Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tiger Prints

On our way back from Abraham's Bossom we were treated with nice surf waves at Penrhyn Mawr. Not big, but easy to catch. A nice day to end our stay in Anglesey.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back on my feet

OK, I promise to take back a bit on choosing fitting post titles. Today we (Saskia, Shawna, Leon, Barry, Justine and I) hiked up Snowdon. Hiking up knowing there is also a train takes away some of the pressure. At the top the wind is howling. And no train back...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Back again

The weather looked promising for another play at Penrhyn Mawr. However the swell is exceptionally big today. Infrequent big sets run into Porth Dafarch. Saskia cleared a particularly big set that had me skip a heartbeat or two.
Penrhyn Mawr at slack looked foreboding. Even the 'Chiken Run' had a swell run through it. Not a day to play here. Instead we paddled to Trearddur Bay hoping to find some surf. Unfortunately T-Bay was too sheltered for the swell direction, no surf there.
It is nice to hear, see and smell how big swell crashes on a rocky shoreline. Another nice day on the water.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Back in a sea kayak

Today was the first day in a sea kayak after my lower back injury. Nigel kindly lent me an ExplorerHV sea kayak so that had a little more legroom for my still hurting hamstrings. Saskia and I left from Porth Dafarch beach for Penrhyn Mawr, where a good swell was running.
It was very difficult to take it easy today not wanting to over exert my back. Seeing Shawna, Leon, Justine and Barry catching the perfect waves did hurt a bit. After a break Saskia and I continued to South Stack.
My back feels OK, only my left leg hamstrings are still a bit stiff.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Early yesterday morning I spent a lot of time thinking about my next big expedition. After attending a BCU UKCC L3 core training at Plas-y-Brenin I stayed in Holyhead for the week. I learned about pending new expeditions and record attempts around Anglesey. Justine Curgenven (in a Valley Rapier) just put the pressure on everyone by closing in on John Willacy's record (in a Taran) by just 14 minutes... Sea Kayaking UK is also starting to stir things with their new Cadence racing sea kayak (breaking the Isle of Man record).

After a lot of painful contemplations, I decided my next big expedition was to get from my bed to the bathroom.

I hurt my lower back earlier last week. Despite OK on Wednesday to paddle the Swellies, I got struck down worse on Friday. I found myself immobilized on Saturday morning. Eila was kind enough to sponsor me with food and inflammatory drugs. Dale kindly advised me on a cold-pack and hot-bath recovery scheme. Unfortunately Geoff Murray from Tasmania got the short end of it. I had promised to go paddling with him on Sunday, but my back, although recovering, is not in any state to sit in a kayak.

On this truly gorgeous Sunday with perfect tides for a 'stacks run', my next expedition was to walk from the house I am staying in to South Stack and back, a 1 mile journey. Expeditions do not have to be far away, long or fast, they are about adventure and personal accomplishment. My expeditions of yesterday and today fell into that category.
Having said that, take a look at Sarah Outen's amazing journey that takes her to an unexpected place.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gathering at the Swellies

This evening I paddled at the Swellies with Barry and Phil. This is a popular place for sea kayakers at spring-tides for a surfable standing wave forms then. When it runs well one is never alone and soon familiar faces dropped into the scene and onto the wave.
The locals can catch the wave more easily than I can. It was hard work to get it just right to have long runs without being swept off on the left- or right-hand side of it. I enjoyed a few great long rides today.
When the Swellies wave diminished the next play-spot was off the cardinal marker rock. I have never played there before. Here it was easy to drive the bow into the 'hole' where the current rushed over a submerged rock. I surfed and locked my kayak on the rock in front of me and within a few minutes I was loose off the rock because of the rising water level, still surfing. With an increasing roaring sound of rushing water; ever changing.
A great evening it was.