Friday, 26 June 2015

Bespoke Sea Kayaking - For individuals, couples, friends, groups and clubs

Bespoke is tailor made for you, set at your pace and mainly during the week.  Its a private course and weekends can be done if more than 4 people make up the booking.  Days and weekend range from an Introduction to sea kayaking, rescue skills and incident management, improving performance and effectiveness, 4 and 5 star leader preparation, expedition preparation, open crossings and for kayak clubs, that mainly do river white water kayaking an opportunity to get out on the sea.  

Sadly my compact waterproof camera has broken and has gone back to Pentax and I hope I will have it back soon.  Photos that I have are from clients cameras or my phone, when conditions are quieter and I'm not jumping in and out of the water!!

Last weekend I was working with Jon's kayak club, who having no to little sea kayak experience but a fair amount of white water kayaking was perfect.  Rhoscolyn on the Saturday with a flooding tide and a light wind, made the race perfect and brought out the smiles and comments like 'wow, I just didn't know the sea could be like this ...'

And it would be rude not to include a cave, gully or arch at some time over the weekend!!

Sunday and F4/5 saw us head for the Straits and take eddies in this white water world in sea kayaks!!  We got the flood tide up to Menai Bridge, had lunch and then caught the ebb tide back.  Delaying a little, so that the tide could build and create some waves under the A55 bridge, with wind against tide ...

The team above and BIG thanks to Jon below for organising the weekend ... ;)

A Bespoke Introduction to sea kayaking as a birthday gift to Alan, form Yvonne was another one of the days.  And with a f4 SW forecast and Alan's first day on a sea kayak we looked for the shelter of the  lagoons on the Straits.  Alan has paddled a sit on top for a number of years and enjoyed the sleek and smooth feel of the sea kayak cutting through the water.

And we were even treated to a seal which was hauled out in the shallows.  This was a first one for me in the Straits and just perfect.  I've seen from time to time a bull seal either end of the Swellies, although more commonly the A55 end, but never one resting up on the edge of a bay.  Lets hope thats a new beginning!!

we worked on outside edge, forward paddling and stern rudders, with a journey to the Gazelle Inn and after lunch Alan transferred to the Romany surf a composite sea kayak, lighter and more responsive.  Inside leaned turns under the bridge arches and as the Swellies were close to slack we entered and watched the Herons and Egrets.  Or were they watching us!!

Alan finished off with a controlled capsize and talk of doing more ....

Keith was out for 2 days and was looking for rough water and with a F4/5 SW forecast, Trearddur Bay, was our location.  That was after a coffee!!

Into wind, a down wind circuit, with a good few runs and then around Ravens Point and a good 2ft confused swell.  Lunch at Porth y Garan, and it was then time to head back to the bay.  There was the occasional good set of waves that pushed into the bay and we enjoyed a surf, before finishing up for the day.  It had been a cool drizzle type day and my phone just didn't want to unlock its self, what with my cold wet fingers ... so only the one shot, from the day

The following day was much better.  Well it was dry, brighter and despite a F4/5 off shore wind, we gained alot of protection.  Cough's seemed to be abundant and a brief porpoise was spotted.

Lunch looking out to Middle Mouse and the birds, zipping back and forth ...

We kept close to the coastline working our way in and out of the gullies and the main cave on this section of the coast.

Back in Bull Bay and Keith was keen to try a re-entry and roll, paddle float self rescue and a few of these completed the day.

Apologies to Allan, Frank and Tracy, that I have no photos ...  doing rescues and the risk of leaving my phone in my dry suit pocket, was just to risky!!

Further information on Bespoke days can be found here and remember a Bespoke Intro sea kayaking course gets £20 off any further Coastal Spirit course, and is valid for 1 year.  If you want specific information on a day or more then,  just email me.


Roger Chandler

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Pantomime Paddling and a Problem With Wind

(One in an infinite series on the trials, tribulations and considerable joys of an InterMediate paddler).

Photo from earlier this year at Trearddur Bay Anglesey

Put a one-to-two metre wave in front of me and I'm a happy bunny, well relatively. Put a one-metre plus wave behind me in a following sea and it's more of a rabbit in the headlights.

I'm one of the participants in a coaching the mind course that Roger has organised in July. As a starter for ten I didn't really have to give a great deal of thought to one of the areas I want to work on. It's that "It's behind you"  moment when the stern of the boat begins to lift at the base of a wave, the bow dips, and my inner chimp is out of the box and bouncing all over my spray-deck.

Point me at the beach in moderate surf and I'll hammer in a couple of inelegant but punchy strokes and if I luck-out on the timing enjoy the ride toward the shore. Set up the same scenario in open water or on a race and the confidence drains away faster than the Menai Straits.

