Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

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swiftgit
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Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by swiftgit » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:45 pm

Hi

I am looking to up date my district fleet of kayaks we currently have a fleet of 1980 dancers. I am open to sujestion or advise we are thinking of about 15 boat in total.

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Jim » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:31 am

Scouts cover such an age and size range.... you probably should look at getting a few Dagger Dynamos - everyone teaching little kids seems to rave about them, but you will need some bigger boats too.

15 boats seems like a pretty small fleet for a district but I appreciate you have to start (or re-start) somewhere - I'm sure my old group had a lot more than 15 boats, but that's probably why all the other groups in the district wanted to do joint camps with us :)

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Chilliphil » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:22 am

When building our fleet for the district we made sure we had a mix of all different boats of styles and sizes. The majority of ours are second hand as when we did buy new ones they got stolen!! Definitely agree that you need some smaller ones and the dynamo is a good choice.

Where are you in the country?

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by davebrads » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:35 am

The obvious choice is the Dagger GT and the Dynamo. If you were buying 15 boats I would say get about half/half of GTS and Dynamo, and also a couple of GT in case you have some larger kids. If they are going to be used by Venture Scouts (if they are still called that) you might want to increase the number of larger boats, and even add in a GTX.

You could go the Pyranha route, the Rebel is at least the equal of the Dynamo, and you could get Z-Ones for the larger kids.

Unless you are intending to push them in a particular direction with their paddling the above should suffice, I don't see the need for anything more specialised.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by chriscw » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:03 pm

You DO need some smaller boats and shorter paddles with small looms for smaller paddlers. Bear in mind though that whereas a larger Scout, Explorer Scout etc CANNOT use a boat they will not fit in a smaller scout can fit in a larger boat and still have some fun even though they will need a turn in the smaller craft to progress their skills..
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Slime » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:49 pm

You say that you want to UPGRADE your fleet -

Can I throw out a radical suggestion - buy a fleet of sit on tops.
They are FUN. Why go for old fashioned closed cockpit kayaks with all the problems and issues that they have? Why do you think Sit on tops are so popular with hire centres. Also much, much safer.

So go on guys tell me I am wrong - I speak as one of the oldest and most experienced kayakers in the country but just because we were all brought up on kayaks like the dancer is no reason for buying them twenty years on. On this basis we would all be buying pbk's !

I suggest think about the age and weights of your users and consider some kiddie size sit on tops as well as a few larger ones. Check out the weeniwave ski that Square Rock stock.

Happy paddling!

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by elveys » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:03 pm

We have dynamos, infra reds and redlines plus some scooter SOT's. The dynamos were added a couple of years ago and much better for the smaller ones when they move up from cubs which is usually when they start the weekly paddling sessions. Could do with some larger boats for the larger scouts and explorers.

I also like the Pyrana TG lites with retractable skeg option which can be useful when you want to do some small journeys etc.

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Jim » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:25 pm

Slime you are wrong, but only because the instructors won't know how to work SOTs - I know I don't :)

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by gp.girl » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:53 am

District has currently got 1 L2 and 1 L1 coach! Should be 1 more L1 and a permit holder by next season and Adrian is starting his L2 so don't need a huge fleet yet. Did think about a SOT as a backup for nervous or wobbly paddlers and we have done this before. If we want a more boats to cover everyone from just up from cubs to explorers will need more money or get some or all secondhand. Small boats without spraydecks can fill up very quicky so dynamos etc probably wouldn't get used enough. We will hopefully be running pool sessions this winter and could do summer ones too if needed and SOTs don't really work for those sort of skills. At the moment we have to pass them onto local clubs if they want to carry on but this might change next year.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Jim » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:19 am

gp.girl wrote:District has currently got 1 L2 and 1 L1 coach!
That's rubbish, you need to contact all the groups in the district and find out how many are harbouring coaches/instructors and then co-erce them to join in the district activity :)

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by davebrads » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:28 am

Slime wrote:buy a fleet of sit on tops.
I am afraid that I cannot agree with the above. The reason they are so popular with centres is that they "process" clients. They only expect to work with a client for a matter of a few hours at best, and at the end of it they want the client to feel that they have achieved something, even if that only means paddling around a lake. Consequently sit on tops are designed to be very stable with wide, flat bottoms, and to have good directional stability so they have moulded in skegs. It is not possible to teach anything about kayaking on a sit on top. The boats are too wide for a proper stroke, you don't learn how to maintain stability with your core, and you don't learn how to control a boat that is easy to turn. And they don't even learn to get over the perception of being unsafe in a closed cockpit boat.

