Thursday, August 03, 2006

Surfing. On a kayak.

Back to the sea I went, on Tuesday evening. Came to the beach with a car full of gear; surf was good, but not great, so I decided to experiment. Out came an inflatable kayak (Lild, special offer, bought two). This isn't really a surf kayak - more a paddle-on-calm-lakes kind of vessel, with the paddler sitting on top rather than inside. The paddle itself is assembled from five seperate pieces, and the blades aren't particularly large.

I chose a quiet set to launch, and was pleasantly surprised - designed for novices, the kayak was so wide and stable than falling off was practically impossible. The slight flexing as waves pass seems to make staying on even easier. Best of all, armed with a paddle, I made short work of the trip out to the break, where more conventionally equipped surfers were waiting for their waves.

Result? I caught lots, although I did have some initial problems with weight distribution: waves were getting past me because my weight was too far astern. Leant forward on the next one and slid down the face - then the nose must have dug in, because the next frame on the video is full of bubbles... great fun. I did catch a few waves without incident though; my favourite was the one where the flexing of the kayak causing it to become lodged on the crest of the wave (rather than riding at the foot of the face, like a surfboard would). Fantastic. A leash would be a good investment though - the kayak travelled nearly as far independently as it did with me. See below, the video version of this post...

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