Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Lettmann Manta Review.

Lettmann Manta Review. 

Thanks to local paddler Charles Mitchell for his words on the the New Lettmann Manta.

"Having paddled a Dagger Axiom 8.5 since September 2016, I decided that I ought to get a larger
volume boat. On reading that the Manta had a slalom pedigree I was very interested coming from a
slalom background.

I paddled a few boats at AS Watersports on the canal including the Manta. It looked narrower at
the front than I had expected and was the nicest to paddle on the flat water with a good snug fit
once sitting in it.

First run, the Dart on the Loop, was at a good level with the slab covered. For such a long boat it is
incredibly quick on the turn. If you catch a patch of slower moving water, while travelling down a
rapid, it wants to turn but as long as you are driving it forward it holds its line. Going into eddies it
likes to be driven with aggression and then turns very rapidly, as quick as the Axiom. Eddies with
lots of boil and standing waves are also taken in its stride without any problems. Ferry glides and
high crosses were carried out with speed and precision, again the important thing was to drive the
boat where you wanted to go.

Second run was on the Upper Dart, slab covered and, as it turned out, rising. I had not done the
Upper at this level before. My previous highest level was just lapping on the slab. This trip was
more full on with little or no breaks between rapids and much bigger holes and drops. Bearing in
mind it was my first day on white water in the Manta it inspired confidence, handling the conditions
well, and where I made mistakes the Manta’s design allowed for correction and recovery.
Summing up, the outfitting is simple but effective. Once in the boat, with the back rest pulled in,
you feel at one. Even upside down there is no tendency to fall out as you are firmly part of the boat.
It certainly put a smile on my face, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a boat for someone who likes to take
control and enjoys the challenge of big water."

 Available to demo at AS Watersports.
 RRP: £995

More reviews and specs at Whetman Equipment.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Three Ways To Refresh Your Regular Run...

With family, work and weather finding time to go kayaking can be tough and finding time to venture further afield can be even tougher. If you have been paddling your local run a lot or maybe starting to feel a little bored, jaded or even losing your buzz for kayaking. Here are three ideas to spice up your local run with a dash of variety.

1) Different boats 

Every now and then swap out your familiar creek boat for a river runner or playboat and experience those old familiar rapids through new eyes. Spend fifteen minutes tail squirting in that super strong eddy line you had forgotten all about or enjoy a soul session on a wave with a boat that’s more suited to surfing than boofing.

Check out this video of Ian Dovey from Dovey coaching taking the chance to demo the Pyranha Kayaks 'Ripper' and enjoying a surf session on Top Wave on the Dart Loop.

How about taking out a traditional open canoe or OC1, Remember we have a Silverbirch Covert demo available at the shop

It can be just as easy as swapping kayaks with your mates for the second lap. You may find your new favourite kayak or think “why would someone choose to paddle this!?!”

Jim Ottaway mixing it up with an OC1 on the Dart Loop.
Max and David on a familiar rapid but in a unfamiliar boat.

2) Overnighter 

River Living.
How about an expedition in your back yard? Add a twist to your regular run by making it an 'overnighter'.  There are a bunch of reasons that might appeal but I’ve decided to highlight two. 

1.) Expedition paddling skills – you don’t have to be in California or India to have an overnighter, though granted it could be a bit warmer or dryer. You certainly don’t want to be miles from civilisation when you realise your sleeping bag doesn’t even fit in your kayak.

The skills learnt at home put into practice in remote locations - 

Expedition tips and articles on what to take with you have their place but knowledge and quality learning comes from experience. So go get some! Try packing light, cooking a meal on the side of the river and sleeping under a tarp for the night with the confidence you could actually walk to the car if needs be.

Liam and Ewart January 1st 2012 after a NYE overnighter on another Dartmoor Classic. (Not our firepit or shelter) 

Paddling a loaded boat feels different. If it's for the first time, It’s quite nice to hit some familiar rapids to get a feel for it. Maybe it feels awful, so you make the decision not to carry all the heavy stuff in the bow anymore. A great opportunity to learn.  If you aspire to paddle some white water overnighters it may be closer than you think, if you’re a seasoned expedition paddler maybe take someone out and if you are a club why not add one overnighter to the calendar?

2.) It's just fun relaxing on the side of the river with a stove, a few tins and some good mates.
Cooking at camp - simple pleasures. 

Max and Ewart enjoying some hot food and some cold beers on a weekday overnighter on a very, very short white water river in the South West UK. 

2) Purposeful Practice 

If you are on a mission to improve then you may need more than just time in a kayak. Head to your backyard run with an aim in mind. "Today I am going to work on my offside roll". If you happen to flip take the chance to do what you set off to do. If you don't flip find some good spots to capzise and work on your off side roll.  Another example could be " I always find myself taking lots of backwards stroke to correct" Change the theme of the day not just to get to the take out but to change something in your paddling for the better. This is a conversation you can have in your head and work on during the trip without affecting the rest of the group or the day. What can you do today to make yourself better for tomorrow? 
Emma Stokes with a clear focus in mind on a sunny day on the Exe. 

Of course it doesn't have to be about paddling skills. White water safety rescue courses are fantastic but keeping on top of those skills is as important maybe take a day to go practice swimming, throwing lines and mechanical advantages.
Low water so we spent a mornings swimming with Exeter Canoe Club - we didn't even take kayaks to the river. 
Making a mountain out of a mole hill on purpose.

Thanks for reading