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Swellies Extreme Premiere

skapad 2011-10-31 i 'Green Adventures Blog'

 

The Menai Strait is the body of water that divides the island of Anglesey from the mainland. It’s a place well known for kayakers in this area and it’s a great playground with the tide making it feel different everytime you go for a visit. The stretch between the astonishing Menai Bridge and the less astonishing, yet impressive, Brittania Bridge was the scene for the first Swellies Extreme Downstream Race that took place last Saturday.

There was expected to be a 10 meter tide and the forecast said strong winds and rain. It all became true. I think that some people decided it was a day to be spent with a book in the sofa instead, but 16 strong competitors stood ready to enter the race just after lunch time.

The first race was a time trial with one minute interval starts. The course had been laid out so that the competitors had to enter gates, either upstream or downstream, and all together they had to cross up to 20 eddy lines. With the south westerly wind blowing, creating a strong headwind, it was all but just floating down stream for the people entering the race. I was standing at the finish line (no not the swedish line...) and it was easy to tell that the race wasn’t a walk in the park for some of the paddlers. But I guess the word extreme has to have a meaning, doesn’t it?

After a short break on shore, just next to the Nelson Statue south of Brittania Bridge, the paddlers worked their way back up the eddies to the start line to get ready for the second round, the Downstream Madness, a mass-start race. And of course, with a start like that, you could expect a kayak jam underneath the Menai Bridge. But pretty soon a few paddlers got out of the pile of boats and accelerated down towards the finish line. With something furious like in the faces it was a great view to see them all battling down the slalom course and I think they were all relived that there was only going to be two races that day.

Judging from the atmosphere that surrounded the race, and afterwards during the ”prize award ceremony”, it felt like everyone being involved in the day was very happy with the race. Nick and Matt’s idea about making this an annual event is a great one and that means that if you didn’t enter this year, you now have a year to train and to get to know the alluring waters of the Swellies. So make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to be part of a fun and challenging kayak race next year. Keep an eye out for more info on Kayak Essentials website.

Oh, and who won? Is anyone interested in that small detail?
Well, here is the top three of the two races:

The Time Trail:
1. John Willacy
2. Aled Williams
3. Nick Cunliffe


The Downstream Madness:
1. John Willacy
2. Aled Williams
3. Nick Cunliffe


Nick starting the day with a race meeting underneath the Menai Bridge.

Nick starting the day with a race meeting underneath the Menai Bridge.

Peter Glyn Firth got his lucky number eight...

Peter Glyn Firth got his lucky number eight...

... and so did Diane Lee, cause they were battling in a double together.

... and so did Diane Lee, cause they were battling in a double together.

Everyone was wondering if the dragon boat would come number 1 or maybe number 11?

Everyone was wondering if the dragon boat would come number 1 or maybe number 11?

Chris Wright in deep concentration before the race.

Chris Wright in deep concentration before the race.

Yellow floating heads in the water marked the gates the competitors had to go through.

Yellow floating heads in the water marked the gates the competitors had to go through.

Katy Yates and Lotte Wood were in charge of the stop watches. THE most important task during the event I would say.

Katy Yates and Lotte Wood were in charge of the stop watches. THE most important task during the event I would say.

Aled Williams during the warm up.

Aled Williams during the warm up.

John Willacy took the time to go for a play between the races.

John Willacy took the time to go for a play between the races.

Ali Othen was relived when he got to know that the race is coming back next year.

Ali Othen was relived when he got to know that the race is coming back next year.

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Latest from the blog

Trekking to the far end of the world - Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Hidden away from the rest of the world, Torres del Paine National Park in Southern Patagonia, Chile is a beautiful gem that completely blew my mind during our 5 day trek last week. I still dream about it every night and can't wait to go back.

» Full story...

What is it about lighthouses?

I love lighthouses. And I know I'm not the only one. The attraction lighthouses has on me is equivalent to what lots of people feel when they see a brand new Aston Martin in the street or probably how a horse enthusiast feels when a proud Arabic horse is running across the fields in the sunset. There's something magic about them.

» Full story...

Life is good

Green Adventures is not only about work. It's about a passion, not only for kayaking but for all the amazing things we can do in the outdoors. Last weekend I had a wonderful time on a mirror calm sea just outside my door step. fake rolex

» Full story...

Subscribe to the blog