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More French Alps Action!

Put simply, I love paddling in the French Alps!  The water is clear and cool, the sun is bright and warm and the paddling is spectacular and often very continuous.  I have been travelling to this region for nearly 10 years now and it was the first place I visited with my boat outside of the UK all those years ago.


The clear waters of the Middle Guil


Triple Step – Middle Guil – Photo Rachel Burke

The paddling out here is generally fun and friendly with plenty of whitewater to keep everyone entertained.  I initially met up with some old friends of mine who had already been out there nearly two weeks and were coming to the end of their trip.   They wanted to paddle some of the remaining hard runs and fancied getting on the Durance Gorge on the morning of my arrival.  This was hardly the warm up that I was hoping for, but at least I was in good company.

This was the first time in a few years that I had decided to take a freestyle boat out with me too and even though the region is not particularly known for its freestyle it was great to have this option available.


Throwing down in the Jed – Photo Rachel Burke

I managed to spend quite a bit of time on the wave at Embrun and even though I don’t think I ever caught the wave in prime conditions, it was awesome to surf this superfast wave and to try and throw some big moves!


The Z.One was perfect for carving up the wave!

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Be careful where you put your feet in the eddy in Embrun!

After two weeks of personal paddling I then met up with a group that had arranged to have me coach them during their trip.  With the Durance being a firm favorite for many of the paddlers, we managed to get through all of the easier sections of the river as well as some of the team tackling the Gyronde, Ubaye and also the Guil.


We did however have a minor epic when we had two swimmers in the infamous Chateau Queyras section of the Guil.  Safe to safe everyone came out scratch free, boats were recovered using some ninja rescue skills and one member of the team even got to experience a little bit of the via feratta too!  Im sure a video of their footage will follow at some point in the future.


Chateau Queyras, River Guil – Photo Tom Davies


Carnage! Photo – Molly Zeidler

After all this time I still am in love with this area, it just seems to keep giving me some great days out and some memorable experiences, I hope in 10 years time I am still coming back and introducing more people to the delights that this area has to offer.