Thursday 30 August 2012

Kids in the Tiderace Candy Shop

Our first shipment of Tiderace kayaks arrived on Tuesday, perfectly packed in separate full length cartons inside the container.
Johnny arrives in the trusty delivery rig.
Pre-orders awaiting pick up.
We had several pre-orders, and opened each box to inspect the boats & check out the features up to now we've only been able to read about.
The Xcite
The Xplore
After unloading & allocating the orders to go out around the country Rob & I decided we should make sure they were seaworthy.
Colour co-ordinated roof candy

A decent Nor Easter was blowing at Dolls Point, perfect crappy, short & sharp conditions to get a feel for what these much vaunted hull shapes have to offer.
The latest addition to the fast ocean tourer genre.
We swapped between the Xplore, Xcite & Pace 18, running out into the bay into the wind & chop, across the conditions, & then back downwind. It was a great way to get an initial feel for the boats, & we came away satisfied that Tiderace have delivered the performance they promised. Here's a short video of the pair of us hooning around, kids in the Tiderace candy shop.
Anyone watching our stock page will have noticed that the numbers available in the Tiderace range have instantly halved, and interest in the boats has been most encouraging.

Stay tuned for details of a demo day in the Sydney area, but in the meantime get in touch if you'd like to take one for spin with either of Rob or myself alongside.

Monday 27 August 2012

Tiderace Has Landed…!

Our first shipment of the innovative Tiderace Sea Kayaks is here. We have the following range of boats remaining from the first container:
We'll be holding a demo day in the Sydney region within the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime get in touch if you'd like to take one for a spin one-on-one with either of Rob or myself.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Officially Entered - Hawkesbury Classic 2012

I've just confiormed my entry into this year's Hawkesbury Classic, being run on October 27/28. I've got 9 weeks left to train & hope to give it a good shake.
The race raises money for the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation, and all donations/sponsorships are welcome. 

You can sponsor me through my paddler page on THIS LINK.
Think of it as a small fee to pay to ensure I endure some pain & suffering…. 

Monday 20 August 2012

Rob & Sharon's Holiday Cruise

Rob & Sharon are currently ambling their way up the coast from Lucinda in Tropical North Queensland. They've made their way up the spectacular Hinchinbrook Island, and have been slowly hopping north from island to island on their way to 'maybe Innisfail, maybe Cairns, we'll see….'
There are no Tarans & massive open water distances on this trip, just a nice opportunity for the guys to get away & enjoy a cruisy week or so on the water. 
Rob is paddling the Valley Etain 17'7, while Sharon is in her 17'3, and both report excellent handling under full loads & good speeds.
I'm expecting them back some time next week, hopefully in time to help me unload the Tiderace container!

Friday 17 August 2012

Back to the Hawkesbury Classic

I've discovered over the past few years that withdrawal from competitive sport has left me constantly in need of a goal. Without something to aim at, I find myself wandering a bit with my paddling, fitness, motivation, you name it. I no longer have to beat someone else to feel satisfied (thankfully), but I still have an urge to keep pushing boundaries & limits & find new things to take me out of my comfort zone.
Over the past year I've been lucky enough to have a couple of good ones to shoot for, and the preparation for those two big paddles has been absorbing & tremendously rewarding.
August has arrived in Sydney & the weather is starting to look more inviting, so I decided that this year I'll have another crack at the Hawkesbury Classic.
For those who don't know, this is an iconic race held over the night of the full moon in late October, along a river that winds from the foothills of the Blue Mountains at Windsor, 111km near enough to the mouth at Brooklyn. It started out as a bunch of of mates looking to organise a paddle down the Hawkesbury & raise some money some 35 years ago, and has built into a much anticipated event for paddlers of all abilities, craft & motivation, which regularly has a starting field of 500 paddlers.
I first did the race in 2001, in my first kayak, an Old Town Nantucket. It was 14'10" of pure thoroughbred, with a top speed of somewhere in the vicinity of 7kmh, and I can still hear the salesman telling me it was an ideal choice for the sea & the Hawkesbury race. 
The Old Town Nantucket (or Bucket…)
You wonder why I'm so careful about making boat suggestions to our customers!
I trained a couple of mornings a week on the harbour between home at Annandale & Darling Harbour, and felt I was right raring to go come race day.
Setting off on my first Classic in 2001
17hrs 53minutes later I crossed the line at Brooklyn, in a paddling feat that to this day remains the hardest thing I've ever done.
Here is a photo of me finishing in '01 with my thermal wrapped around my head, shirtless, smiling and completely rooted….
The following year I realised I'd better change boats if I wanted to go faster, so I upgraded to another elite speed machine, the Current Designs Storm (another great sales jobby, you'd think I would have learned…) This time with some sea miles under my belt, a little bit of club instruction from my new-mate-who-talked-too-much Rob Mercer, I managed to knock four & a half hours off my time.
Coming back a third year, this time with a shiny new purple fibreglass & kevlar Greenlander Pro that I'd paddled twice in the lead up week to the race, I got down to 12hrs 13mins, a time I was happy enough with considering my trials of 2001!
From 2003 the kids arrived and my attention turned squarely to paddling on the sea, where it has remained ever since. Even though I'm fitter & technically much better than I was back then, I'm still acutely aware that flat water paddling requires fitness above all else to cover big distances, whereas sea paddling gives you the luxury of using your skill in the waves. It might not be easier, but it's way more engaging & the time seems to pass faster, as do the miles, for me at least.
Regardless, with a welter of fast boats now positioned under the EK banner, I figured 10 or so weeks of targeted training and a proper crack at the race was in order. A week into it I'm feeling motivated, have already dropped a few kegs, and I'm pondering whether to use the Taran, Rapier 20, Epic 18X or the Pace 18. None of them have quite as much character as the Old Town Nantucket, but they have a few more wheels.
While finishing is always the goal of anyone who enters the Hawkesbury, a paddle that clocks about 100km's is not to be sneezed at after all, I would like to try & do a good time, I figure a shorter Classic has got to be easier than a long Classic, & I should know!
You can enter the race through the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic website HERE. Proceeds from the race go to the Arrow Bone Marrow Foundation.

The Velocimiser Sea Kayak Foil Rudder

After two solid years of R&D, we can finally announce a series of successful sea trials of our new foiling sea kayak rudder, The Velocim...