Cardiff International Whitewater Part 1

Having been a slalom paddler in my youth growing up in South Wales there was little in the way of white water and slalom gates on the doorstep! However that has now since been put right with the building of the Cardiff International Whitewater Center and what a great job they have done! It was opened in 2010 and straight away my father who was the inspiration behind all the years of slalom was raving about how good it was! Therefore it was not long before we had to take a trip back home to check it out!

It was decided that K and Jim would take to the kayaks in the morning and then a spot of two man rafting for Em and H to experience as they are not quite confident enough to take the course on single handed! We were to meet up with an old friend of the family from our slalom days called Hamish. Hamish still very much into his slalom paddling paddled a slalom boat, Jim in a Dagger Axiom and K borrowed a boat from friends and was a little apprehensive about what it would handle like, especially when even though only 5ft 2 1/2 could just about get her feet in !

The first stage was to get used to the boats on the flat at the bottom of the course. Being a little apprehensive having not been on whitewater for a good 6 years it was time to test the roll and stopper surfing on the bottom fall!

Testing the roll just incase!
Stopper surfing bottom fall

All was feeling good on the bottom fall so it was time to tackle the course! The conveyor belt ride to the top is very convenient and gives you plenty of time to try and control the nerves! Having paddled many courses around the World this was something of a momentous occasion paddling on home turf!

Since paddling the course in September it has been changed. This is the advantage of moveable obstacles you can create what you want. However the top fall throws you into it straight away! The course is designed for slalom and I was beginning to feel right at home!

The middle part of the course has tight fall with great breakouts and then quite a technical section with a stopper across the middle not far after that. The first run down was used to memorise each section and to settle any nerves that were around at the start.

 The latter part of the course is mixed with stoppers waves, great breakouts and a bottom fall to finish. The second and third runs down were spent crossing from break out to break out and surfing what waves were about.

 The course is shared access with big rafts. This is a great way of allowing all to access the thrills of the rapids! It is also good fun watching the fear turn to excitement on the faces of those in the raft!

As we were to experience a two person rafting package in the afternoon it was important not to tire ourselves out so a few more runs and it was time to head for the cafe for lunch. Cym, John and Auntie Di had since come down to watch us brave the rapids in the afternoon and also I have no doubt to enjoy the entertainment!

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