Seth Ashworth: Blog https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Thu, 16 Apr 2020 13:37:00 GMT Thu, 16 Apr 2020 13:37:00 GMT Fear Management Podcast Supplement https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/4/fear-management-podcast-supplement

 

This is in relation to Podcast #31 on managing fear with Ben Marr.  Available now on patreon or mid May General release.  Go to Patreon.com/sethashworth 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/4/fear-management-podcast-supplement Thu, 16 Apr 2020 13:36:29 GMT
Discussion Starter: What type of Karabiner should you use on a cows tail? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/2/discussion-starter-what-type-of-karabiner-should-you-use-on-a-cows-tail

I made a video about a year ago about the correct place to attach a Cows Tail, which for those who don't know is a safety device, often mis-used, to aid as a quick extender in Live bait rescue and has some other limited capabilities/applications.  In the course of that video I received a number of questions about the type of karabiner I use on the end of my Cows tail and I wanted to start some further discussion on the topic.  Whitewater kayaking has this convention of generally avoiding snap gate (also called non-locking) karabiners to avoid potential entaglement issues, especially in and around (potential) underwater obstructions.  In this video I outline why I make a choice to go against this norm.  I am absolutely not saying the choice I make is the choice everyone should make, I am really just trying to say that people should take a hard look at themselves, the type of paddling they are doing, the type of places they are generally paddling, what dangers they may encounter and decide for themselves.  Anyway, check out the video, leave a comment if you like.  I am certainly finding out about a lot of new things through there right now!

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure daily discussion explore is kayak kayaking kokatat no or ottawa right safety stakeout there travel weekly wrong youtube https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/2/discussion-starter-what-type-of-karabiner-should-you-use-on-a-cows-tail Tue, 04 Feb 2020 15:57:49 GMT
Lost In Sumatra. A typical whitewater kayak expedition. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/1/lost-in-sumatra-a-typical-whitewater-kayak-expedition

 

So new video on the Youtube this week where I tried to show our trip exploring first descents in Northern Sumatra.  It is a slightly different style to my usual video with my good friend David Silk taking the lead story teller position and walking people through the trip from start to finish.  As with every trip there is many more anecdotes to the story that there is time to fit into a 7 min video, so the video is really just the highlights (and a few low lights).  There will be tons of other memories that don't make the video and I will list a few below. 

 

1.  SELFIE?:  Sitting out front of our small little rented accommodation to drink morning coffee was a common occurrence.  The weather was often nice and warm (which I miss right about now) and the smell of burning garbage wasn't prevalent yet, as generally speaking people burned there garbage in the evenings. On more than one occasion cars of people would roll by the house, stop, and the occupants (also teenagers) would come over and in broken english ask to take selfies with us.  Evidently where we where did not have a steady flow of white people coming through and we were becoming something of an attraction.  As bizarre as I found these moments they eventually became more normal, somewhat normal at least.

 

2. You Alive bro?: Sickness was a theme of our time in Sumatra, I don't know specifically the cause, maybe low hygiene standard, maybe garbage burning in the street, maybe that literally everyone smoked cigarettes, maybe something else but as someone who is rarely sick for extended periods of time I was suffering hard on this trip.  Not just with the usual travellers diarrhoea but also with a hacking couch that sounded  like I had smoked two packs a day for my entire life, a weird rash on my arms, general fatigue, etc etc etc.  But the point where things took a real turn, and something I didn't feel good about trying to capture on video, was a few days in.  When David and I listened Ben loudly and by the sounds of it, quite violently, puking, groaning and rolling from bed to the bathroom repeatedly.  Walls in the house were only a layer thin so the question would get asked by one of us to the other through the walls "You alive bro?", as long as you kept hearing an affirmative groan back then the mission was still a go.  albeit at a much slower pace than ideal.  

 

3. The kids at the window: Almost as an extension of my first little anecdote, our little house was next door to a school, and every afternoon after school let out probably ten kids would play out front of the house, frequently playing hide and seek under the house and then seemingly spending all the time they weren't playing looking at us through open doors and windows, just to see what we were up to.  Many of these times Ben or I would be pretty sick and laid down which must have been boring to watch but they kept coming back so who knows, maybe not.  

 

These are just a few stories i wasn't able to show in the video.  There are probably 50 more but that is what I can think of right now and I have to move on to work on another project so thats it, thats all.  chef out the video and let me know your thoughts on it.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) ashworth descent dewerstone exploring first indonesia kayak kayaking kokatat lost seth sumatra travel travellers https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/1/lost-in-sumatra-a-typical-whitewater-kayak-expedition Mon, 27 Jan 2020 16:10:56 GMT
Jackson Kayak Zen 3.0 Review. Video too! https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/1/jackson-kayak-zen-3-0-review-video-too Screenshot

So I know I said toward the end of 2019 that I was gonna hit more frequent blog updates.  Which I promptly did not do.  But, maybe 2020 will be better.  Hopefully at least.  

 

So first video after my Indo trip is my review of the new Jackson Kayak Zen 3.0. I thought a way to get me to actually post updates on the website here could be to add some notes from this week’s video, might also be sweet if you don’t want to actually watch the video but still want to hear what I think about it. SO let’s talk Zen 3.0

 

So just like in the video before I get started I should say I am supported by Jackson Kayak, whilst they didn’t pay me to make this video I was able to buy this boat at a discounted price so keep that in mind when hearing what I have to say and consider that too when looking into other reviews of this boat and others.  

 

Now to business, new Zen 3,0 is shorter and wider than the previous two generations, WAAAAAAY shorter and WAAAAAAY wider this has some serious pros.  The big width feels so weird on the first paddle but once you get used to it (after about an hour of paddle time) you start to see the main benefit for it which is stability.  Possibly the most stable whitewater boat on the market right now in my opinion.  It makes crossing boils, ‘difficult’ eddy lines a breeze to coot over where as in my nirvana I would maybe have had to take a few extra strokes.  I dig that.  

 

The other big upside to the length is ease to turn.  There was no point where I felt like I was fighting the bow to go where I wanted.  I dig that too.  Lots of times in the older versions I felt like you could wind up fighting the bow if you were not planning ahead well so this boat fixed that perfectly.  

 

The length had a couple other big advantages too.  It is the perfect boat for low volume rivers.  We got on a couple of very low volume first descents that were a ton more enjoyable to paddle because of how quickly you could turn that would have been less fun in a longer boat.  

 

Travel was also a ton easier both at the airport (my kayak made all three connections both ways which I couldn’t believe), it was easy to slip into bigger cars, bus luggage compartments etc etc.  It was easier all around and I did appreciate that too.  

 

The length did have a bit of a speed disadvantage.  Whilst this boat is by no means slow it doesn’t feel like that sporty, race feel that Nirvana feels like.  Nirvana seems to operate at it’s best when you are in the front seat and keeping it moving.  And the trade off for this is that it travels fast in the flats (if you are mobbing).  The Zen 3.0 doesn’t feel like that.  It cruises a bit slower through the flats, carries speed pretty well in the Whitewater.  BUT and here is the interesting thing, you don’t have to be paddling in the front seat, you can just be cruising and the boat will look after you.  And I dig that!

 

So thats the length.  Whilst we are not the subject of boat looking after you let’s talk about the bow.  There is plenty of bow rocker than means it is easy to pick the bow up into holes, waves and drops.  You can pick it up right up to the last minute, which is harder in the longer boats.  The bow is also packed with plenty of bow rocker which means you resurface pretty fast too which I dig.  

 

It is also one of the easiest boats to roll I have ever paddled.  Which again, I was surprised about because of the width but fortunately the way the chines of the sidewall are set up it rolls like a dream.  Even in hard to roll, aerated areas I always felt like the boat was helping me.  And I dig that.  

 

So yea, that is pretty much what I have to say.  New Zen, I dig it.  Of course watch the video, I put some gopro clips on there to illustrate my point and honestly I think I communicate better there compared with writing.  Catch ya in the next one. 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) 3.0 adventure jackson kayak kayaking travel whitewater zen https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2020/1/jackson-kayak-zen-3-0-review-video-too Tue, 21 Jan 2020 21:05:46 GMT
I do not enjoy writing..... https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/9/i-do-not-enjoy-writing High Tension Wave, Gatineau River

I do not enjoy writing, which is for the most part why this blog has been so sparse in the last few years.  Let us take a look at what went wrong.  

 

 When I first started a blog back in like 2008/2009 (anyone even remember sethskayakblog.blogspot ???) having a blog was how kayakers got news, how they let people know about recent trips they had been on, new products that were coming out, or recently released and what was good or bad about them.  I remember sitting in university classes skimming through a regular rotation of frequently updated blogs from all over the world.  Seeing recent trips and exotic kayak locations from around the globe.  Once I started doing my own adventuring, travel, trips, competitions etc it seemed super logical to start a blog of my own.  It was a way for me to share my experiences and give info to others when I had something to give.  Although at the time I was the outlier of my university class, all of whom participated in some kind of outdoor sport or activity regularly, I was the only one who took the time to share what I was doing in that way.  One lecturer even mentioned off handly in a final semester lecture that he thought it was narcissistic, which maybe is true but I was just grateful he had taken a second to look at it.  Either way at the time that was the medium for kayakers to share what they were doing.  

 

The paradigm shift started happening as I was leaving university and Facebook was taking off, it streamlined the process of sharing what you were doing and connected people more effectively, plus you didn't need to write as much, which I was stoked on.  That I would say was the start of turning point for this blog, and when update frequency started to drop.  Then came Instagram and an even more distilled way to share info and photos on adventures came to be.  This also dovetailed better with my enjoyment for taking photos.  And again blog frequency lessened.  Although there was still the odd post trip report and post event photo dump but again, the opportunity to write less was too appealing.  

 

Fast forward to present day and after putting out at least one new YouTube video every week (some weeks way more), I am finally feeling like I am starting to get my feet under me in this medium of communication, and honestly I like it way more.  Sharing visuals with people (who have the time to watch and I know that not everybody does) is the closest people can get to doing some of the cooler stuff that I get to do, and also a really satisfying way for me to share knowledge and teaching tips with people who otherwise might miss out or not be able to progress their kayaking as much or as quickly.  Combined with Podcasting, a medium which I am still getting to grips with but generally speaking really enjoying the process. I finally think that I have a way to share what I am doing, travel, adventures, trips and competitions with people which I actually enjoy, as oppose to feeling like I had to write it down to share it.  It also has the advantage that people are able to consume them whilst driving/working out/cleaning etc and I think that is neat.   

 

And honestly I prefer that, I prefer not to write too much or at all if possible. But then I get to wondering, what about if YouTube goes away?  What about Podcasts go away?  What about if Instagram gets bought out and shut down? What then? What if they all shut down tomorrow and all that was left was this blog?  I feel like the future of social media, and therefore the future of being able to easily share thoughts and information on my adventures is inherently tied to these mediums.  Is that a good thing? I like sharing what is happening on my trips and adventures with people, I know I am fortunate and get to go to places and paddle rivers that others only dream about.  In a world free of Youtube and Instagram of course I would still be out there doing these things anyway (because I love doing them), but those people who have been following along, living the adventures vicariously (maybe eve some since the sethskayakblog.blogspot days) would have one less thing to brighten their day.  Now I definitely sound narcissistic!

 

Anyway what I am getting at is I would prefer to keep doing the YouTube thing, and keep doing the Podcast thing.  But even though I hate writing, I am gonna try and start doing this blog thing again, just incase there comes a day when people don't spend half their lives on instagram and are interested in seeing some kayaking adventures.  Maybe I will get into it eventually. Maybe.  

 

Unknown Kayaker, Rouge River, Seven Sisters Section, Quebec, Canada Dane Jackson, Corner Wave, Ottawa River, Canada Quinton Kennedy and James Metcalfe, Mini Bus Wave, Ottawa River, Canada Selfie, Corner Wave, Ottawa River, Canada

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure blog canada dewerstone explore jackson kayak kokatat ottawa travel whitewater writing https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/9/i-do-not-enjoy-writing Mon, 16 Sep 2019 20:36:22 GMT
Epic weekend kayaking in Banos. Ecuador. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/2/epic-weekend-kayaking-in-banos-ecuador

 

I spent the last weekend in Banos Ecuador kayaking one of my absolute favourite rivers down here.  The Rio Topo.  A new hydro project means that you can now paddle way less of this section which is a huge bummer.  Whilst I was in Banos I wanted to make a short environmental awareness type video to give people ideas of using other types of renewable energy like wind and solar, both of which would go great in Ecuador with way less destructive impacts on the environment that Hydro power.  SO as well as kayaking the amazing river I also did a bunch of work with Local kayaker Luchio Granzino on a short video that hopefully will be ready in the next couple of weeks.  

 

Banos is a pretty scenic town and now a super popular tourist location on the Ecuador tourist route.  Super different to Quijos valley which is mostly just kayakers.  Interesting to be out and about and interact with people who all have different plans for how to spend their time in Ecuador.  I guess some people are into stuff other than kayaking.  I know right??!! 

 

Getting to Banos is super simple it is just two short bus rides and a bunch of book reading time and then you are there. Once I arrived in Banos I crashed on my friend Abby's couch.  She runs a little hostel spot called Abby's Hideaway just outside of town which is right by a little section of the Rio Pestaza. It is pretty AF!. 

Abby's Cabin down by the river.

Rio Topo

Anyway, it was a great weekend.  Enjoy the video Blog or VLOG as the kids say these days.  

 

See ya next week.  


Seth

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure dewerstone ecuador explore kayaking kokatat travel video whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/2/epic-weekend-kayaking-in-banos-ecuador Mon, 04 Feb 2019 14:15:00 GMT
How to Wave Wheel. Whitewater Kayak tutorial. [With Video] https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/1/how-to-wave-wheel-whitewater-kayak-tutorial-with-video

I really love when people ask me a question like "How do I do a Wave Wheel?"  I especially love when this is followed up by a statement like "I can't find any good videos online about it" because that means I can not only help that one person but I can probably help a bunch more people because if there is one person hitting me up about it then there are probably another fifty-one hundred that are actively interested but haven't reached out to me.  and probably a couple hundred more that are somewhat interested.  So when my Remote Coaching Student (more on that another time) Emily messaged me and said I want to hit a wave wheel but can't find a video I knew what I had to do for this week.  

 

So what is a Wave Wheel? Basically it is a cartwheel whilst you are travelling over a wave.  It can be a really fun trick when down right.

 

The Pre-requisite skills for this trick are Double pump and (ideally) flatwater Cartwheel.  It is possible to do without a strong flatwater cartwheel but challenging.  

 

Step 1: Wave selection is key. You are looking for a set of waves in a series.  Ideally between one and three feet.  Ideally with a smooth green top (ie no foam).  In my video sample the wave I use isn't perfect but it goes.  The closer you can get to finding a great wave to work on the easier this is to learn.  

 

Step 2: Plan ahead.  Decide well in advance which wave you are going to be wave wheeling up and over because it will make it easier to work backward from your goal.  DO NOT try and just pull it off last minute whilst you are getting the hang of these.  

 

Step 3: Build up speed.  You want to be approaching your target wave at a medium speed.  Too fast and you will get out of control.  too slow and you won't be able to drive your boat up and out of the water enough to really make this trick work.  

 

Step 4: Put your boat on edge and LIFT up.  Just like the first part of a double pump, pulling your knees up into your chest with your boat on edge as you travel up the wave.  Keep pulling until your bow is coming all the way up and (just for a split second, your bow becomes weightless). 

 

Step 5:  Drop more edge and push down.  Once your bow has gone weightless it is time to drop even more edge and switch that pulling stroke to a pushing stroke.  just like the second part of the double pump.  At the same time push down on your feet and if you have to jack your body back or forward to get your boat more or less vertical.  

 

Step 6: Land neutral or slightly forward and ready to take a back stroke to stabalise yourself 

 

BOOM There you have it.  The wave wheel in is steps.  

 

Give it a shot and let me know if it helps you.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure daily explore kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa travel tutorial video wave wavewheel weekly wheel youtube https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/1/how-to-wave-wheel-whitewater-kayak-tutorial-with-video Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:16:33 GMT
2019 Goals. Why am I telling you this? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/1/2019-goals-why-am-i-telling-you-this

 

In 2018 I kept my goals pretty much to myself.  I was aiming to get One New Youtube video out every week from the time I returned from Uganda to the end of the year.  Unless people asked me directly about it I just kept my mouth shut.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it work and I didn't want to fail (talk about fragile ego huh?!) 

 

Anyway I managed to make 2018 goal happen and decided that this year it would be better if I put my 2019 goals out there for everyone to check out and hold me accountable.  This year I have a pretty Macro goal.  Engage more people in Kayaking and get them FIRED UP! I am planning to do this by keeping the weekly youtube content coming and getting (hopefully) bi-weekly podcasts started.  This is important to me because I think kayaking has had a huge positive impact on my life and it could have the same impact for others, they just don't realise it yet.  

 

What are your goals for 2019?

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) 2019 adventure ecuador explore goals jackson kayak kayaking kokatat podcast travel video youtube https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2019/1/2019-goals-why-am-i-telling-you-this Mon, 07 Jan 2019 12:41:45 GMT
Why did I Make this Video? 2018 Highlight reel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/12/why-did-i-make-this-video-2018-highlight-reel

I ended pop not making a 2017 highlight video after accidentally leaving a hard drive with half the years footage in a storage box whilst I was away this time last year.  I learned a solid lesson this time last year and spent 2018 being much more on top of where all my footage is. SO there is that.  

 

2018 was a year that had a lot more freestyle than I thought.  I hadn't really realised until I started editing that I was mostly freestyle paddling all year.  January and February in Uganda for 'UNLEASHEDxUGANDA' and other events, March in the UK for my sisters wedding (although I actually didn't paddle that much whilst I was there), big waves surfing through 'Stakeout' in Quebec and Ontario, working on the Ottawa through the summer then heading to Ecuador in December.  That is like 80% freestyle, crazy.  Most years are usually more 60/40 freestyle and creeking or even 50/50.  It has been an epic year though, my freestyle has progressed a lot, which I guess is to be expected with so much time doing it this year.  

 

Stakeout was great as usual, plenty of days at Ruins on the Ottawa, being scared shitless on Gladiator wave, a scary run in with a big ice chunk on mini-bus wave, a ton of driving, some Misstasibi laps, the traditional amount of waiting in the sand for Molly wave on the Misstasibi river in Quebec, lots of driving around looking for first descent options in the Upper Ottawa drainage. It is so hard to rally First D waves at that time of year because you know the good waves have such a small window where they are perfect.  

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Summer work on the Ottawa was just as busy as ever, the water levels were great.  The temp on Canada Day weekend got up to +40 C which is HOT.

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Stoked to be finishing the year out in Ecuador.  The kayaking down here is so fun and (assuming you have a little knowledge and a little Spanish) logistics are super easy to paddle 20+km's of WW every day.   

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The biggest goal I had in 2018 was 1 new YouTube Video every week (once I was back from Uganda), and this was something I was super unsure if I would be able to maintain.  But I am stoked to be just a week away from the end of 2018 having pretty much hit my goals.  On the face of it it sounded easy, one video a week doesn't sound like that much but it takes some serious effort.  I have a huge respect for the people on youtube that make daily videos.  It is a lot.  Now that I am in the habit of doing the work I am thinking of ways to up the anti in 2019.  

 

Let me know what you think of the Highlight reel.  See ya next week!

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure daily explore kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa stakeout travel weekly youtube https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/12/why-did-i-make-this-video-2018-highlight-reel Mon, 24 Dec 2018 12:18:36 GMT
Why did I make this Video? How to plan your ECUADOR Whitewater Kayak Adventure https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/12/why-did-i-make-this-video-how-to-plan-your-ecuador-whitewater-kayak-adventure

 

Recently I have been looking into ways to make videos that are informative as well as fun.  Travelling to kayak can seem daunting, especially in South America if you haven't travelled much and don't speak much or any Spanish (which was exactly me in Mexico, 2011).  So I thought I would share some of my knowledge on trip planning to specific destinations as it is something I have experience with that others could benefit from. So first port of call in this series of 'How to plan' was Ecuador, as I am here right now and I have a few trips under my belt.  The video is kind of long and dry and informative.  I am trying to think of ways to spice it up better.  Any Ideas? I am also sure I left out a bunch of info but there is just so much to fit in and the video was long enough already.  Was this style of video useful for you? Where should I do next? 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ecuador jackson kayak kayaking kokatat plan travel whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/12/why-did-i-make-this-video-how-to-plan-your-ecuador-whitewater-kayak-adventure Mon, 17 Dec 2018 12:39:06 GMT
Why did I make this video? Reusable cups on a plane?? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/12/why-did-i-make-this-video-reusable-cups-on-a-plane

 

I have been trying to cut down on the amount of plastic I waster for about the last year and a half.  I pretty much always have re-usable bags in my truck for groceries, I pretty much always have my travel mug with me for coffee stops, and i pretty much do not use those stupid little one use plastic bags that you buy vegetables in.  I wanted to take that to the net level on my travels to Ecuador this year as it has bugged me for a while how many plastic cups you burn through on an average flight. So I took this tin cup that I had been gifted as a tip earlier in the year and gave it a shot.  'Apparently' (unable to fact check this but sounds plausible) in the USA alone flights burn through one million cups every 6 hours, with an average cross country flight using 350 cups.  Check out the video (it also documents a run and super negative experience I had with Air Canada but more about that another time) and let me know, could you start using a reusable on a plane? and will you?

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure cup environment explore plastic recycle reusable reuse tin travel waste https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/12/why-did-i-make-this-video-reusable-cups-on-a-plane Mon, 10 Dec 2018 13:30:44 GMT
Why did I make this video? Seth vs Snow https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/11/why-did-i-make-this-video-seth-vs-snow

 

Making the V-Log style videos are for sure my favourite to make as the largely give me the opportunity to make tell a story however I want.  The other styles  videos I make  usually follow a more structured formula, but the vlog style episodes are more freedom to do what I want.  So thats what I got to do this week.  After months of selling off old kayak gear and cutting corners on my groceries bill like a BOSS, I finally had enough cash to order a new Drone.  On the day it was scheduled to arrive there was hella Snow.  Infact that week we were experiencing full on winter like weather with temperatures well into the negative 10-20 range and snow everywhere.  I am not well prepared for this kind of weather and so I thought this week's video it would be fun to show my journey to the post office, and that you would likely be entertained by my struggling to get through (what I am assured) is a relatively small amount of snow.  Interested to hear your thoughts on the Vlog style vids compared to the tutorials/reviews/interviews etc.  Love them or hate them? 

 

Also did you hear I'm Podcasting now? The "Questions You Never Thought to Ask" Series is going full podcast and hopefully with increasing consistency going forward. The interview style works way better in audio anyway.  You can hear them on all major podcasts and if you want to hear them a week early and help support the podcast going forward I have been putting them on my Patreon page where you can hear them first.  There is one online there right now that goes for general release on Friday.  Check it out at www.Patreon.com/sethashworth 

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure canada drone explore funny kayak kayaking ottawa travel vlog https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/11/why-did-i-make-this-video-seth-vs-snow Mon, 26 Nov 2018 13:35:25 GMT
Why Did I make This video? How to use your GoPro more Creatively https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/11/why-did-i-make-this-video-how-to-use-your-gopro-more-creatively DCIM\100GOPRO\G0083897.

 

I Love seeing creatively made Gopro videos, but there are too many Gopro users out there who only have their Gorpro as that Point Of View camera with no other uses.  I think this is a bit boring and I wanted to help people be more creative so I have put together a few Ideas on how you can use your Gopro.  My hope is people will start to think more about other cool ways they can use their Gopro and everyone will start thinking outside of the POV box.  But I want you to tell me what did I miss? 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) camera creative gopro kayak kayaking photography tutorial whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/11/why-did-i-make-this-video-how-to-use-your-gopro-more-creatively Mon, 19 Nov 2018 14:13:57 GMT
Why did I make this video? Take better photos without buying an expensive camera https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/11/why-did-i-make-this-video-take-better-photos-without-buying-an-expensive-camera

I thought instead of just throwing up a link to this week's youtube video that this week I would try and throw it up and add some context on why I made this video, why I think it is important/relative. If that is an idea you are into then why not hit me a comment down below so I know if people are digging it or not.  I also love to hear things you would consider changing.  So here goes, I take photos when I am out kayaking fairly often.  Infact some people know me as much for my photos as my kayaking which I have always found a bit bizarre as I have always thought of myself as kayaker that likes taking photos not a photographer that likes kayaking.  That viewpoint is important to me but I guess it must get lost with some people.  Anyway, I get asked with decent frequency about what camera I use, setting etc and something I think that not enough people understand is that, although having a better camera can help the main tool you need to take better photos is a creative vision.  The camera on your phone is perfectly capable of taking great photos but it doesn't happen overnight or by accident (usually), you need to do some research on lighting, composition and a few other photography basics. How you edit the photos is another component and can make a big difference in the stories you are telling.  So this video I just wanted to give a couple of ideas about the technical aspects of using your phone as a whitewater kayak camera.  You don't need to buy an expensive camera, just be more creative with what you have.  Watch the video, grab your phone with you next time you are on the river and take some photos.  Tag me on instagram in your best ones @seth_ashworth I can't wait to see them. 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ashworth canada dewerstone explore funny jackson kayak kayaking lifestyle photography seth travel tutorial https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/11/why-did-i-make-this-video-take-better-photos-without-buying-an-expensive-camera Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:37:44 GMT
So much new content on my Youtube channel right now!! https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/9/so-much-new-content-on-my-youtube-channel-right-now  

I haven't really been updating this space very much in the last few months.  Since mid feb I have been pretty focussed on growing my Youtube channel lately.  Honestly this site is so low traffic that I sometimes wonder if I should keep it at all.  Like who even searches the internet anymore? Plus I seem to get comments from bots etc all the time which is spamming up my inbox.  Anyway as the title suggests lots fo great content on my other platforms right now. Youtube weekly, Instagram often, Facebook sometimes.  Check it out and if you actually enjoy coming to this site leave a comment!

 

 

 

 

 

TONS MORE VIDEOS ON THERE>  HIT SUBSCRIBE IF YOU DON"T ALREADY.  AND IF YOU ALREADY SUBSCRIBE-->THANK YOU

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) canada dewerstone jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa videos whitewater youtube https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/9/so-much-new-content-on-my-youtube-channel-right-now Wed, 12 Sep 2018 17:59:34 GMT
First look at the New Jackson Kayak Rockstar 4.0 [With Video] https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/7/first-look-at-the-new-jackson-kayak-rockstar-4-0-with-video

 

This week I managed to get some time in the new Jackson Kayak Rockstar 4.0 and was able to put together a short video showing some side by side views with the 2016 and 2014 versions of the Rockstar.  On the whole I enjoyed paddling it, although I only got an hour or two in total as I was borrowing from Tyler Curtis, my boat was meant to be here a week ago but after some shipping problems it won't be here for a bit longer now.  The boat is finally my size!!! so nice to finally pop out of the water how I want to and not feel like the water pushing me off the wave.  The narrower edge profile was definitely taking a little getting used to but i'm excited to get more time in this boat. Check out the video. 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ashworth canada dewerstone explore funny jackson kayak kayaking kokatat lifestyle rockstar4 seth travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/7/first-look-at-the-new-jackson-kayak-rockstar-4-0-with-video Mon, 09 Jul 2018 11:35:56 GMT
Questions you NEVER thought to ask with Ben Marr https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/6/questions-you-never-thought-to-ask-with-ben-marr

 

From having the idea to do a casual interview with Dane, My "Questions you NEVER thought to ask" Series has been going fairly well, a number of people have been happy to sit down and shoot the breeze.  This time I convince Whitewater legend Ben Marr to take a little time out of his day and chat about some things and some stuff.  Check it out and let me know what you think about it.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ashworth ask ben canada dewerstone explore funny interview jackson kayak kayaking kokatat lifestyle marr never questions seth thought to travel you https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/6/questions-you-never-thought-to-ask-with-ben-marr Mon, 25 Jun 2018 10:47:45 GMT
Questions you Never Thought to Ask with Rush Sturges [video Interview] https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/6/questions-you-never-thought-to-ask-with-rush-sturges-video-interview

 

 

 

I had a sit down a couple weeks ago with Man, Myth Legend Rush Surges. We chatted about nothing in particular, like Zombie apocalypse, relationship break-ups, his career as a rap star and more.  I think it turned out fairly light hearted fun which is my goal with these videos.  Let me know what you think of it.

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) ashworth funny interview kayaking rush seth sturges whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/6/questions-you-never-thought-to-ask-with-rush-sturges-video-interview Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:35:48 GMT
Cold and Frustrated: Stories form Stakeout episode 5: ONLINE NOW https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/5/cold-and-frustrated-stories-form-stakeout-episode-5-online-now DCIM/100MEDIA/DJI_0377.JPG

 

So the last video in my Cold and Frustrated series is online today.  I have had a lot of fun over the last couple ion months working on these videos, mostly just having fun with sharing some of what really goes on here at this time if year.  I think that a lot of cool pictures come out of Ottawa/Quebec in the spring but they don't always fully explain the amount of work that goes into surfing up here.  Hopefully you have enjoyed watching these videos as much as I enjoyed making them.  Make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel as there is still a bunch of interesting things in the pipeline. 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ashworth canada dewerstone explore funny jackson kayak kayaking kokatat lifestyle seth travel vlog https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/5/cold-and-frustrated-stories-form-stakeout-episode-5-online-now Mon, 28 May 2018 11:25:17 GMT
Cold and Frustrated Ep 4 VLOG is online now https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/5/cold-and-frustrated-ep-4-vlog-is-online-now

 

The weekly VLOG continues through another week, this week we are off in search of new waves.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ashworth canada explore kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa seth travel vlog whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/5/cold-and-frustrated-ep-4-vlog-is-online-now Mon, 28 May 2018 11:20:07 GMT
Episode 2 and 3 of the new Vlog are online. Check em! https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/5/episode-2-and-3-of-the-new-vlog-are-online-check-em DCIM/100MEDIA/DJI_0044.JPG

 

I totally forgot to update  on here last week but linked below are episodes 2 and 3 if my new Vlog series Cold and Frustrated.  Things have been leaning more towards frustrated than cold so far this year but its all looking FUN.  Check them out and let me know what you think of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure blog explore kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa stakeout travel vlog https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/5/episode-2-and-3-of-the-new-vlog-are-online-check-em Tue, 15 May 2018 22:48:41 GMT
New Weekly web Vlog series starting today. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-weekly-web-vlog-series-starting-today DCIM\100GOPRO\G0033556.

