A MINI-ADVENTURE BY CANOE-KAYAK ON AN AFFLUENT OF THE ADOUR

“I’m lucky enough to live near the Adour river, which flows into the Atlantic in Bayonne.I have already explored all the paths around the village of Urt, where I live, on foot and by mountain bike, but my love of stand-up paddle boarding quickly led me to explore the affluents of the Adour river.But these many small rivers are difficult to access on an SUP board because they are too shallow and because of the vegetation. So, with some friends, I opted for an Itiwit 3 inflatable kayak last summer.We set off to explore the Aran, a windy little river that flows into the Adour near Urt.”
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Reconnoitring and organisation

It all started on Google Earth. I used the site to follow the Aran from the confluence and to calculate the distance to be covered: about 5km for the first trip, because my team mates were not regular kayakists. I set off on my mountain bike to find an easy spot to cast off. All I had to do now was synchronise our departure with the tide, which can still be felt in Urt (1h30 difference with the sea), in order to set off when the tide was going out and follow it as far as the confluence. So we had to be on time. My arms still remind me how hard it was to paddle against the tide on an SUP board for the first few kilometres on the Aran. We left one car at our destination by the confluence, then all four of us set off in my vehicle for the starting point with the two Itiwit 3 inflatable kayaks and the separable paddles. And everything fitted in the boot of the car!

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Pure joy...

Once we were on the river, we were immediately enchanted. From the very first metres under an arch of leaves that the sun was trying to pierce, my team mates were astonished to discover this scenery that they had no idea existed just 10 minutes from home.They were beaming for the entire length of our trip on the water.  However, a few small obstacles, in the form of piles of branches near the surface, blocked our passage. We had decided to install the fins on the kayaks to make them easier to steer, but this meant that we had to climb onto the branches to push them underwater so that the kayaks could get through. A real adventure!All we needed was a machete to look just like Indiana Jones.

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So, when’s the next time?

One and a half hours later, we reached the confluence and the mooring point.“So, when’s the next time?”That was the first thing I heard when we arrived.Now they are all totally addicted and can’t wait for our next tour on another affluent of the Adour.

And some other people will certainly join us, because my team mates have already become keen ambassadors of the Itiwit inflatable kayaks that are "so easy to transport and very stable". They intend to tell all their friends about our adventure with stars in their eyes.

So, here are the essentials for a mini adventure onboard a canoe-kayak in complete safety:
- take your smartphone in a watertight pouch
- wear buoyancy jackets and slippers to protect your feet
- take a pump and the kayak bags, in case you need to deflate the kayaks to cross an obstacle
- take one or two back-up paddles (they can be separated into four parts that are easy to stock at the rear)
- carefully reconnoitre your route in advance on Google Earth and find a suitable point to set off
- use Decathlon Coach to find precise information about the route"

Jérôme

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