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DW Kit trials

DW The beginnings

 I am an old hand now at racing, I know what I like and I know what I dont like when it comes to kit and equipment, DW though it seems brings its own requirements and puts me back on the learning curve.
We did our first longish run in K2 the other day from Longridge down to Elmbridge, 26 miles in zub zero temperatures, I can think of better ways of spending my Sundays. Anyone who knows me will know I race in bare feet, they are more comfortable in the boat, steering is easier and to be fair they grip as well as anything else on muddy portages.
Even I have to concede though that 76 portages may be too much even for my feet. A couple of cuts and bruises can be ignored for an hour or so but possibly not for an overnighter!
So the hunt for the perfect shoe is on.
Day one saw the Five Finger shoes come out.
Designed to be as close to bare feet in terms of function as possible these neoprene shoes with rubber sole looked like the perfect compromise. Certainly walking across the field to put the boat in was comfortable enough and even sitting in the boat they did not feel too weird. The thickness in the heel did make it feel like I had less connection with the boat but you cant have everything.

So far so good.
On the portages they did not slip on my feet thanks to the double Velcro fastenings that keep the shoe very well attached to your foot, things are looking good. Only an hour in though and the major problem began to show.
In these shoes your toes are separated into their own little compartments like fingers in a glove, though this gives great feel for the footrest it does not help in the temperature department. The heat from the rest of your foot does not radiate into the toe compartments and pretty soon my toes had no feeling at all and all the benefits of the shoes design were lost.
So it is back to the drawing board. I am open to any recommendations from those with more experience than me.
If on the day of the race the temperature is high enough I may well use these shoes but anything even remotely cold ad they are going to have to be shelved. For the record they are not cheap but are well made, they are the best shoe I have ever had in terms of giving you a good feel for the boat but the downside outweighs all that.
On a more positive note though I can confidently say I have already found the best spraycover for the job.
The Tripper zip deck is a joy, with the Velcro fixing at the waist and the elastic ties down the length of the deck this is one deck that does not get under your bum when you sit down after a portage!
Also the because the elastic hols the sides apart there is always enough tension in the fabric to allow the zip to move easily either undoing or doing up.
The overall look may be a little untidy compared to those decks with no elastic tensioners but this deck really works. No contest this is a winner. Tripper also make a great non zip deck for the tideway section of the course, with a rigid section behind the paddler this deck is easy to put on even with cold hands and is the most waterproof I have seen to date.
Dont mess with anything else.
There will be more kit appraisals as we progress and I am happy to try anything that is out there if there are suggestions ort recommendations.

Just drop us an email and we will do the rest!


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