Big boat…little boat…. decisions!!

I am keeping up the frequency of my trips to Hambleden – at the moment I am averaging three visits per week! All my efforts are starting to pay off as I have now cracked how to catch the wave, meaning that the majority of attempts to catch and surf the wave are successful. This has, in turn, meant that I have been able to spend time trying moves whilst surfing and yesterday I managed to stick my first ever blunt at Hambleden! It was a great feeling to finally land one – now all I have to is work how how to stick them consistently.

Last week I managed to make it down on both Saturday 25th April and Wednesday 29th April. In both those sessions I finally managed to stick full 360 degree spins and continue the ride – something I have been trying to do since my first visit to the weir over a year ago! …..progress is definitely being made!

Saturday of the bank holiday weekend was a nice sunny day, but unfortunately my busy lifestyle finally caught up with me and spent most of the afternoon asleep on the sofa. Sunday morning I managed a visit to the weir before meeting up with Steve for a few drinks in London prior to his three month South American adventure which starts in less than two weeks time. Paddling during the morning was colder than Saturday would have been, but still perfectly acceptable short-sleeve cag weather.

Nick, who we stayed with when Tim and I went skiing, was back from Geneva for the weekend with his Russian friend Ilya. Nick was very keen to get back in his boat and catch-up for paddling session, since he had not been paddling since our trip to the French Alps in June last year – ten months ago! We – Nick, Ilya, Tim, Martyn, Emma and myself – decided to make a day of it and go for a morning session, before breaking for a riverside barbecue for lunch followed by another paddling session in the afternoon. Unfortunately someone obviously said the words “bank holiday” and “barbecue” slightly too loudly as Monday was cold, cloudy and raining for most of the day – especially when we were either getting changed or trying to cook the barbecue! Despite the inclement weather and the somewhat limited success of the barbecue (Emma failed to spot, and therefore open, the airvent!) it was a great day, which I think everyone enjoyed. I ended up paddling until I lacked the strength to even cross the eddy-line into the wave – that was when I knew it was time to head home!

Ilya had never even sat in a kayak before let alone paddled any whitewater, so we took a spare boat for him to paddle around the eddy. This provided me with the perfect excuse to try my big boat (SuperHero) on the wave. Many people rave about surfing big boats at Hambleden, but this is something I have always been dubious about – I had always assumed that my smaller playboat (SuperStar) would be much more fun. Having paddled both boats down there yesterday, I can now confirm that both types of boat are great fun. The SuperHero allowed for longer rides, whilst the SuperStar allowed for move moves to be thrown. I think I am going to start having to take both boats along with me each time!! Unfortunately I have no photos of me surfing the SuperHero – will have to take it down with me some other time….. what a shame! 😉

More photos are available at http://photos.andywicks.com/BankHolidayFun

Nick enjoying a surf

Nick enjoying a surf

Ilya looking somewhat confused...

Ilya looking somewhat confused…

One of my attempts at a blunt

One of my attempts at a blunt

Me getting a big bounce

Me getting a big bounce

Emma getting a bit swamped

Emma getting a bit swamped

Martyn getting a bit swamped

Martyn getting a bit swamped

I think this is going to go wrong...

I think this is going to go wrong…

Finally managed to get a photo of Tim on the wave!

Finally managed to get a photo of Tim on the wave!

And now for a bit of fun….. can you spot any part of Nick’s boat in the following picture?

Can you spot any part of the boat?

Can you spot any part of the boat