Simon's Thames River ChallengeSimon is kayaking 130 miles of the River Thames over 8 days for Kidney Research UK. A great challenge and opportunity to raise £!
For an added challenge, and a touch of eccentricity, he will be paddling an AdvancedFrame Expedition kayak. He will be camping every night along the way, except for the one night's luxury accommodation in a youth hostel .... live the dream!
To make this challenge worthwhile and with your support he'd like to raise money for Kidney Research UK. To learn more about their amazing work, check out the video on the bottom of the about us page on their website: www.kidneyresearchuk.org.
Any donation you'd like to make will be very much appreciated and will be a great motivation for as he paddles down the River Thames. More importantly it will further Kidney Research UK's effort into life saving research to help the 3 million people in the UK with kidney disease. Thank you!
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
A new kayak - the Air Traveller 2!The new Advanced Elements Airtraveller2 tandem kayak as arrived in the UK. There's very little information about this new model on the internet - so here are the first observations.
RapidUp Sail Fits The Packlite KayakDid you know that the RapidUp Sail fits the Packlite Kayak & along with the new Packlite Outer Cover makes the Packlite a great little kayak that takes up hardly any space and is perfect for gentle paddles.
New Packlite Outer Cover
Paddle Across The Pennines
Convertible For A Heavier Paddler
Kayaking The Pangalanes Canal - Madagascar
Ortlieb Drink Systems
Thank You Advanced Elements Customers!
New Drop Stitch Floors
- Military spring-loaded valve.
- 4-6psi drop stitch construction.
- Light weight: 1.7kg (AdvancedFrame), 2.6kg (Expedition), 3.4kg (Convertible).
- Supplied with Advanced Elements pump adaptor.
Kayak Reassembly Tip!
To speed up drying time, you can dismantle your kayak (remove the main badder). This tip will make reassembly a breeze.
To separate the the main inner tube from the outer cover turn the locking ring at the back of the kayak anti-clockwise to undo it.
Pull out the inner tube. When dry, ensure the aluminium ribs are correctly placed on the end of the bladder before inserting back in to the kayak.
The difficult bit is getting the locking ring back on! So to help......
1) Pass your pump hose through the locking ring.
2) Now attach the screw thread adaptor to the hose.
3) Screw the screw thread adaptor on to the boston valve.
4) You can now pull the valve up though the layers of the kayak fabric to ensure the locking ring can be positioned & tightened.
5) Drop the locking ring down on to the thread & tighten (turn locking ring clockwise) while pulling the adpator upwards.
Advanced Elements Expedition Limited Edition Model Test Paddle
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Limited Edition Model
Advanced Elements Expedition Limited Edition Model
Seascape PhotographyPhotographer, James Robertshaw has captured some stunningly beautiful photographs from his Advanced Elements Airfusion.
James stated..."The sea is an escape for me. I love the beauty and simplicity of the environment and the constantly changing light, especially out on the water."
10 Lakes In 10 Days!"Having recently rekindled my love of kayaking after a gap of nearly 10 years without a paddle, through participation in a couple of taster sessions, I decided that I wanted to throw myself back into it whole heartedly.
Not satisfied with simply rebuilding my experience and skill I decided a challenge was in order. Inspiration struck in the form of a close personal friend whose mother was tragically affected by terminal cancer last year, and I decided that some sort of kayaking challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK was a noble cause and an ideal way to support a worthy charity while getting fit, but what challenge to do?
The idea formed over a pint (as most good ideas do!) and it was conceived that attempting to kayak the circuit of 10 Cumbrian Lake District lakes in 10 days was achievable (plus the name of the challenge sounded quite good). So in a rare blur of activity and motivation a website domain name was purchased, suppliers approached for sponsorship, just giving page set up and basic plan formulated. Suddenly this was very real and the amount of preparation needed to manage 183 km in 10 days dawned on me.
Training was needed, but more importantly so was a boat! Living in a converted chapel with little outdoor space or storage space to accommodate a kayak, I struck on the idea of an inflatable boat, and with a little further online research, the advanced elements expedition seemed perfect. Nick Pipe from vortex offered some useful advice and was kind enough to supply the boat which I have now started to use for regular distance and stamina training on the local canals come rain or shine, in an attempt to recreate true Cumbrian conditions!
The challenge is scheduled for May 2015 and the Advanced Elements Expedition is proving to be the perfect boat to do it in with great performance and tracking, as well as being flexible enough for easy storage and transportation, just hope my technique and paddling stamina return in time!"
You can sponsor me through just giving here www.justgiving.com/10Lakesin10days.
Follow @10lakes10days on twitter.
Advanced Elements Firefly Review
Thank you Vortex for your advice, speed of delivery and fantastic product. The Advanced Elements FireFly was just what we were looking for to allow our youngsters to take to the water with an air of independence.
This inflatable kayak is of a very high quality, easily inflatable, easily packed away and easily transportable. It is relatively light weight to carry and comes in a robust carry bag. Once inflated the FireFly provides comfort and support - high quality material, is combined with a bright eye-catching colour, hand paddle velcro fasteners and useful zip and bungee pockets. The integrated stern provides great tracking. We are also very pleased with the paddle and pressure gauged hand-pump we bought to accompany the kayak.
This caught the attention of a number of passers by ... and allowed our youngsters to feel safe, secure as well as easily identifiable on the water.
Very pleased with overall service and product. I would highly recommend for kids and adults alike. Thanks again.
Advanced Elements Packlite Kayak ReviewI used a double bladed kayak paddle and sat in the boat as I would do a regular kayak, legs out in front of me pointing towards the narrow end. It's shape is that of a large teardrop, with a high wall at the stern giving some decent back support.
The 90cm width is wider than your average plastic or fiberglass kayak which makes it remarkably stable. That said it's not so wide that paddling it becomes a chore. Switching from a boat more than twice its length and 20 times its weight meant a very different set of handling characteristics. For example it's possible to turn the boat around 180 degrees literally on a sixpence with a single draw stroke which makes it incredibly nimble and manouverable The downside to this is that it takes a while to get used to the bow skitting left and right a little with each paddle stroke when going forwards. A little practice and its soon mastered though and perfectly possible to make good forward progress.
