Finally got her wet

Between lightning storms and my schedule I have had zero time to put the boat in the water.

To recap, big older guy, canoer, goal is river flatish water tripping, found a Aquaterra sea lion because that would hold me and 5 days of gear, it had pedals and the lines for a rudder, so I built a rudder, resealed the bulkheads in the carolina for my son and re rigged it with new bungee, repaired the seat back…

Anyway, after a camp trip last week was aborted because of a difference in potential storm, we had planned on doing a quick 3 hr on the Allegheny. When we got to the river, it looked like it might take a hour, maybe. Water was WAAAAY up. So we took the scouts to a lake and I got to float the kayak for the first time.

After getting it afloat, until I relaxed I was doing a kayak hula. leftrightleftrightleftright it was kind of funny after a while which likely helped is relaxing. I got her pointed out to water and away we went.

The son in the Carolina got afloat and was gone across the lake so I guess he was OK at first. He said he did take on some water but I’m not sure how much was from tipping and how much was from paddler assists.

Good news is; it doesn’t leak, rudder works real nice against the wind but not that important a feature to me at this time, I stayed more or less un moist. Paddle this thing from the trunk instead of the arms and it wants to run without a lot of effort.

Bad news; kind of a son of a gun to mount, think I have it figured though, I did have to do a C brace to keep from going over. I was splashing some scouts and the butt took a wiggle left while the upper part went right, so as I started to take on water, I grabbed their canoe, C brace. I am going to have to rig a higher backrest before I do multiple 16-22 mile days in this.

Like you I came to Kayaking
after years of canoeing. I am not an expert by any means. But - one comment I will make is that after you have some seat time and your kayak paddling stroke smooths out and improves I think you will find that a high seat back is a bad idea and not necessary. If your boat fits well with good contact at the thighs you are going to want to be able to pivot your butt and work your legs as your paddle. Also, the bag ache that you may be experiencing disappears as you improve and you can feel very relaxed and comfortable with a low back rest - even no back rest. It is really quite amazing and I am sure hard for you to believe right now. But that has been my experience and I know many others have had the same experience. A high back seat interferes with good paddling technique and also makes it hard or impossible to use a good spray skirt.

Will get used to the stability
Very quickly. You’ll just learn to move around while keeping your core weight centered. Yoga really can help since much of this is about stretch.

It’ll give you some handy tools to keep your back in shape over a long trip as well.

not sure…
… if the tractor trailer that hit me in 1988 and still haunts me will agree with the low backrest thing.

I do agree that some more time in the saddle should help be relax though, because in about 2 hours of messing around in a lake I can REALLY see the draw to the kayak. That big long thing just wants to go.

The cheek to cheek…
… hula quit pretty fast and I did get to start being able to move pretty well. It was pretty funny watching the whole boat move back and forth about 3 inches to either side while my top end was straight. I knew I was over correcting, but there was nothing I could do about it until I started snickering and relaxed.

Honestly I have been wondering about yoga for a while. The back has been beat up for years (Corps, equipment operator, hit by truck, lineman, 1 serious motorcycle accident) and if it might also help stay dry, that is as good excuse as any to give it a shot.

You can sure tell when you are paddling from the trunk and not the arms. Seeing the differance in the boat is a eye opener because when it starts getting close to correct your motion increases.

Other bonus is that the son had a good time, and I had a good time, so the wife, who I have not been able to get into a canoe, expressed a interest.

Loose hips save ships.
You certainly experienced that when your hips swayed left to right, but your head & shoulders stayed still.

Full body paddling (torso rotation & leg drive) certainly does move a boat along easier than arm paddling.

You’ve learned a lot in a short time.

The Sea Lion is very forgiving.

Wouldnt say learned…
… maybe saw some light.

It was kind of like the first time your skis come together and you make a parallel turn and you hear a far off “DING” of recognition in your brain.

The learning part comes from making it natural. Time will tell…