 

So I have a pretty exciting new Weekly web blog series starting today.  With the help of my friend David Silk we are going to be posting weekly videos documenting some of our adventures through Spring high water season in Canada also known as Stakeout.   There is already lots of coverage from this time of year, mostly showing epic big waves, sun shine and wonder.  But it's not all sunshine and rainbows, and the kayaking is only part of the experience.  We also want to show what its like to travel around Canada with a big crew of some of your best friends and some of the stuff we get up to.  

 

Episode 1 is a prime example of Off river tom foolery with David Silk and Adrian Mattern gambling their eyebrows as water levels stay low and everyone is starting to get antsy about spring being late.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-weekly-web-vlog-series-starting-today Mon, 30 Apr 2018 12:32:15 GMT
New Whitewater Tutorial video. How to Spin https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-whitewater-tutorial-video-how-to-spin

 

New video out on the line now, this week another tutorial video about one of the first freestyle tricks you should be learning the Spin.  Check it out, let me know what you think, did I miss anything? 

 

Oh and don't forget to subscribe to you Youtube channel! 

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure explore how kayaking to travel tutorial video whitewater youtube https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-whitewater-tutorial-video-how-to-spin Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:16:57 GMT
New video alert! First week back in Canada: Where is Spring?? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-video-alert-first-week-back-in-canada-where-is-spring DCIM/100MEDIA/DJI_0014.JPG

Made it back to Canada this week after a great winter break in Uganda then doing family stuff like attend my sisters wedding.  I was expecting to find spring temps, melting snow and big volume whitewater but winter is still clinging on in the Ottawa region, temps are still lower than usual and the river is much lower than usual for this time of year.  I smashed together a quick video form my first paddle of the season.  Full disclosure, I was lax in ensuring my gopro mounts weren't broken and the video definitely suffered because of that.  Still it is really fun out here and I'm excited for some more spring like temps to catch on soon. Check the video and subscribe on Youtube if you don't already. What should next weeks video be?

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure canada dewerstone explore kayak kokatat ottawa snow travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-video-alert-first-week-back-in-canada-where-is-spring Mon, 09 Apr 2018 12:14:30 GMT
New How to kick flip video https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-how-to-kick-flip-video untitled-0072154untitled-0072154After many many failed attempts to get this shot I finally pulled off the composition I wanted, mid kickflip in my @jackson.kayak Zen L using a @gopro camera on my @wernerpaddles SHO-GUN paddle. But after many failed attmepts and blurry as pictures I forgot to smile! Guess I'll have to go and try again. @kokatatusa @dewerstone #dewerstone #dewerstonemens #travel #adventure #explore #photography #igers #instadaily #instacool #instagood #freestyle #follow #hustle #followme #kayaking #whitewaterismagic

 

New video this week giving a rundown of one of my favourite whitewater kayak downriver tricks, the Kickflip.  This video details the more advanced method of kick flipping which gives the biggest air although it takes a bit more getting used to.  Check the video and let me know if it helped you or if you have something to add to it.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure dewerstone explore kayak kayaking travel tutorial video https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/4/new-how-to-kick-flip-video Mon, 02 Apr 2018 15:38:36 GMT
Hurley Classic 2018 Video Recap https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/3/hurley-classic-2018-video-recap

 

Feels like it was forever ago now but just over a week ago was the Hurley Classic, UK's premier grass roots kayak event, which spans two days and is in a format which encourages participation from kayakers from all abilities levels from complete beginner to seasoned pro.  The weekend also has a lot of great possibilities for young kayakers to get coached by some of the UK's top freestylers, it encompasses a Boater-X race and some SUP events.  There was also a 'World Rolling Championships' and a showcase nighttime finals event. All in all an excellent event although this year driving snow and freezing temps did bring participation down this year compared to other years.  But despite the inches of snow and sub zero conditions it was still great to see a lot of kayakers out on the water and interested in Freestyle Kayaking.  

 

Enjoy the video and be sure to let me know when you will be attending a Hurley Classic.  

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ashworth england explore hurley kayak kayaking seth travel uk video youtube https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/3/hurley-classic-2018-video-recap Mon, 26 Mar 2018 11:20:39 GMT
An interview with Nouria Newman https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/3/an-interview-with-nouria-newman

 

After a vague amount of interest in my first episode of 'Questions you NEVER thought to ask' I managed to get French kayaker Nouria Newman to sit down with me and shoot the breeze for a bit.  We covered all kinds of topics including why she swims so often, baguettes, dating apps and more.  Check it out and let me know what you think. 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) comedy funny interview kayak kayaker newman nouria https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/3/an-interview-with-nouria-newman Mon, 19 Mar 2018 15:41:18 GMT
Tech Review: Gnarbox: back up files and edit without a computer https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/3/tech-review-gnarbox-back-up-files-and-edit-without-a-computer

 

New video this week.  A little different to the usual type of content I decided to review a useful gadget I used on my last kayaking trip to Uganda.  It is a way of backing up files, editing photos and video without the need for a computer.  I found this little gizmo super helpful on my last trip as there were often times when I was not in a position where I could have had my laptop in a secure location.  Plus this was way lighter weight than lugging my laptop around.  

 

Check the video, see what you think and if you want to buy one then check the link below.  Full disclosure I do make a little $$ if you buy through one of those links.  

 

Enjoy

 

 

Amazon USA:


Amazon UK:

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) gear review technology travel video https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/3/tech-review-gnarbox-back-up-files-and-edit-without-a-computer Tue, 13 Mar 2018 11:32:04 GMT
NEW VIDEO ALERT!! How to improve your front surf skills https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/2/new-video-alert-how-to-improve-your-front-surf-skills DCIM\100GOPRO\G0093367.

One of my main goals for 2018 was to focus more on regular videos, I am hoping to get them out one per week on a range of subjects including tutorials, gear reviews, Vlogs and general kayaking flicks.  This week's video is all about improving your front surf skills.  Check it out, don';t forget to hit subscribe to my youtube channel and as always I would love to hear your feedback and what you want to see in the next tutorial videos.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure explore kayaking travel tutorial video whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/2/new-video-alert-how-to-improve-your-front-surf-skills Mon, 26 Feb 2018 11:54:33 GMT
Quick Uganda Photos round up. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/2/quick-uganda-photos-round-up untitled-08656Look at this Monkey! As the title suggests I just wanted to share a few photos from my recent trip to the White Nile river, Uganda.  I was there mainly to compete in UNLEASHEDxUGANDA (see last update) but was fortunate enough to be able to stay another three and a half weeks after the competition to do some more kayaking on the amazing White Nile River before its gone.  The impending Isimba Dam project is nearing completion and will likely flood most of the remaining rapids sometime this year.  Perhaps as early as June.  Although there will be a couple of rapids left after the dam, the epic waves like Nile Special and Kula Shaker will be gone soon.  I paddled in Uganda in 2010 before the completion of the Bujagali Dam and definitly had some bittersweet moments on this trip as I recognised places which were now underwater and were once amazing pieces of whitewater.  I am happy to have experienced the river before both of these dams but sad that they had to happen at all as they really don't benefit Uganda/Ugandans very much and are mostly being built because of kick backs and corruption.  In fact I am fairly sure the new dam will be one of the most expensive/least efficient hyrdro projects ever built.  It will displace a few thousand people, do irreparable damage to the ecosystem and increase malaria levels because of the greater amount of standing water. But anyway here are a few photos I took in my time outside of UNLEASHEDxUGANDA.  I have a more shots for UNLEASHEDxUGANDA coming at some point later this spring so stay tuned.  

 

Thats all for now, I'll hit up a more in-depth blog about my Uganda experiences in the net couple of weeks.  Until Then see you on the river! 

 

 

My Accommodation for the last month untitled-03309Multiple Bedrooms untitled-03304My crib untitled-03283-HDRLast sunset at Nile Special-This shot is an HDR untitled-0033034Last sunset surf at Nile Special DCIM\100GOPRO\G0033034. untitled-03155Ben Sandeman from Ottawa going big untitled-03071Future of Uganda's freestyle kayakers. untitled-03046Joseph always looks stoic in photos untitled-02791Dane Jackson at Kula Shaker wave untitled-02787Dane Jackson Airscrew at Kula Shaker untitled-02756Tom Paterson bringing Freestyle River Boarding to Africa untitled-02406Rory from Dewerstone before his first Nile Special surf untitled-02400Bren Orton watching Adrian Mattern Crash on the wave. Pure Joy untitled-02365Regan, one of the Neighbour kids. Loves pressing all the buttons on every electronic device. untitled-02359Typical nosy kids untitled-02333Bren Orton and Adrian Mattern getting food supplies in the Market untitled-02353Picture of a picture. #inception untitled-02346Jinja Market, Uganda untitled-08731Sunset down the river untitled-08696Flowers and butterflies untitled-08666Not sure what these birds are called but they are all up and down the river untitled-08644an Ibis I think untitled-08637More monkeying around

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure dewerstone explore jackson kayak kayaking kokatat lifestyle travel uganda https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/2/quick-uganda-photos-round-up Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:42:24 GMT
UNLEASHEDxUGANDA round up. Athlete perspective. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/1/unleashedxuganda-roudn-up-athlete-perspective  

 

UNLEASHEDxUGANDA

 

In 2017 I competed in the first UNLEASHED competition in Canada.   A multi stage event testing athletes in both freestyle and racing events.  It was easily the event I enjoyed competing at the most throughout the year and really tested Athletes at the high end.  In my opinion it was the future of High end whitewater competitions and is so visually impressive that all non-kayakers can easily understand it. So when the SEND boys (Adrian Mattern, Bren Orton, Dane Jackson and Kalob Grady) told me they planned a similar event on the White Nile, Uganda I knew I wanted to go.  

 

The event was super important to me for 2 reasons. 1: The event format is pushing the envelope of what is possible with high end whitewater competitions and I want to be a part of that progression. 2: The impending completion of the Isimba dam project will flood much of the remaining whitewater on the White Nile, so I had to paddle it one more time.  I paddled in Uganda in 2010 before the completion of the Silverback dam, so I was aware before going that much of the whitewater I paddled in 2010 was now underwater.

 

I travelled to Uganda a week and a half before the competition started to get settled in and get used to surfing waves again. The night of January 5th all the Athletes met at Nile River Explorers base camp for the opening meeting and info on stage 1 (of 4).  

 

The opening meeting really set the tone for the competition.  4  stages that will test your skills to the limits with the goal to display high end whitewater that a wider audience can understand. Prepare for a challenge and remember to make smart choices as to if you will compete at each stage. 

 

Stage 1: Cuban Wave Big trick, Itunda rapid.  

 

The Cuban wave is in the centre of Itunda rapid.  If you have never paddled the Nile the Itunda rapid is one of the biggest rapids on the river. The Cuban wave lies in the middle of the rapid, and behind it are three stout holes (Ashtray, The Bad Place, The Other Place), all capable of dishing out savage beat downs. To catch the wave you have to cross an eddy line which is more like one huge whirlpool.  I had high hopes going into this event but ultimately it couldn’t have gone worse for me. 

 

All the athletes were split into 2 groups, each with an hour and forty five minutes of wave time. Top three tricks would be scored.  

 

This stage was the most frustrating for me.  Getting to the wave meant crossing a strong whirlpool type eddy line.  Attempt after attempt I was just getting eaten up by this whirlpool, sometimes held down, sometimes pushed downstream but every time missing the wave.  Finally on my 10th attempt and last of the day I was able to catch wave, but in all my excitement I wasn’t able to score any tricks which would have moved me up the leader board.  After stage 1 I was Tied 22nd with Alan Ward (who also was having a tough time catching the wave.) This still put us ahead of a couple of athletes who chose not to compete in this stage.  

 

Needless to say, not a great start to the competition.  

 

 

Stage 2: Dead Dutchman Boater-X

The in between competition days there was a mandatory practice lap required at the Dead Dutchman Rapid if you wanted to race Stage 2. I had never seen Dead Dutchman rapid, although I had heard it was one of the most challenging and consequential rapids on the White Nile.  

 

The Scouting day was intense.  I headed to the rapid with Craig Ayres (GBR) who had run the rapid before.  As well as a big crew of athletes, including Alan Ward (GBR),  Aoife Hanranhan (IRE), Katie Kowalski (CAN), Andrey Pesterev (RUS), Nick Beavis (GBR), Bartosz From Poland and Darby Mcadams (USA).  The mood was tense, from the scouting spot you can see most of the line, but it looks BIG.  In the safety meeting the previous night organizers had outlined where not to go and it was easy to see why.  Some of the hydraulic holes to the edge of the rapids where no go spots.  But there was a line for sure.  Lots of people were on the fence about weather or not they were going, personally I find it best to just make a choice and get down to business as soon as possible,  the more time I spend looking the worse I feel.  Craig, Andrey and I hopped in our boats to fire it up first.  I nervously ran through the line with Craig and Andrey in the eddy one more time, then we fist bumped, exchanged “see you at the bottoms” and went for it.  

 

The lap went great, much smoother and less stressful than I expected, although I still had some reservations about racing with 5 other people around me I felt much happier with a lap under my belt.  Darby and Alan came down in the second wave.  Both greased their lines.

 

That night at the safety meeting athletes who decided they would race had to write their name on a chalk board.  If your name wasn’t on the board 15 mins after the meeting concluded, or you had not completed your mandatory practice lap you would not be taking part in Stage 2.  

 

Race Day

 

The most nervous I have ever been before a Boater-X race (which are usually not stressful).  The mood amongst all the athletes on the shuttle up was tense to say the least.  This is a truck full of some of the world’s top kayakers and to a one they were all nervous.  One more quick scout with all the athletes then it was game time.  

 

We would start in a line facing upstream and when David Silk (who had been forced out of this stage with a shoulder injury from Stage 1) yelled “GO” it was game on.  I was in the first heat.  At the “GO” we were all close together as we got closer to the rapid. The last thing I wanted was to screw up at the entrance to the rapid because I was jostling for position too much, besides I was pretty sure all the placing would change mid way through anyway, as the course was a decent length. I dropped back into 6th place and entered the rapid.  First making the critical right turn, passing the fist big hole to the left.  At that point I could see all the other athletes in my heat with Dane breaking away from the crowd heading left and the other 4 going more right. I decided to play smart and tail gate Dane through the middle part of the rapid. I passed into second place, then a rogue boil flipped me.  I rolled up facing upstream, a quick look around and I knew I was about to go into the big Wave/hole in the middle on the Rapid.  I took a deep breath.  Then I was upside down, it was dark. When it calmed I rolled up and looked around.  I was perfectly online and Dane was just rolling up slightly behind me. We both started racing the last 400m to the finish.  He pulled slightly ahead of me but I kept charging, not daring to look over my shoulder and check how far away the others were.  Anyway the top 3 from each round would advance so as long as I kept up I could make it.  I finished round 1 in second with Tom Dunphy (IRE) just pulling ahead of Andrey to take third. After snapping a few pictures of the other heats I walked back to the top, ferried across ready for the Semi finals round.  This time I had more of a plan to try and replicate what I had done in round one.  

 

I started deliberately at the back of the pack, entered the rapid and started making overtakes.  The water was getting higher, it was noticeable at the entrance of the rapid.   Yuesf (UGA) and Dane had pulled way out in front whilst Tom and I were tight around the corner.  Tom and I were still close at the big wave hole section in the middle of the rapid, side by side in fact with Tom downstream of me.  I shouted at him “GO GO GO TOM” just as we were about to hit the biggest wave/hole.  Tom flipped as we rode up the shoulder, the down current of the shoulder grabbed at my stern and started flipping me too.  I braced on Tom’s boat but it was pointless.  The next monster wave/hole was on us.  I felt being pitched up with Tom’s boat beside me, on top of me, underneath me.  I could feel our boats hitting one another.  I tried to tuck my head between my arms to avoid being hit in the face.  When I rolled up I was hit by a new wave that had not been there in the first round.  It surfed me but I was able to stay in control and get to the edge. I could see Yusuf and Dane out ahead of me and I started hustling to catch up.  I was closing, I could make the finals and turn around my miserable perforce from the stage one.  Then out of nowhere I hit a boil and slowed down for just a second.  In that second Kaelin F. (USA) got ahead of me.  I was hustling to get back into third place.  My bow was touching his stern.  I was working as hard as I could.  I could see Craig in my peripheral catching up too.  In the end Kaelin stayed ahead and I tied 7th place with Tom Dolle in the other semi final.  

 

After stage 2 I was 15th overall.  

 

Stage 3: Best Ride Competition, Nile Special Wave

 

The mood amongst the athletes took a significant turn toward being relaxed through this stage.  A best ride comp on Nile Special wave, where athletes would be scored on the tricks they pulled off, with multipliers for style and use of the wave. I had been hustling all morning trying to snap photos and by the time I had gotten back to my boat for my first 3 rides (of 6) I was exhausted.  My first 3 rides were a write off.  Luckily only one counts so I had a snack, some water, shot some more photos and then got back in for round 2.  Fortunately the snack paid off and I was able to get one reasonable ride, although I definitely wasn’t able to pull off all my tricks I was able to net 12th place in this event pulling me up into 13th overall after stage 3.  

 

 

 

Stage 4: Mass Start Race, Hair of the Dog Rapid

 

The final round of the competition.  All the athletes Men and Women Would start at the same time and race down the Hair of the Dog Rapid.  A long race made much crazier by having all 21 men (4 out with injury) and 5 women for a total of 26 kayakers all trying to get down at the same time.  

 

This stage was nuts, there were people ahead of me, behind me, to my left and right.  As we entered the rapid the pack started to split but being on a rapid as wide as this one there was not enough space.  We were on top of each other, some people were flipped whilst others paddled over them.  Rogue eddy lines and boils changed the order constantly.  After not having the best start I kept charging trying to get back to the front, but the front racers were ahead by a bit.  I tried to make a pass at the end but crowded finish line held me out.  With only one shot at this one it was a tough blow to not make the top five that I so badly needed to crawl back into the top 10 overall.  

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot

At the end of the Competition I was 15th Overall.  

 

 

I had been aiming to come in at least the top 10 of this comp but after a miserable results of stage 1 I struggled to make a Rocky Balboa style comeback. Even still I am always stoke dot be a part of the UNLEASHED Competition series.  In my opinion this competition is the future of high end whitewater competitions and is pushing whitewater more and more into the public image with visually stunning content that is easy for ‘non-kayakers’ (muggles) to digest.  I hope to be apart of the next event this spring.  

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure dewerstone explore jackson kayak kayaking kokatat travel unleashedxuganda https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2018/1/unleashedxuganda-roudn-up-athlete-perspective Sat, 20 Jan 2018 10:25:47 GMT
[Video] Adventures in Argentina Ep 4 of 4 https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/12/-video-adventures-in-argentina-ep-4-of-4

 

Its finally here.  Final instalment from my Argentina travel Blog series.  This one follows the finals day with some coverage of the kayaking, hilarious commentary from Nick Troutman and some choice interviews from people like JNR mens world champ Tom Dolle and whitewater legend Clay Wright. Check it out and don't forget to hit SUBSCRIBE over on my youtube.  

 

 

  

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure argentina blog kayak kayaking travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/12/-video-adventures-in-argentina-ep-4-of-4 Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:42:06 GMT
[Video] Adventures in Argentina Episode 3 of 4? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/12/-video-adventures-in-argentina-episode-3-of-4

 

The Adventures continue in episode 3, this one covers the Event opening ceremonies, a useful Life Hack and follows one of my buddies Anna Bruno through her progress in the Women's Squirt Kayak Category from the first few days of the competition.  Hoping for ep 4 some time next week!

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventures argentina beer blog explore freestyle fun hack kayak life travel vlog https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/12/-video-adventures-in-argentina-episode-3-of-4 Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:20:15 GMT
[Video] Adventures in Argentina. Episode 2 of 4? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/11/-video-adventures-in-argentina-episode-2-of-4

 

Next episode in my Argentina Video Series online now.  This one takes us through the epic Thanks Giving feast I was invited to a couple of days ago.  Epic feast with a ton of epic humans! Huge thanks to Kristine and EJ Jackson for hosting us.  Don't forget to hit subscribe on my Youtube channel to see episode 3 first. 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure argentina blog explore kayaking travel vlog https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/11/-video-adventures-in-argentina-episode-2-of-4 Sat, 25 Nov 2017 14:06:54 GMT
[Video] 1 Simple tip to Improve your Whitewater Kayaking https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/11/-video-1-simple-tip-to-improve-your-whitewater-kayaking

 

Hey Everyone, 


Training and preparation for Freestyle Kayak World Champs is getting more and more frantic, but before departing next week I wanted to get this new tutorial video out there.  Give it a watch, try it out, let me know if it helps you or not in the comments. I am thinking about cheffing up more videos like this so be sure to hit that SUBSCRIBE button on Youtube to see the next one as soon as it comes out.  

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) canada kayaking ottawa river tutorial video whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/11/-video-1-simple-tip-to-improve-your-whitewater-kayaking Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:27:33 GMT
New Gear Love: Snapdragon LIPS Armotex spray deck (Spray Skirt) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/9/new-gear-love-snapdragon-lips-armotex-spray-deck-spray-skirt untitled-0109810untitled-0109810DCIM\100GOPRO\G0109810.

I got my hands on some new gear a couple of weeks ago that I have been pretty stoked about so far.  A randed skirt from Snapdragon designs.  Named the LIPS deck it has the classic Snapdragon 'Armotex' top for better durability.  So far I have been really impressed with 'dryness' of the deck, I have done full play sessions with barely any water entering my boat.  The rand fits my boat(s) snuggly but without being a hassle to put on (fits Rockstar M 2014/16 and Nirvana perfectly), it has an easy to use pull tab/loop to take off which replaced the bulky plastic handle that the last Snapdragon skirt I used had way back in 2013 (which sucked because it was loud and heavy and unnecessary).  The rand look like it is glued under tension which gives the best fit, and the deck is just one piece of Neoprene so it doesn't have a bunch of seams that can start leaking on you.  Two weeks in I am very happy with it, although I haven't used it on any stout creeping missions or big drops yet I am pretty comfortable it is going to be a bomber deck (skirt).  Check them out if you are looking for a new spray deck  The only thing I would recommend is going a little smaller on the tunnel size than you think as it stretches a bit. I got a Medium tunnel but wish I had gone for a small as it is a bit baggy around the waist.   untitled-0129820untitled-0129820DCIM\100GOPRO\G0129820. untitled-0119817untitled-0119817DCIM\100GOPRO\G0119817. untitled-0119812untitled-0119812DCIM\100GOPRO\G0119812.

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure explore gear hype kayak kayaking review snapdragon travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/9/new-gear-love-snapdragon-lips-armotex-spray-deck-spray-skirt Mon, 11 Sep 2017 20:00:50 GMT
New Video: How to Improve your Boof Stroke. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/9/new-video-how-to-improve-your-boof-stroke

I haven't busted out a new video for a while but thought it was about time to flex some instructional muscle given than I just got a new Creek boat the JK Nirvana (which is sick btw). Anyway check out this video, give the advice a try if you want and let me know if it helps you or not.  Thanks a lot to Mike McKay who filmed some of this for me on the Rouge river, QC and the Racquette river, NY.  Enjoy!inst

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) canada dewerstone instructional jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/9/new-video-how-to-improve-your-boof-stroke Sat, 09 Sep 2017 16:43:56 GMT
Tapping out: Will not be competing at Montreal Eau Vive 2017 due to illness https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/8/tapping-out-will-not-be-competing-at-montreal-eau-vive-2017-due-to-illness

 

Bummed to say I am going to have to miss MEV 2017, after spending the last week basically either laying in bed or laying on the couch with what turned out to be Strep Throat (which I am currently taking medication for) I won’t be able to make it to MEV 2017.  But I am BUMMED to miss out on one of my favourite events of the year, Jetski access surf waves and a Boater-X like no other thanks to Saute Moutons Jet boats.  

 

Good luck to all the competitors this year.  Will Bren Orton retain his title? Will Dane Jackson actually break into top 10 this year after having a very bad time on the Boater-X in 2015? Will Kalob Grady reclaim his title? Lots of excitement and tons of other stuff sign on around the comp so if you are in Montreal, or even nearby swing over and check it out on one of the days.  It’s gonna be AWESOME!!!

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) canada jackson kayak kayaking kokatat mev montreal ottawa school surfing tours wave whitewater wilderness https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/8/tapping-out-will-not-be-competing-at-montreal-eau-vive-2017-due-to-illness Thu, 10 Aug 2017 23:51:40 GMT
The Hype is real. Jackson Kayak Nirvana First impressions. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/8/the-hype-is-real-jackson-kayak-nirvana-first-impressions untitled-0269218untitled-0269218DCIM\100GOPRO\G0269218.

 

I was lucky enough to hear about a new Jackson Kayak Creek boat a little over a year ago, on the drive back from the ‘Search for Dream Wave’ trip, Dane Jackson showed me the CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings on his phone.  Through the winter as the prototype phase was happening I was keenly following Dane, Rush Sturges, Alec Vorhees and a few others who were involved in the prototype testing.  Whenever I heard something from them it usually started with “Dude, this boat is gonna be so sick"  but it is natural for them to be hyped about it, after all they are helping to improve it.  

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Then earlier this spring I had the chance to paddle the final prototype whilst I was staying with Clay  and Stephen Wright (no they aren't brothers) in Tennessee.  I was blown away at how easy it was to paddle.  Although it was a 9ft boat it felt nimble and easy to turn.  Acceleration was off the charts, it was super stable and had enough bow rocker to comfortably rocket through almost every boof on the river, with no effort.  But I was still wary.  I know that the things can change between the final prototype and the finished product due to tiny changes in the mould, plastic cooling time, etc etc so I did my best not to be too pumped about it before I received my finished boat.  

Well, I got my new boat on the weekend and wasted no time on getting out and using it on some of the limited creeking options we have here in eastern Canada in the summer time.  I paddled it first on the Seven Sisters section of the Rouge river, and then a day on the Racquette river in upstate NY.  This boat is even better then the prototype. The knee position is a hair lower and the edges are just a bit easier.  It boofs easily, accelerates like a dream, turns easier than the large Zen that I am moving out of.  It is a lot of boat at 9ft long but it doesn’t feel like a lot.  The thing I enjoyed most was the feeling of ‘ease of use’ feeling that the Nirvana made me feel.  I have only paddled my freestyle boat for almost 10 weeks on only bigger volume whitewater, but the Nirvana made it easy to hop straight back into some class 4/4+ creeking like I hadn’t missed a day in my creek boat. So far very very stoked on paddling this boat and can’t wait to paddle it a lot more.  untitled-0309388untitled-0309388DCIM\100GOPRO\G0309388. untitled-0228969untitled-0228969DCIM\100GOPRO\G0228969. untitled-0289278untitled-0289278DCIM\100GOPRO\G0289278.

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure ashworth dewerstone explore gnarvana jackson jk kayak kayaking kokatat nirvana seth travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/8/the-hype-is-real-jackson-kayak-nirvana-first-impressions Thu, 03 Aug 2017 13:45:39 GMT
Maniflowba- The Search for Dream Wave. FULL PHOTOS https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/6/maniflowba--the-search-for-dream-wave-full-photos Epic Northern lights at hour 35 of the driveEpic Northern lights at hour 35 of the drive

A highlight trip for me in 2016, a trip that was years in the making, uncertain from the outset but once we set off was better than all of my dreams.  I wanted to try and put the trip into words but there aren't enough adjectives in the dictionary. I decided to just publish my highlight reel photos as a kind of essay on the journey.  The gallery is in roughly chronological order, somewhat.  Through the course of 12 days I took over 3000 images and whittled them down to this set of just over 100 of my favourites.  Hopefully I will be able to write something down about it eventually but for now enjoy these images, let me know if you love them or hate them.  Prints available? Maybe someday...

 

The trip was supported in part by Ottawa Kayak School/Wilderness Tours who helped us with gear, a vehicle and getting out there.  Thanks for the help!

