KAS - Kayak acquisition syndrome

So…like so many others here I’ve officially contracted KAS - Kayak acquisition syndrome. I have a Tsunami 120, which was my first kayak, and I love it. It is a great boat, and lots of fun on many different types of water.

However, I often visit my brother in law, and out his way there is mild to moderate + whitewater, and some very fast rocky water ways. After taking my Tsunami out on one of these fast rocky creeks I discovered that my Tsunami could handle the water, but it was challenging, and I was afraid of killing it on rocks. So I decided I’d look for an inexpensive used whitewater boat that I could use out there and start the process of learning whitewater with.

Yesterday that plan changed when I discovered my local paddling shop was selling a 2006 Wavesport Diesel 65 for $299!! Long story, but I wound up with a 2007 model, brand new, at the same price!

So now I’m the proud owner of a Diesel 65, and very excited at the prospects of starting to learn about paddling whitewater, and all the techniques that go with it. From what the folks at the shop told and what I’ve read this will be a great first boat for me to learn whitewater in. I just couldn’t pass up the deal I got on this boat.

So any advice for a newbie to the world of whitewater? I’m starting to search for a good used whitewater paddle. Any input anyone has on a good paddle to start with would be great. And any general advice on how to learn and get comfortable in whitewater also appreciated. I plan to take some classes early next year. The owner of the shop introduced himself to me, and offered to join me at some local spots to teach me and help me learn, so I plan on taking him up on that.

Have Fun!
I started edging into whitewater towards the end of last season and took a one day class in May and a two day class in June. A friend spent a great amount of time with a few of us last autumn and this season advising and coaching.

I bought myself 6 ww boats over this time and sold 5 of them for what I paid. By the end of the season, I was paddling an I3 and very happy with it.

My experience has been that ww paddlers are generous and supportive folk. I’ve experienced a welcome that is continually amazing.

My suggestion is to accept advice and be appreciative of help. Be honest about your skills, comfort, and experience and paddlers will gladly be there as you need their expertise and assistance.

Regarding gear: there is always used equipment available. Check various club sites and common ww boards such as npmb.com

And mostly HAVE FUN!

learn to roll
Find a local club and see if they have pool sesions this winter to work on a roll if you don’t already have one. I’m sure New Jersey has whitewater clubs, but if all else fails, check into Lehigh Valley Canoe Club in PA. They used to have pool sesions at Lafayette College and I assume they still do. A solid roll will greatly accelerate your learning curve for whitewater by enhancing your self-confidence.

You got a great deal on a great whitewater boat.

I know that learning to roll is going to be essential. The guys at the paddling shop told me that a group holds rolling lessons in the pool at my local community college. I’m going to look into that to learn to roll. If that doesn’t work out then there are couple of clubs near me, and my local shop holds classes as well.

In response to Wilso - I think I know what you mean about the friendly attitude and willingness to share knowledge of other WW boaters. I was amazed and warmed by the fact that the owner of the shop handed me his card with his personal cell phone number on it for me to call him in the spring to get together. His willingness to share his experience and befriend a customer just getting started was awesome. If nothing else he’s earned a customer for life :).

Thank you both for the advice and input, I appreciate it.

WW stuff

– Last Updated: Nov-04-07 8:13 PM EST –

Play with your outfitting until you feel comfortably locked in to your new boat. You don't want to be sliding around or having to fight to stay in the cockpit.

For your first WW paddle, any of the entry-level WW paddles from a good manufacturer should work fine. Remember that WW paddles are a LOT shorter than typical touring paddles. I have a Mitchell Cougar that's taken a ton of beginner abuse with no problems.

Most folks transitioning from touring to WW boats have trouble going straight. Some things that help are sitting up straight, keeping the blade close to the boat, and keeping your strokes out in front of you -- put the blade in as far forward as you can, and don't pull past your hip. Look well ahead and make little corrections with each stroke -- if you wait until a turn develops it'll be hard to stop.

Work on edge control.

Good torso rotation is important for safety as well as efficiency. Any time your elbow is above or behind your shoulder it puts that shoulder in a vulnerable position. Dislocations are no fun. Elbows should be down and in when bracing or manuevering.

Really work on the basics of getting in and out of eddies. It'll teach you a lot about edge control, and the ability to catch eddies on the fly can keep you out of some ugly spots. It's also just fun -- peeling out into a fast current is like getting yanked up to speed by a giant bungee cord.

Wow! Now with the money you saved
on the boat, you should also consider acquiring a good drysuit(that is, if you don’t already have one.) They’re an absolute essential if you’re planning on doing ww all year round here in the great white North.

By the way, $299? Where the heck is THAT kayak shop??? Do they have other brands at those prices??? (I’m willing to drive within a 500 mile radius of my home for either a cheap boat to add to my fleet, or some decent sets of rapids. See how easily you’re spreading this KAS???

Thanks for the great input Angstrom!!

The one thing I love about the Diesel so far is how adjustable the outfitting is. The adjustable hip padding is great, would love to have something like it in my Tsunami.

Straight was definitely difficult to achieve during my test paddle of the boat. But after about 10 min I started to get used to keeping my strokes well in front of me and very close to the boat. I also started to get the feel of using my hips and body to control boat direction along with my strokes. This is something I’m sure I’ll spend hours practicing :slight_smile:

Thanks for the pointers on elbow and shoulder placement…that sounds like very very important advice. I’ve heard a lot about WW shoulder injuries, and I know a shoulder injury is never ever fun.

I’ve very excited about learning WW, and getting into it. I love flatwater paddling, but I’m sure WW will become addicting.

boater talk
You might want to check out www.boatertalk.com. It’s sort of like paddling.net for ww boaters.