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

Reader’s Rides 2013 – Gavin Hart

Name: Gavin Hart
Location: England

Student studying BA (Hons) Adventure and Media @ University of Cumbria

Fluid Detox M, Werner Desperados, Sweet Rocker, Yak Koast, Sweet Shadrach, Level 6 Reign, Delta Shock Deck, Adidas Sick Line Boat Shoes, 15m Throwline, FA kit.

Currently an intermediate boater in a game of catch up. I’m striving to progress my paddling so I can keep up with my friends and aim in the future to be able to hold my own on harder whitewater whilst getting great photography and video too.


I paddle a Fluid Detox M, the first boat I’ve owned myself. I bought it second hand and this past year I have been using it at least once a week. I spent a summer out in the USA coaching and river running in it but its mostly been used in the North of England and has been a great boat for honing my skills mainly on grade 3. Although it takes a little time to adjust the boat has good quality outfitting and has a space for a quick access to a throwline. I tend to clip my FA kit behind my seat.

I use a set of Werner Desperadoes to paddle, again the only set of blades I’ve owned and used consistently. I recommend as the materials these are made of seem very durable for bashing off rocks or people.

To protect my student brains I use a Sweet Rocker. Super comfy and a lot better fit then the lid I was using previously, I love my Rocker! The padding inside absorbs water but then warms up, keeping your brain and ears toasty even in the cold weather we get here in the UK.

I recently swiped a bargain on a Sweet Shadrach dry top. I’ve only used it a few times, its still in the condition where the water beads and runs off of it beautifully. I was in need of a new cag after paddling around in my previous cag with a broken neck seal for half a year. Previously for the past 4 years I had owned a Lomo dry cag which I highly recommend to someone who is new to paddling as they are super durable. Great for if having to drag yourself and flooded boat out of a river or crawl up a beach because you’ve swam and your legs don’t work due to pins and needles, something I’ve experienced many times.

I combine my cag with a pair of Level 6 Reign Dry Trousers to stay relatively dry. Owned for a year. I’m getting some slight leakage in the feet and I’m also struggling to keep these up round my waist at the moment, and by the end of the day I’m usually walking around looking like someone out of Biebers latest hiphop video.

On my feet I have a pair of Adidas Special Edition Sick Line boat shoes. These shoes have been used every week and are still holding strong. More trainer like then protective boating shoe, but they are very comfortable quick drying and when I’m swimming I swim in style (if that’s possible) as they say Sick Line on the soles.


Being on a degree at uni that combines outdoor activity and photography I aim to carry a camera with me on the river as much as possible to take photos and video of people I’m out with. I only take my camera kit if I’m feeling confident about padding a river. I’d rather have fun making lines and pushing myself then worrying about my kit. I keep my kit in a Peli case, which due to the size (1300), I keep between my legs. I haven’t taken a swim with it yet and the day I do is going to be a shocker if I don’t manage to grab it. I opted to get a Peli case two years ago when I first bought my camera after using them in the south of France. However I’d like to get my hands on a Watershed dry bag to try out for a short time and compare. My photography equipment includes a Canon 600D with kit Lens, Tripod, GoPro Hero1. For my GoPro I tend to use it either on my helmet or on a rear boat mount.

The photo of me surfing is at St. Bees and the other is Liza Beck, Gasgale Gill.


Gavin Hart

Check out my photography / kayaking project, Whitewater Aptitude
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  1. Simon Wyndham

    Gavin, you sound like you are a fairly similar situation to myself with regards to paddling time and the camera kit. I do not know what the Detox is like, but in the Habitat when I feel confident enough to take camera gear I have the Peli 1300 handle on the bottom and carabina it to the bottle holder ties.

    Luckily in the Habitat you can push the case forward a bit so that it isn’t too close to your lap. This way I know that if I come out of the boat the camera gear will stay in it (whether it will be safe or not is an entirely different kettle of fish!)

    • Gavin Hart

      Yo, In the Detox there is that option. However I feel that if I clipped it in it could become an entrapment problem waiting to happen, so I don’t.

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