But he also captured the less sexy kayak moments, like getting in and out of the kayak. And it made me think, "You know what? This isn't cute, but it's a very important topic and a big reality we face every time we paddle, and many times during a paddle."
Before testing a sea kayak I look at all the parts. When I paddle the boat, I think of paddling scenarios. Which kayak would I like to be in when . . .
- the water is rough, moving, or smooth like glass
- the wind is strong
- someone else needs help
- I get dumped over unexpectedly
- I want to take a rolling lesson
- I want to balance brace
- I want to play in waves or current
- I have to launch from a difficult shoreline, etc.
Kayaking can be a humbling experience. Like riding a horse, the horse can make you look good one day and you feel you can do no wrong. Everything is in sync. The next day, the same rider and horse can look like they've never met before and don't belong.
Getting in and out of the boat quickly and easily is job number one.
You should be able to do this the first time you test a boat or don't buy the boat. If you already have a boat that doesn't let you do this, get rid of it. I'm just thinking out loud here. If getting in and out of a kayak is a fitness issue, kayaking is a great motivator for getting in shape and working on flexibility. It's not like riding a bike. I'll complain about kayaks with difficult to adjust foot braces later.
When I test a boat, I think about some of the things I'll do with it, and the conditions I'll have to deal with, or want to play in.
Sometimes we launch and land at places that are very kayak friendly.
|Testing the Current Designs Suka|
I still own a Maelstrom Vital 166 and Boreal Baffin, some of the best boats that I love. But it's still fun to shop for another fleet member. Two's company, three's a crowd? Nope! Not when it comes to sea kayaks. More is better.
Happy boat trials!
Photos courtesy of Jeremy Cherpit.
Thanks to Ottawa Paddle Shack for letting me test the sleek and fast Current Designs Suka, and the staff for helping me get in and out of the boat!