A quick review of the Dagger Stratos 14.5 + video
I just spent the last few days paddling the Dagger Stratos 14.5S. Its dubbed as a high performance ocean tourer that is ideal for beginners and expert alike which is a pretty broad spectrum to cover but I think they have pulled it off. I was in the market for a new sea kayak recently and I had decided I wanted a 14-15ft boat that surfs well has good speed and would be comfortable for doing daily tours, rock hopping and some day touring. After a bit of searching online I had a few contenders to consider.(The P&H Delphin, Venture Jura, North Shore Aspect and a few more.) Then I gave Colm in I-Canoe a call to see what he had available and he mentioned he was paddling the Dagger Stratos and really liked it.
To be honest I was a little surprised as I never think of Dagger and touring/sea kayaks. Anyway the feedback was good and it sounded like it was worth a try. The next day the boat arrived and a soon as it came out off the truck you could tell there was something good wrapped up. As soon as I got it opened I was impressed, the rocker profile and sleek lines looked great. I have failed to find a picture that does the boat justice and give a good sense of the rocker profile so I didn't include one. It really has to be seen in the flesh.
I managed to get to Down Patrick Head on one of the best days of the year so far. This is a local spot for me only 18 miles from home and a world class piece of coastline. A fantastic headland steeped in history and folklore with an impressive 60 meter sea stack Dun Briste broken away from the massive cliffs. The headland is dissected by a long cave that is only accessible a few days a year and on low tide. Half way through the cave is a huge blow hole called Poll Na Seantoine. This is an exposed piece of coastline and challenging on the finest days. Definitely not for the inexperienced.
Check out the video.
The Cliffs of Moher are world famous and attract about one million visitors a year but only a hand full of people get the opportunity to kayak under these 700ft goliaths. This is a trip that ranks high on most sea kayaker's to do list and its one I was fortunate enough to bag on a spectacular Monday afternoon in June.
It is nearing the end of May and the past two weeks have seen strong southerly winds change to stronger cold northerlies and a lot of cancelled tours and training sessions. So on Sunday morning while driving to a race I was surprised to get a call about a proposed trip around Achill Head on Monday morning. I hadn't taken much heed of the weather forecast for improved conditions to move over the country Sunday night as its been so wild lately.
That evening when I returned home I was eager to get out my new edition of OILEAIN and see what it had to say about our proposed trip;
"This one day expedition round Achill Head has to be one of the foremost Irish paddling trips, to be grabbed when conditions allow and with caution"
Last week (31/3-5/4) I was in Slovenia for the Gene17 next Generation training course. We were based in the beautiful Soča Valley in the Julian alps not far from the Italian border in north west Slovenia. This area has become very well known in the kayaking community as the place to go in Europe for nice class 2-4 white water, predictable levels, good weather and excellent ice cream!.
The Soča lends itself perfectly to this type of course. It offers lots of natural classrooms for improving personal skills and developing your coaching. The Next Generation course has been running for a number of years now, it was know as future staff training until this year when it was made open to paddlers to apply for a place on the course. There were 12 places available over 2 weeks. It suited me best to go on the second week.
Winter is well and truly here and I'm sure you can feel it every time you step outside. Well its just as bad when you have to get on the water for a flat water training session or a day on a white water river. Having good thermal base layers is the key to staying warm in these conditions. There is a huge range of base layer products on the market now that offer varying degrees of protection and comfort. For me I have been using CRAFT sportswear products for about 3 years now for all types of kayaking and training. CRAFT are a Swedish company that specialise in making performance sportswear for cycling, running and skiing and have done so for the last four decades. Why CRAFT? Three reasons
David Horkan from Paddle & Pedal. Posting info on various outdoor adventures in Mayo and around Ireland.