Whitewater Aptitude is an idea in development to highlight Gavin Hart's skills, adventures and accomplishments with an insight into the thoughts and feeling he has throughout his journeys. As well as this blog please visit his Photography Portfolio Website showcasing his best photography. For shorter more regular updates on Whitewater Aptitude adventures Like it on Facebook or Follow on Twitter. Get in contact via email using gavin@whitewateraptitude.co.uk

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Air Time

This past week it has been wet in the North. The storms and tides I previously blogged about have changed our favourite surf beach, Silecroft. Masses of sand and pebbles have been moved changing how the waves form and tide surges in an out. This left Tom and I very puzzled the other week when experiencing the new tidal flow as we found ourselves at one point surfing small waves away from shore only to collide with the normal onshore swell. These strange less predictable conditions left us looking back towards the rivers for comfort and luckily its been chucking it down.

Low Force, Upper Tees
To get on the rivers we ventured further afield heading out to the Upper Tees and Upper Swale both known for their waterfalls. Luckily the river gods delivered superb river levels on both days that matched our groups ability. My GoPro accompanied me on both trips and as ever I set it to photo every second mode and left it to do its thing. I'm definitely going to be taking my DSLR to the Swale next time its at a similar level, roughly 0.70m, I'll also have to summon the courage to run the drops first then too to get the shots.
Lower Kisdon Force, Upper Swale
From our later trip to the Swale our return jounrey was also very exciting as we had to negotiate our way back across the Dales in the sudden snow that had fallen.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sea Stoke #1

Due to the supreme weather we are experiencing at the moment the surf on the West coast has been pounding. Even though with the abnormal weather circumstances Magic Seaweed's predictions have been pretty accurate allowing myself and company to select the days we venture to the coast. One day predictions came up as 8-12ft waves. Mike and Thomas went and had a look at this at North Shore for kicks and even had a dip, with their boards for half an hour. When the picture bellow was taken they had retired but those foam piles are easily 8ft high, monsters.

Northshore, The wall on the left is 20ft high!
My weeks surf experience was at Silecroft where Pete and I stuck with our playboats. The experience of surfing the juicy waves we encountered was so thrilling. These beasts we encountered had the power to easily back loop us if we let our guard down and due to the foamy sea surface rolling technique and timing had to be spot on but at the same time, it had to be done hastily so not to be smashed by the next incoming wave.

On this outing you really had to earn your waves but it was well worth it as blasting down the faces and carving to keep in the power pocket was so rewarding especially if Pete and I decided to nab the same wave and then it would often become a freestyle king of the wave medly! Were definitely need to get get a bigger crew out next time. I'll probably post to the Whitewater Aptitude facebook page next time we plan to get out, keep and eye on it. 
Above and below are two photos I quickly snapped of Pete using my Canon 600D from the beach towards the end of our session, I really need to get back into the habit of using my real camera more.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Change It Up #2

This fortnight I took my boats to the River Kent and Northshore "surf beach" again. With George and Bob keen to get out on the rivers we ventured to the Kent but with no other vehicles to shuttle with we sessioned the section from the rapid above Sedgewick Bridge to the get out after Force Falls. I set my gopro to photo every second mode and hoped to capture the moments when boofing off of L-Shape and powering over Force Falls as we had caught the river at a good level, around 1.23m on the EA gauge. I was rewarded with the shot below. It was captured on my third drop of the falls that day which was also my best line of the day as on my previous attempts I got a kicking at the bottom of the falls.
Force Falls, River Kent

Later that week the swell came up at Northshore, Whitehaven, so I accompanied Tom and Mike with their surfboards. When getting to the beach the wind had dropped off leaving the surf to become cleaner and more linear an awesome sight for what is usually a pretty messy surf location. The surf wasn't particularly big but it was great for testing my ability to Flatspin my boat quickly and keep on the waves as the ride the waves produced wasn't very powerful and ended up being a pretty short ride. I snapped this photo again with my GoPro when Tom and Mike were taking a break on the harbour wall. I was quite happy bobing about.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Freestyle Stoke

