Volume 15 Issue 12

December 2015

December Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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News items or reports on club activities should be sent to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


Archived Newsletters… 
Major Trip Reports.…

Major dates for Club events – for more detail check the online Club Calendar…….

13 December 2015

Christmas Paddle and Meal at Llandudno  Click for more information…..

13-20 February 2016

Skiing and Snowboarding trip - France.  Coordinator Pete Thomas

24 - 28 April 2016

Easter Bank holiday at the Blackwater Hostel – Scotland  Click here for more information and to book a place…..

2 - 17 April 2016

Nepal White Water Trip Coordinator Keith Steer

9 - 16 April 2016

Croatia Sea Kayaking Trip Coordinator Andy Garland

3 July 2016

Hilbre Island Sea Kayak Race Click for more……

22 July – 7 August 2016

Alpine Summer Holiday Coordinator Keith Steer

16 – 30 August 2016

Alaskan Sea Kayaking Trip Coordinator Keith Steer


30/11/15 November “Photo of the Month” Competition


Liverpool Canoe Club Photo Competition Winners

Congratulations to Megan Byrne for her winning photo:

“Sea kayaking at Arisaig”


Runner up Danny Byrne:

“Megan takes a break at Arisaig”


Runner up Keith Steer:

“Tom Birch paddling at Chester Weir”

 Not found your photograph? – see all the entries for this month………..

Criteria for the photo of the month competition…. 25 % Quality and sharpness of the photograph, 25% Quirkiness and framing of the subject,
25% Diversity of the subject material (ie not all one discipline), 25% has LCC logo or clothing in the shot.
Please send in your entries for next month now - website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk

29/11/15  Short Range Certificate Training (Marine VHF radio), with Seavoice Training.


“It’s not what you have; it’s what you do with it!”


Buying a marine VHF radio is one thing, but knowing how to operate one is another thing, and you can only do so legally if you own a Short Range certificate (SRC).


So why would you use a marine VHF in the first place? Most people would say to be able and call for help in a distress or urgency situation. For us sea kayakers, that could be a grave medical problem on the water (heart attack, severe hypothermia) or a sinking kayak with no-one to help, or being adrift and about to be spilled onto the very beautiful but equally hard cliffs of South Stack.


However, there are many other uses for a marine VHF, which are, luckily, much more common. You could use it to inform the Coast Guard of the trip you’re about to undertake (really, they like that!), you could use it to warn others of a safety issue (“container afloat near the Liverpool Pier Head”) or you could communicate with nearby vessels and arrange for a pint in the evening.


A marine VHF really is a Good Thing.


So, seven of us, all LCC members and sea kayakers, set out for a one-day training and exam session on 28 November 2015, taught in the Liverpool Marina by Paul from Seavoice Training assisted by his son Scott (important note: both had a good sense of humour, and brought lots of chocolates).


Mind you, this is a serious course. There is much more to know than you might initially think, ranging from the phonetic alphabet, to legal issues, to choosing the right channels, to the use of recent technologies such as digital selected calling (DSC) and equipment such as EPIRB’s. Which is why we had to read the RYA’s handbook in preparation – it came in handy as the first thing I was asked to give was my parked car’s registration, spelled phonetically!


The day itself was mostly hands-on, using real radios, and this is where it really became obvious why training is needed.  Even the very mild peer pressure in the classroom was enough to trigger plenty of mistakes by all of us (not identifying and forgetting “over” were probably the most common). Can you imagine what it would be in a real distress situation?


So, next time if you have some cash to spare, maybe consider getting a VHF radio and training instead of that fancy carbon paddle. It could save your or someone else’s life. Or get you that pint in the fantastic pub you didn’t know existed.


Kilo Romeo India Sierra.    Out.


Kris D'Aout                                          More Photos…..

24/11/15 Christmas paddle at Llandudno & Christmas lunch at the St Georges Hotel – Sunday 13th December

Sunday, 13 Dec 2015 3:30pm - 6pm

We intend to offer a number of paddles from Llandudno Beach or surrounding area (depending upon the weather on the day) suitable for all abilities and boat. There may even be some surf, trip around the pier or cliffs or Conway Estuary if the weather is poor. We will email out details nearer the time to all those that have booked on.

