Saturday, April 18, 2009

East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival, Day 2

Today is the second day at the festival and I was supposed to have a nice relaxing morning with no classes to worry about. Actually I was really looking forward to going to one of the classroom lectures to learn about gourmet backcountry cooking. Unfortunately, I received a phone call from a friend who decided at the last minute to drive down and enjoy the festival too. So I ended up running over to meet him at the camp office to get him set up, then showing him where we were set up so he could join us for supper then running back to the festival area and getting him set up with a kayak. I then set up KayakerBoy in my kayak and ran around to the other side of the pond so I could demo the slightly smaller version of my kayak.

I currently paddle an Impex Force Category 4 kayak. This is a really great boat and I bought the boat after trying a friend's Force 4. I found the boat handles very well, cuts through the water nicely and has great primary and secondary stability. Unfortunately at the time, I didn't notice I was sitting in the boat much higher then I should have. Basically I didn't weigh enough to sink the boat to the right water line. With a smaller profile in the water, I have been finding that the wind has been throwing me around in the water as if I am nothing. This is annoying as it means I have to do a lot of corrective strokes which is tiring. I didn't want to have to depend on the skeg but I find I have to in order to keep the boat tracking straight, whether there is wind or not.

I was really happy to learn that Impex now makes a Force 3 HV, which is a high volume version of their Force 3. I am a bit too big to fit the Force 3 and a bit too small to fit the Force 4. The Force 3 HV is a nice meeting point between these two boats and I was eager to take it out and give it a run. I did sit in the Force 3 to verify that it was in fact too tight for me to comfortably paddle. But the Force 3 HV was a dream. I could feel I was sitting lower in the water, that the boat was just as maneuverable (actually more as I fit it better), and tracked better with the mild wind. I would really like to take one out on a longer paddle and further explore the fit, especially since they are retailing for over 3,000$ new. This is the first season they are available. So I either have to buy one new and just suck up the price, or I will have to tough it out until the end of the season and see if any go on sale or if anyone sells one used.

While I was on the water playing with the new boat, I also took the time to show KayakerBoy some paddling techniques and help him get a little more comfortable with the boat and the different style of paddling. I dropped the boat back off and then had a quick lunch. My next class was at 2:00 which gave me a little time to relax, digest and dry out some of the gear I had been using.

My one and only class for the day was a short boat surfing class. I wasn't sure what to expect of the class but I have had Nigel Foster as an instructor before in the past and I think he is a nice instructor. I showed up a little early to discover I was the only person there so far. We eventually figured out that there was some confusion about where to meet for the class and most of the class was over at the small beach put in and not at the trip leaving area. Once we had everyone assembled, we hopped into the mini bus and off we went, to go find the ocean. And that was when we were warned that the traffic was terrible. Turns out there was a festival happening on the island and they closed off the main road into the town. We managed to get to the beach but we spent almost 2 hours in the bus. At least Nigel had a chance to go over the class basics that didn't require a boat so we could hit the water quickly. We were out on the water for almost an hour before we had to head back.

While it turned out to be a short class, it well worth the experience and fun. I learned that I liked to close my eyes when I punch through a wave, which isn't good. Waves actually form in shallow water so once we got out past the shelf, the waves were just gentle swells. Since waves do form in such shallow locations, it is crucial to tuck tight when rolling so nothing hits the bottom. I also learned that spitting is an art that I have to master if I want to stop spitting on my sleeve. While I did have my dry top on, it is still rather disgusting to spit out a mouth full of sea water onto myself or my boat. I also learned that surfing with a short boat is a ton of fun and I can't wait to get out and do it again. The short boat, in my case my white water Jackson Fun boat, was very easy to maneuver around in the surf.

No comments:

Post a Comment