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Dan, how’s your kayak shopping going?
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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/6/19 10:02 AM

Dan, how’s your kayak shopping going?

I went by the LLBean outlet shop at Ellsworth. Saw they had a bunch of kayaks out on sale. Something like 20% off. On a $2000 boat, that’s a significant chunk of saving for nothing lost.

Out on display were a couple of Tempest from Wildnerness. I know the Tempest line well enough to say they’re good “low volume” boat of ‘brit’ design.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6312
Location: Maine

7/6/19 10:29 AM

Got sidetracked

I exchanged emails with the MIKCo guy about setting up a demo, but then he didn’t get back and I didn’t follow up, so that kind of dropped. Now I’m trying to up my riding a bit so I can do some rides, so I dunno if I’ll get to it.

So all talk, no action...

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17554
Location: Portland, OR

7/6/19 12:10 PM

"So all talk, no action..."


Yeah, right. All evidence to the contrary with you really. ;)

I suspect a component layer of a similar situation with me recently. I am not chasing a vendor to do business with them simply put.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6312
Location: Maine

7/6/19 1:09 PM

OK

April shamed me so I emailed again with a bunch of dates. I would like to get this done and I think he is the best bet as he does custom fitting with pads etc which I think would be of benefit for my creaky frame.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17554
Location: Portland, OR

7/6/19 1:56 PM

Superstars, MEH. ;)

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/6/19 7:27 PM

“April shamed me”

That wasn’t what I had in mind. I simply saw some decent kayaks on sale and thought I mentioned it.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/6/19 7:29 PM

Speaking of sidetracked, I went the other way. My cycling is getting sidetracked while I got busy with kayaking!

In the process of “updating” my fleet...

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6312
Location: Maine

7/8/19 10:56 AM

Set

Taking the ferry out to Peak’s Island later this month for demo with MIKCo. May end up with expensive NDK but if it fits and I’m comfortable in it that’s fine.

Last edited by dan emery on 7/8/19 11:38 AM; edited 1 time in total

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17554
Location: Portland, OR

7/8/19 11:08 AM

What are the aspects of 'fit' for a kayak? Pretend I know what fit is on a bike, but no idea about personal water craft. Well, you do not have to pretend really. ;)

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/8/19 11:22 AM

Search!

There’s a long thesis by Brian a while back, everything you need to know about choosing a kayak.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6312
Location: Maine

7/8/19 11:30 AM

Fit etc

Here’s an article by the guy I’m working with. I have been in a kayak in which I was very uncomfortable, and one where I could not get my foot on the rudder pedal, so fit and adaptation are important to me.


https://maineislandkayak.com/thoughts-on-fitting-demoing-and-choosing-a-sea-kayak/

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17554
Location: Portland, OR

7/8/19 3:14 PM

Thanks, last two posts/info...

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/9/19 8:07 AM

The article from MIKCO is quite a long laundry list.

I don't think it's possible to find the "right" bike/boat on 1st attempt. (That much the MIKCO article spell out in the very beginning). One is liable to go through a series of "upgrade" at the early stage of one's paddling progression path. Dan is going through the first round of fitting, just getting comfortable in the boat so he can go out for a paddle and enjoy the day.


quote:
Pretend I know what fit is on a bike, but no idea about personal water craft.

What do you know about bike fitting? What are the order to fit a bike to a "body"?

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17554
Location: Portland, OR

7/9/19 10:49 AM

Ignorant of the scope, easy to conceive specific fit aspects exist.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4553
Location: Nashua, NH

7/10/19 7:29 AM

The biggest fit related issue Dan is likely to encounter actually has to do with his body adapting to the paddling position. Specifically, the issue is the tight hamstrings that cycling tends to create. Although a boat with a 12-13" high deck allows for significant bend in the knees, your hamstrings will still get stretched more than they do on a bike. The tendency is to want to lean back, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Unless one has been doing significant core exercises, your abs, hip flexors and obliques get a serious workout. You'll also find that your pecs and triceps get worked from pushing forward with your upper hand.

As for the boat, the main things are getting the footpegs or footrest set to the proper distance (not too tight) and being able to make solid contact between the knees/thighs and the deck. Although some people emphasize a snug fit between the hips and the cheekplates on the seat, I prefer to have some room to move around. It makes rolling and sculling easier, and it allows you to shift your weight to one side or the other if you need to edge the boat for a long time, such as when paddling with a significant crosswind.

One recommendation I'll make is to NOT get a boat with a rudder. Most new paddlers tend to use a rudder as a crutch and develop bad habits that actually hamper their ability to to control the boat ("rudder dependency"). All you need is a boat with a skeg, along with good boat handling skills, which will come with training. As with cycling, skills are far more important than equipment, only more so with paddling.


Last edited by Brian Nystrom on 7/10/19 10:05 AM; edited 1 time in total

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/10/19 8:51 AM

Boat fit, cockpit fit, paddle ...

