Archive for February, 2010

09
Feb

Sunday on the Middle Tawe

Chris C. (Swansea Canoes), Rich and myself headed to the Neath/Swansea Valley to seek out something interesting with a descent amount of water. All 3 of us have recently done our 5 *Training and we were looking for some rapids on which we could practice what Westgarth had taught us. We were skunked on the Mellte…we hiked up but it was too low to run. Instead we opted for a scrape down the Middle Tawe. For non-native speakers, Tawe is pronounced T….owww (like you hurt yourself)…eeee. Such a beautiful run.
Rich giving it the thumbs up. Whoop.

Rich giving it the thumbs up. Whoop.

The slides were super if a little low. After the slides was a lush drop that that we ran several times trying to put into practice what Simon said we should do. Although it was a small drop, we spent time discussing the line and where to put in the key strokes. We all went slightly left to right with a right boof, trying to see the “window”.

Chris going for the right boof

Chris going for the right boof

Going for the follow through stroke.

Going for the follow through stroke.

Me reaching for a boof

Me reaching for a boofI missed my follow through stroke the first time.

I missed my follow through stroke the first time.

I missed my follow through stroke the first time.

Missing that follow through stroke meant that I landed on the wrong edge. I thought it was all sorted, but I guess I’m still learning…that’s the one of the things I love about kayaking…the constant challenge to improve. The skills are there its  just getting that  mental side down then the muscle memory then the timing.

Rich and Chris had some really nice drops. Lovely.

 

Rich on the lip

Rich on the lip

 

Rich...boofedy boof boof

Rich...boofedy boof boof

08
Feb

Afon Afan- A Classic Weir Tour

Last weekend a group of  UHCC paddlers spent some time splashing about in Welsh rivers. I was visiting the folks in Cardiff so I hopped up to Pontrydyfen with the guys for a paddle to the beach in Aberavon. It was a super-sunny day and about 10 degrees C.

Dan hiking back up to a rapid

Dan hiking back up to a rapid

Pontrydyfen is a small, picturesque village  nestled in the Afan valley and happens to be the birth place of Richard Burton and Rebecca Evans among other stars. This run started with a several weirs followed by a significant number of weirs and ended with a multitude of weirs. I think about 30 in all.

Will boofin' the second weir

Will boofin' the second weir

Tom mentioned that we probably encountered every kind of weir on the run: broken weirs, sloping weirs, ledge drop weirs, giant pipe weirs. wooden weirs with spikey bits, concrete weirs, stone weirs, horseshoe weirs and so on. It was a fun run an we had plenty of boof practice with low consequence. I’d take people who are learning to boof on this river for sure. But I think with more water it could be really quite spicy as a lot of the weirs are river wide.
Will on a rapid at the start of the run

Will on a rapid at the start of the run

One weir reminded me of the top hole at HPP. Too bad I don’t know whats at the bottom or it’d be a great play spot.
Dave about to go down a nice weir

Dave about to go down a nice weir

 As with every urban run in the UK, the river decorations were plentiful. Final counts were in at: 7 shopping trolleys, 3 push-chairs, two bikes, one football and a zimmer frame (minus a granny). Levels were a bit low towards to take out as the tide was out, but it made a welcome leg-stretch- at least thats what I kept telling myself as we waded through Port Talbots finest mud flats. The surf was nice at Aberavon and the guys got some great waves at the end of the trip. I will do this run again with more water, but maybe take out at Tescos in Port T.
Who let tide out...who..who...who..who..who

Who let tide out...who..who...who..who..who

02
Feb

REC course with getafix.com

Last weekend myself and 11 members of the UHCC completed a Rescue Emergency Care (REC) course with Leo Hoare from getafix.com. I chose to do this course because as a kayaker I spend time in remote areas and the chances of getting hurt are maybe a bit elevated over my fellow urban dwellers. I have been helped out by REC trained friends on the river when I have hurt myself and the least I can do is be REC trained to reciprocate the favour, should it ever be needed.

Would you trust this man?

Would you trust this man?

For my North American blog readers this course is similar to a wilderness first aid course. We started off with group discussions of accident scenarios in remote locations and talking about how we’d deal with them. Then it was onto  lessons about monitoring vital signs and checking the airway, breathing, pulse etc followed by full body checks then resus with the lovely Ms Annie.

Dealing with bleeding and shock were the order of the afternoon interspersed with emergency scenarios outside on the cold ground (it was close to 0 degrees outside…brr). We practiced bandaging bleeds and discussed the most appropriate bandages to carry in our first aid kit. We followed this up with a post match analysis over dinner at the pub.

Kevan and Elaine practice pillow bandaging

Kevan and Elaine practice pillow bandaging

Sunday we discussed how to best deal with resuscitation after drowning, fits and convulsions. We learned how to help prevent and deal with diabetic attacks, hypothermia and anaphylaxis. A significant amount of time was dedicated to learning how to deal with fractures and dislocations, sling tieing, pillow bandage making etc. We covered spinal injuries and how to evacuate in an emergency scenario.

Evacuating Kevan who has a spinal injury

Evacuating Kevan who has a spinal injury

For a good chunk of the afternoon we were outdoors in the forest in role play situation dealing with all manner of illnesses, including an axe to the leg, diabetic coma, dislocated knee–cap, scratched eyeball, sucking chest wounds among others…Leo likened the scene to one from Shaun of the Dead; and that’s definitely a fair comparison.

 

A still fromthe film the comedy classic 'Shaun of the Dead'

A still fromthe film the comedy classic 'Shaun of the Dead'

After completion of this course I feel that I have been armed with the knowledge to deal with accidents confidently, rapidly and efficiently.  I highly advice anyone to do this course with the supercool coach, Mr Leo Hoare .

Pete checks me over and puts me in the recovery position

Pete checks me over and puts me in the recovery position