Thursday, 30 September 2010

Customised Valley & Rockpool Kayaks - Cut-off Date

We're cutting off for the January container from the UK on October 23, if you're after a customised Valley or Rockpool boat in our next shipment. 


Options with Rockpool include your own customised art complete with glitter & metallic 'jewel' paint, starfish, the excellent & innovative Rockpool electric pump system, or a slightly lighter exotic Vac 2 layup, an HT Pack, or even a 3 piece boat made by a true expert in the craft. Check out the Rockpool Options page for details. Or, you could be the second person in the country to own the much copied, but still original & best tideracer, the Alaw or it's smaller sibling the Alaw Bach. The Taran has created almost unrivalled interest in this country, & this boat is now available in full production.


With Valley you're able to have a customised bulkhead & foot pump pre-installed, the bombproof Aerospace Vacuum Infused Carbon-Kevlar layup, and a colour scheme of your choice, all made by the original British boat manufacturer....Drop either Rob or myself a line if you'd like your own British boat custom built & here in time for the coming paddling season.
Final day for custom orders will be October 24.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Video - Surf & Lumps Around Sydney




If you've been reading the last few blog posts, you'll know that Sydney has recently had some great varied weather, which has produced some exciting sea states.
Occasionally a coded entry on the surf websites alerts us to the possibility of the Bundeena Bar working. This is a sandy bar about two & a half kilometres in from the heads of Port Hacking, which in long enough period swell, with the right direction to it, on the right tide, can generate stupendous long rides for sea kayaks. If you're thinking 'that doesn't sound like it happens very often', well you're right....
Rob was out on the bar on the weekend & caught a few short videos of some rides on a day when the moons aligned.
You can see the results on the video above, with another clutch of images from a sea paddle last week where the wind driven sea was steep & fun.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Elevated Vision - the Kayalu 8" Extension ToughBar

People have been snapping up the Kayalu Accessorised RAM Suction Camera mount, and have asked us for our opinion on the 8" extension arm which is an advertised accessory. We didn't include them with the mount as we wanted to get one out in a range of rougher water to make sure it wasn't going to be a liability. Essentially, the suction cup has to be very strong to counter the leverage effect of the camera weight extended 8" off to one side, and while it looked OK on flat water, there is a lot of force when things start going sideways, and we wanted to be sure it would be up to the task.
So, with a decent swell running last Friday I stuck my camera on the mount with the extension bar to see how it would fare. I began with the camera in the upright position, which as expected fared well, and gave a nice image of the sea & paddler in perspective.
I then mounted it offset on a 45 degree angle to capture Rob paddling alongside, and in some turbulent water, including a few small breakers across the deck, again everything held solid.
Finally, we set up up at deck level, out off the edge of the gunwale, pointed back up & across, where it was often being dragged by the moving water in concert with my hull speed. No problems, with a short amount of time to make sure the cup is fixed and holds, everything is well designed & the results are excellent.
The conclusion, this is another great piece of kit from Kayalu that stands up to the rigours of sea paddling.
The Kayalu Toughbar 8" extension arms are available from the online store for $39.95.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Swell

The worlds bravest, or silliest fisherman, take your pick...
There was a prediction yesterday for a very strong pulse of swell to come through Sydney after lunch, and considering the wave buoy off Tasmania's west coast had recorded an all time high of 18 metres from the same system, there was reason to think things were going to get a bit bigger than usual.
Rob & I decided to take the afternoon off & head out around the Sydney cliffs to see what rolled through. Although not a 'seat-of-the-pants' experience, it was an afternoon when on more than one occasion, I felt very small. The swell buoy off Manly showed wave heights between 4-6m, with wave periods from 12-16 seconds, and that was pretty much what we figured on the water. Most sets were coming through at about 3m, with the occasionally very big, very long wavelength. There was no wind to speak of & virtually no sea, so we got our kicks riding the 2m rebound that was thrown up off the cliffs between North Head & Blue Fish Pt. As the swell was so southerly, even that effect was negated somewhat, and it did feel at times like we were paddling among apartment blocks moving at 35 knots. 
The photo above shows a couple of dudes in an old timber clipper out trolling through any whitewater they could find. More than once as we watched them crawling up the cliffline, the place they has just been copped a high sig. set which obliterated everything. If they'd been there a minute earlier it would have a very entertaining spectacle. We came to the conclusion that these guys either had no idea, or they new exactly what they were doing, or they were pissed.... 
Days like this remind you of the sheer power of the ocean. As a kayaker these sorts of swell & wavelength conditions make virtually our entire local coast unlandable. They turn dormant shallows or bomboras into boat killers, and heighten your awareness of just how thin the line can be in the sea. Something often overlooked is the fact that waves as big as this can break according to the length of the wave period, so sometimes (rarely thankfully) even the deep water offers no sanctuary. They need to be a bit bigger than this around the deep water off Sydney for this to happen, but it doesn't make it any less intimidating when a wave of this size starts to look a bit steeper....You know there's no way it will break, but it's hard not to think about what would happen if it did.
Turning & heading back into the swell was comforting, as Rob said, at least running this way you can say you saw the one that got you...
There are a couple of snaps of the day below.
Rob behind a yacht that has disappeared behind a crest

Mercer's head blighting the skyline

On the way back in we found a solid lump of tree trunk floating around the ferry lanes, & figured we should move it to shore. A harbour gin palace would have come a mighty cropper if it had collided with this floating detritus. Then again, maybe one less gin palace wouldn't be such a bad thing. Here's Rob with the offending article under tow. He's not that fast when he's towing a big log....

