Pyranha Fest 2008



I’ve just got back from an awesome weekend at the Pyranha Fest held at the Tryweryn this weekend. It was the first of hopefully many Pyranha Fests to come. There were loads of coaching sessions put on by Tom Parker and gang from whitewater rescue to river running to freestyle.  I took the opportunity to do one on Boofs and Flares on the Saturday morning.  There were just three of us, me and two other guys for a three hour session with Chris Eastabrook , one of the team Pyranha guys. The session really opened my eyes to how much more there is to river paddling than just your standard paddling techniques, there is a whole lot of new school techniques to learn as well to improve your style and control down rapids and open up new lines that you had not previously thought about. We started practicing our boofs off some small ledge drops on the Tryweryn and quickly moved on to flares on curling waves and off rocks.


For those who don’t know a boof is a technique that you can use on drops to propel your boat horizontally off  from the lip of the drop landing flat at its base to stay on top of the water to maximize your control and avoid being worked by the stinky holes and stoppers at the drops base.  A flare is where you ride high on a curling wave keeping your boat on top of the water to maximize your control. The technique is commonly used in combination with a boof to avoid the mess lying at the foot of the curling wave or to get into and eddy if you flare a curling wave coming off a rock. Using these techniques allows you to run much cleaner lines on rapids, making you look much more stylish and ultimately better in the photos!


After a bit of practice with the boofs and flares Chris had us combining the two techniques and performing deck grabs to prove how controlled (or not) we were. We then went on to explore all the possible lines down the ski jump rapid (centre-centre, left-centre, left –left, right-left…) using our newly honed techniques to make it look stylish. The right-left line saw me doing most of ski jump upside down. With zero points for style and some new scratches in my helmet I went back up to do that line again and get it right.

After the coaching session and a few mugs of tea I spent the rest of the day perfecting my boofing and flaring on a couple of runs down the upper Tryweryn. There were loads of other paddlers around, some really good, some not so good.  Watching the really good ones you could see how they were using the techniques we had been working on to make every line they took really smooth. Watching the not so good ones causing carnage was quite funny!

Later I met up with Will, Andy, Sue and Ben (Sue’s housemate) and headed off to the Pyranha fest party in Bala. The “Fat Cats” guys showed a film of their most recent  trip to Greenland and the White Water Warriors talked about their trip to China involving a 22 day drive in for one river that they then decided was not worth running! They did run some other stuff that looked pretty good but scary! Then the music started and everyone had a good dance with most people ending up topless and very merry by the time it all came to an end.  A typical paddling party really.

We slept what was left of the night in our classy accommodation, the car-park in Bala and got up the next morning a wee bit worse for wear to head to the Tryweryn for some more paddling and playing in the sun. It was a great weekend and I hope they have another one like it next year.



One Response

  1. Yup was all good… Party took a while to get going, but there was some awsome tunage- Thanks to Sue for blagging me a ticket.

    Post-party we all headed into town for a few more. Wil decided to practice his pole-dancing skills with some locals (guys that is!!). Then a long trek in search of food before myself, Sue and Ben found a playground which naturally beckoned some drunken antics. One of which was me tryinf to dodge Sue and Ben….. whilst on the swings…… Having decided my arm wasn’t quite broken we/ I proceeded to surf the slide etc.

    Next morning I felt doubtful I’d be able to paddle, because my arm was quite sore and felt tight. But having tested it by way of clutching a bacon and egg bagette, i decided all was good(ish). Luckily the only carnage on the river was that of a raft (hahaha).

    Cheers guys for a top weekend!!

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