Chas is and aggregator tying to communicate useful information from our experts to a lot of people who like outdoor activities such as water sports and snow sports.
Participates and has had a go at many of the sports, so sees things from the customer’s perspective!
I work outdoors at a Watersports Centre, and I am an avid hill walker in my spare time, so I was interested to see if the Salomon Drifter mid-layer jacket would be a welcome addition to my assortment of gear.
The Drifter mid-layer is really light weight, weighing in at just 500g, and packs down really small, thanks to the Primaloft 60g insulation, consequently you can carry it anywhere.
The mid layer has a pretty cool reversible function which allows you to wear it inside out. This particular colour reverses from an Acid Green to a Purple. The two sides have very different uses: one is more windproof, whilst the other is more breathable, so you can regulate your temperature to the conditions. Or treat it as two jackets!
This mid layer jacket is also snow/water proof with Salomon’s AdvancedSkin Shield technology, and Pertex water repellent finish, which means you can wear it as an outer layer. I have found the jacket does not fare well to harsh rain conditions as the water does eventually seep through, but in light drizzle there are no problems.
The jacket was ideal for hill walking, and nipping down some caverns, in the peaks; because it is light and thanks to its breathability I did not overheat! It fits well and is consistent with all other Salomon clothing sizes.
Having only recently been introduced to the world of inflatable SUPs, I was amazed by how stable and versatile this board really is. The way Red Paddle Co have designed this board with it monocoque structural laminate (MSL) is truly revolutionary. This way of manufacturing a board means that between the layers of material they have fused a second layer and added in drop stitches, which bind the top and bottom of the board together, to add rigidity and strength. It also allows the board to be 2Kgs lighter due to there not being as much glue between the layers or material. The 10’6″ has also been designed with iFin technology which means that the three fins are mounted to the board area as a permanent fixture; meaning no tools, no replacement, and most importantly not missing out on that sunset paddle!
Having ridden the board in all conditions I find that the 10”6″ moves smoothly through the water, due to its sleek design and rounded edges. It is extremely easy to manoeuvre making it perfect for someone who is either new to paddle boarding or someone who is looking for more of a cruiser board. Due to its width it gives the rider that little bit more confidence and stability. And with it’s thermo sealed crocodile deck pad it provides improved grip.
Red Paddle Co also provide a coiled leash with the 10’6″. I prefer the coiled leash as it doesn’t drag behind you as you paddle, reducing the potential for the leash to get caught up.
The board can easily be deployed whenever, wherever and can be completely deflated, rolled up and put in a backpack!
When you purchase a Red Paddle Co board they provide you with a Titan pump which has a dual chamber system which allows you to inflate the board in under 5 minutes!
Don’t believe us? Come and try one out at our Watersports Centre; we will have you from pack to paddling in 5 minutes!!
It’s safe to say that summer is the season to go out, be adventurous and try something new!
Floating around in a garden paddling pool is great and all… but how many times can you handle the children jumping on you, or turning the water a different shade before you want to “accidentally” puncture the side?
This article is here to throw you a summer lifeline by giving you the ins and outs of why one should take up a watersport!
It doesn’t matter how old you are, who you are or even what current fitness shape you are in. Here at Tallington Lakes we host numerous different sports that are suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
Being a boat driver and wakeboard instructor, I can assure you there is no greater feeling in watersports than when you first get up on water skis or a wakeboard.
Water-skiing involves the use of two separate skis whilst being towed behind a boat. As you progress in your skill, you learn how to mono-ski by only using one ski. Finally, once you have conquered the turning and stability on one ski, you will be able to slalom through our course and look exactly like the guys on our posters! (who doesn’t want that).
Increased Balance and Core Strength: getting up on the skis- and staying up- require you to develop both your balance and core strength.
Resistance Training: water skiing forces you to hold yourself up and keep going using resistance. It works core muscles, arm muscles, leg muscles, and all the muscles around them.
Easy on the Joints: Water skiing uses just about every muscle in the body without wearing down joints because it is all body weight resistance in free range of motion.
Meditative aspect: Being on the water, much like in sailing, can have a calming effect on the mind and forces you to focus on the task at hand, forgetting about the day to day stresses and worries. Not to mention that the endorphins from being active will keep you happy and healthy!