For the past month its been raining pretty regularly in the Lake District making river levels fluctuate heavily and sit solidly on the medium - high level this is especially so for the river Leven. This has lead to our favourite play spot, Brick Chutes, to be in perfect condition for using for surfing progression. Pete K, Thomas H, Mike D and I have been making regular trips to the location to get our fix of whitewater in between our jobs.
Over the past few weeks my muscle memory for my roll has really shon through allowing me to recover quickly from when going over. Having this confidence has really allowed me to throw my boat around and use it more how it should be used. So much so that at I am now quite capable of pulling off flatspins in both directions which grants such a good feeling and would actually score points in a freestyle competition! I've been able to pull off this trick not only at Brick Chutes but also out in the sea at Silecroft, getting multiple spins down on single rides, much to my surprise.

Hopefully next week I'll be doing this...

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Pyranha Fest 2013

Pyranha Fest is a whitewater kayaking festival that runs annually at the River Tryweryn, Bala, Wales. I have been to the event three years in a row now and have not once been disappointed by the gathering.
My festival experience began this year with me running home from work to load my car up to then blast down the motorway to Gorman's house. We then transfered my kit and boat into his car and proceeded to Bala via Preston's best fried chicken takeaway! After a few dodgy sat nav directions we made it to the campsite for the event which is located on the bank of the Lower Tryweryn. We met up with Jack the other member of our crew, also a Pyranha Fest vet. Then to our surprise we stumbled upon two friends who we weren't expecting to see Pete O and Tom H. After a good catch up we all retired to be fresh for paddling in the morning. This is important as its best to get out from the campsite early as possible to get ahead of the crowds that will take up the eddys by mid morning.
 Having paddled the Tryweryn regularly each year, it has enabled me to see where I am with my paddling and its safe to say I've made a huge improvement over the past year which was even commented on by other more distant friends at the festival. In 2012 my ability and confidence was a bit dodgy not always making the eddys I wanted and always having to take the easiest lines to navigate down the grade III whitewater. This year however was quite opposite. After warming up I found myself hitting majority of the lines I wanted and when I did mess up and had to recover I did so without a splinter of doubt in myself which lead to great performance on a personal level.
Steve Marfleet
At the end of the day we blasted down the Lower Tryweryn busting out plenty of rock spins on the moss covered boulders that litter the river. After exiting the river just after Bala Mill Falls (IV) which I seemed a lot less intimidating this year we then joined all the others in the Party tent for food, drinks, music and inspiring presentations from fortunate paddlers that had been off exploring in far off places. I like to think I'll be able to give one of these presentations one day.
After a great party for the second day of the festival again we made our way back to the Upper Tryweryn this time slower and hungover. Strangely we still made it there before most crews and got to enjoy the river relatively empty of people again. Hungover and dehydrated I called it a day around lunchtime for my paddling but got out my camera and snapped some of the shots above on the teams last run of the day before all departing back to uni etc. If you are even in doubt about venturing to this festival or its suggested by mates I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Sea Stoke

For the past fortnight the rivers have been rising slowly and there have been a number of after work missions to Brick Chutes on the River Leven. But with fast approaching early nightfall in the evening these sessions are going to eventually come to a close. Low levels on days off have meant I have taken to the sea again with friends to get our fix of whitewater and the surf has been pretty big on some days which has led to some amazing rides and definitely some progression in my boat control on waves and confidence on the water in general, just in time for winter boating.
Above is an image taken again by my GoPro HD mounted on my custom kayak mount. On the left of the image Bob can be seen taking flight off of the back of a wave. A superb effort considering he is in a Pyranha Shiva.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Change It Up

After purchasing my Wavesport Project X (Yellow) a few months ago I ended up neglecting my Fluid Detox (Red) for a while. This came to bite me back when I took the Detox out for a spin on the Kent making me feel very unstable and uncomfortable, this was really disheartening. It felt like something had changed with the boat, it hadn't, I had just got used to my playboat. I over the past two weeks I have done some re outfitting to my Detox adjusting the hip pads, foot-plate, seat position, seat height and thigh supports and after a few on the fly tweaks on the beach at Silecroft. I am now torn between what boat to take out on the water especially in the places I have focused on over the past fortnight.
Brick Chutes
Due to no real amount of water in the rivers again, the only options we have had to get out on has been the River Leven or the Sea. The Leven has been at a great level for playing on Brick Chutes where the river has been lit well into the evening by a close buildings security light. The chutes create a boxed-in green wave then below a standing wave that is pretty tricky to surf for a sustained amount of time due to its ever changing dumping state. This dumping wave has been great practice and has lead to some unintentional nose dives and stern stalls.
Backbarrow Bridge Rapid, Medium Level

