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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Werner Paddles Shuna - Review





The Shuna is Werners best selling high angle sea paddle and it is no wonder. The blade size is not to big but still has some bite. Built quality is as usual excellent from Werner and the paddles feel very robust but are still very light. In the water the catch is firm and the pull through the stroke is smooth with no flutter.

The shaft is split with Werners unique smart view system, which is very neat and effective but does limit you to one length and set feather angles. On some other spit systems you can have any feather and 10 cm of length adjustment which makes your paddles more versatile.

I have tested these paddles in some tough conditions both surfing and rock hopping and they have performed excellently. My only regret is that I did not order them at 210 cm which I feel would be better for my height and use in surf and rock hopping.

Pros:
  • Price
  • Quality
  • Light weight 
  • Smooth
Cons
  • No length adjustment in the Werner split shaft system.

Overall these are top quality paddles that offer excellent value for money and bombproof quality.  It would be nice to be able to adjust the length but its not a major drawback. 

David Horkan 
www.dhkayaking.com/blog

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Colin Wong, Expedition Inception–Part 2

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New Years eve, this day is celebrated my most people. The ritual is get dressed up, meet with friends, get wasted, kiss your girl at mid night then try and remember it all the next day. Expedition Inception decided to try and celebrate the coming of the New years in a slightly different way. Accompanied by Brett from Umgano Eco Adventures, a friend of ours from Uganda we set organizing an epic multi day adventure to bring in the new years EI style.

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With help from AD from Titsa Falls Backpackers we researched on Google earth and old OS maps. This was going to be a long trip, 70km with at least 30km of flat water. The first few kilometers and the last few kilometers had been run but in-between was unknown. Our main concerns were hoping the sections had enough water as the upper section needed around 1/3 the water the bottom section needed and we had no idea how much water was needed for the middle section. When the day came we made the decision to go for it with the forecast predicting rain on our first night we hoped our timing was good.

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As this was a first descent we packed our boats for 3 nights on the river making sure we were prepared for worst case scenario. Along with this we had to pack tents in the boats as the rain forecasted was very heavy and we had know idea if the campsites were going to be any good. Every adventure kayaker will tell you know matter how hard they think they are a good nights sleep can make a huge difference in terms of energy levels and decision making when on the river. With our boats loaded up to the max our only exit from the river was the first road bridge 60km down stream.

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With help from 2 backpackers we drove for 2 hours to the put in and ventured into the heart of the Transkei with our gear and a sense anticipation of what was down stream. The top section started with 7 amazing low volume drops, tight technical rapids that didn't seem to let up. Our team by now has a good understanding of how we paddle and we move in sync down the river. Scouting from the bank is a last resort and the person leading the charge makes the judgment if the team needs to scout. This is a very effective way of covering distance fast. As we entered a steep section we were given the line and started paddling. As Brett came over the last drop he lacked speed and missed his boof smashing the nose of his boat into a rock just under the water. I was at the bottom watching it all happen, his go pro clip snapped off with the impact and the camera went to the bottom of the river, this was the least of my worries as I thought he was going to be vertically pinned in the drop but thankfully he popped out. We all went to the bank and had a rest. Poor Brett needed to get his mind right after losing his go pro and putting an almighty dent in the nose of his boat. Our energy levels were starting to hit critical level and we all agreed to find a campsite soon. Once again the adventure of doing a first descent, we hadn’t a clue if we would find it soon or not. We were still guts deep in a steep section of whitewater and had to navigate it fast and safely. Once our rest was over and we took on some food we scouted the next rapid. Clearly there was a hole at the bottom and I had picked my line from the top. Shannon decided to do safety for me just in case anything happened but I was dead set it would be fine. As I got to my boat I see Shannon pointing for me to take the hole on the left and I wanted to take it on the right. I sat in my boat thinking id make my decision as I was on the water. The line was tight and technical having to catch an eddy that wasn't really an eddy to line up well for the middle section before the hole. I came through online well but I had to take the hole on the right. It was a curler on the lip that made it hard to keep my nose up. As I hit it I ended up plugging the hole. I capsized twice almost loosing my paddle in the hole before I gained control. I looked up to see no exit from the hole however Shannon my ginger angel was standing right next to the hole and roped me out. With a big smile and a sigh of relief I said thank you and took position to do safety for the other two lads who of course took the hole on the left. Thankfully around the next corner we found a campsite. It was raining hard at this stage and we all just wanted to get off the water and eat dinner. We set up our tents on the most uneven ground you can imagine and made our way up to a small cave above our tents. We stayed in our kayaking gear until the rain stopped and dinner was ready. We spent New Years Eve night at 9 o clock all tucked up in our tents. That night as I slept soundly there was a thunderstorm right above us that kept the lads awake, I was told id was terrifying.

