I've been using VE paddles for around 3 years now and other competitors such as Werner, Select, Lettmann or AT seem inferior. I think VE have nailed the weight to surface area of the blades which allow you to transfer so much power into each stroke, making these paddles perfect for all disciplines of whitewater kayaking. I've never had any issues with durability either and would easily trust VE in any grade of whitewater. One of my favourite things about VE paddles is the fact that they are custom built to any feather, length or hand you could wish for(there's even a chart to tell you which size would be best for you depending on your height and discipline of paddling!) Also, there is an option to convert the paddles into either 2 or 4 way splits if need be. This is great if you're trying to space save for trips abroad or just as an emergency pair! Combinations of Carbon blades/shaft or Glass blades/shaft are available if you don't want to splash out on full carbon blades or want something a bit more durable.
At this moment in time, I think the Fluid Bazooka is one of the best creek boats on the market. <br />
I've been paddling it for around 6 months and have been very impressed. It's so easy to throw in and out of the smallest eddys and nail those boofs you were struggling on last season thanks to the new edgy stern, rail design and more aggressive rocker that keeps the bow dry.<br />
I also really like the new Mod5 outfitting. I found it extremely easy to get the perfect fit and didn't feel at all constricted by the aggressive thigh grips. The material Fluid uses for their outfitting are a much better alternative to other brands for example Liquidlogic's Badass outfitting. It doesn't absorb water which keeps you warmer if you happen to take a swim and you don't have to worry about drying everything out at the end of a session. <br />
The boat itself is quite short and wide in comparison to boats such as the new Burn or Shiva from Pyranha, however I found it to be a very fast boat, allowing me to beat a Jackson Karma and Liquidlogic Remix in a Boater X style race. <br />
It isn't just built for hucking massive waterfalls or charging through some gnarly grade 5 rivers. It's very agile and responsive - allowing you to make the tightest eddys before a big drop. These features will help beginners to progress very quickly and gain confidence as they will feel in control at all times. All in all, this is a fantastic creeker for any caliber of pad
Excellent river running design which allows the paddler to enjoy a variety of different rivers from cruisy grade 2+/3 right up to pushy grade 4+/5-. This photo was taken by Neal Kelly (Director of The Kayaking Company)<a target="_blank" href="http://thekayakco.com">http://thekayakco.com</a>
Alpacka packrafts are sturdy, lightweight and easy to inflate. They come in 3 different sizes and are such a fun, easy way to travel the river. The rafts come with a spray skirt and straps for your gear.
Sweet Protection Rocker Fullface is awesome.<br />
Sweet Protection are by far the best manufacturer for whitewater helmets. The Rocker Fullface offers the most extensive protection available. The helmet is constructed in a way that it enables Swet to effectivly tune the shell for different properties in different areas for the best result. The low profile chin-guard protects your face, but it is also constructed to flex in order to reduce forces applied to the neck.<br />
I brought this helmet after smashing my face on a rock while kayaking. it is perfect for kayaking on rivers around grade 4 and up, and waterfalls :P<br />
You would wear a fullface if you were down hill mountain biking, so why not if your bombing it down a gnarly river. <br />
With these helmets there does come the price. they are the most expensive kayaking helmet on the market, and there are other cheaper alternatives. but i know of someone who smashed there head on a rock, and the doctor at the hospital told him if hadn't been wearing such a good helmet (sweet rocker) he may not be with us today. So how much are you willing to put on your head.
The Werner powerhouse is by far the best creeking paddle on the market. There are several key aspects which make this paddle superior to all others on the market. It is lightweight so when you're arms will be less tired on those last few miles of that steep creek you love. It has insane amounts of surface area, which means when there's that boof that you need to make the powerhouse is there to provide. Finally the Werner powerhouse has unparalleled durability. No matter how many rocks you hit or how many slides you drag this paddle on, it will take the abuse and keep going for the next trip.
I have now been using a Peak Custom drysuit for about 6 months on rivers and for playboating and I have been very pleased with it. Not only is the drysuit really good quality but the ability to have your own customised design incorporated really well into it makes for a winning combination. <br />
Made with X3 material rather than Peak's new X4, the suit is lighter than their current model which I prefer as I found their other suit a little heavy. It's really water tight though as still keeps me warm enough while I'm on the water.<br />
The U-zip bottom entry also means that it is really easy to get into and doesn't require a friend to zip it up once you are inside. This feature also makes up for the lack of a relief zip on the front.<br />
And then there is the custom designs! All that you have to do with this is send in any design that yo want to Peak and they will put it onto the drysuit! Of course there are extra costs involved in this with the price going up per hour of work that is required on the design. Therefore it is best to get the design as close as possible to the templates provided on the Peak website.<br />
Once that is all sorted though the design is printed onto the fabric really well. The material itself is coloured as per the design meaning that it won't peel off or fade away anytime soon. Also after a good few months of use, its still white!
Test ground: Wild Taurus rivers in Turkey<br />
Boat: Bazooka M<br />
Class 3-4 upper Manavgat. Keeping the line on the long technical rapids... just a piece of cake. I didn't even need to brace or recorrect my line. I had plenty of time for must make moves/boofs and eddys. No! Not because of its slow. It is a fast boat, flies over everything and I just didn't need to be busy with small problems.<br />
Class 4-5 Alara. Ok its time to take my first class 5 with this new generation whitewater machine. I feel confident but still a bit nervous as we are in a no exit canyon and I am the first one going down with no safety. In a short while I am completly calm and plan my line and strokes. Couldn't even scout the rest of the rapid but I knew the entrance is fine… can't wait anymore! baam! Smoot boof! Uups! A rooster on my way, turn and go, some holes etc. Nice big white. All fine, I am the happiest paddler today or ‘having the best day ever’.<br />
Two more rivers to go, Gevne and Dragon. Lower Gevne is a bit more Alpine style creek. After the sweet experience on Alara, I was even more confident to take on class 5 combos in narrow lines. Technical rapids with chaotic currents, big boofs. Happy.<br />
Dragon was the desert of the trip. Nice whitewater with long, fun rapids.<br />
So, in the end I am in love with my Bazooka. It is comfortable and has a great performance with maximum control. It took me to my next level.
Safety first! make sure you have high-end safety items when paddling like i do.<br />
you never want your tools surprises you when you use tham in critical situations. HF is a proofed brand already for long time as its products are durable, functional and safe.