Pre-trip planning before leavingPre-trip planning before leaving UncertaintyUncertainty Satellite image inspectionSatellite image inspection Optimism on the never ending driveOptimism on the never ending drive 27 hours driving, finally in Manitoba. Still 10 hours driving to go.27 hours driving, finally in Manitoba. Still 10 hours driving to go. Food prepFood prep Liquor prepLiquor prep Second epic sunset of the drive thereSecond epic sunset of the drive there sunset stokesunset stoke LP Rivest Pensive at the Put inLP Rivest Pensive at the Put in Prepping the boatsPrepping the boats Prepping the motorsPrepping the motors Prepping the foodPrepping the food RiggingRigging Boats packed, ready to leave Cross lake, Manitoba.Boats packed, ready to leave Cross lake, Manitoba. Boat fortressBoat fortress Send off meal from the People of Cross LakeSend off meal from the People of Cross Lake SmileSmile Rowing outRowing out Tom Paterson horsing around at the last bridge we will see for two weeksTom Paterson horsing around at the last bridge we will see for two weeks Dane Jackson TrollingDane Jackson Trolling Crossing some flat water lakesCrossing some flat water lakes Joel Kowalski CastingJoel Kowalski Casting Kalob Grady taking a shift on the helmKalob Grady taking a shift on the helm White Mud fallsWhite Mud falls Bren Orton heading out for a scoutBren Orton heading out for a scout Looking for a portageLooking for a portage Scouting at Eve's fallsScouting at Eve's falls Lining the boats at Eve's fallsLining the boats at Eve's falls Lining the boats at Eve's falls  2Lining the boats at Eve's falls 2 Lining the boats at Eve's falls 3Lining the boats at Eve's falls 3 Camp 2.Camp 2. Dane getting his morning oatsDane getting his morning oats untitled-06425untitled-06425 Kalob Grady practicing with the shotgun incase of Moose attackKalob Grady practicing with the shotgun incase of Moose attack Benny Marr practicing good foot healthBenny Marr practicing good foot health Dirty FeetDirty Feet Huge Pelicans, everywhereHuge Pelicans, everywhere Launching thew drone (for almost the last time)Launching thew drone (for almost the last time) LP getting his first sight of Dream WaveLP getting his first sight of Dream Wave First raft descent of Dream wave rapidFirst raft descent of Dream wave rapid Bren Orton Heading down Dream wave rapid, first or second?Bren Orton Heading down Dream wave rapid, first or second? Hal Monkan modellingHal Monkan modelling Bren Orton catching airBren Orton catching air Benn Marr getting his first taste of Dream Wave airBenn Marr getting his first taste of Dream Wave air Kalob Grady catching his first surfKalob Grady catching his first surf Benny Marr describing the waveBenny Marr describing the wave Dane Jackson throwing this first aerialDane Jackson throwing this first aerial Benny Marr launchingBenny Marr launching Benny Marr getting invertedBenny Marr getting inverted Dane Jackson Dropping inDane Jackson Dropping in Kalob Grady getting hang timeKalob Grady getting hang time Parking the raftsParking the rafts The loading bayThe loading bay Sunset over the loading baySunset over the loading bay Dane Jackson taking it all inDane Jackson taking it all in First sunset at paradise campFirst sunset at paradise camp First Campfire at Dream campFirst Campfire at Dream camp First alternate spot campfire at dream campFirst alternate spot campfire at dream camp Tom Paterson Front flip at Dream WaveTom Paterson Front flip at Dream WaveInterested in Human Flight? Enjoy swimming? Yea I have a guy you can call about that. @freestyleriverboarding on custom @earthveins boards. That and some wild gymnastics abilities, sick swimming skills, and a seemingly fealess attitude that I still do not understand. // #travel #adventure #explore #fly #igers #instadaily #instawow #instagood #riverboarding #sonya6000 #freestyle Kalob and Dane stoked after build a huge driftwood fire for two hoursKalob and Dane stoked after build a huge driftwood fire for two hours Paradise Camp. Benny and David's tentParadise Camp. Benny and David's tent Fresh fishFresh fish untitled-08342untitled-08342 Delicious filletsDelicious fillets Tea time with Ben MarrTea time with Ben Marr When David Jackson is finished filletingWhen David Jackson is finished filleting David Jackson chiffon up another teaDavid Jackson chiffon up another tea Dane through the woodDane through the wood Hal and Benny Yoga timeHal and Benny Yoga time Dane soaringDane soaring Dane paddling out for another surfDane paddling out for another surf Tom throwing down as Benny watches onTom throwing down as Benny watches on Benny throwing down as Tom watches onBenny throwing down as Tom watches on Bren Orton rallying for another surfBren Orton rallying for another surf Kalob Grady with a dreamy pan amKalob Grady with a dreamy pan am Tom Paterson Can Can 1Tom Paterson Can Can 1 Tom Paterson Can Can 2Tom Paterson Can Can 2 Bren Orton STOKED!Bren Orton STOKED! A big crowd in the standsA big crowd in the stands Joel Kowalski watching his dream [wave] come trueJoel Kowalski watching his dream [wave] come true LP Dialling it inLP Dialling it in Early morning sun at Dream Wave 1Early morning sun at Dream Wave 1 Early morning sun at Dream Wave 2Early morning sun at Dream Wave 2 untitled-08920untitled-08920 Joel getting his fish onJoel getting his fish on Rod handsRod hands Bren grabbing that sunset light shot. #nophotoshopBren grabbing that sunset light shot. #nophotoshop Bren Orton laying out a fattyBren Orton laying out a fatty Stern Tap!Stern Tap! Benny Marr upside down againBenny Marr upside down again Paddling back inPaddling back in Joel Kowalski getting a ride in Hal's brokeJoel Kowalski getting a ride in Hal's broke Tom grilling Benny on ideas for his next trickTom grilling Benny on ideas for his next trick Kalob Grady Creek boat airscrewKalob Grady Creek boat airscrew Tom Paterson in beast modeTom Paterson in beast mode Paddling with Dolphins 1Paddling with Dolphins 1 Paddling with Dolphins 2Paddling with Dolphins 2 untitled-09328untitled-09328 Defying gravityDefying gravity Moon riseMoon rise Sun set at paradise campSun set at paradise camp Sport ShootingSport Shooting Faint northern lights at paradise campFaint northern lights at paradise camp Another of many campfiresAnother of many campfires medium northern lights over 'Boogie Board Bay'medium northern lights over 'Boogie Board Bay' Ben Marr flying at the last morning at Dream WaveBen Marr flying at the last morning at Dream Wave untitled-09626untitled-09626 Hal Monkman throwing HUGE at the last morning of Dream WaveHal Monkman throwing HUGE at the last morning of Dream WaveEver wondered about how to fly? I know some people you can talk to about it. This is Hal (OFTEN mistaken for @bennymrr ) he can fly. #fly #travel #adventure #explore #Manitoba #ManiFLOWba #igers #instadaily #instagood #instawow #picoftheday #fun #smile Packing up to leavePacking up to leave Joel Kowalski ready to peel outJoel Kowalski ready to peel out Not even the biggest wavesNot even the biggest waves Decompressing at the Air Cadet hut in Cross Lake, MBDecompressing at the Air Cadet hut in Cross Lake, MB Joel explaining where we went to an elder of the communityJoel explaining where we went to an elder of the community The same elder explaining to LP why more people should come to Cross LakeThe same elder explaining to LP why more people should come to Cross Lake A friendly bear we saw on the drive homeA friendly bear we saw on the drive home One of MANY gas stopsOne of MANY gas stops 40hr drive home life40hr drive home life LP Rivest throwing down as the fire ragesLP Rivest throwing down as the fire rages Joel hiking back up for his next rideJoel hiking back up for his next ride Dane getting aerialDane getting aerial Moody skies at dream waveMoody skies at dream wave Benny Marr in flight againBenny Marr in flight again Hal Monkan showing his signature Left Pan AmHal Monkan showing his signature Left Pan Am untitled-08193untitled-08193 Party surfingParty surfing Tom on his way up for another lapTom on his way up for another lap Dream Wave stokeDream Wave stoke Kalob Grady sending a big Flip TurnKalob Grady sending a big Flip Turn Prepping some good eatsPrepping some good eats

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) OKS Wilderness adventure explore kayak kayaking kokatat lights northern ottawa tours travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/6/maniflowba--the-search-for-dream-wave-full-photos Tue, 06 Jun 2017 01:10:18 GMT
Truck Life Tour 11: 10,000 Miles later https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-11-10-000-miles-later  

untitled-02180untitled-02180Flying toward the weekend like WWHHHHAAAATTTSSSUUUPPPPPP!!!!! Kind of like what @danejacksonkayak is doing here pictured at Big Bus wave, Ottawa river, Canada. #freestyle #kayak #igers #instawow #instadaily #travel #adventure #explore #kayak #igers #instawow #instadaily #travel #adventure #explore

I cannot believe its all over.  Two months of travel, over 10,000 Miles driven, Im not even sure how many rivers paddled and waves surfed.  More fast food stops than is probably healthy, lots of coffee and now I am back on the banks of the Ottawa river, Truck Life Tour’s last stop.  

 

We spent our last week of #TruckLifeTour paddling at the Ruins wave in Ottawa for the final time this season as the levels finally dropped too low for this high water wave.  Spring flood on the Ottawa was ridiculously high this year, some news outlets were saying a one in hundred year flood, some were reporting more.  Ruins wave is usually one of the waves that comes in earlier and it is so unusual that we are able to surf it in not only nice weather (one of the days last week was 28C).  Personally my paddling has had to take a bit of back seat as I have a minor shoulder injury at the moment that I am babying until it is better.  But I was able to shoot plenty of photos.  To be honest we have such an unusually high number of Ruins days this year I would be pretty content not shooting any more airscrew photos there but thats just me, they do still look cool.  

untitled-02280untitled-02280 untitled-02222untitled-02222Walla walla walla. Big Bus Power with @davidsilkkayak #travel #adventure #explore #explorecanada #igers #instadaily #instagood #instawow

The last two months has been high highs and some lows, but hardly.  Sleeping in the back of the truck as snow fell in Utah (or one of the joining states), anytime it rained whilst we were in the back, the realisation that the leaks were continuously getting worse and that most of the stuff in the back would be getting wet if we didn't put our gear into drybags, banging my head on the truck topper three times a night whilst getting into bed and two times per morning everytime I got out of bed. All in all a small price to pay.  

 

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Really the story here is to say THANK YOU to a bunch of people who were main helpers along the journey of this tour.  Clay Wright who's idea it was for this blog story in the first place (we were doing the trip anyway) and also his hospitality for hosting us in the South-East, letting me borrow a boat(s) whilst in the area, The Jackson family for their southern hospitality whilst we were there, Nick and Emily Troutman for letting us crash in their house, NOC rafting centre who at least didn't complain about us posting up in their staff parking lot (whether they were OK with it or not was never clear), Stephen Wright for looking out for us in Columbus, GA, The SEND lads who went above and beyond to create the amazing UNLEASHED event which was absolutely the highlight for me of our two month tour,  New World Rafting for housing us during the Boater-X event, Emrick Blanchette who hosted like 30 people at his house in the pouring rain after the Giant Slalom, Wally at Quebec Raft/Wallys Photos for letting all of us sleep at the rafting base before the event and afterwards in the build up to Defi des grande Riviere (which is another epic event that I am excited to return too), the lads from Quebec Connection that mastermind Neilson race (which was a lot more satisfying this year as I finished the race without a swim, and on the podium).  

untitled-02573untitled-02573 untitled-02668untitled-02668it was great to see @nicktroutmankayak back on the his home waters of the Ottawa river, even if it was just for a few days. #homewaters #myottawa #explorecanada #igers #instadaily #instawow

And finally biggest thanks most of all to my tour partner Brooke Hess for putting up with me for the last two and a bit months, I am sure it hasn't all been plain sailing, but through all the long drives, long conversations, long arguments, it has been a lot of fun.  Brooke is now on her way to USA team trials in Buena Vista, Colorado so good Luck Brooke! 

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And that is it.  Done.  There won’t be anymore #TruckLifeTour updates for a bit, although I have a few supplementary blogs I may get around to eventually but its not happening today.  I have one more week before stuff starts getting really busy with my real job as Director of Ottawa Kayak School, so I plan to enjoy some more kayaking time, catch up on other blogs and video editing projects and get ready to work hard because as fun as summer on the Ottawa always is, it is ALWAYS a lot of work.  

 

Follow me on Instagram @seth_ashworth

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Truck UNLEASHED adventure dewerstone explore five jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa ten travel trucklife https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-11-10-000-miles-later Tue, 23 May 2017 21:28:06 GMT
Truck Life Tour 10. More kayaking, more competitions, more FUN. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-10-more-kayaking-more-competitions-more-fun  

untitled-01815untitled-01815 The Stakeout continued in full swing last week as we brushed off our hangovers from the UNLEASHED after party with some Mistassibi laps on Sunday.  We sent it with a big crew many of whom were running the river for their first time.  Mistassibi is a crucial river on the STAKEOUT radar, it holds many of the best surf waves in the world at high water including H2O wave, UCats2BKittenMe, Guantanamo, Black Mass and Ginormica all in the rafting section as well as Molly further downstream. When the level is too high or low for the waves we usually just runs laps of the river as it is a fairly short section.  The style of the river is pool drop, over 4km it twists and turns through 5 long rapids which are enormous volume. Towering overhead waves surround you and there are often times when you feel completely alone, with water all around you and no possibility to look around and see where the rest of the group is because of the height of the waves.  There are some big holes too and whilst most are easily avoided that doesn't mean you won’t see them and feel fear.  

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Traditionally you're first time down high water Mistassibi means you have to paddle all the rapids blind and first.  I remember my first lap down vividly.  Actually I don’t remember particularly the lap itself but the feeling of utter terror when Ben Marr told me of the tradition as I was putting my spray deck on. I remember feeling that terror grow as I was given loose beta for the run and sent on my way as the others gleefully watched me, and I remember being so confounded by the size of the river, the size of the waves and the size of the holes. Most vividly of all I remember the satisfaction of getting to the end of the run with good lines and a face which hurt from smiling.  Although it was scary it was totally worth it, and honestly you only get one chance to have your first time down a river.   But this time the shoe was on the other foot and I was the one gleefully sending my friends out in front to have the same experiences I had, happy in the knowledge that I had given  them enough information for them to successfully find their way down but still keep an air of mystery about where we were going.  And at the end of the run I was happy to recognise the same look of satisfaction as I had experienced my first time down the mighty Mistassibi.  

 

Monday we had prime levels at a challenging wave called UCats2BKittenMe, which is steep, green, hard to catch (which usually makes it frustrating) and so much fun when you catch it.  Last year I ended up paddling just one day as I had strained a muscle in my back the weekend previous during a swim during my Nielson race lap (more on that later), and as a result I had few surfs at this feature, and many attempts.  This year I was determined to keep an upbeat attitude and after 2 hours, 15 attempts to catch the weave, 15 tours back to the top I had notched up 2 rides.  Now I know what you are thinking, 2 rides  in 2 hours? You must suck, but honestly this is an improvement for me on last year and better luck than some other people had during the same session. The key is just keeping your chin up, altering your approach tactics slightly and trying again.  

 

The levels rose the next day and we sent more Mistassibi laps as well as a quick surf at Detonator wave in Alma. We ended up at Detonator the next three days which is unbelievable as all of the previous stakeouts I have been on we have never had good levels on this wave. It is a huge, fast wave that takes work and a little bit of luck but dishes out monster air.  

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untitled-02012untitled-02012 untitled-02024untitled-02024A sense of scale. Jon Paterson taking abreath before jumping in to ride Detonator wave, Alma, QC. #small #travel #adventure #explore #explorecanada #igers #instadaily #instagood #instawow untitled-02032untitled-02032

The weekend there were two competitions in Quebec, The Nielson Race near Quebec city on Saturday and Defi des Grandes Rivere in Dolbeau on Sunday. At 5 hours apart most people would choose one or the other but for Bren Orton, Dane Jackson, Kalob Grady and myself this was more like a ‘Challenge Accepted’ situation to see if we could make it to both events and enjoy the legendary Nielson race party on Saturday night.  So Friday night we paddled at Detonator the rallied the five hour drive in Dane’s Sprinter van.  We made it to the river in time for two practice laps that morning, before racing in the afternoon. Now earlier I mentioned I swam during the race last year and all the Quebec Connection lads had not let me forget about it all year so I was itching to get redemption here.  I had swum after a rowdy pin half way through the race course, and almost had a similar pin during the practice but luckily avoided it this time and after reviewing gopro of the run was feeling pretty good about the race. This one is a partners race where you work as a team to look out for each others safety as you go down the river. I had the same partner from last year, Kalob Grady and together we were able to pull off a smooth race run and scoot into third place with Emrick Blanchette and Charles Arsenault ahead of us in Second place and Bren Orton and Dane Jackson taking first place. That night we hit the party, attempted to speak french and generally had a good time. Kalob took the hit for the team and slept in the van until around 5am when we started driving back north. I took over driving at around 9am for the last hour of the drive and we arrived in Dolbeau ready for comp 2, Defi des Grandes Rivere.  

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Comp 2 was a freestyle throw down at Pillers wave, Ashuapmuchan river. This is a big wave that is backed up by a smaller wave and then a BIG hole, which is flanked by a medium sized hole which would probably look big if it wasn't positioned next to a huge hole.  Through this event I mostly felt scared and intimidated.  This was my first time paddling at this wave and right after my first ride I watched whitewater pro paddler Nouria Newman get absolutely beat in the smaller of the two holes and swim then loose her paddle.  It didn't look fun. I paddled conservatively and not my best until I finally got pushed into the smaller hole myself.  Luckily for me I was able to keep my cool, get in control and surf out but after that I decided to call it a day. During the second half of the day I saw a few more people go into the hole including Stakeout veteran Paul Palmer which ended in another swim.  Overall I took 14th in this comp, my worst result of the year but still happy I put on and stoked to go back to both events next year.  Thanks to Quebec Connection and Raft Quebec and all the individuals who made each event happen. 

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So a busy weekend followed by a long drive back to the Ottawa valley on Monday as Ruins wave is coming in this week and I have to work on the weekend anyway.  Next week will probably be the last week of #TruckLifeTour.  Hopefully it will be as fun as this week was. Stay up to date on Instagram @seth_ashworth

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Truck UNLEASHED adventure dewerstone explore five jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa ten travel trucklife https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-10-more-kayaking-more-competitions-more-fun Tue, 16 May 2017 19:58:22 GMT
Truck Life Tour 9. UNLEASHED Stage 3 & Stage 4 https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-9-unleashed-stage-3-stage-4 untitled-09145untitled-09145This week at #UNLEASHED has been all time. But now I am exhausted. This shot from Stage 3, @danejacksonkayak flying into a winning race lap. #flying #inflight #travel #adventure #explore #competition #intothewater #instatravel #instagood #instawow #wow

Truck Life Tour continues in Canada, and so does the UNLEASHED tour.  We ended up having two full downtime days between stage 2 Boater-X and Stage 3.  The extra layover day was due mainly to super high water across eastern Canada.  Everywhere was too high, most of the big waves in Northern Quebec weren't in yet because it was still freezing cold up there.  There was uncertainty about if it would be a freestyle or creek event next.  Water levels were just dictating an unknown quantity. So when event organisers said drive to Quebec city for a Giant Slalom race on the Basse Cache the the next day, I was sceptical.  Friends from the area had told me just a day before that the Basse Cache was richter high and had been for days.  Checking the online gauge confirmed this, but I kept an open mind, the weather was for clear and cold which often leads to a level drop on that section.  

 

I have paddled Basse Cache just one time before, it is a stout but fun section of classic Quebec whitewater.  Fun slides and drops with big holes everywhere.  If the levels came good it would be the perfect Giant Slalom course.  

 

When we arrived at the course the weather was perfect and so was the level.  Before the pre race meeting the Truck life tour team set out for a course walk.  The trail beside the river went to thigh deep snow in a few spots.  The race course section would be a short but stacked section with three fairly straight forward gates just before a tricky section of sliding holes, a stout cascading double drop and a super spicy ledge hole finish.  A short but sweet race. I was stoked.  After the meeting I geared up and spent a couple of hours hustling photos before taking my one allowed practice lap and then my two race laps.  

untitled-09466untitled-09466Hectic but fun day on the Basse Cache yesterday. Took home 10th plav in the Giant Slalom race, wasnt able put the smooth parts of each lap into one lap. Suchj a fun river though and great to see lots of Quebec homies come out to spectate. #awesome #fun #scary #kayaking #igers #instadaily #instagood #simming #instatravel #travel #addventure #explore #UNLEASHED untitled-09546untitled-09546

Practice lap didn't exactly go to plan, I almost missed one of the gates, had to eddy out a couple of times, had a terrible line out of the biggest drops and was forced to work pretty hard to make the final line.  On the walk back upstream I checked the course carefully to see my mistakes.  Race lap one went somewhat better, I bumped a few more rocks out of the start than before and lost some time, I styled the gates which was sweet but then it started to go a bit downhill, a bit too much left angle through the first of the slide holes squirted me into a small eddy on the side of the river, I quickly got back in the main flaw but had lost a decent chance of time.  I thought about packing it in right there and saving it for the next run but after I had the greasiest (best) line through the tricky cascading double drop I sprinted as fast as I could for the finish.  Room for improvement certainly. Lap 2 had some smooth spots and some mistakes, different smooth spots to lap one, different mistakes too.  In the end I was stoked and exhausted to reach the end of the day and get into 10th place in the event.  That night after a stout Poutine for dinner we headed over to Emrick’s house in Quebec city where good intentions to party turned into a lot of sleepy kayakers pretty much on all of the floor space his house had.  

 

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Excitement was high the following day, although everyone felt tired the word had come through from the event organisers that we would be heading north to Dolbeau for an event on either Saturday or Sunday, on one of the big waves of the Mistassibi river.  Levels up there were just starting to rise which meant we could expect cold water and plenty of ice, but fingers were crossed all round.  Before we could travel up we had to get an oil change and alignment for the truck, this turned out to be a broken part and an expensive repair which had us wandering around for half a day.  But undeterred we finally got on the road and headed up to Dolbeau, home to some of the biggest waves on the planet.   

 

Saturday morning the plan was meet at Molly Wave at 11Am.  I was incredibly sceptical. In all of the Stakeouts I have taken part in Molly is the most elusive of all the waves, its an hour and fifteen minutes outside of town and there is no cell service out there so you have to drive out there to see if the wave is in.  Because of its location in relation to the online gauge it is hard to predict if it is in just by looking at the gauges, which is something we usually do fairly reliably for all of the other waves.  From the gauge it looked like we would be either too early, or there would be too much ice to surf.  The usual graph of spring melt shows a sharp spike up as the ice breaks, a prolonged period of high and then a decline back down, which can be at various speeds depending on an number of factors.  Since the discovery of Molly wave in 2014 we have never been able to catch it on the way up, usually surfing it as the levels drops back down.  BUT stars seemed to be magically aligning for this event so maybe, just maybe we would be lucky.

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We drove the hour and fifteen minute drive up the road.  It is a dirt road mainly used for logging, surrounded by frozen lakes.  As a result of recent hard rain this road was in rough shape. I was happy we had the high clearance of the Tacoma but I would have LOVED to have the option for 4x4 as the road was soft in places and a single mistake by Brooke behind the wheel would have got us stuck.  The weather was driving rain with no sign of stopping which would have made being stuck extra bad.  Luckily no such mistake was made and we arrived at the wave in time for the briefing.  Stars had aligned, levels were prime.  The ice flow however was heavy and flowing exactly where we would be surfing.  After an athlete meeting the decision was made to wait and in 2 hours see if there flow of ice subsided.  As the two hour window progressed the amount of ice was decreasing and the number of fallen trees passing through the wave was also subsiding.  At 2 o’clock the first heat begun, ice was still a factor but not as dangerous as when we first arrived.  There was an appointed ice spotter on the bridge with a whistle who would let you know if you had to surf off for ice/wood etc.  So off we went.  The athletes were split in half, for two sets of one hour heats, same biggest three trick format as at Ruins wave just a week before.  The comp went off without a hitch and after a little after comp surfing the level was rising fast. By the time we left the level was almost too high and would surely be too high to surf in another two hours.  Probably the luckiest water levels for a competition possible.  

 

That night we had a final awards ceremony and athlete party at Quebec Rafting base, huge thanks to Wally for letting us get indoors and dry out after a day of just being completely soaked at Molly.  I wound up 11th place in stage 4. I was unfortunately having some boat issues which was causing me to sink, despite getting out of my boat to empty the water out after every ride there was still enough water in my boat that I could feel it rolling around and pulling my boat around whilst on the wave.  I still pulled off a few tricks but definitely did not achieve my full potential at this stage.  I was stoked to walk away in 9th place overall.  I actually tied with David Silk for 8th place on points but the tie was broken with the best place in a single event.  We each had an 8th place finish but he had a 7th where my next highest was another 8th.  If I had placed one place higher during Stage 2 it might have gone a different way but next time I will try harder.  Dane Jackson took the win after winning all four stages, fellow Team Kokatat paddler Kalob Grady took second in mens and fellow Brit (but basically a fellow ex-pat) Bren Orton took third place.  Women's was actually not such a tight comp after Darby McAdams stormed ahead after stage 3 as she was the only women to race. Which put Brooke Hess in second and Jordan Slaughter in third.  

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UNLEASHED competition was probably the competition highlight of this year, nothing else I have been a part of has been as fun/scary/challenging as this event and on top of that I was hustling photos so hard throughout the event which you will probably see some of through Kayak Session mag later this year.  I will release the full album later in the year, but stay tuned there were some real bangers this week.  

 

Another great week of #TruckLifeTour but not to many more to go now before I have to get back to work proper.  Don’t forget to stay up to date with my Instagram @seth_ashworth 

 

Check in next week.  

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Truck UNLEASHED adventure dewerstone explore five jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa ten travel trucklife https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-9-unleashed-stage-3-stage-4 Wed, 10 May 2017 00:44:47 GMT
Truck Life Tour 8.5: UNLEASHED Boater-X https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-8-5-unleashed-boater-x untitled-08650untitled-08650

So last update dropped on Tuesday but I finished writing it on Monday evening right after we completed UNLEASHED Stage 2, a Boater-X run on the Rouge river.  I really wanted to add it in to Tuesday’s update but the day was exhausting and I really couldn't crush out the extra writing so here is how that day went down in a bit more.  

 

We arrived at the Rouge river on Sunday afternoon, tried and cold from the previous day.  The weather was cold and it had been raining heavily for half of the two hour journey there.  We arrived at our base camp for the stage, New World Rafting, where we were generously being hooked up with cabins to sleep in.  Upon arriving, literally as I got out of the truck, I ran into another group heading up for a practice lap.  They had shuttle set so I grabbed my gear and headed with them to the put in, the girls were all still feeling tired form the previous stage and decided to spend the time utilising the hot tubs at New World.  

 

I have paddled the Rouge river previously but only in the autumn at very low flows.  The level right now was around 400cms and I have previously paddled around 40-50cms.  The lap of the whole section took just 20 minutes and the main section we would race on was visually amazing.  Approximately 1 kilometre of massive volume whitewater.  Huge over head waves pushing you around like a piece of driftwood.  Despite its enormous size it was very low stress, only a few big holes and no bad ones.  The race would be exciting here. 

 

That night at the athlete meeting the idea of a slalom gate in an eddy mid course was discussed and voted on, most athletes wanted the gate so it was provisionally decided.  Heats would be drawn in the morning but for mens it would be 3 heats of 5 people.  2 Advance to the finals, all the rest go onto a lucky losers round where the fastest 2 would advance to finals. 

 

The weather on the race day was just as bad or worse than the previous day.  driving rain had gone through the previous day, night and was continuing into the race day.  We drew heats and headed for the put in.  My heat was myself, LP Rivest, Arthur Paulus, Raoul (dutchie) and Andrew Oxley.  After a solid course walkthrough we were the first set to go.  I really wanted to secure a finals spot early on because walking back up to the top was long, and tiring.  I got away from the pack early alongside LP, I passed him in the first big waves then was neck and neck with Raoul coming into the bend before the big rapid.  The a big wave slowed him down and I had a sizeable lead coming into the biggest part.  BUT i pretty much wasted that lead at the very end as I made a mistake entering the finish eddy, Raoul got there first but luckily for me the rest of my heat was spread way out and I was able to attain back up a small channel to take second place.  Through the rest of the day I ripped around getting photos as much as I could, all my camera gear was wet by the end of the day and although I was dry and layered correctly, my body was fighting to stay warm and by the time I got my boat to the start line for finals I felt exhasted.  We had been out there much longer than I had expected and I hadn’t brought enough food. Getting in my boat I felt weak and tired.  My goal for finals was just to get through without getting injured.  Right from the get go I was strugglingg t keep pace with Kalob, Bren and Dane who were leaden gate pack.  Usually when I boater-X race I try and tailgate the person ahead of me and look for a place to pass but this course was big, with so much possibility of goinginto/onto/under someone that I eased off a little. A couple of close calls with James Rowlinson at the biggest part of the course and right at the finish I made a mistake again and had to come up the little channel.  I still touched the finish banner, and the only other person to miss the Eddy, Emerick Blanchette did not, but I guess the organisers has decided some rule about missing the eddy where if multiple people missed the eddy, of those people the first who hit the hole at the top of the eddy would place higher.  I thought this was bullshit, kind of like if two people are running a marathon and both go off course and miss the finish line then one runs back for the finishes and thew other goes home.   But that is that so I ended up 8th.  Shouldn't have messed up at the end.  

untitled-08433untitled-08433 untitled-08616untitled-08616 untitled-08846untitled-08846Stoke level was all time high, despite miserable weather, after a very fun Boater-X competition for stage 2 of #UNLEASHED cannot wait for stage 3. #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #intsatravel #instagood #whitewaterismagic #stoke #stoked

So thats what was up with Boater-X.  I made a short video showing some behind the event content, and that is posted below as well as the official event video.  Bren and Adrian are killing the event videos and getting them done through the night, often staying up until 4AM to complete them.  Props to them. 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Truck UNLEASHED adventure dewerstone explore five jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa ten travel trucklife https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-8-5-unleashed-boater-x Thu, 04 May 2017 02:22:29 GMT
Truck Life Tour 8: UNLEASHED 1 https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-8-unleashed-1 untitled-07935untitled-07935 This last week has been a rapid whirlwind of kayaking in the final build up toward stage one of the UNLEASHED competition.  After the water level came down a little we were able to get back onto the Ruins wave in Ottawa.  Last year I had a real love hate relationship with Ruins wave.  As in I mostly Loved not going there and Hated getting beat down in the reactionary wave whilst surfing out onto the wave, which happened often.  But this year I was making a real effort to improve there and after a few LONG days paddling there I was finally starting to feel a bit more consistent although after three days on the trot paddling there by Friday I felt exhausted.  

 

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So Friday we took it fairly easy as it was the final day before the start of the competition, just a few quick surfs and then back to the Ottawa Valley where the athlete meeting/opening party would be held at Whitewater Brewery.  I spent Friday afternoon mostly napping and trying to get my energy back in time for the first competition which was rumoured to be Saturday. 

