Jersey Kayak Adventures

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Children’s Summer Holiday Kayaking Courses

July 16th, 2014

28 July 9-11yrs  kayak course has 2 places left.

4 August 9-11yrs has 4 places left.

Details

 

That Sinking Feeling …

July 10th, 2014

Wear and damage to drain holes on sit on top kayaks P1010945-001I recently helped Terry repair his kayak after it developed a leak around one of the recess holes. The depth sounder/drain holes are common wear spots because the plastic tends to be raised in these areas and is therefore prone to damage. The plastic is often quite thin around these spots due to the design of the hull.

Another common wear spot is at the stern of the Prowler kayaks. This can quickly wear through if the kayak is frequently dragged over beaches.

If you use the metal trolleys which ‘plug’ into the drain holes, take great care to check they do not damage the seam around the drain holes, as this is a common weak point.

Check your kayak for wear spots otherwise you may find your kayak filling with water and becoming very unstable.

As an added precaution we have installed airbags in our kayaks which you can buy from Stuart at Gone paddling: 07797728040.

Never underestimate how unstable a kayak can become with only a small amount of water sloshing about inside the hull.

If you spot an area getting thin, get in touch as I may be able to help fix it before it gets any worse.

Derek

Next Introduction to Kayaking Course

June 5th, 2014

Our next introduction to kayaking course starts on Sunday 15 June – 20 July 0930-1200 (6 weeks). £235 (includes manual). Details NOW FULL. Still space on Tuesdays 8 July 1800-2030 course

How to Pass BCU Level 2 Coach Assessment

May 7th, 2014

BCU Level 2 Coach Assessment – Top Tips to Successfully Jump the Hurdle

Seymour tower and sea kayakeres

How to pass the BCU/UKCC Coach level 2 assessment

Passing the BCU/UKCC Level 2 Coach assessment can be a daunting task even with the help of a mentor. Here are a few tips gathered from Nic and Clare who successfully passed their Level 2 assessment.

If you’re not familiar with the BCU Level 2 coach award, it’s best to look at this diagram. When you have got confused get in touch with me – or a Level 2 trainer/assessor – for advice and clarification!

Basically you need the BCU Level 1 Coach award, Foundation Safety and Rescue (you’ll already have done this at level 1) and BCU 3 Star in one or two disciplines before you can access Level 2 training. Expect to also need to obtain a First Aid award and, if you plan to work with young people a Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) Police check.

Why bother with Level 2 assessment?

BCU Level 2 allows you to operate in defined areas without supervision. More importantly you can add bolt modules such as 4 Star Leader and Moderate Water Endorsement which will increase your operating limits considerably.

Top Tips to help you pass your Level 2 assessment

  • sea kayaking with the P&H Hammer in Jersey

    Look for opportunities to coach whenever you are afloat

    Develop your personal paddle skills up to a good standard so you no longer have to think about them. You’ll then be able to focus on your students more easily.

  • Get plenty of time afloat developing your own skills in a wide range of conditions so you build up your experience. This is a good excuse to just get out paddling with your friends.
  • Help out at your local club/youth group or centre. This will give you more opportunities to practice your coaching skills.
  • Try to coach as wide a range of people as possible to develop your toolbox of coaching styles. There is a big difference between coaching young people and adults.
  • Learn from other coaches. Spend time assisting on their sessions.
  • Keep your log book up to date and record anything related to paddlesport.
  • Work in different types of craft. This will remind you what it feels like when doing a skill for the first time.
  • You can now get assessed in just one discipline. If you plan to work as a coach, get both canoe and kayak coaching experience and be assessed coaching in both disciplines. This will make you more employable.