I suspect there are a number of things going on I need to recognise and work on. I am, I think, quite strongly visually cued. If I see an interesting - sizeable - wave coming toward me then I can prepare mentally and get set up physically.  Beach surf also offers the comfort of a nearby shore.

The same routine doesn't work as well in the following sea where the boat-body feel is of greater importance. Staying relaxed and mobile becomes a loosing arm wrestle with the chimp. I also need to continue to work on rolling in this environment. A good solid roll strikes me as a fine antidote to dobbing in.

Photo from earlier this year, at Trearddour Bay, Anglesey

I'm also an experiential learner: that is until it happens to me I might be able to verbalise the theory, but not really get it. Roger has on a number of occasions when I've been in a group he's coaching pointed out how quickly things can happen in wind - most notably getting separated from the boat.

I recently took the opportunity of a weekend in Suffolk to go for a gentle solo paddle between Walberswick and Dunwich. It's a shallow bay with a mainly pebble and stone beach, with a tendency for the waves to dump. The sea state was slight with a south easterly wind force 4 gusting up to 5-6: the result was wind-driven very short period chop of two- three feet in the bay.

After pottering around for 90 minutes I thought I ought to practise my reasonably reliable (in benign conditions) one-sided roll. Being on my own I'd made sure I wasn't far from the beach and that the wind and swell would just dump me on the pebbles. Needless to say the first one failed (chop and wind make it much more interesting), and having bailed decided I'd re-enter and roll. In setting up I managed to let the boat go for what seemed an instant, the wind caught it and I was suddenly looking at a swim to shore. Fortunately a couple of sharp paddle strokes and a lull in the wind got me back within reach. A quick re-entry and roll and I was back the right way up and then it was time to pump out a boat full of the North Sea in chop-and a brisk breeze. As a balance exercise, and for entertainment for anyone on the beach, I'd highly recommend it.

Having bailed on the first, three successful rolls followed as I continue to try to embed the whole process as muscle memory. I also now understand just what Roger means by just how quickly the wind can intervene...

By Douglas Barrie

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

4 Star Leader Training Sea and More!

The 4 Star Leadership award with the British Canoe Union (BCU) is an award which allows a qualified paddler to lead and guide other competent paddlers (have the skills but not the experience to operate self sufficiently) in moderate conditions - .  Moderate sea conditions are define by the BCU as:

'A stretch of coastline with landings every 1 to 2 miles or 1 hour paddling, including difficult landings. Crossings of no more than 2 NM, up to 2 kns of current, Bf F4 winds and paddling in sea state 3/4 (1.5 mt) launching and landing in surf up to 1mt.'    

Julian, Noel, Mike and Alan were up for the 4 days - 2 days training, 1 day coastal navigation and tidal planning theory.  With Debs - 5 star leader trained, observing/assisting and able to offer a perspective form having been through the 4 star leader assessment process.  

The final day was focused loosely around each individuals action plan's as well as another chance to have ago at a couple of the techniques used or seen earlier on the course.  It also allows an opportunity to understand what areas are out of remit and why.

For some reason my photos have loaded back to front ... and Im not going to try and reload them!  

Day 4!

Just around form Penrhyn Mawr, on the last day and one of the super sections of rock formations.  A great opportunity for rock hoping, leadership and exploring ...

Alan above and Mike below in Penrhyn Mawr, beginning to feel the current on the flood and enjoying a blue sky!!

Alan agin below and one of the locals enjoying the sunshine too!

The first day after looking and discussing the syllabus and forecasts, was at Rhoscolyn and an introduction to flow, eddy turns ferry glides, rolling, self and assisted rescues, contact tows and rafted tows ...

Noel leading down with Mike above and Julian below ...

Day two was a journey from Cemais Bay, out to Middle Mouse island and on to Bull Bay.  Leadership sections with an incident or a scenario were offered to each individual and feedback both from the group and my self was available.  Plus an introduction to rocky landings as an individual and the use of the towline and managing a group.

It had been a super sunny week with largely gentle conditions, but a lot had been explored, discussed, experimented with and tried.  Food for thought and clear action plans saw each on there way.

Thanks, Roger

roger chandler

Summer sea kayak sale!

I have two sea kayaks are up for sale, that are ex fleet and in good condition, see below: 

Venture Kayak Easky 17 - a plastic sea kayak £380 ono

Those venturing out onto the water for the first time will enjoy its large roomy cockpit, stability and its sleek lines. Comes with a unique Flipback back rest changing the back rest height with ease and adding additional comfort.   Three water resistant compartments with rubber hatch covers, skeg, deck elastics.

The Venture Kayaks Easky 17 is the longest kayak in the Easky family. The long sleek hull feels as effortless as a thoroughbred sea kayak but it's still as easy to paddle as a tourer. Speedy and efficient it's also a great load carrier.

5 years old with the usual scratches, hence £380 ono - save over £500!!