Probably 10:00am meet on the sea front at Llandudno. Christmas Lunch is at the St George's Hotel on the Sea front with a 3:30 for 4:00pm start.

Club boats available for loan – Click here for more information……

The menu is a little more exclusive than previous years at £23.00 but will be 3 courses (to be chosen on the day) with Tea or Coffee and a Mince Pie.

More information and to book click here…


24/11/15 Sea Kayak Skills - MAKING YOUR BOAT TURN


Relatively speaking, white water boats are a doddle to turn as, being short, they’ve been designed to spin out, carve and skid easily over the water and through river features. Sea kayaks are different beasts altogether as, although, in the right hands, they can spin and surf and do lots of fancy stuff, they’re fundamentally designed to go at speed in straight lines so turning them is a basic skill all sea kayakers have to acquire early in their paddling career.


You can turn a sea kayak through 180 degrees from a standing start if you want to head off in the opposite direction or you may want to turn your boat dynamically while moving fast through the water. Whatever the scenario, to turn your sea boat quickly and efficiently you need to “shorten its waterline length” so that there is less resistance to it moving through to a change in direction. Practicing various edging techniques, combined with paddle strokes such as the bow and stern sweep, bow and cross bow rudders and even stern rudders and stern pry will all pay dividends when you need to turn quickly in order to get close to someone who needs rescuing or maybe just to avoid a rock that appears out of nowhere in the swell.


The following videos show good technique and OK, we all know there’s no substitute for practicing on the water, but watching these videos carefully will help you visualise what you need to do when you’re on the sea.


·         Edging and leaning – click <HERE>   

·         Static 360 sweep stroke turn – click <HERE>  

·         Inside edge low brace turn  – click <HERE>   

·         Outside edge low brace turn – click <HERE> 

·         Bow rudder – click <HERE>

·         Stern rudders - pry and draw– click <HERE>   

·         Edging while breaking in and out of fast moving water – click <HERE>  and <HERE>


As you get more confident at edging and turning, you might want to have a go at this technique – click <HERE>  but be prepared to get wet!


Tony Hammock is a well respected Level 5 Sea coach who runs Sea Freedom based on the Falls of Lora in Scotland and this short video – click <HERE>   shows him turning a tight circle around a tennis ball; something that’s worth practicing over and over and over again as you never know when you’ll need to rescue a tennis ball or even a friend bobbing up and down like a tennis ball !  


Note the following observations:

·         Posture slightly leaning forward with head looking towards where he is going

·         Blade – in at or beyond the toes, out just after the hip

·         Pivot hand (upper) kept about shoulder position

·         Sweep hand actually sweeping out from the boat i.e. paddle not too deep so that forward momentum is minimised

·         Very good edge maintained throughout the circle

·         Reasonably slow execution allows the bow to “follow through” without developing too much forward momentum

·         Occasional use of very slight low brace as the sweep blade returns to the catch (toes) position

Try it yourself next time you’re on the water and challenge yourself to turn your boat like this in less than 10 strokes.


Many more examples of turning techniques can be found on YouTube or, better still, ask any sea kayaker from the club to demonstrate them to you next time you’re on the water.


NEED INSPIRATION?  ~ If you need a bit of a push to get out and paddle during the winter then take a look at how this guy copes with a bit of wind and some waves. – click <HERE>   


Watch out for more Sea Kayak Skills next month when we’ll take a look at rescues


24/11/15 Upper River Dart Map


PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put-in at Dartmeet (SX 6719 7318), where the East and West Dart rivers converge. There is a convenient car-park, carry your boats downstream of the bridge.


Take-out is at New Bridge (SX 7114 7088) (put-in for the Loop section) where there is a huge car-park. Don't use the section of the carpark reserved for non-paddlers. Alternatively, carry on downstream on the Loop section to New Bridge.




TIME NEEDED: I've run this in low water in 40 minutes, but if you are unfamiliar with the river you should allow at least three hours to inspect and run the river.


WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Can be run at most levels, hence the popularity. At New bridge there is a rock ledge on river left. If the river covers most or all of this, the river is at a good medium or high level. If water is flowing through all three arches on the bridge, then it's very high and you may need to reconsider your plans. If the water level does not reach the ledge, then the Dart is low. If it's a job getting under the bridge without a scrape, really don't bother...there are plenty more rocks upstream. Another simple marker is to look upstream of New Bridge. If all rocks are completely covered (especially two diagonally lined up boulders in mid current) then the level is at least medium...you're in luck!

The old gauge is in an obscure eddy on the Loop section of the Dart. The gauge only goes up to 7, but higher levels are 'guesstimates'. As a rough guide...


3.5+...a bit rocky but certainly paddleable. Mostly grade 3/4, some grade 4 rapids.


4.5+...medium/ high - probably the ideal level for most, forgiving grade 4.


5.5+...very high - kicking grade 4+.


6.5+...flooding - full on, huge, possibly grade 5 from the ledges to 'Surprise, surprise'. Experts only.


8+...definitely continuous grade 5, really powerful surging water.


10+...most local experts won't run it above this level...!


GRADING: Somewhat debatable. It has been referred to as 'Grade 5' in Terry Storry's Guidebook but this doesn't stand up to scrutiny. In low water (as described above) the majority of the river is continuous Grade 3 but Euthanasia Falls and the Rapid which follow it, 'Surprise Surprise' are Grade 4. In medium/ high water the river begins at Grade 3 and gets progressively harder to continuous alpine-style Grade 4. In full flood (river out of banks), the river is 'full-on' and the 'Mad Mile' leading up to Euthanasia Falls is perhaps Grade 5. See directly below for more to do with Grading...


MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There have been a number of serious accidents on this section, which may be due to some of these factors:


Access to and from the river is difficult...in the event of an emergency, Steve Balcombe notes...'For an upstream escape there is a well used path river left which is much better than anything on the right. I have carried out a couple of miles on that bank with no problems. It's in fact possible to walk the entire length of the Upper Dart on the left bank, and this makes a pleasant walk in the summer or when the river is too low to paddle. Lower down there are one or two scrambles which would be difficult with a stretcher case, but it's never impossible and is possibly better than getting a casualty across the river to the right bank.'


The level can change with terrifying rapidity, changing the Grade and seriousness beyond recognition.


Huge meaty stoppers turn up in high water.


Trees regularly drop into the river and should be watched out for.


A final point is that, due to the 'booking a ticket' system, it's possible that people with tickets may have paddled the river in conditions they aren't really up to, rather than lose their opportunity. Use your brains in making the decision on the day.



24/11/15 A low river Wnion and a high river Dee 22-11-15


Click here to see the video….     Another great day on the water by John Cooke.



12/11/15 Another Great Film Festival Night


Another great film festival at the marina last night and I’m sure those who attended would agree that there were some exceptionally inspiring films on offer this year, especially a number of high volume white water films, some great open boat canoeing and some surfing films plus a fantastic insight into where the word kayak actually originated (Greenland – just in case you didn’t know).


If you weren’t there to support the club last night, you missed out but thankfully your place was filled by enthusiastic paddlers who travelled from as far afield as Yorkshire.


It was also good to meet and mingle with people from Liverpool Yacht Club after the show and enjoy the free curry that they laid on. Some of them were actually showing a genuine interest in our club activities. An enjoyable way of spending a dark November night.


More information about the films shown on the evening……


09/11/15 River Dee - 07/11/15


Well it turned out wet again. For the journey down at least. As we headed to Eccleston near Chester the rain bounced down and we thought the day was going to be a repeat of our Llangollen trip the previous week. However, arriving at our meeting point at Paddock Lane the rain had stopped and we were able to unload boats in quite pleasant weather.

Julie Brooke's was already there when we arrived and behind us was Irene Jackson followed closely by Phil Edwards. The arrival of Robin Emley completed the group and the various craft were taken to the muddy launch site. An open canoe, two crossover kayaks and a sea kayak were lifted over the wooden fence along with bags of goodies including some amazing homemade Parkin cake provided by Julie. Last over the fence was Robin's surf boat which he had only picked up earlier that morning to "try before you buy."  Well we did say the trip was suitable for any boat.