    Try different craft so you know what it feels like to do new skills

    Try different craft so you know what it feels like to learn new skills

  • Stay in contact with other trainees on you Level 2 training course and also the course providers. Both can provide support and advice as well as top tips. There are also a couple of Facebook pages in existence.
  • Allow time to get any pre-requisites.
  • It’s worth doing a 16 hour first aid course rather than an 8 hour one because it is more comprehensive and will be more useful in the future, e.g. if you go on to do 4 Star Leader assessment.
  • Get a mentor who can give advice and also help you prepare your portfolio of experience for the assessment.
  • Plan, do and review your coaching sessions. Write them up soon after the session while things are still fresh in your mind.
  • If there are others in your area needing assessment, consider hiring an assessor rather than book onto an assessment course. This will allow you to – hopefully – coach students who you have been working with over a length of time. It makes things more realistic and less stressful.

If you are a level 1 coach stepping up a grade to level 2 will enhance your paddle-sport and coaching skills as well as helping you find employment in the adventure industry. Clare and Nic subsequently passed their level 2 coach award and headed south to kayak and find work in New Zealand.

This article was originally published in Canoe Kayak Magazine.

Derek Hairon

Discover Sea Kayaking Course. 4 May – 8 June

April 27th, 2014

My next Introduction to sea kayaking course with user friendly Sit-on-Top kayaks starts: Sundays 4 May – 8 June 1000-1230  (6 weeks). £235. Email or call to book.

Free Kayak Skills Safety Class

April 16th, 2014

Our free 2 hour kayak safety class is a great opportunity to get safety and paddle skills training.
Saturday 26 April 1700-1930
Safety class information.

Sea Kayak Courses in April and at Easter

April 4th, 2014

Introduction to kayaking courses in April and over Easter have some places left. Get ready for Summer.

Sea Kayak Navigation. Putting Theory into Practice

March 28th, 2014
sea kayak navigation

On the water navigation exercises

Join us on a weekend of practical sea kayak navigation making theory become reality around the scenic coastline of Jersey.

Based on the BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning course the weekend moves from the classroom onto the sea to apply your sea kayak navigation skills to a selection of on the water challenges.

Having planned trips ashore we go afloat to paddle some of the best sections of Jersey’s coastline. This will enable you to develop your practical map/chart reading skills and navigation techniques. Practice using transits, assessing speed and drift, allowing for tide streams and cross tides as well as micro navigation and even paddling in low light/darkness.

Date 13-14 September. Or call to arrange other dates. £200

More information.

Essential Sea Kayaking Skills and Leadership Development Courses

March 3rd, 2014

Develop your paddle and leadership skills while exploring the fantastic coastline of Jersey over 4 or 5 days. Improve your sea kayaking skills in a range of conditions along with trip planning and safety and rescue techniques.

Easter dates: April 18-21 or April 21-24 Easter offer £300 with kayaks and kit available. Courses

DAG Midway Sit-on-Top Kayak Review

February 25th, 2014
A fun kayak to paddle

A fun kayak to paddle

If you first see the DAG Midway from a distance, or as an upturned kayak on a dealers rack, it’s likely that you will not realise it is a sit-on-top kayak until you look closely or flip it upright.

This is a kayak that aims to position itself between two different segments of the paddle sport market. Hence the name “Midway”.

Described by DAG Kayaks (now part of RTM) as “fast, elegant and of high performance, the Midway combines the performance of a traditional sea kayak (speed, manoeuvrability, responsiveness) with that of a sit-on-top.” This certainly sets a design challenge and considering the design has been about since around 2010, the surprising thing is how few Midways are about.

It’s worth noting that the Midway has a brother the Tiwok evo, which is a very similar to the Midway but is a sit inside style sea kayak and 5cm narrower. RTM also produce a similar style of kayak, the Disco+ which is a little shorter (428cm) with a max load listing of 120kg. But more about max weights later …

Technical bits

Scupper Pro and Dag Midway comparison

Scupper Pro and Dag Midway comparison

Roto-moulded plastic construction

Length: 440cm

Width: 65cm, 25.6”

Weight: 23kg, 51lbs

Max load: 140kg, 308lbs

Colours: Sunburst and White options.

Front hatch with water tight bulkhead

Grab handles fore and aft and on side

Removable thigh brace

Fishing rod holder.

