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The Kynshi – The Best River in the World?

When I booked my flights to Meghalaya 6 months ago the Kynshi seemed like a thing of legends. Tales of an amazing river with hard white water, which had previously handed out a few beat-downs to some pretty good paddlers, made me both excited and apprehensive for the trip. Despite booking so far in advance, in true fashion I left everything else to the last minute and after a hectic week I set my out-of-office for three weeks time and was on my way.


After a quick warm-up day lap on the Umtrew, we set off for a mass trip to the Kynshi – 15 people with only Jamie having run it before! A day of impressive driving down some pretty bumpy “roads” (understatement of the century) brought us as close to the put-in as the cars could take us, so we set up camp ready to start our adventure the next day. I am not sure if it was anticipation, nerves or jet lag but I spent most of the night lying awake wondering about what was to come.


The river starts off with a mellow lead in, giving time to appreciate the scenery and get used to paddling a loaded boat. Fairly soon we were in the thick of the white water, with world class rapids followed by beautiful flat pools to give you time to catch your breath.

Scouting one of the first rapids. Photo by Jamie Conn

Scouting one of the first rapids. Photo by Jamie Conn


The first day I had a few ups and downs with my paddling. I was quite nervous at the start and was feeling quite tired from the jet lag and lack of sleep. I made the mistake of not looking at the sloping waterfall rapid, going down too far right, missing my boof, swimming and losing my gopro (an expensive mistake!). However, the quality of the river makes it hard to stay grumpy for long and by the end of the next rapid I was back to grinning from ear to ear. A bit later, I flipped on one of the smaller rapids, hit my head and ended up feeling mildly concussed. Thankfully it was almost the end of day one but it did mean I walked around the last big rapid before our camp spot, and it took a little while to feel better in the evening.


After another night of limited sleep, I was not feeling overly confident in the morning and was wondering if this trip had been a step too far. A pep talk from Beth over our porridge quashed some of these feelings, but not quite enough for me to fancy my chances on Triple Step – the first rapid of the second day which features some pretty sizeable holes. Watching some of the carnage unfold did not make me regret my decision to walk.

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The 9R easily skips over one of the holes near the start of the river. Photo by Nick Bennett.


After that the river just kept on giving. The rapids were incredible; with each one I felt myself relax further, my confidence building and my smile growing. The river often splits into different channels, which means that the character of each rapid is different, providing amazing variety and feeling like you’re on two different rivers. One of my favourite rapids started with a low volume slide / drop into the main flow where the rest of the channels have rejoined, giving a big volume feel to the rest of the rapid. After powering over some big waves you’re at the eddy at the bottom, buzzing. Another fun rapid has a boulder at the top splitting the flow, before the river turns a corner and you have to charge to the left. You scout this one from quite high above the river, leading to a classic case of “shrinko-vision”. Dropping in, you realise just how impressive the force of the water is!


I wanted the river to keep going forever, but all too soon we reached our camp spot for the night. This marked the end of the main rapids, but did provide the opportunity to cliff jump and swim in a warm lagoon. In the evening we were joined by some friends who had paddled up from the take out and we lay out underneath the stars and enjoyed a few bottles of celebratory rum. A few laps of the last rapids in the morning followed by the mostly flat paddle out saw us back on the road on the Shillong that afternoon, knackered but buzzing from the adventure.

If the white water wasn’t enough to tempt you, the stunning scenery and amazing camping makes this trip an all-rounder. Photo by Nick Bennett.

If the white water wasn’t enough to tempt you, the stunning scenery and amazing camping makes this trip an all-rounder. Photo by Nick Bennett.


So is the Kynshi the best river in the world? It certainly must be a contender with its beautiful scenery, amazing camping and, let’s not forget, the phenomenal white water. For me, it will always hold a special place in my heart because I experienced it with Beth Hume, who tragically passed away on our first descent of the Umngi river later in the trip.


Beth has been my partner in crime for the past few years and has taught me what it really means to go on adventures. Whether lost in remote jungle in Indonesia, trying to find rivers to paddle in Norway by driving to blue lines in an atlas, or partying hard in a cold bunkhouse in Wales, we would re-live the stories with a giggle when we next saw each other.