So off we went heading towards Farndon at the leisurely pace we had planned. Robin, obviously, not as leisurely as the others due to the flat water conditions the surf boat was trying navigate. "What a strange beast" Robin stated as he worked hard to propel the kayak forward. After about an hour the trial of the surf boat was over and it and Robin headed back to the cars leaving the rest of the group to continue for another hour after which we would look for a suitable stopping point for lunch.


The River Dee is winding with trees majestically lining its banks so finding a spot to get out wasn't going to be that easy. Eventually we spotted a grassy bank leading up to an open field and one by one we scrambled/slid out through more mud to a nice grassed ledge where we spent the next hour enjoying lunch in pleasant sunshine. Although the trees displayed their beautiful Autumn colours it really was like a summers day. With the sun shining and the water looking so inviting it wasn't long before Phil and John were IN the Dee. I'm sure we should have joined a swimming club.

Lunch over it was decided to head back. The return journey was much faster due to the rivers flow being in our favour now. We soon arrived at the Iron Bridge north of the village of Aldford which spans the river with its 50metre arch linking the village to Eaton Hall. We were half way back now and the scenery was a reverse of the outbound trip apart from the amazing colourful rainbow that now arched the sky ahead of us.


Soon we arrived back at Eccleston Ferry and two of our group disembarked with Penny the jug to relax and chat over a coffee. Julie, Phil and John explored the other direction for another hour or so passing fishermen and rowers from the nearby club on route with the only disturbance  of the water being caused by the small motor boats following and shouting instructions to the rowing teams. The trip concluded with Julie getting a bit of pampering from Phil. Reluctant to get her shoes dirty Phil had to remove the pink shoes, wash the soles in the river and then put them back on Julie's feet which reminded the rest of us of a scene from Cinderella. This had been a great day with great company and a trip we were bound to do again.


Paddlers :- Robin, John, Chris, Irene, Phil and Julie (with Penny the Jug).      More Photos………

Report by John Fay

06/11/15 Liverpool Canoe Club hosts the only UK viewing of the 2015 Reel Paddling Film Festival on Wednesday 11th November

This is a must see event for club members as we will be showing 13 of the best films from this year including 5 or the category winning films.  This year it includes films from Olaf Obsommer, Ray Mears and Dane Jackson.

Book your place now for only £7.00 in advanced – spare tickets may be available on the door for £10.00

Click here for more information and to book…… ***           

2015 rpff web banner 706x269

ReelPaddling Film Festival World Tour 2015 Hosted by Liverpool Canoe Club


Facing Waves: Outriggers and SUP in Tahiti - 5:58 min

Explore Tahiti by paddleboard, both above and below the tropical waters of Moorea. Featuring ACA SUP instructor and trainer Jimmy Blakeney and the queen of SUP, Nikki Gregg.


Facing Waves: Whitewater Mexico - 11:12 min

Take part in one of the world’s most extreme whitewater races, the Alsaseca River in Veracrus, Mexico, while exploring big waterfalls, lush rain forests and the world class whitewater the region offers.


How Not To Steal A Kayak... 3:57 min

FTS Style is a group of professional amateur kayakers who bring paddling movies to another level. The goal of their game is to put a smile on your face. In this short, they offer a few examples of how not to steal a kayak.


Mackenzie River: Long Far & Wild - 20:28 min

Some years ago Spanish paddlers, Carlos Rodriguez and Carlos Ares, tackled a style of kayaking that was completely new to them. Drawn by the vast British Columbia wilderness, they sought out rivers to hone their ability to paddle long distances down whitewater rivers, carrying everything on board so they could spend weeks paddling and travel hundred of kilometers. Then they realized the possibility of going even further and for longer. They began to wonder about the biggest rivers, about the most remote and untamed arctic wilderness. Their target was obvious: the whole Mackenzie River by kayak.


Muskoka River X 8:57 min

Armed with a drone, several GoPros and a DSLR camera, one man follows the incredible Muskoka River X race. The race travels the Muskoka River system for a distance of 130 kilometers and must be completed unassisted in 24 hours.


