Wave Machines

There are many things London has to offer to a visitor: architecture, scenery, history, just to name a few. Through all this the river weaves its path and attracts attention with its amazing views into the naval history, the beaches or water splashing over the railings, and of course the strong tides. Large numbers of boats pass up and down through the city at any time of the day. For me, however, the ones that create the beautiful wake to surf are the most interesting.  We call them Wave machines.

The feeling of excitement if a wave machine appears travelling in the right direction. Then, all what’s needed, is to check all is safe and paddle closer. To get the most of the waves and prolong the ride, it is best to surf diagonaly in the same direction as the chased boat. It is very easy to turn to much towards  the boat or to be too, aggressive in correction, both result in loosing the wave. Sometimes the first wave is not the best one, and it pays to wait for the third.

Last weekend we went for short paddle and made a little clip.

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St Kilda revisited

It has been several weeks since we came back from our eight weeks trip to the outer islands. Most of the time we don’t even remember being there or the paddling. Fortunately we made this clip to remind ourselves.

The first song is sung by Rosie Sullivan, who won the Young Song writer of the Year competition with it. We met Rosie when she came with her dad, who drove to pick us up in Port Ness and took us down to Stornoway in order for us to be able to get to our gateway to St Kilda on time. We listened to her songs and were impressed.

Watching the video not only reminds us about the wonderful places we visited, but also brings smiles to our faces. Especially the scene with our attempt to cross  to Flannans. It was the first calm day in three or four weeks. Obviously it wasn’t calm enough.

Fortunately the next calm day, two weeks later, we managed the second planned crossing despite starting to paddle for four hours against solid headwind.

Here we go.

It’s as good as skiing

This year like every year the question of where to go on Christmas holidays arisen. I love winter. Snow, skiing, ice climbing was my fist choice, and preferably somewhere where such is guaranteed – like Norway.

However very often I think one and Michal something else, so we ended up in Jersey. I braced myself for the prospect of spending my only winter holidays on rainy wind swept island, and off we went.

How very fortunate we were, that I was proved wrong. We stayed in our friends’ house, with sofas and telly, which felt like home away  from home (minus the TV for us). The house was very close to Corbiere Lighthouse, for which reason going to see the sunset became one of our favourite pastimes.

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corbiere toby 1We paddled only 2 hours a day. It was rather cold. Besides we slipped into the holiday routine of lazy mornings, short paddles, late lunches, sunset watching, dinner cooking and film watching – like Big Wednesday or Legally Blond.

Yet, where the paddling sessions lacked in length, they were rich in intensity.

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The weather was very accommodating, and our friends confirmed that it was warmer here than in Istanbul and definitely sunnier. At some point it was so sunny, that we started the day with some rolling practice.

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Followed by cliff jumping.

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Jersey people are very friendly and welcoming. Some days we met them on the water, went paddling with them, or simply had lunch or drinks. DCIM100GOPRO

Some days we also had surf. It was then, when I stopped regretting not going skiing. The waves were such, that going down with them felt almost as good as doing downhill on red slope. Skiing and kayaking have something in common. There are times, when the equipment just gives in. Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 16.55.36

If you want to see more of the surfing, just watch the video.

Written by Natalie

THCC Seakayaking trip to Cornwall May 2014

The first May Bank Holiday we organised a trip to Cornwall for our club members. In the end there were 13 people going with skills ranging from intromediate to advanced; some of us being sea kayakers and some only white water paddlers.

We booked one coach, Richard Uren from Paddlecrest and 7 kayaks. Not everyone in London has a car. We stayed in a campsite close to Praa sands.

The paddling was great. We managed to paddle at the most southerly point of Britain, just west of Lizzard, and around Land’s End. The advanced group had some incident management training, and the intromediate one an introduction to surfing in Sennen. On Monday we all paddled together in the Fal Estuary. It was a great weekend.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/94703469]

FAMILY APART

It was a weekend at the end of October for which Natalie chose to do a trip to Simonds Yat with some friends from our club. I wasn’t very keen to do open boating again so soon, so I decided to rather stay in London and spend some time working on club boats. Few days before Natalie was due to leave I had a call from Alastair asking if I wanted to come along for some sea kayak surfing in Bristol Channel. Later it became clear that he actually meant North Devon and I couldn’t say no. Then Vincent and some other of Alastair’s friends were to be there, and I knew that if anything would be possible, one thing was for sure; there will be lots of fun.

Quite unexpectedly I happened to be the one who made our journey to Croyde less than ordinary. Not being familiar with Alastair’s car I was happily driving not checking the fuel indicator till the warning light came on. What was left in the tank would let us go for another 20 miles only, instead of 70 as I am used to. To make the story short, there wasn’t an open petrol station in  Friday midnight, and we had to go back to M5. The last five miles the car must have gone on pure adrenaline pouring from our ears, as the car computer clearly stated “RANGE 0 MILES”. We made it in the end.

We set up in a campsite at half past two at night, to be kicked out by a security guard at 7am. Apparently we pitched our tents on a wrong field. And more was coming.

Let’s get back to the paddling. We had great conditions for the whole weekend. While I was enjoying surfing and Alastair swimming, Vincent decided it was time for some excitement, and tried to kill his friend James. Fortunately James used to fight for his live, didn’t hesitate and when he found himself upside down in the surf with the spraydeck loop tucked under, he managed to wriggle himself free sacrificing only few fingernails.  Vincent called him The Hamster for rest of the weekend.

In the meantime Natalie had great time ferry gliding from eddy to eddy at Simonds Yat rapids. And we decided to produce a short paddling clip again.

On top of all this, I have a proof that it is possible to get a sea kayak flying while surfing.