First of all, thank you very much that I have read many topics about various subjects for kayaking, especially dealing with winter conditions.
I started kayaking with a very basic sit-on version of it with no single past of any water sports (290cmx75cmx45cm - 40kg - Polyethylene). I attached the photo of it, the yellow one. I developed quickly and did two risky trips in 2 months. First one was to a island which has no settlement (10km in total. I did this route two times) Second one was 17km ride in total between Istanbul and the Princes’ Islands. Some say it was the courage of a blind person but somehow I still have that courage, maybe a portion of it because of Wind Solo which is the subject of this topic.
I then bought a second hand Tahe Marine Wind Solo since we had no many options for kayak since it is a very unpopular sport in Turkey. (This unpopularity can be strange since we have 4 seas around the country with world-famous sea shores)
I have nobody at this level in Turkey to take sea kayak courses and I am trying to learn by myself. The hardest thing is the stability at Wind Solo since it has shallow “V” hull and 54cm width. I was always in the fight or flight mode with my practices in Marmara Sea due to winter conditions and trying not to fall to cold water. I somehow developed a fear of falling in months. (I have spent 20 hours in total on the water with Wind Solo in winter up to this day)
To make the story short, should I give up Wind Solo and buy a Tahe Marine Playspirit PE or Fit 158 PE which seem more easy to handle due to their hard chine hull shape and 59cm width? Or should I practice more, don’t give up and maybe in 6-12 months I can manage to stay on Wind Solo comfortably? I have one last struggle that I do not consider speed. I am an expedition kayaker where there can be physical encounter with rocks on sea shores. Is composite Tahe Wind Solo suitable for this experience? (Wind Solo seems like a training/exercise kayak in many ways)
With my best regards,
Omer from Istanbul/Turkey
I have not tried a Wind Solo, but suspect your instability is the usual. So this is my guess:
Paddlers new to typical sea kayaks find them unstable. The trick is to stay loose at your hips and allow the kayak to tilt under you while keeping your center of gravity vertical above the water. The common saying is "Loose hips don’t sink ships’.
If you stay stiff in the hips and the water gets choppy, you’ll possibly tip. It’s natural to stiffen up, but instead remain loose. Once you start staying loose and relaxed, the feeling of instability will go away.
Try ballast like sand up against rear bulkhead. Maybe 10-12 lb. Make it flat like a pancake 2-3" high. Shape it in a plastic bag with duct tape. As you gain confidence dump a few pounds. It takes a while. Deep breathes relax. Try little bit of a bracing stroke as you paddle.
I suspect this is a very large part of your problem. If you’re this tense and focused on not falling in the water, then you’re energy is directed at a negative outcome. You won’t be able to relax in this scenario, which is critical to your comfort in the new boat. Find somewhere sheltered and calm where the water is shallow. Take time relaxing and playing in your boat where the worst that can happen is that you might get wet and have to dump some water out of your boat when you get back on shore. @rsevenic made some good suggestions above.
Thanks a lot for the advices! It seems that the problem will be solved when I practice consecutively in warm water at a sea shore with sand. I will also try relaxing and adding weight as it is mentioned above.
We have sea snot in Marmara Sea right now. Winter temperatures are followed with this new problem for me but I hope it will somehow decrease in the upcoming months.
I will come back and update the topic for future reference if I manage to improve my stability.
Good luck I’ll say from us all.
You have a great boat but one that will feel decidedly twitchy to a paddler new to sea kayaks. Getting used to the stability of any sea kayak coming from what you had before will take time. In this boat it will take a little more time.
Once the water is warm enough, do spend some time in shallow water to practice self-rescue and generally taking the boat onto its edge.