Day 2 of our mission started with some more amazing class 5 rapids. They just kept coming till we hit a forested area. It flattened out for a while which was a nice rest for the nerves. As the day went on we encountered beautiful rapids along with lots and lots of flat water. We kept on plugging on hoping to cover as much distance as possible in the day. The rain the night before had brought the river up nicely for us so we were moving fast. As it started to get to late afternoon we decided to take the next nice campsite we saw. All of a sudden we heard a rumble down stream, we moved down stream to find an epic drop along with an amazing campsite. We could not have planned it any better. We unloaded our boats ran the drop and set up camp for the night.

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Day 3, we woke up lazily had breakfast packed our boats and started down what we thought was going to be flat water to the end. Our GPS told us we had 38 meters of gradient to loose in over 30km of kayaking. We had lost all hope of a big ending to our trip, however because of this trip we have lost all faith in a GPS, as after lunch we were gifted with 10 -12 long big volume rapids, we couldn't believe it. We arrived on the third day at the take out totally worn out after an amazing trip. If you are interested in watching the little video of this trip you will find it here (enter link).

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Right now I am writing this blog in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe where we have found yet another gem of a river along with some other classics. My next blog will be about my favorite river in Zimbabwe. Please keep come follow us on instagram, Facebook and on our website www.expeditioninception.com

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Year, New Shoes

2015 marks a year when most of the major kayaking equipment manufacturers launch brand new or heavily revised footwear lines.

Here we take a look at the top one’s to watch.

canyoneer 3

Manufacturer: Five Ten

Model: Canyoneer 3 Boot

What’s New?  While the overall style and shape of the Canyoneer boot stays the same, the weight has been paired back and the boot feels more balanced.  The threads on the sole have been increased which should improve traction in boggy/mucky conditions but the tried and tested Stealth rubber is still used.  The upper and lower sections of the boot are welded together which should reduce/eliminate chances of delamination over time.  The biggest noticeable difference is the addition of laces over the previously used buckles (again there were issues in the past with the rubber holding the buckles perishing and hopefully this will remedy this).

The Verdict: Five Ten have kept the styling and features which made the original Canyoneer so popular but tackled a couple of issues which means that this model should have much better durability into the future.

RRP: 150 euro

Availability: March/April 2015

Pre-order Now:

http://www.i-canoe.com/en/Foot-wear.46/+/Five_Ten_Canyoneer_Boot_3/Five_Ten_Canyoneer_Boot_3.2897.html

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Manufacturer: Keen

Model: Gorgeous Boot

What’s New?  After a short absence of any serious water shoe in their range, the Keen Gorgeous Boot replaces the popular Gorge Boot (see what they did there?) as their top line water boot.  It’s predecessor (Gorge Boot) was relatively popular and well regarded but was hastily dropped by the big wigs at Keen without much explanation.  The Gorgeous Boot is more of a re-boot (sic) of the Hood River Shoe which was popular in the States but was never officially released in Europe.  Essentially it marries a 2mm neo sock with the sole and strap system from Keen’s popular water sandal range.  Less stiff than the likes of the Canyoneer, it is a very comfy boot that will work well as an allrounder and be one of the better boots for wearing on bare feet (due to lack of drainage).  It’s a no nonsense boot that goes back to basics in terms of design with no fancy gimmicks on the sole (razor siping/modular construction) which should only add to it’s overall durability.

The Verdict: Demand has already been high (partially due to lack of supply of any water boot) and feedback has been positive.  Should make a good boot for those boaters who do not want or need the additional support offered by the Canyoneer.

