Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Bespoke .. sea kayaking as you want it

Peter and Helen had booked two days bespoke sea kayaking, with the aim of assisting Helen who had only been in one once before, to cover rescues form towing, deep water assisted and self rescue, tidal planning and to ensure what Peter was doing was right as he had mainly been self taught.  He had a strong white water back ground, while Helen had dived for many years, was an adventure racer and rock climber.

After meeting, chatting over a coffee and some tidal planning we set off for Llyn Padarn, my local lake, in stunning settings, so that we had a gentler introduction as the west coast of Anglesey was forecast blowing at f6-8 ... while the lake was f4/5

Both were soon picking up the skills, and Helen was doing remarkable well.  So I started setting them courses, so Peter could think off positioning and provide Helen with clear instructions ...

We did a lot of work on forward paddling and I used the analogy of plate spinning ... we have many elements that make up an effective forward stroke and these can be difficult to manage all at the same time ... focus on one element and work it... then another ...

I love this photo ...yep it was just like that ... using edge, skeg sweeps and stern rudders, while paddling across the wind and using the wind to assist in turning down wind ...

In one of the lagoons, which was much calmer Peter did some fun and balance, so he could get a feel for the kayak and so we could go through assisted rescues.  I also jumped in the windier stuff so both could practise their newly learnt skills in a realistic context.  Both did exceptionally well and we finished off the day with a couple of good down wind rides, with the sea kayaks almost surfing.  Despite the rain it had been a top day!

Tuesday was looking much better and after going through some tidal planning home work we were off on to the Menai Straits, to work on flow.

After setting both different circuits, with varying difficulty with ferry gliding the flow, we moved off towards The Swellies (the area between the two bridges), to work on eddy turns.

We were enjoying the sunshine ....

Britannia Bridge provided a useful circuit of crossing flow and some wind against tide ...

As slack water approached I went through the fun and balance ... nice one Helen ... and the three self rescues, back deck crawl/cowboy, paddle float and re-entry and roll.  Both had a go at the back deck crawl self rescue with great success ....

And while Peter was having a go at the re entry and roll Helen had a go at the paddle float self rescue.  Both again had great success.

To warm up we then spent 30 minutes paddling up and out of small eddies, against the new flood and a couple of ferry glides before turning and catching the tide back to our start point.

Boats back in the boat yard and then into Dylan's for hot chocolates, a reflection on the two days and then whats next.

roger chandler

sea kayaking north wales
+ bespoke sea kayak courses

Monday, 27 August 2012

3 star training

Keith, Ann, Diana and Steven had book on a weekends 3 star sea training, so the start of the day saw us working through the syllabus over a coffee, and clarifying terms such as a moderate tidal environment.  Forecast was F4/5 and from the NW, so Rhoscolyn was our chosen location.

Diana above working with crossing the wind, which was funnelling out of the bay.  This provided a useful channel of wind, which we could move in and out of, while setting a course with a buddy, using transits and towing into, across and down wind.

Sunday was a gentler day, with F3/4 SW winds and much brighter.  After some initial tidal planning and a shuttle run (thanks Steven), we were doing a one way trip, from Cemais Bay to Bull Bay.

Conditions were good, with a  gentle 1ft swell, surfing on to the beach and the group explored stern rudders and edge, briefly before heading out of the bay.  We were on Neaps but I was still keen to get round the most Northerly headland before the current picked up.  Ann above in the swell as we left the bay.

Diana and Steven, having left the main flow (white capped area) and now in the eddy, with middle mouse in the back ground.

The edge of Hells Mouth had an eddy stream which was opposing the incoming swell and provided a good following sea.  We stopped for some lunch on the small rocky beach, before continuing our journey. Steven above ...

Keith and Ann at the back of Hells Mouth ...

The brick works ... we paddled on pass ...

Ann reversing into the main cave and demonstrating good, boat positioning and reversing skills.

Once round at Bull Bay, I demonstrated a deep water rescue and Keith put me back into my kayak.  We looked at bracing strokes and had a 10 minute recap and summary before getting off the water.

