Advice for Colorado paddler

OK, I’ve got a question for those that have more experience than me. I’ll try not to be too long winded.

I’m wondering how much (if at all) deck height, volume, etc. will affect me learning to roll. This will affect my choices in buying a new kayak. A little about me. I’m an advanced beginner/intermediate paddler. I’ve taken several lessons and clinics and have a pretty solid ability to hold an edge to turn, self-rescue, brace, etc. I’m a big guy at 6’3" and 240#. Practiced tons of hip snaps but have not succesfully rolled yet. I am currently padling an older Perception Viscaya, which is pretty tall at the deck (14" or so), which is why I bought it used: it was easy to get in and out of.

Now that I am hooked, I’m in the market for a more “performance” boat. Here’s the dilemma. There is a new Impex Assateague nearby that I haven’t paddled yet, but suspect I’ll love. It seems like it will turn easily and be easier to roll (?) because it is relatively narrow (22.5").

The tough part is that I paddled a used Solstice GT HV and the guy has another Solstice GTS that fit my girlfriend perfectly (who loves paddling as well). I can get them both for the price of the one new Assateague new ($2800 for both) So, after all this, the question is: Should I get the two used Solstice boats for the price of 1 new Assateague? I want badly to learn how to roll and am worried that the Solstice GT with it’s high deck will be tough. Any advice would be appreciated. Cheers.

your kayak must fit
If you can turn twice before the kayak turns once, that’s a bad sign. To roll, you need positive contact with your boat. If you don’t have it, you have to build-it-yourself with minicell and glue. Otherwise, you’ll be tumbling around inside your boat like an astronaut doing summersaults in space. For me, contact at the inner knee/inner thigh is most important, so I installed agressive WW hooks.

This is not Colorado-specific advice.

For Colo specific
Ask here

where in colorado are you?
I live in Boulder. I think I know where you found the GTS HV & GTS (private party) and the Impex (Ft. Collins right?).


don’t compromise
IMHO, compromise eats away at you and then you end up doing what you wanted eventually anyway, only it ends up costing you more.

I would get the guy to break up the pair so your girlfriend can get the boat she wants, or buy them both and resell the Solstice and buy yourself the boat that’s right for you.

I hope it all works out for you!

yes, private party for the Solstice
That’s right. I liked the Solstice well enough (certainly better than my current boat), but it seems like it would be a stable, large, not too nimble boat. Both of the Solstice seem to be in great shape and it seems like a steal to get them both, I just wonder how hard it would be to roll that boat.

solctice GT Titan Perhaps??

Solstice Series and Rolling
My first sea kayak was a Squall, the leanest of the Solstice series. I do not know how the Asseteague behaves in this area, but can tell you that the Solstice series in general are a bit tougher rollers than some of the other/slightly newer designs out there. I am not sure where the Asseteague lies in that timeline - some of the older Impex designs like the Montauk have their origin in the older North Shore boats out of Great Britain.

It’s not the all in the deck in the Solstice designs. These boats have bodacious secondary and tend to require good form to get then thru a roll. They are not as forgiving as some of the lower deck, lower volume boats out there, and weren’t designed to be from the start. The Solstice series dates from before everyone was running out there rolling sea kayaks, so they are much more about staying upright to start with than making it brainless to roll them up.

Re: Solstice series and rolling

– Last Updated: Jun-11-07 10:28 PM EST –

This is interesting and makes sense. The Solstice felt really stable and solid. I think I'll enjoy this kayak even if it takes me a while to learn to roll in it.

I learned to roll in a Squall (roto analog to the GTS), and I’m smaller in relation to the Squall than you are in relation to the Solstice.

It’s doable. The high peaked deck is not a problem for rolling. The reach up while capsized, if you have a short torso/arms, might be a stretch–it was for me.

Make sure you add padding where necessary before you try rolling. I had to add a LOT to the thigh braces, and I should have added some hip pads, too. And raised the seat.

Also, if it has the crappy hard backrest, GET RID OF IT and install a good backband.