Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Four Musketeers

The Four Musketeers headed to the T with Adam for 

a day of fun and training Sat 24th March
(Jord, Johnathan, Doug & Anto)

River Report by Simon B

On Friday we got a text from Zaf to say the ‘T’ was releasing on Saturday rather than Sunday. Great I/we thought the weather forecast looks pretty good and guess what when the alarm went off and I lept out of bed to look out the window the sky was blue and sunny. I thought to myself what a way to start a days paddling perfect paddling weather.

We eventually set off, me with my windproof jacket (as I had been to North Wales before paddling in ‘Spring’ time) I reminded Anto about bringing along an outer shell to which he scoffed and said ‘I’ll be ok in my hoody’.

Anyway all was bright and sunny and then we got to passing Shrewsbury and ‘What you reckon that white stuff over them thar hills be Anto.’ ‘OMG was the response’

Well we turned off for Knockin and admired the white capped hills around us and in the distance. As got closer to Bala the sky turned grey with hail and snow and started to settle on the road. We eventually arrived at the Chipper car park and started to change into our yaking gear whilst feeling the benefit of hail/rain and snow. The inevitable question crosses your mind ‘Am I dreaming am I really doing this?’

Adam briefed the lads in the car park and then we all promptly got onto the water below the Chipper. Those of us who seal launched felt the full benefit of that fresh cold water from the dam just in case any of us were not quite awake we were now.

Myself and Jason chose to paddle and keep a distance from the group being coached. Stopping occasionally to revive cold hands.

The four lads Douggie, Jonathon, Jordan and Anto practised the breaking in/out and ferry gliding under the watchful eye of Adam, before dropping down to the corner above the start of the Graveyard section. The section was where Adam ran them through some more difficult skill improvement exercises including making eddies, crossing eddie lines and the boof stroke. They all demonstrated there eagerness to show their skills to proud watching dads busy taking photos and vids from the bank. However one show off (Jonathan) decided he would demo his role in this section to great success even though he scrapped the bottom with his lid, whilst feeling the benefit of that fresh Welsh water.

Just before taking a re-fuelling stop Adam took the lads to inspect the next section, looking down the Graveyard section towards the eddie before the Ski Jump. Having briefed the guys on the plan for the next section Douggie and Anto returned to the put in and worked on breaking into eddies, surfing, boofing and rock sliding whilst taking in Ski Jump, international wave and Fedw’r Gog Falls eventually paddling down to the café wave and Fingers and getting out at the raft get out. Back to the café to refuel before the final session.

Having eaten every last crumb in the café Adam, Anto and Douggie returned to the Chipper for one final run before the water was turned off. On the way down building on Adams coaching eventually ending up surfing on the cafe wave. Anto thought he would demo his role between the 2 café waves as he likes an incentive, managing to role up before going over the second wave and making the left hand eddie. Lucky…. He later let it slip that he had caught an edge surfing the café waves got flipped over, in the process he was left with one hand gripping the paddle which explains why the first role attempt failed but fortunately the second was a success. At the end of the day everyone got off the river in one piece and Douggie, Jonathon, Jordan and Anto all agreed they had a great days coaching from Adam.

We all look forward to the next paddle come rain or shine.

Simon B