The Reader’s Ride series is back for 2020. This series showcases the kit that boaters just like you are using. It is dead simple. Gather your gear and take some photos, then let us know what you are using, what your oldest piece of gear is, your newest item and what you couldn’t live without.
My name is Chris Macdonald, I was born in York, lived in Italy for a few years, went to boarding school in North Wales and now I’m a student in Falmouth. I’m studying a BTEC in water sports at Falmouth Marine School so doing that and kayaking I spend loads of time in the water!
Where are you based?
I’m currently living in Falmouth and live about 1 minute walk away from the sea that helps with the paddling! I travel all around the south west paddling on rivers such as the Tavy and the Dart every now and then. Most weekends I’m at Cardiff to paddle at the white water course there.
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.
Location: I split my time between Somerset and Voss, Norway
I have been paddling for the last 11 years and during that time, I have been lucky enough to paddle in some of the coolest locations around the world from the UK to Chile, France, India and New Zealand. My personal favorite and the place that constantly draws me back is Norway. It’s a land full of amazing rivers with still so much undiscovered potential. For the last 5 years I have spent my life working as a raft guide which allowed me to be closer to the river and to get as much boating in as possible. I also have the pleasure of being supported by some of the best companies on the market: Zet UK, AS watersports, System X and Silverstick.
I first started paddling when I was 10, in Newport, South Wales.
I kind of fell out of love with the sport for a bit, until I went to University in 2012, and joined Manchester University Canoe Club. Since then, I’ve rapidly grown from a full time student into a full time kayaker. I try and get away to a river every weekend, and sometimes I succeed.
YO! Originally from Limerick Ireland, now living, studying and paddling in the Lake District. I started paddling with the scouts when I was 16 and was hooked immediately. I learnt to paddle mainly in Ireland with a few welsh trips thrown in along the way. I realised paddling is the lifestyle for me and after and an Italian and Slovenian trip in the summer of 2014. I have been looking to paddle bigger water since then.
I am a canoe slalom athlete I paddle internationally for Ireland on the U23 & Senior team. I’m based in Nottingham, UK. I’m a full time athlete and train on the national white water course twice a day 6 days a week. I love anything kayaking related so when I’m not doing slalom I hit the river in my plastic boat. Although I prefer it when there’s a clock on it, but hey I might make it to Sickline eventually.
Name: Jon Wyles Location: Scotland Kayaking ability: Questionable
4th year Geography student at St Andrews. Grade 3/4 uni boater with 3 years experience.
I’ve never owned my own boat, almost entirely due to lack of funds and also due to the fact that the University has quite a large inventory of boats. I first frequented an old Liquid Logic Huck, which saw me through the first few trips I’d been on. This unfortunately was involved in a swim on a high Knaike while in use by another member of the club who shall remain unnamed (James McMahon), and was not seen again.
Above: Me on my first river trip (Grandtully), on one of the Huck’s last voyages. Photo: Jonny Hawkins
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.
I’ve paddled the Remix for a year now and have loved every minute. It’s super long with a narrow hull so it accelerates quickly and maintains speed. It’s got soft edges so it’s really forgiving but at the same time carves into tight eddy’s and into strong currents with ease. The Remix doesn’t have masses of rocker so boofing can require a little more effort but if the boat is being driven it cruises over everything. What’s unique and cool about it is the scoop on the tail, if dipped in the green whilst punching a big hole, it will give you a boost and accelerate away from the feature. Also the LL Badass outfitting if fantastic, super easy to adjust and super comfy without adding too much weight.
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.
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