Canoe and Kayak Store is an independently owned, specialist paddle-sport store based in Gloucestershire. We also have a store in South Wales inside the Cardiff International White Water Centre, where you can Demo our boats and paddles on the course.

Our roots trace back to the year 2000 when Richard (having paddled since he was a child) was offered the chance to buy a canoe business. Loving the industry but not liking the company he decided to set up his own – opening a shop in Gloucestershire and leading to where we are today!

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    Kayaking in Ecuador

       Words by Rosie

       on 26/03/2018 13:04:00

    Ecuador_Image_3

    This winter we decided it was time to escape the grey, near minus temperatures and rain that leads you to hiding inside here in Norway; we hoped when we returned the snow would have arrived. So where to go, when we are looking for a location which has to be warm, provide good boating and have easy logistics so we could get as much kayaking in as possible in a short time. For some time now I have wanted to go back to South America and in particular see what Ecuador had to offer.

    On the morning of the 11th of November at 4am Sam and myself arrived at Gardamon airport ready to leave the minus two degrees sleet that was falling behind us. To make our lives easier we rented boats in Ecuador. Checking in without a boat was a dream, much less hassle with a 15 hour flight. Arriving in Quito we were met by Rodrigo who runs the La Casa de Rodrigo kayak hostel in Baeza. He is the man to talk too, he helped to organise our trip ensuring it all ran smoothly. He hooked us up with our kayak rental and knew all the local taxi firms, which helped us to arrange shuttles with ease or he drove us himself if he was free. A quick 2 hour trip to the small town of Baeze we headed out to the local restaurant for food, conveniently situated opposite the hostel. Here in the mountains at around 1700m the temperatures were a perfect 20 to 25 degrees in the day, dropping to 10 degrees for a good night’s sleep. Be warned they are used to kayakers and welcome us all, the rule on your first night is you pay for your food pay, you pay for your beer, but tequila…. there are 5 compulsory free shots are on the first night!

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    Tena is about 2 hours south of Baeza and is another good town, providing us with another good base; however being down in the jungle it is considerably warmer and more humid around 30 – 35 degrees with 80% humidity. There are many classic class 3 to 4 runs with a mix of volume and boulder garden runs, everything here is a step down from Baeze, which is perfect if you are looking for a friendly location to warm up a bit, and help get you adjusted to paddling in the jungle.

    Waking up the next morning with a little bit of a sore head we met the other boys who were joining us and hit the river. The rivers in Ecuador are amazing class 3 to 4+ read and run boulder gardens, they just never end we did so much in the 2 weeks that I cannot go through all of my runs, but here are my highlights of my 3 best rivers from the trip.

    Oyacachi

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    This was our most frequently run stretch with 4 runs and for good reason there are 1 or 2 rapids that are a little bigger than the rest but everything is pretty much class 4 - 4+ right from the start the first half is basically one long train of classic boulder garden moves stacked on top of each other and just when you think you will have to scout you drop into the last eddy look over your shoulder and can see just enough to keep going. As you get into the lower half of the river, we gained a little more of a pool drop style with steeper rapids linked by slow cruise water. This river can best be described as a playground, every rapid brings fun new moves to play on and your body will know it by the take out.

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    Cosanga

    We did this at several levels and it changes from a fun class 3 - 3+ cruse at low flows to fun and pushy class 4 - 4+ in high flows keeping you on your toes the whole way down. Thrown in the middle is one full on rapid, this has been formed by a land slide into the river last season. At low flows it provides some punch to another wise chilled run. At high flows a complete beast and the only rapid the we found ourselves portaging on the whole trip with a big backed up hole which was very shallow with lots of sharp rock, which was no fun. The river has a treat at the end after 20k of fun reed and run boulder gardens you come to the confluents with the Quijos the flow triples and you are treated to 5k of big volume class 3+ to play on all the way to take out.

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    Jondachi

    The Jondachi is between Baeza and Tena as you go over the mountains and is a different character. Reminiscent of New Zealand but friendly classic boulder pool drop. 10k of perfect rapids and crystal blue water with no drop over 3 to 4 meters stacked one on top of the next, all in a beautiful canyon with massive over hanging ferns ideal for a bit of fun. In Ecuador you will all ways need to have your eyes open for hidden wood as one of us found out floating down a class 2 rapid at the start of the paddle he floated though a wave with a branch behind it and his bow went right under it and the branch smashed into his stomach. The two guys behind him manage to stop and pull him off with little hassle but he had some pretty bad bruising to show for it. All in all he got off very lightly but you must be careful and watch out for wood.

    All in all Ecuador is an amazing location with a lot to offer, great weather and all packed into a small location with very easy logistics, spectacular rivers and friendly people anyone looking for a simple location where you can make the most of a short break should put this area at the top of the list.

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    Words by Nick Pearce

    Zet Team Paddler