Marko from Kajak Sports experience with Sea Kayak Academy.
Kajak Sport is a company based in Finland that designs and manufactures high-quality kayak parts – if you own a sea kayak it’s highly likely that at least some of the parts are manufactured by Kajak Sport. One of their most common and easily identifiable products is their kayak hatch covers, however, they also make everything from kayak rudders and bilge pumps to paddles and those little bits of plastic that attach your deck lines to your sea kayak!
Every year Marko, one of the owners at Kajak Sport, has to pick a country where kayaks are made that uses Kajak Sport parts in the process and he visits the factories to liaise with the manufacturers and design teams. This year he came to the UK to visit P&H, Perception, Valley and others.
The last time Marko was here, 15 years ago, he had a memorable experience paddling the coast around Anglesey, an experience he was hoping to duplicate again on this visit on his one last free day in the country. So once the work portion of his trip had been completed, and after a bit of to-and-fro between sea kayak providers, Marko headed down to Pembrokeshire to come out for a day with us.
Marko professed that, on account of the pandemic and himself being extremely busy with work, he had barely paddled for the last 3 years and definitely not in any exciting sea conditions. As such, we agreed it would probably be best to find a section of coastline that would be sheltered to start with and gradually build in excitement, allowing Marko to warm back into a more dynamic style of sea paddling before finding anything with a bit more challenge.
The forecast for the day was reasonably exciting; F5-7 winds from the southwest and 1m at 10-second groundswell from the southwest. I chose to start in Lower Town Fishguard, the north-facing harbour being sheltered from the southwesterly wind, and head along the coast to Dinas Head so we would gradually become more exposed to the wind and groundswell as we progressed along the northwest-facing coastline.
We met at our base to get all the gear we needed, and then Marko and I headed out to get on the water. We had a good warm-up in the shelter of the harbour and I told Marko a few stories about the history of the area before exploring some of the nearby caves.
Marko was keen to do some good rock-hopping and the geology of this particular trip lends itself perfectly to gradual progression. Starting with relatively bigger, simple gaps that progress to smaller, more technical ones. This tied with our exposure to the wind and groundswell increasing, we found many features to play about and the challenge kept rising as the trip went on.
We rounded Dinas Head where we found the most exciting of all before coming down and finishing our day in the shelter of Newport Bay.