 

Friday night all the athletes gathered for the opening notes and information from UNLEASHED event organisers.  Bren Orton, Adrian Mattern, Kalob Grady and Dane Jackson are the brains behind the event and their goal is to create the biggest event in Whitewater kayaking.   They outlined the rough layout for the event, a four stage competition taking place over the next 10 days.       The four events will be a Biggest Trick event, Boater-X, 10 Trick Big wave and a Giant Slalom.  The goal for each event is to be visually stunning and showcase the high end of kayaking.  Stage one would be held on Saturday at Noon on Ruins Wave Ottawa.  I had pretty mixed feelings about attending a competition on my nemesis wave, but was a little more optimistic after the last week of paddling there.  The other stages were still to be confirmed as to when and where as the organisers were waiting on water levels to be best.  This time of year the rivers fluctuate a lot so I thought that was pretty savvy on their part. We enjoyed cold beers at Whitewater Brewery for a while after the meeting and spent time catching up with all the old friends who were just arriving.  We also confirmed the last wild Card athlete Arthur Paulus, who just arrived from France a couple of days before.  

 

Saturday morning our crew made good time, getting up and heading out to get started on the hour and a bit drive to the wave.  Our TruckLifeTour family has doubled in size for the duration of the event as we took on Darby McAdams and Jordan Slaughter and somehow managed to fit all of our stuff and kayaks into Brooke’s relatively small Tacoma. Luckily they have pretty short legs and after we dumped a bunch of Brooke’s climbing gear and spare clothes and shoes we were able to squeeze in the two new girls pretty easily. Anyway, we made it to the morning meeting on time (Event organisers Adrian, Bren and Kalob were all late) and the details of the event were outlined.  Two 2 hour Jam sessions half the competitors in one and half in the other.  I was set to go in the first set.  

 

Now let me give you a little important background on the Ruins Wave.  It is a huge wave in the middle of the river, formed by an old logging mill.  It is a tricky to catch wave, Super fast, quite steep, quite green, guarded by a big reactionary wave hole to surf across and with a small eddy to catch if you miss the wave.  If you miss the eddy you are ‘going on tour’ and this involves paddling back to shore, hustling back up the bike path and ferrying back out to the wave. Usually a Tour takes around 25-30 mins, so if you had 4 tours you might only have 4 rides in 2 hours.  

 

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Heat one started out fast and frantic,  Dane Jackson and Devyn Scott were destroying our heat, a few others had good rides and early tours. Brooke had a great first couple of rides and then took a tour.  I was having a very frustrating first 40 mins.  Every time I surfed across the reactionary I would just get denied from entering the wave.  BUT I had managed to stay in the eddy every time.  I had 18 attempts to catch the wave in the first 40 mins and every one had been unsuccessful.  I had gone all the way through an emotional rollercoaster of frustration, anger, annoyance, apathy and finally on attempt number 19 I caught the wave.  I have surfed here on a number of occasions but I haven't ever experienced such a long period of not catching the wave.  I managed to secure a few tricks during my rides in the next hour but by the end of 2 hours, 2 tours and countless times entering the wave from the eddy, (or attempting too) I felt exhausted.  I headed back out to watch the second heat throw down. 2 hours later and everyone looked as broken as I felt. I was so happy to eat some Poutine  then drive home and go to sleep.  

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Waking up and getting moving Sunday morning was not easy task. I felt like I had been in a boxing match the day before but luckily the full TruckLifeTour family managed to pull together and get moving in the direction of the Rouge river where the Stage 2 boater-X would be held on Monday. I will probably roll up the Monday race into next weeks update or do a mid week update with the Boater-X run down.  Because right now I am way too tired after a stacked day of racing. 

 

Keep an eye on the Instagram @seth_ashworth for more regular updates.  Things are heating up here and every river seems to be on its way to flood stage.  Good times ahead. 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Truck UNLEASHED adventure dewerstone explore five jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa ten travel trucklife https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-8-unleashed-1 Tue, 02 May 2017 01:47:35 GMT
Truck Life Tour 7: Facing giants and searching for new ones https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-7-facing-giants-and-searching-for-new-ones #Scale

This week of truck Life Tour has been the most static of any week so far.  But when I say static I mean we have slept in the same place all week, we have probably still clocked up another 500km of driving.  Brooke and I have been based in the Ottawa valley all week and finally joined by most of the rest of the usual stakeout suspects such as Kalob Grady,  Bren Orton, the Paterson bros, Joel and Katie Kowalski, Hal Monkman and Dane Jackson as well as stakeout first timers Adrian Attern and David Silk.  All together or in various combinations of people we have been combing the area for the best waves to surf. After a couple of days just rallying Ottawa river main and middle channel laps the Patersons sent word that the Bryson waves were looking good so, over the course of a couple of days we paddled a small but fun wave there as well as looking for a new wave in the same area.  Alas that search proved fruitless as is so often the case at stakeout but we still had a good time at the small wave which I named 'workout wave' as it had a tricky eddy with a big attainment back up to the wave or a short walk around.  

After a couple of days in Bryson the Ottawa river levels had finally seemed to reach its first peak and was starting to drop back toward Gladiator wave flows. 

 

Gladiator is an absolute monster of a wave that forms in the middle of the biggest rapid in the river, Coliseum.  The full face of the wave is hard to see from shore and approximately 100yrds behind the wave is an almost river wide ledge hole.  So to say this wave is high consequence is pretty accurate.  I have surfed here before in 2013 and I remember vividly being scared then.  That feeling had not gone away four years later.  But after a few tries I finally managed to at least catch the wave. Now on paper this doesn't seem like much of an achievement.  But honestly to catch a wave almost 15ft tall, that requires between 6-800metres of ferrying to get out to and then a manic sprint get back to the eddy followed by a 5min hike back up the island to go try again, catching this wave is a lot of the battle.  Whilst my achievements weren't much to see I was stoked to see the other lads throwing down well here.  Dane was throwing two and three trick combos often and Bren was not far behind him.  Really amazing to watch and honestly the videos do not do this wave justice at all.

 

Travel wise this week we decided to give Brooke's truck a break and get my car out of its winter hibernation, since much of the driving we are doing is just short shuttle runs.  My beater 2004 Hyundai Elantra has definitely seen better days and its low clearance isn't ideal on the dirt roads going to the various put ins and take outs (especially with the weight of a few people an boats etc) but it seems to be getting by right now although the banging noise in the front end has been growing louder.  Fingers crossed it will get a little visit to the mechanics soon and maybe a few of the problems will get dealt with.  We will probably switch back to Brooke's reliable old Toyota Tacoma soon though.  

 

This has also been week number two without a computer, I'm actually typing this on my aging iPhone 5 and have been using the Sony PlayMemories app on my phone to get photos from my camera,(some of the technology my current Sony a6000 has is incredibly useful, I'll try and get another supplement about some of the most useful features).  I have also been manually eleting junk photos from my camera one by one which has been time consuming.  It has not been ideal but it has made me appreciate how useful having a computer is for so many tasks.  Hopefully this will be the last update I have to write on my phone as my new laptop should be arriving this week.  Fingers crossed! 

Scary highlight of the week was absolutely seeing Hal Monkman come off his Jetski in the middle of Coliseum, an then taking a pretty rowdy swim, luckily all turned out ok an the Jetski turned back over and fired up first time. 

Biggest accomplishment of the week came from Jon Paterson who caught Gladiator on his river board twice, it looked violent and was scary to see but he did it.  

The First annual UNLEASHED competition is starting at the end of this week and I am feeling slowly happier to back in my freestyle kayak, although even after almost two weeks it still feels like I am missing a lot of boat around me. This event has two freestyle events and two creek race events over the 12 days depending on water levels to allow for the best water levels for each event, so next week is going to get really wild.  

 

Stay tuned to my Instagram for more updates @seth_ashworth

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Truck adventure dewerstone explore five jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa ten travel trucklife https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-7-facing-giants-and-searching-for-new-ones Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:06:52 GMT
Truck Life Tour 6: Back In Canada EH! https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-6-back-in-canada-eh

Ok, here we are back on #TruckLifeTour proper, and now the focus of our tour shifts from hope boat training to big waves as we venture into one of my favourite zones, eastern Canada.  My new home the Ottawa river is going rickter high and this is just the beginning. But how did I get here?

Well like a lot of truck Life Tour we did some driving.  I flew from my parents place in long. Each to Pittsburgh, PA where Brooke collected me and we started driving.  We aimed to drive to the border, sleep and then cross in the morning BUT it after I made a series of wrong turns we ended up at the border too soon and and ended up cruising into Canada around 1:30am.  We slept until 8:30 and then started driving. Passing through Niagara Falls it seemed foolish not to go take a look.  I have been living in Canada 6-8 months per year for the last five years but in all that time I have never made it down to the falls so I had to see it.  Pretty epic out there!

 

After that a long drive over to the Ottawa valley and home! The following day we would hit the water with a running start and hit the Ruins wave in Ottawa. It was a great level and a great weather day. We surfed this wave for the next few days before the level became too high.  We headed back into The Valley to wait for the last of the BIG waves there to come in. As a side note during the first day or so in Canada my laptop gave up the ghost which is why this update is so late and so light on photos!

 

At the end of the Aprilthe first UNLEASHED Competition is taking place, a multi stage event showing extreme kayaking at its finest. Over the next couple of weeks we will be trying to train for that as best we can.

 

Levels here in he valley are climbing crazy high and the melt has barely started. This will be an interesting spring to see how high the level will finally go to! 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Truck adventure dewerstone explore five jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa ten travel trucklife https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-6-back-in-canada-eh Wed, 19 Apr 2017 14:50:43 GMT
Truck Life Tour Supplemental 2. Holiday from a holiday. Whales, Dolphins, Segways n' Planes https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-supplemental-2-holiday-from-a-holiday-whales-dolphins-segways-n-planes untitled-04995untitled-04995 #TruckLifeTour Supplemental 2 is a brief recap of something keen readers of episode 5 will have picked up on. 

If you were reading carefully you will see I mentioned taking a break to go visit my parents.  Now you might be thinking things like “Is Brooke really that hard to live with?” and “You have only been going for a couple of weeks, why the sudden break?”.  The answer to these questions is simple.  No she is not that bad, and the short break was already planned.  

 

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Originally I was supposed to be in Colombia until the end of March and then hang out with my parents for a week or so over easter before heading back to Canada for Stakeout.   But when the opportunity to join Brooke for what is now #TruckLifeTour, it felt like the right move and I changed tickets and cut my time in Colombia short.  But I am a terrible son, I always choose going kayaking instead of making time to see my parents, I rarely see them, I never call, I often forget to reply to my parents’s frequent email’s checking in on what I am up to.   And if my younger sister didn’t always have a good idea for joint birthday gifts that she usually sorts out I would probably have missed a couple of birthdays too!  It isn't that I do it all on purpose, I just often get caught up in gong kayaking all the time and then forget.  So I really had to not miss my scheduled time to see them this easter. Which is why #truckLifeTour had to take a little intermission.  

 

So what did I do whilst on a holiday from my holiday?  Well my Dad currently lives in Long Beach, California where my Mum was visiting whilst on Easter holidays from her work as a teacher in England.  So as places to hang out go, this one was pretty nice.  My mum had cooked up some fun activities for me and her to undertake whilst my dad was working in the day times.  She is a bit of a ninja at finding things to do in a given area using yelp/google/and her own witchcraft and usually at a good discount.  We went on a sick whale watching tour, which yielded epic results, we saw a ton of dolphins, fin whales and a mating pair of grey whales which is very unusual according to the crew members of the boat.  We also rallied a fun Segway tour of the beachfront area which wasn’t that informative as the ‘guide’ was pretty new on the job.  But it was sweet ripping Segways around at as high as speed as they would give out (around 12mph).  One of the top highlights came from my dad though.  Through his work he uses a high-tech simulator to teach people to fly some kind of small Gulf Stream jet.  I am not actually sure of the specifics of which jet. Once you get inside the machine it is basically exactly the same as being in the actual aircraft.  It uses theme park style technology to accurately pitch and yaw exactly like a real plane and then it uses large screens in the windows which render very accurate images of your surroundings.  This does mean you can fly some things which you wouldn’t usually want to attempt in a multi million dollar aircraft.  We took off from one of the New York airports, took a lap of Manhattan and flew under the Verrazano bridge.  Then after landing in Manhattan we reset the simulator for London Heathrow, did a few take offs and landings.  It was a super fun experience.  

 

We also had a couple of killer meals out, found a really good Italian place. My mum did a lot of epic cooking and of course a lot of tea drinking.  Below are a few photos.  Now I am back on tour and back on the way into Canada, with levels around the Ottawa just coming into the very high range there is a lot of exciting kayaking to come.  

 

Stay tuned for more on #TruckLifeTour and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @seth_ashworth for more regular updates.

 

untitled-0033486untitled-0033486DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-04731untitled-04731 untitled-04742untitled-04742 untitled-04832untitled-04832A breaching grey whale yesterday. We were lucky enough to see a mating pair just outside of #longbeach harbour. Workers on the whale watchign tour had never seen this before. #neato #neature #whale #greywhale #wildlife #travel #adventure #explore #USA #merica #igers #instagood #instatravel #instawow #instadaily untitled-04849untitled-04849 untitled-04867untitled-04867 untitled-05015untitled-05015 untitled-04911untitled-04911 untitled-05052untitled-05052#natureAF Dolphins are neat-o. #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instanature #instatravel #dolphin # untitled-05137untitled-05137 untitled-05142untitled-05142 untitled-05198-Panountitled-05198-Pano untitled-05165untitled-05165

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Dolphin. Five Jackson Ten USA Whale adventure beach explore extreme kayak kayaking kokatat life long segway tour travel truck vacation watching https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-supplemental-2-holiday-from-a-holiday-whales-dolphins-segways-n-planes Fri, 14 Apr 2017 11:35:16 GMT
TruckLifeTour. Episode 5. Last days in South East. Caney Fork and High water rock Island https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/trucklifetour-episode-5-last-days-in-south-east-caney-fork-and-high-water-rock-island untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # Heading back toward Rock Island, TN, in driving rain was a mixture of both ominous worry (because of the previously mentioned leaking truck topper) and excitement.  We were heading back because I had return a boat I had borrowed from Stephen Wright and also (mainly) because the waterfalls at Rock island were flowing and they looked like a fun way to spend the last days in the South East before #TruckLifeTour would be taking a short break.  I had to go visit my parents who were in California for a week and Brooke had to go to Ohio for her grandma’s 95th birthday. This gave us just two more kayaking days before having to pack it in for a week.  

 

Rain fell in Rock island all night accompanied by an EPIC lightning storm.  Luckily we were inside Nick and Emily’s house again so were not enduring a miserable wet night with Brooke’s leaky truck topper. Thanks Nick and Emily!!!  Next morning brought sunny skies and the excitement that every kayaker sees when they look outside to see both blue skies and a flooded garden (yard) in the same frame. 

 

I had a frantic back and forth text discussion with Stephen who told us that the RI falls were now way too high but there were lots of other options.  First on the list would be to check out Cane creek falls.  A South East special 60fter, if that wasn't good we had a few other paddling options for river runs. 

 

We loaded up Brooke’s truck and also Clay’s and headed to the water fall.  Although there was probably enough water for a right line, I wasn’t feeling the love for it, I wasn’t sure on the landing which seemed like it was awfully close to a wall.  Although I am told Dane has run it much lower and the falls regularly gets run at this flows.  I wasn’t feeling it and neither was Stephen, Clay or Brooke. So as quickly as we could we rallied over to Caney Fork.  

 

We drove down the steep takeout dirt road for a ways, as it got progressively steeper and more muddy. After a while Clay stopped his truck at a pull out and came over to speak to us.

 

Clay: “The road gets quite a bit worse here, but we have the vehicles for it so it shouldn't be a problem”

 

Me: “Oh this truck doesn’t have four wheel drive”


Clay: “Oh it doesn’t”

 

Me: “No”

 

Clay: “Do you like hiking?, Its uphill from the takeout, but it’s not too bad”

 

So we got changed, loaded up Clay’s truck and set off for the put in.  We were then treated to two hours of fantastic South East style class 4, with a couple of bigger rapids.  Fun slides, slots and little boofs everywhere.  This river, I am told is different to almost all the other runs in the South East in the sense that is is fairly remote (in relative terms).  If you try and hike out it could be days before you find a house or a road and will certainly be unpleasant.  Luckily hiking out wasn’t on the program for us.  Stephen and Clay knew the run well, as well as many of the funnest moves.  The level was high medium and there were plenty of trees in the river luckily no new wood or serious problems for us to contend with. 

The river concluded with a not too bad uphill walk lasting around 25 minutes.  I was disheartened to watch ‘Old man of the river’ Clay Wright motor pass me and beat me back to the truck.  Clay and I paddled the new Jackson Kayak Creek boat, which is in the pre-production phase after many prototypes.  I am not supposed to say too much about it yet, but it is next level wowwww!!!  

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The next day would be our last paddling day on the South East leg of #TruckLifeTour, the levels had come down a bit but not enough to paddle the Rock Island waterfalls. Clay, Stephen and I suited up for some big water play at Rock Island.  I could not believe how much the bottom hole changed at high water.  When we had paddled there previously this feature was a kind of fun, kind of trashy hole.  It now formed a fun, fast, big wave.  With sunny skies to boot this was a fun day of paddling.  Brooke had to take a rest day as she had a wicked migraine.  She missed a really fun paddle, but I tried not to rub it in as we drove north. 

 

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That afternoon we drove onto Ohio.  I flew out of Cincinnati the following morning and Brooke went on to her Aunt’s house, somewhere else in Ohio, not sure where. 

 

Next week after a quick break #TruckLifeTour is going to Ottawa and beyond for high water, big wave action.  It is going to be a blast.  Don’t forget to stay on instagram for daily updates @seth_ashworth

 

See you next time.

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Five Jackson Ten USA adventure explore extreme kayak kayaking kokatat life tour travel truck https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/trucklifetour-episode-5-last-days-in-south-east-caney-fork-and-high-water-rock-island Tue, 11 Apr 2017 05:11:10 GMT
#TruckLifeTour Supplemental 1. How to Camp in a truck which has ALL of two peoples stuff https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/-trucklifetour-supplemental-1-how-to-camp-in-a-truck-which-has-all-of-two-peoples-stuff untitled-04042untitled-04042

 

How to Camp in a truck that also has ALL of two peoples stuff in it.  

 

Alright, so I wanted to add a few little supplementary episodes into the #trucklifetour story. These are little info bites of knowledge I have gleaned over the first part of #trucklifetour.  One of the biggest hurdles is how to sleep in the back of the truck (which has a bed built in) and figuring out what to do with all our stuff to accommodate that.  When I came into the truck Brooke already had some pretty strict rules about where she sleeps with her truck which she has developed over a long period of time being a single lady living in a truck.  SO here are Brooke’s basic where to sleep in a truck rules and then I will run through how to make it work with more people and much more stuff.  

 

Brooke’s ‘Places to sleep in a truck” Rules

 

-Only sleep in designated sleep spots like a rest area or camp ground.  If those are unavailable choose a spot that is unlikely that anyone will drive by eg. a side road in the middle of nowhere.  

 

-Only sleep at rest areas and campground as that are monitored by CCTV

 

-She keeps Mace next to the bed.  Just in case.  

 

-Don’t sleep in parking pull outs on the highway

 

-Don’t sleep in weigh stations, even though it looks like a good idea.

 

-If a spot feels sketchy move on

 

 

So with these rules as our basic guidelines Brooke can easily fit in the back with all of her stuff in there, but to fit a second person, and all my stuff we would have to move some bits and bobs around at night to make it work. During the day/driving days the back of the truck has two paddle bags with almost a dozen paddles, my big gear bag with all of my stuff/clothes/paddling gear, Cooking equipment, food, small cooler, bouldering pad (more on that later), Brooke’s bed, and a few sleeping bags, one of which Brooke has generously let me sleep in as all I have is what I brought from Colombia, suitable for the jungle but temps on the tour so far have been a lot cooler. 

 

Now obviously that is too much stuff for two people to fit around.  So here is how we move it all around to make it work.  My bag bag goes into the truck cab.  Brooke’s gear bag is already behind the seat along with her shoe/boot/climbing shoe collection as well as her Library and my camera bag.  But the seats are vacant as we aren't driving anymore, so we capitalise on all that space by putting my bag on one seat.  The food box, cooking equipment box and cooler fills the other seat and foot well. Paddle bags make their way under the truck, safely out of the way and kind of out of sight.  Brooke and I are friends but not friendly enough to share Brooke’s tiny foam mattress.  So the first few nights of #trucklifetour I slept miserably on the bouldering pad that is designed to take rock climbing falls not be used as a full sized bed.   One of the first things I purchased from good old Walmart was foam mattress topper for under $20 which has made my side of the truck very comfortable.  Brooke sprung for an over $20 foam topper which is a little bigger and more comfortable than mine but I am not too worried, I am still way better off now than trying to make my 5ft, 11” self fit onto a 4ft climbing pad (which now goes under the truck too).  On paddle days wet gear can usually be found drying on the front of the truck or just scattered close by drying out.  

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We usually set up a kitchen, either next to or behind the truck and have a separate box for dried foods, as well as a small cooler which we try to keep cold with ice but we quite often forget. 

 

In summary, think carefully about how to use your space and how to repurpose your space when driving vs not driving.  Keep Brooke’s basic rules in mind and hopefully you should find yourself easily able to accommodate a lot of stuff and still sleep comfortably.  Good luck and feel free to post comments if you know something to improve our situation. 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Five Jackson Ten USA adventure explore extreme kayak kayaking kokatat life tour travel truck https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/-trucklifetour-supplemental-1-how-to-camp-in-a-truck-which-has-all-of-two-peoples-stuff Thu, 06 Apr 2017 17:49:23 GMT
Truck Life Tour. Episode 4. Cheoah River and the Nantahala Outdoor Centre https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-episode-4-cheoah-river-and-the-nantahala-outdoor-centre untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # Time spent in the Columbus whitewater park in Georgia, was super enjoyable but the weekend brought a release of a so called “South East Classic” the Cheoah river.  So Brooke and I loaded up her #TruckLifeTour truck and rolled out of the car park/Gpysy camp we had been living in, along with pretty much everyone else who had been there to head north into North Carolina to arrive at the Cheoah river in time for a Saturday release. 

 

As is the norm on #TruckLifeTour so far I have had no idea about what we are doing or where about we are going, what the river will be like or any other information like that.  Brooke hadn’t been to the Cheoah previously either but I guess she had been reading about good stuff to do in the South East on American Whitewater and this one had been highly recommended.  On the drive up we managed to stop in for a quick oil change and get a shower at some kind of public tennis centre in Atlanta, AWESOME! We arrived  at the river around dusk on Friday evening and drove along the river for some time before arriving at the takeout.  As we drove along I thought we must have been driving along the tributary to the river we were going to, from the truck we could see plenty of wood, root balls and sharp rocks abound.  When we arrived to the take out to find many other South East boaters I was shocked to find out the small, rocky, very woody stream we had driven by was actually the river we would paddle the next day.  But they all assured me that once the dam released it would be a different picture.  I thought fair enough, no sense in rushing to conclusions.

 

Morning came after a rough nights sleep.  The cause of said rough nights sleep was Brooke and I’s laziness when we arrived and parked the truck.  Although we had a fairly level spot front to back, we weren't super level left to right and some time around the middle of the night Brooke woke me up in something of a panic that the truck must be sinking and we had to switch sides (implying that I am carrying a little winter weight which may or may not be true, either way I was on the downhill side). In my tired state I just said ok and awkwardly switched sides of the truck bed.  This improved my situation considerably as Brooke has the better mattress. The other thing which we didn’t take into account when we parked was that we were right under a street light which lined the take out road as it ran alongside a small lake.  So as well as a mid-sleep move, we weren't quite able to position ourselves with the light not in our faces all night.  Obviously in the morning we found the truck was totally fine and the slight change in Brooke’s equilibrium whilst she slept had lead to her having this weird sinking dream. It’s not like we were parked in quicksand.

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Next morning after a wicked breakfast of boxed mac n' cheese (Brooke chose/made breakfast but it turned out good) we headed up the put in of the lower section of the Cheoah.  The river has two different sections, an upper class 2/3 section which stretches approximately 7 miles and a lower section of class 3/4 which goes for around 2 miles.  The section was more class 3 than 4 but had a few bigger rapids. On the whole a really fun continuous length of whitewater with few gaps or stops.  I would have described the run as low volume but I guess that is a relative term as fellow Team Jackson kayaker Garrett Madlock told me this was pretty much a big water run in the area.  

untitled-0093388untitled-0093388Cross Bow Life. Too fun not to really. This @gopro photo is from the Cheoah river last weekend. Fun time out there getting lots of laps and seeing some familiar faces. #TruckLifeTour // The #gopro is mounted on my paddle then set onto timelapse photo mode taking a photo every 0.5 seconds, then I spend forever pouring through all the photos to find one good one. // #travel #adventure #explore #kayaking #whitewaterismagic #brandofthebrave #intothewater #dewerstone #dewerstonemens #wernerpaddles @wernerpaddles @jackson.kayak @kokatatusa @fiveten_official untitled-0113418untitled-0113418DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0113423untitled-0113423DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0133473untitled-0133473DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0143481untitled-0143481DCIM\105GOPRO

Organising shuttle and setting one up takes more time than running the section but we still managed to jam four runs into the day with plenty of time to spare to make tracks to our next destination, site of the 2013 Freestyle Kayak World Championships Nantahala Outdoor Centre (NOC).  

 

A quick 45 minute drive over to NOC after a bite to eat a mediocre Mexican restaurant and we arrived at NOC in search of somewhere to set up camp for a couple of nights.  We found a suitable spot around the back, nestled in between rafting busses which rested dormant, waiting for rafting season to get started again.  (N.B I am not sure if it is ‘cool’ setting up a little camp spot here but since nobody from NOC came and told us to move along I imply that we were fine, but as always take care in choosing where to sleep)

 

That night I slept pretty well as I had paddled a decent chunk of the day.  But heavy rain in the night brought a new set of problems for TruckLifeTour.  The cracks in Brooke truck topper hadn’t magically disappeared and at the first hint of rain, Brooke (or so she told me) was out of bed and putting a Tarp all the way over the back.  Some rain had penetrated the back of the truck and the edge of our foam mattress were a little damp but on the whole Brooke’s middle of the night tarp move probably prevented the worst of the water getting in.  She told me she had stayed up for a while to keep checking on it, but I slept on pretty much blissfully unaware. 

 

I made coffee the next morning (Sunday) and made Brooke’s a little stronger after hearing her heroic tale. We spent the morning catching up with Ottawa Kayak School student Maddie Kimmel (age 12) and OKS Keener Kaelin Friedenson (age 13) who were both slalom racing in the Junior division of the US open which also taking place on the Nantahala river that weekend.  After seeing them on their first runs we headed down to the freestyle hole to crush out some much needed training. 

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After paddling the ‘Workout hole’ In Columbus I felt like I had lost a lot of my hole boating skills but I did not feel as bad after paddling the NOC feature.  Whilst it had its own set of challenges to acclimate too I was able to remember at least how to do all the tricks I used to be able to do, although granted after a winter of not hole boating I certainly had lost that sharp feeling that I usually have in my playboat.  Mostly my tricks were a little sloppy and my pace was way off but the foundation was there so I am optimistically looking forward to training more and smartening up my hole boating in time for World Championships in Argentina this November.    

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Monday morning we had planned to paddle at Eternity hole but after finding out about a levels change at 7am we stayed for one more days paddling at NOC.  

 

#TruckLifeTour continues, check back in soon for another update.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Five Jackson Ten USA adventure explore extreme kayak kayaking kokatat life tour travel truck https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-episode-4-cheoah-river-and-the-nantahala-outdoor-centre Wed, 05 Apr 2017 02:01:00 GMT
Truck Life Tour. Episode 3. Columbus, Georgia https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-3-columbus-georgia untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck #

After a tiring weekend on the Nolichucky I was excited for another change of scene, and Stephen Wright suggested we join him down in the ‘dirty south’ of Columbus, Georgia where the USA National Championships will be held in April.  At first I wasn't super excited about a 6 hour drive down there but Stephen promised warmer weather and a fun selection of whitewater.  So once again we loaded up Brooke’s #trucklifetour truck with all of our belongings and headed down there.  Google maps gave us an optimistic 4.5 hour estimate to get there but Atlanta traffic adds the extra hour and a half.  When we finally arrived on Monday evening I was exhausted after driving a little over half of the way.  It turned out the previous weekend had been a little more tiring than I expected.  Stephen gave us a tour of the local area, he had organised a good spot for us to set up ‘gypsy camp’ in a local car park (parking lot) near the wave.  He also new all the good places to eat and get the best coffee. 

 

On first glance the ‘play park’ has but a trickle of water going down it, but thanks to regular releases from Georgia Power there would be water releasing every day.  Different amounts of water were released at different times and there were different features depending on how many ‘generators’ were releasing. 2 generators gave a fun but flushy happy hole.  3 generators produced a really fun and powerful wave downstream of the hole which was SICK.  The hole gave me a great opportunity to hole boat again and mainly served as a reminder that I have not been training all that much this winter and will really need to step it up if I hope to even do reasonably well at World Championships later this year.  

 

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The wave feature in Columbus, named simply ‘Good Wave’ is where they will be holding USA National Championships and I’m sure that will be an exciting event.  The wave allows for all the wave tricks and even a few hole tricks. If you are heading to Columbus to compete or spectate in National Champs here are some of my top picks for places to eat/drink. 

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Coffee

 

I tried two different spots for coffee and light breakfast.  (If you are looking for info on a more substantial breakfast place, ask somebody else because I do not know)

 

-Iron Bank Coffee: Good coffee, food was good, wifi. This is a coffee shop that used to be a bank, the old vaults have been turned into little booths complete with SUPER heavy doors (although the doors don’t actually close)

 

-Fountain City Coffee: Coffee was a little better here, bigger selection of sandwiches.  Generally a lot more run of the mill coffee shop.  I generally found their menu to be a little overwhelming/confusing although they did have a much wider selection of coffee which I preferred. 

