Getting used to a new 'yak

Hi everyone,

Last week I finally received my new Aquafusion Quest 15 kayak. I am a recent sweeps winner.

I took it out for the first time last Saturday and again just yesterday, and was totally taken by surprise by its handling characteristics. My only frame of reference is my 11’10" Pelican Pursuit, which is EXTREMELY STABLE by comparison.

It took forever just to get in the new kayak because the cockpit is so much smaller than the Pursuit. After I finally got underway, there was a near-constant feeling of “tippiness,” if you know what I mean. Any waves coming from the side caused the boat to rock slightly and I reacted by swinging my hips to compensate.

Paddling through waves was awesome. This 'yak slices through waves like a warm knife through butter. But the nearly constant “tippy” feeling was no small concern and tired me out rather quickly.

This was also my first experience with thigh braces. I had to wedge the inner part of each knee under the thigh brace. This really felt uncomfortable and caused muscle strain in the groin area.

Is this normal? Am I just in a transitional learning phase right now? I’m hoping that the “tippy” feeling will go away with more practice. Maybe I should get a paddling DVD, or something.

I sure would appreciate your advice and input. I sure hope it’s just me and not the kayak.



Seat time
will cure the tippiness factor. I think it’s like new shoes. Once your butt breaks in the seat, it’ll feel a lot better :wink:

You might want to consider taking some rolling lessons. This will also reduce your concern about the tippy factor.

Wet exit lessons
might be appropriate before attempting roll lessons. Most kayakers can’t roll but everyone I know has done a wet exit.

Sounds normal
Get acquainted stuff. It will take some time to develop all the little balance muscles - and to learn to stay loose/relaxed and trust the hull. Tensing up (and getting sore/tired) will greatly magnify instability issues.

Spend more time working on recoveries/rescues. Basic common sense going to a narrower boat - but beyond that a lot of intentional capsizes and re-entries (roll/brace work better still) and generally messing about will really help get you acquainted with the boats tipping points, etc. When I upgraded to a 21" beam sea kayak, I always noticed feeling much more stable feeling after doing practice stuff. 2 for 1 thing.

There are probably some outfitting/customization issues as well - and some minor changes can really aid comfort and control - but give it some time before you make changes - as your fit/feel in the boat will change as you get used to it.

I agree with the others,
however, I never could feel comfortable in two of my past “tippy” boats – unless I was moving foreward at a good pace.

I sold those two boats. They were good preformers, but I decided hanging out on the water was more important to me.

Just went through the same thing
I wouldn’t worry too much about the tippyness feeling, it will go away with time as the other posters have noted. I just went from a Old Town Loon 138 (which I’m pretty sure is impossible to tip over), to a Prijon Touryak. After the first few times out I was beginning to worry that I might not ever feel comfortable in this kayak. But after about 5 or 6 hours in the seat, all my concerns went away. In fact, I rarely even think about it.

Hang in there and put in your time and enjoy your new boat.

Wet exit lessons, huh?
I hope you didn’t pay too much for those. Now, learning to get back IN to the boat might be a skill worth shelling out a couple bucks for.

I say go for the roll lessons. If it doesn’t work out, then the natural progression would be to try a wet exit (unless you’re Aqua-man.)

everything - really. Your hips, and let the boat rock back and forth under you. If it’s decent at all it’ll come back - no reason to stop it or correct every side to side in waves. It’s designed to manage the small stuff by itself. As to the thighs and foot pegs - you want enough tension to manage the boat but no more. If it fits you tight enough you should be able relax your legs and still be under those thigh braces if you need 'em.