Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Get the legs out!

Summer is fast approaching. The warm winter and very mild spring we are having makes us think we are going to have a scorcher of a summer!

Good job there is some awesome new leg wear about.

The Palm Horizon Shorts replace the Gradient shorts. Not a direct replacement as they have a stretchy fleece lining not neoprene. The general consensus is that the stretchy fleece lining is more comfortable in warmer weather and when wearing for longer durations. Its not as clammy and allows the skin to breath.

The waterproof outer shorts keep the worst of the wind/ spray/ waves off and keeps the wind chill to a minimum. A nice high and soft neoprene waist band with tie up closure keeps the shorts from falling down.
The below the knee fit keeps things styling nicely. Available in Aqua Blue or Jet Grey at a reasonable price of £54.95



If shorts aren't your bag or you just want a closer fit and a bit more warmth then the new Palm Kaituna and Wairoa Neoflex pants are just the thing. 

Both of these pants are a 0.5mm 4 way stretch with a thermospan liner. The fit is 3/4 length and comes to just below the knee. 
These pants are ace, so stretchy and soft to wear. If worn in combo with the Kaituna or Wairoa top (short or longsleeve) they make a great alternative to a summer wetsuit. 
They have so many applications. Stand Up paddle boarding, board surfing, sit on top paddling, summer white water, open canoeing, sea paddling, in fact we can't think of an activity that involves water (of a slightly warmer type) that these pants wouldn't work for. Both of the Palm Neo Flex 3/4 pants are £59.95.
Don't forget they do short and long sleeve tops as well: 


Palm Wiaroa

Palm Kaituna

Its not just Palm on the leg wear frontier! 
The Sweet Shambala Shorts have been selling really fast. Why? Because they are awesome of course!
They have had some updates for this year. The neoprene inner short is now just below the knee and a nice snug fit at the cuff. This stops water jetting up the leg even if you take a swim. The fast drying outer has a really nice cut and is a good length, it comes to below the knee for that cool look. A pocket on the leg can house your car keys (no more hiding them under the wheel arch). The waist band is comfy and holds the shorts up well. These are perfect for board surfing as well.




So that's the newer stuff. We of course still have a good selection of neoprene shorts, 3/4 length neo pants and full length neo pants from Peak UK. All of these are perfect summer leg wear. Come into the store and see what fits you. 


 Check out the full range here: Peak Neoprene

For the full range of leg wear click here:  








Monday, 12 May 2014

Kokatat Meridian Gore Tex Drysuit review

We have had a good review back in from Nick Pearce on his Gore Tex Meridian Drysuit from Kokatat.
No surprises, He's loving it.
See what he has to say below:


So for the last 6 months I have been using the very well tried and tested Kokatat Meridian GoreTex dry suit. Before this suit I used a range of dry suits from the likes of Palm and Level 6.

The fabric: Now I have to say the first thing that you notice with this suit is when you get off the water you are dry. Not a little damp from sweat, but bone dry like I have never been before. The suit is just simply superb at keeping you dry and getting rid of all the sweat that built up inside, wicking it away out of the fabric.

The Cut: Before I got this suit I had only worn suits with zips along the back and so was a little sceptical whether I would get on with the over the shoulder zip but no such problem. I don’t even know it is there, If anything it is less intrusive than the back zip on my last suit. This also gives the up side of being able to get in and out of the suit on your own making changing a whole lot better. The rest of the cut offers you a full range of movement with very little to no restriction, the suit feels light and supple. 

The features: Compared to some of the suits on the market this dry suit may look a bit old school and simple, but in my eyes it does what it needs to very well and no more, I like this kind of simplicity. Why have loads of things that you don’t need? There is one small pocket on the chest this is the perfect size for a car key,  then there are simple neoprene neck and wrist cuffs with no tags and Velcro to catch, the Velcro flaps on the waist and ankles are simple flaps with big patches to grip to and to finish it off with a relief zip. 

The durability: I have only been wearing the suit for 6 months but I can say that it has been put through its paces and still looks like new, so ok its not beading up any more but the quality is outstanding. With having been in the rafting industry for the last 5 years I've seen loads of gear come and go but for the whole of that time Kokatat have been making this suit and it is still the leading suit for quality on the market. One final thing to keep in mind: One of my work colleagues sent his suit back in to Kokatat this winter for a service and this suit has seen 5 years of hard rafting abuse and they pressure tested it then patched the suit for him replacing the seals and socks. A few days ago we're there out on the water he said to me it is just like having a brand new dry suit again. Now if that's not service I don’t know what is.

To sum up I don’t think I can come up with anything bad about this suit, I think tried and tested and now trusted sums it up best.

