PADDLING REPORT

Posted by Kurt Maurer on May 27, 2004

Okay, so it isn't really a trip. Usually it is, but today my main topic of interest for the outing was sea kayak handling technique, and preparation for same was absolute expectation of getting WET.

I got a new spray skirt, and what inspired the purchase was having watched a few skilled sea yakkers giving demonstrations at last Saturday's Texas Kayak Builder's Bash. I saw them perform all sorts of maneuvers that were essentially new to me, having never before actually SEEN them in action. So I cast off planning to remain within easy reach of shore, and just PLAY.

I found it easy to lay the boat on its side, without turning turtle, and allow the cockpit to flood entirely... and it was likewise interesting to note where the flotation of the sealed compartments takes over in a swamped boat condition. Even more fascinating was noting how difficult it is to paddle a flooded yak!

I tried to roll, having the bottom within easy enough reach to use the paddle to directly throw myself back up from... but every time I went over, it was like a reflex action to bail out. I have yet to sit in an inverted boat... or try "flicking my hips"... I always bail automatically. Gotta get over that and stay with my ship...

Several onlookers showed up to watch, some afraid I was in real distress, and others seemingly wanting to see a show. While I normally don't care a whit about what people think, I was getting a bit concerned over the public relations aspect of home built kayaks, etc. So I got out, dried off, and went home. Okay, so I was worn out!

So what did I learn? First, that a coach is probably a really, really good idea for the student of the roll. Second, that I am *already* more confident in my Cormorant, now that I have tossed her completely over, only to find a firm brace brings us all upright once again without undue exertion or flooding. And, of course, I learned that the flotation of the sealed compartments means LOTS of bouyancy -- although it really doesn't help trying to get back in. I never did get a self-rescue logged. Those paddle floats may have some merit after all, what a concept.

It was a hot day in south Texas, and I was able to cool off by splashing around and having a grand old time with my yak... AND, I learned important stuff!

I have a real, live, rootin' tootin' certified kayak instructor lined up, as a club thing, to get me going *for real* soon. But it was a lot of fun just dumping my boat and paying attention to what was going on -- and staying cool!

Cheers, Kurt

In Response to: Re: FINALLY A TRIP REPORT by Kurt Maurer on May 27, 2004

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