We Belong To It - 13:07 min

We Belong To It follows renowned traveller and British TV personality Ray Mears’ journey into the heart of Wabakimi Provincial Park in northern Ontario, Canada. The film explores the visual beauty of the Boreal forest landscape, and delves into Mears’ reflections on nature and his mastered skill set in bushcraft.


A Paddler’s Pilgrimage - 18:38 min

This documentary follows James Manke and James Roberts as they travel to Qaqortaq, Greenland, to experience and participate in the Greenland National Kayak Championships. The film explores the arctic origins of the kayak, the Greenlandic peoples’ most important traditional tool of survival, and why it is now celebrated as a means to preserve their heritage.


River of Eden - 5:00 min

Join filmmaker Pete McBride on a journey into the Fijian Highlands to discover why the locals said no to easy money from resource extraction. Instead they turned to tourism to fund a conservation area that protects one of the most beautiful rivers on Earth.


The Grand Canyon of the Stikine - 16:50 min

Shrouded in darkness and legend, the Grand Canyon of the Stikine Riveris the Everest of whitewater. For over 30 years, its menacing difficulty has lured expedition kayakers looking for the ultimate challenge. Once the river casts its spell, a kayaker cannot stay away. Olaf Obsommer has collected some of the best kayakers in the world for this descent of the Stikine. His team includes Sam Sutton, Gerd and younger brother Aniol Serrasolses and Jared Meehan.


Top 10 Tips for Canoeing & Kayaking Safely - 3:00 min

With the influx of novice paddlers on all types of waterways comes an increased risk of injuries and deaths. Canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards were responsible for 20 percent of all boating causalities last year (U.S. Coast Guard 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics). The ACA, with funding from the U.S. Coast Guard, partnered with Anzovin Studio to create this animated video with the goal of educating and empowering paddlers to take responsibility for their personal safety on the water.


Tumwater Solitude - 5:30 min

The Wenatchee River’s Tumwater Canyon ranks as some of the biggest roadside whitewater anywhere. Unlike more remote water, the Tumwater stands brazenly, beckoning all challengers. This film follows 23-year-old Sam Grafton as he paddles this class V+ section by himself. The river is at its annual peak flow, a thundering 14,000 CFS. This is a personal moment between man and nature. This is Tumwater Solitude.


Wilderness Canoe Journey - Past, Present, Future - 3:36 min

Is there any hope for the future? People are paddling less and there’s a concern that we are no longer connected to nature. This new film from Kevin Callan shows a positive view; that there is hope.


Caleb - 4:17 min

Caleb Brousseau lost the use of his legs in a snowboarding accident in 2007. While that would end many other people’s careers in action sports, for Caleb it was only the beginning. Caleb went on to become one of the best sit-skiers in the world, winning a medal at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. In the summertime, this Terrace, British Columbia native descends from the mountain and hits the river with an inspiring attitude and solid class IV skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                     See trailers for some of the films on YouTube…..

05/11/15 Irwell Wild Water Race next Sunday 15th November at the Burrs Centre


Why not give it a go in any kayak or canoe (Or borrow one of the clubs WW Racers if you are brave enough)



03/11/15 Sarah Outen finishes global 'loop' at Tower Bridge



Another amazing feat of skill and endurance, many chunks of which were undertaken in a sea kayak with paddling partner Justine Curgenven


(see stunning Aleutians DVD http://www.cackletv.com/shop/dvds/kayaking-the-aleutians-dvd.html )


Why is it that so many ladies are knocking off the big trips these days?





03/11/15 Photo of the Month (November) competition


Photograph of the Month competition.  There is a shortlist of 8 excellent photographs for this month.  Please vote now for your favourite and why not send in a photo that you have taken for next month’s competition. Just email it to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


Click here to see this month’s photos……..


02/11/15 Lochy in opens

Four LCC members, decided to run the river Spean / Lochy from the Spean Gorge get out down to Old Inverlochy castle in Fort William.


The weather was glorious while doing the shuttle and as we got on the water, but it soon turned into a claggy, blustery day. Helmets were donned for protection from the rain as we set off down river. The autumnal colours had a brooding mysticism as we paddled downstream, playing in the riffles as we went. A very nice paddle and well suited to opens.


