Sun, surf and pain au chocolat 2018



It was a super early start this year for the five members of the Bideford Canoe Club….I picked a surprisingly chirpy Sue up at 03.30 to meet up with the others at 4 am to head off to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone. We arrived in good time but unfortunately weren’t able to catch an earlier train so a sit down coffee it was. Foil wrapped pasties were placed on the van engine to warm ready for the train journey.

Sunshine greeted us as we arrived in France and we headed off to the man-made slalom / white water course at Saint-Pierre-de-Boeuf, just south of Lyon. We arrived early evening to pick up the entrance barrier access card left for us so we could drive straight to our pitches. The tents were erected and we settled down for a well-deserved drink before bed.The morning greeted us with delightful sunshine and a clear blue sky as we headed off to the local bakery for the morning ritual of flutes and pain au chocolate. After breakfast we booked in and kitted up for the first run down the course. This year we had one creek(ish) boat and four play boats. St Pierre offers some lovely warm up areas and parts of the river were perfect for practising and improving all of those basic skills that are essential for when you move up to the faster flowing water along with a few play waves.

We were all soon bashing down the best of what the course had to offer from grade 3 drops to a gentle paddle along the lake at the bottom. The best feature of this place was the travellator which took you from the lake back up to the top of the course.

The prize awarded to the first swimmer was a run down the course on an inflatable unicorn and it was duly awarded on the first day. Sue looked to have so much fun we all decided to have a go! As we were camped on the side of the course this year time out was made very easy. Walks to explore the local town and wildlife resulted in finding the local beaver and many birds. The opening times of the town’s pizzeria were found so the last evening’s dinner was sorted!

After 3 excellent paddling days and plenty of evening wine, cider and merriment we moved camp 1.5 hours away to our second destination, Sault Brenaz.

This course offered a twistier route with some slightly more challenging features and drops. The weather was holding at 35 degrees with the water temperature tipping just over the 20 mark so no worries if you took a swim. Skills had improved and we soon found our favourite set of play waves, Playtime for everyone! We even managed to introduce Sue to the wonders of the Pyranha Rev playboat!!

Three more days of fun and merriment followed with Tom continuing to be either upside down or tail-squirting.

Chris nailing his combat rolls,

Sue going for the “Man-line” on every drop….no photo!

Me sorting my flat spin on a wave…

and Nathan just continued being Nathan….

Another fabulous Team France expedition !! 


Now watch the video   😀