Crewsaver Petfloat Dog Buoyancy Aid – Product Feature

Crewsaver Petfloat Dog Buoyancy Aid – Product Feature

CREWSAVER DESIGNER, BETH GILL ON THE POPULAR PETFLOAT

Find out how Beth’s background and experience bought her to Crewsaver and her involvement in developing the popular Petfloat

About Beth… Beth started off by working as a machinist for a clothing manufacturer, which inspired her to complete a master’s degree in performance sportswear. As part of her degree Beth took up a work experience opportunity at Crewsaver, during this time Beth took the lead role on the redesign of the Petfloat buoyancy aid and completed her dissertation on the innovative developments. On completion of her dissertation Beth then joined Crewsaver as a full time employee.

When was Crewsaver founded and how has it evolved since? How would you describe the philosophy behind the brand?

Crewsaver are experts in the design and manufacture of personal flotation devices for marine use, whether it be for adults,
children or even your beloved four legged friend, we will have a lifejacket or buoyancy aid to suit. Crewsaver was founded
in 1957 and our brand ethos is ‘safer by design’ which is something that we are passionate about and take to heart. Our
design team is always looking to push the boundaries in design to offer the safest products on the market, whilst delivering
the ultimate in comfort. This ensures the user wears their lifejacket or buoyancy aid happily for long periods of time. After all,
a lifejacket or buoyancy aid is only going to work if worn!

What is the story behind the Petfloat? What inspired its design?

Here at Crewsaver we want to ensure your loved ones don’t
miss out on a day around (and in!) the water with you. Humans
shouldn’t be the only species that are kept safe whilst on the
water. From the soft foam construction to the development of
the ergonomic shape, a lot of the key inspirations for the Crewsaver Petfloat
were drawn from the Crewsaver (and Crewsaver’s paddling
brand, Yak) buoyancy aid range that I am also heavily involved
in designing.

Where is this Petfloat designed? What is it made of?

The Petfloat is fully designed at Crewsaver HQ in Hampshire, UK the same as all Crewsaver products. The core component of
the Petfloat is the super soft foam which ensures that it moulds to the pet’s body and remains comfortable to wear throughout
the day.

 

 

What are the strengths of this Petfloat that truly set it apart?

As with all of our products, we have put a lot of thought into the design of the product. We wanted to design something that
was as safe as possible whilst ensuring superior comfort. The soft closed-cell foam provides your pet with their own buoyancy
aid which works to reduce fatigue when in the water either during an emergency or for general in-water play. The low profile
design is comfortable, easy to fit and includes an integral handle that provides a load spreader lift point, perfect for when your
pet decides to go for a swim! The Petfloat also comes with a handy pocket for lead and disposable bag storage.

How have floating devices evolved and improved over the last few years?

The Petfloat has developed into a number of different things, in particular our work with the military has lead us to design a
specialist Petfloat for military application and also a Petfloat with an integrated harness point so that the dog can be airlifted if
required.

Did you test the Petfloat with various types of dogs in real-life scenarios?

Absolutely, this is vital for the products development. After
an extensive design process, we spent many weekends
in Southsea approaching people and much to their
amusement… borrowing their dogs to test the Petfloat!
We also have a great video on Petfloats which we did with
the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) below, you will see a
variety of dogs comfortably swimming and staying safe in
the Petfloat.

Since designing the Petfloat what has this lead on to?

The Crewsaver internship opened up many unusual and wonderful
projects for me. Crewsaver is the only company to hold an exclusive
contract to supply lifejackets to the UK government’s Environment
Agency and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and I can
proudly say that I have been involved with both. A very recent project
of ours and one that has involved over 18 months of development
are the custom buoyancy aids for America’s Cup Challenger, Artemis
Racing. From built in body armour to spare air integration points these
unique buoyancy aids offer the very best in racing performance. A lot of
technology found in our leisure range (Crewsaver and paddling brand,
Yak) has been inspired from developments made within our commercial
sector and also with our top sponsored athletes. For example the
ErgoFit 50N Extreme buoyancy aid, as designed for Artemis Racing will
soon be made available to purchase, giving everybody the opportunity
to benefit from the same advanced safety and performance technology
as an America’s Cup sailor!