None of the group had paddled this river before, and we knew that there was one harder rapid, but we were all quite surprised how much out of character the main event was in comparison to the rest. Here the wide, lazy river thundered through a narrow gap that produced a stiff rapid for the opens. The sudden surge created several standing / curling waves that could dump quite a lot of water in an open! We all got safely through without incident; I think it was Jacks favourite part of the day.


After that it was back to a more gentle cruising, playing on the riffles, surfing the waves and standing up in the boats (mid rapid). It was then topped off with lovely finish at the castle.


Mike, Ruth, Dan & Jack                                             More photos……


02/11/15 Docks paddle 1/11/15


Five LCC members met at 10am on a misty Sunday morning for the usual paddle in the docks.


Julie Brookes wore a head torch while Craig Ellingham opted for the red fez and pumpkin look. Well it did match his new dry suit.


After paddling down to the Albert Dock we decided to get out and take a look at the tall ships including the Zebu which had been raised from the Albert Dock a few weeks ago.


A warm drink and chat in the Marina topped off a good day.



John & Chris Fay, Phil Edwards, Craig Ellingham and Julie Brookes.


John Fay   More Photos……


02/11/15 Sea Kayak Skills - FORWARD PADDLE STROKE


Considering that we spend the majority of our time paddling forward in a sea kayak, perhaps as much as 90%, it makes sense to try and get your forward paddle stroke as efficient as possible. If you’re on a club expedition or trying to complete a long sea passage, you’re likely to paddle a sea kayak for perhaps 9 hours per day so whatever you can do to save energy will pay dividends when you begin to tire.


This video, shot by our very own LCC member Matt Giblin of Kayak Essentials shows level 5 sea coach Nick Cunliffe demonstrating an efficient and elegant forward stroke. Note carefully his posture and upper body rotation. Also note where and how the paddle catches and releases from the water and how Nick’s arms and upper torso flow smoothly trough each linked stroke. Full version of the Skills DVDs can be ordered from the Kayak Essentials website.


When practicing your forwards stroke on the water, you should become aware of how your stroke differs from the one demonstrated in the video. Concentrate on each element to try and improve and take care to become aware what part of your body is in contact with your boat. You might come to realise that there are as many as 14 points of contact between you and your kayak: 1 & 2 – heels / 3 & 4 – toes / 5 & 6 – knees / 7 & 8 – thighs / 9 & 10 – hips / 11 & 12 – bum cheeks / 13 & 14 – back band.


Once you begin to improve and your posture feels normal, start practicing going through the gears from a relaxed stroke to a “get you out of trouble” stroke with lots of welly.


Click to see the video….


More Sea Kayak Skills next month.

01/11/15 Tees Barrage White Water Course 31st October 2015

A small group went to the Tees barrage for a great day's paddling, check out the short video and be sure to watch in HD.
John Cooke      Click here to see the video…..

01/11/15 Kayaking Essentials Weekend


Sadly I could only attend one of yesterdays sessions, the intermediate tide race course, but it was a cracker :)

The venue was the race that forms on Harry Furlong rocks, just west of Cemlyn, Dave and Julian were here a few weeks ago.


Its spring tides and one of the biggest in the year so the race was bigger than usual, glad I hadn't signed up for the advanced course then!!  Had a really good experience in rough water and picked up some good tips from Roger Chandler, a coach who I know is highly regarded in LCC.  When I was asked to roll in the races I don't mind admitting that my bottle went, but after running the race a couple of times I decided to give it a go.


It was really interesting to spend the entire time from HW to LW on site as it shows the changing flow and the appearance of eddies in the different places as the tide drops and rocky islands show.



Pity I couldn't have stayed on for some of the other days.


Here's a video from the day.


Karl Winrow              https://youtu.be/7bjqg3VUv-E


01/11/15 November 2015 Newsletter Published 
Please open it by clicking this link November Newsletter…… or via the website   More Archived Newsletters…..

To check your membership details go to Login button on website or click here….      If you have forgotten your password click here….. to have a new one emailed to you. (Please note that some ISP`s may block our automated system so please contact membership@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk if you have problems)