Like when we fit bikes, first get the right FRAME, then fiddle with stems, saddle etc. Then, after a solid season (or two, or three), go back and reconsider everything. Probably a new bike with slightly different angles, trails. By then, you know more of what you really want.

First, get the boat with the right volume for your weight. That's the "frame".

Somewhat counter intuitive, a narrower boat MAY be more comfortable to sit in because you don't have to spread your legs so wide. At least that's what I realized whenever I rent boats and ended up with some extra-wide bathtub.

Deck height is very personal. I like them low, but that's because I have short upper torso, AND also pretty flexible. Someone less flexible and taller may find a slightly higher deck to be more comfortable.

Cockpit fit is almost like fitting the "cockpit" of a bike. For beginners, "keyhole" cockpit is the typical choice. It's easy to get in and out of, yet still provide enough contact to start "fitting". Seat width should be close to hip width, which then could be "tighten up" if so desired by the end of the season. But it should not be too tight to begin with. (it's much harder to "create" more space where none exist).

Foot peg can also be modified to suit personal characteristic. Just for illustration, my size 5 feet barely reach the typical foot peg with the tip of my big toes. So I have something on the floor of the boat to raise my feet high enough to align the ball of my feet to the peg. I doubt Dan will have that problem though. (In my white water boat, which is actually a kid's boat, I had the reverse problem. My sandal, even at size 5, were too big to fit in the space between the deck and and floor. So I always paddle my ww boat in a rubber booties instead)

All those are just body fit. Maybe next year, you'll start paying attention to hull shape, waterline length, hard vs soft chine etc.

In the mean time, there's another Pandora's box call PADDLE. I will only crack open that a tiny bit. GET THE RIGHT LENGTH. If you can test a paddle that has variable length, it'll be ideal. But once you settle on a paddle, use the same one for boat testing so you're not changing 2 variables and have the effect mixed up.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4553
Location: Nashua, NH

7/10/19 10:32 AM

I'll second the recommendation for a narrow boat, but the boats Dan is likely to encounter at MIKCO will probably all be 22" wide or less. Most of them will also likely be ~17' in length. A "17x22" boat seems to be the most common size in the industry for sea kayaks and it should suit Dan fine. Narrow boats don't feel as stable when you first start paddling, but you adjust to it quickly. To me, a 22" boat feels like sitting on a couch. ;-) It's really common for a beginner to buy a wider, more stable boat and outgrow it in a matter of a few weeks or months. Wide boats also inhibit your ability to learn important skills like leaning, edging, sculling and rolling.

Personally, I prefer boats in the 19"-21" range with low volume and low decks. I paddle Greenland style, which means with straight legs, so unless I'm in the skin boat I built to fit me, I have to pad the underside of the deck to get proper contact.

I'm also a fan of small cockpits, as they provide better control over the boat than a keyhole and allow for more leg positions while paddling, since you can contact the underside of the deck across its full width. However, "ocean cockpits", as they're often called, are really rare and Dan may not even encounter one. The common argument against them is that they're more difficult to get into and out of, but considering that I do that at most a handful of times during a day on the water and 99.9% of my time is spent paddling, I'd much rather have the improved control than slightly easier ingress and egress. It's sort of like the argument over flat pedals vs. clipless.

I prefer to pad the forward bulkheads in my boats to use as foot rests, rather than using foot pegs for a couple of reasons. Many foot pegs are small and get uncomfortable when you're paddling in soft-soled footwear and the padded bulkhead allows me to move my feet around, which further improves comfort.

Paddle length is subjective and the trend is toward shorter paddles. For someone Dan's size, a 220cm paddle would be about right or at least a good starting point. I make my own Greenland paddles (SHAMELESS PLUG WARNING!) and sell a book I wrote on the subject, so I can experiment as much as I want. I started out with 90"/228cm paddles, but now prefer 84"/213cm to 86"/218cm paddles.

If anyone here wants a deal on a used 230cm euro paddle, I have a couple that I need to move along to a new owner.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/10/19 11:47 AM


quote:
Most of them will also likely be ~17' in length. A "17x22" boat seems to be the most common size in the industry for sea kayaks

The Romany (Classic) is only 16" long. Just saying.

I wasn't clear when it comes to paddle. Once the proper length (215~220cm seems to be the norm) and shape is determined, it's worth dropping a good chunk of money to get the lighter material. You'll be lifting and swinging that piece of 2x4 a few million times in your 1st season.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6312
Location: Maine

7/10/19 3:37 PM

Various

Well I’m not planning to get a rudder, and I doubt I am going to get a series of boats in the next couple years. At my age and not going to be paddling constantly, plus I should be getting good advice and fitting, plus it may be a fairly expensive boat, I expect I’ll get a good approximation and stick with it for awhile.

I expect to lean heavily on the advice of Tom Bergh. He’s about my age and size, and when I explained I was 68 and had a few orthopaedic issues, he replied “ I’m 69 so it’s all adaptation from here.” So he may be a good guy for me to work with.