Whilst on Mull it was used daily on island hopping trips with stretches of open water half a kilometer wide. I hasten to add that we didn't take it out in high wind or strong tides, but that in sensible conditions it was perfectly usable as an exploratory vessel. Obviously portages were a doddle!
Read Advanced Elements Packlite Kayak Review on the Heason Events website.
Advancedelements Convertable Family Trip to MullIn a week of regular use off the coast of Mull the 3 layers of material show virtually no sign of wear and tear. It also comes with a repair kit. Essentially we were able to make a side-by-side comparison with a variety of cheaper inflatable kayaks of a similar size and this one came out on top in every way.
It was safer thanks to the double compartment in the hull; it was faster and smoother to paddle thanks to the aluminium ribs, the skeg, and the general rigidity of the thing once it was inflated; it was more comfortable thanks to the well designed adjustable seats.
Granted it cost more money, but what's a couple of hundred quid when it comes to a) your safety, and b) years of easier paddling?
See Advanced Elements Convertible Review on the Heason Events website.
AdvancedFrame Expeditions on Arran"We've just returned from another good week with the kayaks on Arran though, and wanted to let you know how wonderful they were in quite choppy conditions. They are so stable and we never felt as though we would 'tip up'. It meant we could relax and enjoy the waves and we had two or three really good paddles. Some other days we were blessed with blue skies and calmer waters!"
Thanks Barbara for photos & feedback on the Advanced Elements Expedition kayaks!
Advanced Elements in IndonesiaIn January this year John Shipton took an Advanced Elements Expedition kayak to Indonesia. It packed neatly away with paddle and pump in a 25kg bag and with a weight allowance at 30kg it was OK for taking on the flights out from the UK.
The idea came about after three successive journeys in East Indonesia through Sulawesi, and then the Moluccas the fabled Spice islands, first North Maluku with its string of volcanoes and myriad of coral rimmed islands, and then Central Maluku Ambon and Seram. This year John looked further east, and the islands of Raja Ampat off the very north west coast of New Guinea looked perfect for the venture.
John said "As a means of travel the kayak was superb with much of the coast uninhabited and endless untouched pristine beaches to rest on backed by virgin rainforest teeming with wildlife. Floating over the coral was magical, and stopping at the few villages great fun with people who were always friendly and pleased to talk to a traveller and especially an eccentric one with his own pirau.*"
Pictures of Your Adventures!Don't forget to email me pictures of your adventures in your new kayak. Would be great to put them on the website! Bob kindly emailed some feedback of his new Lagoon 2 kayak:
"Just to say after our first real trip in the kayak you sold us at Christmas we're delighted!
We stayed at Gruinard Bay, north of Gairloch in Wester Ross, for a week and had two trips along the coast with friends. They had an inflatable Yak kayak but the Advanced Elements one is definitely a much better piece of kit.
My wife was completely happy with the front seat and we learnt how far the tide goes out! The week we were there there was a 5.3 metre rise and fall in the tide, so with such a flat sandy beach as Gruinard we had a long carry back as the tide had dropped a lot.
It was brilliant being able to get in close to the rocky bits with little inlets to secret tiny coves, and the seals and mergansers and even divers didn't bother much about us. We hope to do a lot more soon but next will be lochs".
New PackLite KayakThe PackLite kayak is a very compact and lightweight recreational inflatable kayak equipped with several unique features to make it the perfect ultra-light kayak for paddling in the most remote of locations.
With 3 chambers for optimum safety, it packs down to 28cm x 28cm x 13cm, and features easy to use Twistlok and military style valves for easy inflation.
When out on the water, the mesh carry bag doubles as an on-deck gear bag for securing smaller items. Paddling a remote alpine lake or river has never been this easy!
AdvancedFrame on the Broads
When outdoors and adventure travel journalist Clive Tully decided to start writing about paddling on his home patch of the Norfolk Broads, it was from the starting point of someone living in a second floor flat, and driving one of those cute little two-seater Smart cars. So the only option for him was an inflatable. His first craft was a two-seater canoe - not a bad first step, but the tracking wasn't particularly good, and it had a tendency to catch the wind, particularly so when Clive was paddling solo.
So he graduated to an Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame kayak. "I'm particularly interested in extending possibilities for getting out onto the Broads," says Clive. "For example, choosing to do sunset cruises after the hire craft have moored up for the evening means I get more water to myself! The AdvancedFrame performs really well in the kind of wind conditions which I wouldn't even contemplate going out in with the other canoe, and with almost hard shell tracking, I feel as though more of my energy is going into propelling me forwards rather than correcting oversteers!"
As it is, the holiday hire craft season is pretty much at an end, but Clive will continue paddling through the autumn and winter. "Some of the Broads waterways positively heave with boats in the summer," he says. "I just love being on those same waterways when they're totally deserted, and the AdvancedFrame is for me the ideal kayak to get me out there."
Clive has written a number of books available on Amazon Kindle, including:
The Broads - A unique National Park, which explains how the Broads were formed, their wildlife, and recreational possibilities.
One of our Balloons is Missing, a collection of interesting and amusing travel stories from Clive's long career travelling the world.
Grand Union Canal Trip Report: 102 miles & 107 locks!Read Ryan's trip report of a 5 day journey down the Grand Union Canal on an Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak with his friend, Nathan. A great challenge given the number of locks to navigate & the difficulties encountered.
Ryan summed the trip up...."It had been a tough journey, both mentally and physically. The journey had at times been more of a weight lifting challenge rather than a paddling one but somehow we got through it. We had seen the world in which we live in a different light. Nathan had been a great paddling companion and I certainly could not have completed this trip without him."
Adding " I was really impressed with my Advanced Frame kayak, both its rigid shape which made it cut through the water easily and its toughness. I paddled it comfortably for a long distance, carried heavy gear in it, dragged it, bashed it against the canal walls and not once did it show any signs of failing. A brilliant kayak!"
Huge thanks to Ryan for his great report which he hopes that "if it inspires just one person who reads it to get out of their arm chair and into a kayak then the effort would have been worth it!". Thanks Ryan!
Download Ryan's Trip Report (pdf format).
New Advanced Elements 4 Part PaddlesVortex is now stocking 2 new paddles from Advanced Elements.