The best way to describe wakeboarding is essentially by saying it is a snowboard on water… minus the snow. Just like water-skiing, you are pulled behind a boat. The way in which you progress in wakeboarding is by learning how to “pop” the wake of the boat to achieve “gnarly air man” (a term commonly used by boarders).
Rest assured it is a fantastic feeling to be able to glide smoothly across the water, whilst also learning how to soar through the air performing 180s or 360s!
Again, if that didn’t convince you, my friends at ‘Health Fitness Revolution have these benefits to persuade you:
Strengthens arm and leg muscles: When you wakeboard you have to flex, resist and hold positions for periods at a time. Often you also have to build on these held positions and then explode or move from these static flexed positions to execute tricks and techniques.
Improves flexibility in the hands and feet: All the jump and turns performed while wakeboarding require hand and foot flexibility to avoid injury. Being agile and nimble on your feet will carry over to everyday activities.
Improves reaction times and versatility: With sudden changes of direction and position required, especially based on the boat’s direction and the shift in waves, regular practice improves reaction time and ability to adapt to differences in the water, direction, etc.
Develops hand-eye coordination and balance: Stability and balance are the foundation for wakeboarding, so core strength is a key component to this sport. Also, many of the tricks require fast hand switches, rotations, and jumps — all of which require hand-eye coordination and balance.
We have lakes, but they are no ordinary lakes. For here at Tallington Lakes we have the power to create an almighty tsunami behind our boats. This tsunami will release the inner surfer dude inside you just dying to rad on out. If skiing or wakeboarding seem a little too strenuous, then wake surfing is for you! It is exactly as it sounds, using the smaller version of a surfboard on a boat wake, in order to continuously glide and surf around the lake!
Once you have learnt to comfortably get up on a wakesurf, you will look the epitome of cool as friends, family and passers-by look at you in awe.
We understand that these activities may look daunting to a young child which is exactly why we offer the option of kneeboarding. This is great for children who are less confident on the water and is a fantastic way of slowly building them up to water-skis or wakeboard. A kneeboard is similar to a body board which many use in the sea. To start, you lie on the board and wait for the boat to slowly pull the board to speed. Once the child feels comfortable they will move to a kneeling position on the board, then simply hold onto the handle and enjoy the ride!
So… Water you waking for? Come down to Tallington Lakes and try something new!
Thanks Adam (Boat Driver and Wakeboarding Instructor)
We all have that one embarrassing memory of walking on a wet surface, only to end up awkwardly flailing in sheer panic, desperately trying to grab onto anything in arms reach. Sadly though, the final result often leaves us sprawled painfully on the floor, greeted by the laughter of friends, family or anyone lucky enough to have witnessed our misfortune.
Depressingly, I was cursed with being accident prone from birth, so this memory is a reoccurring nightmare for me on a weekly basis due to working as a boat driver and wakeboarding instructor.
“Should have worn better shoes” a phrase that is frequently repeated to me every time a colleague or kind stranger picks me up from my slip of doom.
Volcom Draft Shoes
I feel the guys at Tallington Lakes Pro Shop were taking pity on me when they offered me the chance to try out these ‘Volcom Draft Shoes’, assuring me that I would never fall again. This is essentially like telling a child they are about to move to Disneyland.
It was love at first sight when I opened the box to these pristine conditioned Volcom’s staring up at me. I have never really been a fan of wearing shoes without socks (be they water shoes or not), but when I discovered these Volcoms are lycra lined for ultimate comfort, I decided to test the theory. If feet could talk, they would be singing with joy. Putting on these shoes is like slipping into pure bliss. I was a little hesitant because the width of my feet are on par with bigfoot, but the lycra lining easily adjusts to the shape of your feet.
“The Draft shoe was created for incredible breathability and control… design features laser perforations for steady air flow. Sweat and moisture are quickly dispersed, allowing for rapid drying.”
Thankfully, working on a lake provides me with just about enough water to test Volcom’s “rapid drying” statement. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how rapid the drying truly was. After fully submerging both feet, the shoes did not become uncomfortable to wear or walk around in – if only they could walk on water, it would make them the perfect shoe.