RRP: 110 euro

Availability: Now!

Buy Now: http://www.i-canoe.com/en/Foot-wear.46/Kokatat.9/GORGEOUS/Keen_Gorgeous_Boot.2855.html

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Manufacturer: NRS

Model: Velocity Boot

What’s New? The NRS Velocity Boot is a long awaited replacement for the extremely popular NRS Attack Shoe (which at one stage was the most popular water-shoe we sold).  They have taken the overall shape and style of the Attack Shoe but added a stiffer, beefier sole, higher ankle support, stiffer upper and laces.  Overall NRS have created a good looking boot that will appeal to intermediate and advanced boaters and swift water rescue teams.   While not as bulky and stiff as the Canyoneer, this may in fact be a benefit for paddlers who found they had to change the size of their kayak just to match the style of their shoes!  Price wise it offers the best value for money and is sure to be popular with those looking for their first river boot after they graduate from the bootie.

Verdict: A good looking boot that ticks all the boxes in terms of form and function while coming in at a reasonable price.

RRP: 100 euro

Availability: March 2015

Pre-order Now: http://www.i-canoe.com/en/Foot-wear.46/NRS.45/NRS-VELOCITY/2015_NRS_Velocity_Watershoe.2729.html

hiyak

Manufacturer: Astral

Model: Hiyak

What’s New: While Astral have been making footwear for a couple of years now, this is their first offering in terms of a water boot.  It combines the shape of their existing shoe line with higher ankle support and a velcro wraparound closure that protects the laces.  The 1000D Cordura nylon upper is stitched and bonded directly to the sole which should enhance durability (something that was hit and miss in earlier models).  Behind the Cordura are 3 layers of airmesh to provide insulation and ensure quick drying after use.  The sole features GSS non-marking rubber to offer the highest grip that Astral provide in a wet boot.  The boot is extremely flexible making for easier fit in a range of different types of kayak but lacks the stiffer support some prefer in the Canyoneer.

The Verdict: A nice looking boot that will hopefully give Astral a firm footing (sic) in the water boot market.

RRP: 120 euro

Availability: March/April 2015

Pre-order Now:

http://www.i-canoe.com/en/Foot-wear.46/Astral_Buoyancy.40/Astral_Hiyak_Water_Boot/Astral_Hiyak_Water_Boot.2896.html

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Manufacturer: NRS

Model: Crush

What’s New? The Crush is NRS’s new water shoe for those looking for lighter weight and less support than the Velocity.  It will make a great summer shoe that could be worn both on and off the water.  Featuring the same sole as the Velocity it should offer the same level of grip but with less bulk and should appeal to many watersports enthusiasts: canoe, kayak, SUP, sailing, etc…

The Verdict: A well designed shoe that is set to enter an already highly competitive market (Astral Brewer/Rassler/ Keen Kanyon/etc…).  Good to have as a back up pair of shoes and great for travelling.

RRP: 80 euro

Availability: March 2015

Pre-order Now:

http://www.i-canoe.com/en/Foot-wear.46/NRS.45/NRS-CRUSH/2015_NRS_Men_s_Crush_Watershoe.2731.html

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Manufacturer: Keen

Model: Class 5 Tech

What’s New? Keen have been making sandals and mesh shoes for years and this is one of their most stylish and practical models ever.  Very lightweight and comfy it can be worn barefoot or with neo socks/drysuit socks (although there is no inherent insulation in the shoe).  The bungy lacing system is neat and simple and secures the shoe around the foot well.  As with the Crush above, they could be worn in the summer as an alternative to sandals (and you may even get away with combining with a pair of socks!).

The Verdict: Apart from the rather clunky sounding name, these are a well made, stylish pair of shoes that would be at home both on and off the water.

RRP: 100 euro

Availability: Now!

Buy Now:

http://www.i-canoe.com/en/Foot-wear.46/Lifeproof.86/Keen_Class_5_Tech_Water_S/Keen_Class_5_Tech_Water_Shoe.2895.html

Friday, February 13, 2015

I-CANOE–We Check Prices So You Don’t Have To

For 2015, we will be actively checking and matching prices of our closest competitors to ensure you are guaranteed of the best price around.