Twilight 4 Part Paddle: A durable four part asymmetric paddle with adjustable blade angle, soft grip aluminium alloy shaft & fibreglass filled nylon blades. 1.3kg & packs down for easy storage/transportation. £60.00. No longer available.
Packlite 4 Part Paddle: A light weight, durable four part asymmetric paddle with adjustable blade angle, aluminium alloy shaft & fibreglass filled nylon blades. Only 1.1kg & packs down for easy storage/transportation. Currently £60.00.
Read "Choosing a Paddle" guide here.
View Paddle Comparison Table (PDF format) here.
AdvancedFrame Convertible ReviewSome positive feedback for customers considering an Advanced Elements Convertible with a motor home.
Read Arthur's feedback here with some super pictures from a recent trip to Scotland.
Great Glen Canoe Trail 2013!Terry & his friends have just paddled The Great Glen Canoe Trail, 60 miles of paddling from Fort William (in the West) to Clachnaharry (Inverness) in the East.
A great adventure all for a good cause; Sheffield Hospitals Charity.
60 miles in 5 days, wild camping, 4 lochs including the biggest challenge - 22 miles across Loch Ness!
Read the excellent trip report here.
Airfusion Elite Sea Trail
At last, a chance to try out the brand new Airfusion Elite on a beautiful blue sky, June day for a paddle around Llanddwyn Island.
Set up of the Airfusion Elite is faster, as at the front of the kayak, the larger zip allows for much easier access to connect poles together. At the rear of the kayak, access is via the handy rear storage hatch.
After around 20 minutes, the Elite was ready & loaded up with gear (spare paddles, lunch & water) & secured to the Advanced Elements wheeled kayak kart for the walk down to the beach. It was my first trial out with the Advanced Elements kart & it made for much easier progress though the dunes. The wheels can be easily removed & the kart was stored on the front deck along with a spare 4 part paddle for the duration of my trip.
Setting off in to a light head wind across the bay away from the crowds on the beach, I was able to get in to a nice steady rhythm and I left the crowds long behind covering the bay with ease.
Slowing down to explore the rocks & coves of the island, to my surprise just a few feet away popped up, as is customary for Llandwyn, the whiskered face of a seal! It promptly dived & was not seen again.
Amid crystal clear waters, hugging the rocks as I tentatively crossed under the lines of anglers, I emerged from the quiet shelter of the leeside of the island in to progressively choppier waters. With a careful assessment of conditions before committing, I rounded the island with skeg down before diving between the rocks in to a beautiful calm bay for coffee & a sandwich.
Onward again, round to the causeway. As the tide was low, a quick carry across the sand was needed before the putting in again for the next leg. A leisurely downwind mile paddle to re-join the now swollen crowds, enjoying the beautiful sunshine on the beach.
Packing away was swift & I must remember to wrap an elastic band around the sleeve that joins the floor poles together, as it was difficult to shift with wet hands!
Once home, a quick hose down to wash off the salt water, the Airfusion Elite is now packed away ready, with skeg still attached awaiting its next adventure.
A great kayak! I am confident that customers will really like this new model.
[Stats: Distance: 6.3km (3.9 miles). Duration: 1hr 40 min. Top speed 7km/hr (4.3miles/hr)].
Crossing the Solent in An Advanced Frame KayakNathan's Advanced Frame kayak is still going strong after 4 yeays of use & he has crossed the Solent in his Advanced Frame & kindly sent a write up of the crossing.
".....Then I started researching inflatables and decided to give the AdvancedFrame a try; not least because it 'looked' like a proper kayak - and so it has proved to be. Very quickly it gave me the confidence to take on the waves of the Solent and, having used up all of the mainline coastline, there was only one way to go - across to the Isle of Wight."
Read Nathan's excellent Advanced Frame Kayak Solent Crossing Report.
Advanced Elements Expeditions in ArranBarbara & her husband have just returned from a paddling trip around the shores of Arran paddling Advanced Elements Expeditions & has kindly send some pictures of the beautiful scenery on the island.
"...We had a fantastic week on Arran last week in windier conditions than we've been used to but the Expeditions performed magnificently. They tracked really well into the wind and even with a following wind were easy enough to keep going where we wanted them to.....
The waves were probably only about two feet or so but posed no problem at all. Even broadside on to a wave we never felt we were going to tip. Hard to describe but they just seemed to somehow slide down the wave remaining horizontal!"
Thanks for images & feedback. Arran looks beautiful!
Arifusion Elite Success!The new Advanced Elements Airfusion Elite is a real winner! A simplified setup means that you can get on the water quicker; internal assess is easier and there are only 3 poles to fit.
The stern hatch allows access to the rear storage inside the kayak (25-30l of storage space); a great improvement.
Customers will like the increased stability & fitting the optional skeg damps the kayak even more for relaxed touring or for use when conditions are on the lively side.
Hopefully I'll get another chance to get out this week & paddle on the sea while the sun is out!
Airfusion EliteThe new Advanced Elements Airfusion Elite is expected in the UK at the start of June.
This new version of the original Airfusion kayak is 3" wider, providing a larger cockpit & increased stability. The side poles have been remove for a simpler, quicker setup. The main air tube diameters have been increased for extra rigidity and the rear airbag size is reduced for additional storage space.
The design rivals the handling and speed of skin-on-frame kayaks, with a simpler setup procedure. It features a unique design fusion of aluminium alloy frame poles and pressurized air tubes, resulting in a high-performance, rigid frame system.
Advanced Elements Drop Stitch FloorLimited stock of the Advanced Elements Drop Stitch Floors has arrived. They are very light, so perfect if you are travelling & want to keep the weight down. Quick to inflate & super rigid! You can read the debate Backbone vs Drop Stitch Floor on the excellent Advanced Elements Forum.
The Drop Stitch Floors are available for the AdvancedFrame, Expedition & Convertible models.
A Scandinavian HighMore news from Mark in Norway, with feedback on kayaks and the AdvancedElements Backbone.
Download Report (pdf file).
Thanks again Mark!
Expedition Report From Aberystwyth University's Greenland Ice Sheet Expedition
The Aberystwyth University Greenland Ice Sheet team used two Advanced Elements Expedition kayaks for their 2012/13 overwintering expedition to NW Greenland.
