Blaze the Barle 2021

Exmoor Canoe Club – 11th Annual Blaze the Barle River Race day

Exmoor Canoe Club is hosting the 11th annual Blaze the Barle race day on the weekend of Sunday 4th April 2021 and we’re hoping this year will be bigger and better than ever. The event is for kayakers and canoeists with experience of moving water and is run on different sections of the River Barle, between Dulverton and Exebridge.

The day will be split into 3 competitions, with an adult endurance Team-Time-Trial, a King of the Wave freestyle competition and an individual junior Sprint Race to finish it all.

The Adult Team-Time-Trial is run with teams of 3 racers in one of two classes (either kayak or canoe) setting off every 45-60 seconds from a get-in on the river at the slipway at Dulverton. They then race, self-supported, for approximately 6 kilometres to the finish line in a large eddy pool at Exebridge (Kings Tractors Industrial Estate). The racers will have to navigate Dulverton Town Weir numerous small rapids on the way and depending on the water level will either run the impressive Salmon Steps at Beasley Weir or portage that section (to be confirmed on the day of the race).

The King of the Wave is a fun freestyle competition on the ‘play wave’ at the Exebridge pumping station (Exebridge Industrial Estate). Competitors have 45 seconds on the wave or in the hole (dependant on water levels!) to show their skills and throw some tricks. Points are awarded for set moves, skills and anything slightly flashy!

Finally, the Junior Sprint Race will be for 8-16 year olds, who will race against each other in a mass start of smaller heats of four-six racers. The race will be from the Exebridge eddy pool to the slip way at the Anchor Inn at Exebridge. Depending on numbers there will be 1-2 heats and a final, assisted by adult safety kayakers (at a ratio of 3-1) and bank-support.

This is a fun, family, and mildly competitive event. There will be a modest entry charge for each competition, with all funds raised to cover expenses and any excess going to a local charity. There will be four cups, 2 for the Adult race (kayak and canoe class), one for the King of the Wave and one for the Junior Race, plus some little goodies.

The only rules are common sense – safety comes first, all competitors must have prior experience of kayaking/canoeing on this or a similar grade of moving water, equipment will be checked at registration, adult teams do self-safety, but are expected to assist other teams where needed, the Salmon Steps will probably be timed out of the race, organisers will make safety decisions on the day based on weather conditions, all competitors need to be ECC members for insurance point of view, but visitors can be given day-membership for £1,equipment can be hired with prior notification and finally have fun on our local river!

Registration is from 09:15 at the Kings Tractors car park (Exebridge), Adult race to start at 11.00, with briefing 15 minutes earlier and lasts about 1 hour.

The King of the Wave (freestyle) comp will start about 12.30 and run for about 45 minutes and, if considered safe on the day, the Junior race will start about 13.30 and take about 30 minutes. We would usually then retire to the Anchor Inn at Exebridge, for the prize giving and drink and/or food, but this year it will be in the open air at Kings!

If possible please download the Form & Declaration and complete this in advance otherwise please contact me before the event or just turn up on the day.

See the Exmoor Canoe Club Facebook page or contact John Harcombe (mob. 07799 033786).