Sea kayak UK, Romany Classic - Composite sea kayak £1500

A manoeuvrable and direction stable kayak for the small to medium sized paddler. Designed for rough water and ease of handling in conditions. Its easy handling makes it the 1st choice for many coaches. The Romany Classic (formerly named Romany) is easily controlled in wind with a minimum of weather cocking even in strong winds. 

3 years old and in good condition, with the usual scratches, working skeg cable (replaced 6 months ago), 3 dry hatches and in peppermint green colour, deck, white hull and black trim.  You make a saving of over £800 from the retail price!!

To arrange a meeting time, email me on


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Advanced sea kayaking weekend - Sunshine, waves and wind!

Advanced sea kayaking is aimed at those who hold the 4 star leader award, or are 5 star leader trained or have similar skills and abilities.  It's a great way to keep those skills toped up and also to prepare and focus on particular areas prior to a 5 star leader assessment.

Daren, Tavi (seen in this photo) and Leif and Pat, were up for the weekend and what a super forecast we had.  Saturdays forecast was  Bf 5-8, SW and with a 2.0 mt swell running.  We headed to Trearddur Bay after coffee and a discussion on individuals wants and needs.  

After Tavi led us off form the beach, we worked on down wind circuits with a buddy, contact tows (and experimenting with the person on the bow or stern), rolling and self rescues.

Just before lunch we finished with Darren leading a section with Leif, Tavi and Pat and a rescue to perform.  And then after 1400 and as the tide began to ebb we started to work the surf ...

With some great carved turns from Leif ( next 3 photos are on the same run) ...

Darren, just timing it right for a super run, with just enough power on take off ... sadly my camera couldn't keep up!!

And a good steep wave for Tavi and an ender, with a successful roll, seen below ...

Sunday had a lighter wind forecast and Penrhyn Mawr was a keen choose.  With swell and wind against tide it was likely to be chunky and exciting ... And it certainly was ...  Daren led a super session down into the race and then a mix of eddy turns, crossing channels, rolling and self rescues, as what each individual preferred.

Leif below performing a successful re entry and roll with buddy cover form Tavi ...

We then headed off to fine a bay for some lunch ...

The next Advanced course with spaces currently is 26/27th September and then 24/25th October (note this is also a 5 star leader training).  These advanced course also run throughout the Winter too.

5 star leader training on the 28/9- 1st October and 24th -28th October.
5 star leader assessment - 3/4th October
4 star leader training 10th - 14th October.

Contact for more information -

Thanks, Roger

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Two BIG Adventures for 2016 and 2017, with Coastal Spirit

The Isle of Skye Circumnavigation and Islands 2016

This is your chance to experience a 23 day guided sea kayaking expedition, with the fabulous scenery of Scotland's West Coast, a real classic of the Inner Hebrides and Scotland's 3rd tourist destination. And its not surprising as Skye's sea scape and coastline is truly stunning with arches caves, majestic cliffs, head lands, islands and tide races. Paddle to Loch Coruisk and stand below the Cullins, or Neist Point and see Maclouds Maidens and many arches and caves, or paddle round Rubha Hunish, the most northerly point on Skye. To name just a few locations, while keeping your eyes open for Golden Eagles, Otters, Porpoises and Dolphins ... and may be even whales.   

In 2013 with two weeks a circumnavigation of the Isle of Skye was attempted.  Yet the team despite their efforts, were unsuccessful due to strong gale force winds.  In 2016 with 3 weeks available, we have more time to increase our chance of success and if the weather is settled and we complete the Isle of Skye earlier, we have more time to choose another island or section of coast.  Experience this unique and what promises to be a memorable and 'Big Adventure'.

Price £1590

Limited to only 4 people
Expedition pre training over one weekend - dates agreed with the team
Total number of days 25 with 23 days for the expedition
Expedition dates: 23rd April - 15th May

For more details on this expedition, have a look at the website and at the bottom of the page, here

The Roof of Britain Circumnavigation 2017

This expedition is 'One BIG Adventure', that takes in the rugged coastlines of the West and North of Scotland and the relative shelter of The Great Glen. And at over 400 nm this is a significant and realistic venture. This expedition covers some of the most spectacular and exposed stretches of the UK coastline, including Cape Wrath, the infamous Pentland Firth and the most westerly point of mainland UK, Ardnamurchan Point and many glorious beaches along the way.  In 2015 the team was successful in completing this adventure in 28 days, and its worth taking into account 10 days were storm bound leaving 18 days successful paddling!

Experience this unique and what promises to be an epic and memorable 'Bigger Adventure'.  


Price: £1990. Expedition development over four days or two weekend (incl in the cost) and dates aranged with the team.Expedition dates 15th April - 14th May 2017.   (the aim is to beat the arrival of the midges!!)Total number of days: 34 with 30 days for the Expedition. Limited to ONLY 4 people 

For more details and information have a look at the website here