Monday, 9 November 2015

InterMediate Sea Kayaking - Anglesey, North Wales

Our InterMediate sea kayaking course aims to move you towards solid 3 star performance skills, in wind, swell, surf and current.  And as you can see form the forecast below, it was going to be an exciting weekend of interesting weather.  Lets be honest, though.  What an amazing Autumn we've had!

Simon, Mandy and Douglas were up for the weekend and at least we had a gentle start to the day.  Trearddur bay on the West coast of Holyhead Island, Anglesey, would allow us to go into wind and then get blown back, when we decided to leave.

We started with number of circuits, working on down and upwind turns left and right.  Then running down wind, with emphasis on the use of body, along side a stern rudder to assist the turn and trying to keep momentum.  Mandy below enjoying the conditions ...

Simon below, with a low angled stern rudder ...

Douglas below ... as we headed into one of the sheltered bays and then re tracing our paddle strokes back into the bay as the wind began to arrive ...

The sea now go a little more confused, with reflected waves and now a Beaufort F4 wind was blowing ...

Time for some surfing ....  Mandy below on her way back out ....

Sunday and with the aim of working those down wind skills a journey from Moel Y Don to Menai Bridge, with the last 3 hours of the ebb, would create wind against tide conditions.   the main channel was over 1mt and surfing white tops ...  We were on a smaller tide, which was helpful and kept to the Anglesey side.  There was a couple of surging 1mt swells but over all it was more 0.5 mt as we eddy hoped our way along.

Just below the Britannia Bridge, was a super playful area which was more sheltered, and great for eddy turns and a couple of surfs.

After lunch we headed on through the Swellies which were now flowing with us and a couple of rolls later, for Douglas and then a self rescue finished the day.  Reflections and hot drinks in Dylan's wrapped up the day and the weekend.

The next Winter InterMediate weekend is the 6/7th February (1 place left), March is already full and then its the 9/10th April  (5 places currently left).  Calendar for the rest of the year will be out in the next month.

Interested?  Then email me at


Below is a refection from Douglas Barrie on his Bespoke day and the weekend Intermediate course -

Theory Into Practice: The Endless Trials and Tribulations of an Intermediate Paddler

A personnel day with Roger provided the opportunity to road test whether my attendance at a “Coaching the Mind” weekend during the summer had managed to permeate my rather thick skull. Never a quick learner I am now at the age where practice begets more practice, and perhaps in the fullness of time, and then a bit, some improvement.

With following seas a particular Bogey-Mermaid of my own, the forecast conditions for the day were well suited to provide an examination of whether I would be able to grasp some of the tools offered by the two-day course on “mind control”. I’m not particularly bothered being munched by a wave when beach surfing, within the reasonable parameters of no broken bones or permanent scarring, but put the same wave in a following sea environment, and it’s that three-cracker dry mouth.

Irrespective of my personal prognosis, I’d recommend heartily the course: first of all it’s a good laugh, well delivered, and provides a balanced mix of the theory and practical.
Out at the neck of Trearddur Bay with a force 3-4 breeze and a good meter swell (Roger’s measure, not mine, my following sea swell ratings have been based traditionally more around pallid knuckles and facial blood drainage) I was bobbing around in a way that previously has tempted the flight response in my neo-cortex.

Was I happy as a sand boy – not quite- but with a bit of visualisation and self-talk (the latter unprintable, but for those with the misfortune to have made my acquaintance you might imagine it was at the fruity end of my already green-grocer rich vocabulary,) I felt I could manage what was going on around me. As the day progressed, and under the invaluable tutelage and re-assuring presence of Roger, I settled more into the bouncy water and even began to suspect that within reason I actually might begin to enjoy the surfing opportunities of a following sea – I just visualise the golden sands of a hazard-free beach about 30 meters in front of every wave.