Thursday, 27 March 2014

IntroMediate sea kayaking course .. an intro to flow, swell and surf

Spring is here and Summer is on the way!  This IntroMediate sea kayaking course in North Wales, Anglesey, takes the core ideas of emphasis on the BODY, Boat and blade and moves them on, into a more dynamic environment.   Improve your sea kayaking skills in flow, swell and surf and get a better grasp of tidal planning, at the same time.

Focus on the course is on coaching sea kayak handling skills at 2 and 3 star level.  Although Roger will also be keen to hear what you want and will do his best to ensure there is an element of  bespoke coaching.  You will have the opportunity to put the new or refreshed skills into various context's, along the Anglesey coastline, whether this is tidal paddling, close quartering (moving in and out of rocky channels) and or managing your kayak in swell and or small surf.

This course takes you to a couple of North Wales sea kayaking classic locations, where you're likely to see wildlife close up. A truly stunning and memorable two days.  For those who are water confident and with previous sea kayaking experience of at least 3 days and keen to move into a more dynamic environment, and learn to work with swell, current, small surf and wind.

2 days cost £140; 3 cost £230; 4 cost £290 and 5 days cost £330

Sea kayaking course dates for 2014.

Intro-Mediate Sea Kayaking -on a weekend2N/AN/A24/25 - 3 places left26/272/3
IntroMediate Sea Kayaking - during the

Now is the time to plan and brush up on those paddling skills and abilities. Plus learn some new skills along the way.  Contact Roger on or call 07873132999.

Thanks, Roger

north wales sea kayaking+sea kayaking anglesey

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Advanced sea kayaking course, Anglesey, North Wales.

W f6/7 with one forecast gusting up to f8!  Each person arrived with a potential idea of where to paddle and then over coffee we worked through them and came up with a plan for the North coast, Bull Bay out and back.  We did a couple of runs on the small headland that sets up an eddy stream and then paddled on into wind ...  after about 45 minutes, we turned and gained the assistance of the wind back into the bay.  The gusts had been getting stronger, clouds much darker and the swell was messier.

We chatted about staying and working the area or relocating a car and doing a down wind run to Porth Eilian only 5km away.  We decided on the later with some skills work along the way.

We crossed the big eddy stream with some good deep troughs, as they flowed into the wind, on our way to Eat Mouse ...

And a couple of contact tows along the way ...

We had lunch in Amlwch Harbour, in some brief sunshine and then headed on.  The closest headland going East,  clearly had a fair ebbing current and good chunky wind against tide.  Some super surfing rides were taken and good paddling skills, as we left that headland behind we got out of the flow and gained more shelter form the conditions ...

The light was fantastic and we were soon at our destination and going through a couple of rescues ...

With the wind going NW and f5/6 to begin with, we headed for the Straits.  Talking with Tavi and Andy they both were keen to work on a couple of leadership legs and Jon and Tracy were happy to be involved and then work on technique.  I was looking for a smooth eddy, so we could work on eddy turns, using more body, through committing to edge and lean ... and removing the low brace 

The sun was super  ...

 Photo below taken by Tavi.

Photo below taken by Tavi.

Some more towing and looking particularly at rafted tows and how to converting into and assisted rafted tow.  Andy wanted to do a self rescue, and went for a re entry and roll and Tavi wanted to finish of with releasing a tow line under tension, while capsized and then rolling back up ... all good, we headed to Menai Bridge, to collect vehicles and hot drinks in Dylan's, to wrap up the day.


sea kayaking courses
north wales sea kayaking

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

5 star leader training sea

The weekends course was made up with Phil, Ed and Gwyn.  The 5 star leader award is an advanced leadership award and we had good although variable conditions.  After coffee and a look through the updated syllabus, we looked at the weather and looking for some current, head off towards the North coast.  Harry Furlongs race provide some exciting conditions, without the real commitment of  a couple of the other locations and we had some good wind against tide and steep waves.

After some surfing, rescues, contact tows and leadership positioning, we did a rocky landing for some lunch.  The sun was doing its best to warm the day while a good f5 blew form the WSW.  Once back on the water we did a couple of short navigation legs out to fixed buoys and then did a run down to West Mouse  ...

Due to the forecast specifically saying a f6 arriving later, I decided despite the wind was now a f3, to relocate to the East coast for the night navigation.  It was a lovely night, with a good sized moon, and I wish Id taken my camera as the sunset, was super ....

Following morning, some close quartering and working in the rocks, emphasising judgement and leadership positioning.  More in- depth towline work, with rafted tows and turning that into an assisted, gully rescues with out and with tow lines.

Then on to South Stack and moving up against a stiff flow at Annie's Arch and on to the race.  We were at the end of the 4th hour, so although the waves were big, they were more chunky, than steep ...
We finished off the day working in pairs with an all in rescue, before heading back to to the start.