You can follow Nicks progress raft guiding in Norway this summer (his adopted home) by checking out his blog: http://nickpearcekayakingblog.wordpress.com/ 






Monday, 3 March 2014

The Palm FXr Has Landed!



The Palm FXr is based on their hugely popular Palm FX buoyancy aid. The success of the FX is due to its low bulk cut, which allows for a great range of movement. It also features long, easy to adjust shoulder straps. This allows you to wear the PFD low, while the Palm 3D waist makes sure it stays there, even during the most turbulent swims.
Palm FXr beside the Palm FX
The FX and FXr both feature a large pocket, to carry all of your river essentials.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Kayak Fishing Demo Day



As our first demo day of the year we are pleased to announce a day dedicated to Kayak Angling.

Last years event was very popular and this year looks to be even better.

If you are only just thinking about getting involved in kayak fishing or area seasoned angler there will be something on show for you.

All the leading brands will be in attendance to show you their new boats and kit and of course for you to have a go!
So come on down and check out all there is to know about kayak fishing.

Details:

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Burn 3 Large Review.

Helen Johnson smiling after 'Euthanasia'. Photo: David Johnson
We love it when our customers really find a product they click with.  Helen Johnson recently came in and demoed the Pyranha Burn 3 Large, on the Exe Canal, then on the Upper Dart and got on with it so much Helen bought one.

I asked Helen to write a review as she is an experienced paddler who (I found out after talking to her about PFD's) is strong minded about what kit she chooses to use and why. Here is what Helen had to say: 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Burn 3 Large - First Impressions

Andrew Bonney of Gene17Kayaking was keen to get his hands on our Pyranha Burn 3 Large Demo to give it a spin on one of the West Country's finest rivers, the East Lyn.

All Photos are of Andrew Bonney and taken by Nick Pearce.

Here is what he had to say:

Friday, 13 December 2013

Which Throwline?!

Throwlines.

We have written some thoughts on throw lines. We are well aware this can be discussed till the cows come home and everyone has their own systems. Here is a quick round up on some major differences, followed by our recommendations!

A line is arguably the most important piece of kit for a white water kayaker to carry. There is a large selection out there and each have their pros and cons, it’s as simple as that.

What line for me? This depends on your common role in a group, the type of kayaking, the nature of the rivers you commonly paddle your ability to throw etc. A WWSR course is always well recommended for new paddlers and as a refresher for seasoned paddlers. Franco Ferreros WWSR book is an excellent resource.

Two common uses of a line are:

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sunsets in the sound.

There's been lots happening over at Jemmas Super Awesome Sea Kayaking blog.

Ewart has been out on more salt water trips, this time to The Wembury area of Plymouth Sound. Take a look at the sunsets, islands and swims here: http://seakayakingaswatersports.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/the-yealm-wembury-and-mew-stone.html


We have supplied some fantastic looking P+H Cetus sea kayaks. 
They looked amazing, better than the photos really let on. See more here: http://seakayakingaswatersports.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/shiny-new-p-h-cetuss.html


Jemma has also been reviewing some of the ladies kayaking gear available at the shop. 


Don't forget we have a 15% discount sale on Palm gear in the shop and online at the moment.
 So get in there quick for a Christmas delivery. 

 Palm winter discount offer

X League flash back.

Nookie used to run a regular freestyle league at the River Dart Country Park back in the middle of the last decade (makes it sound so long ago!).

Usually the event was held in the Anvil play feature created by the weir within the park grounds (at the take out for the Loop).

The format was either a jam session or timed runs about a minute or so I think. It was definitely long enough to get knackered and a pasting, usually both.
At low levels the hole was pretty retentive but great for all the hole moves of the time, cartwheels, splits, loops, space godzillas etc. The phonix monkey was yet to be deployed.

When the levels were low or there wasn't many paddlers the ramp came into play. About 2 cumecs of water shot down the rickety ramp which gave you quite a lot of speed but the kicker was harsh and to get a nice flight was pretty tricky. Cue lots of face planting, hard landings, nasty high brace scenarios.

We have some more photos some where. We will try and dig them out.
Ewart loads up for a massive freewheel back in the day..

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Triumphant in South Georgia

We have had some nice pictures in from Neil Bowler. He bought a Perception Triumph 13 from us a little while back.
I think this could be one of the coldest places we've seen a Sit on top!
All photos property of Neil Bowler.

Location: South Georgia
Boat: Perception Triumph 13


 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Meadfoot, London Bridge and Dolphins

The English Riviera lived up to its reputation as a very nice place to be.

A leisurely paddle around the Torbay area a couple of weekends ago had fun paddling, rougher than expected conditions and a surprising and delighting sighting of a large pod of Dolphins.


Thatchers Rock nearest and the Oar Stone in view as we set off. 