Here are our top 5 picks of the month:

Dagger Mamba Creek Spec Kayak:

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Competitors price: 1122 euro

I-CANOE Price Match: 1099 euro

Ocean Kayak Trident 15 Fishing Kayak:

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Competitors price:  1107 euro

I-CANOE Price Match: 999 euro

Werner Powerhouse, Straight, Glass Paddle:

RD

Competitors price: 229 euro

I-CANOE Price Match: 225 euro

Shred Ready Fullcut Helmet:

DUOTONGRE (1)

Competitors price: 65 euro

I-CANOE Price Match: 63 euro

 

Typhoon Multisport 4 Drysuit:

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Competitors price: 543 euro

I-CANOE Price Match: 499.50 euro

Some basic terms and conditions:

All prices quoted are in euro, include duties and taxes and are shipped from Ireland.

Delivery is charged extra.

We will endeavour to advertise price matches on items either in stock or readily available.  Where a product is temporarily sold out or unavailable no discount will be advertised.

Please contact us with any further queries.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Colin Wong Checks in Expedition Inception

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“Expedition Inception” (EI) what is it? Why? How? Are to name a few questions that are asked of us on a constant basis. To try and help explain I am going to give a short account of what EI means to me. The name originated from the idea of trying to do loads of little expeditions all within one bigger expedition. Taking from the movie inception, with the plot based on dreams and what happens in your dreams we found the name Expedition Inception very fitting. This trip is nothing short of a dream and for the past two and a half years it felt like a dream. All of a sudden I’m in the Transkie writing this blog. Inception!

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From the start we have experienced all emotions, happy, sad, excited, let down, scared, etc. TIA, Living/Adventuring in Africa was once explained to be as being Bi-polar. One second you love it the next you hate it. Thankfully with the people on the trip along with the people we have met along the way we have had way more ups than downs.

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The first 2 weeks of EI was spent organizing a vehicle and all the fine details so we can cross borders with the vehicle. The next 2 weeks we spent collecting boats, searching for water and in general trying not to be sad at the lack of rainfall. However even though there was a lack of water we had some amazing days on some classic whitewater around the Crocodile River. Swaziland was an exciting prospect for kayaking, sadly the rains didn't come after all the rain dancing we did I was sure the rivers would be full. However we did get to race a very nice section of water during swazifest, with Jarred coming 3rd Colin 2nd and local boy Shane Raw sneaking a victory by 2 seconds, I blame the terrible hangover from the night before.

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Currently we are at the transkie resting from the epic kayaking around this area. We are organizing a 3 day First D for New Years. This area is a dream.

We have landed on our feet with the contacts we have built up along with the people we are paddling with. We are all getting ready for an emotional ride deep into the Transkie were the laws are different, fields of weed are planted along the river side and if we pick the wrong campsite there is a likely hood of getting shot by the local drug dealer! However the beauty of this area and the excitement of going into areas were not many if any people have been is too attractive for us to turn down. This place makes us feel like true adventurers, we cook every night over a fire, make bread from beer and when possible sleep under the stars. We have found an area not touched by many and we are the only kayakers here. EI!

Please keep come follow us on instagram, Facebook and on our website

www.expeditioninception.com

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Colin is supported by I-CANOE for Jackson Kayaks and Kokatat Waterwear and Shred Ready Helmets support EI.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Liquidlogic Flying Squirrel 95–1st View

The Flying Squirrel was realised this summer from Liquidlogic but today was the first time we got to try one on the water.

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The Flying Squirrel whitewater kayak comes in two sizes: 85 and 95 gallons and is an evolution from the Remix design of fast river running kayaks.  It has a similar hull to the Remix (long and slender with no defined edges) but with more volume on the deck to make it ride higher and resurface better on steeper creeks.

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Off the water, its heavier than some kayaks in this category (Tuna/Karma) but still lighter than most others and well balanced on the shoulder.

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I chose to try the bigger 95 size model as I wanted to assess its speed – at just under 9 feet long, this is intended to be a fast boat and a contender in whitewater and boatercross racing.  On the water, it feels every bit of its 95 gallons and takes a fair bit of muscle to boss it around.  Being only at its bottom size and weight range, I would definitely raise up the seat height a notch and use a longer paddle to get the best leverage possible.

