Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Keep on top form for your up and coming trip!

Knowing you have a paddling trip planned is pretty exciting.

Maybe you are heading out this weekend, this Christmas, or even during the school holidays in Spring. Counting down the days and weeks, waiting until you can hit the water again adds to the "I can't wait" factor.

This said, making sure you have all the right kit to take with you on the trip (and trying not to forget anything), as well as organising and sticking to an itinerary can be stressful.

For me the most important thing to remember is to look after number 1 (That's you!). And by this I don't mean keep out of danger and portage everything, and there is also such a thing as taking too much kit...

Follow these simple steps and you will have a great time!

Take A Break
We all want to paddle well when we are on a trip, whether we are cruising something simple in the sun or up against a real challenge. A huge factor to consider is fatigue, and the moment you start to get tired is when your technique will slip and mistakes begin to creep in. Pretty obvious I know, but making sure you sleep well and rest when you need to is important.

Keep Your Kit Dry
From experience there is nothing worse than pulling up to your camp spot, usually close to dark, and finding out your dry bag does not do what it says on the tin. Often this can be down to user error, so always check you have sealed your bags, hatches and barrels.

If you have leaky dry storage you WILL be miserable at some point!

Look After Your Body
Keep clean, dry and keep warm. If you are paddling in a cold place you will want to make sure you have dry thermals and plenty of them, which will be your back up layers that can be swapped in when required.
Allowing yourself to get damp or cold will run you down super quickly. If you are in a hot place, wear sun cream and drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Doing the simple things like keeping your feet dry will prevent major injuries like foot rot.

Its easy to forget to do the basics!

Plan Your Meals
Plan your meals so that you eat healthy foods and enjoy a balanced diet. Easier said than done sometimes, especially on the road, but worth it. We burn a lot of energy kayaking and canoeing so make sure you stock pile those calories. Keep energy levels high and enthusiasm even higher!

Take The Right Stuff
There is no such thing as poor weather, just poor clothing. Be prepared!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Click. Pick. Pack. Deliver.

Making your shopping experience as easy and convenient as possible, is the top priority to us here at Escape Watersports.

Our warehouse team work hard every day, to ensure that your item(s) arrive at your door quickly and safely. 

So just how does the Escape Watersports dispatch journey work?

The moment you click..

All stock listed on our website is live, and is linked directly to our warehouse stock system.

Once you confirm your order, all items are allocated to your account, and our team receive your order to be picked in the warehouse.

We go and pick..

We take you order details, and head out into the warehouse to pick your items. 

Every product at Escape Watersports is kept in a specific location within our warehouse, which helps our team plan the best picking routes and speed up the process.

Scanning it in..

Each item is taken to the packing area and scanned against your order, using its unique barcode.

Using this method helps us to eliminate errors, and means we are sending out exactly what you have ordered.

To postage and packaging..

All items are carefully packed, along with your invoice and returns form, and a unique postage label is printed for your parcel.

Your order is now ready for dispatch!

Dispatched and ready for the road

We pass over your parcel to one of our carefully selected couriers, who we trust to deliver it to your doorstep quickly and safely.

We are continuously looking for ways to improve our service, and offer the most up to date methods to benefit our customers.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to get in touch or leave us a review with your next order.

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.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Essentials For The Alps | Lyndon Williams

Make sure you have all the essentials when it comes to your summer trip. 

If you're like me, you will be spending time somewhere in the Alps this Summer. 

Whether you're booked on to a guided trip, being coached, or you're just planning on having a social (involving more beers than paddling), there are still things you don't want to forget. 
The rivers are very different to those in the UK, many have a lot higher volume and more continuous rapids, so it's important you catch a boat quickly when rescuing. 

You definitely want a Palm Safety Tape or Palm Snake Sling, with a Karabina at the ready. 
You can also opt to carry a Rescue Belt to make carrying all this easier.

Check your airbags are staying inflated throughout your trip. This keeps the water from filling up your boat, which can make it super heavy and makes a rescue much harder. 

Is your Buoyancy Aid up to scratch? 
You don't need me telling you the importance of having a well fitted buoyancy aid that is not falling apart, and offers plenty of flotation.

And finally my favourite. The shorty cag.
I love my Palm Zenith shorty because of the comfortable glide skin neck and arms, but currently Escape Watersports has a great deal on the Peak UK Combi cag.

So enjoy yourself!
Don't forget to drink plenty of water and wear sun cream! 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

New Website Launch

We're proud to announce that our new website is officially live!

We've kept all the best bits of the old website, and thanks to the help of our customers we've added some brand new features that will make shopping with us better than ever before.

We love to hear feedback (both good and bad). So check it out and let us know what you think!

A refreshed look for the homepage.

Discover our newest products and special offers.

Our new filter makes browsing so much easier.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My Journey to 5 Stars | Lyndon Williams

Recently I passed my 5 star white water kayak assessment, the assessment is carried out over 2 days and is based on guiding kayaking in advanced waters. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. The first day was great, we made the couple hour's drive from Cardiff to paddle the Lynn early in the morning and as I hadn't done it before, excitement took over and I seemed to forget about the pre-assessment nerves. I really had a feeling like I was just out boating for fun. This carried on to the second day where I was fortunate enough to get 2 great candidates to guide down the upper Dart. It was super relaxed, enjoyable and we all had an awesome day.