 Max and I took Mitch out for a paddle in what we thought were calm conditions. Launching from the eastern end of Meadfoot beach in Torquay we paddled out towards Thatchers Rock and the Oar Stone. Thatchers rock is about a km from where we launched and the Oar Stone is about another 1.5km again but both are pretty close to shore. Around the back of the Oar stone was a bit more exciting than anticipated, a dropping tide, some pushing swell and a good dose of side wind meant that there was some good size waves and roughness on the seaward side of the Island. " That was a bit more than I was looking for" came from Mitch's mouth as we came out of the rough water and into some calmer stuff. You should get out more Boss.......


Dolphins play in the swell between Thatchers Rock and the shore. 

Paddling back towards Meadfoot from the Oar stone we stopped to play in a small constriction between the rocks where there was a bit of swell running into a nice flat bay area making a bit of a wave to surf in on.
Whilst Max was jumping back in his boat from taking photos I saw a fin poking out of the water. To our delight (and Jemma's dismay when we text afterwards as she didn't come out to play) 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

More Brewer reviews!

We have just had a good and honest product review on the Astral Brewer shoe come in.
Nick Pearce is a raft guide, safety kayaker and expedition paddler who works his summer months in Voss, Norway and had some Brewers off us at the start of the Summer. Like most working river professionals his kit takes a bit of a hammering averaging at least a years worth of us mere mortals use in under 6 months.

Check out what he has to say below.

For the last 3 months I have been using the new Brewer from Astral. Not being some one that is a big fan of their life jackets this is the first Astral product that I have owned but was happy to take the chance on them with the high quality of construction and finish that you see in the rest of their products.

So first up the river shoes look cool you almost feel bad wearing them on the river as they look more like some thing

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Tried and Tested: Astral Brewer Shoe

Our staff are active paddlers, this series of articles is for us to tell you our personal opinion on some of the kit we have been using.


For the most this will be equipment we (personally) have bought for ourselves, which normally means we already think highly of it, but this is our chance to tell you how it's holding up and what we like or don’t like about the product.


River footwear is an underestimated bit of kit in general. I do get annoyed when paddling with people and they're hobbling around on the river bank in neo socks. I want to know they can run over rough ground and wet rock with confidence when I take my next swim or that if we have to walk out, they have kit up to the job. So I have always been an advocate of good footwear on the river

I've been using the Astral Brewers since January. I was guiding out in Ecuador with Small World Adventures last Winter and had to do a lot of walk ins, a lot of running down banks and a lot of white water safety rescue practice. I was stupid enough not to bring a brand new pair of river shoes out and after a while mine died, so I was left with none.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Trouser Spotting



Ewart has recently updated some kit (found he had sold it or given it away due to an enforced break from paddling). Take it away Wokka! 

Here is my guide to dry trousers at AS Watersports and how I went about selecting a new pair ( I will tell you what I choose in a bit). 
I started by deciding what I was actually going to use them for, I have a drysuit for paddling in the depths of winter be it white water or sea, fishing or any paddling in really bad conditions or just cold water (trips abroad). So it was some thing to compliment this where you need protection but just not as much. 
I've started doing a lot more "sports touring" ( up to class 3 in a touring, hybrid or even small sea kayaks) but its never that punishing and much less chance of a capsize or swim. But the weather can still be bad, there are still portages and the need for dryness and comfort in and out of the boat. 
In the past I have always had latex ankle seals with a normal height waist. This has mostly been fine, a bit damp on the odd swim but not a drenching. (quick rope work from friends!)
There is now not as much choice in trousers with latex ankle seals, the trend from manufacturers is for built in fabric socks. 
This is for a couple of reasons. One, its easier to manufacture, producing latex goods is messy, hot and smelly work. Its not easy to do. Latex is a pretty raw version of rubber and because of this its a bit vulnerable to tearing, perishing, and splitting, as many of us have found out when getting changed and discovered a split just before getting on the river. It does offer a good seal but its not with out its weaknesses. 
Two, built in dry socks can be made more easily, can be made much wider at the top of the sock (latex socks only come in a few sizes, from any manufacturer) and can be more easily replaced when they wear out. (and to be honest, they will.).

So, what I wanted was: A tough outer fabric that will stand up to bashing around on Dartmoor and sloping fish over them but not to heavy for doing some walking and wearing in warmer (spring/autumn) weather.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen the show is soon to begin!


And here we go, its show time again. Keep up to date with all the news on the show site and facebook by following the links below.

www.swcanoeshow.co.uk

www.facebook.com/SouthWestCanoeShow2013

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Bountiful Budleigh

Another quick dash to Budleigh last night. Ewart was joined by long term boating buddy (and long term sufferer of Ewarts mishaps on and off the river)  Andy, (Jemmas partner).

