One man's rush to jump on the kayaking bandwagon

Quiet Afternoon

The only good thing about an early morning software release is that it usually results in an early afternoon paddle.
distance     avg kts   avg mph   
00.50 nm    3.58 kts  4.12 mph
01.00 nm    3.73 kts  4.28 mph
01.50 nm    3.57 kts  4.11 mph
02.00 nm    3.59 kts  4.13 mph
02.50 nm    2.81 kts  3.23 mph
03.00 nm    3.78 kts  4.34 mph
03.50 nm    3.73 kts  4.29 mph
04.00 nm    3.58 kts  4.12 mph
04.50 nm    3.61 kts  4.16 mph
05.00 nm    2.93 kts  3.38 mph
overall     3.53 kts  4.06 mph
avg spd     3.03 kts  3.49 mph
distance    4.64 nm   5.33 sm
duration   01:31:43
I put in at my new favorite location. It's a quiet little red clay beach next to the road. The only downside, other than the inevitable red ring around the boat, is the trash. It's proximity to the road makes it a favorite spot for fishing. I just don't understand how a bottle of Woodbridge Merlot and piles of empty Wendy's bags adds to the fishing experience.
Some of the trash around the lake
Some of the trash around the lake
tags: lake

June 26, 2007

Seeing the light

The weather today was great on Falls Lake. It wasn't too hot and the wind was just enough to keep things cool. Pat had joined me once before on the lake, and had a miserable time. Today was much different. He had a great time and can't wait to do it again.
The last time he went out, he used Heath's Dirigo and paddle. This time he used my Tsunami and my old paddle. He said that he felt like he was fighting the kayak when he was in Heath's boat, but not in mine. That makes sense. The Dirigo just isn't a kayak.

June 23, 2007


If you print out all 284 pages of articles from Sea Kayaker Magazine's website, it is approximatly 1 3/4 inches high.
Sea Kayaker Magazine articles
Sea Kayaker Magazine articles

June 22, 2007

I had no idea it was training for something better

While reading this post over at about someone's first experiences with a wet exit, it struck me that my parent's plans may have panned out after all.
My parents wanted me to take sailing lessons, but I didn't know how to swim. We joined a neighborhood pool and they signed me up for lessons. I took to it quite well and wound up joining the swim team. By the end of the summer, I wound up winning an event at the championship meet. I started swimming competitively year round the following year and didn't stop until I got to college.
I never got around to those sailing lessons.
I swam in the days of David Berkoff's rule changing dolphin kick world records where the entire race is swum underwater on your back. I've also done well over a million flip turns. After all of that, getting water up my nose is not something I worry about. I also played quite a bit of no-rules water polo. That prepares you for all kinds of things that result in you being unexpectedly underwater.
My first wet exit was actually quite fun. I had my sprayskirt on, paddle in hand, and just went right on over with no hesitation. I wasn't wearing my PFD, so when I hit the water, I was upside down seemingly instantly. There was no panic. Just a feeling like I'd been there before. I tried a couple of futile attempts at rolling back up, then popped the skirt and floated to the surface.
Even though kayaking isn't exactly sailing, it's close enough. And it's good to know that those swim lessons are finally paying off.
tags: training

June 14, 2007

New put in spot

It seems that the "season" has now started. My usual put in place at the state park boath ramp now requires a $5 fee. I have no problems paying that much to have a parking lot and a short walk to the water, but I almost never carry cash. I opted for plan B. I've wanted to try putting in at a place closer to the house for some time now, but the 50 feet scamper down to the water, and the bees nest at the bottom have kept me from using it in the past. I quick run down to the water found the bees were nowhere to be found so I decided to give it a shot.
New put in spot (that's not me)
New put in spot (that's not me)
This is one of those days when I really appreciated the balance of my NDK Explorer. Carrying it down to the water was much easier than I thought it would be. I discovered that I need to trade in my plastic storage container for one of these.
I got in quite a work out. My new shorter paddle allows for a much higher pace. I headed towards the damn and took my time warming up. Just as I got there, Jean called. While everything looked fine, it turns out that a ringing phone somehow stops the GPS from recording the track. My extended sprint back was not recorded. If I had to guess, I'd say that I maintained well over 4kts the entire way back. I really wish I'd had that track.
tags: lake

June 11, 2007

Demo Day in Farmville

Why go to a demo day billed as the "largest thing to happen to Farmville since Lee and Grant passed through town 130 years ago" a month after getting a new kayak? Affirmation! I wanted to try out all the other kayaks to prove to myself that my Explorer is the perfect kayak.
I drove up to SML last night and Jean and I headed over to Farmville for Appomattox River Company's demo days. I went looking for a PFD, a decent sprayskirt, a new paddle, and many kayaks that didn't measure up to my new kayak. Unlike me, Jean went looking for a boat she actually liked.
She was mainly interested in a Riot Enduro. She saw it in Charleston, but had not had a chance to paddle it. She took it out today and found it to have horrible tracking and severe weathercocking -- even with the skeg deployed. She also tried the Riot Endeavor and it was worse than the Enduro. I suggested she try a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120. She liked it a lot better than the Riot kayaks. And she still thinks WS's seats are perfect. I also suggested she try the Liquid Logic Saluda. She liked it, but not as much as the Pungo.
I was very much looking forward to trying a Wilderness Systems Tempest 170, but the cockpit is too small. It's wide enough, but it's about an inch too short. I did try an Impex Force Cat5. Overall, I didn't like it. The finish was very well done and I liked the Immersion Research backband and seat, but the handling seemed lacking. The tracking was not as tight as I would have expected with the skeg up. My Explorer doesn't need the skeg until most sane people are off the water, but the Force Cat 5 seemed to need it on perfectly flat water with only a minor breeze. Initial stability seemed higher than my Explorer. That was likely due to my being near the top of the paddler weight range. As I had my keys, wallet and cell phone in the pocket of my shorts, I didn't test the secondary stability.
Proving yet again that I don't look like a kayaker, the Impex rep warned me that since the Force 5 was a long boat, I shouldn't expect it to turn like the boats I'm used to. He suggested that I try leaning a little, but not too much or I'd fall in. What is it about me that makes people think I have no idea what I'm doing in a kayak. Oh yeah, I don't. (The kayak turns quite easily with a simple sweep stroke and a little edging.)
The only purchase of the day was a 220 Aquabound Manta Ray.
tags: gear

June 09, 2007