I had the Sipre Marlin M surf ski for the summer just gone here in Ireland. This was my first ski to own and only my second to paddle. When I decided to buy a ski I wanted to get something that I could paddle comfortably and confidently in some decent conditions. As I would be paddling solo I needed a ski that was not a full on racing ski and that I could remount easily if needs be.
When my Marlin arrived I was delighted with what I had gotten. There isn't a lot of info on this ski on the web so it was a bit of a punt, but it paid off. When you first sit in the ski it might feel a little tippy, but once you get moving the stability kicks in and its a pleasure to paddle. It cruises on flat water at 10kmph and handles cross wind/chop really well. I have had it out in some nice swell and have clocked 25kmph into an offshore. Check the video below.
Overall I really like the Marlin. Its a perfect intermediate ski and an excellent craft to get started on if you have a bit of experience paddling racing kayaks. It's fully adjustable as well so it can cater for various leg lengths. My ski was a basic construction and weighed about 16kg.
Above are some pictures of the Gopro mount I bought a few weeks ago. It is very simple mount and doesn't take up much room on the deck or effect the stability of the kayak to much. The mount is available on Ebay and other sites like Deal Extreme for about $20 - search "Gopro extension". The suction mount comes separate.
I have only used it on sea kayaks (plastic) and it has worked really well. You do have to find a smooth surface for the suction cup to stick but this isn't and issue on composite kayaks. I don't think that it will be ridged enough for white water as the impacts are very hard compared to sea kayaking. Make sure to tether the camera to the deck lines just in case it comes off!
Here is the mount in action. Enjoy
The Crana Canoe weekend took place over the weekend (19th/20th). This year seen nearly 200 kayakers taking to the water in 6 disciplines. There was Sea kayak racing, Freestyle, Slalom, Rafting, Wild Water racing and Boater Cross to choose from. There is also coaching clinics in paddling technique and safety and rescue available to everyone over the weekend. This event has been running for a few years now and has become the biggest white water kayaking event on the Irish calendar. The setting is perfect for such an event. The Crana river is dam released for the weekend so the water is guaranteed which is fantastic as you can plan your weekend well in advance and not worry about the event being cancelled due to no water. A novelty in Ireland!
Saturday was a busy day packed with competitions. Starting in the morning with the sea kayak race. I took the win in the sea kayak category in the Tahe Marine Wind Solo. This is the second time I have raced this boat and the second win. Definitely one of the fastest plastic sea kayak on the go. Then there was a raft race which was great craic and after that the Dagger Dash fun race. At the same time there was also a freestyle competition on the lower part of the river and racers training on the boater cross course.
The main event of the weekend is the advanced boater cross which is raced over the upper section of the river and the infamous "Claw" drop on Sunday afternoon. The level of carnage here on race day is unbelievable and a real show for the spectators who line the river bank. I came 2nd in this event last year so I was hopeful of a repeat performance this year. I got of to a good start winning my first heat. But I got caught up in some dirty tactics at the start of the next heat and this left me in 3rd place coming into the Claw. Only 1st and 2nd would advance. So a last ditch effort was made to take out Eoin Keyes in 2nd. Boofing on to his deck sent me right into the "room of doom" and the slow line. Crossed the line in 4th and was out of the competition. The final was set to be a cracker. Irish international slalom paddler Ciaran Heurteau had come specially for the event and didn't disappoint. He charged through the heats and took the final win in style.
Well done to Adrian Harkin and the Just Kayak team for putting on such a great event. Put it in your calendar for 2014 no doubt it will be even bigger and better next year.
Welcome to the Paddle & Pedal blog. I hope to use this blog as a platform to share some of my paddling experiences with you, from trip reports and gear reviews to training updates and plans. There are hundreds of blogs out there but its not always easy to find the information you want on a new piece of kit or the logistics of organising a trip abroad. 2013 alone has been a busy year with two trips to Europe for white water and two trips to the UK for the Devizes to Westminster race and an Irish sea crossing thrown in there as well. You learn a lot from these events and it always good to share the little cheats and insider knowledge that might help others on there journey.
As for gear, I use the best gear I can afford for the job. If its LOMO or SWEET it doesn't matter. It works that's what matters. Lots of reviewers will tell you every piece of kit they review is great in the hope they might get more free stuff from the manufactures. I wont! I will share with you my thoughts good and bad on the actual gear I use when I'm paddling.
Anyway thanks for reading and hopefully you might get something helpful from my posts. If there is anything you would like to ask fire ahead.
David Horkan from Paddle & Pedal. Posting info on various outdoor adventures in Mayo and around Ireland.