Background

I’ve owned a Dag Midway for over two years and this is my second Midway. I was lucky to get long term use of an earlier model – which my dealer accepted as a trade in (there’s a clue here). The main difference is the hatch cover has changed. In the past two years I have paddled the Midway in excess of 300 times on both sit-on-top kayak tours and also in more challenging waters.

Why did I buy the Midway

The thigh brace gives more connectivity but may make self rescues more trcky

The thigh brace gives more connectivity but may make self rescues tricky

As a professional sea kayak coach running tours and coaching for both sit-on-top and sit inside sea kayakers, I wanted a more responsive sit-on-top kayak.

The mainstay of our fleet is the Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro, a great kayak and one which has stood the test of time both in terms of its design and build. Though I could use a sit inside kayak on our sit-on-top courses and tours, I feel this might distance myself from clients as there are differences between sit-on-top and sit inside kayaks and users. Plus, if I were to use a sit inside kayak hopping onto beaches, working in challenging conditions etc. might be less easy and I might lose empathy with our paddlers. On paper the Midway looked like a good compromise for my needs.

Build

Both models arrived well kitted out. Handles and fittings are in the right places and my current model has drain holes in better positions. The ‘D rings’ for lines and the straps are of good quality with no sign of rust. The rubbing strip at the stern is made from a more solid material than found on the Prowlers.

The seat area is quite wide, which suggests a large paddler will fit. The height of the moulded back tends to encourage you to lean back more than is needed. I solved this by gluing extra paddling made from sleeping mat foam. As a result I now have a customised seat with better connectivity and a warmer and drier bottom!

On my earlier Midway I experimented with seats such as the designs by Feelfree and also the Ocean Kayak Comfort Pro. The latter, though very comfortable and hard wearing, increased the centre of balance by more than 1½ inches making the kayak more tippy. The position of the D rings (attached to the handles) needed changing to reduce the length of strap running from the seat to the D ring mount for both the Ocean Kayak and Feelfree seats. This was easily achieved by moving the D ring on the handle from the forward position to the rear.

A deck-line runs almost the whole length of the kayak which is great for rescues and hauling the kayak out the water.

The rear stern tank well comes with a net to keep items from washing overboard. I found this a bit of a nuisance as it gets tangled with equipment and have removed it.

A bow hatch with an internal bulkhead is fitted which is very water tight. If you end up with water between the bulkhead and stern section a thoughtfully recessed drain plug is added. I rarely need to use this drain plug which reflects the excellent construction.

The drain holes are well thought out but the diameter is small, so an Eckla sit-on-top Kayak trolley might not be a good thing to use in case you damage the seams around the drain holes.

The thigh brace

DAG Midway

DAG Midway

If you have paddled a surf ski, this will look familiar and enable the paddler to brace themselves in rough water or perform more radical moves. The thigh brace increases your connectivity with the kayak to allow more edging and support strokes in rough water. With a bit of practice rolling is possible but you need to keep your legs pressing inwards against the thigh brace.

Self rescues with the thigh brace installed can be tricky. If you use the over the side method the thigh brace can get in the way as you rotate your bottom into the seat. A lot depends on your agility and build so it is worth practising in advance.

The hull has a notable transition between primary and secondary stability. This tippiness will not come as a surprise if you have paddled various sit in kayaks. If you are used to a more flat bottomed sit-on-top kayak expect a few surprises.

The recessed channels on the hull add strength but the front two drain holes do result in a bit of hull distortion occurring. However, this is not as much as seen in some sit-on-top designs. In hot or cold weather you might also need to loosen the stern drain plug to stop the hull distorting (which also indicates just how airtight the stern section is).

Weight range

Midway with a 70kg paddler

Midway with a 70kg paddler

140kg is listed as the maximum loading weight and you’d therefore assume this suggests a paddler weighing to 20 stone can paddle this kayak. This is grossly over the top and is based on how much weight can be applied while the kayak remains afloat. A problem is that some brochures and websites have taken the maximum loading rather than the maximum paddlers weight as the benchmark. Search around and you will find that the recommended maximum paddlers weight is a more realistic 90kg (200lbs). However I’d suggest around 80-85kg might be a better guide.