Beth always knew how to make the most of her life and was never one to do things by halves. She has played a massive part in my kayaking progression and, although it may sound clichéd, Beth has helped make me who I am today. I will always be grateful for the awesome times we had together and I will treasure those memories forever. I always think of Beth, with a massive smile on her face, proclaiming “hashtag love my life”, and if I can live the rest of my life half as well as Beth did, I know it will be a happy one.

Beth Hume on “Super Happy Fun Slide” on day 2. Photo by Nick Bennett

Beth Hume on “Super Happy Fun Slide” on day 2. Photo by Nick Bennett




9R L Review

This new white water kayak from Pyranha has just dominated the un-official Whitewater World Championships, Sickline! It truly is fast, it plains well but tracks like a dream, holding its line when driven. The 9R L carves across laterals like they’re not there. Turning whilst paddling, it also performs when cranked right over.


The 9R L is a fast boat! Its narrow bow and plaining fatter stern, accelerates out of the drop with speed and boofs like a dream, punching through the steep holes and carrying on going.

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I weigh 92kg and I found myself under water in places getting a wet ride, but the boat just kept going and driving. Staying on the high water is key I found myself having to catch up with the boat as it just keeps going.


The 9R L takes time to get used to, but when you do it’s the fastest and most responsive kayak I have paddled. Might even make me lazy!


Enrredadera Mission

Last winter Rok and I spent 2 months kayaking around Chile. We paddled 21 different rivers and each one was something special. But there was one which I remember the most. It’s tributary to Futaleufu and people call it  Enrredadera. This was the firs river on our trip that we reached without car access. The river starts high in the mountains, has a deep canyon and a high gradient.



Our starting point, at the end also take out, was just 50m further from the bridge over Enrredadera. There is a small farm that also has a restaurant. After we got permission from the owner to pass his land, we packed all of our stuff in kayaks and hit the trail which should have led all the way on the top of canyon to our put in.



The first part was really steep and exhausting but luckily after an hour of walking a nice view of Futaleufu valley appeared and gave us more energy to continue our journey.


We walked for the next 3-4 hours and there was no potential put in on the horizon. The walls of the canyon were just too steep to  be able to descent to the river. As if this wasn’t enough, heavy rain started soon. Water in the canyon started to rise very fast, so even if we could have found the put in we wouldn’t have  been able to paddle down. As we were not well prepared for camping in the mountains, we were forced to leave everything there and run back to our quincho for the night.




The next day the sun was shining and water level was good. We walked back to reach our boats and then continued the walk. Somehow we lost the trail and our way went further just straight through the bushes. It took us quite some time until we arrived to Enrredadera tributary. Although it looked very steep we hoped that we could reach the river down there. It went well for first 100m until we got to a big waterfall where we almost got stuck in a box canyon.



After some more easy climbing and walking through the bushes we finally saw the river for the first time. Knowing that with some rope work we could reach it, we were happy as hell. It was not as easy as we thought but after another 2 hours of repealing trough the jungle we were finally at the put in. The time was around 5pm so we had to hurry up.


The first part of the river was easy class 3 and we already thought that all the best rapids are in the upper part, which we missed due to our emergency put in. Just behind the corner there should have been the take out so we tried to enjoy at least the last part as much as possible.


But we were wrong. When we came over the corner we were shocked. All the way we saw there were just big boulders and pretty quickly we all knew that this is gonna be tough.



Almost everything was class 5, necessary to scout and between that there was also a lot of rapids which were unrunnable for us. You can imagine that we were moving very slowly and portaging over big boulders was really not what we wanted.


Time was running fast and Enrredadera was still surprising us. We came to a scary must run which was impossible to scout. Actually we could see the first part until small eddie from where the second part could be seen. We were locked in the box canyon so hiking out was not an option. We were forced to run the rapid, luckily the second part was also runable and everybody did it well. We were back in the race with time.