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Capricornia Cays Expedition

Eddie Safarik, Paul Wilton, & Gary Forrest recently completed a sea kayaking first, being the first paddlers to reach the remote Lady Elliot Island, some 85km off the Queensland Coast, and then continuing up the Capricornia Cays. 
They're telling their story on Friday October 8 at a talk & presentation at the Brisbane Sailing Squadron, Quay St, Bulimba in association with the Queensland Sea Kayak Club. Check the club's website HERE for details of the event.

Monday, 13 September 2010

What's New from Valley.....?

We've been in close communication with Jason & Pete at Valley Sea Kayaks regarding their latest project. The as-yet unnamed design has been a good 18 months in the planning, and promises to be a rather different boat style to what has traditionally been considered 'the Valley shape'. 
With a trend towards narrower, larger carrying boats taking hold in the expedition end of the market, Valley are looking to something that is fast, with good initial stability, yet with the traditional peerless rough water handling endemic to their heritage.
There is a brief summary of what has been going on with the boat on the Valley site HERE.
Our mate Justine Curgenven has also been out with Barry Shaw testing the boat & her initial thoughts & a few nice rough water pics are up on here blog HERE.
We have our order in for the first batch of these boats, & are aiming to have them in the country early in 2011. As with the Rockpool GT & Taran & the Zegul range, we will be among the very first outlets in the world to offer these new boats to our customers. 
Stay tuned for more details.

Demo Day in Queensland - October 22

Prior to the Queensland Symposium next month, we will be holding our now annual demo day on Friday October 22 on the Gold Coast. We're joining forces this year with Craig McSween's Adventure Outlet, and between us we'll have the entire range of Tahe Marine, Valley, North Shore, Rockpool, Trak & Epic boats on display, ready for you to  come along & paddle. The demo day kicks off at 10am at the boat ramp at Murlong Crescent, just around from the camp ground at Tallebudgera (map below). Rob, Craig & I will be on hand to offer on water tips & instruction while you're paddling, at an event that has been a lot of fun the past two years. Please let us know in advance if you're planning to come along. We'll be packing at 3pm to get to the Symposium opening.


Note, this isn't the same venue as the previous two years. Call if you're unsure of the venue.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

National Sea Kayak Symposium, October 22/23/24

Expedition Kayaks are proud to be once again associated with the growing National Sea Kayak Symposium, this year as the Platinum Sponsors. We have been at this event since it's inception two years ago, and the coming symposium promises to be the biggest & best yet. 
A glance at the program for the weekend shows it's absolutely jam packed with seminars from navigation to photography to gadgets to kayak maintenance, on-water instruction & the opportunity to demo a huge range of kayaks, skis, surf kayaks & paddle-craft. For the southerners reading this, it's all in very, very warm water....
Click HERE to book your attendance, before the early-bird discount runs out.
As part of our sponsorship we've offered up a heritage Valley Anas Acuta kayak as the major raffle prize, and other sponsors will be in attendance like Craig McSween's Adventure Outlet (with his new shipment of Tahe Marine kayaks).
Evening presentations will be made by Beau Miles & Graham Charles, and there is even a big Saturday night get together & socialising event planned. I'm looking forward to that one, I don't get out much thesedays...
We don't have many of these events in Australia & this one continues to grow & imp[rove. I'd urge any sea kayakers interested to check out the Symposium & make a weekend of it.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Solo - Book & DVD Launch

We made the trek up to Glenbrook last night for Vicky McAuley's launch of her much-awaited book, Solo, the story of Andrew McAuley's inspiring, but ultimately tragic attempt to paddle alone from Australia to NZ.
It was a terrific evening, with young Finlay McAuley introducing proceedings, and reminding us prior to showing a video that his Dad 'was the one with the messy hair'. Vicki has much to be proud of in her little boy.
There was a glowing endorsement from Simon Baulderstone of the Australian Himalayan Foundation, who described the honest & passionate book as the best in it's genre he has ever read. Some praise considering the breadth of exploration writing and Simon's library of climbing & adventure books.
Vicky McAuley has clearly been through a terrible time in her life, and clearly she has emerged a stronger & better person. This book is a warts & all examination of the amazing journey Andrew undertook, the planning & preparation, and the tragedy that unfolded in the heat of public glare, which wasn't always sympathetic. Whether you're a paddler or not, this one is a must read.




We have the book & the harrowing documentary 'Solo' for sale through our online store. All proceeds of  book & DVD sales through EK will go directly to Vicki & Finlay (international orders are welcome).