“Ortholite anti-microbial footbed prevents odors and bacteria from spreading”
Now not only do I have abnormally shaped feet, whenever they get sweaty or wet, the smell that is produced is enough to knock out all forms of life in a 10-metre radius. Therefore, I was pessimistic about Volcoms anti-microbial claim. Once again, I was surprised to find that the shoes were holding the toxic smell at bay. People were willingly approaching me without pinching their nose whilst the squirrels and birds didn’t fall from the trees.
“Custom rubber trading provides enhanced traction and stability for wet and dry surfaces. Lightweight compression moulded EVA midsole offers lasting comfort for years of non-stop wear.”
Here comes the most important aspect for me. When the decking on the dock becomes wet, it turns into a minefield of banana skins. It’s safe to say at first, I was treading gingerly on egg shells when conducting this test, however as time went by and my confidence in the shoe support grew, I could comfortably walk up and down the decking with ease. I’ve safely arrived at Disneyland folks.
To top it off the shoe comes with an EVA midsole which stands for ‘Ethyl Vinyl Acetate’ which basically means your foot is resting in the VIP section of shoe world.
When it comes to sunglasses, I am fussier than a fashion model with OCD:
Do I like the colour? Do they fit correctly on my abnormally shaped ears?
Are the lenses dark enough to hide my eyes, while also not impairing my vision in the shade?
Will they make my nose appear the same size as Pinocchio’s?
Will my street cred rise a considerable amount, finally bringing me to the definition of looking “cool”?
Smith Outlier XL Polarised Chromapop Sunglasses
Therefore I was more than a little sceptical when Tallington Lakes Pro Shop asked me to review these “Smith Outlier XL Polarised ChromaPop” sunglasses. Now, as a boat driver and wakeboard instructor, having polarised sunglasses is an absolute must for me. If the lenses fail to block the sunlight glare from the water, then I’m basically driving blind and nobody wants that…especially the poor beginner clinging to the handle for dear life behind the boat.
“ChromaPop Lenses are the most advanced polarised lenses in the world… By blocking colour wave intersections as they pass through the lens, ChromaPop is able to eliminate colour confusion… ChromaPop optimises colour and increases clarity, enabling you to see the outside world with an unparalleled level of vibrancy.”
In other words, they cut through sunlight glare like a hot knife through butter whilst simultaneously spreading the jam on the bread all in one swoop…sweet.
Little did I realise how truly magical that jam sandwich would be. I decided to test them around sunset when the glare from the water is at its finest, often resulting in severe wrinkles from squinting so hard, you age by at least ten years.
I was honestly blown away at how the glare from the water turned almost non-existent. I felt I was watching my life behind a new HD TV monitor and Johnny Nash ‘I can see clearly now’ began playing in my ears.
Not only did the world now look bright and cheerful, when I glanced in my rear view mirror at myself – I wasn’t bombarded with negative thoughts regarding fitting size, shape or colour. I was pleasantly surprised with the way these glasses looked whilst sitting comfortably on the bridge of my nose. I reluctantly removed them, allowing others to test the glasses, and it was clear to see they had the same immediate reaction I did. Noting the fact our head and faces were all different sizes, yet the glasses always fit perfectly just like Cinderella’s slipper.
If you’re a snow skier/boarder, fishing enthusiast, avid mountaineer or a fussy boat driver like me – these ‘Outliers’ are certainly high contenders in the sunglasses market and will not disappoint.
…Oh and yes, these glasses will definitely raise your street cred!
Ladies if you are thinking of a hoody or fleece, for when it gets a bit nippy this summer, why not have a look at a few Charlie has been trying on – it might help !
Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Fleece
The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T fleece is ideal in a variety of ways. Firstly this fleece provides a thermal heat with it being 100% recycled polyester which creates a snugly feeling throughout the day, especially if the day is quite chilly! The fleece is also excellent for comfort, thanks to a soft short fur layer lining the inside and high neck. The large all in one pocket not only keeps your hands warm but can hold objects securely. There is also a small pocket on the chest of the fleece and branded badge.
From personal experience trying on this fleece I found it had a slim fit but not tight on the arms. I tried a size up than usual which I found more comfortable because of the larger fit; especially wearing a shirt underneath.
