All that I know is that I know nothing

Yesterday I was kayaking with my brother who has just begun paddling. He was in his new (2nd hand) Silhouette while I was in my Inuk. He asked me why his kayak had those sharp edges(hard chine) while the Inuk didn’t.

Immediately a number of threads ran through my head and I ended up speechless. Years ago when I was a beginner myself I would have felt comfortable citing some kayak guru - but not anymore. Exactly what is the effect of the hard chines? How would the Silhouette behave with a more rounded hull? Beats me…

This seems to be a recurrent trend in my kayak conversations these days. Like a Socrates the more knowledge I gain, the less I seem to know.

How do you answer when asked if some kayak is good? “When do you want my 200 pages long report?” or “Beats me”?

In the end I gave my brother the ‘nobody really knows anything’ speech and he concluded that our field apparently needs more research. I guess it does.


N. Foster, an avowed surf afficianado, has stated that he likes sharp chines on his sea kayaks, especially towards the stern, because they give better carving ability while riding waves. So, his designs have those.


(shrugging as I finish this post).

The Silhouette IS a rounded hull
Just take a look at the underside. It’s an unusual combination of a rounded hull profile with hard chines, which produces the unique handling that one experiences in Nigel Foster boats. As has been repeatedly stated here, chine shape is just one aspect of hull design and it doesn’t define the performance of the boat.

Do You Know What You Like?
If you like a certain hull then you can look at it’s features (chines, rocker, length to width, etc, etc) to get an idea of what others you might like and maybe even why.

You still need the seat time to find out if those predictions are acurate.

“Me I’m just a lawnmower. You can tell by the way I walk”


OT - Question
Where do you surf in Denmark near Aarhus? I’m headed back for another visit, found some spots on the West Coast north of Hvidesanden but the winds were blowing the surf out the entire time we were there.

Surfing Denmark
We have to go to the westcoast of Jutland to get any decent surf. This involves at least a two hours drive.

Klitmøller is the classic danish windsurfing spot - one of the best in northern europe some claim. Good for kayaking surfing too. Here’s some shots from a club trip a month ago:

Blaavand Huk - westernmost point of Jutland is another option. A long sandy reef guarantees breaking waves in most conditions. Here’s a nice photo shot from the nearby lighthouse showing the reef:

Hvide Sande has a reputation of a nasty shore break. We don’t surf there.

Give me a hint when/if you go back to Denmark. Perhaps we can arrange a kayak/paddle for you.


I know
that folks appreciate a small watermelon split and passed around outside the surfzone.

Hi Peter! I started paddling about…
10 years before you were born and I think I know less now than the first time I put my rolly-polly butt in a canoe. Seems like life is an unlearning

experience, the older my children got, the more they told me that I didn’t know anything. But it seems that the more I unlearn, the more I have fun. Someone once told me that ignorance is bliss and at this point in my life I’m pretty blissful.

The point? Don’t sweat it. Relax, paddle and enjoy the time you have on (or in) the water.

Happly paddlin’


Beats Me
Just about any kayak is good for something.

It all depends on what you want to do with it.

After my first lesson I knew all the answers.

Now I’m not sure I know the answers, but I ask better questions.

Hey that looks like lake michigan,
espescially with all the dunes in the background.

For the love of peter get a surf boat!

Won’t be until next summer
but I will contact.

I tried to find a whitewater boat to surf but there were none to be found, and the water was nice and cold too.