Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

Month: January 2012 (Page 2 of 2)

Paddling in Ecuador – Part II, The Adventure Continues

At this stage of the trip everything was, more or less, going well. We had ticked off around half of the runs in the Napo valley and by now we had established a good group to go kayaking. A key member of our group was a guy called Armin Neuer. Armin as well as being a good kayaker, speaks good English and Spanish, really helpful in language stalemates! A special thanks to him for taking some amazing photos and for letting us use his laptop to unload our footage onto. A really helpful guy!

That night (04-01-12) it rained really hard, the next day forcing the rafting and kayak guiding companies to change plans and for us to hit the upper Misahualli. This run goes at a relatively low water level and is creeky in nature. However when it rains it becomes one big volume, steep, continuous rapid and doesn´t really let up for 8km. This run had me pushed quite hard, avoiding big holes whilst still trying to boof the boulders that were out the water was exhausting, with for most of the time little room for era. I have never paddled a river like this, it was simply a big volume creek, but an awesome run! Continue reading

Palm Axis River Buoyancy Aid (PFD)

The Palm Axis River Buoyancy Aid is a heavy duty, tough whitewater PFD. Designed to be dependable when it gets sticky. Bombproof fabrics and construction make this PFD ideal for running those high spate creeks.

River leaders and instructors will appreciate the features built into the design of the Axis BA by Palm. With fully stitched through shoulder straps, and plenty of buoyancy, The Axis is a well proven Personal Floatation Device. Continue reading

Pin/Rescue Kit Part 1 – Climbing Tape

Tubular tape can be purchased from most climbing shops off the real for £2 or less per metre. You can also purchase 4m (newer models 5m) of Palm tubular tape for around £14 from most kayak shops!

I carry a 5-metre length of 25mm tubular tape for use in rescue situations, lowering boats etc.

My 5m tape rolls into a coil with a diameter similar to a CD/DVD disk. It can be used as a short throw line, tied into a sling around a tree or even turned into a make shift sit harness. The Palm version is supplied with a stitched in loop which makes adding a carabiner into the system really easy.

Tape should be tied using a tape knot (aka a water knot) to prevent any slippage – click here to see how to tie the water knot.

Paddling in Ecuador – Part I

Nathan Butler is currently out in Ecuador kayaking and living the Dream. He has kindly agreed to allow his posts from his blog Aquapilot to be also posted on Unsponsored.

P1010772.JPG john bridge piatua

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

So it begins!

The past two days of traveling have been interesing. From making one bag out of two by getting our paddlebag and checked baggage wrapped together in plastic packaging saving £160, to John choaking on his own drewl whilst asleep on the plane. A special point of interest was my little interrogation spell in NYC homeland security, but 35 hours later we have finally made it to Ecuador. We checked into a hostal in the capital city Quito.

The hostal was cool but right next to a nightclub and at 01:00 it was in full swing. After a good nights sleep (the nightclub and it’s attendees had no chance of keeping us awake) we arranged for a taxi to pick us up, with our kayaks and take us to Tena. After the best 5 hour drive ever, communicating with our driver Wilo with only a translation book we arrived in Tena. The place is an amazing little town, full of character and jungle creatures!

Levels are good at present and there is plenty of grade A jungle boulder garden whitewater to have a go at. The plan is to hit the bar to make some friends that will, hopefully, take a couple of British rednecks boating. Continue reading

Bombergear K Bomb

Bombergear have had a pretty bad wrap since the problems with the Koldfusion Technology (unfair given the quality and warranty on/of the new kit). However the Bombergear decks have always had a solid construction and reputation. The neoprene used is top notch and all seams have been glued and taped. Areas at risk of significant wear are re-enforced with kevlar!!

I have owned two K Bomb decks over the last couple of years and have only had to change decks when I have changed boats. The deck itself goes on easily even when sat in a swirling eddy with one hand grabbing onto the bank! But at the same time it stays put once in place.

The grab handle is stiffened with a plastic handle and snugly fitting fastex buckle. Both of which allow the deck to be hooked or fastened onto the PFD whilst out of the boat.

PeakUK Gear Bag

Getting a decent sized bag to store all of your wet kit in can be quite a task. Especially if you are working on a budget and yet don’t want to use a polythene bag! One possible option could be the PeakUK gear bag. The bags are made from two pieces of PU coated nylon so the bag is both tough and waterproof. However, the seams are not taped – therefore theoretically leakage is possible, although I have not experienced this problem (UPDATE – The new bags are now fully taped).

A single piece of webbing forms the two grab handles and wraps itself around the bag giving it full support and allows the bag to cope with wet kit without it falling apart. The top of the bag is closed via a simple cord and cord grip system. The bag is large enough to quite happily cope with a full load of winter paddling kit with room to spare. Essentially this is a very simple, functional and effective piece of kit. It does the job well, comes in a variety of funky colours, so what more could you ask. No doubt a worthwhile value for money buy, great for carrying kit and great for storing kit (I own a couple myself). Check out your local PeakUK dealer for current prices and colours.

Slippery When Wet: GoPro Reel

Slippery When Wet: GoPro Reel from Shon Bollock on Vimeo.

Todays DIY

I have more off cuts of silnylon, pertex, ripstop nylon than you could shake a stick at. I therefore thought it was about time that I made something with them. So despite making UQs, TQs and tarps for a couple of years today was my first crack at some stuff sacks.

These ones are black silnylon with dyneema drawcords. The largest one I have made today is 9 grams. This is probably more to do with the cord lock!

This one contains my Marmot waterproof

Continue reading

Improve Your Showboating

Note: This will make you better than Corran Addison or Jay Kincaid, or your money back. Just follow the instructions.

1: Don’t stick just to moving water

If you can’t master the move in the hole, move back to the canal, grab a squirt boat, and practice your technique on the flat. You won’t be as distracted by the noise, spray, and possibility of a swim down to the basin. You’ll find that you’re suddenly much more aware of how slight movements in your body position can really affect the trim of the boat. Build up a sequence of moves, bring it back to the white water, and you’ll be amazed at the difference!

Improve Your Showboating

Continue reading

HF Occoee PFD – Review

The HF Occoee is a slab design PFD with a simple no frills approach. The fit is extremely good with the soft foam molding to the bodies shape easily. It doesn’t feel bulky or restrictive in any way. Adjustment is made by four cinch straps (two under each arm).

Continue reading

DAM Watersports – DamX 3000 series dry cag.

I got this cag some months ago now and wanted to wait until I had really tested it before I wrote a report. The thing that attracted me in the first place was the price: £105(GB) including delivery for a made-to-measure cag is the best I have seen anywhere! This, coupled with the fact that the materials are guaranteed and the maker himself (Andi Riley) assured me that this would be drier/more durable than KOGG, Bomber Gear, PeakUK etc. I just had to have one.

Continue reading

Happy 2b Aegis helmet

Product – Happy-2b Aegis helmet, Full cut model with total ear protection.
Size – Large
RRP – €170 direct from
Nearest rival: Sweet Rocker

I’ve owned only a light freestyle lid for the last while, and an impending trip to the French Alps meant I had to invest in a good strong full coverage creeking helmet. I certainly got one in the Happy 2b Aegis.

Happy 2b Aegis
Continue reading

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