Picture Organic Clothing Nesla Hoody
The women’s Picture Nesla is another groovy styled hoody. This has a large ‘Picture Organic Clothing’ print in the centre surrounded by a summer pattern; which stands out from the navy blue colour. The hoody has pink and white striped band around the bottom, which can be tightened. A large front pouch pocket which is ideal for keeping everyday items, or your hands warm. Extremely comfortable thanks to the 70% organic cotton. Thick hood which was well wrapped around the neck with a unique twist.
This had a slim fit and it fit me perfectly in the correct size ; so no need to go an extra size up for a comfier fit.
Roxy Cruiser Night’s Hoody
The Roxy Cruiser Night’s hoody is a popular fashion item. This is ideal for wearing in the summer season as a form of casual wear for evenings or daytime due to the thin lining made of 60% cotton which is perfect for the summer weather and chilly evenings. The inner layer has a soft layer of fur which maintains a bearable amount of heat. This also features a simple but potent design which gives off a summer feel and represents the Roxy brand on the centre of the hoody. A front pouch which I found was ideal for keeping everyday items in or useful for just heating up my hands.
Volcom In A Dayz Hoody
The Volcom In A Dayz hoody is a simple but trendsetting product however, different in a variety of ways compared to the previous hoodies. This has a zip which is perfect for matching with a shirt beneath which may contrast of the heather grey colour. I found this is easy to match with any day outfits as well as being a comfortable and thermal ideal for breezy weather, featuring two pockets ideal for warmth with the thick lining.
The sizing was perfect as this wasn’t too tight or too baggy but had a stretched fit which was cosy to lounge in.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (or SUP as it’s commonly known) has quickly grown to become one of the most popular watersports on Earth. SUP has set the world alight because a whole host of different reasons. It’s incredibly inclusive – if you’re fit enough to walk up a flight of stairs you’re fit enough to paddleboard, it’s very easy to get standing and paddling away and it is fantastic exercise. SUP is not only a fantastic cardiovascular workout but it also gives more than 11 of your core muscle groups a serious workout. Not forgetting SUP Yoga! On top of all that SUP is the best way to explore new and existing areas, see wildlife and most importantly, have fun.
Stand Up Paddle Board
All you need to SUP is a board, a paddle and a leash (to keep you attached to your board in case you fall off). We recommend Red Paddle Co inflatable boards. Red Paddle Co boards are the best on the market and are incredibly stiff, durable and have the same performance as a hardboard. The liberating thing about an inflatable stand-up paddleboard is how portable it is – it can go practically everywhere with you. You don’t need a van or a roof rack to take it on a road trip, or even a large space to store it at home. Red Paddle Co inflatable boards can be rolled up to fit into their own compact bags and can be worn as a backpack or rolled along on wheels. They also come with a pump, paddle and leash as standard.
When it comes to a pair of sunglasses that are suitable for both lifestyle and active wear, Oakley have got it right. The Oakley Crossrange sunglasses aren’t a hybrid. Theses shades come with two sets of nose pads and temples, or arms (the bit that extends over the ear to help keep the sunglasses in place), to suit the conditions/mood you are wearing them in!
Oakley has a video of some cheeky hipsters, including Chas Christiansen, riding bicycles to show the versatility of these sunglasses, however, I chose to wear them:
Lifestyle – attending a Game and Country Fair
Active – walking in the Derbyshire Peak District
The lifestyle nose pad and temples were extremely comfortable; and made the shades easy to take off and put back on, as you walked in and out of marquees and the sun. Certainly did the job, and didn’t look out of place –hipster!
You immediately felt the active nose pad and temples get into position, when putting them on, giving you confidence that they would not be slipping out of place; thanks to the grippy nose pads and earsocks. These are made from Oakley’s ‘Unobtanium’; a patented Oakley material that becomes tacky when wet/or you sweat and holds the frame in perfect optical alignment.
OK walking in the Peak District may not be classed as extreme, but we were keeping up a healthy pace, along undulating terrain (including a bit of scrambling). It was a warm day, so perspiration was building up, yet the sunglasses did not move. Once again extremely comfortable and I was confident they were not going to fall off!