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The last part of the canyon was a little bit easier, we were scouting less and less and portaging was over. Soon we saw the end of the canyon and kayaking last rapids, knowing that we did it, was pure fun and a feeling that you don’t forget. We were out of the water just before the dark at 10pm and for a cherry on top old local lady fried some eggs for us.



You don’t know till you go…

Two years ago we attended our first Yampa river festival and fell in love with the small town of Steamboat, the local river and local kayaking community. Throughout our first visit the local boys had been telling us tall tales of a stretch of river located just out of town called the North fork of the Fish. We didn’t have time to go check it out last year but this year we made a special effort to see whether the stories of amazing rapids hidden in a gorge chocked full of strainers and siphons was true.

The North off the Fish requires a two mile hike past an old, abandened and thankfully non radioactive Uranium mine. We arrived at the legendary put in rapid named the “Hairy Beaver” full of optimism and stoke only to find both the locals concerns and our fears to be confirmed. Suffice it to say, Wood was going to be an issue on this run. We cast aside our hopes of getting to run this awesome rapid due to huge amounts of wood. We put in below for what was going to be a hectic few miles of steep white water and last chance eddies.

This was one of the first major rapids we came too, Wood completely blocked the left side of this drop but there was a small gap on the right that we decided to go for, Thankfully it paid off and we where rewarded with about half a mile of small boofs and boulder garden awesomeness. However as the saying goes all good things must come to an end and we eventually rolled up on yet another set of trees blocking of the river. We had been lucky with the past few portages in that we could stay low, next to the river and get them done quickly and easily. It was not to be the case with this one and we had no choice but to go high and dry.

Several good rapids later, sketchy moments with trees and a couple more miserable portages we where sure that the worst was behind us and we would be soon coming up on our marker for the takeout.
However there was one last hurdle for us before we could roll into the final rapid of the day in the form of yet another tree blocking the entire river. We had two choices, portage around it which we estimated would take close to an hour or suck it up and boof the tree.

Boofing the tree went surprisingly well and just around the corner in the distance was our marker for the take out. The last rapid was a mad zigg zagging scramble, if we didn’t make it to the right of the river and through the final slot into the eddy we would likely have been swept into the worst tree situation on the river with any form of rescue being unlikely. Thankfully both myself and Matt Anger caught the last eddy and subsequently promised to never (ever) run this river again. Allthough on the hikeout our thoughts mellowed and with some major tree removal we both feel this run could be opened up and be one of the best runs in the local area.

So, now we know, as usual the local kayakers were right and it was indeed a tree and siphon infested gorge but those few awesome rapids where also in there and helped to make it (almost) worth the effort.
See you next year Steamboat,


3 Weeks Non-Stop Boating

In July 2015 I attend the OKS Keener program on the Ottawa River. It was 3 weeks of kayaking every single day. I flew up there by myself and my parents came and picked me up. We drove back home. Even though I had done so much kayaking I still wanted to kayak. On the way home we stopped at Hole Brothers in Upstate New York to get one more run in before driving the rest of the way home as school was starting the day we got back. I also wanted to compete but had missed competing due to being at camp. The only problem was there was no competition. Then I found out about the Columbus Hometown Throwdown taking place in October in Columbus GA. I had been there back in May, but the water level was different this time, so it was like completely different water, to me at least.  It’s a four and a half hour drive from where I live. The water doesn’t turn on until about 4 PM so I can leave the same day. It stays on until midnight and the city is all lit up.



So when I got there I jumped out of the truck and into my gear and I literally ran to the water as the sirens were going off. When the sirens go off that means the water is rising. Once the water was up I got in the water, did my basic warm up, and then went to enter the wave. My first thought was let’s just do a basic warm up ride, couple of spins, right and left round houses, right blunt, and then go for a right back pan-am. Of course I did not do all of those tricks on my first ride but I got a couple. So for the next hour or two I just kept working on my blunts. Then my dad said to take a break from blunts and work on something else. I did, it was back pan-ams. I did that for about two more hours and then I was really tired, so I decide to call it a night and go back to the hotel with my dad. There were a  couple of competitions the next day, so I wanted to rest up.



