So, it was half term week, the rain had ruined our plans of climbing at Cheddar and the surf at Croyde was as trashy as a council tip. So of course, naturally myself and Jake grabbed our body boards and hit the Dart Loop.
The Dart Loop is massively popular with paddlers for being a great stretch of Grade 2/3 with just about everything you’d want in a run, a short shuttle, a fantastic play wave, some good stoppers and plenty of opportunity for fine tuning your skills. We arrived early as to miss all the paddlers (we didn’t want to get ‘run over’ on the river and we were worried we looked like idiots!) and kitted up in double wetsuits, protective pink shorts, gloves (if you where sensible which I was not) and knee pads.
The levels where good, just lapping over the ledge, so after kitting up we launched off the ledge into the somewhat freezing water, after receiving a good slap in the face from Top Wave we carried on down, eddied out and giggled like school children about what we where doing.
We meandered out way down, not stopping too long as stopping meant you started getting feeling back in your body which was somewhat uncomfortable. After swimming hard to get into the eddy after the Washing Machine (the first Grade 3) I realised that swimming down the whole river in freezing water attached to essentially a large float was going to physically like running a marathon and was surprised how out of breath I had got!
AT some point Jake’s board took a hit and snapped!
After about an hour and a half Holne bridge and the get out came into view, we enjoyed the last wave train down under the bridge and exited the river. We stashed the boards and started the knackering walk back up Newbridge Hill to the car, which in some ways was needed as we where both fairly chilly after our hour and a half swim…!
With the proper equipment and knowledge I’d defiantly say give it a go! It’s an experience you wont forget in a hurry.