DW Kit Choices

Ben Brown and I have for some unknown reason decided to have a shot at the 30 year old DW record this year. We both are aware that unless the conditions are very favourable in terms of flow on the Thames then the record is pretty much untouchable but nonetheless we are going to give it a shot.

To give ourselves the best opportunity we will be looking at equipment and kit to find the best out there. Anything we can do to give ourselves a better chance we will do.
First thing to sort out is obviously a boat. There are many on the market but as I am the UK Nelo dealer and Ben is a sponsored Nelo paddler we have obviously looked at the Nelo first.
Boat choice is going to be very specific to the crew, so it is never going to be a one size fits all approach here. We are both pretty competent paddlers with a good background of paddling top end boats, stability is not an issue for us but should be a first concern for those who have little or no experience in kayaks.

The Nelo Vanquish3 is the latest incarnation in the Vanquish series, the new boat designs with no width restrictions make paddling in the back an absolute joy compared to the fat boats of days gone by.
Construction quality on the Nelo is second to none and fittings etc are secure and reliable.
One change we will make from the standard boat is to fit our own full width front footrest so there is more room for steering with shoes on than in the standard boat with flanges that restrict foot movement.
The second is that we will use a standard K1 rudder as again it reduces the chances of picking up weed as well as being smaller and less vulnerable to being knocked when portageing. Nelos E construction is the lightest in their range and the boat should come in at around 12 kg before the compulsory kit is added! It is also the most robust of all the manufacturers lightweight ranges. It does not use a honeycomb core as is common to other brands so delamination after impact is negated or at worst reduced to a minimum.

In terms of size we have opted for the XXL which is one size too big for us in theory. The reason for the upgrade is that we do not want the bow too deep on the canal picking up weeds and leaves nor do we want to be swamped on the tideway should we meet with a partyboat or river taxi. It will take us some time to work out relative seating positions to optimise the run on the boat but all that will come in time.
We have opted to Ben in the front of the boat as he is both fitter and stronger, the boat runs pretty well and he is probably the tougher of the two of us. Both of us will be open to experimentation though if things are not working out.
For paddles we both are pretty much tied in to the brands we sell. I would say though that we have both ended up selling the brands we would choose to use anyway though.
I am paddling with the Epic mid wing at about 218-220 and Ben will have the Jantex Gamma.
Again the reality is that if something works better we will go for it so if both of us using the same paddle feels better then that will outweigh any brand loyalty. It is worth saying that I normally use the Epic Mid Large wing with a stiff shaft, for the race I will go down a blade size and use the mid stiff shaft to take the load off a little. Overgearing on the paddle is very hard to deal with when the reserves run low!

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Nelo Ocean Ski Viper 2
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