Crewsaver Petfloat

Crewsaver Petfloat

Kokopelli Packraft Micro-Adventure

Kokopelli Packraft Micro-Adventure

AS owner Mitch and staff member Liam found sometime to have a Monday Microadventure in the Kokopelli Packrafts. We tested the Nirvana spraydeck and the Nirvana self bailer and we just love how easy, packable and enjoyable they are! #microadventure ….Coffee + Bus upstream + 13km paddle downstream = Great times!

 

Packrafting Microadventure

AS owner Mitch and staff member Liam found sometime to have a Monday Microadventure in the Kokopelli Packrafts. We tested the Nirvana spraydeck and the Nirvana self bailer and we just love how easy, packable and enjoyabe they are! #microadventure ....Coffee + Bus upstream + 13km paddle downstream = Great times!Order yours: https://www.aswatersports.co.uk/shop/product_info.php?products_id=3699For advice 01392 219600

Posted by AS Watersports on Monday, 26 November 2018
Lettman Manta – Customer Review

Lettman Manta – Customer Review

Thanks to local paddler Charles Mitchell for his words on the the New Lettmann Manta.

“Having paddled a Dagger Axiom 8.5 since September 2016, I decided that I ought to get a larger
volume boat. On reading that the Manta had a slalom pedigree I was very interested coming from a
slalom background.

I paddled a few boats at AS Watersports on the canal including the Manta. It looked narrower at
the front than I had expected and was the nicest to paddle on the flat water with a good snug fit
once sitting in it.

First run, the Dart on the Loop, was at a good level with the slab covered. For such a long boat it is
incredibly quick on the turn. If you catch a patch of slower moving water, while travelling down a
rapid, it wants to turn but as long as you are driving it forward it holds its line. Going into eddies it
likes to be driven with aggression and then turns very rapidly, as quick as the Axiom. Eddies with
lots of boil and standing waves are also taken in its stride without any problems. Ferry glides and
high crosses were carried out with speed and precision, again the important thing was to drive the
boat where you wanted to go.

Second run was on the Upper Dart, slab covered and, as it turned out, rising. I had not done the
Upper at this level before. My previous highest level was just lapping on the slab. This trip was
more full on with little or no breaks between rapids and much bigger holes and drops. Bearing in
mind it was my first day on white water in the Manta it inspired confidence, handling the conditions
well, and where I made mistakes the Manta’s design allowed for correction and recovery.
Summing up, the outfitting is simple but effective. Once in the boat, with the back rest pulled in,
you feel at one. Even upside down there is no tendency to fall out as you are firmly part of the boat.
It certainly put a smile on my face, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a boat for someone who likes to take
control and enjoys the challenge of big water.”

 

 

Silverbirch Broadlands 15 Duralite – Customer Review

Silverbirch Broadlands 15 Duralite – Customer Review

I was given
the opportunity to ‘test drive’ the Broadland 15 following a chance conversation with Liam at AS Watersports a few months ago. All they wanted in return was an honest review and a few photos. Well, I knew the Spey was on the cards again but not until September…

  • Could I wait that long?
  • Would it still be around?
  • Was it worth sacrificing the comforts afforded from my Explorer 15 after years of tweaking?

I wasn’t sure
at first, but the answer was most definitely yes to all of the above. I should
say I’m no expert, whatever that maybe, but I have been mucking about in canoes
and kayaks for approximately thirty years with the last eight or so solely in a
canoe.

This review
is a personal opinion based on my experiences, with a bit of input from my
tripping companions Clive, Graham, Matt S, Matt R, Paul, Nick, Pauline and
Dave; between us a mixture of 3, 4, and 5 star paddlers. A big thank you for
their practical and photographic input, especially Matt Rea for his expert
stalking along the way, you’ll find his photographic work if you follow the
link here: http://www.stinkingdaisy.co.uk/

The first test for me has to be the carry and load test – how easy is it
to load on top of my L
andy?  Well
loading is easy, relatively speaking, it is no more difficult than loading
my Explorer. Carrying wise, like any boat it just needs a bit of
personalisation, some padding on the yolk for me is essential.

The second test is my wobble test, no matter how secure or far back I
place my Royalex Explorer on the roof bars the front end will shake about and
‘wobble’ anything above 30mph. The Broadland felt and looked rigid, even on the
motorway at the supersonic speeds my Landrover does! Well ok it got tested to
about 55 or 60 mph and gave me no reason for concern.

