Monday, 16 October 2017

Sickline 2017 | Lyndon Williams

- Champions killer
- Wellebrucke
- Late boof
- Under cut
- Siphon
- Losers party
- Pros
- Champion's party

This is a list of things you will hear constantly if you attend the Adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Championship.

Last week Team Escape Watersports took to the road to enter the biggest whitewater race on the calendar. For Eddy it was his fifth time competing at the event, but for Lyndon this was his first major race.



The Wellebrucke rapids are found in the small valley of Otzal, Austria and upon arrival its easy to see why its the home to the competition. Surrounded by mountains, the valley starts to open as you get closer and out roars the Wellebrucke rapids. Steep, technical, and powerful it makes for a great test of ability. Not only will it test your skill level but also your nerve and concentration.



Like most, we spent the week prior to the race getting used to the course and learning the fastest lines from top to bottom. This was not as easy as it sounds! Having a mixture of heavy rain, sunshine and snow, the river level changed often and dramatically which made it very difficult to both paddle consistently, and stay in your kayak.


Thursday came around quickly, which meant it was time to register. There was a parade of nations, an excellent spread of food and drink, and a pre-race briefing to get everyone excited for the upcoming qualifiers.



So finally, here was the day we had been waiting for. Both Lyndon and Eddy had been training for months and were looking fast in their practice laps. 175 competitors in total turned up this year, consisting of amateurs and pro athletes. Eddy was up first, time to lay down his first run of two in his heat. Looking focused he put down a respectable time to place him 14th in his group.
Lyndon was up with his first lap, a little slower with a 1.5 second difference between the pair. This was enough to to leave Eddy 37th and Lyndon 54th after round one.

After a quick lunch the second lap was soon upon us. Once again Eddy was up first, and although a little slower than before he still placed high. Lyndon made the walk down the steps to the river bank knowing a solid run would put him in contention to qualify. Concentrating on that first move and looking focused Lyndon dropped into the water, went clean through the starting rapid (minus 1) and set up for Champions Killer rapid. His late boof was slightly off line which pushed him into the river left eddy costing him about 5 seconds.


Watching the times drop on the big screen Eddy and Lyndon were getting bumped down the table fast. Lyndon's slight error put him way down into 81st position, however Eddy had done enough to qualify in 50th position, making it his best result in 5 years and putting him in with a chance to race against the best in the world.


Excitement was high but chances were inevitably slim, so although he didn't get further than the quarters, Eddy went out there, gave it his best, and most of all he enjoyed it.
Spending the day watching the finals was great, course records kept getting broken and the top 15 was so close. Sam Sutton took the win in the men's, while Nouria Newman claimed the women's title. Amazing athletes!


We celebrated Team Escape Watersports success at the event with a glass of bubbly, then headed to the Champions Party.

The 24 hour drive home consisted of junk food and retelling many stories from the week.
Can not wait for next year!



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Top UK Rivers For Kayaking | Lyndon Williams

With the weather starting to make a change, the days becoming a little colder and there being more rain about it can only mean one thing... the British whitewater season (AKA the Winter) is fast approaching.

The thought of more consistent paddle-able water for the next few months has got me thinking. What is everyone's favourite river (or section of river) to run in the UK, and what makes it so special?

The response I got after pitching the question on social media was great! Kayakers and canoeists up and down the country giving their reasons on why their favourite run was the best.
One thing that stood out immediately was the majority of people have a favourite run due to the pub at the end, and I loved that. Other reasons included beautiful scenery, and also jusy for good old fashioned fun!


High on the list was one of my own locals, the river Mellte, based in South Wales.
When you do that walk in and climb down the cliff to the put in, it's pretty intimidating to see that much water fall 60 feet over a cascade. This is shortly followed by a seal launch into the spray at the bottom of it, to start getting you on your way. The rest of the run is classic waterfalls and big rapids that won't fail to put a smile on your face!


Understandably the River Dart was also pretty high on this list. Sitting on the beautiful moorlands of Devon, this quality white water run has something for everyone. Those from the South West have grown up with it as a local run, and the rest of us frequently make the journey to paddle it, as one thing everyone will agree on is that it's worth doing at all water levels!



From South to North, a common name on the list was the River Orchy. This is often paddled as a classic in Scotland, and it's easy to see why! With its beautiful remote feel, ease of access, and pool drop big volume rapids, it is certainly a Scottish must do.


In Yorkshire, the river Swale appears to be a firm favourite. It requires some big boof strokes, that will leave you with a smile on your face (even if you don't nail it!).



There are so many more with great reasons, and I think this explains why kayaking brings myself and so many others the amount of happiness it does when you find a new favourite.


I have really enjoyed finding out what makes everyone's favourite piece of white water so special to them. Whats your favourite?

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Scotty Ball Mount System | Colin Chick

I use two different fishing kayaks. One for long distance fishing, and one for easier more comfortable fishing. The problem I have is that I only have one fish finder/GPS unit .

