What I Learned at a Demo Day

A local kayak club had a demo day at Big Lagoon, CA. I tried about eight different kayaks. Here are some things I learned (ignore screwed up numbering!):

  1. I like my own kayak far more than any that I tried. That was a surprise, since I had the impression that it wasn’t such a good kayak. (I have a Perception Sonoma 11 in Airalite), shown here:

I like mine because the weight makes it much more responsive (accelerates quickly) and it turns easily. It’s also comfortable. Note that I have added flotation tubes fore and aft.

  1. I could barely fit in some kayaks. I’m 5’11" and 162 pounds. For some, my hips were almost too wide. I couldn’t get my legs all the way into a surf kayak.

  2. On a sit-on-top fishing kayak, I felt I was just too high off the water for efficient paddling.

  3. I must use different muscles in my boat, because after the demos, I was painfully sore where my legs meet my torso.

  4. I tried one of these:

and could barely keep from tipping. Interesting boat!

I tried a $350 Werner paddle. The lightness really makes a difference. Hmm.

Had a lot of fun!

Yes, a carbon paddle makes a huge difference.

I tried a SOT once. Not having contact with the boat felt insecure.

Which brands/models did you get a chance to try, aside from the surf ski?

I didn’t really notice the brand names. There was a Dagger and an Eddyline. A home-built wooden one was excellent, perhaps the best I tried.

Everything feels odd till you have invested a bit more water time than typical at most demo days… If you go again try two or three.

A good, light paddle is a pleasure regardless of the boat.