James Killingbeck has kindly send photos & feedback of how the kayaks performed on the trip.
Sheltered Norweigan Waters
Advanced Elements supports 2012 Timmiarmiut, Greenland Expedition
In the summer of 2012, Matt Traver, Mike Royer, Steve Beckwith, and Matt Bunn will explore the unclimbed walls rising abruptly from the fjords surrounding Tingmiarmit, a small island along Greenland's southeast coast. Hundreds of kilometers from the nearest civilization, the international team will explore the region and pursue first ascents of enticing peaks.
A three day journey by boat from Tasiilaq/Kulusuk will allow them to reach the upper NE branch of Timmiarmiut Fjord and set up base camp. From here they will spend up to three weeks completing a number of first ascents on the numerous virgin walls, ridges and spires that grace this unspoilt Arctic landscape.
For harder to reach areas (such as across fjords) they will utilise an Advanced Elements Convertible kayak in order to access various objectives, explore the area and travel within the fjords.
Image courtesy of Lars Lund Sorensen.
Update Dec 2012.........
Great news, Matt & the team have just safely returned to the UK.
Regrettably our Advanced Elements Convertible, shipped by TNT to Greenland failed to arrive in time for their departure....arriving 7 weeks late on a 5 day delivery service!
Patagonia on Kayak : Exploring Patagonia's Western Fjords
Earlier this year Ruggero Arena and Silvano Samaretz returned from an expedition to the Western Fjords of Patagonia.
The expedition goal was to explore by kayak and on foot the little known area west of the Patagonia Hielo Norte Ice Cap. The Patagonian Ice Fields are among the least explored places on Earth. Divided into two, the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields constitute world's third-largest continental mass of ice, after Antarctica and Greenland.
The expedition lasted 20 days, using two Advanced Elements Airfusion Kayaks as the primary way of moving in the area, through the fjord, rivers and lakes.
Have a look at the photographs of their trip. Simply stunning!
Image courtesy of Ruggero Arena (www.ruggeroarena.com).
Advanced Elements Supports Aberystwyth University's Greenland Ice Sheet Expedition
"The Aberystwyth University Greenland Ice Sheet team are delighted to be using two Advanced Elements Expedition kayaks in our 2012/13 overwintering expedition to NW Greenland. We hope the boats will give us increased flexibility of movement amongst the brash ice in the fjords in which we will be conducting our research. Kayaks are well proven in these environments and will be used when it is impractical to launch the vessel's rib. The advantage of the Advanced Element kayaks is that they can be packed down and stored within the 50 ft sailing vessel that is departing from Wales. This reduces the amount that has to be stored above deck and is preferable during the Atlantic crossing. We believe the kayaks will come into their own on multi-day excursions away from the expedition boat."
Image courtesy Nick Cobbing / Greenpeace.
Advanced Elements Kayks in Norway Trip Report
Here is trip report from one of our customers in Norway paddling an Advanced Elements Expedition kayak.
Looks like a beautiful place to paddle.
Advanced Elements Convertible 3 Seater!
The Advanced Elements Convertible has 3 seat attachment points, allowing the kayak to be paddled solo (paddler in the middle) or as a tandem (paddlers front & rear).
With an extra seat (using all 3 seat attachment points) the Convertible can be used as a 3 seater (1 adult + 2 children) kayak. Very neat!
Advanced Elements Airfusion Review
Mike Holgate from Poole Bay Canoes has written a review of the Advanced Elements Airfusion kayak.
"In use the kayak has a good turn of speed - actually it is surprisingly quick, probably due to the V shaped hull, it tracks well (has a narrow short keel like strip on the keel line at the bow and stern) and is easy to turn - in fact a nice, fast, lively kayak with good initial and secondary stability."
Advanced Elements Convertible Review July 2011
The very popular Advanced Elements Convertible kayak always gets the "thumbs up"!
Thames Meander Challenge 215 Miles Non-Stop
Using an Advanced Elements Expedition inflatable kayak, Pete Burrell will be attempting to kayak the Thames non-stop from its source at Halfpenny Bridge at Lechlade in Gloucestershire to Gravesend Pier which a journey of 215 miles!!
The trip will take place on 8th - 10th July. It has been done before in 43 hours and 40 minutes and is a challenge of distance and perseverance with very little or no sleep at all. This will be a test of stamina and determination, and the reason he is doing this is to raise as much as he can for the children's cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.
CLIC Sargent helps children and young people with cancer and their families with the trauma of diagnosis, the often long journey through treatment and continues to support them afterwards. Every day in the UK, 10 families are told that their child has cancer.
Diagnosis often comes as a shock, with treatment usually starting straightaway and sometimes lasting up to three years. CLIC Sargent is there with clinical, practical and emotional support, every step of the way.
Every penny really does make a difference so please sponsor Pete and help support children and young people with cancer.
Please help to support this great cause, no matter how small. You can either visit the Virgin Money giving page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PeterBurrell or send a cheque made out to 'Clic Sargent' (please put Peter Burrell on the back) and post to: Carmen Burrell, 41 Markham Square, London SW3 4XA.
Update 13th July 2011
A message from Peter:
"Firstly a huge thank you to all of you for supporting such a great charity in Clic Sargent. They do a fantastic job for all of the children who have cancer and for all of the parents who need this vital support at such a traumatic time. You have all been so generous and it has been an honour to carry out the challenge and between us all it looks as though the total will be in excess of £8,000!!
Carry out the challenge I did!! Carmen supported me throughout and has attached a photograph of the final fathom for your enjoyment. I started at 3am at Lechlade on Friday morning and went well for the first four hours getting through five locks by 7am when disaster struck.... a rather wet and sinking feeling developed along with two or three inches of river water in the kayak. I had caught it on the previous lock and I had a gash in the bottom. The weather was really bad but somehow by draining it at each lock I got to just below Abingdon before stopping and thought that hypothermia was next. 3 cups of tea and a very hot bath later I slept for a few hours and carried on.
