Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Storm Gathering - Anglesey 27th October 2008

Final day of Storm Gathering symposium.

Launched from Porth Dafarch and paddled out to Penrhyn Mawr. NW F4-5 winds. When we started out the tide was still ebbing, so no race was present but conditions N of the headland were very choppy with fairly large swell occasionally breaking (not steep, so easy to just brace on if necessary).

Paddled back through the rocks off the headland doing some rock hopping negotiating small channels that were quite exciting with the swell/breaking waves. One member of the group capsized in one of the channels and failed to roll due to being pinned to rocks, so I performed rescue.

Stopped for lunch at a small beach just S of the headland. After lunch we returned to the headland as the tide had turned and the flow was now moving through the rocks. The flow running against the swell was creating large waves. Group was surfing and playing in the waves for about an hour. Waves were generally building in size and getting steeper and breaking more violently. One member of the group looped, capsized and rolled, so they must have been quite big. After that, conditions were too exciting to have a large number of people out so the coaches got us all out of the race and paddled back to the beach.

If anyone had fallen in on the main race it would have been quite exciting to rescue them with the wave train going on for a long way. Likely outcome would have been that rescued person would be back in their boat, but with breaking waves likely to have swamped the cockpit while getting back in and putting spray deck on. Wobbly boat then needing lengthy assisted tow to calmer water to empty rest of the water out and then to paddle back up to the headland....

Coached by Tony Hammock initially, then by Nick Cunliffe (who runs surflines in Llanberis) in the rough stuff. Tony commented that my forward stroke did not seem to go deep enough, so I concentrated on a deeper, longer stroke that seemed to increase my speed into headwinds. Typical problem with ex-slalom paddlers apparently...

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