Round Two At The Races! – Richard Janes

Round two at the races! 
Two recovery days from surfing South Stack and a great forecast of light Northerly winds with a Spring tide found our team of Roger, Justine, JF, Mirco, Jan, Garry, Geth, Steve, Barry, Paul and Me having a ‘staggered’ start from Porth Dafarch, heading North to the races of  Penrhyn Mawr and South Stack. Now, The meaning of ‘Porth Dafarch’ may have originated from the contraction of ‘Porth Dau Farch’ (harbour/inlet of two horses/stallions). We didn’t let accuracy get in the way of a good story (!) as the late arrivals (Paul, Steve and me) left Porth Dafarch behind as we paddled North towards Penrhyn Mawr and the first race. Thoughts of beautiful waves most definitely spurring us on; “Wild, wild horses, We’ll ride them someday” (Rolling Stones)
Tide pulling us through ‘mini Mawr’, we could soon see the rolling white of Penrhyn Mawr, along with the odd paddle flash from our friends already in the race. ….. And what a joyous race Penrhyn Mawr was today! Effectively, the last hour of a Spring tide, boils and whirlpools had subsided, water depth increased leaving beautiful rolling waves breaking, then running out onto an oily sea. Our efforts swiftly followed by lunch  in the sun at Porth Ruffyd
With domestic commitments for several team members, our group now split. Paul, Gary, Steve, Jan and me headed North. Beautiful rock hopping towards South Stack and beyond. Looking West, South Stack race looked lively with a light breeze blowing spume from the crests of waves. So that’s where we headed for a stunning surf session. Multiple and extended rides on rolling, near perfect waves. I truly didn’t want to leave; “Wild Horses, Couldn’t drag me away” …. But sadly, failing arms meant it was time to submit to the ebb flow and the paddle back to Porth Dafarch. 
Passing Penrhyn Mawr, now silent. Redolent and waiting for the flood, it was difficult to remember the excitement of the morning.
Our day finished with a beautiful sunset as we packed soggy kit and warmed chilled bodies after another fabulous day.
 

Diary of a magic day with old and great friends! – By Richard Janes

Diary of a magic day with old and great friends! 
 
You know you’ve had a good day when later, much later …you’re still ‘buzzing’! Well today was just such a day. 
We had not seen our good friends Justine and JF (Marleau) for a long while. Forecast today was for light (SW) winds, sunny periods and a chunky tide.  ‘The Stacks’ seemed a favourite choice when we met for a coffee first thing (ish) with Paul, Me, Geth, Steve, Lynn, Justine , JF (Marleau), and Mirco. A good sign of any group of friends meeting after a while is how quickly conversation begins and very quickly the months disappear. Today was no different. Paddling plans were made between general catch up and non stop conversation. 
 
Setting out from Porth Dafarch entailed  the usual discussion  of I’m too hot/cold, where’s the swell… And it goes on. Light on the cliffs was wonderful and early surf rides before the entrance to Abraham’s bosom a great warm up and lots of fun! 
Rock hopping towards South Stack was joyous. And the gap separating Ynys Lawd from the cliffs concentrated minds, as we paddled against a fast tidal stream under the bridge. ( ….Now, what was that noise? Paddles ‘clarting’ against rock or the heavy footsteps of the Ghost of ‘Jack’ Jones as he tried to climb steps after receiving a bang to his head from a rock?) 
 
A late start meant thoughts now turned towards lunch. Landings hereabouts are few and far between. Choice positions were taken up by young seals, so we paddled on to North Stack for a lunch afloat. Hmm… A ‘stretch’ would have been welcome! Nevertheless, Scotch egg and a final hurrah (!) for the turkey went down well. North Stack race was fast and furious. And the tail down toward South Stack had me regretting the Scotch egg, which I believe was trying to reincarnate as a chicken, feathers and all. 
 
…..BUT then, a wave appeared. A glorious, green and curling wave at the start of South Stack race. Rarely will you see a bunch of grown-ups (?) enjoying such simple pleasures. Absolutely amazing surf runs with boats hammering forward, enjoying the energy of a big tide. And the race continues to run. And we surf and surf. No escape, no eddies, paddles moving on. And eventually, as the race subsides, we start to feel a little knackered. I tried to pretend but I’m sure the look on my face would have been enough! Decisions made (thank heavens) and a quiet paddle with the setting sun and a brief dolphin sighting, took us back to Porth Dafarch. 
 
