After the appearance of a ramp at the SAS Hurley Classic event a few years ago, it has been in the back of everyone’s minds… could we build a ramp on our local river?

The local kayaking club’s summer barbeque provided a perfect opportunity to find out and after transporting the materials from the car park to the field by open canoe, the ramp was then assembled on the existing pontoon. The ramp was similar in structure to the Hurley classic ramp, only smaller. The frame consisted of scaffolding poles, with wooden planks securely resting on top, forming a flat platform at the top, and a slope into the water. The simplicity of the design meant it could be easily assembled and disassembled – we obviously didn’t have planning permission, so this was a must… After a quick stability and strength test (Jumping up and down on top of it), it was time for the test:

A huge range of people and crafts took to the challenge, including playboats, touring kayaks and OC1 canoes. They were (nearly) all successful.  Overall the ramp was a great success, however the depth was still a problem – several violent incursions with the river bed were experienced, resulting in mud being churned up – some people were ill after the event. So the ramp will have to return in the future, with improvements! Ideally the poles at the end of the slope could be cut down, as movement of the paddle was very restricted. A wider ramp would allow spinning on the way down and the possibility of freestyle tricks being pulled in the air. The ramp attracted some peculiar looks, especially from other river users, but all seem intrigued and happy to see it in use – maybe it would have some backing as a permanent structure? 

Thanks to Sudbury Canoe Club for running the Summer Barbecue, Jack Mcgaley for designing the ramp and Danny Mcgaley for the overall execution of the ramp.

By Hugh Mandelstam