So, I finished my first boat in June (a 17’ SOF), nephews are working on Hulls #2, 3 & 4. My wife’s wood duck just getting started and my C18 plans are sitting on the shelf. Being new to Kayaking, I decided to take a course. I also wanted to make sure that my nephews had the required skills, teenagers have a habit of getting in over their heads. So I signed up for a Paddle Canada Level 1 Course. OMG what fun! There were 11 students, two instructors and lots of laughs. My only regret is that I did not do this before building Kia Ora, I would have done a couple things differently.
I HIGHLY recommend that you take a course. I do not plan to have Kia Ora out in big water or intentionally flip her over, but now I have the skills and confidence that not only can I wet exit, I can flip her over and get myself back in solo or assisted. You will learn a lot and have a great time (at least I did).
The folks who hosted the course; James and Dympna from http://www.learntokayak.ca, great people, I highly recommend. Besides, I made some new friends on the course and we are already planning our first social paddle.
P.S. if you are debating rudder/no rudder, a course like this will answer that, and more. I have saved hundreds on gear that I am no longer contemplating.