On the road to the Storm Gathering symposium there was another kind of gathering. Under the Connel bridge near Oban runs the world famous Falls of Lora tidal feature. When Loch Etive empties at the restriction that the area near the bridge forms, it creates standing waves and very confused water.
Normally the scene for play boats, Justine wanted to see how sea kayaks would perform here. On the biggest tide of the year that would surely produce some interesting things to film for her upcoming This is the Sea 3.
It soon becomes clear who are the experts on this 'river-like' tidal phenomenon. Nick Cunliffe, Aled Williams and Mike ? are not intimidated by the extreme strong currents, eddies and whirlpools and impress with long surfs on the front wave and excellent active boat control; river paddling in sea kayaks. Nick manages an almost complete pop-out.
My adrenaline runs high. Shaking knees after my first runs. I swam three times, rolled some more. But I managed some seconds surfing the front wave; thank you Alun for 'picture-proof' of this! And I turned 360 degrees at a 45 degree angle stern-down in a whirlpool; an introduction to vertical bracing... I learned a bit, so I was not only 'tide-race' fodder!
The pictures were taken by Mark Tozer and Alun Hughes.
Intimidating? Just wait for This is the Sea 3, premiering March 2007.
The Falls of Lora is, to my current knowledge, the first tide-race that has it's own kayak related website: www.fallsoflora.info
Friday 6 October 2006
© A.M. Schoevers