Monday, January 22, 2007
For many years I paddled a Romany and loved every minute of it. It was there for me through thick and thin. Work, rest and play. 5* and beyond. So what changed, Rockpool Kayaks, that's what.
In 2005, I met up with a very excited Aled Williams for a day's paddling. He wanted me to try out his new design, the Alaw (Welsh for melody), which had been in development for almost ten years. Simply put, I had an amazing time and after that day in June I’ve never looked back. If the reports are correct, I'm not the only one. This seems to be the case for many paddlers who have spent time in a Rockpool boat.
The original Romany was co-designed by Aled Williams and Nigel Dennis in the early 90's. Nigel has become established as a world-renowned expedition kayaker and owner of NDK Ltd, while Aled's life has taken different turns. However, after more than a decade of classroom teaching, Aled's prominence in sea kayaking circles has re-emerged since establishing Rockpool Kayaks with long established master boat builder Mike Webb. The Alaw is now a flagship craft in what has become a globally respected range of quality, high performance kayaks which are made in Holyhead using Mike’s superb skills. Mike also worked on the original production line of Romany's.
Rockpool Kayaks currently have a number of production models with more in the pipeline. There is the Alaw; Alaw Bach; the Menai 18 and their newest model, a Greenland style rolling kayak, is under development. Mike carries out the laminating of the kayaks and Aled is involved in finishing, testing and promoting the business. Aled continues to embraced all aspects of paddlesports, being a naturally talented paddler and coach (with a small 'c'). Mike, a somewhat unsung hero, just wants people to be honest, ask the right questions and as long as they like his boats, he’s happy (A big hint, he enjoys Eccles cakes too!).
Aled and Mike can feel justifiably proud for bringing these fantastic and innovative boats to the sea kayaking world. I hope Rockpool Kayaks continues to get the support it deserves from our paddling community at large.
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Soon enough, Rockpool will start making its presence in North America. Freya will arrive at Canoecopia with the new Greenland kayak in March, and I will return to Canada following the Spanish Sea Kayak Symposium at Easter with an Alaw Bach in my bags. And Derrick will return to the States from The Anglessey Sea Kayak Symposium in May with his boat.
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