Sunday, May 30, 2010

MEC Paddlefest Ottawa, Ontario, May, 2010, Riot Aura Test Paddle

Perfect weather and a huge turnout at MEC Paddlefest 2010 in Mooney's Bay.

I decided to hang out for a while in the RIOT Aura 18. (You can get them at Ottawa Paddleshack)

As usual, I show up somewhere, and right away one thing will catch my eye and keep it.

The RIOT Aura was right there. It is a good looking, sleek, fast 18 foot boat (I think it has lots of rocker, the manufacturer says moderate) that is too big in the cockpit for me and a real bitch to turn. I hear some people love them. Anyway, you can't really test much or take too many chances with what you do in the murky and questionable waters of Mooney's Bay, so I didn't do much with this kayak except enjoy its speed, and curse it whenever I needed to turn it.

I was there to test touring paddles. I love my skinny stick (Greenland paddle), except when I want to get somewhere moderately fast and keep up with others!

I finally caught up with Peter Whaley, founder of Pure Canadian Adventures and the Current Designs rep. He's from Nova Scotia! Hey! Aren't you pretty far from home? I just assumed our Current Designs rep would be somewhere nearby like Toronto.

I missed him last year at the first National Sea Kayak Symposium (NaSKS) in Palmer Rapids, Ontario. And I really missed him and wished he was there when I took a look at the Current Designs Suka sitting there. I wanted to test paddle it, but he was away. I probably should have snuck it down to the water and hopped in. I wonder who would have noticed? There were only a few hundred people at the event that weekend.

And then this year, at the Ottawa MEC Paddlefest, Peter was there with all the Current Designs boats except the Suka! How does this boat keep eluding me? Anyway, I'll keep trying until I can finally get in it and take it for a spin. I have no clue why the Suka has stayed on my mind but I'd like to find out. Maybe it's the path to get there that is more important.

I'm campaigning for Ottawa to get a wider variety of sea kayaks/touring kayaks for us paddlers to test and play with. It seems we have to work way too hard and travel way too far to get into all these great boats that we mostly only see on the manufacturer's Web sites. Most stores, of course, only want to carry the boats that most commonly sell or suit most people. But if the choices are limited, how do you know what you're really missing? How can you move up your paddle skills without a choice of more performant boats to test and learn with? Ever been in a boat that when you say, "Edge and turn", it says "Huh? What? Is that what you really want. Ask again way harder and maybe I'll budge!"

I own a Boreal Baffin and more recently purchased a fantastic Maelstrom Vital 166. But I still want to test paddle the Suka and find out how we can get some Romany boats around here. So anyone with a Suka, let me know. And if anyone starts stocking Romany boats around here, call me!

Peter had two really cute Huskies in his truck. Such neat dogs, especially when their eyes are two different colours. I asked what their names were twice and still can't remember (should I really be admitting this?). I think they're worth remembering so I'll ask again and if he'll send me a cool pic of them, I'll post it too.

Happy paddling!
The Baffin Paddler

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