I’d seriously tried the notion of ‘Dry January’. But Geth is a bad man and my will power is (um) weak. How better to end a fabulous day with friends? 

The Skerries – Sunday, 16 April

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.

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Video – click to view

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Seals checking Ed out…

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The Platters

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Rough crossing back to the mainland

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Superb surf at Carmel Rocks

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Church Bay – Harry Furlough’s Rocks via Carmel Head, 21 Dec 2017

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.

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Tiderace #1 – Surfing at Ynys Fydlyn

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Ynys Fydlyn Arch

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Approaching Ynys Fydlyn’s Caves – a bit too much swell to get through the tunnels.

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The Carmel Head Rocky Channel System.

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JF couldn’t wait for his lunch!

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Lunch stop before Harry Furlough’s Rocks.

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Tiderace #2 – Surfing at Harry Furlough’s Rocks.

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Tiderace #3 – Carmel Head was so big and fun to surf!

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Porthdafarch – South Stack, 11 Nov 2017

Great conditions for a South Stack trip – 1m 7 seconds SW swell with light F2/3 N wind.  Penrhyn Mawr was superb.

Lots of great company including Ed, Paul, Rich and countless other passing paddler friends.  Photos taken by Geth.

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The Delphin MKII 155 Corelite X at Penrhyn Mawr and the Stacks

Stacks map

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

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Sea kayak sailing/surfing at South Stack

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The sail was taken down for surfing steeper waves at South Stack

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The sail back up to surf closely past South Stack’s headland

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Beam reach sailing back to Porthdafarch

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South Stack with Ed and Justine 

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South Stack Surf

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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.

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Porth Dafarch to The Skerries in a surfski

DSCF2109After 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.

Porthdafarch Skerries Map

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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.

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Approaching Penrhyn Mawr

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Approaching the middle race of Penrhyn Mawr

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South Stack

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Rush hour in Holyhead Bay

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The Skerries

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Departing The Skerries

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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.

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The rough journey back south

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North Stack

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Taking a rest at South Stack

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Sailing home to Porth Dafarch

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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!

Geth

www.seakayakingwales.com

 

5 September, The Stacks, Anglesey

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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.

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Justine, Ed and Paul at Penrhyn Mawr tiderace.

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Ed.

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Paul.

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Geth.

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Justine taking pictures at Penrhyn Mawr.

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South stack tide race providing lively surf on the flood.

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North Stack tiderace.

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Rich at North Stack.

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Paul enjoying the journey back to Porth Dafarch from North Stack.

Photographs provided by Justine.

1 August 2015, The Stacks, Anglesey

A selection of photographs from our trip from Porth Dafarch to North Stack and back.  Spring tide, ebbing, SW force 4 wind.

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South Stack Lighthouse on Ynys Lawd.

Stacks map

http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/userfiles/file/08Stacks.pdf

For a route description click on the above link (taken from Jim Krawiecki & Andy Biggs book – Welsh Sea Kayaking Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages.

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Penrhyn Mawr at high water.

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Tidal rapids at the mouth of Abraham’s Bosom.

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Tidal rapids at the mouth of Abraham’s Bosom.

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Fantastic channels to explore.

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Climbers at Castell Elen.

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Cave/arch just beyond Ynys Lawd/South Stack.

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Paul exiting the arch.

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Recently collapsed rock covering a channel in Gogarth Bay.

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Gogarth Bay.

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Wen Zawn – famous for the Dream of White Horses (graded HVS 5b) rock climb.

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North Stack and Parliament Cave.

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Green waves at North Stack.

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Yippee!!

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Rough water on leaving North Stack.

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Welcome to South Stack tiderace.

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Even better surfing waves.

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Yippee!!

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Time to leave the race.

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Porpoise spotting off Abraham’s Bosom.

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Returning home through Penrhyn Mawr shoreline at low tide.

Paddling today were: Paul, Ed and Geth.