Nick Pipe who supplied the kayak (www.advancedelementskayaks.co.uk) rode to the rescue and supplied a free new outer skin that was shipped to Carmen who then delivered it to me near Reading. What a relief and I made it all the way to Chertsey that night where I slipped in to a marina and tied up under the stars for a really awful few hours rest and then left at 5.30am in order to reach Teddington for the 10am high tide. Sadly it doesn't really get going until Putney Bridge but by then I was exhausted and when I did get in the rip I realised that I was too tired and decided to pull up at Cadogan Pier. So it was not quite Gravesend but with Friday's excitements I felt that it was mission accomplished.
It was by far the most exhausting thing I have ever done and my hands are only just starting to lose the swelling and blistering but I really feel that we have made a difference and thanks to all of you two children and their families will have a really worthwhile support system and some excellent care during their treatment for cancer."
Well done Peter, a fantastic sum raised for Clic Sargent! A truly heroic effort. Thank you.
New Exped Cloudburst Dry Bags
It is great finding simple new products that just "work".
The new Exped Cloudburst Dry Bag Day Sacks make easy work of keeping your valuables dry when out and about.
StraitEdge Angler Kayak
Initial feedback from North Wales Kayak Fishing:
"The Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler kayak really impressed me and completely changed my views of inflatable kayaks. It has so many innovative features. The StraitEdge technology makes a massive difference to the handling of the craft. It paddles superbly, more like a ridged kayak than an inflatable. When we did our review the wind was gusting to 24mph, it did affect the kayak, but no more than the sit on tops that accompanied me on the day. I can't wait to get it out on the sea."
Bike, Hike & Paddle 2011!
A new loan Advanced Elements Convertible kayak with backbone, sprayskirts & paddles has just been received by Ewan who along with his team are going to Mountain Bike from Inverness to Fort William, Hike up Ben Nevis then Paddle by kayak back to Inverness, covering 152 miles in 7 days by Bike, Hike & Paddle!
They will start their trip in June. They are raising funds for Afgan Heroes.
Update: The team raised over £1000 for Afgan Heroes! Well done.
New Kayak Cart From Advanced Elements
The new Kayak Cart for Advanced Elements canoes & kayaks will help you get on the water with the minimum of fuss.
This robust kayak cart has rugged pneumatic all terrain tyres, kick stand, quick release straps and a handy carry bag. Clever spring loaded pins let you remove the wheels in seconds for storage.
New Kayak Rucksack From Advanced Elements
The new Kayak Rucksack for Advanced Elements inflatable canoes & kayaks makes light work of transporting your inflatable.
You will appreciate the extra size, so it is less of struggle to get your kayak safely stored away. The padded shoulder straps are adjustable and can be unclipped and packed away into their zipped storage compartment to prevent snagging during transit.
4 x Advanced Elements Expeditions and 1000km on the Danube!
On 22 of July 2010 Gareth, Aidan, Kevin and Tanja set out on an adventure that would lead them down the Danube in their Advanced Elements Expedition Kayaks.
The team travelled for a month on Danube and covered over 1000km travelling through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Romania.
Read how the trip went here.
AdvancedFrame Expedition Review
This is a great review of the Advanced Elements Expedition from Jason who paddled the upper reaches of the River Thames this summer, camping as he went.
"....Overall, this is a very well designed, well thought out vessel. I recommend it for anyone who wishes to kayak on relatively calm waters or who is new to the pastime.
Hunstanton - London, 200 miles in an Advanced Elements Convertible kayak!
In the second of this summer's trips that is being supported with Advanced Elements kayaks; an Advanced Elements Convertible has been sent up to Richard Seed who is going to paddle 200 miles from Hunstanton to London raising money for the Royal Air Forces Association. Please help support Richard's fundraising efforts here.
You can see how Richard gets on with the Advanced Elements Convertible.
Eleanor and James Crossing Scotland Coast to Coast: Update!
Eleanor and James' "Crossing Scotland Coast to Coast" Blog is now live! You can now follow their adventure on Eleanor's blog.
The local whisky distillery Bruichladdich have made a special edition case of kayak trip whisky with a unique label showing a great picture of Eleanor and James in the tandem. It looks fantastic and will boost the fundraising effort. For a special edition Coast To Coast Malt, send an email & I'll pass your order on.
Update 16th Dec 2010:
Well done to the "Extraordinarily Brave Duo" for raising over £3,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Fantastic news!
Eleanor and James Crossing Scotland Coast to Coast On An Expedition Tandem
An AdvancedFrame Expedition Tandem is just about to get sent up to Eleanor & her dad from Islay (on the West Coast Of Scotland) who are going to paddle 100km from the West Coast of Scotland (near Corran - Fort William) to Inverness on the East Coast.
They've got a month to get practicing before the trip which is in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Gerald Durrell Foundation for Endangered Species.
This review was posted on the UK Rivers Guide Book Forum, and appears here with the author, YvonneB's kind permission.
I know inflatables are viewed as rather naff in some quarters but many people look for a boat that does not need a lot of space to store and can be taken on planes, etc.
I was looking for a fun touring kayak to keep on our converted lifeboat without perching it on the roof. Previously I've done a bit of sea kayaking so got the taste for boats that are fairly fast and responsive.
My requirements were that it should track well, not be too slow, not be too heavy and preferably not look like a beach toy. After the usual obsessive internet research I decided to go for an Advance Elements AdvancedFrame, a 10 footer.
Comparisons for me are my Epic GP 12ft glassfibre touring boat, a great little boat, fast, light but obviously does not fit into a bag, and a Feathercarft Kahuna which I owned for a while. For anyone unfamiliar with Feathercraft, they are highly respected, but also highly expensive Canadian folding kayaks.
I tried the AdvancedFrame for the first time today and I have to say it is a fantastic little boat for the money.
Assembly was so easy, the stiffening bits at the ends are already inserted and stay there, with little ABS sheets that insert on the first assembly into pockets at the bow and stern. There are 9 tubes to pump up but it was all very easy and takes about 15 minutes. Everything is well made and good quality. Compared to the assembly of a Feathercraft there is no comparison. As 5ft 2 middle aged female I was able to handle this boat on my own, and apart from my Epic there are few boats that fit that criteria. One good feature is the carrying case which for once is high quality and big enough to get the kayak back into it without a struggle.
Some may be put off by the AdvanceFrame's 32" beam but don't be - it is not that wide at the waterline anyway and does not feel clumsy at all.
