CSCC Reports 2007: Trip to Spain - August 2007

At last have found the time to report on my trip to Spain last August. Should have done so before the Christmas party and given myself a chance to win a bottle of wine! Smiley

Anyone who fancies paddling in nice warm temperatures (no necessity for a cag even) good food and drink at cheap prices and some great local culture would find it hard to beat a Summer trip to Spain.

Had a great week paddling out there on a Kayakojacko holiday with 3 days surfing up on the North Coast before heading down to the Pyrenees for 3 days on the rivers. The N. coast beaches are a Mecca for surfers with a choice of breaks so there is usually some surf to be had. The weather in the North of Spain was warm but a bit overcast and showery which was a blessing in disguise as it emptied the beaches which, on the day we arrived, were packed and maiming Spanish children in the surf wasn’t doing much for Anglo-Spanish relations.

The week was very well organised. Delivered kit to KJ a couple of days beforehand and they drove it out, picked us up from the airport in Bilbao ferried us around and dropped us back at Barcelona airport, organised all the accommodation and food, brought back all the kit and most of all provided good coaching. Dennis Newton is a level 5 coach for both surf and whitewater and I reckon he must be one of the best paddlers and coaches in the country. The way it was organised was perfect for those, like me, who want to get the max out of their days off work as we paddled every day apart from the day we moved from the beach to the hills.

Like Spain itself, it was all very laid back and a really great holiday with good company. Apart from myself there were 3 others all from York Canoe club. August is fiesta time so there was plenty of evening entertainment while taking in a few beers. Dennis was very keen that everyone should get the max out of every day. He likes to start early with evening debriefs, video analysis and group/team discussions, but he also understood it was a summer holiday so if anyone wanted to put their feet up for a day or half day then that was totally fine too.

On the N Coast we stayed near Santilliana. It was my first time surfing and although I’m only starting to get the hang of it (the edging seems all the wrong way around) I’m hooked. I can definitely see this becoming the moving water paddling I’ll do the most in the future… why?

1. No access problems
2. Freezing weather and sitting on over-crowded motorways in mid-winter is losing appeal
3. Laid back life of a surf bum has attractions!!
4. Also fits in better with family life – my wife doesn’t paddle but always happy to spend time on the beach.

Having surfed Sat, Sun and Mon we then moved to the Pyrenees on Tuesday where we paddled in hot and sunny weather on Wed, Thurs and Fri. We stayed in Campo right by the beautiful Esera, with the Gallego being 1.5 and the Noguera Palleresa being about 2 hours drive away. We chose not to go to the well known slalom site at Sort (N. Palleresa) mainly because we all liked the Esera and wanted to spend as little time in the vehicle as possible

Being dam release rather than snow melt the river water wasn’t cold (geez I’m becoming a real wimp these days). On the Esera there is plenty of choice from Grade 2 to 5, though we kept to grade 2/3 sections. Similar to alpine rivers they are fast and a lot can happen quickly so I was glad we didn’t explore above those levels. Anyway my backstroke didn’t need any practice. Spectacular scenery, great culture, warm weather and cheap food and drink all make Spain a brill paddling destination.

Photos here…