April, lifting and swinging? I simply rotate my trunk..:)

Of course, if it’s like bikes, I may end up with 20 kayaks. A guy I paddled with in Antarctica said it was addictive and he had 5. I’m not expecting that, but I’m open to it. :)

Taking a trip to the Galapagos next year which will have some kayaking options, so I’d like to get better for that as well as hopefully some Arctic/Antarctic stuff in the future.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/10/19 8:09 PM


quote:
lifting and swinging? I simply rotate my trunk..:)

You’re still lifting and swinging it, unless you’re carrying the paddle on your shoulder.


quote:
I doubt I am going to get a series of boats in the next couple years. At my age and not going to be paddling constantly, plus I should be getting good advice and fitting, plus it may be a fairly expensive boat, I expect I’ll get a good approximation and stick with it for awhile.


I have no doubt your first boat will be a “good approximation”, that’s to your current skill level and paddling interest.

Give it a few months and you may find the “good approximation” can use some fine tuning & improvement to be a “better approximation”. :o)

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4553
Location: Nashua, NH

7/11/19 7:42 AM


quote:
You’re still lifting and swinging it, unless you’re carrying the paddle on your shoulder.


Although the dominant trend in paddles is "lighter is better", the late Derek Hutchinson was adamant that he liked to have some "swing weight" in his paddles. His signature "Toksook" paddle is pretty hefty compared to other paddles on the market.

Greenland paddles and hollow-blade carbon fiber paddles are quite buoyant, effectively reducing their weight whenever a blade is in the water.

Typical quality paddles are in the 24-32 ounce range and my cedar Greenland sticks vary in weight due to differences in the density of the wood. I've never noticed the minor differences and I don't think I've ever found the weight of my paddle to be tiring, as the other stresses involved in paddling are much more fatiguing.

Like bike saddles, paddles are very much a personal preference and there's a huge variety of shapes available in a range of sizes. You'll probably end up with more than one, which is no big deal since you should carry a spare anyway.

As for boats, I don't know many paddlers who haven't gone though more than one boat. While I currently have 3, I've owned at least 11 over the years, as best I can recount. As with bikes, sometimes you want or need different boats for different types of paddling.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/11/19 8:54 AM

"Greenland paddles and hollow-blade carbon fiber paddles are quite buoyant, effectively reducing their weight whenever a blade is in the water. "

Or foam-cored blades.

Even though foam core paddles felt heavy picking up. They felt light when actually paddling. (same with Greenland paddles)

There's one inevitable "lift" period with each paddle stroke. (Though with the very low angle of Greenland style paddle stroke, that "lift" period is much smaller than with standard paddles)

In addition, the upper blade needs to be balanced up in the air. Yes, the buoyancy of the blade in the water helps a lot there. Hence the hollow or foam core blades.

I have two paddles, one carbon and one fiberglass. Same brand. I notice the weight when I switch. Though I wouldn't say either is "heavy" enough to matter. I only notice it being an issue when I'm traveling/renting and got something heavier than my own paddles. With a cheapie paddle, my arms DO feel tired.

I only went through 3 boats and 2 paddles. And the last 2 boats are the same hull but with significant difference in cockpit size and seat. I could use a new one with even less volume. But so far none of the newer offerings quite meet my need out of the box.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4553
Location: Nashua, NH

7/11/19 9:33 AM


quote:
Though with the very low angle of Greenland style paddle stroke, that "lift" period is much smaller than with standard paddle


It's a myth that GPs require a low stroke; they actually work well at any angle. If you watch videos of actual Greenlanders paddling, you'll see a variety of angles being used. They even work with a very high angle, flaring, wing-paddle style stroke.

The only place I've found that GPs don't work well is in water so shallow that you can't submerge the whole blade at any angle.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/11/19 2:24 PM

I don't think Greenland paddle REQUIRES low angle strokes. But having been out with many GP folks, I noticed most use low angle strokes. (that said, even few Euro paddle users use high angle strokes for touring anyway).

Greenland paddle has its weight evenly distributed along the full length of the paddle instead of at the end of the paddle. So the swing weight is less.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

7/11/19 2:31 PM

Speaking of GP. I have to make a correction to my earlier post. I went through not 2 but 3 paddles. The last acquisition was a GP 2 years ago. But unlike many GP converts who are selling their Euro paddle, I have gone back to Euro paddle this year. I still like GP in certain days. But not all the time.

Kind of like my riding. I'm mostly a spinner. But from time to time, I just feel like jumping out of the saddle and put all my weight (ok, not a lot of it) on the pedal! It's not the most efficient way to get up the hill. But it's just fun!

GP is kinder to my body in all around touring. I'm definitely fresher at the end of a long day of touring when using GP. But when I'm surfing down wind, I love pulling out my big spoon Euro paddle and get a kick out of flying down the wave front!

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