The cockpit is huge, easy to get in and out for anyone with limited flexibility. No footrests, but some people will be able to rest their feet on the front buoyancy. I found resting my knees against the coaming was reasonably comfortable but you could always improvise some sort of footrest like a closed cell foam block. The seat is the standard sit on top type seat and I will be fitting some lumbar support. The high seat back does clash a bit with my BA [buoyancy aid] but wasn't too much of an issue.
I was on flat water with a freshening breeze that got up to a F4-5 by the time I called it a day. It was not quite as fast to accelerate as the Epic, which after all is 2 feet longer, but reached a respectable speed and tracked astonishingly well, with excellent manoeuvrability. They must have done extensive design work on getting the built in skeg just right. Compared to the Kahuna I would say it tracked better, with the wind from any direction building to F5 I never had to fight to control the boat and there was absolutely no weather cocking. Naturally if I stopped I got blown about a bit but it handled that headwind as well as either of the two comparison boats if not better.
If at this point you are thinking "yes but what about edging and rolling" then this may not be the boat for you. You can edge it to enhance turns but it turns easily without. As to rolling I have no idea, I doubt it is relevant to this boat. Initial stability is of course very high. You would have to try very hard to capsize this boat, or be in really big water and then you would probably fall out. Other reviewers have found the rear deck re entry method works. Contrary to one review you may come across I did not find I got a damp bum although it apparently does let some drips in through the zips on the front deck. First time out with plenty of paddle splash my bum was bone dry after 45 minute paddling.
You can get a spray deck but I did not buy it as I wanted to see if my large Reed deck would work. It does but I imagine would be difficult to seal by yourself on the water. If you are planning paddling moving water or sea then the own brand spray deck may be a good idea. I'll probably get one for the winter. Of course you do get drips from your paddle. I just wore my Reed deck to keep my knees dry without sealing it which on the canal was fine.
The concept of an inflatable with added stiffening to produce a boat that is easy to assemble, highly forgiving, manoeuvrable and above all, straight tracking must represent a real breakthrough in the portable boat market, especially considering the price compared to other folders. It also looks rather nice, I think, like a high tech rucksack. These boats have an accessory 'spine' which is a metal stiffening rod - at my weight (10 stone) the boat performed perfectly well without it but some reviewers recommend it at all times and others for heavier paddlers (over 200lbs).
I bought my boat from Nick at www.advancedelementskayaks.co.uk - ordered on Monday afternoon it arrived on Wednesday. Overall I would say it is excellent for casual touring, fun and great value for money.
Well Done Team Laws: 7hrs 31 mins!
In May we sent down an Advanced Elements Lagoon for Ben Laws to use for his plan to complete a half ironman race at Emberton Country Park on 4th July. The race is now finished and a huge "Well Done" to Ben, who completed the half ironman race.
Ben swam the 1.2 miles followed by a 56 mile bike and finally a 13.1 mile run - towing, pulling and pushing his son Ewan, who has cerebral palsy all the way. A truly heroic effort!
Ben said that he was amazed at how many people asked about the (Lagoon) kayak. "People were looking at it - we left it inflated after I got out of the water - people were sitting it in - touching it, lifting it up- it caused quite a stir. The main talking points were:
1) How light and easily inflated it was.
2) How stable on the water it was.
3) Where could I get one and how much!!!
So it went very well. We have been asked a million times when the next race was - we raised over £4000 for charity which is excellent but the attention we got was amazing."
See the Team Laws website & it would be great if you can help support Ben with fundraising for his 3 chosen charities. The image shows Ewan's big sister (Olivia) during a training session.
The new RapidUp Sail has arrived, just a small batch, so be quick if you want one!
Supplied in a handy carry bag, the RapidUp sail attaches in seconds to your Advanced Frame kayak with 4 robust clips and small carabineer. A handy chord allows the RapidUp sail to be quickly "doused" in use & it can be secured under your deck-top bungee chords. RapidUp Sail details here. I can't wait to have a go!
Last Great Challenge Update
I sent an Advanced Elements Expedition Tandem down to Justin Miles, who along with John Wilton-Davies will be undertaking the Last Great Challenge Expedition later this year.
Support Team Laws!
Ben Laws has been training hard for a half ironman race to take place in July. Ben will swim the 1.2 miles followed by a 56 mile bike and finally a 13.1 mile run - towing, pulling and pushing his son Ewan, who has cerebral palsy all the way.
AirFusion Sea Paddle
The AirFusion had its first sea trial today under blue skies in a stiff NE breeze, with white caps on the waves & a 4 foot swell. The location was the Northern side if the Lleyn Peninsular. Some very dynamic paddling was called for to keep everything under control, but the AirFusion was a delight to paddle. It was a roller-coaster ride up an over the waves. I didn't get tipped, & kept on going back for more; paddle out & ride the surf back in. Well done AirFusion, top marks today!
Win an Advanced Frame Kayak on the Surviva Stand at the NEC Outdoor Show
The first Advanced Elements AirFusion (on the right) arrived & I had a chance to paddle it today. After identifying the poles that provide the Airfusion with is internal frame, the set up was just over 20 minutes. I should be able to improve on this once the correct positioning of the seat & foot rest has been identified.
The kayak was easy to lift & on the water it felt very smooth, accelerating easily to a comfortable cruising speed. I was delighted with its handling & performance. A sleek touring kayak for paddlers wanting a higher performing kayak than the Advanced Elements Expedition.
Last Great Challenge
I've sent an Advanced Elements Expedition Tandem down to Justin Miles, who along with John Wilton-Davies will be undertaking the Last Great Challenge Expedition later this year. The pair will attempt to become the first people to reach the South Pole and return, completely unsupported. No resupplies, no dog sleds, no kite skiing. Nothing. The longest unsupported polar journey in history!
They will be using the kayak for raising the profile of the expedition & for some fund raising activities in the run up to the big trip. You can see how Justin got on with the kayak on his blog.
New AdvancedFrame Sport
Advanced Elements have launched another new model for 2010, the AdvancedFrame Sport available in the Spring. The AdvancedFrame Sport Inflatable Kayak is a lightweight and compact version of the popular AdvancedFrame kayak. With a large cockpit opening for easy entry and exit, the proven aluminium ribs in the bow and stern provide increased paddling performance in this sporty new design.
