Pyranha Logo
facebook twitter vimeo




Dee River Festival 2012

The inaugural Dee River Festival took place on 24th/25th March, at Mile End Mill on the Dee.

Whilst the rain gods were otherwise engaged meaning low water levels, this did mean that the sun was out in force for the entire weekend making for an incredibly relaxed weekend of boating, beers and banter.

Beth going old-skool in Pyranha’s latest offering – the Jed S.

Friday night kicked off with a sneak preview of a few chapters of the forthcoming Welsh Rivers Guidebook. If you weren’t able to make the event, a draft copy of the first couple of chapters should be available in the Kayaks North West shop for the next month or two. This was then followed up by the UK premiere of the inspirational film Hanuman Airlines, chronicling Sanu Babu Sunuwar’s epic Himilayan adventure. Nominated for National Geographic Adventurer of the year, Babu climbed Everest, paraglided off the summit, flew to the Sun Kosi River, then paddled to the Indian Ocean with all manner of adventures along the way.
The highlight of Saturday’s paddling had to be the attainment race, up the course and back down again. This was nominally won by Andy Butler, but since more than half the field cheated (by portaging instead of paddling certain sections of the course) the true prize really should go to Craig Ayres and Sam Ellis, who manage to power up the tricky course using paddle power alone.

Sam Ellis powers up the hardest move of the attainment race course.
Saturday night’s entertainment saw the introduction of a new competitive speaking concept. The DRF talk battle saw two teams of four take it in turns to stand up and wax lyrical for no more than 10 minutes before the audience voted for which talk they’d most enjoyed. Subjects ranged from recent (and some not so recent) expeditions, to why you should get out and explore, with Pete Woods even distributing various Laotian foodstuffs in a cunning attempt to curry favour during his double act on the Mekong Delta with Tom McClay.

Amazing Dave showing the winning team’s finely crafted trophy following the Saturday Night talk battle
A charity auction closed official proceedings for the night, with the inimitable Tom Parker taking the auctioneers role with style, with a lump hammer instead of an auctioneers gavel. Whilst the headline lot of the night was a one-off Pyranha Jed, the highlight had to be some furious bidding for a custom Dee River Festival Peak-UK BA, going for nearly 150% the RRP. Epic.

Sunday saw an even more relaxed pace to Saturday, with the majority appearing late in the morning nursing some sore heads. This still left time for the Pyranha king of the wave competition in the afternoon, where instead of the usual last-boat-on-the-wave wins approach, the winner was deemed the person who looked like they had the most fun.

All manner of oldskool moves and plenty of swims ensued – some deliberate, some not so (eh, Lowri), with the biggest grin (and hence win) of the session deservedly going to Kirsty Hannant.

Kirsty picking up the king (or should it be queen) of the wave trophy from the lovely Lauren

My personal highlight of the weekend was finally getting to have a go on one of these new-fangled stand-up paddleboards. Ant Ing has just started importing White Water boards into the country, and was on-hand to run a few taster sessions. I can conclusively state that they are much easier to stand up and surf than a Loki.

Ant, showing us how it’s done. Photo – Stuart Bingham

Massive thanks to Pete, Emma and the other organisers for putting a lot of effort into making it such a great event. Bring on next year!