If all you want to do is to give your scouts an "experience" then sit on tops will do the job, but if you are hoping that you can inspire some of them into becoming kayakers then get something else.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Chilliphil » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:46 pm

We have 1 SOT in our fleet to allow for nervous paddlers and those that don't like being enclosed. But to be honest it proves harder for the smaller ones to paddle as it so much wider. I've paddled it myself and hated it!!

gp.girl, what District are you? Looking at your location we might have some mutual Scouting contacts!! I grew up in Horsham District but have since moved.

Speak to your local shop if you have one, we got in contact with ours and asked them to let us know if anything came in second hand that might meet our needs, they were also able to do deals for us on air bags and other accessories as well as a couple of new boats (that then sadly got stolen).

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by gp.girl » Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:04 pm

East Grinstead. Been doing kayaking for 3 summers now. There are other coaches but they don't seem to want to be involved and it is voluntary so can't make them. On the plus side we seem to have found 7 GTs for sale so thats a really good start :) just need to chase district for the money.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Chilliphil » Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:16 pm

We have the same issue with coaches, very frustrating!! Good luck with getting the money out of district!

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Simongelder » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:48 pm

At Chester canoe club they have a number of 'Wild One' kayaks for teaching beginners prior to advancing to lightnings, wildwater racers, K1s etc. These are true general purpose kayaks with enough length to be useful on flat water but are still fine for moving water. They also have a slide in skeg which can help in open water. My opinion is that many claimed general purpose kayaks are too short and edgy for novices. There are better boats available such as these. May be worth a look?
http://www.wildthings-canoes.co.uk/pages/wild-one.htm

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by chriscw » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:03 pm

For what most scout groups want sit on tops are certainly the way to go I should have mentioned them before. Mostly scouts are playing and doing introductory sessions. I even heard a number of leaders say that the ONLY reason do do any activity in scouts is to get the appropriate badge. That is of course a totally daft notion but it is the attitude of some leaders and some scouts. Sit on tops are also quite cheap and you can get doubles for little more which are better for novice paddlers as they track better.

Perhaps the real answer is a mix of boats. This has many advantages including giving the scouts the chance to try different kinds of paddlesport and maybe some of them will want rather more than just a badge.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by davebrads » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:20 pm

Simongelder wrote:At Chester canoe club they have a number of 'Wild One' kayaks for teaching beginners prior to advancing to lightnings, wildwater racers, K1s etc. These are true general purpose kayaks with enough length to be useful on flat water but are still fine for moving water. They also have a slide in skeg which can help in open water. My opinion is that many claimed general purpose kayaks are too short and edgy for novices. There are better boats available such as these. May be worth a look?
http://www.wildthings-canoes.co.uk/pages/wild-one.htm
I want short and edgy boats to teach kids in, but perhaps that is because I am looking for a different outcome. I have worked with Guides rather than Scouts, and my hope is that some will take up white water kayaking or slalom, so the boats I prefer will teach them the requisite skills. If your outcome is to produce some flat water racers then Simon is right. And if all you are doing is processing scouts to get them their badges then Chris and Pete's advice to buy sit on tops is probably correct.

My issue then is how do you find your coaches? Nearly all the coaches I have worked with have greater ambitions than just processing kids through their badges. I certainly wouldn't coach anyone on a sit on top, I would find something better to do with my time.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Adrian Cooper » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:53 pm

davebrads wrote:I want short and edgy boats to teach kids in, but perhaps that is because I am looking for a different outcome. I have worked with Guides rather than Scouts, and my hope is that some will take up white water kayaking or slalom, so the boats I prefer will teach them the requisite skills. If your outcome is to produce some flat water racers then Simon is right. And if all you are doing is processing scouts to get them their badges then Chris and Pete's advice to buy sit on tops is probably correct.