New Advanced Elements AirFusion Kayak
Advanced Elements have some exciting new products for 2010! Take a sneak preview of the Advanced Elements AirFusion Kayak, due for launch in the Spring. A super stealth design, it is one of the most sophisticated inflatable kayaks we have seen, with all the convenience of an inflatable model. I can't wait to have a play!
StraitEdge Angler Kayak Update
Initial feedback from North Wales Kayak Fishing:
"....Having now used this kayak on the sea I can say it's superb. It was not adversely effected by the wind on the day in any way, it was every bit as good as the rigid kayaks."
"...That accessory bar looks a great idea, they have beaten the plastic yaks to market on that one."
"....Looks like it has passed with flying colours!..."
Featured On The Gadget Show!
This week on The Gadget Show Ortis Deley and Jason Bradbury go head to head in a full-on Extreme Wild Challenge! The challenge is a straight, hell for leather race across Derbyshire, with different sections for testing personal transport. Jason used an Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak for one leg of the race.
Sponsorship for 2010!
I am looking for a worthy project to sponsor for 2010. Send me details of your project & how you are going market it & I promise to get back to you.
Have a look at Mike Lamb's 2009 Kayaking Expedition Across Lake Malawi and Nigel West & Karen Ward's 2008 Thames Challenge (below) for previous projects that have been supported.
Inspire Worldwide kayak across Lake Malawi II
This is a report or Mike Lamb's 2009 kayaking expedition across Lake Malawi.
Kayaking Livingstone's Lake of Storms
In February 2009 the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust awarded me a fellowship to complete an expedition that I had been planning for several years. The expedition was to retrace a route taken by David Livingstone across Lake Malawi some 150 years ago. Along the way I wanted to use my skills and experience to make a difference to the country that was going to host me and so I arranged to meet and work with teachers and schools along the route. As a qualified teacher and carrying environmental education materials I hoped to make some kind of contribution.
When I was contacted by the Trust in February the serious planning started. I had only ever kayaked once or twice before and so learning the skills required for the journey became my first priority. Luckily the outdoor education department (Fred and Dan) at my school (Hurstpierpoint College) supported me with this, as did Martlet Kayak Club and their many instructors headed up by Dai Thomas. With their help and guidance I ventured from the warmth of the school swimming pool to the murky Ardingly Reservoir and eventually the unforgiving English Channel.
As well as learning to kayak, arranging the logistics for my travel and all the other planning required, it as essential that I sourced the right equipment and most importantly the right kayak for the job. I would be kayaking some 300km over approximately three weeks, carrying a substantial amount of kit in what could be considered 'sea' conditions. Despite being landlocked the lake can be incredibly dangerous and was once dubbed the 'Lake of Storms' by David Livingstone. July/August is also the windy season and swell of several metres is not at all unusual at this time of year. Not to mention that crocodiles, hippos and tropical diseases abound in the area.
During my training I was lucky enough to try several types of kayaks to start to get an idea of what would be required. However not only did I need the right vessel for the conditions but it soon became apparent that I would also have to get it there. Through my research I soon realised that a collapsible or inflatable kayak would provide the flexibility that I needed. The ability to pack the boat in a bag not only meant that the air travel would be easier but transport at both ends would be manageable and this also provided flexibility if there were problems on route.
I contacted various people and trawled forums and noticeboards finding the very useful www.foldingkayaks.org which has a regular group of knowledgeable contributors. Due to the cost of many folding kayaks I started to seriously consider an inflatable. Considered by many to be unresponsive, heavy and poor in the wind I was sceptical. On top of this availability in the UK was limited.
Luckily I stumbled across Advanced Elements who seemed to offer a top of the range 'hybrid-inflatable' that seemed to tick many of the boxes. Nick Pipe at Vortex, one of the few stockists in the UK, was very swift in his response and exceptionally helpful and enthusiastic about my adventure. He kindly offered to send down an Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Expedition kayak. To allay any concerns about whether it would have sufficient space for packing kit he offered to send it down with no obligation to buy as well as throwing in some extras for free. A very kind offer although I did feel a bit stupid sitting in one in my very small living room one Thursday evening in spring.
Practice paddles from Brighton beach soon showed that the kayak was very easy to assemble and launch, handled well in small waves and had enough space for the kit that I would need. The boat was very stable which was considered a huge benefit considering I would be carrying all of my kit and also as myself and my paddling partner were relatively inexperienced. It was also exceptionally easy to enter from the water. After several runs the kayak (and a second I had subsequently purchased) was deflated, cleaned and packed for Malawi. With a decent weight allowance (which is not supplied by South African Airways) you can check-in an Advanced Frame Expedition onto a plane as packed down it fits into a large holdall and weighs around 23kg. Despite the preparations I arrived at the lake still nervous as to how the three week long trip would progress.
Now sat some 350 km from where we started I feel content, satisfied and very tired. As an inexperienced kayaker I am unable to compare the kayaks that we used with many other models. However what I do know is that two inexperienced kayakers carrying all of our kit (around 30kg each) travelled over 300km on lake/sea conditions with swell up to two metres, covering over 30km on good days. The boats provided sufficient kit space, were very stable in swell and breaking waves and generally tracked well. In strong winds I am sure they didn't track as well as a hard shell kayak and probably required more effort to paddle, but for our purposes they were perfect.
The zips on top offered easy access to kit, even when on the water, although they did let small amounts of water drip in on long days. The inflatable floor and seat actually meant for a relatively comfortable seating position and when sitting the backbone running the length of the boat and any water in the bottom of the kayak could not be felt. The three part paddle was not the lightest but again it did the job adequately. Deck space on top allowed for a large bag meaning that we had enough kit to travel unassisted several days with no worries.
In summary, for the expedition that we carried out, the Advanced Frame Expedition did the job perfectly. I am sure that there are better boats out there, but if you don't have an endless amount of cash then these are great value for money. I sourced two new boats, paddles, backbones, seats and floors for less than I would have been able to buy one new collapsible kayak. Having completed the expedition only now can I feel smug about that. Clearly if you want to cross the Atlantic then don't buy one of these. Alternatively if you want something that packs away, is stable on the water and you are going to be using it on flattish water then these kayaks really should be considered. With summer now cooling off the kayaks are wrapped up in bags and packed away in the cupboard, but as soon as the sun shines I will be back down Brighton Beach, pump and paddle in hand.