Also on the river is Backbarrow bridge rapid, I have a grudge with due to its tricky nature. The line changes on it every time I run it and I always have to have a look quickly to escape the banter from fellow boaters and focus myself. Recently I've fared quite well and ran it three times styling it once, plowing into one of the bridge walls once and going over once because of the last wave, no swims though.
When venturing to the sea and surf at Silecroft, this has been when the decision of what boat to take has been most challenging. I can't take both boats along with everyone elses as my little car would not make it up the hills! What the predicted conditions are going to be heavily impacts my decision. If its looking like super small time between waves and messy I take the Detox just for ease of getting off the beach and for the fact it can surf really well in most conditions. Then if its looking cleaner I take my Project X so I can focus on attempting spins and getting bounce which both usually leads to eating mouthfuls of sandy water. The above photo was captured on my Gopro HD Hero1 on my custom kayak mount.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Weather: Raining!

Finally this dry spell has moved on and the Lake District's rivers have been filled up again almost to flood level which has been great for getting out. On my days off this week i've been out on the Kent, Greta and Rothay. The water levels have been great on the different rivers for testing my ability in my playboat. The highlight was getting a substantial beating in a hole on the Greta that I recovered from well. So excited for this winter and the potential boating that could happen in-between work. Below is a photo from each of the rivers above snapped on my GoPro HD HERO.
L Shape on the  Kent

Beating on the Greta

Stepping Stones on the Rothay
 In the above photo, taken with my GoPro mounted on my helmet, you can make out the stepping stones that due to the high water level of the river have been washed over to create a small surfable standing wave to play on. The wave on this day was only small however with more water the wave becomes bigger, steeper and more exciting for surfing however the rest of the river becomes more threatening due to large sections of overhanging trees (strainers). Keep and eye out for this photo in Canoe Focus.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Weather: Showers

So the past month has again been pretty dry in general with rain falling but not enough to keep the rivers at a substantial level. Therefore this month I have been checking out the surf again on the West coast of Cumbria. I've been quite lucky with the conditions and predicted when the bigger surf was coming through, with the help of Mike who has been accompanying me on his board. The sea waves have provided a great force to practice my surfing on and with the size and less predictable nature when surfing them it will hopefully have helped to improve my surfing when it comes to the standing waves of the rivers when the water comes back.

Above are two video snapshots from some video (GoPro HD Hero, 720p) that I took of our first venture to an area called Silecroft which turned out to be a fantastic. The swell was quite messy but manageable with waves ranging in steepness and height. Some steep easily 3ft faces at times which were great to watch roll past and even better for surfing and blasting across even getting some bounce.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Weather: DRY

This past month the weather has been pretty dry with only small light showers hitting the Lake District meaning very little whitewater boating for myself and others however I have been utilizing my new home to its advantage, being that I live roughly 20m from Lake Windermere. So I have been getting out in the long evenings and practicing techniques such as my C to C roll, Back-Deck roll, Double Pump and from the double pump have been attempting to bow or stern stall which is proving tricky.

The photo above was captured by myself. It shows Pete K and myself in front practicing on the flat water. This was taken along with many other photos from a static camera on the bank of the lake set to capture images with the intention of creating a timelapse however the idea did not turn out as planned.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The End of an Era

For the past three years I have been studying at the University of Cumbria on the BA(HONS) Adventure and Media course. In the past month I have completed the final pieces of work for my degree and am now awaiting my final results to then graduate in July.
Leven at 0.76 taken by Thomas H
The course combines outdoor activities with photography and video which initially led me to setting up this blog in September of 2010. 

