On Saturday the 11th of July, we travelled the 3-hour drive to paddle the river Dee. The Dee is a river up in north wales that goes through Llangollen. Ollie had paddled the Dee twice before and I had paddled it once. The times we’d gone before were on an overnight school trip. On this trip, we paddled down from Horseshoe Falls (a horseshoe shaped weir) down through Serpents Tail and Mile End Mill and getting out just below Town Falls in Llangollen. Only Ollie had run Serpents Tail before but that was at a lower level and wasn’t successful. Now when we did together, the levels were higher, so some features were flushed through but still a good rapid. Luckily, we both had successful lines down it and couldn’t wait for the second lap for when we could run it again. We next got down to Mile End Mill which was where we had spent most of the time with school. We surfed the waves and did the seal launch off a large rock. After Mile End Mill, we came to a rapid that neither me or Ollie had run before which would also probably be the largest rapid we’d paddled. It was the rapid in Llangollen called Town Falls. It consisted of two v shaped drops but with gaps in the middle which you weren’t meant to go through. On the first run, because we couldn’t get out to look, both of us went straight through the middle of both of them. Luckily, we were fine in the end and we shuttled back up for round 2. On the second lap, we did the same and ran Serpents Tail twice. When we got down to Town falls, we did the same again and went through the middle of the drops. I got a clean line, but Ollie came out the first drop vertical then hit a rock on the second and flipped into the hole. Didn’t stop Ollie from popping a good roll. After getting out and Sean grabbing his car, we drove to the aquaduct. We paddled across it and got the look over the 3cm thick metal wall stopping us dropping off the edge of the 126ft drop down to the river at the bottom. It was a great experience to end the day.
A few months ago, I bought the Exo Kayaks Rexy. I decided to get this boat because I needed a new boat that would be fun to play in and surf in but also must be able to run big rapids and get through waves. I’d seen many videos which had people using the Rexy and it looked to fit the qualifications I wanted. I’ve had this boat for about half a year and it has not failed to impress. I first used it at CIWW and it would just glide over the big holes and waves. The next big rapid I took it on was an amazing double day trip on the Afon Yscir and the Tal-Y-Bont section on the river Usk. That week had had lots of rain so the rivers were high so I was excited to see how the Rexy would cope. It was light work! Because the Rexy has such a big rocker it would just lift over them. Moving on, the Rexy sits very high up on the water. This allows it to be fast and surfs very well. It has a low back deck allowing it to get vertical but also has enough space to put a drybag with clothes or other things if necessary. The low stern has edges running all the way up the boat. This means it can carve around nicely on any wave. The large rocker on this boat means it is easy to roll with and without a paddle. This has been good for me because I have only recently got my roll up to a sufficient standard and the Rexy has helped with that massively. Another positive about this boat is the aesthetics and size. The Rexy comes in one size and multiple colours. Although it comes in one size, the seat has three notches it can go through and the footrests go far down. I am 6ft and I still have 3 notches to go down on the footrests and another notch back on the seat. That gives my legs about 8 inches to grow before I grow out of it. It has two horizontal handles on the front and back and they are in the convenient position for when Ollie and I carry our boats together because the handles are in line. The seat is padded around the sides and the bottom and the backrest has a rope system to tighten and loosen it. There is only one negative of this boat. If you don’t manage to boof over a hole or wave, you are likely to come out vertical and may flip back into the wave. Other than that I give this boat 5 stars and recommend it to anyone looking for a new boat.
Here is the link to our video of me trying the Rexy out for the first time at CIWW. You will see how easy the Rexy is to paddle and how well it goes over waves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEobEWrebYc
I have recently bought myself a new, red Palm Shuck helmet. Before that I had been using an old Ruk Rapid helmet, which did the job but wasn’t comfy at all and required a lot of padding to make it fit. The adjuster on it had also broken a bit. I was holding off getting a new helmet, but when I did get the new Shuck it was completely worth it. The Shuck is an excellent mid-range helmet from Palm. It fits me like a glove and features a very robust adjuster at the back of the head with lots of range to ensure a great fit. It also has a very strong and sturdy shell, with no vents, making it warm and great for stickers and GoPro mounts. My favourite feature of all however is the removable Polygiene liner. This basically acts as a skull cap and makes the helmet super comfortable. It also means you can insert pads between the liner and the helmet itself to increase the quality of fit without making it uncomfortable and creating pressure points. The helmet comes in two versions, half cut and full cut, as well as with a few colour options. The full cut has ear protectors and the half cut doesn’t. I have gone for the half cut as it looks better and is more comfortable, and allows you to hear better, but if you are looking for that extra bit of protection then the full cut is the one.