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The boat still feels very much like the Remix in terms of how it handles on the water.  It is not very aggressive due to the lack of rail which should make it very forgiving on harder whitewater and relies on the paddler powering it in and out of eddies rather than letting a rail do all the work.

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First impressions suggest that this is primarily a fast, point and shoot river runner/racer.  After a couple of strokes, and up to cruising speed, the bow sits up and rides its own bow wave just back from the nose.  Stability wise, the boat is very stable both sitting flat and on edge.  The construction, finish and outfitting (its Badass) are all impeccable and what you would expect from Liquidlogic.  With so much length and deck volume, you can cram a lot of gear in here if you are looking for an instructors kayak or one for tackling multi days trips.

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This was just a very brief, first outing on big volume water.  I’m looking forward at getting it out on something steeper over the next days/weeks.

Specs and ordering info can be found here:

http://www.i-canoe.com/en/Kayaks.21/Whitewater_Kayaks.112/Steep_Creekers.158/Liquid_Logic_Kayaks.24/LL-F_S/Liquid_Logic_Flying_Squirrel_Creek_Kayak.2702.html

Friday, September 5, 2014

Euros Wrap Up

The European Championships  finished up almost a week ago now, however this trip will not fade in the memory fast. A closely knit group coupled with the largest support group seen in years made this the most enjoyable competition to date. This year the team was made up of a lot of new faces with a strong presence of Galway boaters coupled with some great paddlers from Cork, Laois, Killkenny, Wicklow and Dublin. From the start there was a great atmosphere in the group as everyone videoed, coached & helped out in any way they could. That coupled with the perfect location to hold a competition that Cuvono is made the trip for everyone.


Prelims took place last Thursday with most of the Irish Men off in the early heats. Team training had been going well in the preceding days keeping confidence up and settling the nerves. David McClure was first up for the Irish in heat two putting together some good rides that would eventually leave him in 30th place. I was also up towards the end of heat two. Having been getting through most of my ride in previous days I dropped in feeling good. I managed to score some of my bigger moves to edge through to quarter finals in 17th place.


Aran Kilroy and Andrew Regan were up next in heat three. Some strict scoring left them a little further down the order then their rides deserved coming in at 33rd and 40th position. Shane Little was the last of the Irish Men having to wait until heat seven to put down his rides. Throwing down some big moves Shane was just short of the cut to quarters placing 24th.



Senior Women were up next with both Aisling's and Niamh paddling hard to get all they could into their 45 second rides. The progression that they all made during their training was clear to see with a bright future ahead for all. Aisling, Niamh & Aisling finished up in 22nd, 23rd & 24th position.

Junior men were the last to go on Thursday afternoon with Calvin O'Brien and Sean Cahill flying the flag for Ireland. The junior men's class was hotly contested with Max Karlsson breaking 1000 points for a single ride during the competition! Calvin and Sean put in solid rides to place in 26th & 28th Position.

Friday morning saw quarter finals kick off at 9am with some rowdy Irish support the envy of all nations. Going into quarter finals I felt better then the previous day with some pressure off having made it through a round. Having three rides with the best two counting allows a bit more leeway then prelims were everything counts. I was able to throw down some good moves improving my overall score and placing from prelims moving up one spot to 16th.

Friday evening saw the semi finals produce some of the best paddling ever seen with Peter Csonka laying down the highest scoring ride of all time. The ride was a none stop combo linking trophy moves to every other move to set Peter well apart from the rest of the field . Coming in to finals on Sunday there was little doubt in anyone's mind who was going to take top spot. Peter laid down 1500 points in his first ride to ensure he was crowned European Champion for a second time.


Next up is the World Championships on Garberator wave in Canada next summer. Its been over five years since the last ICF wave competition so there is sure to be a big shake up in the usual order of things. Team trials are less then two months away and with lots of old faces planning on making a return to action it could be a very different Irish Team that heads to Canada next year. Hopefully the rain will return soon so the rivers return to good flows to get some training in!