I joined the course having very little knowledge of camera equipment or techniques but had a respectable amount of outdoor skills and experience that has helped me to relax when out on activities and focus on using the camera etc.

I recently purchased a new kayak to aid in this development, a Wavesport Project X 56. The plan is working and I am trying to squeeze in as much paddling as I can before I start my new job in Ambleside which should enable me to continue to live in the Lake District and paddle and practice my photography in any free time I have spare.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Travel Writing #5 - St. Bees Surf Kayaking

St. Bees beach apparently occasionally can get some pretty big surf with the right conditions. The surf is a beach break with the best waves produced when the tide is coming in, after strong westerly or south-westerly winds have died down. This information came from Magicseaweed.com a site I have used regularly when pursuing surf in the sea. Magic seaweed was saying there was going to be a 4-5ft swell coming in on this day. In the morning we had arranged to meet to catch these conditions and we did exactly as planned. However, what we got was a big menacing surf with short intervals, not ideal for learning or developing skills. Tom and Mike ventured into the white water first, both new to surfing on boards they were thoroughly challenged. After a few attempts they came out seeking advice but nothing I knew about surfing or the sea would help on this occasion. They struggled to get themselves and their boards over the whitewater that came after the waves had broken, being pushed back again and again. What they needed was PADDLES!

Luckily on this day I had anticipated these conditions and brought all my gear. Having watched Tom and Mike get thrown about for a short while I was intimidated by the waves. From the car park you could still hear the roar as each wave broke. I sat by myself in my kayak on the pebble beach for a while composing myself, trying to get in the right mental attitude for going straight into whitewater that would push me to my limits. Tyler Bradt, an accomplished whitewater kayaker, said in an interview
"Successful whitewater kayaking is 50% mental and 50% skill. Holding your nerve in and staying focused in these whitewater situations is key to applying your skills to the water your on at the time."
As a warm up exercise I envisaged myself crashing through the waves moving my arms in the motions I would need to perform. I imagined this in slow motion like you would see in the latest viral online whitewater paddling video. In my head I go through multiple waves speeding up the actions each time I go though a wave, this wakes up all the muscles needed for paddling. I also remind myself of the steps need to surf the waves back in. Paddle fast to get to the same speed as the wave, throw your weight forward to drop in then lean/edge in the direction you want to travel along the wave.  I must look pretty stupid doing it but it’s my thing.

After a short time of composure I moved into a position to quickly enter the water. I discussed with Tom and Mike that I was going to need a lull in the wave size to get out. I picked my moment, "Now Now Now!" Tom and Mike thrust me down the pebble beach and into the water. Straight away I was met by breaking waves or "the soup" trying to push me back onto the beach. I fight through it, getting out, this was the easy bit that I was pretty comfortable with, coming back in on the waves the right way up, is what I struggle with. Due to the messiness of the waves coming in it was hard to judge where was a safe place to sit and select a wave to catch, so I caught the first one I was prepared for and it turned out to be a monster.

For my ability in surf kayaking this wave was “pretty stinking big”. Due to my positioning, I didn’t need to paddle fast to get this one. Nor did I need to put my weight forward to drop in. Due to the size and steepness of this monster, coming down the face of the wave I had to lean as far back as possible and pull my legs up so not to nose dive. I managed to stop myself from nose-diving and surfed the wave straight until it broke. I then comfortably "Bongo slide" in the soup, nearly ending up right back on the beach and into the groyne! Luckily I avoided these. I paddled out once more and selected a further wave to catch.

After the thrill of successfully blasting down the first wave this second one was not so big. Whilst I paddled out for a second time and after my potential close encounter with the concrete and wooden groynes, I argued with myself as to whether to carry on in this sea state. This second wave was my last of the day. I decided to surf it right into the beach where my extraction team was waiting. With no life guards on the beach and Tom and Mike unable to swim or surf out through the waves I decided to call it a day as if I had come out of my boat in the waves I would have been in a pretty bad place with no way of being rescued, a place I didn't want to be and if I battled with concrete groynes, well I know how that one ends!  Although my session was short I'm massively chuffed with my effort successfully surfing one of the biggest waves of my life, even more to my delight a passer by managed to get the snaps of me, something that doesn't usually happen. 


