Archive for December, 2010

Merry Christmas to Martlet members Paddlers everywhere

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Santa Walks on Water

Santa and his helpers were seen walking on water by a group of Martlet paddlers paddling along Brighton Beach on a Sunday morning just before Christmas. It is believed that Santa was on his way to Lapland but was unable to travel by sleigh due to the restrictions on airtravel caused by the severe weather.

Hopefully he will make it to wherever you are in time for Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Photo by Danny

Martlet Winter Sports Team in Action

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 A couple of days of heavy snow at the start of December enabled the Martlet Winter Sports (kayaking) Team to get out on the piste and practise some of their moves. The opportunity doesnt come along very often so, after trekking in on foot from Fiveways, the kayak sledgers were soon making  good use of the sunny conditions out on the slopes of Hollingbury Golf Course. 

When kayak sledging, it is always a good tactic to get the local kids involved. 

For the price of a ride down the slope, youngsters will lend a willing hand to carry the boat back to the top of the slope. 

Just like on a river, scouting the best route down, between obstacles, is an essential skill. 

Crew boats are a popular feature of this sport. 

If a little terrifying at times. 

And, once again, there are more hands available to carry the boat back up the slope. 

There was some intensive one to one coaching during the session. (A new Level One Coach in action.)

Snow boarding Kayaks was also fun.

But it was a hard job finding the footrest.

The key was firm concentration.

And a good Stern Rudder.

Roll on the next snowfall.

US National Championships

Trip Reports, news, surf No Comments

The US National Championships at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina USA, completed the 2010 surfkayak worldcup season. The Worldcup is run bi-annually in alternate years to the World Championships and gives surf kayakers around the world an opportunity to compete with each other at some of the best locations on the planet and provides an international ranking system.

This years US Nationals brought the Worldcup to the location of next years World Championships, one of the most famous breaks in the United States, Cape Hatteras. Since many of our friends were heading there from all over the Unites States Caroline and I decided to drive down from New York to the event and enjoy some of the last Autumn heat of the year. In addition, several of the top kayakers from Europe also headed over including Edu Etxebeira (current Worldcup holder) and Urko Otoxa (current IC World Champion), both from the Basque Country in Northern Spain.

Edu

For our entire stay, the weather was sunny and in the 70s or 80s without wind and a fun medium sized swell. Having spent a couple of days freesurfing, sunbathing, and hanging out with friends Saturday 9th brought the competition itself. First heat in the mens open; Edu Extxebeira and my good friend Charles Salters from the USA East Coast team. Some fun waves brought me second place to Edu and progress to the next round. In the open my surfing would get better and better with a series of firsts against international competitors until I reached the semi final. And it was stacked with the 3 top Basque paddlers; Edu, Urko, and Julien (who ended up finishing 1st, 3rd, and 9th in the Worldcup series ranking overall). It was tremendous to be out on the water at the later stages of a major international competition with the absolute best in the world. I surfed as well as I ever have in a contests, and was super stoked with my performance even though I was narrowly eliminated. It brought it home how close I was to see Urko and Edu standing anxiously at the scoreboard waiting for the result.

Marc

This contest was also my first entry to a masters (over 40 division), where the quality of paddlers in the US is the best in the World. At least no other Europeans would be in this division. Again, I surfed really well through my heats to make the final against 4 current US internationals, and guys I regularly surf with on my trips across the pond. This heat came directly after my semi in the open so I stayed out on the water as the others paddled out. The next 20 minutes was one of the best sessions I have ever been involved with, as I paddled with some of my closest friends in the sport. Each shouting and hooting the others on as we traded wave after wave after wave in the Hatteras sunshine. I have to say there is nothing like pulling into a coverup in an international final with your buddy down the line calling you on. By the end of the heat I was exhausted after nearly 10 heats in a day, knowing Id surfed as well as I could and had the best fun ever, but also knowing my wave selection in the final hadnt been great it could have gone any way at all.

Marc

That night everyone got together and partied into the early hours, sharing stories from the day, tales from other surf trips, and planning for adventures in the future. Thats one of the best things about surfkayak contests, particularly hosted by the US guys; after hard competition everyone is just friends, stoked to be sharing the same waves, and loving being around like-minded people.

Marc invert

The next morning saw the announcement of the winners around the pool. Earlier in the week, Buck Johnson, Charles Salters and I had entered a team into the fun team event Battle for Hatteras and wed finished third. And in the Masters (my first International Final) I placed second behind my good friend Matt Radis from California. One point from being US National Champion! Also super pleased to finish in the top 20 ranked paddlers in the World for the second Worldcup season.

Buck Johnson

Spencer Cook

Matt Radis

WorldCup10b

North Wales - November 2010

Trip Reports, news, white water No Comments

We set off from Brighton with reports coming back that Betws y Coed had a good covering of snow. As we reached Shrewsbury the snow appeared on the ground. With just one closed section of the A5 we arrived at Betws y Coed at about 10.30pm only to find the bar at the Hostel had closed! Tobin and I set off to find a bar and luckily found a bar open. We had a quick couple of pints before meeting up with Andy, Paula,  Duncan, Izzy, Sarah and Nikki back at the Hostel. To use Estate Agent speak our room was cosy, luckily as it turned out, as the heating wasnt the best.

In the morning we slithered down the icy roads to the get for the River Ogwen. River levels were low, but the Ogwen held enough for a run. Although someone had left a load of boulders all along my river lines!

At the put in, close enough to the sea for most of the snow to have thinned out. Air temp a balmy -3 C.

Halfway down we found a handy socket. Unfortunately wed forgotten the club hairdryer and kettle!

Andy, our illustrious leader, otherwise known as the short-sighted short, middle-aged man ;o)

Me, Rob, mercifully missing any boulders on this drop.

Nikki running a section with Tobin, Sarah and Nikki looking on.

Izzy running a drop

Sarah making it look easy!

Sarah and Nikki decided to do some snowy hill walking on the Sunday. The rest of us puzzled over where to paddle as there was very little water in the rivers. Eventually Andy made the call for the Tryweryn. As this is dam release it was a good call. There was plenty of water being released.

Unfortunately the centre and showers were closed. The air temperature was between minus 8 and minus 13. The air was so cold the river water was steaming. Weighing it up, we all agreed the consequences of a swim were too serious and reluctantly walked away.

After hot chocolate at Bala we drove home.

Izzy, Andy, Paula, Duncan and Tobin cold just looking at the water.

Thanks to Andy for leading the trip!

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