The Trecastle Inn, happy been happy for me to leave my van and trailer, so following picking up Stevens car a drink and a look at action plans, completed a busy weekend.


roger chandler

3 star training sea
intermediate sea kayak courses

Friday, 24 August 2012

Discover sea kayaking

The first day of our Discover sea kayaking course saw 5 people, Barbara who had joined us a couple of years ago, and new faces with Heledd, Bryn, Philip and Rebbecca.  It was a mixed and variable forecast, SW forecast and Moelfre to Benlech looked like it would be a good venue for an introductory paddle.

Sunshine, showers, blue sky and cloudy grey skies ... but all kitted up and an opportunity to dive in-to a hooded jacket, kept every one happy.  Sonja was also out with me to day so for skills based sessions we work the group as a 3 and 2.  Focus was on outside edged turns, using more of body, rather than blade to achieve result.

Rebbecca above despite short gusty sections of windier weather was up front for most of the time ...pretty good for only being 13 years of age!

One of the heavier shows ...

And then a hot, bright sunny spell ...

As we headed back, stern rudders and edge was introduced to control direction of the sea kayak when the wind was blowing from behind and then lastly how the skeg could be of use.

Day 2: Saw Barbara, Heledd and Bryn out again and we were on the Menai Straits, just up from Menai Bridge, mainly to avoid the full force of the wind and gain the shelter this area can some times provide.

Heledd paddling in some gentle flow as we now consider eddy turns and ferry glides.

After some work on a a couple of inside/low brace turns we headed out on the flood tide, to gain the benefit of the flow ... and then cut back into the island working or way back up to the bridge.

Our last run down and this time further in the flow and being more exposed to the wind funnelling out of the Straits, allowing good opportunity to further practise the skills used the previous day.

roger chandler

discover sea kayaking
sea kayaking north wales

Monday, 20 August 2012

Club sea kayak weekend

Mark was back for the third year with the kayak club he once paddled with and despite a wild and wet Friday night, Saturday morning all eight were looking bright and happy for two days of sea kayaking on the Anglesey coastline.  The forecast was also due to improve with winds dropping and the potential for some sunshine, bonus!

We paddled on the North coast to avoid the SW wind, Bull Bay to the brick works, Hells Mouth and back.  Ian, Christine, Mark and Craig were in my team, while Barry Shaw was with the other four.

We were just before high water and on a good spring tide, so we could get in to a number of caves and narrow gullies ... now Barry's team was up ahead and as we approached we could see something going on the rock face ...

Apparently they had seen this white creature jump off the cliff and in the first instance thought it was a dog, like a golden labrador, but soon realised it was a sheep, which had been chased by a dog off its lead!!!  Barry had parked his group and then balanced out of his kayak, dragging a wet sheep up the rocks when another fella appeared from above to assist ...all seemed to work out well!

We carried on to the brick works for lunch before paddling round into hells mouth.  The days highlight was the many porpoises we saw, single and in 2/3's and yes .... the sun really did shine!!

Sunday morning and after good paddling from both groups the day before and much lighter winds forecast a journey to Puffin Island was looking hopeful.

A silky calm start at the top end of the Straits, with the Great Orme on the right ...

It was soon raining and a big bull seal welcomed us ....

Barry team at  Penmon light house and from left to right: Julian, Keith, Cliff and Vick sitting in the eddy and working with eddy turns and ferry glides ...

After a good paddle round and a few curious seals we landed back on the main land, for some lunch.  A few decided on a coffee at the cafe, while others came back on the water to work in some quicker flow.  Once all back together we paddle back into the current and eddy hoped our way round the headland and paddled back to our start point, after another successful weekend.  many thanks to Barry Shaw, for helping out and for the last two photos!

roger chandler

sea kayaking with groups and clubs
north wales sea kayaking 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Bespoke sea kayaking

It must have been about a year or so ago when Debbie booked a Gift Voucher for a days sea kayaking for Ian and herself and time had flown until this moment.  It was a windy forecast, so after a coffee and a chat it was decided to go inland to llyn Padarn, a large lake on the edge of Llanberis and at the foot of Snowdon.

We spent some time working on outside edge, clarifying the difference between edging and leaning, which is then required for inside edged turns.  The lake was perfect, with good shelter which also allowed the two of them to progress well.

Happy and pleased with current progress ....

After introducing use of skeg and a couple of down wind runs, we paddle up towards the head of the lake ... and did an initial mid way run back and then went over stern rudders ..