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Travel Writing #4 - National Student Rodeo 2013

Friday 1st saw the beginning of my three day reign as Official Club Captain for my University Paddling Club. During these three days I organised my university team members on a trip to The National Student Rodeo (NSR) the largest freestyle kayaking event in Europe. NSR is a student organised kayaking competition held at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham. The event is attended by clubs from all over the UK and is currently the best student event I have attended.

Friday is mainly a day of travel to the event arriving in the evening to register participants for your university, acquire your camping spot then crack out the drinks and attend the warm-up party. I had the joy of attending the Captains Meeting and represented my university well. Where other captains turned up with pen and notepad I turned up with all captains need, a drink and my captains sailor hat. As I had assumed it would be, the meeting was just to go over all the points in a pack of information that had been sent out to me with the booking information, which I had actually read.

 Saturday - starting off a little groggy from celebrating heavily with my friends who attend other universities around the UK. My hangover was quickly shrugged off by my paddling warm up and first few moments on the water. I was straight onto the whitewater course at 0900 to compete in the Extreme Slalom event. This event determines what heat you are put in for the actual Freestyle Rodeo Competition. It turned out this year I was put into the Intermediate category which I was pretty surprised at, as the only skill I showed was a roll, half a flat spin and making it through 1 of 2 gates. I was also pretty frustrated to have been put in the Intermediate category as if I had been in the Novice heat I might have actually been able to perform on the feature and win some amazing prizes however, it was not to be.

Sunday - Again I battled off a fighting hangover, got into my wet paddling gear and got on the water for the intermediate heat however, I was humiliated by swimming whilst warming up prior to my heat. I then ended up missing the start. I accepted that the heat was a loss pretty quickly when I saw majority of the competitors pulling off cartwheels in the select feature, a kayak move I could not match for points so I retired from the heat. I then got changed again and spent the rest of the afternoon snapping away photos of the few sponsored paddlers and friends appearing on the course in the hope to get some good shots to send off to the sponsoring companies.

Mens Expert Freestyle Finalists

After all competition heats and finals were completed the final part of the event was the prize giving where I became very jealous of all people called up to collect prizes. As prizes included free coaching days, masses of equipment and a few top of the range brand new shiny boats!.

We headed back to Penrith campus in the mini bus. During this journey most people drifted off to sleep and I was awoken by people trying to throw things in my mouth whilst I dribbled on myself. We arrived at campus and unloaded the trailer that had been our base for keeping my kayak and my colleagues media equipment in for the weekend.
I then had to drive my friends Lizzie and Pete down to Ambleside where I was to stay. Whilst driving the last ten minutes of the journey I noticed I was having real difficulty focusing on driving. I dropped Lizzie and Pete off with all their equipment and had a pizza with Pete with the intention of going for a drink with him and some others in town. Unfortunately not knowing it yet, by the time we had arrived the effects of the infamous Trent Belly had started to take hold.

George Younger (green) performing an entry move
The River Trent that feeds the whitewater course is infamous for making people ill. This is due to the sanitation of the water. The Trent holds a cocktail of chemicals and bacteria caused from run off from farmer’s fields and industrial factories along the river, mix these chemicals and bacteria together in the features of the whitewater course and you get a nasty stomach bug that is mainly contracted from people accidentally getting the water in their mouths and "drinking" it.

This bug lead to me leaving town early and deliriously walking to my good friends Mike and Tom's house where they put me up for the night. Tom had experienced this bug before so was very reluctant to come near me just in-case the bug turned contagious. He warned of what was to come, a night of pain and sickness. I'll leave out the nice details just say I haven't ever been as ill as I was that night.

 Since paddling at Nottingham I’ve done some research into the river and found that in 2009 the river contained traces of cyanide, it’s no wonder I was ill. Next time I go to paddle there I intend on trying some of the many tricks people say keep the bug away. One of which includes consuming large amounts of Coca-Cola. Hopefully next time at the event my paddling is more successful and the tricks work to keep the bugs at bay.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Travel Writing #3 - Conquering Liza Beck

Mike's brainchild, the first descent of Liza Beck had been in the planning for the past 5 weeks. Mike had been up and down Gasgale Gill scouting the beck, moving rocks and spotting the best lines down the rocky riverbed. All we needed was water.

