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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Achill island for some sea kayaking

When the weather plays in our favour Ireland's natural resources can rival that of anywhere in the world! Last weekend I hit up Achill island for some scenic sea kayaking and the weather gods were good to us! Here's a little bit of info of the route that we took if your looking for some sea paddling out west!

Start point: Keam beach (pictured above).
From here you have two options, for a shorter journey you could paddle from the very scenic keam beach past Dooagh while taking in a few islands to finish in Purteen harbour or Keel beach. This is about an 8km or 4nm journey finishing on a beach which nearly always has some surf for a little play.

Alternatively you can head past Keel beach and take in the epic Minaun cliffs which tower up to a height of about 400mts. The total for the journey then is about 18k. Bear in mind however that once you pass Keel beach there is nowhere to land if there is any swell until you reach Dooega beach!

Luckily last weekend the weather was blowing from a north/ north-easterly direction so we had very little wind to contend with on the south of the island. There also happened to next to 0 swell which is very unusual for Achill. As you can imagine this trip is particularly exposed during westerly/ south-westerly weather (the most prominent wind direction).

During the trip I also got the chance to demo the new H2O crystal touring paddle. The paddle I demoed was on a cranked carbon shaft 220cm long. Initially the paddle looks pretty flash and it doesn't disappoint. The only thing I was suprised at was
the amount of flex in the blade. However once I tried the paddle on the water I didn't find this to be a problem. The stiffness of the shaft with the small amount of flex in the blade are a good combination.

I found the paddle to give a good amount of power for the blade size and due to the low angle of the blade you shouldn't tire too easily on longer trips. Also on the paddle is an easily adjustable centre joint with 15deg increments.
Overall I would recommend the paddle for recreational sea kayakers as I believe the blades would have a long life span and I found them quite easy to just pick up and go!
More info on the paddles located here:

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