One man's rush to jump on the kayaking bandwagon

2008 Wrightsville Beach Challenge Sea Kayak Race

To race or not? Is kayaking just fun, or is it a sport? Can it be both? This was my first kayak race and I was a little nervous about how I would do. I've paddled 6+ miles many times before, but I've never really done any training at all. I was worried that I'd have no endurance at all, but the issue was just that I was consistently slow. I placed right in the middle of the pack. Not bad for a couch potato who's only been semi-seriously paddling about 14 months.
Is there such thing as a perfect racing kayak? Some say that a racing kayak must be long, skinny, and posses a rudder. And it should come with a wing paddle. By those criteria, an NDK ExplorerHV is not a racing kayak. The wind was blowing from the west so I had the wind abeam for almost all of the race. I never could find the right amount of skeg for the conditions. Too much skeg and the current and wind blew me into the piers. To little, and the boat wakes and wind sent me of in the other direction. Having a rudder would have been nice, but obviously not necessary.
The winner of the race, Matt Lewis, paddled a Gulfstream. Matt Carrier, the 4th place finisher also used a skeg boat.
Except for the surfski's, none of the usual racing kayaks entered this year. There were no QCC's or Epic's this year.
Despite a nasty blister popping around mile four, being significantly dehydrated, and generally out of shape, I had a good time. I hope to at least pretend to train over the summer so I can be in better shape for the fall race.
tags: coastal

May 10, 2008