Friday, September 29, 2006

River Rhone Challenge Press Release

During the last two weeks of September a team of four canoeists, accompanied by a two man support crew, made a complete descent of the River Rhone, from Lake Geneva in Switzerland to Marseille and the Mediterranean in France. Although a well known European river and wine region, the Rhone is not so well known as a canoeing destination, but is ideally suited to multi-day open canoe touring.
The upper stretches of the river are stunning and remote, offering a real feeling of wilderness expeditioning, while below Lyon the Rhone widens with commercial shipping canals but still allows for canoeists to follow the natural, unspoilt, course of the river as it meanders its way to the Mediterranean. The expedition was part of The Magnificent Seven Challenge, to raise money for the charity Children with Leukaemia.
The challenge started last year with the London Marathon and will culminate in 2012 with an attempt on Everest. The team completed over 400miles in 11days using open canoes and camping by the side of the river. So far this year the team have raised nearly £15,000 for Children with Leukaemia.The team; Ed Crook, Nick Piwowar, Andy Martin, Richard Finch and James Weir would like to thank all those who sponsored them, in particular Whitewater the Canoe Centre, Delta Sportswear, and Philip Crook, without whose superb logistical backup the expedition would have been ten times harder.
To follow the teams future adventures and to pledge your support for Children with Leukaemia please visit

Monday, September 11, 2006

This weekend we took a trip to Holland for the 1st Fishsteps International Kayak Festival in Reormond, Holland. The Fishsteps International Kayak Festival is 4th of 5 competitions from the Teva Dutch playboatcup. For more pictures check This was my first adventure to Holland and although it was a long way from Bavaria to Holland and back, 12 or 13 hours cruising in the Nookie bus, thank Apple for the ipod ; it was well worth it just for the people and the party and to see a new country. The Dutch paddlers are always travelling to the ends of the earth in search of whitewater so it seemed only fair we repay the favour and travel to them for a change. We drove to Lieke's house on friday evening, she is a kayaking friend and the organizer of the event, so this seemed a good place to start the mission. After an evening helping with a few last minute things it was time to relax with a few beers before bed.

Saturday was a bright and early start with the event to begin at 9am, and so it did ,nearly! At 10am paddlers were on the water, judges in their tent and spectators on the bank waiting to cheer! The day started with freestyle prelims for all, two 45second runs both count, there were some superb performances with the local paddlers showing us just how to use the feature to the max, with some moves I would not have thought it possible to make being executed with ease. Lunchtime was soon upon us and time for a quick pause before the boaterX prelims and finals, this was the Dutch championships for boaterX so competition was set to be strong. 4 paddlers start and race down river through a series of control gates, miss a gate and you are disqualified, there are no real rules however fair play is expected from all and there is a maximum boat length of 3.5m. Nils raced his way to 2nd place in the mens boaterX finals narrowly beaten by local favourite Remi Wegman. In the ladies event Martina Wegman, Remi’s sister, took the top spot from Lilli in 2nd place and Sanne in 3rd.

With the boaterX over it was time for the freestyle finals, 5 paddlers battle in a knock out final system, each paddler takes 1 ride with the lowest scoring paddler being eliminated at the end of the round then the 4 who are left go again and so on until the champion is crowed. Beating the locals here was set to be a hard task for us international competitors, only 2 of us managed to win medals. The mens final was an exclusive Dutch affair with boaterX winner Remi Wegman Tricky Whuing his way to the top spot for the second time that afternoon. Event organizer Lieke took top spot in the ladies with Sanne winning 3rd place and I took the top spot in the C1/OC1.

With the event over it was time for a short drive across town to the party spot. With beer on tap and cheap, 11 beers for 10€, a bbq and music we were all set for a party night dutch style. The beauty of this event is that it is only a 1 day competition which means everybody can go hard at the party without having to worry about getting up and competing, organising or judging the next day. The party went on ‘til we could see the sun rising and then it was time to sleep before the long drive home.

Big thanks must go out to all the organising team, Lieke, Jaap, Paul and Stijn v. Jaarsveld from, the event sponsors; Teva, Nookie, Robson,, Red Bull, Ty Warp Dutch Water Dreams and more; a big thanks must also go to the local police for helping us to remove all the banners from the railway bridge over the river! A superb weekend and we will for sure be returning next year for more craziness in DutchyLand see you there next year.