I signed up for all of the competitions except for slalom and king of the wave. The first competition was the watermelon race. That is where you chase a watermelon down a rapid and the one who finishes holding the melon is declared the winner. In my round everyone paddled as hard and fast as they could to get the watermelon. The guy who got it ended up getting corned by three people including me. So for a couple of minutes we all tried to get the watermelon. None of us got it. One of the guys next to me got out of his boat to get it. Unfortunately, the announcer said the race is over and the one holding the watermelon wins. So I lost that competition but it was so much fun, and then there was more competitions.

The next competition was boatercross mixed with eight ball. Eight ball is when about eight people try to hit you and make you have to stop and get around them during a race. The eight balls are scattered across the course.  When you race you are required to hit curtain points on the course. The only catch is, the eight balls are waiting for you at the points and they are trying to stop you from finishing. The eight ballers can hit you with their boat, paddle, etc., anywhere on you or your boat.


The next competition was the SUP race (stand-up-paddle board) and that was fun.  This race was different than boatercross, in my opinion it was a whole lot harder. The starting point was to put the board on the sand and back up ten feet. When the horn blows you take of running towards the board, jump on and start paddling. For me that’s hard because I rarely paddle a SUP.  I came in last, but my run was the funniest, I think because I swam at least half of the rapid. Though just because you never do something doesn’t mean you don’t try, because you’ll never know if you like. Like me I like to SUP. I used to think I hated it, but that was because I never tried.



The next competition for me was freestyle, I competed against three other women. It was fun, but really hard because we got put on a small wave-hole. None of us really knew what to do or how to surf and throw tricks since we did not practice on that wave.  Since we had no idea of what we were doing that made the competition fun. Katie Jackson was first up in the heat. She did really well. Then up next was Rowan Stuart. She did awesome too. Next up in the heat was me. I paddled out into the current and dropped into the feature. I did two spins, then on my third going the opposite way I somehow dropped my edge and went into a bowstall. Then I threw a loop. So that was counted as a McNasty. When I landed the trick I fell out of the wave but I did a fist pump and was super pumped about my first run. I was super excited about my McNasty. Up next in the heat was Kady Kellogg. She dropped into the wave and did really good. She got pushed out but she paddled back up the wave and did some spins. Then the second round of the heat came. We got two runs and the judges take the highest score. Again everybody did their turn. Then I went to go take mine. I dropped in the wave again and did an entry move. It failed and I got pushed out of the wave. Then I paddled back pack up. I got in and tried to loop, but I just flipped and then again, I had to paddle back up. With only about ten seconds left I threw a couple of cartwheels as the buzzer rang. My ride was over. We only got 45 seconds to do our ride and do as many tricks as possible.

After all of the main competitions all of the women went in for a party surf and it was amazing and very funny.



That was the last competition of the year for me so I went to go get food and waited for the award ceremony. Once the award ceremony started I just stood there and congratulated all the winners. Then the announcer called for the women’s division. I came in third, then in second place was Kady Kellogg and in first place was Rowan Stuart. We all got our picture taken. I was fine getting third, but I was really proud of myself for getting tricks that I can’t normally do. I wanted to to stay in Columbus, GA, but I had to go back to school the next day. I will always remember that weekend.


Cat on the left in red, Rowan in the middle and Kady on the right.

Hope to paddle with you on the water,

Cat H.


The 9R: So much more than a race boat.

When the 9R was released this spring, extreme racers flocked to the design to go big, go fast, and win races. The second I saw it, I knew I needed it, and when I sat in my friend’s, I immediately felt at home in the boat. I borrowed it for a run down my local river, and after running the first rapid, I knew this boat was special. I got mine shipped from Asheville a couple weeks ago, and since then I have spent a lot of seat time in it, and this boat and I have a special relationship. I plan to do some racing in it, but after some time in it, I realized that it was so much more than a race specific design. This boat does everything well, from racing to Class III, to running massive Class V. The boat carves and transfers from edge to edge like no other boat out there. It flies off of boofs like a space ship taking off into the stratosphere, it planes up out of a drop and keeps your hair dry, and best of all, it is incredibly fun to paddle. Honestly, I think it’s the most fun creek boat design out there. And you don’t need to be a Class V shit runner or an extreme racer vying for the podium to enjoy the boat.


