Review of MOCKE Deluxe Paddle Bag

Background for getting the bag

Travelling with your paddle can be a risky way to treat a +500$ purchase. But travelling without your own paddle can challenge your trip even more. Your paddle is a primary source of stability, speed and comfort and therefore it’s one thing you’ll want to bring when travelling.

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My 7yo finds the bag cool and would like to trade his school bag for one

In April I went to Fish Hoek to join the Mocke Paddling School. The conditions in Fish Hoek in April tend to be either very placid or very wild. I was lucky. It was wild, and got wilder every day and by far much wilder than ever back home in Oslo.

The first day there I had to train surf entry and exit. Something that doesn’t exist where I normally paddle. I sat in different boats like Bluefin, Swordfish and V8s, all quite or very stable boats. But I borrowed a paddle that felt and was a bit different from my normal tool which is an Epic Mid Wing. Not much different and that’s the point, because although nearly similar it moved a bit differently  in the water. So the subconscious body/paddle language that normally works to keep me upright and above the water didn’t work like normal or at least spoke with a very weird dialect. Learning new stuff was really fun and challenging, but unnecessarily included re-learning how best to shift from power to brace with this paddle etc. This is no excuse for the photo below though…

surf training

 Give me my own paddle!
Paddling in Fish Hoek    surf training 1

In new waters there are many variables to take into account and removing the paddle from the variables and adding it to the constants will make your paddling much more enjoyable. I promised myself that I’d bring my paddle on my next trip at the risk of breaking it in the process. Luckily it didn’t have to be that way.

Returning from South Africa I checked out some of the MOCKE paddling gear on their web pages and saw a paddle bag. I ordered the paddle bag and took hold of it before my next trip. I didn’t want to check in two bags and was pleased to see that my life jacket and most clothes for the new trip could easily fit in the  generous compartments.

Real world test

I was going for a few days of paddling at a relatively new surfski venue – Surfski Malta (more about this in a weeks time) – and decided to check in my MOCKE bag and nothing else.

The bag has two compartments besides the paddle compartment. Called wet and dry which makes sense. The bag seems durable and well made. It’s not cowhide or Vuitton, it’s durable and water resistant. The flights were three different airlines Oslo-Barcelona-Malta-Zürich-Oslo so the bag would be manhandled plenty. Thunderstorms had cut out normal baggage handling upon return to Oslo and loads of summer holiday bags were piled wide and high at Oslo Airport putting them all through a tough test.

St Julian

The paddle bag and everything in it survived all the transfers and handling nicely. Many many years ago I worked night shifts in an airport handling cargo, and although I expect things to have improved a lot I’m still not to keen on putting expensive fragile stuff in the checked baggage.

It has got padding, and a  bit of extra padding would be my wish for the next generation. But to be honest the bag is good enough that I just ordered a second for my other paddle. The bag has no unnecessary features but lots of nice details like hidden shoulder straps, right amount of pockets, durable and cool design. A functional product.

 

Wet compartment

Wet compartment – room for travel essentials

Like the rest of the MOCKE gear many thoughts were built into the product. Dawid Mocke has a fine video of this and the different details.

Surfski Center Tarifa, a quick review

V10 Double Boyan & Jens

A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit Surfski Center Tarifa. I knew that it was one of Europe´s leading surfski destinations, but as the sport is small up here, what did this even mean?

A short video I made trying to capture the feel of surfskiing in Tarifa

It was December and ice was forming on my home waters – the Oslo Fiord. Meanwhile in Southern Spain, not far from the major hub of Malaga,  the temperature was at a comfortable Scandinavian summer level.

The drive from Malaga to Tarifa via Ronda was winding roads making their way across Andalucian mountains and through small white washed villages. While  daylight at noon back in Norway was at the same level as at midnight in June – Spain was pure autumn wrapped in soft golden sunlight

 

Ronda2

Ronda1

Tarifa is the southernmost point on the European continent and lies south of parts of Africa. As you drive nearer winds pick up, hundreds of windmills dot the landscape. The oceanic climate that makes winters warm also generates the wind that drives much of Tarifa’s tourism industry. As you descent from the coastal ranges into the plains surrounding Tarifa you see the gentle sweep of the bays on both sides of Tarifa and get a feel of the powerful winds and begin to understand why the surfski centre is located here.

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ks

On arrival in Tarifa I was greeted by Boyan Zlatarev who runs the place and who is an expert surfskier.

Now the Straits of Gibraltar is quite an intimidating place and a quick look on Wind Guru can make you wonder what it would be like drifting all the way to Rio de Janeiro. But any hesitation just evaporated as Boyan went through the theory, security drills and checks before paddling.

As not many surfski paddlers come with any certification Boyan took me out in the V10 Double to assert skills. If you get this opportunity – take it. The ride was fast, bumpy, fun and gives you a feeling of the fast conditions in Tarifa.

V10 Double 2       dw4

V10 DoubleBoyan in the front bucket 

Customer

Another happy downwind student, Jens H. Bond, in the double with Boyan Zlatarev

Next up was downwind in a V8. Where many people frown a bit at the thought of paddling a V8, Surfski Center Tarifa uses it widely even though they have the entire range at disposal at the Centre. The V8 – the surfing machine – is very stable and catches runs easily.  On one occasion when we were 4 sort of intermediate paddlers going downwind – one chose a faster boat and was instantly passed by three happy V8 paddlers.

The V8 is a great platform to learn downwind and technique from as you don´t have to worry about stability. Stability before ability as Oscar Chalupsky puts it.

range-1

While you sit in a stable V8 and feel like king of the world, Boyan will – typical for him – tell you to get out of the bucket into large breaking waves and far from shore. When you try to remount he will go “that looks like your comfortable side, try the other one…” and then “ok, but try it again until it´s one fluid motion”.

V8

When the driver parked the surfski van 17m further than necessary from the howling shoreline Boyan was there again with a piece of friendly advice on parking vs. carrying a light surfski in strong winds. Safety before fun and respect for the equipment that will take you across the bay in howling winds – that´s Boyan – this focus on safety and detail might come from paddling a potentially dangerous body of water everyday. We can all learn from this and in the end it makes you feel very safe as a paddling student and it lets all paddlers at the centre enjoy the fun much more knowing that all precautions have been taken.

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Tarifa has great many combinations of wind directions and currents. This produces quite a challenge but when combined with the knowledge found at the surf ski centre it also produces  new and exciting paddling opportunities every single day.

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Tarifa has the right conditions and Boyan has the right skills, huge knowledge about local runs and is a very dedicated teacher. If you come with an open mind you´ll enjoy personal instructions and will be able to take home a lot of very useful knowledge no matter what your pre-school paddling level was. Great value for money.

Basically I had a great time in Tarifa and warmly recommend it to paddlers of all vessels and levels of experience. I learnt a lot and will be back in a few months.

sunset

-Sune Wendelboe,  July 2014

All images © 2013 Sune Wendelboe.

 

Find much more information on  Surfski Centre Tarifa’s own website:

Surfski Centre Tarifa