Mike and Tom
On the day Mike was determined to paddle the beck, the amount of water just wasn't enough for me but for Mike who was intent on his quest to paddle the “previously un-paddled” it was a great confidence building experience. For me, although I hardly paddled and lugged my boat all the way up the Beck to then not paddle down, it was still a great adventure. We were also joined as ever by Tom who is the most experienced boater of the group and his knowledge of whitewater safety and rescue was used to safely anticipate the most daring section of the descent, Double Drop. A set of two reasonable sized drops in a narrow channel with interesting landings. 

To get ourselves and our kayaks to the top of the beck we used rucksack like straps attached to our kayaks, constructed by Mike. These proved great for Mike and Tom however mine needed some further development to be made more comfy for long steep hauls, so I had to shoulder my boat and endure the strain. Whilst moving up the gill we inspected interesting features whilst having breaks from carrying the boats a few times. After we reached the starting point, distinguishable by the flow of water uphill of us dispersing into smaller and smaller tributaries like branches of a tree, Mike and Tom adjusted their boats and packed away their carry straps whilst I readied my cameras.

We were off very slowly and bumping rather then paddling down the Beck. This wasn't what I was expecting. After enduring five minutes of hearing the rocks of the riverbed gouge new scrapes into the hull of my boat I opted from then on to get out and just film and be safety officer. So again I shouldered by boat and hastily skipped back down the path we had just come up, to a position below Mike and Tom to film them bouncing down. The Beck surprisingly, has a number of good features that if there was more water would be fantastic. The most noticeable Mike has come up with names for, like the most memorable one Double Drop. As Mike continued to bump down the Beck I continued to do my best to carry my stuff and film his efforts. After arriving back at the most paddle-able point at the foot of Gasgale Gill the sun came out and beamed down as if to praise Mike for his effort.

I think more water is a key factor if this descent is to be achieved by us or anyone else wanting a challenge. But, Mike has achieved what he set out to do, complete the first descent of the Liza proving it can be done. When we had packed away our stuff back into Tom's van I presented Mike and Tom with my first pieces of Whitewater Aptitude apparel. T-shirts I had printed with my logo on. Tomorrow I'm off down to Mike and Tom's house to go paddling again and show them the footage I took on the day and hopefully help Mike piece together a short video to Mike's specifications.

Below is also a snapshot of me taken from a video, captured from my GoPro mounted on my rear kayak mount whilst I was carrying the kayak. I rotated the image and made it black and white for dramatic effect.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I Ran the River Swale

This week last year I took photos and video of friends on the River Swale, North Yorkshire.

This week I paddled the River Swale and had friends video me for once!

On Tuesday of this week I joined four other friends all from UCLAN university and had a day of anxiousness, adrenaline, waterfalls, success and vocal celebrations. The feeling of accomplishment I felt that day, I have not felt in a long time and I had a permanent smile for the rest of the day. The waterfalls we were going over ranged from roughly 8ft to 15ft and were graded IV and V.

The rapid/river grading system in whitewater kayaking is based on skill required to negotiate the rapid, the hazards of a rapid and risk and outcomes of the rapids. The scale goes from I-VI. At the top of the scale, grade VI, a rapid that is grade VI is seen as not passable or if so only in very specific conditions. Upon this if you get the line wrong on the rapid or mess up your going to end up either dead or severely injured in hospital. A description of all the grades can be found here on UK river guidebook.

Hopefully in the future I can post a link to the video my friends took.