The Crossrange comes in three styles: the Crossrange, Crossrange XL, and the Crossrange R (coming soon). All are made to Oakley’s exceptionally high standards, and seeing-is-believing with these ‘High Definition Optics’. The Crossrange XL, as its name implies is for a larger face, with a lens height of 46.7mm; compared to 46.1mm and 43mm for the Crossrange R and Crossrange. The temples and bridge are identical on all three: 137mm and 17mm respectively.
The mechanism to swap the nose pads or temples is very simple to use, yet secure, but not designed to be change mid-activity!
Oakley is moving towards Prizm lenses in all their sunglasses, following the success of Prizm in goggles. The lenses are designed for different environment such as: Everyday, Sport – Road, Golf, Trail, Deep Water, Snow etc.
However, as I found, although designed for a particular environment they are equally effective outside of that environment. Back to my stroll around a Country Fair and walk in the Peak District; the Prizm Sapphire Snow lenses performed outstandingly without a flake of snow in sight! Obviously I will update this blog once I have experienced them in the snow; but for now, as ever, Oakley have designed another excellent pair of sunglasses….
Now these may just look like normal t-shirts to you, however there is an individual story behind each one, the O’Neill Heritage T-Shirt Collection by Jack O’Neill. Back in the fifties O’Neill started up as a small surf shop. Now it’s thriving more than ever and ready to include you in the journey; inside each t-shirt is the story behind the picture on the front of the t-shirt! Welcome to the world of Jack O’Neill……
O’Neill Heritage T-Shirts
The 1950’s t-shirt features a picture of the Surf Shop which was located behind the fence, indicated by the large piece of driftwood written on by Jack and his surfer friends. This is one of the earliest photographs of the surf shop when it first opened in 1952.
The 60’s t-shirt is made from a collection of photographs from the O’Neill Heritage archive. This particular collage of photos is called ‘First Name in the Water’ and is inspired by the old surf movie posters.
Truly one of the best skis, wherever the mountain takes you, the Rossignol Soul 7HD. Although the Soul 7, with its 106mm waist, suggests its a big mountain ski; it is just as easy to ski on the piste as 85mm underfoot piste ski!
Taking the Soul 7’s away after two seasons out of skiing, and being use to a 85mm underfoot all mountain ski, it was safe to say that, even as a 23 year old confident chap, I thought I might of bitten off more than I can chew.
In my previous years skiing before my short break I would ski all of the mountain comfortably; including the odd hike to find some of the fresh snow in the untouched couloirs of the French/Italian Alps. Wanting to further my backcountry skiing the Rossignol Soul 7HD skis were highly recommended to me.
Rossignol Soul 7 Skis
The first day of my ski holiday came with the perfect conditions, lots of fresh snow, to throw me in the deep end with the new skis; the phrase ‘baptism by fire’ comes to mind. Although we are suggesting ‘fire’, myself and the Soul 7’s were in ‘heaven’. Instantly feeling so comfortable in the powder, strange noises of whoops of enjoyment were a regular occurrence. After each run through the trees or open couloirs I felt like my skiing had improved massively. The acknowledgement from my brother, a better powder skier than me (although I would never tell him), confirmed my thoughts. The family joke of ‘directional charging’ became much more of a reality as we were lapping the off piste sections.
As the week progressed unfortunately no more fresh snow was to come, no fresh powder but perfect corduroy piste with sunny conditions. This would be the real test on the hard pack piste with a 106mm waist. Again the Soul 7’s were unbelievably good. Carving made easy and edge hold with no chatter at all. Safe to say that I was highly impressed by the complete versatility of this ski. Towards the end of the week the snow became more hard pack, with some runs featuring ice patches. The best snow conditions were on the relatively untouched black runs which would prove to be the best test for the skis. The Soul 7’s is as easy to ski in the deep powder, and steep black runs, as it is on those leisurely blues and reds.
Therefore, for the advanced skier who wants to ski everything from deep powder to corduroy piste, with one ski, the Soul 7HD is the ski for you. But also for the more advanced intermediate who wants to get more into the big mountain skiing this is a great ski that makes life easier in all conditions.
Thanks Mark (skiing in January in the French/Italian Alps).