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My first Recon mission in the UK

Posted: 02.12.2012 BY Dale Mears

After an evening at Nottingham’s Christmas market with the boys from Wavesport UK we made plans to head North in the morning up to the River Tees. Water levels we knew had dropped off in most of the UK, but we were armed with 3 brand new Wavesport Recon kayaks and the Wavesport van.

I have been excited for the arrival of my recon now for a long time from the original photos, and bits of info I was given from Wavesport to getting a few cheeky glimpses of them being used in the states. Having had chance to play in the prototype I knew this is going to be a great kayak, not just for steep creeking but general river running too. I got the boat Friday night and couldn’t wait to get in it and pad it out. Thinking this would be an evening’s entertainment I was quickly surprised with how shorter time it took me to pad out the Recon. I whacked a seat pad under my seat a great idea from wavesport so you can raise your seat, now Wavesport didn’t forget the basics (even comes with double sided tape), standard shims for the hip pads(much improved Velcro access unlike the original Whiteout) the footrests come with a number of pieces of foam of various thicknesses and densities. It seemed like there should be more too it but there wasn’t that was it! I sat in ratcheted the leg raises and backrest and the kayak feels great.

What about looks? Now I know this is a personal thing and different people like a different looking kayak, but I love the recon, the front end looks aggressive I think the new styling looks the business.

Anyway we got up first thing and headed North, Oh wait! After a bit of de-icing it was cold!!! It was definitely a day for cramming on as many layers of thermals as you can lay your hands on, and that we did, union suits, thermals check.... dry trousers, check, Pogees....don’t be silly they look stupid!

On the river we got strapped in and headed down, first impressions the recon reacted well to edge and turned very quickly when I wanted to make an eddy. All three of us myself, Wayne Astley and Tom Pattison were in Recon’s and all happy with our new toys.

We made our way to the Dog’s Leg a grade 3+ rapid nothing too challenging but with no other option we were happy to have the boats on the water. The Recon stuck to the surface and stayed on line brilliantly over three small drops. We then arrived at Low force a small waterfall on the river Tee’s finally chance to get out the camera and get some footage. The Recon was again proving itself to be a great boat for drops and waterfalls very stable, comfortable and sitting on the surface. I am 72kg and quite light for the recon 83 however found it easy to paddle and handle, the recon 70 would not be an option for me.

If you like river running and want a comfortable, well handling kayak that you can also push the boundaries then this is definitely going to take some beating. I can’t wait to get it out again on some steeper water. I believe it will make for some good trips!

Check out some photos of myself, Tom, Wayne on our little Recon mission.

For all photos of our trip please visit

Thanks for reading!