To show what we were paddling you can watch some videos of my firends from last year on my youtube channel. Click the link below.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013


The past two weeks I have been getting out surf kayaking with on the sea at Bournemouth beach. I've been going with my friends Peza and Cheryl who have both been showing me up on Stand Up Paddle-boards (SUPs). We've been out a number of times over and the waves have gadually became better and more surfable until the last Saturday when the waves grew to a whopping continuous 4ft high the with the odd wave rolling in around 5-6ft. For my ability, at times, this was terrifying. To surf the waves firstly you needed to get "out back".  The outback in surfing is the area where you wait for the waves to come in, spot them, then ride them. To get out back I needed to time my paddling correctly so to not get caught up in the large aftermath of breaking waves and also not be at the same point where the waves were breaking. Unlike a surfer, in my kayak, I cannot dip underneath the breaking waves, i have to punch through them, a downfall to surf kayaking. However I managed to predict my paddling fairly well and get outback always relieved.

From here I was able to get in position to surf the waves coming in as best I could. after surfing the green wave then also surfing the strong broken wave. I would often end up all the way back on the beach and have to repeat the process of getting out back, a tiring action.

I unfortunately had one swim on this day after getting caught out by a huge steep wave as I was getting out back. I ended up trying to go over the it at the time it was steepest. Unfortunately due to the steepness of the wave and gravity instead of punching through the top of the wave. I felt my boat sliding back down the wave face and start to plain. So i started surfing the wave backwards. Something I can just about do on a small wave. This six footer was no match for me. I was unable to spin back around to face down the wave and ended up going over. I tucked up and felt as the wave broke and carried me all the way to the beach still upside down. I tried performing my C to C roll but in the foamy wash I couldn't managing. I chose to come out of my boat. I then had to get myself boat and paddle to shore only 15m away the dumping waves made it a struggle. I emptied my boat of water and carried on as I had been doing before.

At the beginning of our session the tide was in and I was keen to get on the water. However I didn't put on my new GoPro mount as I didn't want to have it trashed straight away which it would have done. As the tide dropped towards the end of my session the waves became unsurfable for me, so I got my DSLR out and snapped some photos of Peza on the diminishing leftovers from stood in the shallows.

We use the site MagicSeaweed to predict what the surf conditions are going to be like.

After these exciting times in the next few days I then had an equally exciting time doing my first piece of commercial/non commercial work for an old friend Sam of Cumulus Outdoors. I was creating a promotional video for them to promote their coasteering programs based along the Souths Jurassic Coastline. The experience was extremely beneficial. Learning what skills I need to further develop and how to approach future work projects.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

GoPro Mount

I've been researching to make a pole style GoPro mount for my kayak for some time and being home has given me the access needed to tools and odd nuts, bolts and washers I needed to complete the creation. There are a number of options for creating something similar I got this design idea off the kayak tips, tricks and reviews site Unsponsored.

Firstly I acquired all the pieces I would need for the design and tools.

1x Cut down piece of steel
2x Bolts from original Fluid grab handle
1x Bolt and fitting Nut
1x Large Washer
2x 32mm End Cap Plug
1x Cut down piece of PVC pipe (not sure what diameter this was it was scrap i found in my garage). (55cm Long)
1x GoPro flat mount
1x Length of strong cord

1x Electric Drill
1x Metal Saw
1x Adjustable Spanner
1x Flathead Screw Driver
1x Allen Key set
Piping Glue

I removed the original rear grab handle from my Fluid Detox by unscrewing it and then used the original handle as a template for the new one. I cut the odd piece of steel to the correct length then  drilled two holes for the handle to be re attached then a third hole in the center of the handle. Thats that piece complete.

Now to complete the rest of the "base". Firstly drill a hole in ONE end cap. You should then be able to use the 1x Bolt and Nut and 1x Large Washer to construct it. I took into account I'm not always going to be using the GoPro mount and therefore have tried to keep the handle and base as snag free as possible so it can still be grabbed by someone in a rescue situation or possibly be used to clip the boat if it needs rescuing (hopefully will never happen!). To keep it snag free I shortened the Bolt I was using so to not stick out above the End Cap.

To create the removable pole glue the remaining End Cap Plug pieces into the PVC pipe and let it set. The PVC pipe is 55cm long. The final step is add a GoPro flat mount to the top End Cap. I'm going to be using some cord attached to my GoPro from the case to the grab handle incase the camera ends up getting knocked off the top in shallow water. See below for pictures of the final construct and a snapshot taken from one of my test videos.