 

Overall Winner: Iron Bank Coffee.  I hung out here a bunch as the water often wasn't releasing until the afternoon and generally preferred it as a place to hang out, drink coffee, do internet stuff etc.

 

Dinner/Lunch

 

Being a dirtbag I cooked a few lunches and dinners but I did eat out twice.  Here is the low down. 

 

-My Pie Pizza: Create your own Pizza, unlimited toppings under $10 for a meal.  Great value for money, delicious and made fresh.  I would eat here again for sure. 

 

-Barberitos. Burritos/fajitas/tacos/quesadillas.  Good bang for your buck in terms of money spent vs full stomach.  Again full belly for under $10.  

 

After around a week in Columbus #trucklifetour is on the road again this time to Cheoh river, North Carolina.  Another new river for me and for Brooke too.  #trucklifetour be sure to keep up on my Instagram @seth_ashworth

 

Some great photos from Brooke Hess in this update!

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Five G-Form Jackson Ten USA adventure explore kayak kayaking kokatat travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-3-columbus-georgia Fri, 31 Mar 2017 14:31:31 GMT
Truck Life Tour. Episode 2. Nolichucky River Clean up. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-2-nolichucky-river-clean-up untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # Shortly after arriving in Rock Island Brooke was offered the opportunity for us to go help Dane Jackson do a river clean up on the Nolichucky river.  Jackson Kayak had a few demo boats that needed driving out there so we said sure, sounds like fun.  Friday night we collected the trailer of boats from the factory in EJ’s old Toyota Land Cruiser.  He was adamant it would easily be able to tow the trailer over the three hour drive, despite the Land Cruiser easily being my age or older.  First stop a hotel stay over in Knoxville, an hour away to meet up with Dane then next morning head to the river.  

 

Well that was the plan at least.  The engine started having problems around twenty minutes from Knoxville.  We pulled over and hopped out, smoke filled the cab.  I opened the bonnet (hood) and smoke billowed out, oil was everywhere.  Brooke was already calling Kristine to get help. Half an hour later we were being towed into Knoxville.  Dane met us at a McDonalds where we hung out and waited for Kristine to show up with another truck that could tow the trailer.  Luckily it started to rain after we had gotten inside.

 

Next morning we rallied up to the Nolichucky river where we found the river pretty much at flood stage.  I was pretty surprised as I didn't realise it had rained that hard. As well as very high water, it was not at all warm.  The aim of the event (which had been organised by Red Bull) was to get lots of people from the local area out and about and get the river clean.  Unfortunately due to the weather and the water levels there were less people than hoped for but we still spent two days collecting ALOT of rubbish out of the river. The first day probably had 10-15 kayakers as well as a bunch of raft guides from local company USA Raft who paddled the ‘trash boats’ down the river.  Day two was a little less, maybe 7-11 kayakers, it was much colder.  The rubbish boats got FILLED up.  I think we took over 50 tyres alone, probably tons of rubbish with much more we weren't able to get. 

 

The coolest part of the weekend was paddling the upper gorge at high flows which was around 15km of fun, bouncy, big volume whitewater. AND I got to paddle both sizes of the new Jackson Kayak Antix.  It is a boat that lived up to the hype.  The medium was a fun long playboat and the Large (which was my favourite) was a playful creek boat, enough volume to run almost everything confidently but small enough in the tail to be playful. 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Five Jackson USA adventure bull clean cleaning explore kayak kayaking kokatat red spring ten travel up https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-2-nolichucky-river-clean-up Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:25:24 GMT
Truck Life Tour. Episode 1 #trucklifetour https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-1-trucklifetour untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # If you are a regular follower of my blog you will know that I was recently in Colombia, Ecuador before that.  But Whilst I had a great time in both of those locations, my Jackson Kayak team mate Brooke Hess called me up and offered me a spot in her truck to cruise around the south eastern USA and do some kayaking.  Since this would be a perfect opportunity for me to do some training in a hole for Freestyle kayak world championships this coming November I moved some things around and hopped a plane.  Well a couple of planes actually.  Since Brooke is based out of Missoula, Montana I originally looked to fly there.  But she decided Salt Lake City, Utah would be a good meeting point as she has a friend who lives there.  From there we would drive cross country our first stop, Rock Island, Tennessee.  Home of Jackson Kayak factory and freestyle Kayak OG’s Stephen and Clay Wright.  

 

Salt Lake city to Rock Island is a drive of 1700 miles that would wind up taking Brooke and I through many new states over the course of  two and a half days and two nights sleeping in the back of Brooke’s truck.  

 

To set the scene for our story a little better lets take a more detailed look at/in Brooke’s truck.  First off having a truck is SICK and something which I do not have.  But Brooke’s definitely has a couple of draw backs.  The truck itself is a 2003 Toyota Tacoma, Extended cab (two small back seats but you have to climb past the front seats to get to them), 2.5L petrol V6 engine.  Two wheel drive, Sick roof rack, Topper on the bed, Bed built in to the back).  Brooke also doesn't know when she is going home next so her truck has basically ALL of her stuff in it, add most of my stuff and it is pretty full up in there.

 

PRO’s first; Great clearance, bomber design of truck, well built, generally speaking this make and model of truck has few problems if any, SICK roof rack, (Brooke sourced this from her local Whitewater rescue Institute in Missoula, they were planning to throw it out!), Topper, built in Bed, great gas mileage (for a truck).

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It does have a few CON’s though; No cruse control (this really sucked through Nebraska which is maybe the flatest place I've ever seen), no 4x4, 2.5L engine is a bit dinky and we were often getting passed by big lorries (semi’s) and sometimes by vehicles which looked much slower than us, final con and maybe the biggest, the topper is not designed for this truck and is riddled with cracks. Although Brooke has taken the time to fill these cracks and used expanding foam to make the topper fit the truck better its not quite right.  BUT it does work to a fashion.  so thats great.  Brooke HATES when I point out the cons of her truck, like an ostrich with its head in the sand. 

 

After two days of driving, sleeping in rest areas in reasonably cold weather, driving through snow, eating too much gross fried food, and listening to a pretty cool podcast called Serial (check out season 1 its great), we finally arrived in Rock Island.  Clay had left the heater on for us in his trailer and it was SO nice to crash somewhere warm when we arrived at his house just after Midnight.  

untitled-03498untitled-03498 untitled-03504untitled-03504 untitled-03509untitled-03509Started going through a few photos from my tour of the @jackson.kayak factory yesterday. Some neat stuff, here is Stephen Wright showing how boats cool in a mould to get the correct hull shape, some even have weights added to ensure they get a flat hull. #learning #fun #smile #informative #whitewaterismagic #itwaslikehogwarts untitled-03515untitled-03515 untitled-03541untitled-03541 untitled-03549untitled-03549 untitled-03555untitled-03555

Our first day started late, being tired from driving is real.  Stephen Wright gave us a tour of the jackson Kayak factory (which was awesome) then we blasted a paddling session at Rock Island with Clay and Stephen.  To top off our epic first day Christine Jackson invited us for dinner. And finally Nick Troutman & Emily Jackson (who are in Idaho currently) let us stay in their house for the few days we were in Rock Island. Their place is amazing!

 

A few more days of paddling there, after which our tour moves on. Look out for episode 2 soon.  

untitled-03580untitled-03580Bluebird days at Rock Island, Tennessee. Not the highest water in the USA right now but still a pretty fun place to be. And it sure is pretty! @brookehess sending a sweet Front Loop on the top wave here. #freestyle #butnotstakeout #kayaking #whitewaterismagic #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #happy #smile untitled-03617untitled-03617Pzcking up from Rock Island today nad heading over to Columbus, GA for a few days with @brookehess If anyone is there and wants to paddle HOLLA at me! #travel #adventure #explore #whitewaterismagic #igers #instadaily #instagood #brandofthebrave @fiveten_official

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Jackson USA adventure explore five kayak kayaking kokatat ten travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-1-trucklifetour Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:58:16 GMT
Adventuring in Colombia. 100% Gopro Video https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/adventuring-in-colombia-100-gopro-video untitled-0162709untitled-01627094 days on the water for Rio Verde/Semana. Such a fun trip with a wicked crew. Once again thanks to the Expedition Colombia boys for having me along. #fun #smile #selfie #kayak #whitewater #colombia #igers #instadaily #instagood #dewerstone #dewerstonemens #brandofthebrave #intothewater #werner @wernerpaddles @dewerstone @fiveten_official @kokatatusa @gopro

My time in Colombia has come to an end, but just before it did I was lucky enough to tag along on a Rio Verde/Semana trip with the boys from Expedition Colombia.  Four days on the water, a big hike down to the river with mules carrying our boats and gear, many night in jungle hammocks with all the unreal sounds that come with that, cooking on an open fire, running fun whitewater. Colombia is awesome.  Hit up my friend Jules Domine at Expedition Colombia if you are looking for advice about when/where/how.  My advice, be prepared for lots of jungle overnighters, EPIC journeys and EPIC adventures.   Check out this video for a look into whats its like out there.  Next stop paddling in South east USA, well ok then! 

 

Adventuring in colombia. 100% Gopro. from Seth Ashworth on Vimeo.

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Jackson adventure colombia explore kayak kayaking kokatat travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/adventuring-in-colombia-100-gopro-video Sun, 12 Mar 2017 05:59:36 GMT
First Strokes in Colombia. Rio Semana https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/2/first-strokes-in-colombia-rio-semana untitled-03006untitled-03006Mael sending straight into Chile Con Carne rapid on the Rio Semana. Low flows but still AWESOME. #travel #adventure #explore #kayaking #igers #instadaily #instagood #whitewaterismagic #colombia

After three epic months in Ecuador my time was up and I had to leave the country.  Next stop Colombia.  In my typical fashion I had made exactly no plans on what to do and where to go and I was travelling alone.  Going by Bus I made it to the border crossing town of Tulcan at nightfall, around 7:45.  Against all the advice I had read about crossing the border on the internet (and not doing it in the dark) I just decided to go for it.  It was totally fine.  I bought a bus ticket from a representative from one of the companies, right there at the border (another internet no no), got a ride to the bus terminal (in some guys sketchy car, another internet no no), hopped an overnight bus to Cali then an all day bus to Medellin, arriving around 8: 00pm, and feeling very tired.  

I travelled without a boat as mine had broken in Ecuador.  But I had lined up a boat from a friend of mine, Arnau, who was leaving Colombia the day before I would arrive. This made my 30+ hours of traveling significantly easier.  

On arrival in Medellin I used the bus terminal WiFi to figure out a hostel to stay at, then hopped a taxi and found a bed for the night.  Once I had arrived at the hostel and showered (I smelled terrible) I got in touch with Jules Domine, a french kayaker who runs a company here called Expedition Colombia, who was looking after my boat.  He let me know where it was and also that there was a Rio Semana multi day trip leaving the next day.  I wasted no time in getting directions to his house and the next day I headed over there (which was harder than anticipated after the taxi driver was lost in the nearby area for a while). But eventually I made it there, quickly packed my kayaking gear and helped Jake, Jules’s number one raft guide, load the truck and head out into the city to collect his rafting clients, and Mael, a french kayaker I had met in Ecuador a year before who was working as a safety kayaker on this trip and head to the river.  

Everything was going to plan until about an hour into our journey our truck broke down.  After a number of attempts to figure out the problem I conceded that I do not know enough about cars and took a nap on the grass verge besides where we were stopped.  I was still tired from the travel day the day before.  Three hours, and a mechanic from the nearby town later and we were back on our way.  Arriving at the Semana put in in the dark we unloaded the truck and went to grab some food, before setting up camp and sleeping for the night.  The tree I selected for my hammock was a bit smaller than ideal and I actually didn't have the most comfortable nights sleep but no worries.  

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After a delicious breakfast of eggs and Chorizo we headed out for day one, around 20km on the water under the hot Colombian sun.  The river level was low but still incredibly fun, low water on the Semana is still a few hundred CMS which is a lot more than most Ecuadorian rivers run at during their peak flows.  We meandered through some amazingly beautiful and fun rapids, fun gorges and passed some amazing scenery along the way, a quick stop for lunch by a stout rapid which I walked and Mael ran very smoothly.  A lot more fun paddling and we arrived at the amazing campsite.  Located by a small creek it had a beautiful ‘swimming pool’, cliff jumping, swimming etc.  A delicious meal cooked on an open fire of pasta with Pesto, Chorizo sausages, kebabs. it was amazing.  Then another night in the hammock, (this time I selected a better tree).  

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Day two was just as stunning as Day one, although much shorter at around 12-15km.  Mael and I helped take the raft out of the river and then continued through the last gorge. Which is another 2km of fun high volume paddling as around 200 cumbers of water are added from a hydro dam.  

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Some food in the town and then a long trip back to Medellin and I can safely say it was the best run  I have done in Colombia so far. Looking forward to more.

 

 

 

 

untitled-02976untitled-02976 untitled-02985untitled-02985 untitled-02991untitled-02991 untitled-03006untitled-03006Mael sending straight into Chile Con Carne rapid on the Rio Semana. Low flows but still AWESOME. #travel #adventure #explore #kayaking #igers #instadaily #instagood #whitewaterismagic #colombia untitled-03015untitled-03015 untitled-03018untitled-03018 untitled-03021untitled-03021  

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Colombia Dewerstone Expedition Jackson adventure explore kayak kayaking kokatat travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/2/first-strokes-in-colombia-rio-semana Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:47:50 GMT
Favourites from my instagram lately https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/2/favourites-from-my-instagram-lately untitled-0072154untitled-0072154After many many failed attempts to get this shot I finally pulled off the composition I wanted, mid kickflip in my @jackson.kayak Zen L using a @gopro camera on my @wernerpaddles SHO-GUN paddle. But after many failed attmepts and blurry as pictures I forgot to smile! Guess I'll have to go and try again. @kokatatusa @dewerstone #dewerstone #dewerstonemens #travel #adventure #explore #photography #igers #instadaily #instacool #instagood #freestyle #follow #hustle #followme #kayaking #whitewaterismagic

If you regularly look at this page and think "I love it but it isn't updated enough" then you need to hop over to my Instagram account (@seth_ashworth) whihic is usually updated daily and often more than once per day.  If you have been living under a rock and haven't got Instagram yet, download it to your phone or tablet and check it out.  It's great.  Here I complied a few of my favourites form the last couple of weeks of 'cramming'.  

 

Enjoy! 

 

untitled-00841untitled-00841 untitled-01008untitled-01008 untitled-01901untitled-01901spent a couple of miniutes checking out the stars last night, pretty epic out there. So often it is cloudy in this part of Ecuador but last night was cool, clear and starry to boot. #stars #star #night #nightsky #travel #adventure #explore #longexposure #awesomeearth untitled-01917untitled-01917Been down by the river today. Getting there was fun too. #adventure #travel #explore untitled-02244untitled-02244@kidfranky19 Lighting up a sweet boof. Kayaking is fun. #fire #fun #igers #instagood #instadaily #travel #adventure #follow #explore #followme #smile #happy #amazing untitled-02422untitled-02422 untitled-02515untitled-02515Got a little Ecuadorean Culture two nights ago on a Worm car ride. Super Fun. #fun #smile #newtoy #igers #explore #travel #adventure #whitewaterismagic #follow #followme #instagood #instadaily #epic untitled-0011174untitled-0011174Great day on Medium flows Oyachachi. This river is an Ecuador classic and truly beautiful. #ecuador #kayak #whitewaterismagic #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #nofilter #fun #smile #instawow #epic @wernerpaddles @kokatatusa @jackson.kayak untitled-0021137untitled-0021137I walked this one. It goes but............ #iwasscared #whitewaterismagic #andscary #travel #adventure #explore @kokatatusa @dewerstone @gformprotects untitled-0021224untitled-0021224Selfie Game Strong. #selfie #travel #adventure #explore #photography #igers #instadaily #instacool #instagood #freestyle #follow #hustle #followme #kayaking #whitewaterismagic untitled-0021365untitled-0021365Enjoying my new @wernerpaddles #SHOGUN here in Ecuador. As you can clearly see. #fun #smile #newtoy #igers #explore #travel #adventure #whitewaterismagic #follow #followme #instagood #instadaily #epic untitled-0051133untitled-0051133DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0072155untitled-0072155Amongst it in ecuador for just one more day. #ecuador #kayak #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #smile #fun #follow #followme #whitewaterismagic @gopro #dewerstonemens #dewerstone @dewerstone @wernerpaddles @jackson.kayak @kokatatusa untitled-0131567untitled-0131567DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0141586untitled-0141586There were some BIG holes on the river last week. This big boy was just below Bridge 3 on the Quijos river. Almost river wide hole backed by another almost river wide hole without a good passing place. Good sneak line on the right and an easy walk on the river left. #whitewaterismagic #igers #travel #adventure #explore #instagood #follow #followme #kayaking #smile #fun #selfie #nofilter #gopro #goprophoto #dewerstone #dewerstonemens @dewerstone #kokatatusa #jackson.kayak untitled-0212075untitled-0212075DCIM\106GOPRO

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Ecuador adventure dewerstone explore jackson kayak kayaking kokatat photography travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/2/favourites-from-my-instagram-lately Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:42:31 GMT
2016 Highlight Video https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/1/2016-highlight-video  

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Hard to Believe we are almost a full month into 2017 already.  I posted my end of year round up video in December through my social channels but totally forgot to get it on here! Anyway, 2016 was a whirlwind of a year high highs and low lows, more paddling than the last couple of years.  I paddled Class V whitewater on three continents, made the Canadian Freestyle Kayak team to represent Canada at Freestyle Kayak World Championships in 2017, padded new rivers, went new places and met many amazing people along the way.  Check out this video and let me know what you think.  Hoping to be more regular with updates in 2017 but often I just going kayaking and totally forget! 

 

See you on the river

 

Seth..

Seth Ashworth 2016 highlight reel from Seth Ashworth on Vimeo.

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Adventure Canada Explore Ottawa kayaking kyak travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/1/2016-highlight-video Tue, 31 Jan 2017 21:38:56 GMT
Ecuador so far... https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/12/ecuador-so-far untitled-00658untitled-00658When you are on a bridge deep in the Ecuador jungle, and you decide to look down. #travel #adventure #explore #bridge #ecuador #jungle untitled-00815untitled-00815 untitled-00818untitled-00818 untitled-00859untitled-00859 untitled-00891untitled-00891 untitled-00931untitled-00931 untitled-01038untitled-01038@sedivyjakub wild man, saving a huge Mono butterfly from dying in the river. Pretty epic nature out here. #neature #butterfl;y #awesome #earth #travel #adventure #explore #ecuador #nature #awesomeearth @kokatatusa @sonyca untitled-01059untitled-01059 untitled-01111untitled-01111 untitled-01122untitled-01122 untitled-01126untitled-01126 untitled-01162untitled-01162 untitled-01173untitled-01173Ecuador times. Blue skies, fun whitewater, many kayakers. #whitewaterismagic #travel #adventure #explore untitled-01211untitled-01211 untitled-01235untitled-01235 untitled-01269untitled-01269 untitled-01282untitled-01282 untitled-01317untitled-01317 untitled-01329untitled-01329 untitled-01356untitled-01356 untitled-01128untitled-01128 untitled-01143untitled-01143 untitled-01151untitled-01151

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Dewerstone Ecuador Jackson adventure explore kayak kayaking kokatat travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/12/ecuador-so-far Thu, 22 Dec 2016 13:49:42 GMT
Team Canada now, EH! https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/10/team-canada-now-eh untitled-05593Sam Duff during Finals I have been living in Canada the majority of the last five years, although I always doge the winters I am here Spring, Summer, Autumn pretty consistently.   Since first arriving here I have always felt at home on the Ottawa river.  It has more than just amazing whitewater but also an amazing community of highly skilled and motivated whitewater kayakers.  Last year, as regular readers to the blog know, I became a permanent resident of Canada.  The gives me about all of the same privileges as any other Canadian, except for having  passport and being able to vote which is reserved for citizens of Canada.  Included in being a resident is the ability to represent Team Canada at Freestyle kayaking events and since next 2017 Freestyle Kayak World Championships is taking place in Rio de Janeiro Canadian team trials were slated to take place in August, 2016.  Being a fairly competitive paddler I signed up to compete.

 

untitled-05644Reigning OC1 World Champion Andy Hill Ready for his next ride

 

 

The feature in Rio, is still unknown but since it is most probably a hole, team trials were to be hosted at a fast, trashy, challenging feature in Valleyfield, Quebec, just out out side of Montreal.  The field was fairly even as most competitors have not spent a lot of time paddling there.  The men’s competition was particularly tight, although there were a few paddlers who were ahead of the rest the 5 team spots to paddle in Rio next year would be hotly contested.  After a consistent performance in prelims I went through to Semi-finals in 6th place, meaning I was in the first round to gleaming the final 5 aware of what they had to do to make the team.  I paddled well through both of my rides but I felt it probably would be just a bit too short.  I settled in to cheer on the other 5 in my category, knowing that I wanted everyone to do their best, but also hoping their best wasn't as good as my score. I tensely watched all of the rides and was elated to slide through by the skin of my teeth by staying ahead of 6th place Billy Harris by just 13.3 points.  

 

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But the real star of the weekend was the winner of the junior mens category, Sam Duff (Pictured above).  An Ottawa Valley kid who has only been paddling for a couple of years, he stole the show with a performance so strong it would have rivalled most of the top mens scores (including my own).  He showed a cool head through each round achieving consistently high scores and smiling throughout.  I’m looking forward to seeing him train and progress in the run up to Rio, where he will be a real contender for the junior men’s category.  

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Dewerstone Jackson kayak Kayaking Kokatat Ottawa adventure explore freestyle kayaking travel whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/10/team-canada-now-eh Thu, 13 Oct 2016 12:03:41 GMT
Replace “Goodbye” with “See you soon” https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/7/replace-goodbye-with-see-you-soon untitled-04612untitled-04612 A short story about a change of language I have introduced into my day-to-day life, Fair Warning, you may find it emotive.  

 

 

 

On the longest day of the year I attended a memorial of my friend Marc LeBlanc, who passed away in a skiing accident in Japan this winter.  It took place at sunset, right by the river.  At the memorial we shared stories of good times we had had with Marc, he was an epic individual with one of the most memorable smiles of an person I’ve ever met.  There were lots of stories from lots of different adventures, Marc had crammed a lot of life into his years.  As the sun set, Marc’s family and friends moved down to the water’s edge where Marc’s brothers and some friends had spent the week leading up to the event building a huge funeral pyre to give Marc a Viking send off fitting of the personality he was.   Twenty feet tall, and full of a healthy amount of fireworks and accelerant we used roman candles to light it from shore.  The fire burned bright and hot, and for not nearly long enough.  A fitting tribute for a life that did the same.  

 

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I belong to a kayaking community which is pushing the edge if what is possible, harder, better, faster, stronger, bigger.  It is a game of calculated risks, careful decision making, often with rapidly changing variables.  Sometimes those variables don’t pay off, and the river wins.  Although it might seem like kayaking is an individual sport, it isn’t.  Kayakers are always a team, always watching out for each other.  Often putting their lives into the hands of of kayakers they hardly know. This builds strong relationships, fast.  As a community of strong relationships many off us are spread all over the world, it is so easy to loose track of where everybody is and what they are up to, time flies and before you know it you haven’t seen one of those people who you would trust your life to for a whole year, maybe longer.   

 

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The more friends I loose, and memorial’s I attend makes me see more clearly that these relationships, the bonds of trust that many kayakers share, are one of the most important aspects of the paddling world.  We are a big family and always on the move to a new adventure, the people with whom I trust my life too are always moving so when I know I’m in the same area I always try to check in with them, and when it’s time to part ways I always say the same thing, “see you soon, be safe out there”.  I’m never quite sure of how long it will be but it certainly doesn’t hold the ominous finality that “Goodbye” has, so I would rather roll the dice on “See you soon” hoping for the best, rather than Goodbye and plan for the worst. 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) adventure canada explore kayaking loss ottawa travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/7/replace-goodbye-with-see-you-soon Sun, 03 Jul 2016 20:41:12 GMT
Spring Stakeout in Canada concludes…. https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/6/spring-stakeout-in-canada-concludes untitled-6505untitled-6505

Well it was a busy one, over a month long adventure (or mis-adventure depending on your point of view) driving, camping and kayaking all around Northern Quebec.  Surfing big waves, running big rapids, muddling through without really being able to Speak French, and over 6000 photos taken.  

 

Lots of keepers but I am stoked to share a few with you for now.  There are a few others that will surface in the not too distant future, but for now it is back to busy busy busy in my new role as Director at Ottawa Kayak School.  Hoping to get more photos uploaded as soon as I get some more free time, so maybe September!

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada adventure explore kayaking kokatat travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/6/spring-stakeout-in-canada-concludes Wed, 08 Jun 2016 21:31:13 GMT
First weeks in Canada https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/5/first-weeks-in-canada untitled-2497untitled-2497

 

Well I have been back in Canada for just over two weeks now and it has been non-stop action.  I had the first day getting my self settled back in ,collecting my car and seeing a few friends then it was straight line to the Ottawa Valley for some serious spring kayaking. Perfect sunny days and prime mini-bus levels were just the start of my trip, since being back I have had a lot of days at Ruins Wave, located on the Ottawa River 15mins from down town, a couple of days at Big bus, a day at high tension and a healthy amount of off river ‘Stakeout’ action.  

 

The Stakeout crew this season is a little smaller than other years although new friends are coming back in all the time.  I spent my first week and a bit of this season’s spring stakeout with my fellow Airborn Athletics cohort Devyn Scott who is one of the world’s foremost big wave freestyle kayakers.  Devyn and I have been joining some of the original stakeout crew Benny Marr, Pat Camblin and Joel Kowalski.  Last week we were also joined by fellow Brit, Bren Orton and ‘Merican, Paul Palmer. All these guys are amazing to paddle with, and their skill level is ridiculous when it comes to big wave surfing. Without a doubt they are the top of the game on this playing field. With more people coming back all the time the crew is growing and the excitement is building for the migration north.  

 

I have been nursing a couple of niggling injuries with my wrist and shoulder so have been hustling my photography a lot harder than usual.  Really stoked on some of the results coming out so far with so much spring still ahead of us.  

 

And if you don’t already follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on all the action, follow @seth_ashworth 

 

Until next time here is a few shots from this spring so far. Many more in the pipeline.  

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Kokatat adventure explore fresh kayaking moving ottawa travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/5/first-weeks-in-canada Fri, 06 May 2016 13:48:01 GMT
New Zealand wrap up and on to Canada https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/4/new-zealand-wrap-up-and-on-to-canada untitled-0039731untitled-0039731DCIM\104GOPRO

And almost as quickly as it started it ended.  My two and a bit months in New Zealand is over and what a time it was.  I spent the majority of my time in NZ teaching school groups as a freelance kayak instructor, with different groups each week, moving around and teaching kayaking, mostly on the Mohaka river.  With my non-work time spent paddling many many laps on the Kaituna river.  

 

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For my last NZ paddle day I had the opportunity to go safety kayak a Class 4 trip on the Mohaka’s scenic gorge.  It was an awesome opportunity to get paid to paddle a new section of river which is always fun.  The section was even more scenic than I had been expecting with a whole bunch of fun rapids along its few hours of paddling. Plus these wickedly tame eels at the lunch spot who have gotten used to eating the odd food scrap from the rafting trips.  I snapped a few pictures with my Gopro camera.  Big thanks to the guys at Mohaka rafting for having me along.  

 

 

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My NZ Camper Van saga ended poorly, after the engine getting less and less powerful, especially on hills, combined with water I later found to be a leaky oil tank I ended up having to scrap the van loosing much of what I had paid for it and rater scuppering my plans to re-coop some of the initial outlay of having a vehicle in country.  It would be easy for an experience like this to put you off of a country entirely, but I know I was really just ripped off by one bad apple of a used car dealer in Auckland.  I certainly feel as though (in spite of this episode) I have unfinished business in New Zealand. Especially as I didn’t make it down to the South Island at all (because of the damn van!!), but another time.  I have learned some lessons form the experience and at the ned of the day, that is what counts.  

 

So now after what felt like a week long journey back to Canada that included an amount of brain melting time travelling  I am now back and gearing up for some spring STAKEOUT paddling.  Nothing says a good time like big volume whitewater, ice chunks in the river and an over familiarity with ice cream headaches. 

 

Thats all for now, maybe heading off for another North America Based mission in a couple of weeks so watch this space. 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Kayaking Kokatat New Whitewater Zealand adventure blog explore landscapes photography travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/4/new-zealand-wrap-up-and-on-to-canada Thu, 14 Apr 2016 22:11:48 GMT
To paddle class V......is there a luck element? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/4/to-paddle-class-v-is-there-a-luck-element untitled-1838untitled-1838 I have been paddling quite a long time, and I would, as modestly as possible, describe myself as a “Class V Kayaker”.  By that I mean that I feel comfortable showing up to any Class V rapid, anywhere in the world, at any given time and decide after looking at it weather or not it is good to run, where to go, what the dangers are, where and how to set safety etc.  There are a number of definable qualities that all Class V paddlers have and these go beyond the obvious technical ability to paddle down the rapid(s), these skills include but are not limited to, decision making skills, logical/critical thinking, being able to work as part of a team, being able to communicate efficiently, understanding and being able to efficiently implement safety skills and rope work, being prepared for many different outcomes, and possibly one of the most important skills of all, staying calm under pressure.  I am lucky to have met and paddled with other ‘Class V’ kayakers all over the world and I wanted to share a story from a few weeks about which highlights what it means to be a Class V paddler and how those skills which we all posses made an epic situation not the end of the world.  

 

Good Friday, we were experiencing the end of a very rainy week on the North Island of New Zealand.  All of the best paddling in the Kaimai mountain range is very rain dependant and drops out fast.  I had already missed a great day paddling the day before as I was working in a different area but I was stoked to rally a crew and get out there on Friday.  Sam Ricketts, Rob Collister, Johnny (not sure of his last name) and myself headed out.