For more information on this expedition and others see www.inspire-worldwide.com.
Download a copy of Mike's review of the Advanced Elements Expedition Kayak (PDF format 498kb).
A big thank you to Mike Lamb for this report on his kayak trip across Lake Malawi with feedback on how the Advanced Elements Expedition kayaks performed on the trip.
Advanced Frame Expedition
A great start to the season with some perfect paddling weather over the last few weeks. In all the heat it seemed that the best place to escape was on the water....
One of our best selling kayaks has been the Advanced Frame Expedition. The reviews speak highly of it and customer feedback has been simply fantastic.
It has been a while since I'd taken one out, so a quick drive through the mountains to find a quiet lake.
Set up is simple, straight out of the bag, 2 main chambers to inflate, floor, seat & deck combing & we are done in 5 mins. An adjustment to the foot rest and I'm away. So, so easy!
Under grey Snowdonia skies, the Advanced Frame Expedition whispered along with ease. The inflatable back rest gives plenty of support and the foot brace allows for very comfortable positioning of my long legs. Knee purchase against the upper deck area makes for easy paddling.
A quick tour of the lake, through the "narrows" & back before the skies threatened rain. Time for a quick exit. The Advanced Frame Expedition can be lifted out of the water by one, easily folded in seconds before throwing back into the boot of the car.
Inspire Worldwide kayak across Lake Malawi
This year we are providing some sponsorship to Mike Lamb from Inspire Worldwide who is padding across Lake Mawali this summer.
The seed of the idea was planted two years ago when Mike helped manage a project building a school in the rural Blantyre district of Malawi. "The day that they we handed over the school to the children was one of the most amazing days of my life. To see so many children so happy was a moment I knew I would never forget and it was then I vowed to return".
The plan is to kayak 250 kilometres along Lake Malawi retracing the route taken by David Livingstone during his initial exploratory expeditions. Mike plans to make undertake environmental education workshops along the way.
Baltic Buoyancy Aids & Lifejackets
We have had so much demand for buoyancy aids & life jackets for use with Advanced Elements Inflatables, that we have now added 2 new lines from Baltic.
Baltic Child Life Jacket 100N: For non-swimmers, the Baltic child's life jackets for children 15kg - 30kg. has an easy to adjust robust centre belt, sturdy locking Delrin zip and crutch strap keep the lifejacket in place.
Baltic Canoe Buoyancy Aid: For adults (swimmers), the Baltic Canoe Buoyancy Aid is a classic universal size canoe buoyancy aid for persons over 40kg. Single size in 3 different colours.
Thames Challenge 2008 Completed
On Sunday Nigel & Karen completed the Thames Challenge after just over 3 hours of paddling.
They arrived at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich having kayaked 18 miles of the River Thames.
"...Weather was brilliant, but the best bit was we raised over £2,000 for The Greenwich & Bexley Cottage Hospice".
They wished a big thank you to the RIB crew Steve, Mark, Sophie, Evelyn, Emily, Charlotte & Laura and to Mum back home who put together a fantastic homecoming tea - ..."you can stop worrying now!"
"Kayak was fantastic, very stable and easy to handle. Tide was very strong in Greenwich so we moored the RIB, pulled alongside, hoped in and deflated the kayak and pulled it into the RIB - I don't think we could have had a better boat quite frankly."
Well done Nigel & Karen!
Read Nigel's review of the Advanced Elements Convertible (526kb PDF format).
We have now received stock of the excellent WindPaddle, a self launching sail for your canoe, kayak or boat.
New to the UK, it is very neat. It stows either on-deck or below in a small coiled/folded package that is 1/8th of its original size. Combine this with the ability to be quickly launched and put away, while out on the water and you have a very easy to use sail.
New Lagoon Kayak
Replacing the DragonFly XC, Advanced Elements have released the Lagoon.
Packed away in its bag it looks very compact, so certainly no problems to keep it permanently in the car. It looks like this summer the Lagoon will get lots of use!
Unpacked, yes, very nice! Certainly not a cheap inflatable from the garage. The finish is very smart, with top deck bungee, paddle ties and the zip on the deck top mesh pocket even has a compass "zip pull". Advanced Elements really do pay attention to every detail.
The Lagoon is easy to inflate in just a couple of minutes. Remember to check that the foam floor protector is centred, and to turn the valves to the "inflate position" before starting to pump up.
Like on the 2008 DragonFly XC that preceded it, both of the inflation valves are now very conveniently located on the top surface of the kayak, behind the paddler. On inflation, the Lagoon feels very rigid, yet light enough to pick up to move to the water's edge.
So what is it like on the water? Well, importantly it tracks straight, the small skeg at the rear really helps. It is a delight to turn, it is actually quite nimble.
Stability is excellent, it will be very confidence inspiring for first timers. No problem to secure the paddle to the deck ties to stop & take some pictures while you are out on the water.
I liked the inflatable seat, very comfortable, it will also ensure that your "behind" stays dry, as it raises you off the kayak floor.
Packing away is simple, switch the valves to "deflate" and fold in the sides of the Lagoon. Then fold in the two ends, and then again in half, & it easily slips in to the carry bag in 30 seconds flat!
The instruction manual is clearly written & for those that don't "do manuals", don't worry, it is all pretty straight forward.
Stock of the Lagoon will be available this Spring. Looks like Advanced Elements have come up with another winner!
Thames Challenge 2008
Vortex, UK retailers of Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayaks are proud to be a sponsor of the Thames Challenge 2008!
We have provided Nigel & Karen with a brand new Advance Elements Convertible kayak.
The Advance Elements Convertible kayak is a 15 foot, 2 man inflatable kayak that will fold away to fit in to the boot of their car. Nigel & Karen will only need to inflate the kayak with a a foot pump and they can then be on the water in minutes. The bow slices through water like a knife and rivals the tracking of hard-shell kayaks.
With excellent stability, Vortex are confident that they have the very best Advanced Elements equipment available to help them succeed on their fund raising challenge.
We wish Nigel West & Karen Ward every success in their fund raising for the Greenwich & Bexley Cottage Hospice.