly but out of control? I had just had one of the best runs of the day having managed backblunt into clean blunt followed by a mcnasty in the mush after the wave broke! This narrow minded attitude annoys me, there is plenty of beach at whiterocks and more than enough room for everyone and certainly no need to be acting like that.

Having had a bit of fun in my C1 I decided to give K1 a go for a laugh. Vix had her Bigdog Kaos down with her so I jumped in that for a surf. It had been 18months-2 years since I last paddled a K1 playboat so it was a very interesting experience. Once I finally stopped tripping over the extra blade and got used to the lack of leverage I actually had quite a bit of fun. The boat is actually really nice to paddle. Very easy to get release off of and very slippery on the wave. My only complaint is it is much harder to carve than my current boat. Though this may be just that I am not used to paddling with so little leverage. I need to get a go in this boat outfitted as C1 ASAP, though the chances of finding one are pretty slim and people are unlikely to let me rip all their nice outfitting out.

Having went off for dinner we came back to the beach as Colin had come up for a surf so I got a few more hours of surf in. This was great as after having had a break I was able to retry all the moves I had been messing about with earlier on in the day.
Now to dry everything out for our freestyle road trip at the weekend!

(Photos thanks to Vix)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A small update

Unfortunately for the last 2 months there has been practically no rain whatsoever. At least not in the quantities required to bring up any of the rivers or playspots. Similarly there has been no surf any time I'm near a beach! Instead I have been concentrating mainly on sailing, with squib and cruiser sailing at least once a week. Probably the only good thing to be said about recent weather is it has been perfect for sailing! The last couple of races have had perfect wind (10-20 knots) and very warm conditions, meaning racing mostly in boardies, which is great after so much of the year spent in dry gear.

Unfortunately today the wind is too high and the swell is far far too big for the squibs so there is no racing.

Last weekend I went up to Clubfest. This is the first event of it's kind for CANI and involved getting the canoe clubs of the north together and doing some paddling.This was all based in the Share centre in Fermannagh.
After a mess around in the squirt boat and a session on the Friday night we all went for a paddle from Crom to the Share centre (approx 5 miles), I don't really do much rec paddling so its good for a change to borrow a sea kayak and have a bit of a mess around.
When we returned from the paddle, the share centre had a barbecue organised which was great followed by another social.

On the Sunday all the clubs showed their various talents, with BKC doing sea kayaking, MUCK doing polio to name a few. Myself and Kevin got all the freestyle boats and tried to run a session but ended up spending most of our time messing about with Harry's waveskis! I really liked the feel of them and will definitely be trying to borrow one next time I go surfing.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend playing about in my squirt boat, trying to learn new moves. My conclusion from the weekend is I need a small amount of feather on my squirt paddles. I love using Zeros but for one or two moves I am finding the disengaged blade is catching so will be adding a very small amount of feather just to make sure it releases better.

(Photos thanks to Colin Bankhead and Derek Stephenson)