After the assessment everyone had an individual debrief, it got to my turn and In simple and short words the feedback I received was outstanding. I felt really confident within my personal paddling and leadership on the water. And the guys from Gene 17 had confirmed that. It was pretty hard not to walk out with a smile on my face, I was completely proud of myself.

After a short celebratory car park beer with the others who passed It was time to head home. The 3 hour drive back to south Wales left me with plenty of time to reflect on my journey to becoming a 5* white water leader and the person I am today!

6 years ago, nearly to the day I started kayaking, It was something fun, new to learn and actually quite difficult. I really appreciate my friend Becx for getting me on the water because I was hooked. Having a love for the sport instantly gave me inspiration to get better and teach what I've learnt to others.
Very early on I applied for a job in the Ardeche and when I had a phone call confirming my place I couldn't stop jumping around the house! I surrounded myself with paddlers. I coached, guided and learnt a lot about paddling. I made it my job, my life and hobby. Everything thing else in my life at that time was on hold, I found something I loved to do and I was spending it with the best of friends who felt the same.

After a couple of years I moved to a different company called Adventure Ardeche. The choice to move companies as far as I'm concerned turned out to be one of the most crucial decisions I have ever made. Phil the owner really cares about his staff and does what he can to help put people on the path they want to follow. It was my time with Phil and his family that gave me the tools to progress. I was given vehicles to go kayaking on days off, he paid for trips to the French alps, qualifications were there if I wanted them and most importantly I was able to gain heaps of experience.
I really have a soft spot for the Ardeche, It's a beautiful place with beautiful people. Most of my closest friends have come from being out there and I probably wouldn't have met my girlfriend, Beckii if it wasn't for working there. Although I decided enough was enough and I really wanted to travel and paddle in different places around the world.

Beckii and I left France, we headed to the UK, then off to Canada, back to Wales to save up then travelled and kayaked in New Zealand for a year. During this time I started to dial in my boat skills and run some of the biggest rapids I've ever seen. It was great to have a range of rivers from huge volume with big waves to tight twisting, steep and technical creeks. But towards the end of the trip I slightly lost sight of my own goal, I had sold my boat and kit knowing I was heading home and was really frustrated that I wasn't kayaking. I must have been really awful to be around at times.
At the time I was so focused on getting better, fitter and wanting to run bigger rapids, I almost forgot why I fell in love with the sport. It wasn't all about just having fun with those who matter the most. I wanted to see what I was capable of. Sometimes I would go out on the lake to do sprint fitness sessions because I felt like I had to Even though I had nothing to train for. Its really difficult to explain how I felt then because I didn't really understand myself.

The time between not having a kayak in New Zealand to collecting everything new back home felt like a decade. I remember how excited I was to get back in a boat and I made everyone around me aware of that! I quite possibly posted on social media every time I looked at a kayak and definitely every time I got in one. I felt so fortunate that I picked up a sponsorship with Escape Watersports while I was in New Zealand. It allowed me to go 4 months without having to find a job as the less I spent on replacing my kit meant the more I could put my funds elsewhere. A few months in a UK winter to just paddle with friends, have fun and really enjoy my kayaking again.

A trip to Scotland for a week just after new year was just what I needed to confirm what I already knew. Kayaking is made so much better with friends around to have fun with. I still have the same drive to do the best I can and test myself but its great days on the water with great friends that leave me smiling more.

Not long after this, a group of us decided to run a night descent on a South Wales classic run. By day, possibly the best river in the south and by night It didn't disappoint. Between everyone involved there was so much experience, it was an honour to be part of the team. Although we joked around a lot we had safety set on absolutely everything! I really enjoyed the run, not so much for it being dark, although It's something I will never forget; but once again I was out on the river having a great time with friends.

So when my assessment arrived, I was more looking forward to being on the river with my friends and sharing my experiences that I felt there was no pressure. Unaware, I was completely ready for it and It leaves me humbled. 

I can only thank everyone who has helped me achieve that. The support I have received from coaches, friends, family, bosses, companies, people I have met on rivers and asked for the line, people who have inspired me to still be motivated at 5am and most importantly Beckii. At some point everyone I have met over the last 6 Years has helped me achieve my goal in some way or another and I'm truly grateful. Finding people who I can share my love for kayaking with will continue to be high on my priorities. But now I see myself at the end of a chapter and I can't wait to carry on writing the next one!

Photography: Adam Heason, Beckii Waters.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Staff Training 2017

Every January, the Escape team comes together to have a look back on the previous year, discuss what went right and what went wrong, and then start to plan for the year ahead.

Despite Brexit, Trump, and countless celebrity deaths, 2016 was a great year for Escape Watersports, and we've thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

So we had our meeting and got all the boring stuff out the way, then headed to Cardiff for a few hours on the CIWW Flowrider, followed by a curry and beers.

Work hard, play hard!

A huge thank you and shout out to our instructor Calum who was ace.
Here are some of our favourite snaps from the session.