Tryweryn Canoe Fest '12

By Pete Dollman

Celebrating adventure at Tryweryn Fest 12, a gathering of outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.

This weekend saw the 2012 Tryweryn Fest kick off at North Wales’ premier summer boating venue, and with timely rain meaning there would be water for both days of the weekend as well as good levels on a few other rivers in the area things were looking good for a summer weekend's boating and partying!

A whole host of races and events, from freestyle to river racing and beyond were planned across the weekend to keep paddlers and spectators alike entertained. The freestyle comp got things stated on Saturday, followed by the Fire it Up space hopper slalom / boatocross which was a fun twist on the traditional downriver race with competitors racing in group heats down the course with space hoppers suspended high above the eddies which all had to be hit with a paddle in order to score a clean run.

Next up was the King of the Wave comp, some excellent old school moves were thrown down to impress a crowd who braved a Scotland-level midge attack to watch the spectacle, made all the more exciting by the added hazard of rafts piling through the wave mid-run!

The final event of the day had seen much bemusement and excitement build during the day- confused people throughout the afternoon wandered over to have a look at the Alpkit stand to be faced with not the usual selection of shiny new outdoors kit but a tottering pile or cardboard, tape and zip ties- essential supplies for the preparation of craft for the inaugural Alpkit Card-board-o-cross! Interest in the race ran high with a buzz of activity around and several very interesting boats taking shape.

The race was simple, no constraints on construction, any shape or style of cardboard watercraft was allowed, the only definite rule was no use of varnish for waterproofing and the boat and paddler had to make it the length of the course through the chunky Chapel Falls hole and into the eddy below to grab a floating drybag and claim the win!

The course seemed to favor low profile boats with first and second prize going to a paddle board and hydrospeed style craft respectively, third place was scooped by the first ‘boat shaped’ boat which styled some impressive lines through the course then attempted to paddle back into Chapel Falls for a victory surf after completing the course! Spot prizes were awarded for style points, carnage and commitment, and competitors and spectators all seemed to enjoy the spectacle, with plans already being hatched on the way back up to the festival for next year's race...

The evening entertainment was provided by the legendary River Legacy crew who as always didn’t disappoint providing great tunes, cask ales, a fantastic band, tasty eats provided by Pie Minister and the Fire it Up space hoppers getting a second outing as the must-have dance floor accessory, much fun.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny, and with a water release guaranteed for the Tryweryn there were plans afoot for more watery mayhem including a duo rolling challenge to blow away the party induced cobwebs, but unable to resist the lure of some sunny Welsh paddling we threw our boats into the van and headed out for a rare summertime blast on one of North Wales' classics on the way home, taking advantage of the unseasonal water levels.

Big thanks to the organizers and everyone who came along and made the event what it was, we had a great weekend!

Loads of pics online at our Facebook page...

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