I went kayaking for the first time in 3 weeks today. The weather wasn’t looking great, but I figured it had been too long. I was right about the weather – it started raining when I was about 2/3rds of the way to the weir, but it wasn’t a cold rain so I kept going. I was alone, so I was paddling as fast as I could. Probably too fast. Mostly I wanted to see how far I could go without pausing, and then after I had to pause, how few pauses I could take and still keep up a decent pace. That’s sort of how I built up my fitness when I first started cross country skiing and again when I started mountain biking – go fast, and work on increasing the range, instead of doing the more conventional starting with long slow distance and building up the speed, which is how I started running.
The weather seemed to have kept away everyone but the dedicated paddlers. And the geese and the swans of course. I turned soon after I passed the weir, and another kayak was coming up through the weir. He had a very narrow boat, and had a bit of trouble controlling it through the weir. It looked sort of like a racing boat, but maybe not as extreme as a real racing boat. And I think it was fibreglas or kevlar, rather than carbon fibre. The brand name on the boat was “KayakPro”.
About half way back to the dock, a swan came running on the water towards me, and then took off and flew low over my head. Man, those things are HUGE when they’re in the air. Then almost immediately afterwards, another one came flying around the bend and landed a few metres ahead of me. It was keeping its wings up in a pose that I call the “swan boat”, which I’d always thought was a threat. Now I wonder if the purpose is to keep the wings dry and ready for quick flight. A few seconds later, as I got closer, it turned away and took off. Again it looked HUGE.
Around another bend, and I hear the “hup” of marathon canoers signaling for switching sides. I risk a glance back, and it’s two canoes. Beautiful, sleek black carbon fibre beasts, roaring along like jet skis. Three men and a woman. I put on a bit of speed to make at least a show of deserving to be on the same water as them. I tried to catch their wake to surf it a bit as they passed, but all I got was chop which actually slowed me down rather than sped me up. I wonder if the sleekness of the design of racing canoes means that they don’t generate a proper wake, or maybe it was because there were two of them.
After I got back, I noticed that Bay Creek is now selling these KayakPro boats in their new “fitness and racing” section. I had a look, and they sure look nifty. They’ve even got a tiny little rudder. My kayak is 22 or 23 inches wide, and this one is 17 or 18. I didn’t see how much the fibreglas one is, but the kevlar one had a $2500 price tag on it. It looks like a perfect fitness kayak. If I hadn’t just dropped a bunch of money on a kit, I would have asked how much they’d give me on a trade-in on the Skerry right there.