The day was wrapped up with action plans created and 3 happy looking people ...

north wales sea kayaking
sea kayaking Anglesey

5 star leader training sea

Crossing the Irish Sea - a personal paddle

A few months back I was talking with Steve about paddling across to Ireland and the Isle of Man ... he was interested.   While I sat in the car, a few weeks later, close to Sheffield, I was looking at weather forecasts and noticed a big high pressure arriving.  I wonder I thought, as I had a few days off.  I texted Steve about his availability in the next few days ... he soon got back and he was clear!

A few days after the original text, James of www.adventure and David a friend of Steve's were both keen ... we had a team of four.  Time for some planning.  In brief we planned to leave at 0200, expecting about 16 hours of paddling and hopefully arriving in the light ... after about 55nm.  

However, that wasn't to be and all in all it turned into an epic day!!

Leaving my house at 0100, 15 minutes into my 30 minute drive my PH Cetus HV came off the roof and bounced down the A55.  I found out latter the end of the strap had passed through the buckle.  I hadn't tied the end off as I normally do as it was too short.  (Since then i have been driving around with a bow tie down, which I've only tended to use on longer journeys).  I phoned James and Steve and after a short discussion, they were sure they could get a kayak off Grant who runs  20 minutes latter, i had an explorer to paddle.  We were an hour later on leaving, but what a magic paddle it was and the stress of the morning soon slipped away.

3 hours into our paddle and about 20nm out from Holyhead Mountain, with the sun rising over it ...

One of the Irish Ferries, with David in the foreground ...

At about 11 we hit a fog bank, after about 5 hours previous paddling in good visibility.  We hadn't picked the risk of fog up on a forecast, so it was a big surprise and my/our worst nightmare!  Even more so when we heard the reality of a fog horn from a close ferry.  I say close, because we could hear the thud, thud, thud of the engine, feel the vibrations through the seats of our kayaks and smell the diesel fumes.  But we could not see it.  For a moment, which seemed much longer than that, the situation was very scary.

Thankfully we didn't see the ferry and a very long 3 hours latter after heading South,  (we decided to change our direction from West, to avoid the ferries) we paddled into beautiful sunshine and a calm silky sea ...  We had been in contact with the coastguard on the hour, throughout the journey.

Starting in the dark was magic, preparing to paddle into darkness, I found difficult.  It was clear that due to the fog, ferries and our decision to paddle S/SW (GPS track below) on an ebbing tide, we now had more miles to paddle which would mean a much latter arrival .....

As we picked up the lights of Dublin, the coastguard who we had been in communication with throughout,  our journey on the hour started to get more frequent.  I'm not sure whether it was a staffing shift change, or due to the time we had been on the water  or our course overall, or a combination of all of these, but now they wanted us to check in every 30 minutes.  This meant we couldn't get into any rhythm and as we were tired, we were now getting cold.  We never called it out.   Why would we when we could see the lights and coastline of Ireland, we were all OK, tired but still working well and we were so close to finishing.  The lifeboat soon located us and asked us aboard .... which we declined.  After an open discussion, the fact we had not called them out and also I think their realisation we had paddled from Anglesey, they guided us into a small harbour, with a massive spot light, highlighting the quay.  We thanked them on the vhf radio and approached our landing, smiling.

We finally paddled in to Dublin just after 2300, after 19 hours in our boats, and 74nm.  We were welcomed by Des and Connor.  Des partner Sonja joined us latter and together they run  They did a super job of moving boats and providing us with mugs of tea as we repacked boats and loaded them on to roofs of vehicles.  We now had a 0200 ferry to catch!!

They dropped us off just after 0100 and we were soon on the Stenna Line ferry on the way back home, with a big fried breakfast before a couple of hours sleep.  Janice picked us up at Holyhead and dropped us back at Rhoscolyn and we headed on our separate ways (BIG thanks for that).

I surprised my self with how long I could keep going for, not at a rapid pace, but a reasonable one and it was good paddling with the guys.  I was pleased i wasn't solo. There was lots of learning, that I feel on a shorter crossing can be managed and overall has less impact, while on the longer crossings early decision and there implications need to be carefully considered.  For me, I had to experience and feel what a longer crossing was about and I know this will make me a better paddler and allow me to share what I have gained from personal experience.  But i now know I do need to do another crossing, but next time no fog and it will be the planned 16 hours!!


Open crossing to Ireland
by sea kayak - Holy Head to Dublin

4 Star Leader Training - S ea ... 2 places now available due to cancelation

4 star leader training course sea with currently two places available due to a joint cancellation. Options exist as a two day training course at £160 and 29/30th March, or with Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning (CNTP) at £230 and on the 31st March.   Just attending the CNTP theory day cost £90. Or make it into a 5 day course at £330 and make the most of conditions and work on your action plan on days 4/5, from the 29/3 - 2/4.

This 4 star leader training course will cover the personal skills, leadership, improvised rescue and navigation skills.  While the CNTP is a theory based course on the third day.  The 4th and 5th days are called Development days and allow you to paddle your action plan and experience more of what Anglesey can offer.

