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HPP November 2009

It didn’t bode well to begin with as the trip was down to one car and at our departure time HPP was undecided as to whether the course would be open due to the high levels. Nevertheless the positivity of Bunny and Dave, plus Ellie G heroically giving up her place and hire of a demo boat from Des Mes to Ben, meant that it was a go. Only faff factor 9 on Bunny’s scale! So fortuitously five of BCC had fun flirting with fish, fulfilling flawless floatation = No Swims!!

There was plenty of action, some intentional, some not so. After an initial hiccup which saw Olwen being supported in a rather compromised position by Bunny and Ben, and then in the process of being pulled upright by Dave, inadvertently causing Ben to submerge, we settled into our team paddling rhythm. Initially we had the whole course virtually to ourselves until it was descended upon by another breed of paddlers; the UK England and Wales slalom training squad. They were enviously good but need lessons in taking turns on waves with us lesser mortals.

Bunny with his river leading skills steered us clear of the more retentive sections of the stoppers on our first run down. Encouraging a positive paddling style and emphasizing the importance of staying in your box – metaphorically speaking - means using trunk rotation to control direction and causing natural edging of the boat, with not over reaching or over extending shoulder joints….

Dave did his two rolls of the day before the rest of us had got onto the water – yes, he really beat Bunny onto the water. Bunny, as recommended (can’t remember who did though) did the obligatory roll that all should do on each paddling session, but it was out of necessity! Rob looked smooth for two of his rolls, but on the third took his time, having a longer chat with the fish, although ultimately decided not to join them! In the end, he was getting all the breakouts without cheesing off too many slalom boaters! Olwen was pleased to surf the looping pool wave, with a couple of amusing pins on the side walls, even though it pushed her roll count up from 2 to 4. And what is it about polo players? They seem to relish being upsidedown (with one BCC notable exception). Ben had far too many rolls to count, using it as a strategy to come off the waves he was surfing. What a munching he got in a wave that wasn’t the Muncher, seeming to have misheard Dave saying “don’t go into there”. Still he survived! The Tardis was not in evidence, probably visiting another planet due to the high water levels. The eddy ‘lines’ were boils that needed lancing, requiring dynamic action at all times. We need to get there more often, it’s such good fun.

The day ended with the return of the demo boat to Des Mes, and the five of us fondling a lot of kit. Dave wants a new Diesel, on Olwen’s wish list is a Sweet sassy green cag, and Ben needs his head examined as he couldn’t find a helmet to fit. For future reference, there’s a fabulous chippy down the road from Des Mes, portions are generous and its quality grub, could even have had a sit down meal if we’d wanted to.

Thanks to Dave for organising the trip.

PS Hi hip hooray, Pete has his wheels back.

Addendum Anyone wanting a cheap rapid weight loss programme should hot foot it up to HPP in high levels – only Bunny with his ever-stoic constitution and apparently copious volumes of coke escaped unscathed. Watch out 24-48 hrs post consumption of river s**t.


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