 

After the usual amount of faffing around we settled on a river which looked to be still at a good flow and also one which our group hadn’t paddled before, the Mangorewa river.  We set shuttle and hit the river prepared for what the guidebook described as a 34km up to class IV+ paddle.  We knew before we started it was likely to be a bit bigger than the class IV+ in the guide book as we were putting onto the river with quite a bit more water than the guide book would suggest.  However we had some info from another local paddler that this would only make our experiencemore enjoyable and that for a solid crew it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.  The guide book described tons of read and run whitewater in a beautiful gorge with a notable drop near the start then 2 more mid way through followed by lots more ‘read and run’ goodies and a long flat paddle at the end.  

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We set out and found the run to be exactly as described if not better whitewater and much prettier than expected.  Around an hour and a half into our trip we encountered a crew ahead of us who had pulled over, so we stopped to say hello and make sure all was good. As it turned out this group had already had a little carnage and were looking for a way to hike out of the river.  Of their three man group the most seriously injured was Bevan who had a possible cracked rib which was making it extremely painful to paddle (hence why the team was looking for a way to get him out).  John had a solid gash above his eye with blood on his face, but seemed very upbeat and Will was uninjured.  With no way out available I used an app on my phone called Maps.Me which stores maps directly to the phone whilst online so that it will still work offline and out of reception as we were in the gorge.  I could see the river and the stream next to where we were and from the map, determine we were not even remotely close to the road but there maybe be other options later on.  Bevan, after some decision making decided to try and push on until another option presented itself.  

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A short paddle down and we had stopped at another stream, Bevan was in a lot of pain and struggling to paddle his boat.  With more serious rapids still ahead of us he was adamant about getting out at this stream.  John and Will went for a quick scout of the stream which did not hold promise for an escape route.  At this point there was an extensive amount of deliberation as to the groups next move.  It really came to 2 options: 

 

1: Push on and find a better escape route somewhere down stream, or at least somewhere a search and rescue helicopter would be able to do an extraction from.  

 

2: Mark this location (using the app on my phone which gives precise GPS co-ordinates.), paddle out then call search and rescue to make the difficult climb into the river via the stream bed.

 

Option 1 was not Bevan’s first choice, but realistically option 2 meant help wasn’t coming until tomorrow or even the day after.  After a little cajoling and some more pain meds Bevan agreed pushing on would be a better move.  We paddled on into an increasingly tight canyon.  We stopped at a narrow spot to scout and that was the point when Bevan could not continue downstream.  He was in too much pain and the river was increasing in difficulty.  I took emergency contact details of their team who would be staying with him, whilst we paddled out to send help.  We handed over any emergency supplies we had to the three, they had a bivy bag already and all them understood that if they couldn't find a hiking route out then they would be there overnight.  We set off to paddle out and call for help. 

 

Our crew knows better than to rush, getting help for the others was a big concern for us, but not at the risk of the safety of our own group.  We continued downstream at what I would consider to be a medium pace, boat scouting our way down the river, we expected to tackle a couple of ‘bigger drops’ and then the rest of the run to be largely winnowing down to the end.  We made our way downstream, staying tight and keeping on the move, taking turns at the front and everyone loving it.  The knowledge that the other group would still need our help had melted off to focus on the task at hand.  We tackled a number of rapids that could have been the ‘bigger drops’, they were certainly bigger than the rest of the river but there seemed a never ending amount of excellent, fun rapids.  We were on guard for any situation and kept moving down at a steady medium pace.  

 

I was paddling at the back of the crew when I suddenly saw Sam give the aggressive “GO LEFT” paddle signal, I hit a small one boat eddy in the middle of the river and looked downstream.  River left, one eddy down from me, I can see Johnny climbing out of his boat in a small eddy and reaching for his throwbag.  River right and at the end of the rapid, Sam is out of his boat and also grabbing for his throwbag.  In the middle of the river as I look downstream to my horror, I can see Rob’s helmet and Lifejacket stuck as though it were an inviting boof rock in the middle of the river, with water piling over the top of him, his helmet and lifejacket still visible through the water which is pushing on him.  Another look around to re-asses and my first move is to shout to my friend who is pinned on what I assumed (and later confirmed) to be a log. “Don’t move Buddy, we are coming for you” I shouted, hopefully he can hear me, but I know that I want to establish a dialogue with him as soon as possible to ascertain if he is breathing and stable.  I also know that if he moves he might go from being in a situation where he can breath to something much more serious, so at this point it is important to slow things down until we can make a plan.  A quick whistle to Johnny and I indicate I am coming to the eddy where he is, he starts moving his boat to make room for me and then I call him over to help me climb out of my boat and onto shore.  Once I am out I grab my throw bag and shout again to Rob.  In the time it took me to climb out his boat has shifted, his stern has sunken down below the bulk of the tree, he is holding onto what could be the trunk of just a heavy branch.  He is breathing with his head out of the water and now facing upstream head and shoulders well clear of the water.  I shout as loudly as I can, to attract his attention, but he is working to get his spraydeck off of the log.  Johnny looks unsure of what to do, and since Rob is still trying to balance I get Johnny to throw him a rope to help him balance.  Rob tried using the rope to help him but found himself more stable with one hand on the log, so Johnny quickly wound the rope in.  Finally Rob looks at me, “My spraydeck is stuck around the log”.  Ok cool, he’s staying calm and hasn’t dropped into an instinctive fight or flight panic.  “Rob, wiggle out of the waist tunnel” I shout after a second or two.  I can see Rob has freed a leg but is still held in their by his spray deck.  “climb out of cut it off” I shout over to him.  He looks to me and nods his understanding.  After around thirty seconds of wiggling he loosens his lifejacket and is able to climb out to be half kneeling, half standing on his pinned boat, spraydeck still very much stuck on the log.  I tell him I will throw him a rope with an attached karabiner and he catches it and clips his boat.  Sam indicates he is ready to catch him down stream and so Rob jumps downstream and swims towards Sam’s waiting throwbag. 

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Over the next 30 mins, Johnny and I tried to pull the boat free, we changed positions a couple of times to manoeuvre the boat off the log but with little success.  We also set up a 3-1 Z-drag system, and then a 5-1 when it didn’t work, but even with a 5-1 advantage the two of us were unable to shift it.  Rob was on the other side of the river and climbing his way upstream to get to a vantage point, evidently the boat would not be coming off in our direction.  Sam was in his boat and waiting for Rob’s spraydeck to float out so that he wold be able to paddle on after we rescue the boat.  We throw the line over to Rob and he tries to pull it of from his position but he is too far downstream to be effective.  Through the next 15 mins he changes position a number of times but no dice.  Finally he gets to a spot which looks like it will be a suitable angle but he needs help, he can’t get it alone.  Sam climbs up to help and I hop into my boat and paddle to Sam’s spot.  From downstream I can see the log holding the boat is a big one.  By this point over a full hour has elapsed.  It takes Sam some time to climb to where Rob is, the rock is slippery and the climb is at best, treacherous.  Once he gets there team work pulling does little.  They begin to set up a Z-drag.  

 

As the boys are rigging up John and Will paddle down to us, safely avoiding the log/pinned boat/ropes etc.  They were unable to find a way out and Bevan has sent them to the takeout as well.  After being assured that we were all good and would figure out getting the boat off they pushed on.  

 

The Z-drag was difficult to set up, but once they eventually started hauling I sat ready to grab a spraydeck as it came down.  I then saw one of the most ridiculous and scary things I have seen in a pinned boat.  As they hauled they pulled the entire log over to their side of the river.  The log and boat combo made it to the side until the angle of pull stopped the system working any more.  The spraydeck floated free and I grabbed it, and returned to my position to catch anything else.  Before my eyes the water of a pour over at the top of the eddy pushed Robs boat under the log completely disappearing.  Another 30 mins of climbing and pushing and pulling from Sam and Rob and they were able to get the boat out.  

 

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From there I grabbed out my breakdown paddle as Rob’s was lost.  We packed down all the ropes and pin kits and made our way downstream. There was still another hour and a bit of quality whitewater followed by over an hour of flat paddling.  We reached the car at the takeout car as the sun finally fell behind the trees.  Hungry, tired and happy everyone had made it out.

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I called John and Will’s numbers to pass along the co-ordinates for where Bevan was.  Happily they told me he had somehow found/climbed his way back to the put in and with everyone present and accounted for we headed for home.  

 

In my mind this story is a prime example of a group of Class V kayakers putting all of their skills to work to resolve a situation which could have easily gone a lot worse.  Because everyone was able to keep a level head and make the right decisions, at the right time without being panicked (too much) and implement the skills from our broad range, it all worked out ok.  Of course there is a factor which helped, and although it’s never talked about, and difficult to quantify/qualify,  but still incredibly relevant to us, a little bit of good luck.  It only takes a little bad luck to everything to go differently. Sometimes everyone else can do everything they can, all the right things and a situation can still end tragically.  Of all my friends and extended kayaking family that have passed away in the last few years I know a little bad luck was the contributing factor and the groups they were with did everything they could, everything right.  That is the unfortunate reality of life on the river, we train and plan and practice until we are beyond ready but really sometimes it just doesn’t work out.    That is a pretty hard pill to swallow sometimes but it is something I have come to realise as I paddle Class V more and more all over the world.  That doesn’t for a second mean we should stop preparing, practicing, training and being ready to paddle Class V, and if anything it motivates me to prepare myself more to try and keep luck, good or bad, out of the equation as much as I can. 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Kokatat New Whitewater Zealand adventure blog explore kayaking landscapes photography travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/4/to-paddle-class-v-is-there-a-luck-element Sat, 02 Apr 2016 21:11:22 GMT
Get Out There/The Important People https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/3/get-out-there/the-important-people

I know I have a been a bit remiss of new blog content lately but I just watched a video from one of my favourite French kayakers, Nouria Newman.  Whilst it is another kayaking video, this one seemed incredibly poignant to me as it outlined a feeling I have always had for kayaking, and felt especially recently after what feels like a never ending procession of tragic losses within the kayaking community.  "At the end it's not worth it unless you are with your friends".  Kayaking has introduced so many amazing and important people into my life and I am so grateful to know (have known) every single one of them.  Hopefully I can get the blog going a little better in the next little while. 

 

Get out there from Nouria Newman on Vimeo.

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Kokatat New Whitewater Zealand adventure blog explore kayaking landscapes photography travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/3/get-out-there/the-important-people Sat, 26 Mar 2016 20:34:17 GMT
First Weeks in NZ-bad car buying experiences, good road trips and kayaking (of course) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/3/first-weeks-in-nz-bad-car-buying-experiences-good-road-trips-and-kayaking-of-course untitled-1485untitled-1485

I arrived in New Zealand’s North Island hub city of Auckland early on a Thursday morning at the start of February.  It felt like the journey here took forever, in actual flight time plus connections I was on the go for 28hrs and 10 minutes.  However once you add in the hour and a half ride to the airport in Quito you are edging pretty close to thirty hours.  Then add the time difference and getting to NZ was a journey that took two full days.  

 

The purpose of my trip to New Zealand is a working holiday.  My friend, Canadian, Tyler Fox had offered me some work teaching kayaking to school groups through a business which he runs together with a kiwi kayaker, who also works in Canada, Lou Urwin.  I was stoked at the opportunity and eager to paddle in NZ, it is somewhere I have seen on videos since I started kayaking.  To make the most of my time here I planned on buying a van that I could live out of, this would allow me to travel more without tying me down to any one place.  It also meant I could save money by not having to rent a room anywhere.  Lou and Tyler recommended I take a peep through trade.co.nz to look for a suitable vehicle, trade me is a similar to kijiji in Canada, or gumtree in the UK, a website where you can buy and sell things.  I did this around a week before I travelled and found a number of vehicles listed from the same supplier, a used car dealer specialising in camper van conversions and the like.  I phoned the guy (a gentleman named Rick) and organised for me to go check out his selection on the day I arrived.  On the phone Rick seemed pretty reasonable, I explained I was travelling with a kayak and he said it was no trouble and could collect me at the airport for a small fee which I agreed to pay, as travelling with a kayak is a pain even at the best of times and after such a long journey it was totally worth paying for.  The guy also told me he didn’t have the ability to pay by visa so I should bring cash.  At the time this seemed like more of an inconvenience than anything else but looking back that probably should have set off some red flags.  With just a few days before I flew I withdrew what cash I could, but due to the restrictive limits imposed by the bank it wasn’t all I had available to me and set aside to purchase a vehicle.  

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After being picked up at the airport and arriving at the ‘dealership’ which was more like a parking space behind another industrial building I looked through the range of Camper’s available.  I took a careful look through a few I liked the look of, carefully checking their mileage, engine condition, when their Warrant of Fitness expired (similar to the UK’s M.O.T, in NZ these are required every 6 months. so the more recently these have been done, then better) etc as best I could.  I’m not a mechanic but I feel like I have a reasonable handle on what to look for.  After finding a van I liked I took it for a test drive.  It seemed to run fine, although it was an older vehicle with reasonably high kilometres on the clock, most vehicles I had researched online around my budget were in a similar situation, plus the warrant didn’t expire until June meaning the WOF had likely been done December or January without issue.  I compared prices online of other vehicles around a similar age and found the prices of this place to be about par for the course if a couple of hundred dollars higher.  I reasoned this simply reflected the extra cost of buying through a dealer instead of through a private sale.    The van I had selected was a 1994 Ford Econovan Maxi, already set up as a camper with a bed, gas burner even a kitchen sink with water tap which actually worked.  The cost of the van was $2980 NZD.  I had about $2000NZD on hand with the ability to get more over the next few days (I had saved up around $3500NZD over the course of the summer with this purpose in mind.)  I explained my situation to Rick and suggested I pay what I had now and transfer the rest through a secure bank transfer, or paypal.  Rick said this would not do and offered an alternate solution, I buy a lower cost car to tide me over until I had the funds.  He agreed he would buy back  the car when I came back minus twenty dollars a day, so long as I kept it in good working order.  Since this was cheaper than hiring a car and it would mean I could go kayaking I was keen, and after doing the ownership paperwork and organising some third party Insurance (which oddly is not mandatory in NZ, but I couldn’t afford to be without it) I drove my way south to Okere falls to paddle the fabled Kaituna River.  I was stoked to paddle that day (Thursday) and more stoked to be able to access the balance of the money I needed by Saturday.  When rick found out I was going to be back so soon he tried to charge me a higher fee which I promptly refused, since we had an agreement. The next day (Friday), after making a quick run to the supermarket I noticed some steam coming from my engine.  I looked under the bonnet to find a split in the radiator hose.  Not the end of the world, I repaired it with some duck tape and then next morning set of for the two hour drive back to Auckland.  What I should have done was change the part in the first instance but these things are always clearer in hindsight. I was expecting the drive there and back to last most of the day, but to be back in Okere Falls by that evening, in time to paddle.  Anyway the problem got worse, the car was overheating a lot.  Once I eventually reached the town of Hamilton which is the half way point I had managed to source a replacement part that I needed and was able to quickly do the replacement myself.  However the simple act of waiting at the side of the road for the car to stop being overheated and re-filling the radiator coolant level pretty much every thirty minutes meant my journey had taken much longer than expected and I was now too late to collect and register my van.  No big deal, I slept in the car in Auckland and collected and registered my new van and was excited to get back to Okere falls for some paddling.  During the process I asked Rick to pay for the replacement hose for the radiator which had set me back $50, he said I had agreed to keep the car in good working order, which I had, but, in my opinion, good working order means not letting a car run out of fuel and keep oil levels good etc not replacing parts.  I decided to cut my losses, the sooner I could be shot of this guy the better.   I made it less than a few minutes in my new van before things started going awry.  The speedometer stopped working on the motorway.  I phoned rick and told him I was displeased with the instant failure and was on my way back.  He said ok and called his mechanic to come take a look at it.  When the mechanic arrived he took a few minutes to determine the cable which runs from the dashboard to the wheels had snapped and to tell me hew would not be able to replace it until Tuesday as Monday was a public holiday.   Frustrated, sweaty and tired after a terrible nights sleep I decided I wanted to leave and wanted nothing more to do with Rick or his car dealership.   I would deal with this problem down the road.  

 

 

160km into my 200km journey my van wouldn't change gear whilst climbing a hill.  It actually wouldn’t go into gear at all, luckily for me I was already close to the side of the highway and managed to roll somewhat off the road.  At this point I had no idea what to do.  Tired, frustrated, hungry and so close to my destination, yet still so far.  Luckily organising a mobile phone sim card in NZ is easy and was something I did immediately upon arrival, so I started calling my friends in Okere Falls to see who could help me out.  Within an hour thanks to Kim and Tyler my non function vehicle was being towed back to a mechanic, who Kim had used previously, in Rotorua (the nearest town with a mechanic).  A few days later my van was up and running again with what had turned out to have been broken clutch valve.  The speedometer was also fixed.  In the interim time I had checked out my consumer rights, delighted to find I had some, and got Rick to agree to pay for the repair.  Initially he did’t want to do this, he wanted me to pay for it to be towed back to auckland so that his mechanic could do the repair for ‘free’.  There was some back and forth but eventually he conceded to reimburse me the cost of the mechanics, a mere $212.75.  The law was on my side and the process of going to the “Motor Vehicles Tribunal” is very simple and something I would have been prepared to do on principal alone.  I have since been paid. 

 

Since getting my van back I have been enjoying my days paddling and hanging out, on the Kaituna river, travelling to paddle the Wairoa river.  during my second week I decided to go do some tourist stuff around the North Island’s less well trodden tourist track of the East Cape.  I had originally planned to make it all the way to the South Island as I had just two weeks before starting work for Tyler and Lou, however with almost half of my free time eaten up waiting for my van to be usable that plan was a no go.  I’ll have to come back to New Zealand for the South Island.  

 

I have been having a great time checking out the world’s most eastern building, a light house high atop a windswept, desolate hill.  Cooks Cove where Captain Cook first came ashore to New Zealand after discovering Australia.  And some wick coastal regions.   Often waking early to catch a wicked sunrise or climbing high atop another coastal cliff to reach a better viewpoint and all the while taking a few pictures that I was really happy with.  

 

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The further though my road trip I got the more and more my van felt like it was slowly loosing power.  Since I had been driving a long time I hoped, maybe I was imagining things.  However my feelings were confirmed when I frequently found myself climbing hills in second and even first gear being overtaking by logging trucks and all sorts.  By the time I reached Gisborne I decided I should probably go see a mechanics as my van was practically dangerous when travelling uphill.  A half day stopover in Gisborne turned into an overnight stay whilst waiting for a new part (air intake hose) which turned out not to arrive until the afternoon, and actually also turned out not to be the cause of the loss of power either, although probably good that it got replaced since it was broken.  After trying that the mechanic fiddled with the timing belt and that did seem to have a positive impact although there is still something wrong with it, I just am not able to figure out what exactly.   

 

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After the Gisborne episode my van was running OK again, enough to drive around without being too worried, at least it starts every time and has been somewhat useful, but I am planning to sell it sooner rather than later.   

 

next update soon, hopefully although now work has started really who knows.  

 

Until next time.

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Kayaking Kokatat New Whitewater Zealand adventure blog explore landscapes photography travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/3/first-weeks-in-nz-bad-car-buying-experiences-good-road-trips-and-kayaking-of-course Thu, 03 Mar 2016 05:05:07 GMT
Last Days in Ecuador https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/2/last-days-in-ecuador IMG_0114IMG_0114

 

Well it seems like time has really been flying by in Ecuador and to be honest I have been having way to much of a good time to get around to updating this blog. As I write this I have already concluded my 2 month spell in Ecuador and have moved right along to my next destination of New Zealand.  BUT my time in Ecuador has been an absolute blast.  Let runs through some of the good stuff I did in my two months there:

 

-Epic time paddling and working with Chris and Andrea Ryman at Endless Adventure International.  

I spent a lot of time on the water with Chris Ryan this season.  We did some epic paddling introducing many new clients to the magic if paddling in Ecuador.  We showed people down a variety of low and high volume rivers, classics like the Chaco canyon of the Quijos, BonBon section, Lower Jondachi, Upper Miss, Upper and Lower Cosanga.  I was also fortunate enough to get to do some time off charging with Chris too on some quality class4/5 runs including but limited too High Water Cosanga (Pictured below), Cheese house, Bridge to bridge, Oyacahchi, Upper and Middle Jondachi.  Many of these runs had continuous read and run whitewater literally for miles.  A short paddling day in Ecuador is around 10km with few breaks.  Although the country may not have many waterfalls it more than makes up with it with continuos, quality, technical whitewater.  

 

Off the water Andrea was constantly cheffing up new and epic meals.  So many epic soups and salads at lunch.  So many amazing dinners with so many different kinds of vegetables.  Ecuador grows so much Veg, but eating out usually is just rice, meat and some cooked Veg (usually mostly onions) so it was great to eat a wide range of vegetables, and salads.  Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and Andrea did not disappoint at all, always hearty quantities of food to keep me stoked all day long, often eggs (Never cooked the same way twice in a 7 day period), sometimes pancakes, or french toast or regular toast made from homemade bread which she bakes daily.  so EPIC.  

 

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-Racing: My last month in Ecuador held a couple of really fun race events.  First up was the Quijos Race, organised by Abe and Rodrigo  of Boof Sessions and Casa de Rodrigo respectively, they organised a great bridge to bridge race event.  The water levels weren't ideal which did mean the race felt a little like a 23 minute suffer fest with so many rocks to avoid.  There were three racing categories, Individuals, Teams and Ecuadorians.  The local government had put up a bunch of prize money so I raced as an individual and as part of a team with my buddy Todd Wells.  Individuals didn't quite go as planned but I was stoked to finish in tied 6th place with my Ecuadorian amigo Lucho Granzio.  Teams race went a little better and Todd and I managed to scoop into third place, with Todd taking the number 1 spot in individuals too, I should probably train a little harder to keep up with him better. Next up was Jondachi fest, a great festival event to raise awareness and prevent a hydro project for one of Ecuador's most beautiful rivers. 

 

This was a fun a and shorter Time Trial event, I raced fairly well given that my race run was my second time down the section, however lack of river knowledge tripped me up one time too many and I  scraped into 4th place missing out on a cash prize by a few seconds.  Dave Gardner from USA took the win on that one with a commanding lead.  The race course itself was a lot of fun, fairly chill with a couple of real doozie rapids that could catch you out of you weren't paying attention.  

 

-Travelling Ecuador: I spent much of January out and about around Ecuador.  After Jondachi fest, Nicole Mansfield, Jo Kemper and I headed out on a mission to the Banos region of Ecuador to hit up one of my favourite rivers in Ecuador the Rio Topo.  I paddled in this region around new years and paddled the Topo a few times (as well as the pistaza canyon and the rio Encanto).  So I was stoked to get back there.  The Topo is Ecuador's most continuous, steep, quality run with around 2-3 hours of non-stop class 4+ and 5.  It progressively builds up in difficulty and then gradually eases back into class 4 in the last 2 km. I was stoked to paddle it 3 days in a row and show Jo and Nicole down for their first time.  We also hit up the Rio Zunag on our last day which is a short but fun run with an epic and easily capable little double drop at the end, Lucho even managed to grab a couple photos of me too!

 

I also spent my last 3 paddling days with Local Paul Rierra, Gringo Kenji and Nicole M. exploring the Santo Domingo area of Ecuador.  It's in the guide book but logistics are challenging so most kayakers skip it, but I have to say I was incredibly impressed with the paddling there. We only got to paddle three rivers in three days but there were lots of options, Paul has a car so it was much easier and we were able to stay with him on his families Dairy Farm.  Paul has only been kayaking a year and is really in need of people to paddle with so if you want to paddle in Ecuador then please look him up, he is keen to go paddling and can make logistics of the area easier.  

 

 

All in all, Ecuador is a lot of fun.  I meant tons of great people (lots of people from Washington state for some reason), friendly locals, low cost of living (although the Canadian dollar is hindering things for the Canuks right now), beautiful scenery and above all, really really really fun kayaking.  Different and much less stressful than destinations like Mexico, cheaper than Chile although different in many ways.  I would say Ecuador gets five stars and hopefully I get an opportunity to return.  

 

If you are looking for an all inclusive guided trip be sure to check out Endless Adventure International on www.Ecuadorkayak.com 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Ecuador Kokatat adventure explore jackson kayak kayak kayaking travel whitewater https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/2/last-days-in-ecuador Sun, 07 Feb 2016 23:39:48 GMT
2015 Year in Review https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/1/2015-year-in-review 2015 Year End Review

Failed to make GB Freestyle team for worlds, Failed to win a place at the next Whitewater Grand Prix, Still one of the best years ever.  

 

From the subtitle of this post it would seem like I have spent a lot of the year not achieving the goals I set myself this time last year.  But what I have come to understand is that not succeeding isn't a bad thing in this case.  Lets break it down.  I had two major goals at the start of 2015.

 

  1. Make the GB freestyle kayak team to compete at the 2015 Freestyle World Championships.  
  2. Win a place for the next Whitewater Grand Prix.  

 

The one minor goal I had to to actually catalog how many days I kayaked this year which is something I have not been successful in doing during other years.  But more on that later. 

 

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So back in January I was all ready well in to training for the GB freestyle kayak team trials event which was to be held at the end of February.  I was only working part time at Whitewater the Canoe Centre and had starting treating training freestyle like a full time job, leaving the house early doing a morning paddle session working on tricks or rides and then having a lunch break and doing another session before trying to beat the traffic home.  The amount of time I had put in was paying off, and everyone could see the improvements I had been making through the winter.  When Team Trials came around on the last weekend of Feb I felt pretty ready for the two day event.  Things really unravelled for me on the first day when I did not do as well as hoped at the Hurley event, I could try and make excuses like the water level wasn’t optimal or I was injured or tired or cold or hungry but really I just did’t have it on the day, I think I finished somewhere around 8th that day.  The second day o  f competition  was a different story, at the Lea Valley Olympic Whitewater course I hit my planned ride and was stoked to wind up in 4th place in that event. However my good result on day 2 wasn’t enough to see me into one of the top 5 spots to compete on what is now one of my home features Garburator wave on the Ottawa river.  I wound up in 7th place missing a team spot by just 2 places.  

 

 

Doug Cooper in flight at HurleyDoug Cooper in flight at HurleyDoug Cooper taking off from the pocket at Hurley weir on a sunny spring day.

Whilst initially annoyed at missing my goal there were actually a lot of things for me to take away from this experience.  

 

  1. My freestyle paddling had dramatically improved
  2. This was my best result in a Mens K1 GB Team Trials, EVER.

 

Fast forward to Spring in Canada, I was having  great time hanging out with my friends, travelling around Ontario and Quebec to surf monster waves and paddle epic rivers, check out my blog from earlier in the spring for more.  My first opportunity to win a Whitewater grand prix spot came up in May at the Ottawa XL competition.  Half day boater-X race half day big wave freestyle.  I had a new creek boat (Jackson Zen L) which felt fast, but was I fast enough? I doubted it, I hadn’t been focussed all that much on going fast lately.  But on the day I just seemed to be accelerating away from everybody else, alot.  In fact I was helped by my buddy Kalob Grady to getting second in the Boater-X race after he cut across in front of course leader Gerd Serrasolses, blocking him out for enough time for me to slide into second.  I wasn’t quite able to hold it together enough in the freestyle portion of the day and wound up in 9th place overall.  Given the field of top level kayakers I was pretty stoked to in the top 10, the WWGP Spot went to the 4th place competitor.  

 

 

Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Ben Marr: Truck LifeBen Marr: Truck Life Ben Marr: Truck LifeBen Marr: Truck Life Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton

 

Fast forward through some more epic summer time activities on the Ottawa river and you’ll find us in August at the Montreal en Eau Vive weekend competition.  One day freestyle on Mavericks wave, one day Boater-X racing.  Since I had never surfed on Mavericks wave (Its the big centre wave on the Lachine Rapids) I wasn’t expecting too much and honestly wasn’t all that good (or so I thought) on the freestyle day.  The Boater-X day however I managed to just keep going fast again and squeezed into 4th place in the race. This put me in tied 8th place overall with my British buddy Bren Orton.  The WWGP spot went to the 3rd place competitor.  

 

So it would seem on the while like I should be annoyed at missing another of my 2015 goals, but once again I found plenty of good to take away from these experiences.  

 

  1. These were my best two comp results at WWGP Qualifiers
  2. I did much better than I was expecting of myself
  3. I beat Dane in a competition (it isn't good practice to compare yourself to others but I so rarely get ahead of Dane that when it does happen I have to smile a little)
  4. I can go faster than I thought. 
  5. My big wave freestyle is improving

 

 

So really in-spite of my failures this year it isn't doom and gloom.  Add to that the big things that I haven’t touched on at all in the this write up and I am pretty stoked on 2015.  Here are some more of the big things of 2015 that were kind of a big deal to me.

 

  1. Became a Permanent Resident of Canada
  2. I coached Katie Kowalski [CAN] into 6th place in Senior Women’s category at the 2015 ICF Freestyle Kayak world Championships
  3. Successfully catalogued my days on the water and got 237 days of kayaking in 2015
  4. Took on the job of Director at Ottawa Kayak School
  5. Traveled to paddle in Ecuador
  6. Met lots of awesome new people
  7. Re-connected with a bunch of people I haven’t seen for years
  8. Had an epic Canadian Thanks Giving meal with the Grady family (Thanks for having me!)
  9. Got a sweet new website (thanks to Kate Shea Designs with a little design help)

 

 

Certainly not a terrible 2015, although there were a few low points, they are for sure outweighed by the high points.  Be sure to check out my 2013-2015 highlights video that is online here: 

Seth Ashworth [GBR] 2016 WWGP bid. 2013-2015 highlights from Seth Ashworth on Vimeo.

 

 

 

So thats all for now.  Until next time, roll on 2016!

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Ecuador Freestyle GB Kokatat Ottawa Surfing jackson kayak kayak kayaking https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2016/1/2015-year-in-review Tue, 05 Jan 2016 15:36:24 GMT
New Highlights video online now https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/12/new-highlights-video-online-now New highlights video from 2013-2015.  enjoy!

