This morning my cow orker Rob and I went kayaking. He’s thinking of buying a kayak, but he’s had numerous knee surgeries so he needs a big cockpit so that he can get in and out. He also wants something that’s not too hard to lift, so he probably doesn’t want a rotomoulded kayak like I have. But he’s in luck – this year there are new materials that are as cheap as rotomoulded, but nearly as light as fibreglas. Almost makes me wish I’d waited a year.
First he tried a Swift Adirondak 13.6 (yes, he’s a Swift Boat Veteran now) which is certainly an easy boat to get in and out (almost canoe like) but it’s short and beamy and not very fast. We took it easy and had a nice slow paddle. We went up past the weir and turned around at the same place where Vicki and I turned around the first time we paddled up the creek.
On the way back, Rob was starting to notice how much easier it was for me to paddle than for him. And when we got back, he asked for something sleeker, and they suggested he try a Hurricane Tampico XL. But the only one they had was out already, so they said he should wait. While he was poking around looking at what they had, I picked up the paddle he had been using. It was carbon fiber, and very, very light. I took it out for a quick paddle around, and it was beautiful. It was like getting a second wind. Unfortunately it costs $290. I know what I want for my birthday next year.
Rather than waiting for the Tampico, we went across the street to check out Oak Orchard. They have a big selection of kayaks as well. At first, Rob and I found the guy manning the store a bit odd, and not very “together”. But after a while we warmed to him as he seemed to get it together, or we figured out what he was getting at, or something. He put Rob in a Eddyline Merlin XT, which is longer than the Adirondak, and also had a more pronounced V-hull. Rob found it a bit more difficult to get in than the Adirondak, and also because of the more agressive hull shape it felt a bit “trembly”. The guy gave him some really good advice about dealing with the lack of stability, and I think it worked. Rob and I paddled a bit around the bay, so he was dealing with a boat with a lot less initial stability than the one he’d been using before, but also waves and wake and wind. We paddled up and down a bit, and it was obvious that the boat was way faster than the previous one, and pretty close to the speed of mine. Obviously a nice boat, and a good choice for him.
Rob didn’t want to make a decision right away, so we went out to lunch afterwards, and afterwards I went home and he went back to BayCreek to try that Tampico.