Season ends - Winter Training Begins

The 2013 Slalom Season is now over and it’s time to reflect once again. It’s been a tough year going back to basics and refining my approach to racing. Over the Winter I will be working more on my form. I finished up 17th in the National ranking and although I hoped to have moved further up in the rankings I am pleased with the progress of my development. I will be starting the winter with a physical block while working to build up some finance to hopefully find myself on a flight to Dubai to get some exposure to white water similar to that of Lee Valley with the lack of access I face with not having a Wild Card for Selection yet.


 Mercedes Benz Vans UK chose me as a winner of their #NeedAVan competition and so took a trip to AdventureX HQ in Leeds to pick up my new Pyranha Burn III and some equipment to set me up for the winter. It was a great experience and a pleasure to be a part of with loads of room in the van for all my gear and plenty of room for comfort in the Cab.

With winter coming, it’s really strengthened my desire to return to Van life. If you’re looking for an efficient vehicle to transport goods in style, you should definitely consider the Mercedes Benz Range – I know I am!

 I will be heading over to the Kendal Film Festival next week with AdventureX and then straight over to North Wales for an Extreme Slalom Event. It will be the last event of the Year so I’m hoping to finish the year with a good result. Stay tuned for an update!

AdventureX Coaching Trip on the Tees

Day 1
I arrived in Darlington on Friday to meet AdventureX Prize winners Tim and Scott for a 3 Day White Water Coaching trip.
Our first stop was at Barnard Castle on the River Tees. The river was low but there were plenty of small features to learn new strokes and skills, and to also gain understanding on how to read moving water and choose the best line to take through a rapid. I gave them Guidance and let them decide with that information in mind on how they were to take each rapid and feature.


We paddled 15 miles down to Piercebridge which included a long stretch of flat water that provided a good opportunity to work on some basic forward paddling technique and stoke efficiency. After a long day on the river our dinner was earned. We made our own pizzas before heading into the local town to review the day and wind down with a beer, or two.
Day 2
On the second day we had planned to use the Tees Barrage White Water Course, but it was closed as there was a technical problem with their pumping system. There hadn’t been much rainfall so local rivers were low but after spending some time looking at maps and surveys to source nearby white water action we decided to head to the Tees again and run the 10 mile stretch above our get in the previous day at Barnard Castle.
We found a long stay car park in Middleton in Teesdale right by the river. On this section the rapids were quite spaced out so we did a few walk backs on few of them to work on make the most of the available white water. There were a few play sots that we spent some time on learning more about edge control and using the water to control the boat. We had some great fun surfing waves and learning how to get on them.


We then travelled further west to a friend’s B&B who provided us with a fantastic dinner that we were longing for after another long day on the river. We had a good amount of discussion throughout the evening and it was pleasure to be in such good company. We headed to the local pub where we got involved with the local annual conker championships. It was such a fun event even with me going out in the first round after my conker exploded in my own attack.
Day 3

After a good sleep we headed back over to the River Tees and after some rainfall through the night, the levels were good. We tackled the section from High Force to Low Force. Although quite a short run there are some fun rapids on this section which we ran a few times with both Tim and Scott showing of the boof stoke they had been working on over the 3 days and also choosing their own lines in style. It was great to see there smiles after their success.

Low Force had a couple of entertaining drops. The first of which was quite retentive and a good boof stoke was key. The second drop was also a little tricky and it was good to see the boys both styling the drop
All in all the trip was a great experience all round. It was a pleasure to meet Tim and Scott and to be introduced to their welcoming friends. They were great out on the river too and I'm sure I will bump into the on the water again soon pushing hard lines.

Cardiff Premier

No rest for the wicked. A long drive home, throw on a wash, cook up some lunch and I’m back on the road. Next stop Cardiff. It was a little strange getting back into a Slalom boat after spending some time in a plastic river runner in Austria but it a quick warm up and it was show time.
I took a calm approach to my first run paddling smooth and clean placing in 7th. The course had some tricky parts which had caught a few people out so it was again a case of all or nothing on second runs. I hit one of the plastic bollards that create the waves and features of the artificial river, and put a nice big crack in my boat. With the impact I got push onto the right of pole of gate 2 giving me a 2 second penalty to add to a mostly tidy run with a little line chasing towards the bottom losing a few vital seconds. I dropped to 11th in the final result.
My Next race will be in London for the last race of the season Premier Race 11 and British Open.  My aim for the event will be to break into the top 10 and gain a wild card for GBR Senior Team Selection in 2014

Adidas Sickline

It was a long Journey to one of my favourite locations on the Planet, the Otztal Region. It is a place of natural beauty. Clean air, Mountainous scenery that refreshes the mind and soul.
I traveled out with my girlfriend who took a stint at the wheel to help with the drive. When we arrived the river levels were a little higher than last years race level which was making for some interesting spectating with lot of people getting a working in the rapids.
The AdventureX Team Head Honcho Ben Mason came out with the new Team Bus and a couple of UK ambassadors to watch and support me at the event.
  The Rules and Regulations were tightened this year to make keep everyone safe on the class 5/6 rapids so the next stop was kit check and Race Briefing at the Saal EZ Center.

  The river level was perfect for and after a few practice runs I was feeling good on the water. Feeling really comfortable in my new Cag from Nookie Paddling Gear and well fitted in the new Burn from Pyranha and with my new Helemt from Robinhood Watersports all glistening in the Autumn sunshine It was time for the racing to begin.
138 of the World’s Best White Water Kayakers competed in the qualifications. This consisted of two runs. The times of the two runs are then added together and the lowest 48 totals move on to the Finals.
My Lines were good on the top and fitness was getting the better of me towards the end of the qualification run and I took a few hits in some of the features. However my runs were consistently good and put me through to the Semi Finals

The Finals work on a head to head system whereby two competitors will race one after another and the fastest will progress to the next round. I was up against fellow British Paddler David Bain. He went before me and posted a very respectable time which was going to be hard to beat. I was on form for a quick time too with some good lines on the top, however I clipped a rock after the TNT Rapid and took the Champions Killer minus 1 whole central and found myself at the bottom of the river. I was down for some time and clashed with a rock losing my kayak in the process.Fortunately with the river being on a class 5/6 rapid the event have the worlds best rescue team on standby who are sponsored by Hf. A big thank you to them as well for their quick and effective response in my rescue.On the brigh tside it gave me the chance to really test out the Flotation support of the Nookie River Monster PFD Jacket which did the job well, and the protection from the ice melt river water from Nookies Dry Cag and Dry Trouser Combo was fantastic.
So A big thanks to the Adidas Sickline Team who put on another amazing event, and to Nookie Robinhood Water Sports and the Hf Rescue Team for their Life saving gear and rescue aid!
I hope to come back next year and go a just a little further.
We stopped off in Munich on the way home for the last day of the famous German festival Oktoberfest. It was an amazing experience with thousands of people in huge marque tents celebrating life with beer at the ready. Barrels and barrels of the stuff. It was good to relax with the Team and rewind after the race.

New Gear

I have received the exciting news that AdventureX and Nookie Paddling Gear. Through this AdventureX provided with some new Kayaking Wear that I'm really keen to check out in Austria at the Adidas Sickline Extreme Kayaking World Championships.
I was also fortunate enough to gain support from Robinhood Watersports who have provided me with a great deal on a race Legal Sweet Wanderer Helmet and from Pyranha who have equipped me in their latest river running kayak the Third Generation Burn.

I’m really looking forward to paddle the wild torrents of the Austrian Alps with this some quality new products.


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