Finally the third and fourth pre
paddling
tests included a visual inspection and comparison with other boats and its
packability.
Well it’s a nice looking boat, this
one is blue; there’s a reason they choose blue for catering plasters! Amongst
the
 beautiful and slightly wild backdrop you get from the River Spey
surroundings, I did initially feel I stood out somewhat, not helped by the fact
that, unintentionally, everything I was wearing and carrying seemed also to be
blue!! It could have been worse of course, it could have been pink 😉 I
understand Silverbirch offer flexible colour options, (including pink) on this
occasion it was just what AS Watersports had available. I prefer to go for the
faster green boats!

It has simple lines with what seems like a prospector cut and I like the
groove line just under the gunnel, I’m not sure it does anything but it’s a
nice touch. It has a flat bottomed hull which seemed to have some very gentle
lateral ripples in, I’m not sure how much use this boat has had and in what
conditions, it will be interesting to know how this fares in the future. I am
being critical, as this is a review, but it was certainly no cause for concern.
The Duralite plastic is tough for its weight, it is a short 15 and on the
narrower side with a short freeboard. As for packability, well loaded with four
days worth of gear for a solo paddler, it was absolutely fine. I was carrying
all the usual stuff; camping gear, cooking gear, clothes, all the paraphernalia
we seem to collect as open boaters and it fitted fine and without upsetting
performance.

So how did it fare on the river? As an ‘off the shelf’ set up, (I think)
the seats seemed further in towards the centre of the boat than I’m used to
,
AS Watersports kindly fitted a kneeling thwart which, to allow room for rear seat,
was set at approx
350mm from the yolk. Some of the larger guys in
the group found this a bit tight, it was perfect for me however, and with this
in
 mind with some personalised outfitting think
it’s certainly a great solo boat. As a tandem it works but with larger adults
just seemed a bit small. Smaller adults or youngsters might benefit from this
for day or weekend paddles, you’d need to pack diligently for tandem multi day
expeditioning.

I had no difficulty keeping up with the Explorers,
Esquif Avalon, and new Voyager Prospector canoes.
I’m not so sure how I would fare on longer slower rivers such as the
Thames, the Broadland 16 a likely better option here?

 

This is a manoeuverable boat whilst still feeling very stable and
forgiving. It will turn on a sixpence when edged enough and
I had no trouble picking and following a chosen line down bigger water,
indeed picking a line and being maneu
verable was essential if I wanted to
stay dry due to what seemed
like quite a low
freeboard! Pushing directly through a wave train guaranteed a wetting, even
quartering and maneuvering smaller waves didn’t guarantee staying dry due to
the low cut; I wonder what adding just a inch all round would do? (disclaimer,
better paddlers might stay dry?)

In the rapids, (no more than grade two on this trip) the Broadland 15 wants to be playful, I was happily eddy hopping, crossing big waves and I even found a little bit of surf from one feature, not enough to really judge but what I caught was fun.

The Broadland immediately instilled me with confidence, as a smaller weedy, (I weigh at best eight and a half to nine stone) paddler this boat fitted me well and I would happily recommend to the slight paddler, (male or female) as well as perhaps making an excellent first boat for a younger paddler, (I have my eleven year old daughter in mind) I’m putting it on my wish list

Additional Review By Team Members Graham Thomas & Nick Davies

My usual open canoe of choice is a Royalex Mad River Legend which is narrower than most and flat bottomed which makes it slower as a tourer but great in moving water. So the first noticeable point which I liked in the Silverbirch Broadland 15 Duralite was how narrow it is. This makes it great for easy cross deck work and weight transfer for maneuvers. Its prospector style hull shape makes it track really well and has good cruising speed.  The hull feels really stiff and rigid with no flex which is a tribute to the Duralite material.

It was difficult to really compare how well it manoeuvred compared to my Legend and the other canoes I paddled on the Spey partly because we were all carrying a weeks gear and the others all had fitted matting which gave more confidence for bigger edging and better boat contact. However once you are in a stable position it behaved well although I did feel the gunwales are a bit low for bouncier sections and it would take on a little water while quartering.