It was Andy's first time out kayak fishing so Ewart gave him his lucky feathers (actually a little glow in the dark shrimp lure) to give him a head start. And it worked! Not more than 5 mins out Andy struck the Mackerel pot, without Ewart seeing it he thought it was too small so chucked it back. He won't make that mistake again. The little glow in the dark shrimps continued to work their magic for quite a while with Andy bagging a nice haul with some good size Mackerel. Great stuff for a first effort.

Ewart tried some new lures, a similar pattern but this time he opted for some darker blue ones to try and match the low light conditions. Paddling out over the reef though showed very clear water and he thought they might not work. 2 mins later, bang, in with a brace of Mackies. This continued to be the pattern for a good hour or so. Soon they were joined by Ewarts fishing hero Tom who paddled out on his Malibu 2 xl for a spot of spear fishing. Tom has got right into this lately and is really producing the goods. 3 dives saw him bag 2 nice Mullet, both around the 3-4lb range, not that big for Mullet or for Budleigh but good enough for the plate.

After Andys beginners luck began to wear out snagging on the bottom and having some gear malfunctions they started to paddle in.
Ewart has been desperate to catch some thing other than Mackies and really wanted to try out some other plastics he had picked up. A quick change over to a small plastic sand eel and a few passes over the quickly filling reef didn't produce any thing, one more pass..... a bit further out, a touch more line and ding! a nice bend but no real fight from a shiney green Pollock! Happy days, first fish on the new eel. Right, some more of that, another pass and yes, straight in with another Pollock. To say he was pleased was an understatement. Bigger and better next time!

 Plenty of other paddlers mucking about in the rising tide and small swell.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Go Pro Fishing



A few Go Pro pics from Dan from a little fishing trip a few weeks ago.


                                            Not sure the vest is such a good look Ewart.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

River SUP'in

More SUP action from Ewart. This time heading out with Ben down the River Exe to Countess weir and back on the canal. (Exeter Canoe loops 1)
Loads of Mullet, a Komodo dragon, Pirates, a tiny surf and lots of sun.
The Red Paddle 10.8 Mega is just the job for this run. Super tough and forgiving on the moving water. The Werner Spanker foam core paddle also does the job well. Its so stiff there's plenty of power. The foam core gives some nice support when its needed as well.

 Always time for Air Guitar! Ben tunes up.


 Ferry glides and eddying out. The same principals as in a kayak or canoe.  Transferable skills, if you have them. If not, get some coaching.

A quick fish.

Ewart headed out to Budleigh with a few friends (yes, he has some) last Thursday.
The weather was lush, there was a little swell running over the reef which made for a fun paddle in out and back in.  Plenty of Mackerel about with Tom and Ewart getting the most.

For ease of kayak fishing Ewart has trimmed his feather rig down to just three hooks. This time with a small glo in the dark shrimp pattern which was very effective in the dimming light. He thinks 5 hooks are A, to much on the kayak. If you have 5 fish on flapping every where its chaos and if just a couple of fish then you have empty hooks that can get caught in your clothing, hands, face etc. B, its just plain greedy. If there's Mackerel about you will soon catch some more. Take just enough for your tea or the rest of the session. Any you touch will die pretty quickly if returned.

Tom took out his Prowler elite 4.5 which he loves and Dan and Ewart teamed up on the Malibu 2 XL Angler
This was super stable and pretty quick with both of them on it. Coming back in over the reef they were glad of the speed and surfed a few swells right back into the river mouth. The C Tug trolleys carried the loads and as always were more than up to the job and stowed nicely in the kayak hatches.

 Tom fully loaded.


 Budleigh is lush. The River Otter sweeping its way to the sea.

 Budleigh Reef just about showing its teeth


 oooh Tompo.


Lots of fun and a nice surf and turf on Friday.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

SUPin' crazy

In his quest to get his shoulder strong Ewart has been hitting the SUP hard in the last week. A few sessions down the canal after work and a trip to Exmouth and Orcombe point with Ollie on Tuesday for some waves.
It was the first time in the surf for both of them but within a couple of minutes they were both catching some nice knee to waist high waves. (much to the annoyance of some other locals who had been SUP'in for 6 months and not yet caught a wave!)


Ollie paddles back out at Orcombe point. Yes, Waves and warm water in July! 
Picture taken through Ewarts Aquapac


Sundays paddle down the canal, absolute bliss. Catch the last game of Wimbledon and a pint of cold cider (plus 2 glasses of water, thirsty work)


All sessions have been on the Red Paddle 10.8 mega. The boards are the same as we use in our hire fleet. Great for first time Stand Up Paddlers as they are super stable and very tough.