If I'm completely honest there had been another brand that had me drooling over their gear but on closer investigation to the range there was nothing on offer for me. As we all know I'm not quite normal and have a few specific requirements when it comes to my paddling gear. I have a latex allergy that effects my skin. If I wear a latex rubber seal ( that is the most common place seal available for kayaking tops and drysuits) I react very quickly. When it reacts I come out in sores that scab up very quickly making it look like I have tried to hang myself or cut my throat with a bow saw. On top of the massive scabs I could also suffer from amphalactic shock which can shut down the airways and sufficate me.
So, basically this means I have to wear a neoprene necked dry top. Most brands offer at least one in their range but its usually a second rate offering. The brand I was looking at doesn't even offer one so that was them out the window. Then the offer came from Yak to be part of the team again.
Looking back I can't see why I was even looking else where. Yak have supported my with gear since 2005, I have been lucky to be part of the R+D and test team since then. They have helped and supported me in loads of paddling events with prizes, sponsorship and event support. They have given me loads of gear that has worked brilliantly and when it hasn't they have listened to my comments and feedback. Its been a great partnership and I'd be foolish to loose that. Yak gear has been on my back on a surf kayak trip to Portugal,
two trips to the White Nile in Uganda several trips to Piermont and Valsessia in Italy.
At times I have been super slack in getting them the photos and media coverage that is expected of a paddler in my position. So this year I really am aiming to give back what they require and deserve of me.
Unfortunately I still wont be hitting up any comps in the near future but have a few trips in the pipeline that will be perfect for testing and evaluating. Whilst hopefully getting that all important logo shot!
Starting out this year with a trip to the Pyrenees, possibly one of the only European paddling destinations with early season white water. Fingers crossed.
For this trip I have managed to pick up a Titan Drysuit that I am going to customise with a double neoprene neck system, in place of the latex one to see how dry it will stay.
Yak Titan Drysuit, A bad ass heavy duty one piece suit for paddling. Brass bdm zips and tough 3 layer fabric will withstand the rigours of 8 days steep creeking in the mountains.
Here's some other pics from the last few years.
Photo Jim Ottaway
Yakoflage! Well, we thought it looked cool. Yak Descent PFD. I took the first proto of this on the 2006 trip to Uganda. Whilst designed as a river running vest it performed perfectly well on the play waves.
Photo Jim Ottaway.
Waiting for the Severn Bore. A truly unique paddling experience.
I'm looking forward to seeing where this years paddling takes me. At least I wont have to worry about kit!
Massive thanks to Pete Ford, Yak brand manager for untold support and keeping me dry.
For lifes little adventures. http://www.crewsaver.co.uk/YAK