I have had quite a few intermediate paddlers ask me if the 9R would be too much boat for them, and the answer is no. The 9R, while being a design that favours an aggressive paddling form, is perfect for having fun on the backyard Class II or III. The 9R is great for the weekend warrior who is looking to make their backyard run a playground of water boofs, slalom moves, eddy hopping and charging fast. If that’s what you want to do, the 9R is the perfect boat for you, regardless of what class you paddle. Move the seat all the way forward for a stable ride that still allows the boat to do everything it was designed to do.


The way the boat effortlessly makes everything on the river fun will leave intermediate and expert paddlers alike with a huge smile on their face the entire time they are on the water. Hop in one as soon as you can, you won’t regret it.


Ian Janoska


Pyranha Burn III L vs XL

Over the past few months, I have put a lot of seat time in the Burn III. I have paddled both the Large and the XL on a number of runs, from Class III to V. I have run rivers, creeked, surfed, and played in both sizes, and I have to say, they are two very different boats.

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Burn III L, Photo by Pete Delosa

Let’s start with my specs; I am 6’2″ with a 36″ inseam, size 11 feet, and I am 160lbs. I am a Class V kayaker who likes to push the envelope of the sport, but I also teach and work on my local Class III run. For me, I like my boat to be one that helps me push myself as an athlete, but also allows me to have a lot of fun on the easier stuff.

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Burn III XL, Photo by Pete Delosa

The L and the XL are two pretty different boats. One is a really fast river runner that boofs insanely well, crushes big water, and carves around the river like a race ski, and one is a tank that is really stable and lumbering, which is nice for creeking.

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Burn III L, Photo by Boomer Janoska

I find the large to be one of the better boats I have paddled as a one boat quiver. It does everything pretty darn well at my weight, from running big water Class V, to running tight, technical creeks, playing on the Class III, and downriver freestyle. It’s a boat that hunkers down in the water and feels really stable edge to edge, and I feel really confident doing pretty much everything in it. At my weight, I like the seat all the way back, as it gives the boat a wheelie like feel, which is super fun once you get used to it. It really likes to be paddled this way, and if you’re aggressive with it, the boat really rewards you with a fun and confidence inspiring ride. There is just something about the hull on the large that releases from the top of a wave that will leave a huge smile on your face all the way down the river. It releases extraordinarily well, which is something I have noticed and really love about the boat.

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Burn III XL, Photo by Pete Delosa

On the other hand, the XL was the exact opposite for me. Being on the LOW end of the weight range for it, I had a lot of boat hanging out of the water, which was great for creeking, but it felt a little specialized to me. If I had a big quiver of boats, I would keep the XL as my go to for overnighters and creeking. The boat is pretty big, which is great for stuffing gear into, and it feels so stable because it is built like a tank, which is one thing I look for when really pushing it, but I had a hard time engaging the edges and getting the boat to carve, which is something I have no trouble with in the Large. I paddle it with the seat all the way back for that dirtbike-esque feel, and I still really enjoy paddling it, but some things don’t come as easy in it as the Large. Because I am too light for it, it doesn’t sit low in the water, which makes carving it a little more difficult, I just need to lean it over a bit more to engage that edge. I have to put a little more effort into boofing it, and it isn’t as fast as the Large due to that fact that so much of the boat is out of the water when I paddle it, but sometimes I like to go a bit slower, especially when creeking.

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Burn III L, Photo by Boomer Janoska

Both boats have their place in my heart. The large is really the standard in one boat quivers, and the XL, while being a little more specialized for me, does things pretty well too. The Large is zippy and aggressive, while the XL is a bit more lumbering and mellow. When looking at the two boats, ask yourself what it is you’ll be doing with it, what your paddling style is, and how you like your boat to respond to that style of paddling. Both really are great boats, and I am stoked to be able to paddle them.