Paddling

As you might by now guess the Midway is a lively craft which, given its hull design and length, make it quite manoeuvrable in a range of conditions. Compared to the Scupper Pro I find the Midway more responsive. However, there does not seem to be much difference in speed between the Scupper Pro and Midway and a few of my instructors feel equally at home paddling the Scupper Pro. Given a choice many would still opt for the Scupper Pro over the Midway.

Connectivity – especially with the thigh brace fitted – makes a big improvement in handling. This lets you paddle in bumpy waters where you can rely on your edging and support skills. Coming from a surf/white water and sea kayaking background means I enjoy experiencing a responsive kayak in moving water. This contrasts with many sit-on-top designs which have little to stop your bottom lifting off the seat when bracing or edging.

Initial stability is a bit sensitive when sitting still but improves once you are moving. Secondary stability is good providing you are used to slightly transferring weight to one side when stationary. The Midway will lean over a lot before you reach the point of no return so sculling and support strokes are worth developing to allow you to get the most from this kayak.

In rough water and tide races – like with many sit-on-top kayak designs – the open seating area fills with water and takes a couple seconds to drain, while you feel as if you are the captain of a submarine. Compared to the Scupper Pro life on the Midway at this point can feel a bit less stable, but if you keep the kayak moving this sensation is overcome. In swell and surf the Midway tracks quite well and once the kayak broaches the thigh brace helps you remain connected with the craft. Having a bit more speed is useful in headwinds.

In beam winds or swell there is a slight tendency for the freeboard to catch more than the Scupper Pro.

If you are coming to the Midway from a background with sit inside sea kayaks and some of the higher performance designs, then the transition will not feel very different. Much will depend on your personal preferences in terms of length and handling requirements. You may also be more critical of the design as a result of the limitations of not having any connection with the deck for your knees/thighs and exposure to the elements.

If you are used to sit-on-top kayaks, be prepared to step up your paddle skills because this is a lively and responsive kayak.

Fishing from the Midway

Though a fishing rod holder is included, this is a design which is going to appeal to the more experienced paddler who fancies doing a spot of fishing rather than the other way around. Reaching behind for gear may feel unstable, even when your legs are dropped over each side of the kayak to give more stability. The minimalist angler will perhaps find this less of an issue. Some report the thigh brace makes it harder to move about and change position, if fishing for any length of time.

Unlike the Midway the Scupper Pro makes angling a little easier and allows more freedom of movement.

Who is likely to buy the Midway?

This is a kayak that is perhaps best suited for a paddler around 85kg or less, who ideally has a good repertoire of paddle skills. The Midway has that little bit of ‘edginess’ which makes it fun to use, if you enjoy getting out for a spot of paddling instead of heading for the gym. A smaller built paddler, who finds it hard to keep up with friends paddling some sit-on-top designs, may also find the speed and liveliness a good option.

The person already paddling a sit inside sea kayak is unlikely to find a reason to use the Midway unless they often find themselves paddling solo and do not have a reliable roll. If they also paddle with friends who use sit-on-top kayaks then the Midway may bridge both types of craft.

Approach the Midway from a sit-on-top kayak background and you need to have, or be willing to spend, time developing a range of paddle skills. This design will give you more confidence compared to using a sit inside sea kayak, though you cannot just jump onto the Midway and paddle away – which may explain why it has not been hugely popular with sit-on-top kayakers in the UK. The reason I ended up getting long term use of my first Midway from our local dealer was because the original buyer though wanting a sporty kayak did not have the range of skills to rally get to grips with it.

The Midway is a kayak you must try before you buy and preferably give it a few tests to see how you get on with it. And: ensure you practice your self rescue techniques due to the thigh brace and wear appropriate paddle gear and carry safety kit, unless you want some big scares.

To put it in a nut shell: The Midway requires a good foundation of paddle skills. Once mastered the Midway will be fun to paddle and gets you whizzing around the coast. Just don’t think of the Midway as being like most sit-on-top kayaks.

Derek Hairon

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