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada gladiator jackson kayak kayaking kokatat mini-bus ottawa school stakeout surfing tours wave whitewater wilderness https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/12/new-highlights-video-online-now Tue, 22 Dec 2015 13:35:54 GMT
First week in Ecuador! https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/12/first-week-in-ecuador Crossing the Bridge to the Oyacachi.Heading over this sweet bridge to the put-in of an epic river.

Well It has been a week since I started travelling to Ecuador, although it felt like it took a week just getting here. As the kayaker I am, I am always looking for the cheapest air fares and this trip was no exception.  The cheapest way for me to get to my first winter destination of Ecuador was to travel from Toronto to Mexico city, then connect onward to Quito, Ecuador.  Now on paper that seems like a simple route, but actually getting to Toronto would be my first hurdle, its a four and a bit hour drive from where I was staying in the Ottawa Valley.  My flight was at 9am, so I would need to check in between 6 & 7 am.  Which would mean leaving around 2am.  Getting someone to drive me at 2am was, unsurprisingly a non-starter.  But I did manage to get a ride the evening before arriving at the airport at around 11pm.  Score.  Just a seven hour wait until I could check in, which actually went by fairly quickly.  I slept a little and when i woke up it was practically check in time.  I manoeuvred my boat bag which weighed around 40kgs and my large bag (around 24kgs) through a labyrinth of lines, successfully check-in, ready to pay the extra fee for my "windsurfing equipment" (the airline I was flying doesn't take kayaks, but does take a wealth of other large sports equipment) and as luck would have it, the check in person forgot or chose not to charge me anything, simply instructing me to head over to oversized check in. WINNING!!

Exit row seat, yes pleaseSometimes I just get lucky

The first flight was also very lucky as I was asked shortly after sitting down if I would like to move to an exit row seat with more leg room.  UGH YES PLEASE! crushed through the first flight and made it to Mexico City Airport.  After navigating the challenging customs process of Mexico I collected my bag and my boat, which I was very happy to see had made it with me on the first flight.  Then I negotiated my 60+kgs of luggage from the down stairs to the upstairs of the airport, which I can tell you is no easy feat.  Then I settled in for the worst part of my outward journey.  The 11 hour wait until my next flight.  That is a really really long time to be waiting in an airport.  Once I finally got on the plane I slept until it was some kind of mean time, then slept all the way until I arrived. In Quito I was fortunate enough to have get through customs fairly quickly and delighted to see both my bag and my kayak.  Score.  

 

Chris at Endless Adventure International who had organised for me to come down to Ecuador and help safety kayak some of his trips, had kindly organised a shuttle driver to collect me at the airport.  Wilo, (who it later transpired was the like the guy to know in this area of Ecuador), came to collect me and we headed off to the Endless Adventure base, named the Ponda Rosa.  A sweet house on the bank of the Quijos river.  

I arrived in time for breakfast and then hit the river, since then I have paddled every day, there is tons of fun whitewater to paddle here, and I am stoked to be spending some more time here.  

But first, let me take a selfie

Some downsides, for some unknown reason my camera has inexplicably stopped working since my arrival.  After hours of google searching it seems the small battery that regulates the internal clock may have died and need replacing, but so far I have not been able to get the right battery.  This does mean all my pictures are gopro only. Bit of a bummer as the landscape here is epic, but hopefully I will be able to get the right battery or get my camera to a repair shop in the next little while.  

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Anyways thats all I got for now.  Stay tuned and if you aren't already make sure you are following me on Instagram (@seth_ashworth), I am probably updating that the most right now.  

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Ecuador Endless Adventure International Kayak Kokatat adventure creeping fun kayaking travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/12/first-week-in-ecuador Tue, 01 Dec 2015 23:58:42 GMT
Winter travel Adventures-Current activities- Giving to Charity- 'Staying safe out there!' https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/11/winter-travel-adventures-current-activities--giving-to-charity--staying-safe-out-there

Sunset over the Ottawa river

 

Well I am finally winding up another epic spell in Canada.  On Tuesday evening I start travelling toward my next destination of Ecuador.  Right now I am hanging out and kayaking on the Ottawa river and getting pretty stoked on heading somewhere warmer soon.

 

This weekend just past I had a great time participating the in 4th annual 'Movember kayak race' down the Ottawa.  This is the brain child of local paddler Matt Hamilton as a way of the paddling community to contribute to a mens health charity in a way which is for fun but also a little competitive.  The race is a team race, so if i wanted to race (and have a chance of doing well) I would need a solid partner.  This was a no brainer for me, I just thought to myself, who has beaten me in every race I have done this season? The answer; Team Kokatat teammate Kalob Grady. So I had my partner all set.  The race was from the public put in to take out, given the water level we would be racing down the middle channel with a mandatory portage of the most challenging rapid Garvin's chute.  Since this would mean a lot of flatwater I was stoked to be borrowing Joel Kowalski's Karma Unlimted.  A race boat designed for the Green river race in North Carolina, USA.  The race was a running start (easily more dangerous than any of the rapids).  Kalob and I got ahead early along with one other team (Zach Zwanenburg and Louis-Philipe).  We pushed hard through the first long flat section but didn't seem to be able to shake the other team.  Luckily for us at the second rapid, our local knowledge led us down iron ring which, we knew to be faster.  The visiting team in second decided that little trickle was there best bet, and after that we didn't really see them again until the take out.  We caught glimpses of them all the way but just kept our heads down and pushed on to the takeout for hot chocolates and baileys.  We took the win by almost 3 minutes, the winning prize; Half of the entry fees were donated to our November pages (Which I had to promptly setup).  Felt pretty awesome to donate something to charity, I usually don't, not because I disagree with it or anything, but because I usually don't have much, if any spare money.  STOKED!

 

This weekend, as with most I woke up to find some emails from my mum.  This is pretty normal as she works super hard, so usually her free time on saurday mornings I will get an email to check in.  Sometimes these have links to interesting or erroneous newspaper articles which my mum thinks I should read.  So I wasn't all that surprised to see one of here emails (there is never just one!) included a link to a abc news article.  When I clicked on the link it went through to an article entitled "What should you do in an attack"  (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34844518) and it gave a useful guide to what to do if you find yourself caught up in a terrorist attack, which sadly seem to be becoming more frequent.  Although this was a useful thing to read, at the same time I felt pretty saddened that we live in this type of world now.   Perhaps if everyone tried kayaking they would just al be happier and get along better but I know there is more to it than that!   But anyway growing up in scouts I was taught to always be prepared, so it is worth giving that article a quick read so you can be prepared if it happens to you. 

Thats pretty much all of now.  IF you aren't already check out my Instagram @seth_ashworth its where it at right now.  

 

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Jackson Kokatat Ottawa kayak travel https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/11/winter-travel-adventures-current-activities--giving-to-charity--staying-safe-out-there Sun, 22 Nov 2015 21:42:04 GMT
Manitoba Stakeout mission POSTPONED https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/10/manitoba-stakeout-mission-postponed Pretty gutted to be writing this but, the "Maniflowba-stakeout big wave surf mission" has been postponed until September 2016 due to inclement weather.  At the time on tuesday night when the team voted there were numerous days of -5 degrees celsius forecast as the daily high.  The vote was to put this one off until next year when the temperature should be more favourable.  On the upside I get to go to Moosefest this weekend in Upstate NY.  Sweet! 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Manitoba jackson kayak kayaking kokatat ottawa school stakeout surfing tours wave whitewater wilderness https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/10/manitoba-stakeout-mission-postponed Fri, 16 Oct 2015 14:04:38 GMT
Surfing big waves meets exploring new areas. First Descent: MANIFLOWBA https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/10/surfing-big-waves-meets-exploring-new-areas-first-descent-maniflowba Early in the summer my friend Joel Kowalski mentioned to me that he was planning an exploratory trip into the province of Northern Manitoba (Canada) in search of the new monster sized surf able river waves.  I was interested immediately as I couldn't recall ever hearing of anyone doing too much kayaking in Manitoba.  As he continued to tell me more about it and show me images from google earth combined with his daring plan I could not help but be excited by the trip.  

 

His plan is to travel a 130km section of the Nelson river, starting at Cross Lake, Manitoba (three to five hours north of Winnipeg).  In theory this river should be very similar to the Ottawa in terms of elevation drop and style (pool drop), but in terms of size the river looks like it is much more spread out so it stands to reason that this wave could have bus eater or even gladiator sized waves which the Ottawa boasts but they could be pretty spread out.  So our 8 man team (Joel Kowalski, Nick Troutman, Dane Jackson, Kalob Grady, LP Rivest, Ben Marr, David Jackson and myself) will used motorised rafts to travel from rapid to rapid, setting up camp at rapids which offer epic surfs or super fun bog volume lines.  The motors flip up to allow us to paddle the rapids or even portage if required.   

 

To the best of our knowledge no other kayakers have paddled down the rapids of this section of the Nelson river, probably due to poor access.  That being said the route from Cross Lake to Hudson’s Bay is a popular canoe trip for experienced Canoeists, keen to spend around 30 days in the wilderness.  The canoeists typically portage the rapids so whilst the river itself is not a first descent many of the larger rapids likely will be.  

 

Some of the main troubles we expect to encounter are cold conditions, average daily high for that time of year is 6 degrees Celcius with overnight lows going much lower.  Originally this trip was planned for early September when temps were warmer, but for a number of reasons that timeframe had to be delayed.  The problems that we can predict will be limited daylight, because the section of river is 55 degrees north the days become very short at that time of year.  

 

Overall I am fairly optimistic about the adventure we are about to embark on, hopefully we find the big waves we are looking for.

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Freestyle kayaking Kayaking Manitoba exploring freestyle kokatat surfing https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/10/surfing-big-waves-meets-exploring-new-areas-first-descent-maniflowba Mon, 12 Oct 2015 00:35:55 GMT
Kayaking, coaching, kids week and so much other Ottawa River fun https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/8/kayaking-coaching-kids-week-and-so-much-other-ottawa-river-fun  

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR0390. DCIM\100GOPRO\G0060182. Since getting my Permanent Residency I have been hard at work again at Ottawa Kayak School/Wilderness Tours, Mostly teaching kayaking at various different ability levels and various different age groups.  The one thing all these groups have had in common, they have all had a blast. 

 

One of the highlights of the season for me so far (although probably one of my hardest work weeks for sure) was our Kids Camp week, which is a week long program for kids aged 7-11.  I have been teaching this program since my first year, and every year it seems to get a little more popular, lots of returning kidZ (because thats how cool kids spell it) from previous years as well as lots of new faces.  This year we had our biggest session ever with nine kids out on the river having lots of fun.  My ethos on this program has always been that as long as they are having fun and doing some kayaking that is the most important thing, so when they grow up and think about kayaking they are automatically associating it with having lots of fun. In previous years this has meant I have spent mornings playing board games indoors waiting out the cold rainy mornings and spent sweltering hot days playing games which involved swimming and being wet.  They still learn about eddys, current, edging and even T-rescues but the focus is on having fun. We also do a little fun extra curricular activities like making tie-dye shirts that they each sign at the end of the week.  Although it is a tiring week it is absolutely one of my favourites. 

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One of the other projects I have been working on lately is coaching Canadian Freestyle Kayak Team member Katie Kowalski for the up coming ICF Freestyle World Championships, which are being held on the Garburator Wave, here in the Ottawa river at the end of August.  At first I was unsure if this was a good idea, I have known Katie for a while and I know that although she has a lot of talent in a kayak, she also lacks motivation to actually go kayaking which could be a problematic part of training.  However after some initial teething troubles I am pleased to report her training is now going quite well, more on that to follow another time.  

 

 

Until next time.  

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Kids week jackson kayak kayaking kids kayaking kokatat mini-bus oaks ottawa school surfing tours wave whitewater wilderness https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/8/kayaking-coaching-kids-week-and-so-much-other-ottawa-river-fun Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:51:31 GMT
Juanito Scholarship gets going on the Ottawa https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/8/juanito-scholarship-gets-going-on-the-ottawa Since the tragic and untimely passing of my friend Juanito de Ugarte last year a number of Juan’s friends have rallied together to create a scholarship fund for one young Peruvian kayakers to come and paddle here on the Ottawa river in the Ottawa Kayak School Keener program that Juanito enjoyed teaching so much.  This year the first young Peruvian kayaker has made their way up to Canada to paddle in the Keener Program.  Angela has actually never kayaked before, or actually ever left Peru, or ever been on an aeroplane, or spoken English.  So on the whole the experience is probably very over whelming.  Since I was teaching a beginner class I worked closely with Angela in her first week and after overcoming some obstacles including the usual apprehension that most people get whilst learning to kayak, and the language barrier she has progressed really well in a short time. 

 

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One of the driving forces behind the scholarship is one of Juan’s sisters Sandra.  Luckily for me Sandra has also travelled out with Angela and has been helping to translate as well as working on her own kayaking skills in the same beginner class that Angela has been taking through her first week here.  Sandra is a lot like Juanito in her attitude, outlook and energy, add to that the fact she is wearing most of Juan’s gear and it has been enough to make me double take at least once or twice.  

 

I am so stoked to be a small part of the Juanito Scholarship experience this year and I hope I can be apart of it again in the future.  Passing on Juan’s (and my) passion for kayaking is so special and to be passing it on to another Peruvian, is extra special.  

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Juanito Juanito Scholarship Keener Ottawa Ottawa River Peru kayaking kayakista https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/8/juanito-scholarship-gets-going-on-the-ottawa Sat, 08 Aug 2015 14:03:03 GMT
Becoming a Permanent Resident of Canada https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/7/becoming-a-permanent-resident-of-canada DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR0121.

I have been coming to work on the Ottawa river in Canada for four seasons now.  When I first came here I was planning to stay for just one season to see how I liked it.  The place, the people, the river, it is all amazing here and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent here so much I made the choice a year and a half ago that I wanted to make the move more permanent. Relatively permanent at least.  

 

The application for Permanent Residency at the time when I applied was a crippling mountain of paperwork which took me a while to work my way through.  As well as a number of other seemingly innocuous tests including an English reading, writing and speaking exam.  But anyway, after I sent the application in (by post, who still does that?) thew waiting time was very long.  I basically waited over a year without hearing anything more than a conformation that they had received my application.  And then as if by magic in Late May I had to complete a medical examination from a certified doctor and a month later I received my conformation of permanent residency in the post.  All I had to do was make a quick trip to the border to collect it.  Result!


As a PR I can now stay in Canada full time, wherever I want, doing whatever job I want.  I have all the same benefits of being a citizen with two exceptions I can’t vote and I don't get a Canadian Passport.  

 

All in all I am pretty stoked about it, the prospect of being able to come and go as I please without the need for work permits is pretty appealing and I have so much more freedom to explore Canada now.  Happy days. 

Thats all for now.  

 

See you out there, eh!

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) PR canada fresh kayaking moving ottawa permanent resident resident https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/7/becoming-a-permanent-resident-of-canada Sat, 25 Jul 2015 14:37:05 GMT
Quebec Creek boating mission https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/6/quebec-creek-boating-mission

A few weeks ago I went on a last minute, whirlwind tour of some of the best creek boating in Northern Quebec.  Completely mind-blowing the amount of quality whitewater which is so easily accessible, check out some photos from my week long trip and a few of myself shot by the one and only Tyler Fox who rallied us together on the best of missions.  

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Kayaking gladiator jackson kayak kayaking kokatat mini-bus ottawa school stakeout surfing tours wave whitewater wilderness https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/6/quebec-creek-boating-mission Sun, 21 Jun 2015 14:59:49 GMT
Spring in Canada Gallery now online https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/5/spring-in-canada-gallery-now-online Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott

 

It has been a non-stop few weeks, here is a gallery of my latest adventures with my camera.  

 

Athlete: Ben MarrAthlete: Ben Marr Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Ben MarrAthlete: Ben Marr Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Seth AshworthAthlete: Seth Ashworth Athlete: Seth AshworthAthlete: Seth Ashworth Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Ben Marr with the "Out to Lunch" mountAthlete: Ben Marr with the "Out to Lunch" mount Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Devyn ScottAthlete: Devyn Scott Athlete: Joel KowalskiAthlete: Joel Kowalski Athlete: Joel KowalskiAthlete: Joel Kowalski Athlete: Joel KowalskiAthlete: Joel Kowalski Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Ian VogelAthlete: Ian Vogel Joel Waits for PatrickJoel Waits for Patrick Athelet: Patrick CamblinAthelet: Patrick Camblin Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Joel KowalskiAthlete: Joel Kowalski Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Ian VogelAthlete: Ian Vogel Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Paul PalmerAthlete: Paul Palmer Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Bren OrtonAthlete: Bren Orton Athlete: Edward Muggeridge working a Multi-cam setupAthlete: Edward Muggeridge working a Multi-cam setup

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Ben Marr Big bus Canada Mini-bus Ottawa big wave devyn Scott freestyle kayaking surf surfing wave https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/5/spring-in-canada-gallery-now-online Wed, 20 May 2015 11:20:46 GMT
First Weeks in Canada https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/4/first-weeks-in-canada This place is magic

After what turned out to be a very stressful journey I finally made it to Ottawa, my kayak got held up somewhere between Detroit and Ottawa, but the nice people at Delta Airways were able to deliver it to me in the city just 24 hours late.  Since arriving it has been pretty classic Stakeout conditions, with weather ranging from snow flurries when I arrived, to 25 degree (celsius) blue sky days right through to Heavy rain storms.  At this time of the year the Ice flows on the river are very heavy, and avoiding Ice is a serious danger.  Add to that the freezing temperature of the water it is enough to put a lot of people off, speaking frankly I am ok with that, this time of year can be dangerous and it is easy to get out of your depth fairly quickly.  So far I have enjoyed paddling river runs of the Ottawa's main channel as well as surfing mini-bus slightly too low and slightly too high.  Waiting for perfect levels is just part of the fun of this season and one of the most magical things about this area of Canada.  Enjoy a few photos on this page and look out for a full gallery in a few weeks. For now lots of things to be getting on with.  See you on the river!

 

 

First Group shot of the year Matt Hamilton throwing his first trick of the year Lining up for mini-bus Joel Kowalski throwing massive Adam S. first surf at mini-bus, ever. Spring plant life Heavy ice flow and debris

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada Jackson kayak Kayaking Ottawa Ottawa River flows ice jackson kayak kokatat water https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/4/first-weeks-in-canada Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:40:22 GMT
What is Stakeout? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/4/what-is-stakeout

With spring in the air in the UK, and over in eastern Canada the snow finally starting to melt, a very special season is in the air.  Stakeout is a word which you will hear a lot in the next 4-8 weeks from all of your kayaking media outlets.  In light if this fact I thought I would go someway to explaining a little bit about the what, where, when and why of the word.  

So let us begin with the fundamental question of 'What is Stakeout?'.  Stakeout is the name for the time of year when groups of kayakers roam around North Eastern Canada in the province of Ontario and Quebec searching for the biggest surf able river waves in the world, as well big volume rapids and rivers.  These groups roam from area to area 'Staking out' a particular rapid, river or drainage basin, waiting for the warming sun to turn all for the ice and snow into massive volume whitewater.  Now although this model sounds like idyllic road trip around beautiful and often quite remote areas of Canada, it actually can get quite stressful, different crews are operating in different areas and making different discoveries.  Some are stakeouts are more fruitful than others and a wild quantity of time is spent trying to find out what the other options are if the thing which your crew has decided to stakeout proves fruitless.  Weather can further add to the stresses as temperature swings change the rate of snow melt dramatically meaning a particular wave may have a very short window of opportunity of being surf able.  One example I paddle during 2013 was only surf able for one day, if you didn't get it, you missed it!  As if all that wasn't enough to keep you at your wits end the actual paddling you are doing is right out there on the sharp end of what is possible in a big water environment.  The water itself is freezing and often choked with ice making long periods of exposure in the water practically life-threatning.  All of those factors don't deter an ever growing number of paddlers who make the pilgrimage each year to experience the magic of Stakeout.  

 

Stakeouts have been happening for years and years, but only became really popular after the publication of the online short movie in 2009 which featured paddlers like the now kayak superstar Ben Marr, Patrick Camblin, Joel Kowalski, Max and Dylan Davidson, Thomas Fahrun, Dave Nieuwehenhuis and many others.  Whilst I am not sure exactly who started stakeout, I am excited to get out and roam around this spring in search of some big waves and good times.  Stay tuned for more updates.

 

Going huge on GladiatorGoing huge on GladiatorHuge air at Gladiator Wave, Ottawa river, Canada, 2013, Photo Jessica Drujiko High Tension HelixHigh Tension HelixGatineau River, Canada, 2014, Photo Chris Thompson Huge Back Pan AmHuge Back Pan AmMini-bus Wave, Ottawa River, 2014, photo Ryan Whetung   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Canada gladiator jackson kayak kayaking kokatat mini-bus ottawa school stakeout surfing tours wave whitewater wilderness https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/4/what-is-stakeout Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:30:00 GMT
Shepperton Slalom Race gallery March 28 2015 https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/shepperton-slalom-race-gallery-march-28-2015

 

Although the weather was pretty grim, and the water levels were pretty low it neither of these things stopped the first Kayak Slalom race of the season taking place at my local slalom training spots Shepperton weir. Shepperton Slalom Canoe club did a great job of hosting a very busy event.  in-fact it was so busy entries were completely full.  Although I haven't been paddling my slalom boat all that much lately I decided that I would pop down and grab a few photos, I've got a new zoom lens which I have been itching to put through its paces and I was really pleased with some of the images from the hour or so that I was there Check out a few of the photos on this post of find the FULL GALLERY HERE,  I do confess I wasn't there all that long and only got pictures of a few paddlers.    

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Shepperton Slalom Slalom race UK div 1/2 kayak kayaking race racing shepperton slalom https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/shepperton-slalom-race-gallery-march-28-2015 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 21:57:06 GMT
New Gallery "First Descents: Michoacan" on-line Now https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/new-gallery-first-descents-michoacan-on-line-now Scouting the Hoya Del Aire, before the First Descent, Michoacan, MexicoScouting the Hoya Del Aire, before the First Descent, Michoacan, Mexico

So it has taken me a while to get around to it but I have finally put up the full gallery from our 2013 First Descents mission to Michoacan, Mexico.  This trip was one of the best trips I've ever been on, and although it was very busy, very tiring, a lot of 4am starts and 2 am finishes it was one of the best experiences of my life and would do it all again in a heartbeat.  Enjoy!

 

CLICK HERE FOR GALLERY

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) First descent exploring kayaking mexico michoacan photography red bull https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/new-gallery-first-descents-michoacan-on-line-now Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:54:53 GMT
New Website, New Photos and Save 10% on all orders during opening week https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/new-website-new-photos-and-save-10-on-all-orders-during-opening-week Jungle dropJungle dropThilo Schmitt emerges from a canyon deep in the Mexican jungle If you are reading this then you have obviously figured out that I am now on a shiny new website. Whilst my core concept of 'kayak all the time' is still true, this new website enables me to better display some of my photographic work.  Features on this website are largely similar to the old one, there is still an about me section, still a blog to catch up on my latest news, still an area which features a few choice shots of me actually kayaking but the big change is that this website features my Photography portfolio as well as any other photography mini-projects i've been up to.  Finally it also offers the opportunity to buy both prints, posters and canvas prints to have and keep forever.  Awesome.  The cleverest part about this is that you can buy products in four major currencies delivered almost worldwide (if you are in Australia or NZ please get in touch and I will figure something out), including British Pound, US dollar, Canadian dollar and Euros. And with print labs within your continent shipping shouldn't be wildly expensive either, SWEET!

As a celebration of my new site's opening I'm offering 10% discount for the first week. Hit buy on a photo you love, select the product you want and then just use the relevant discount code based on wherever you are, enjoy.  

 

For Brits:   SAVETENUK

For Americans: SAVETENUS

For Canadians: SAVETENEURO

For Europeans: SAVETENCAD

 

If you have any feedback on the site feel free to get in touch, check back here for regular updates.

 

Seth

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) Special discount deal new website opening week photography photography website website https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/new-website-new-photos-and-save-10-on-all-orders-during-opening-week Thu, 19 Mar 2015 17:09:51 GMT
Whatever happens, at least I learned something new... https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/Whatever-happens-at-least-I-learned-something-new As I write this update I am just a few short days away from a goal I have been training really hard for for the past 3 months, Great Britain Freestyle Kayak Team Trials, which is a two day event taking place feb 28/march1. Over the course of two competitions the best five men (top 5 overall after both comps) will be selected to compete at the Freestyle Kayak World Championships at Garberator wave on the Ottawa River this august.

Now needless to say that having spent the major part of my last three years living on the Ottawa, and with lots of my friends out there making their own nations team I REALLY REALLY want to get one of those places. As with every year competition here is tough, so I have dedicated the entirety of my time since December working toward team trials, studying the scoring system, previous results and planning out what I needed to do. I set about polishing tricks I could do already like the clean blunt and learning a host of new tricks like Helix (both ways) back pan ams, pan ams, revert-clean blunts and more.

With just a few days left to go I am feeling an odd mixture of emotions from very high excitement levels, right through to overwhelming nervousness. In my quest to abate this nervousness, I asked my friend and multiple world champion Claire O’Hara for any tips to prepare and she said something which truly changed my outlook on the whole situation. She basically said “with all the preparation you’ve done and everything you have learned it doesn’t matter what happens on the day because you have already become a better paddler moving forward”. Reading that made stop and think for a second. I compared myself today to where I was as recently as last November and the progress i’ve made is really amazing.

Stopping to take stock of your progress is something I probably don’t do often enough but knowing that I have made such a great progress in a relatively short period is a good feeling and incredibly calming. That is not to say I don’t care about the outcome but it is a great reminder that the last few months has not been time wasted. More recently I have been fighting with muscle strains and tendonitis so hopefully it all pans out on the day, I guess watch this space to see if I make the team or not but whatever way I am happy that I head back to Canada in April as a much stronger freestyle paddler.

Check out a little sneak preview of what I have been working on up until straining a muscle in my shoulder. Hopefully it gets better in time for the event.

See you out there

 

Training for GB Team Trials from Seth Ashworth on Vimeo.

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/Whatever-happens-at-least-I-learned-something-new Sun, 15 Feb 2015 10:30:00 GMT
WHAT I LEARNED IN 2014 https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/12/23_2014__A_Year_in_review 2014 turned out to be quite a wild ride and unfortunately not always a train I wanted to be on. I started off writing this year review as your average blow by blow break down of 2014, but if you are a regular reader to this blog, or follow my movements through my Facebook Athlete page, Instagram and Twitter (which has way more regular updates than here anyway) you will already be well versed in where I have been and so on. SO what I really wanted to share is some of the lessons I have learned in the last 12 months, and how I came to be there.

-We are/I am not indestructible
-Life is precious
-Appreciate for those around you
-Our life in years is more important than our years in life

Now I know you are thinking “Seth, that is a profound amount of meaningless drivel your are spouting” but stick with me and i’ll talk you through how I got there, unless you aren’t interested in which case I have put a few pics at the bottom to scroll through and i’ll catch you next time.

1. We are/I am Not indestructible.

Everybody crashes and from time to time I have taken my fair share, both on the river and off. More often than not crashes can cause injuries sometimes minor sometimes major and up until this year I had always escaped with the minor injuries, the cuts and bruises, the bruised tail bone, the sore shoulders, mild tendonitis and stiff back and neck. Usually these are easily remedied and although you always have the possibility of injury on the back of your mind it isn’t something I think about everyday. Until this January when my first try at skiing left with what turned out to be quiet the saga of torn ligaments, surgeries, re-hab, physiotherapists, crutches and so on. As it transpired this would not be a quick fix injury with the forecast time to full recovery being 12 months, and even then it will never be exactly the same as it was before.

Throughout the saga, especially in the days immediately post surgery there have been alot of times where I am alone. Time where I have been able to reflect on injuries and the bearing they can have on life. It would be very easy to wallow and say ‘this is it, my life is over’ but like so many things the much harder thing is to see it as what it is, just a setback. I guess it all comes down to motivations. Without getting into too much boring detail about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how they steer my life, and the lives of others affected by semi-serious injuries
I will simply summerise the philosophies I have gained as I go through this journey of recovery and that is to say “Be careful to find the balance between life and re-injury” and of course “If you can still go kayaking it then that is fine by me”. Remember we all break, but don’t let the fact you might get broken rule you.

2. Life is Precious

Late November 2014 I woke up to find out about the tragic loss of a good friend of mine, Juanito De Ugarte from Peru. I first met Juan on the Ottawa in 2013 and we were both part of the epic First Descents: Michoacan project which took place in Nov 2013 and aired on Red Bull TV April 2014. I still struggle to put into words what a loss this is both personally and for the Whitewater kayaking community as a whole. The Christmas issue of Online E-Zine thepaddler.co.uk carried a really good article about Juanito written by Mariann Saether using some photos I took whilst in Michoacan. Check it out here (http://www.joomag.com/magazine/thepaddler-ezine/M0151422001368812110) .

In the weeks surrounding Juan’s passing I was bowled over by the amount of lives he had touched beyond just my own. It was whilst reading through these that I came to the conclusion the lives we have are precious. They certainly will not last forever so it is extra important not to take them for granted and don’t take for granted the lives of your friends and family either.

3.Appreciate for the people around you

Points one and two lead me into this quite naturally in my mind. I would have had a much more difficult time to get out from under the depressive weight of injury if I wasn’t lucky enough to have people around me, that goes from my family (especially my parents and my sister who at one stage were delivering food and cups of tea and coffee to me on my couch ‘island’ spot), all the way to my friends who were contacting me out of the blue in droves to comfort me with stories of similar experiences, coping strategies, recommendations to watch on tv, books to read and of course the group I came to think of as the leg gang. Clay Wright, Kyle Hull and Eric Boomer, three kayakers, all of whom I stayed in regular contact with despite all of us being in different parts of the world we were all going through knee/leg surgeries and re-habs at the same/similar time and it was great to have other people who were sharing the experience. Equally people can disappear in a heartbeat so keep that in mind.

