David Priddis is a kayaker and photographer who loves to travel and explore the world. David was born in Australia and grew up in Jersey from a young age. He considers himself an honorary Bean.
In this interview we asked David a few questions about kayaking and canoeing in Jersey.
David, please can you share your story with us? How did you get into kayaking and canoeing?
I think I was around 12-13year old when I first was introduced to kayaking through a family friend taking me out on a Sunday session. I ended up frozen and knackered, with a smile from ear to ear. I was hooked.
For people who have never tried these sports, please can you explain the difference between a canoe and a kayak?
A kayak is a closed cockpit craft which you use a double bladed paddle to propel. A canoe is an open craft paddled with a single bladed paddle.
What are the main benefits of these sports?
Fitness and wellbeing. As the sport is physically demanding both in strength and coordination which requires focus and calms the mind while enabling you to explore beautiful places.
Let’s say I have never sat on a canoe or kayak before and I want to go alone on the water for the first time. Would you recommend to complete some basic training first or is it safe just to go and learn by doing?
I would recommend you try kayaking or canoeing with someone who knows what they are doing and can look after you on the water. Whether that is a good friend who is a good paddler or a professional paddle leader/coach.
Where in Jersey are your favourite spots to paddle around?
The stretch of coast from St. Brelade to Corbiere Lighthouse. It is a mixed paddle with good views and fun spots along the way. On a hot summer’s day it reminds me of the Mediterranean with the bright flowers and sweet smell of ice plants on the cliffs.
Please can you share with us your worst on-water experience?
I nearly drown after failing to run a waterfall properly and getting recirculated in the plunge pool. I narrowly escaped and climbed into the back of the waterfall, where friends rescued me from.
Is kayaking a seasonal sport? What are the best weather conditions for this kind of sport?
In the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, you can kayak all year round with the right clothing. But it is always best to try the sport for the first time on a warm sunny day in calm conditions.
Where in the world did you have your the best paddling experience and why?
Right here in the Channel Islands. Blessed with the third highest tidal movements in the world we have a wide variety of paddling conditions, from sheltered water to advanced. Combine that with plenty of interesting coasts and destinations near and far and you have a perfect kayaking playground.
Let’s say I start kayaking weekly. What is the special gear I need (apart from the kayak)?
A paddle! Otherwise you won’t get very far. But more importantly a paddle that is suited to you with correct paddle length and blade size.
What three activities / places would you recommend to a first time visitor of Jersey?
Kayaking of course! Walking the north coast cliff paths and surfing in St Ouens bay.
What are your favorite places to eat out and drink in Jersey?
El Tico at St Ouens. Great views and wide variety of tasty food. If you like cake desserts. Ask for the Maltesers cheese cake.