It was a good finish to the day and both had progressed really well, with controlling the sea kayaks in a blustery f3 and some gentle swell.

roger chandler

discover sea kayaking
sea kayak gift vouchers

Wind blown surf and tidal flow paddling

Zoe was down for the day and i was able to pick her up from Bangor station and then on to some breakfast as I talked through the weather forecast.  F5-7 from the E, with heavy rain, brightening up latter as the wind went more SE and decreased, in strength.  So a two venue day would make sense, surf and then flow!

We drove to two venues on the east coast, Benlech and Treath Bechan.  The 2nd was better as the bay was slightly protected and the waves were steeper, but as it was run high water there was little beach left and a lot of rocks!  Benlech on the other hand had much more space, despite being messy.  We worked with a couple of runs with feed back breaks in between, while I also did a couple of demo runs and took lots of photos, so Zoe could view latter.

Aim was inside edged stern rudder and blending into inside edge to leave the wave and running right, so as to avoid being blown down wind (yep ... there was more South in the wind!)  It was great seeing how Zoe had progressed, with confidence and skill.  Her reaction were great and it was a tough place to be working ...

A quite moment ... while I was on the water (photo taken by Zoe)

There was a couple of other guys out, also catching waves ...  back in the car park, boats on the roof and time for some lunch and tea at the cafe and uploading photos to Zoe's lap top, so we could talk through.  Then on to Menai Bridge, and the swellies for some tidal paddling.

The Straits was on the flood, so was flowing against us and provided a great task of eddy hopping up and then powering forward, towards Britannia Bridge.  Zoe led a good line and then once at the bridge, we did a couple of ferry glides, before I then led, into a couple of faster eddies.

The sun was now out and turning into a beautiful afternoon, and I set a number of circuits, increasing the precision and difficulty as I went.

Zoe leaving an eddy and working her way back across the main flow.  A super and varied day for Zoe, who has really developed and moved forwards.  Zoe now has chosen to join our Guide and Performance Training Programme

Interested in doing something similar? then contact me for more details ...


guide and performance sea kayaking
north wales sea kayaking

Discover sea kayaking

David and his daughter Georgia were out on a discover sea kayaking bespoke day and to be honest had the better day of the whole week.  A little breezy and grey to begin with, but improving as the day goes on.  After initial chats we drove round to Trearddur Bay, due to Southerly wind forecast ... but on arrival there must have been more West in the wind as the bay had some swell and many sailing dinghies, zipping about.  I carried on and drove to Cemais Bay, up on the North coast and was pleased with what I saw.

We did an hour or so getting familiar with the kayaks and then slowly began exploring the shore and coastline ...

This further helped to emphasis working the kayak, so get a good position ....

Skimming stones and one of those magic moments ... and the sun began to shine ...

Tired but satisfied and a good place to be ...


roger chandler
discover sea kayaking
sea kayaking north wales

Monday, 13 August 2012

Cream teas and silky seas

Kath and Sedge were back and this time with a good friend of there,s called Ed and looking for a relaxed weekend.  Ed had done very little before so a gentle introduction was the theme. So when I suggested the west coast of Anglesey, Sandy Bay to Church Bay for a classic real strawberry cream tea and then paddle back, it fitted the day!

It was a great sunny day, with enough water to allow exploring of the occasional cave and rocky channel and a super lunch break!

Day two and some mixed weather, so jackets were out to begin with and the Menai Straits, as Ed was keen to experience some flow.  We were towards the end of the ebb, so after working on inside turns, we put these with flow, considering speed and angle, developing the theme as we crossed the channel with a ferry glide, (pointing across the flow so as not to loose any ground).

The wind was very lighter after the rain had passed and the light and reflection was magic ...

There was loads of herons about and a few more egrets ...  we met Barry shaw with a team and stopped for lunch at Yfellinheli. Our return journey now had a gentle breeze behind use and two hours of the flood, so we were soon back at Britania Bridge ...

Ed, doing really well after two days in a sea kayak!

Kath joining us ...

Sedge making his way back with a ferry glide, in the faster flow ... and keeping his eye on the ball ...

The team of Kath, Sedge and Ed and another super weekend of sea kayaking on Anglesey.

roger chandler
sea kayak courses
north wales sea kayaking