An atmospheric trip to The Skerries, from Cemlyn, with Ed. The spring ebbing tide and force 4 southerly winds provided wonderful sea conditions, particularly the superb surf at Carmel Rocks. At The Skerries the seals were as playful as ever and the puffins were back for the nesting season.
Clara enjoying Harry Furlough’s Tiderace.
Video – click to view
Seals checking Ed out…
Rough crossing back to the mainland
Superb surf at Carmel Rocks
A wonderful shortest day of the year paddle around Carmel Head with JF Marleau and Justine Curgenven. Photos by Geth.
Rockhopping out of Church Bay.
Tiderace #1 – Surfing at Ynys Fydlyn
Ynys Fydlyn Arch
Approaching Ynys Fydlyn’s Caves – a bit too much swell to get through the tunnels.
The Carmel Head Rocky Channel System.
JF couldn’t wait for his lunch!
Lunch stop before Harry Furlough’s Rocks.
Tiderace #2 – Surfing at Harry Furlough’s Rocks.
Tiderace #3 – Carmel Head was so big and fun to surf!
29 July Porthdafarch – South Stack, via Penrhyn Mawr, with Ed Loffill
2 August Soldiers Point – South Stack, via North Stack with Ed Loffill and Justine Curgenven
Sea kayak sailing/surfing at Penrhyn Mawr
Sea kayak sailing/surfing at South Stack
The sail was taken down for surfing steeper waves at South Stack
The sail back up to surf closely past South Stack’s headland
Beam reach sailing back to Porthdafarch
South Stack with Ed and Justine
The Delphin MKII Corelite X
The biggest improvement I found in the Delphin MKII Corelite X is the extra speed and responsiveness it has in surf. This is thanks largely to the greater stiffness in the plastic construction. The cockpit has also been improved to provide better comfort and connectivity. The day hatch is a welcome addition, as are the sailing fittings. In summary, the Delphin MKII Corelite X has all of the great features of the original Delphin but with some very useful additions/refinements and stiffer plastic for even more fun surfing.
Sea Kayak Sailing in Tideraces
It is a bit of a balance whether/or not to deploy the sail in a tiderace. When the waves are not particularly steep the addition of a sail makes catching waves far easier, increasing the number of surfable waves and the length of the runs. At some point the balance between fun and fear will probably tip towards fear, or at the very least uncomfortableness. It is now time to take the sail down as the surf has steepened up and you probably don’t need any more help catching the waves.
After paddling the Pyranha Octane surfski on Llyn Padarn I wanted to try it out at sea in wind, waves and moving water. My kayaking buddies for this trip were Ed and Abi Loffil.
The Pyranha Octane with the Flat Earth Sail fitted
Ed and Abi had a head start on the outward leg so I followed them 20 minutes after their departure. This leg had up to 10 knots of southerly wind with a slightly post spring tidal current to propel us on the flooding tide to The Skerries. Time of leg – 1.5 hrs.
Approaching Penrhyn Mawr
Approaching the middle race of Penrhyn Mawr
Rush hour in Holyhead Bay
Departing The Skerries
Surfing circuits at The Skerries
The return leg had 10-17 knots of southerly wind against the south flowing ebb tide. Time of leg – 3 hrs.
The rough journey back south
Taking a rest at South Stack
Sailing home to Porth Dafarch
The team returned at Porth Dafarch with our paddling friend Jan
Initial thoughts on the Octane
Previous to receiving the Octane I had never paddled a surfski. The closest speedy boat I had experienced to compare it to is the Rockpool Taran. The Octane, like the Taran, is great fun to paddle fast, especially in surf. At speed the surf ski is particularly stable, locking into its watery path. Its stability seemed further enhanced with the addition of the Flat Earth Sail, as this gave more propulsion. It is even better to sail than the equivalent P&H Scorpio or Delphin sailing kayaks as it is super quick and responsive to the rudder. With its open cockpit it felt a lot like a modern sailing dinghy, especially with the gurgling sound of the self-bailer.
Paddling downwind with swell was far, far better than the reverse into wind and waves. The former situation gave much greater speed than the accompanying sea kayaks, whereas into wind and swell the surfski was only marginally quicker, despite lots more effort from my core muscles. I probably need to improve my technique in these conditions.
The Octane is a very positive boat. It rewards good posture and technique with better performance. This feedback is proving really useful as I try to get better at paddling a surf ski.
Next time I want to try some more downwind runs!
More fun sea kayaking around The Stacks on a beautiful sunny day. Neap flooding tide with westerly light wind and swell producing some great surfing conditions.
Justine, Ed and Paul at Penrhyn Mawr tiderace.
Justine taking pictures at Penrhyn Mawr.
South stack tide race providing lively surf on the flood.
North Stack tiderace.
Rich at North Stack.
Paul enjoying the journey back to Porth Dafarch from North Stack.
Photographs provided by Justine.
A selection of photographs from our trip from Porth Dafarch to North Stack and back. Spring tide, ebbing, SW force 4 wind.
South Stack Lighthouse on Ynys Lawd.
For a route description click on the above link (taken from Jim Krawiecki & Andy Biggs book – Welsh Sea Kayaking Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages.
Penrhyn Mawr at high water.
Tidal rapids at the mouth of Abraham’s Bosom.
Tidal rapids at the mouth of Abraham’s Bosom.
Fantastic channels to explore.
Climbers at Castell Elen.
Cave/arch just beyond Ynys Lawd/South Stack.
Paul exiting the arch.
Recently collapsed rock covering a channel in Gogarth Bay.
Wen Zawn – famous for the Dream of White Horses (graded HVS 5b) rock climb.
North Stack and Parliament Cave.
Green waves at North Stack.
Rough water on leaving North Stack.
Welcome to South Stack tiderace.
Even better surfing waves.
Time to leave the race.
Porpoise spotting off Abraham’s Bosom.
Returning home through Penrhyn Mawr shoreline at low tide.
Paddling today were: Paul, Ed and Geth.