Graham Thomas

Level 4 WW Leader.

My thoughts
The boat tracked well, has a low gunnel, but ok for grade 2ish stuff a bit more rocker would help its manoeuvrability, (big word for me) but other-wise nice shape and paddle, oh and the seats are a bit tight if you want a kneeling thwart.
Nick Davies

4 Star River Leader

 

 

Werner Nantahala – Customer Review

Werner Nantahala – Customer Review

I have used Werner paddles for over 10 years now and they have never let me down.
My Favourite canoe paddle is the Nantahala, I use it for white water and open water canoe paddling.
It is really light but incredibly strong, I have bashed off many rocks and pushed myself along punting off the river bed with no problems at all.


The white blade is easy to see if you drop it in the water, as well as giving signals from a long way away.
The blade is symmetrical so it pulls and cuts though the water really easy with no change in direction.

The glass shaft is very strong; I use my gunwale to guide the paddle and to pry off, the paddle handles this with no problem.

The shaft is slightly oval so it makes it easier to get a good grip when transferring the power.
The shape of the blade gives instant power but with a slight flex in the shaft it’s very controllable with no flutter.
I use the Nantahala for white water and open water, I find touring with it no problem due to the lightness of the paddle, and it’s also really useful if it is bit windy just to get that extra power.
The T grip gives control and comfort; I glue and rivet mine into place once I have set it to the right size.

There are many different guides to sizing your paddle, but I think it is a lot to the type of paddling you do and your body size, I like a shorter paddle length which allows me to recover it quickly, but I gain power though my body and tactical paddling, if you go for a longer paddle then you gain on leverage but movement is a bit slower to recover.
I am quite a stocky paddler, my height is 175cm tall and my paddle is 143cm long which is about 7cm below my chin, I generally paddle with short stokes and keep my hand about 4cm above the gunwale as a norm.
The best thing to do is try different shaft lengths and see what suits, before you cut your paddle!

My best stroke for the Werner is Forwards power with a Stern Pry to get maximum power and control which in turn gets the canoe moving and gives you steerage.
This is a paddle which I would highly recommend and will last a lifetime. 

Bring Back the Flair! – Tom Rainey

Bring Back the Flair! – Tom Rainey

I’ve only just returned from my trek across the Atlantic, but I’m already dreaming of my next paddle on the water. Since being on solid ground all I’ve dreamt of is kayaking. But, due to not doing it for a while, I have a lot to work on before I can hit up rivers such as the Little White in the US or the Teigdalen in Norway.

I am starting from scratch. Back to basics, and making it as hard as I can for myself. That means no big volume boats, no super forgiving displacement hulls, but sharp whippy boats that teach you the fundamental basics of white water kayaking.

You know the dart. But how well do you really know it?

Everyone in the South West likes to comment on what level they’ve run the dart at. But why does that matter? I’ve seen logs go down it at 7th step! And logs are terrible at fine art kayaking.

You want to impress the girls? Carve some lines, make ridiculous break outs, treat small drops like 60 footers and peel out into the flow and boof them like no mans business.

 
Small hole, deadly consequences.

Summer 2012 – I thought that I knew what it took to run a big drop. But I underestimated the basic, simple and vital tools to run a waterfall. The small hole at the top which you can see me goating my way through led to what was a catastrophic crash down one of Norways most notorious drops – The Teigdalen Double Drop.

What I’m trying to say is, forget the photo glory of flying off waterfalls if you haven’t mastered the small stuff.
So, what’s my advice?
Re-think how you view the river. Instead of crashing down and feeling success having mainlined the rapids, why not look for a new line you’ve never tried before?

It must be nearing a 300+ runs down the upper dart for myself, but every time, I look for a new line. That’s only recent, but it’s a way of trying to better yourself each time.

 
Reconsider how you view the river – change your perspective!

Re-invent your mindset – Try to have the most fun out of your paddling, and by that I mean make up crazy moves. Bring back the flare and grace of old school kayaking.

Most of all – look at the elders who taught you to paddle (that’s if you’re a young gun reading this). Most of the more experienced paddlers I speak to come from a slalom background that taught them balance, fine paddle placement and edge transfers as well as how to read the water impeccably.

Relish nailing new moves and new lines that have escaped your view