Although this buyers guide is directed at students in reality it will apply to anyone thinking about taking up the sport. Over the next few weeks many students will be starting Uni and will be looking at joining a club. In most cases the Kayak/Canoe club in a university will be the best club to join.
Currently studying in Swansea, but paddling more than studying at the moment. Predominantly surfing and playboating; but also sea kayaking, polo, flatwater racing and the odd section of whitewater. There is so much great paddling around here; it’s great to be able to go for a quick surf in the morning before uni.
I’ve been paddling for around ten years, although only seriously in the last few.
NRS were well represented at Paddle Expo with a fairly sizeable stand. If you aren’t familiar with NRS stand by. They produce pretty much everything for paddle sports and now have a base in Europe. This will mean that we will be seeing a great deal more of their gear in the UK and across the rest of Europe.
We have had pair of the original Crush shoes here at Unsponsored HQ for quite some time and they are holding up well. For 2016 NRS has beefed up the cushioning within the insole, have toughened up the fabric around the toe/sides and have improved the traction offered by the rubber.
The Arun is part of Palm’s new 3 layer system and is available for both men and women. Both retail at £29.95.
Core 1 baselayers use Channel Flow technology to rapidly draw water away from your skin‚ helping to keep you dry‚ warm‚ and comfortable. Made from soft‚ supple polyester‚ with ActiveSeam stitching‚ the Arun moves and stretches as you do‚ for a new level of layering comfort.
Palm Core Layering gear range has been developed and expanded for 2015. We currently have a few bits of these gear for test here at Unsponsored HQ. In this edit Palm take us through the 2015 Palm Core Layering gear.
I have a couple of bits of gear from Palm Equipment. The first is a Kaituna longsleeve top that I purchased last year and then there is this short sleeved version which landed at Unsponsored HQ a couple of weeks ago.
I’m currently a outdoor instructor for Kingswood, based at the Colomendy outdoor centre. What seems to be the perfect location, although I seem to of missed most of the rain due to other commitments. Still getting plenty of low water runs in and the odd bit of water too.
About me: Been paddling for a while now, maybe 24 years?? Christ I’m old!!! I have however been fortunate to take my passion all over the world and paddle in a whole lot of places including New Zealand, Nepal, Chile and Canada. For the last 2 summers and next I have been running the Sjoa Kayak Camp in Norway along with my beautiful wife and the Gene 17 boys. I’m lucky enough to be supported by Colorado Kayak Supply in the US, super cool guys, check em out.
Location: Currently, Chamonix for the winter. Stoked.
Boat:ZET Raptor. Now when these came out I thought they looked a bit industrial, rough around the edges and wasn’t that keen. Then I ended up paddling one for a bit, and after a couple of runs was completely converted. It does everything a creek boat should do. Fast (for a creek boat), boofs and rolls easy, light, comfortable and most importantly, bomb proof. I do think its not really a great beginners boat, it definitely needs to be driven around the river and will kick your arse pretty fast if youre not a pro-active paddler but I love it. It really suits my paddling style. I’m pretty excited to see the new boat they’ve got lined up, details boys details!!! Also a Bliss-stick Smoothy for my play boat, like a project in my size, love it.
1. A good dry top/trouser combo or dry suit. Keeping dry inside makes keeping warm that much easier. Even some of the two piece systems (dry top and dry trousers) available are getting close to being as good as a dry suit. Price is some much better as is the flexibility of the system.
2. Solid footwear. Wet river banks and slippery rocks are not a great combination if you have dodgy footwear. A good pair of river shoes or boots are worth there weight in gold. Currently using Five Ten Water Tennies or the new Astral Rassler.
3. Good socks. Conventional socks only really work if you have a dry suit with built in dry socks. However various manufacturers make thin 3 and 4mm thick neoprene socks that can help keep your feet warm even when wet.
4. Base layers. I love merino kit – it’s warm when wet and doesn’t smell! But any good, thin base layer will do the job. Colder = more layers. Polartec fleece also works really wet in cold/wet conditions.
My winter paddling gear is as follows – PFD, helmet, boots/shoes and spraydeck don’t real change through the seasons, although if it is really cold I might wear a Playboater Titanium Earwig. The Earwig helps take the edge off that sensation you get when your head hits cold water.
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