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Burn III XL, Photo by Pete Delosa


Ian Janoska


Snowdon Kayak Challenge Success!!


Just weeks after the success ofcompleting the biggest fundraising effort to date The Children’s Kayak Charitable Trust  celebrates getting into the record books!!

The transportation of a 40lb 9R kayak to the summit of Mount Snowdon in Wales pushed our team of 13 volunteers to their limits and beyond…. they braved rough terrain and freezing temperatures to run with the Kayak along the 7.62km Llamberis Path and reach the summit in a record breaking time of 1hr 57 minutes!!


The initial idea became reality earlier in 2015 when Pyranha UK the leading manufacturer and supplier of kayaks and equipment across the country donated a brand new 9R kayak along with a portage pack carrying system to aid the Charity in their fundraising efforts.


Over the next few months the 13 volunteers aged between 10 and 50 followed a strict training regime in preparation for the never before tried challenge that would soon be upon them.


On Sunday 11th of October 2015 at 08.30hrs the team were at the foot of Snowdon where other walkers and cyclists looked on as the volunteers trek up the mountain began. On the ascent to the top the team were met by steep gradients, uneven ground and loose rocks underfoot and less than two hours later the group reached the summit to face temperatures of -5, the support team greeted them there with cheers and applause followed swiftly by lots of hot tea!!


With the challenge now complete Charity will now focus its efforts on auctioning off the 9R kayak to the highest bidder in order to raise funds to continue their work.



Into the Danger Z.One!

After a trip up to the Pyranha Factory on Wednesday to catch up with Mat and pick up some new boats we couldn’t wait to let them loose. Thankfully our prayers were answered with some big rain forecast for the Thursday night!

With the River Gods delivering we loaded up the new boats and headed to Dartmoor. Although a great day to hit some of the harder less often paddled sections, we opted to have some down river fun on the Loop section of the River Dart. The levels being so high turn the loop into a roller coaster of a ride, with plenty of waves and holes to dip your nose into.

Being a southwest classic there are always friends new and old to be found so after having to explain why one of us was paddling with a toothbrush in hand, we got a couple of laps in messing around and having fun!

So far we’re loving the with rock spins, splats and squirts aplenty!


If you want to check out what else we get up to check us out on Facebook and Twitter @UoBCanoe #WhereLegendsAreBorn #InTheZOne

Photo’s taken by Dougal Gray (Trilogy)

Quick fuel stop after an early start on the way to church!


Jareth Main sitting pretty in the Large

After weeks of waiting for the rain the boys forgot where the get on was…! ;)

Getting a lot of looks on the river, whether Tom’s paddles and Jareth’s hair or the shiny z.ones I’m not really sure!

Newbridge play wave running in full glory

More on the toothbrush later…! ;)

We all think the new colourway is great!

#CleanTeethCleanLines from Tommy Hewlett! If he’s seen without his toothbrush something must be wrong!

Down river play does come with the occasional wobble moment!

Autumn in the south west makes such stunning scenery

After the weekend just gone Tom’s found his new go to boat in the!

Patrick (The man of one face) showing his excitement after paddling the!


Going Home

I learnt to paddle in the middle of London, perhaps not where most people consider the most auspicious start to a career in whitewater… The youth club I started at, Islington Boat Club, was based in the middle of town, on the Regents Canal. It was there I spent a long time just messing about in boats, and also started my coaching career, teaching younger paddlers.

Mayor christening ramp

They have recently had a kayak kicker ramp installed, and I saw the launch party as an ideal opportunity to head back down south and see how the club was getting along (and to have a few goes on the ramp!).

Dan at top of Ramp

What a cool feature to find in the centre of London, 5 minutes from the Angel tube station, looking more like it belonged at the start of the Sickline course. Pyranha were kind enough to provide a few prizes so we had an impromptu slopejam, with various categories (after the local mayor had declared the kicker ramp open).

Kid at top of ramp

A big up to all those who have worked so hard to keep the club going, and who are developing the next generation of paddlers!

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