1. Life in years is more important than years in life

I get asked on a pretty regular basis questions like
- “when are you getting a real job”
- “what will you do when you want to retire”
- “What are you going to do when you want to buy a house”,
- “Are you even working at the moment”

The list goes on and on but the long and short of it is that this year, through all of the days away from my kayak, and all the days in my kayak has made me realise that the happiness is lots of different things to lots of different people. For me personally the idea of being in a secure job with all of the benefits that come with it, it just isn’t for me. That’s not to say it is not for everyone, and if doing the 9 ‘til 5 thing makes you happy then good on you but personally I am happy to be on the journey I am on and make the most of the experiences I am having. And since I am reminded this year as much as any, this life doesn’t last forever so make sure you are maximizing the life in your years.

That is pretty much all I have to say, this post certainly got a little deeper than I thought it would when I started out and thats often the way it goes. Looking forward to the other adventures of 2015, look out for a new website later in the year and stay up-to-date by hitting te follow button on my Facebook athlete page, Instagram and Twitter (Mostly not Twitter)

See you on the River,

Seth































 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/12/23_2014__A_Year_in_review Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:30:00 GMT
Faces of Hurley Classic Portrait project https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/12/2_Faces_of_Hurley_Classic_Portrait_project Last weekend was one of the UK’s biggest Freestyle kayaking events, the SAS Hurley Classic. A fun competition which has grown in size immensely since the last time I attended this comp. As well as a traditional freestyle competition there are also other fun events like an extreme boater-X race and an opportunity for young paddlers to paddle with some of their favorite famous faces from all over the world.

Although I have been kayaking in a lot of different places all over the world since the last time I paddled at Hurley it was still super fun, but I had no desire to take any more photos of people kayaking there, instead I decided to have a good old play with my new Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens and shoot some portrait photos of some of the paddlers taking part in the event, the Faces of Hurley Classic. I wish I could have taken a photo of all of the competitors but since there were 200+ entrants that probably would have taken a little more planning than I had put into this one, but maybe next time. Check out some of the individuals below and I will see you at Hurley again soon. And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who took part.

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/12/2_Faces_of_Hurley_Classic_Portrait_project Tue, 02 Dec 2014 10:30:00 GMT
Canada ends with a bang, High Tension and Mini-Bus https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/10/Canada-ends-with-a-bang-High-Tension-and-Mini-Bus

 

Final two weeks in Canada delivered some of the highlights from this year. High water which traditionally comes in November/December came early this year and delivered two brilliant big waves to surf, High Tension on the Gatineau river and Mini-bus on the Ottawa. Check out a few photos and look out for short video clips on my facebook athlete page!

Photos by Billy Thibault, Chris Thompson, Ryan Whetung, Jason Day, Adam Scott
 


 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/10/Canada-ends-with-a-bang-High-Tension-and-Mini-Bus Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:30:00 GMT
Changing seasons, changing river, The Ottawa... https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/10/Changing-seasons-changing-river-The-Ottawa So as summer rolls into autumn and the days start getting shorter and cooler here on the banks of the Ottawa river the water levels in the northern drainage begin to rise dramatically. This forces the Hydro dams up and downstream to start managing the water differently in preparation for winter. The river levels have been rising since September first and that is good news for the kayakers who are still here. It means big volume fun all day long, or more usually all afternoon long as there is still little bits of work to do in the daytime at Wilderness Tours. I only have another week or so left of this season and I am hoping to see some mini-bus action before I leave but who knows if the levels will rise enough or not. Stay tuned I guess, but for now check out some photos form the last couple weeks.

See you on the river



 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2014/10/Changing-seasons-changing-river-The-Ottawa Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:30:00 GMT
Summer Daze on the Ottawa https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/summer-daze-on-the-ottawa

 

I arrived in Ottawa during the First week of July and have been non-stop ever since.  Between working on the river with Ottawa Kayak School and kayaking after work it has left me with no time to update this website.  

 

Since I am once again running low on time before heading out to the river here is a quick rundown of my latest moves.  Ive spent three awesome weeks teaching kayak rockstars of the Future during Ottawa Kayak School Kids weeks. These weeks are some of my favorite of the year, because I get to see kids as young as 7 take their first paddle strokes and eventually run their first rapids.  So COOL.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also worked a few different adult beginner and intermediate classes with grown up paddlers from all over the world including as far afield as Australia, Ireland and of course Canada and the US. AWESOME.  

 

 

DCIM\103GOPRO

 

 

This weekend coming is Canada Cup/Canadian Team Trials being held on Garberator,  so hopefully I will be able to shoot a few photos and post an update from that as it will the trial event before 2015 Freestyle Kayak World Championships next year.  

 

Well thats it thats all, time to hit the river.  

 

See you out there 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/summer-daze-on-the-ottawa Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:30:00 GMT
New Gear for 2014 https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/new-gear-for-2014

 

I have just a few days left before I head back out to the Ottawa, to enjoy some of the best paddling in the world.  This year I have made some changes to gear set up which I am pretty excited to talk about.  

 

Firstly this year I am partnering with Jackson Kayaks to give me access to some of the best designs on the market right now.   My new whip for 2014 is going to be a 2014 Rockstar Medium, in Orange.  I decided to get the standard spec boat instead of the lighter and stiffer comp spec boat which has a lighter layup plastic and a carbon centre rail.  Although I would love the increased performance I think that because I am still recovering from my knee surgery I maybe want the option to drag my boat and seal launch from spots which are easier to get to even if that means scraping over a few more rocks.  

 


                  

 

              

 

Next up I am repping some sexy new paddles from an up and coming British company, based in Nottingham called Vertical Element paddles.  Stu Morris has been developing these for a few years, he has an impressive list of achievements including designing kayaks for the GB olympic team.  VE paddles offer a full bespoke service, I can even selct how wide I want the grips to be, how great is that!  This year I am going to be using a set of carbon bent shaft Aircore paddles for freestyle kayaking and for creeking/racing I am using a straight glass shaft combined with the Carbon Aircore blades.  

 

 

 

 

So thats all to report for now, look out for more detailed reviews later on this year.  I am pretty stoked.  

 

See you on the river

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/new-gear-for-2014 Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:30:00 GMT
Back in the saddle, or should I say Paddle https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/back-in-the-saddle-or-should-i-say-paddle Regular readers to this blog will know that I have been off the water for the last few months after a wicked Ski injury in mid January.  Not that I haven’t had time to put my thoughts into words, in-fact time has been one thing Ive had in abundance but I wanted to  wait until it felt like I was at a milestone like doing some east paddling before I did.  Since I hit that milestone last week it is now time to walk you through what happened and whats next.  

 

So lets go back a few months, as a reminder.  After a long period of waiting to find out what was wrong with my knee it turned out that I had a torn ACL, serious MCL sprain and a Lateral Meniscal tear.  So my course of treatment was set to be 2 separate surgeries. 

 

Surgery number one, MCL surgery.  The surgeon would open up my knee with a small hole, and basically pull the ligament to the tightness it as meant to be originally and reattach it to the bone using a type of surgical staple that screws directly into the bone.  Surgery was successful and after a night hanging out in the hospital watching movies on my laptop I got let out with crutches and a wicked size knee brace.  

 

 

 

 

Photo: A before and after from Surgery one.  And a wicked post-op selfie!

 

 

The first two weeks after this surgery were by far the worst.  I was ‘touch weight bearing’ which meant that I was using crutches to get around and although I could put my operated leg on the ground I was only supposed to put 10% of my weight on it.  Add to that the strange rushing blood feeling every time I moved around and a medium amount of pain in the first couple of days and it all equaled one fairly unhappy Seth.  But not to be beaten by just one surgery I kept my chin up and pursued the exercises recommended by the Physiotherapist.  After a few weeks I was moving around again, still using crutches but in much less pain so all in all, getting much happier. I had the stitches removed,  been to check ups with the surgeon and physio appointments in the mean time and was continuing to build myself up to having a good strong leg before surgery number two.  

 

Now imagine an 80’s montage of six weeks of watching Netflix, doing the exercises from the physio, staring out the window, watching kayak movies on the internet and endlessly staring at my knee.  and of course, eating bacon. 

 

   Above:  Sleeping in the brace is definitely the worst part 

                                

   Above: Before and after the stitches were removed 

                                Below: Still a swollen knee

 

 

 

 

Six weeks to the day after surgery number one.  In that six weeks my leg had gotten noticeably smaller, than my good leg.  It is beginning to dawn on me why it takes such a long time to fully recover from knee injuries and   I was back in hospital getting prepped for surgery number two which would be an ACL reconstruction.  A slightly more complicated procedure, the surgeon would be harvesting a small bit of hamstring from my good leg (Right leg) and using it as a graft which he would then insert into where my ACL had been originally in my left knee.  Apparently the hamstring eventually grows back and you don’t need it all anyway.  This graft would be screwed into the bone at either end and over time the ligament would grow back around it.  Over time it will regain strength but it will never quite the same because it doesn’t connect to the nerves or send messages back to the brain in the same way.  

 

 

                   Pre-op the surgeon put a little reminder on my leg

 

 

The post-op period after Surgery number two was nowhere near as fun or easy as surgery number one.  I suspect I was out for more time which made a difference.  Post op number one was a breeze and I felt almost no side affects to the general anesthetic but post op number two was hard.  For hours I felt sleepy, groggy, almost drunk. Now that I could handle no problem but later on that evening it all unraveled a bit and I felt sick for hours, puked multiple times got super hot and sweaty and in general was not loving life.  This evened out by the morning luckily.  And it was a good thing too because right after breakfast I was whisked in for an X-ray, then back for an hour and half on a Continual Passive Movement machine (CPM).  Basically this machine bent my leg from straight to 90 degrees and back again repeatedly.  It should really be called the extra slow CPM because it is the slowest process ever.   

 

 

 

 

The period right after this surgery actually wasn’t quite as bad, partly because I knew what to expect and was getting super agile on crutches.  Partly because it didn’t hurt as much.  The one big negative that for a few days both legs were substantially weakened which sucked, but luckily my mum and my sister were super amazing about helping me out the rest of my family were popping round with fruit and helping out which was nice.  I managed to work my way off crutches in about a week and having been getting better in leaps and bounds ever since.  The physio was a little concerned I might be getting better too fast, but in the last week or two I have been battling with a strained hamstring in my right leg which has been slowing me down enough to keep the physio happy that I am not doing too much.

 

                             Hardly any scars from the second Op.

 

Two weeks ago when I was nearing the one month post op mark I managed to get out in a boat on the river thanks to my friends at Whitewater The Canoe Centre.  I ripped a touring boat around the Thames and with enough room for my leg to make getting in and out fairly easy I went out a bunch more times the subsequent week.  Then this week I put my big boy pants on and got my slalom boat out for some gentle whitewater paddling.  I was nervous about not having good edge control but in actual fact it felt great.  Although it is definitely still a little weaker and I wouldn’t be able to spend a whole day in my boat yet I finally feel like I am on the right path to getting my life back.  

   Above: Finally good to be back on the water, and it feels GREAT

                        Below: Most recent knee bend.  Flexibility improving vastly

 

 

 

 

Next goals for the next few weeks to come:

 

  1. Paddle a playboat
  2. Paddle for longer
  3. Go to the gym more
  4. Head back to work teaching kayaking on the Ottawa, Canada.  

 

Looks like things are about to get BUSY!

 

Oh and I was famous on Instagram for a day thanks to a sweet photo of me taken by John Rathwell in Mexico was published on the Outside Magazine Instgram.  SWEET!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/back-in-the-saddle-or-should-i-say-paddle Wed, 18 Jun 2014 09:45:00 GMT
My Whitewater Grand Prix 2014 'Favourites'... https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/my-whitewater-grand-prix-2014-favourites The 2014 White Water Grand Prix is less than a week away.  The third of these events which is re-shaping what was previously defined as, the cutting edge of competitive kayaking.  Some call it the ‘X-games of kayaking’ when describing the event to non kayakers.  Whatever you call it, it is quite a spectacle, 33 of the best all-round whitewater kayakers in the world in a two week long, mulit-stage event to see who is the best in the world.  

 

The 27 Men and 6 Women is filled with Whitewater heavy weights from all over the world.  Some amazing paddlers, alot of whom I am lucky enough to call friends.  For this article I put friendships aside and tried to pick out the 5 athletes who I thought would stand the best chance of winning the event or finishing in the top 5. Unfortunately there were so many amazing and talented athletes on the list I decided to pick my top 7, Because 5 just wasn’t enough. Oh and also my top 2 women to watch.  SO read on to find out who and why in no particular order.

 

 

Dane Jackson

 

Dane is a pretty obvious choice for this list, he won the last two WWGP competitions, is an amazingly skilled all-round kayaker who is helping shape the future of kayaking.  It was a pleasure to paddle with him last year on our exploratory mission in Michoacan, Mexico.  

 

 

 

 

 

Nick Troutman

 

2009 ICF freestyle World Champion, Nick Troutman is another easy choice for this list.  He is originally from Beachburg, Ontario which is just five minutes from the Ottawa river where the first stage of the competition is likely to be held which means he should have something of a home town advantage.  Added to the fact that Nick travels and paddles all year round, all over the world and is coming into the competition after a hectic winter travel and training schedule from destinations including Mexico, China and Uganda.  He is ready.  However, Mr. Troutman did suffer a serious shoulder injury last year in training for the Adidas Sickline race in Austria and was out of hes boat for three months at the end of last year.  Judging from the amount of paddling he has done recently this may not be a factor, but the nature of the Grand Prix events pushes athletes to their limits so it will be a factor to keep an eye on as the WWGP progresses. 

 

 

 

Ben Marr

Another Canadian making the list, Benny is one of, some would say THE top wave riding freestyle kayaker, in the world right now.  He is pretty fast racer too as we saw at last year’s Ottawa XL event where he qualified for the Grand Prix.  Benny had his share of injuries last year as well.  With a mild back injury he went to Columbia to enjoy some intense Big Volume multi-day runs (See them HERE).  Whilst he made it through the trip without issue, he picked up a gnarly round of leptospirosis for his troubles.  YUCK.  It looks like Benny is back in full swing now though and I think he has a pretty decent shot at taking the title from Dane.  

 

 

 

 

Kalob Grady

 

One of the youngest competing in the 2014 WWGP, I have had the pleasure of paddling with Kalob whilst in Canada and Chile.  His big water experience rivals even some of the oldest paddlers in the competition including the Rio Baker,  White Nile, Zambezi as well as spots around Quebec.  He did outstandingly well at the Ottawa XL last May, and throughout that spring demonstrated his big wave prowess on every feature he paddled.  Kalob took a short break from paddling this winter inbetween being in Zambezi and Uganda to do some volunteer work on nature reserves in South Africa and Botswana.  He will hit this competition with all guns blazing and I’m sure he wont disappoint.  See his latest Video HERE

 

 

 

 

Joel Kowalski

 

I have paddled with Joel all over the world, he excels across a range of disciplines and has competed in the last two White Water Grand Prix competitions, as well as finishing well at last years Adidas Sickline race.  Working at Wilderness Tours through the winter means that since I saw him last in Mexico, he will have had a few months without paddling.  However Joel is super active in the winter sports field and I am sure that will help him get back in the groove and ready to race quicker than most.  He just returned from a quick kayaking trip to Iceland, so I think he will be a contender.  Plus he has really long arms, thats gotta help a little.

 

 

 

 

 

Devyn Scott

 

The father of the Double Airscrew, Devyn is one of the smoothest wave boaters out there.   I first met Devyn in 2012, right after he suffered a serious shoulder dislocation and had to take almost a year out.  You can see a little more about that story HERE.

 

Luckily Devyn is motivated enough that a year out has helped him get stronger, and I have a sneaky suspicion that that will help out a lot during this event.  His one big dis-advantage is that he doesn’t have as many races under his belt as some of the other athletes, but i expect that domination in the freestyle events will help compensate for that. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bren Orton

 

I have had the pleasure if seeing Bren progress and grow as a kayaker and an person.  I remember paddling with him during British national events and at the 2009 Plattling Freestyle kayak world championships (where Bren took the Bronze in the Junior Mens category).  Last year Bren was on the road almost the whole year from Uganda to an epic road trip around the US and Canada with the Demshitz crew. He even achieved Viral Fame with his epic and scary looking swim right above a 60ft waterfall.  Re-live the terror HERE

 

Bren is the youngest competitor, and a ginger but I don’t think wither of those facts will stop him from dominating this years Whitewater Grand Prix

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martina Wegman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louise Urwin

 

Lou is a Kiwi kayaker who paddles year round, spending half the year paddling on the Ottawa and in Quebec, and the other of the half of the year Chasing Kew Zealand’s best whitewater.  The endless summer lifestyle, combined with the fact that she has competed in both previous WWGP competitions means Lou will be a force to be reckoned with at this competition.  

 

 

 

So there you have it, my predictions for who will shine brightest from a field of stars.  I look forward to seeing the event as it unfolds.  You can keep a finger on the pulse by following White Water Grand Prix on Twitter and Facebook. 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/my-whitewater-grand-prix-2014-favourites Tue, 22 Apr 2014 09:45:00 GMT
See All 5 episodes of First Descents now https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/see-all-5-episodes-of-first-descents-now  

Last Tuesday the final episode of the the Red Bull Series First Descent: Michoacan was released.  The series has turned out great and I would just like to take a second to thank all of the people that made it happen.  Starting with the obvious thanks to Joel Kowalski for daring to dream big enough and do all of the homework in terms of river research on google earth so that we could make our time in Michoacan as efficient as possible.  Also thanks to the other boys, Rafa, Dane, Juanito and Ciaran.  Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most solid paddling crews you could ask for I am already excited about re-uniting this team for future missions.  Next up thanks to the media crew and photographers that followed us around during the trip, two crews from Interpret Media and Univision made alot of epic footage possible.  Not forgetting of course Lucas Gillman and John Rathwell who were our trip photographers.  Israel ‘Zimba’ Gonzalez did a great job as our ‘Liaison’ guy and worked super hard getting us all of the correct permissions and releases to make some aspects of the trip run better.  Chad Carter who edited all of the episodes did a fantastic job of making each episode not only visually stunning but easily understandable for a non-kayaker audience.  The unsung hero of the trip, and actually the unsung hero of many paddlers Mexico trips, our driver Israel.  He is probably the best guy ever, can always be relied on to get you out of any jam, at any road block, anywhere in Mexico and also takes the extra time to explore new access points and other possibilities for put-ins and take outs all of the time which we were on the river, he probably worked as hard as we did on the river.  And finally thanks to Red Bull for turning what was planned to be an awesome and fun expedition with 6 kayakers into a 5 Part TV show that gives people a real idea of what our trip was really like.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are all five episodes in order and I highly recommend you click HERE and look through the additional content including my personal favourite the outtakes reel.  

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/see-all-5-episodes-of-first-descents-now Fri, 11 Apr 2014 23:45:00 GMT
Video: First Descents: Michoacan, Mexico https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/video-first-descents-michoacan-mexico I am so excited to finally be able to share some more details, from undoubtedly the most exciting project I have worked on in my kayaking career so far.

 

Whilst in Mexico last year I spent three weeks with an all-star international team of Joel Kowalski, Dane Jackson, Rafa Ortiz, Ciaran Heurteu and Juanito de Ugarte.  We set out exploring the uncharted region of MIchoacan.  Since Rafa and Dane are both sponsored by Red Bull the idea for a tv show somehow came about and before I new what was happening our exploits were being documented by a team of videographers from Red Bull and Univision.  

 

Since we were venturing into unexplored rivers, we made sure to video everything to document our time on the river, that combined with the work of the video crew is coming together to make a 5 part web tv show, from Red bull Titled First Descent: Michoacan.  

 

The teaser came out last tuesday and episode 1 is released March 11 (this tuesday coming).  It looks really awesome, I am excited to see it and finally start sharing the story of our Michoacan trip.  Also be sure to buy the next issue of Kayak session which has an article written by Joel Kowalski and photos from John Rathwell, Ciaran Heurteu and most excitingly from ME!

 

Thanks to everyone who made this trip happen and to Chad Carter who has done a brilliant job in the edit.

 

Watch the trailer and follow the link on tuesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/video-first-descents-michoacan-mexico Sun, 09 Mar 2014 00:45:00 GMT
Learning to Ski was a lot more dangerous than I expected https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/learning-to-ski-was-a-lot-more-dangerous-than-i-expected So after concluding another amazing trip to Mexico I was making my way back to the UK to visit my family and friends for a little while before returning to my Job at Wilderness Tours, in Ottawa.  I just made a quick stop off to visit a few friends in Kamloops, BC.  One of the days I was there I had the chance at trying Skiing.  Since it is a sport almost everyone who knows me has told me I would enjoy, it seemed inevitable that I would give it a go at some point, and this seemed as good an opportunity as ever.  

 

My day started pretty well and I felt like I was getting the hang of making turns quite well, although I must admit my slowing down and stopping  skills were still not quite perfect, far from it in-fact.  Undeterred and with a few green runs under my belt my friends suggested that our last run down before lunch should be down a blue run, a more difficult grade run but they assured me I would be fine, based on what they had seen of my abilities so far, and I mean who was I to disagree?  After all they knew a lot more than me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immediately that I set off I had the bad feeling that I sometimes feel on the river right before something bad is about to happen.  Compared to the first runs I had done this one felt like being launched off a cliff.  Steeper, and faster than I had been expecting.  I tried to slow down with the snow plough I had been learning earlier in the day, but it seemed to be doing almost nothing to help me, perhaps I wasn’t doing it right.  My next move was to try and begin a turn to help reduce my speed, but somewhere along the line I was sent tumbling.  I heard a loud audible crack from my leg.  When I finally came to a stop I was laying on my side.  Training deep within my brain whirred into action and I began to mentally examine my body for injuries, without moving.  My leg was painful, worse than I have ever felt in my life.  But thankfully there was no pain elsewhere.  I wiggled my toes, a good sign I thought, probably not too bad then.  Looking at my feet I could see both skis still attached to my feet, but my friends were by my side quickly to take them off for me.  The pain was subsiding as long as I didn’t move.  Luckily for me this crash had happened relatively close to the start of the run and the Ski Patrol were with me very quickly.  At this point I was feeling much more confident that my injuries were not that severe, I began looking around and moving  which I know I am not supposed to do incase I have an underlying spinal condition but I do it anyway.  The Patrol guys quickly and efficiently completes an initial exam and gets me down to the bottom of the hill in the back of a sled, which was actually quite fun.  

 

 

 

From there I had a more detailed examination and was allowed to leave.  Later that evening I took a trip to the hospital where they concluded it was not broken, and I would be able to fly home the following week.  They sent me away with some crutches and I got on with it.  Spending most of the time resting, with my knee iced and elevated.  This gets pretty boring after about an hour and a half.  In those first few days I hobbled around exploring my limitations which I quickly found were extensive.  

 

Getting home I began the long process of finding out the exact problem with my knee.  After three frustrating weeks of waiting and making alot of phone calls, I finally made some progress.  This week after an MRI scan a specialist has concluded that I have a torn half or two thirds of my MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament), completely severed my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and also have a Meniscal tear.   (see diagram)  

 

 

 

 

 

The treatment for this is going be a two surgery process, first repairing the MCL damage then reconstructing the ACL and dealing with the Meniscal Tear.  The recovery time is the real killer.  My knee will never be as strong as it was and recovery times can vary up to 18 months.  

 

Although it was tough news for me to hear at first, I feel a lot better now that I have a plan.  Injuries are just speed bumps, some take longer to get past than others but they won’t stop me for good.

 
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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/learning-to-ski-was-a-lot-more-dangerous-than-i-expected Tue, 11 Feb 2014 13:30:00 GMT
Alseseca Race 2014 https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/alseseca-race-2014 So as I closed in on the end of my second Mexican Adventure I felt like I had accomplished alot.  I had done alot of laps done some of the best sections of whitewater in the whole world, such as the upper Jalacingo, Big Banana, Roadside, upper Alseseca, Piemnta and the Rio Oro. Fallen down waterfalls of varying heights multiple times from San Pedro (40ft), truchas (50ft) and Tomata (65ft). Not to mention our exploratory trip to Michoacan, Western Mexcio (but more about that another time).  The last thing left to do was compete in the 6th Annual Alseseca race.  

 

DCIM\100GOPRO

 

 

 

This race takes place every year on the Roadside section of the Rio Alsesca and is it ever fun.  The race covers around 1.5kms of fun, steep whitewater.  A regular year the biggest challenge in this race is its length.  A quick time here is int he ten minute range and it is tough to concentrate on going fast and recalling all of the fast lines on the various rapids after such a long time.  But this year has been no ordinary year in Mexico, super high water made many of the rapids more challenging and it also introduced a mandatory portage into the race at the infamous ‘S-Turn’ rapid.  

 

 

Above: Scouting at S-turn

Below: The opening ceremony 

 

 

 

When race day rolled around I was feeling pretty good about my race plans, I knew the faster lines and where I wanted to go, now it was just a case of stitching it all together.  By the end of the exhausting race I was happy with my lap.

 

The results came out as Dane Jackson being in First place (no big surprise there), Nick Troutman taking second which was awesome to see as Nick is only just back on the water after a three month shoulder injury during the Adidas Sickline extreme world championship.  and Eric EJ Jackson taking third.  It is always fun to race against a field of races like this, with a competitive top end and an inclusive lower end.  In all around 60 racers in total, around 45 in the ‘long race’ and 15 in the more accessible ‘short race’ for less experienced paddlers.  

I was super stoked to come out in 8th place and hungry to do this race again, it really is alot of fun.  


Thanks to Aventurec and Liquid Adventures for putting this together six years in a row, im looking forward to the 7th already.  

 

See you on a river soon.

 

Photos by Todd Keesey

 

 

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK MY FACEBOOK PAGE FOR MORE REGULAR UPDATES!

 

https://www.facebook.com/seth.ashworth

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE: Dane Jackson on his winning lap

BELOW: Nick Troutman driving hard

 

 

 

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/alseseca-race-2014 Thu, 16 Jan 2014 13:30:00 GMT
Redemption at Cascada Tomata https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/redemption-at-cascada-tomata When I was in Mexico in 2011 I paddled my first big drop, Cascada Tomata.  That day I swam and I have been dreaming about redeeming myself there for two years.  

 

This beast is in the 65-70ft range and as I found out to my cost, is a fairly challenging undertaking.  For starters the lip is very flat, with little roll.  This means it is difficult to stay in-control of your boat’s angle throughout, therefore it is easy to land fairly over-vertical or in a boof.  

 

At the time I first ran it I had little or no experience running big waterfalls, since then I have notched up a lot more experience.  So this year, when the time was right I rolled off the lip in the spot I wanted.  

 

 

 

 

My plan was to roll of the lip, next to a hump in the middle.  With little or no speed, holding a stroke in the water to keep my boat angle just right so that I could spot my landing.  Unfortunately I ended up having a little more speed than I would have liked, owing to the fact that I was still moving into the exact spot I wanted.  This resulted in me coming out in a boof.  Fortunately I was able to stomp my boat down to an ideal 45 degree angle and have a soft landing.  This gave me plenty of time to celebrate at the landing.    

 

 

 

AWESOME.  Merry Christmas and happy New Year to everybody, See you on the River.

 

Photos by Brett Barton

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/redemption-at-cascada-tomata Thu, 26 Dec 2013 14:45:00 GMT
Back to one of my favourite places in the World. Mexico.... https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/back-to-one-of-my-favourite-places-in-the-world-mexico I have been excited about returning to Mexico since I left two years ago.  I flew out the first week of Novemeber and it has been pretty much non-stop since I arrived.  The mixture of friendly people, delicious food and epic whitewater is fast turning it into a mecca for kayakers am noticing a big increase in the number of kayakers venturing down here.  Compared to my trip two years ago, the journey to Tlapacoyan, Veracruz was much smoother.  Practically seamless in-fact, an easy flight with my kayak from Ottawa via Detroit and a relaxing 5 hour bus journey replaced the 25 hour bus fiasco of 2011.

 

DCIM\100GOPRO DCIM\100GOPRO DCIM\100GOPRO

 

Arriving in Aventurec I was surprised to find the water levels at pretty much 200% higher than I had ever experienced them previously.  If I had done my homework in terms of keeping an eye on the weather I am sure I wouldn’t have been that shocked.  It transpires that Mexico has been taking one, two punches both east and west coast from tropical storms and hurricanes for much of the summer and Autumn.  

 

 

The first couple of weeks I spent surviving some of the usual ‘chill’ classic sections, portaging alot more that I had done previously and generally celebrating after completing sections of river which were swollen with water and the regular array of Mexican garbage. These first two weeks were just a warm up for my main event of this trip, exploring the uncharted territory of whitewater in Michoacan, Mexico.  

 

 

But more about that next time.

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/back-to-one-of-my-favourite-places-in-the-world-mexico Wed, 11 Dec 2013 14:45:00 GMT
White Water Grand Prix Video Submission https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/white-water-grand-prix-video-submission Next May  is the third Whitewater Grand Prix, five spaces are open for competitors by video submission.  This is my entry, a collection of video from the last two years in Mexico, Chile, Canada and the US.  Check it out.  Entries are open for 6 weeks, and then the invited athletes vote for which five get in.   Next stop Mexico, Watch this space (But not too closely because there isn’t so much internet there!)

WWGP 2014 Video Entry from Seth Ashworth on Vimeo.

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seth.ashworth@me.com (Seth Ashworth) https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/white-water-grand-prix-video-submission Tue, 05 Nov 2013 14:45:00 GMT
Inspiration: What got you started? https://sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2015/3/inspiration-what-got-you-started  

This summer like the last I have been teaching kayaking on the Ottawa, a common question I get asked is ‘what got you started’ and although I can trace my progression all the way back to a red Perception Dancer on a lake not all that far away from my home in London, my desire to paddle whitewater stems from a video or actually I should say a DVD.

 

The movie in question, a Young Guns Production movie named “New Reign” was produced by Rush Sturges, Brooks Baldwin and Marlow Long.  It had segments from al