As part of our training for the Source2Sea2013 challenge, myself and Rob Yates headed over to the Gloucester and Sharpness canal for a paddle. With all of the wet weather we had been having recently, the river Severn was up in flood and didn’t seem like dropping anytime soon so we had the canal as a back up plan. With high winds and driving rain predicted, we weren’t overly optimistic about the session, but as the challenge is only months away, every bit of practice was a bonus.
Arriving at the canal we dodged the heavy showers, quickly getting in to our wetsuits and Rob got to pumping up his Red Paddle Co inflatable board. His is a slightly smaller version of the boards we will be using on our trip. It would be a good chance for us to see how inflatable boards did on flat water in bad conditions. If we could paddle in these conditions, we should be ok on our trip.
We headed off up the canal and soon learned our first lesson about paddling in windy weather. Finding covered areas – where the water didn’t resemble a beach break – certainly made paddling a lot easier. When the wind is on you, your body can act like a sail, great when it’s behind you, but when it’s in your face it makes paddling tough. We even had to resort to paddling on our knees at times. Another thing we noticed was that a side wind was sometimes helpful as you could paddle a lot more strokes on the opposite side to the wind.
The rain did come down hard at times, the skies were dark and the wind was fresh, but we learned a fair bit about preparing ourselves for bad weather, and even in these conditions, the canal was looking lovely and there was still plenty of birdlife flying about. Overall it was a good session and one we will definitely be repeating in the summer months when the canal is at its most beautiful!
For more information on the Red Paddle Co sponsored expedition, check out our blog: Source2Sea2013
For more information on the Red Paddle Co boards, visit the website: Red Paddle Co