The 4 star course, over three - five days aims to exceed the training requirements for this award and goes into more depth, allowing more time for reflection, discussion and being out on the sea, in various conditions. 

The aim of the CNTP course is to provide paddlers with the tools so as to be able to plan and navigate effectively on coastal journeys in moderate sea conditions, up to 2 nautical miles offshore in areas of tidal movement up to 2 knots.  
At the end of your 4 star sea training course you will also have opportunity to complete a personalised action plan.  Plus as part of our commitment to your development and progress we offer you the opportunity if your skills are up to speed to observe and assist on two Coastal Spirit sea kayaking course's, free. 

Previous experience and requirements for attending a training course, are the new 3 star sea award, or the old 4 star sea award or old level 3 coach training and a current 8 hour first aid certificate incl CPR. 

For the 4 star leader sea training, guidance notes and the syllabus have a look here.

What a couple of people have said ...

Thanks Roger, great week.  Feel like I've moved on so much in lots of ways.

Cheers, Gordon - Cheshire.

Thank you very much for the nice pictures and the course.  Three days proved to be really valuable for me and gave me extra motivation to continue in the BCU performance & leadership awards system.

All the best, Mikk - Estonia

To get a better feel for a course or see a brief account have a look and read a summary on my Blog here.

Email me if your interested or want more information.  

Thanks, Roger

Monday, 10 March 2014

InterMedaite Plus Sea Kayaking Course - North Wales, Anglesey

F6 and gusting f8 was the forecast and this could certainly be felt as we moved boats on to the van.  Rich an Adrian were on this weekends course, which is aimed at competent 3 star paddlers (or above) who already paddle independently and want to extend their skills and abilities, in rough conditions.

Over a coffee and discussion, Rich suggested the North coast and Porth Eilian to Amlech and back.  The wind on arrival was flurrying out of the bay at different directions, but at the mouth (to the right of the lighthouse and then left) of the bay the wind was more focused and a good F5 and occasional f6.  We used the wind in the bay for some trim work and did a couple of down wind runs, without skeg, before taking a short break.

Then on to Amlech Port.  A couple of seals watched on and a few porpoises popped up as we paddled along the coast ...  the sunshine further made the day ...

Back at the start and 8k later, now closer to high water and more shelter provided, Adrian and Rich did a couple of rolls and Rich managed to stand up ... before being put back into his boat by Adrian!!

Sunday saw us heading off to Trearddur Bay to paddle in some wind and swell and a hopeful end of day surf ... we paddled out left and across to the white arch ... in a light f4 and fair swell.

One at a time, Adrian and Rich paddled through the arch and then back out again.

After lunch and a rocky landing, it was time to hit the beach and catch a few waves.  Focus was on setting your self up to go the way you wanted to surf in and using a low brace in the foam pile. Rich was introduced to reverse surfing, which is useful to experience so if it ever happens while paddling out through surf, there is an understand on what to do, to remain upright!

The surf was a good height 2-3ft and fairly regular.  It was also good to see 7 other paddlers out there, enjoying the sunshine and nice surf .. good end to a weekend.


rough water sea kayaking
north wales sea kayaking

InterMediate Sea Kayaking - North Wales, Anglesey

Last weekend InterMedaite sea kayaking course, was made up of Douglas, Simon, Ann and Keith.  After coffees and planning we set off for the North coast with the aim of avoiding the wind and taking in a nice journey.  Bull Bay to hells Mouth and back, was the plan.  It was a 10mt tide and when we got to Bull Bay, there was just enough room to place the kayaks on the beach!!

We headed off to refresh core skills, exploring as we went and soon came across our first cave.  The edge of the bay a small race is created on a spring tide and for the first couple of hours after HW, so we used this and did a few circuits ...

More caves, a porpoise or two, a couple of seals and a fresh but clear blue sky day.  It felt like Spring was trying to upload!

Sunday and with more of a journey wanted, winds still strong, a grey day and with complications at Menai Bridge, due to a marathon, the Conwy estuary was chosen.  Its only the third time Ive paddled it and on previous occasions, from the Beacon car park catching the flood tide up and the returning on the ebb.  Ann and Simon brought their cars to the end destination, the Beacon car park, as we were planing an A-B from Trefriw.  Exciting because I wasn't totally sure where in Trifew!  Thanks to Matty who was out walking and a local paddler he showed us the start point and warned us of a cable, across the small river.  Thanks to Douglas for helping out and Ann for the shuttle.

It was great seeing debris travelling up the estuary and then pausing and then beginning the journey back down the estuary.  The bridge on Conwy was exciting and highlighted why we practise, eddy turns, work in fast water and confused currents. We must have been travelling at 4 knots or so and with the anchored boats and buoy's they gave us an additional challenge!

We finished as a rainbow appeared and reflected briefly on another good weekend.


North Wales sea kayaking
Anglesey sea kayaking