I could of course purchase a second transducer, but this can be very costly depending which unit you have, so realistically speaking that's not an option.
The brand of kayak I use (Wilderness Systems) has a gear track moulded and fitted as standard giving me options right from the start. 
One of the yaks has a removable Flexpod which carries the fish finder unit, battery, and transducer all in one which keeps the unit and plugs dry and free from corrosion which is a massive plus, but my second kayak does not .


The Scotty Ball Mounting system allows me to use my Raymarine Dragonfly Pro on both kayaks, and the Scotty ball on this particular item is in fact the same size as the ball used to mount the Dragonfly pro models.


The mount comes with two base platforms in the packet, so I took one base unit and mounted it to my WS Tarpon 160 and the other to the WS Flexpod.


So now depending which kayak I'm using I can easily in less than five minutes switch my fish finder to either kayak.

Early trials have gone well. A great product at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Vegan For Sickline

Once again I have committed to competing at the Adidas Sickline in Austria, this will be my 5th time competing at the challenging and fiercely competitive race. I’ve had some promising results over the years but last year was my worst result which was very disappointing.



After a torn meniscus in my knee, an impinged shoulder, and becoming a father all in the lead up to the race, training took a back seat, time was limited, convenient food became a habit and inevitably weight creeped on. I was hoping I could wing it and make up for it with my abilities but after nailing the lines, I totally blew out on the sprint section putting me in 90th place. Overall it could’ve been a lot worse, I knew I was capable of much more.

So here we are again in the lead up to the biggest race on my calendar and my approach has changed a bit, well… a hell of a lot.

About a month ago I decided to go Vegan, a totally plant based diet. It was time to get back in control of my diet and training and a drastic change was needed. My thinking was this new lifestyle would shave off some unwanted weight, boost my energy and health and force me to think about what I’m eating again.



At first I had a lot of negative opinions from friends and colleagues, saying I’ll get sick and lose all my muscle. But I knew that basically they didn’t know what thy were on about, and a lot of people don’t. What’s made it easier for me is that I like a lot of different foods so my diet is still really varied which is exactly what you need to stay healthy. The main challenge I’ve found is trying not to be too carb heavy. One thing that’s hard to get on a vegan diet (though not impossible) is vitamin b12, so I’m taking a supplement for this.

So one month in and I’m nearly a stone lighter, energy levels are great and training is going really well. I’ve ramped up my training for this year as I really want to go all in this year. I have a bunch of steep hills literally on my doorstep so I’ve started doing hill sprints every two days, which so far hasn’t aggravated my torn cartilage. It’s basically interval training, intense on the way up, walk down and so on.



My friend Lyndon Williams has also entered so we’ve been doing many a lap at the Cardiff white water course, pushing each other for faster times. I’ve switched my weight training from heavy with few reps to light with loads of reps to help build that stamina, rather than bulk. After some advice from former Sickline winner Joe Morley, I’m waiting for my new skipping rope to be delivered. This is fantastic cardio and also should increase stamina in my forearms which is usually what lets me down first.

So with 7 weeks to go the plan will continue to be shaving more weight, keeping building stamina and get as much boat time as possible. For anyone looking for a healthier lifestyle I highly recommend making the switch to being vegan, it’s really not that hard once you get into it. It just forces better choices out of you!



Thanks for reading and be sure to cheer on team Escape Watersports at this year Sickline!


Thursday, 27 July 2017

What's Your Next Adventure?


Are you ever sat in the office, wondering where your next adventure should be?
Sometimes, sitting and looking out of the window at the wind and rain is enough to get anyone down (other than maybe a white water kayaker).

So how about trying something different with your spare time?

Maybe you have always wanted to learn to paddle board, try kayaking on the ocean, or jump off a waterfall? Well the adventure you're dreaming of is a LOT closer than you realise...

At Escape Watersports, we believe there is nothing better than discovering a new adventure right on your own door step.
We are lucky enough to be based in South Wales, and although I may seem a little bias here, it's possibly one of the most beautiful places in the UK.

From mountains to sea within less than 30 minutes drive, you can be sure to get your fix what ever it may be.

Boofing hard over this waterfall on the Pontneddfechan.

A hidden valley in Glynneath just waiting to be found.

The BIG one on the River Hepste. (Spaniel included for scale).

At the foot of the Brecon Beacons, Pontneddfechan has waterfalls and steep creeks perfect for thrill seekers wanting to go gorge walking or kayaking, and ideal for people who simply want to have a good walk and take in the surrounding beauty.

In Cardiff, Swansea, and Camarthen you'll find gentle rivers and canals that offer a  stress free day on the water, and along the coastline you'll find some of the best surf beaches around.

The weather may not always be great, but that just means more water to play on! (River Ely, Cardiff)

Even man's best friend loves kayaking at Oxwich Bay.

Just in time for dinner! Mackerel fresh from Oxwich Bay.

Paddling between sandy bays and sleeping under the stars is a great way to relax after a week in the office!

So what will your next adventure be?


Sunset over Rhosilli Bay in the Gower.