My issue then is how do you find your coaches? Nearly all the coaches I have worked with have greater ambitions than just processing kids through their badges. I certainly wouldn't coach anyone on a sit on top, I would find something better to do with my time.
I am on record for complaining about the BCU insisting you paddle certain craft in order to obtain skills qualifications so I will continue this theme for a comment on this subject. Are we considering what craft the scouts would most like to use? Are we in danger of living our lives vicariously through our charges? I realise this might lead to a huge fleet of boats of a variety of designs.

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by MikeB » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:38 pm

It's been a while since I've been involved with taking Scouts kayaking, but back in the day we had a fleet of Europas and I echo the comments earlier about them being a bit big for the smaller Scouts. Had we had funds and storage for a range of craft, that;s the route I'd have preferred to have gone down.

The other comment I'll add though is that those Europas didn't have backrests - and while "we" can talk all we like about sitting upright and core strength, the fact remains that the kids would almost always slouch in the boats as there was nothing to help keep them upright.

The other thing was that the lighter kids didn't have enough weight to displace the boats - even some of our Venture Scouts (as was, then) were too light. The end result of this was of course that getting the things to go in a straight line was a challenge. We solved this by buying a slip-on skeg, which I then copied for the rest of the boats. I have the pattern if anyone would like it.

SoT's weren't around way back then, but if they had been we'd certainly not have bought a fleet - largely for the reasons already mentioned. Having one or two in the fleet may be a good idea, again as mentioned.

Mike.

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by mh123 » Sat Oct 17, 2015 4:49 pm

davebrads wrote:
Slime wrote:buy a fleet of sit on tops.
I am afraid that I cannot agree with the above. The reason they are so popular with centres is that they "process" clients. They only expect to work with a client for a matter of a few hours at best, and at the end of it they want the client to feel that they have achieved something, even if that only means paddling around a lake. Consequently sit on tops are designed to be very stable with wide, flat bottoms, and to have good directional stability so they have moulded in skegs. It is not possible to teach anything about kayaking on a sit on top. The boats are too wide for a proper stroke, you don't learn how to maintain stability with your core, and you don't learn how to control a boat that is easy to turn. And they don't even learn to get over the perception of being unsafe in a closed cockpit boat.

If all you want to do is to give your scouts an "experience" then sit on tops will do the job, but if you are hoping that you can inspire some of them into becoming kayakers then get something else.
I disagree with this comment completely. You can teach people the same skills on a sit on top. Some skills require some additional equipment like thigh straps for rolling etc but its all still possible. You also have the advantage that 2 sizes of sit on tops will work for a lot more people then 2 sizes in a boat like the GT series. Sit on tops wont magicly go in a straight line. Take a Tootega Pulse for example or a Perception Scooter, with out good forward paddling technique they wont go in a straight line by them selves.

There is this perception that sit on tops are beach toys and no good for anything else. Surf skis require good core stability and you can teach good forward paddling. But they are still a sit on top.

With the range of sit on tops available now, whitewater, surf ski, wave ski, touring. Why do people need to worry about getting out of a boat? It opens paddling up to a lot more people.

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by brevan » Sat Oct 17, 2015 4:59 pm

The Scouts I coach with have a variety of Perception kayaks which caters for a range of sizes of paddlers. A couple of sit on tops are useful to give veriety to their paddling and for starting off smaller or nervous paddlers.
We try and give them experience in a variety of boats and types of water, including coastal and moving water.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by MikeVeal » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:05 pm

We too have (mainly) Dancers as a Scout fleet. They're not ideal.
The smaller kids aren't anywhere near heavy enough and are effectively paddling a coracle, with a large longitudinal sail.
The middle sized kids might be big enough to get more than the centre 2' of the boat into the water, but the gap between their hips and the side of the boat is comical. I swear that we could put two of them side by side into each Dancer.

But we also have adults to cater for. We often get group leaders coming along to learn. So we do need a range of different sizes.

The biggest problem that we have is convincing the kids to try something other than a Dancer. The Dancers have enough room to let them slouch. There's enough room for them to drop and straighten their legs (it makes very little difference in a boat so over sized for them, and the boats are so big that bracing properly isn't natural for them). But mostly their mates are in Dancers.

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by gp.girl » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:00 am

I had too shoo one out of my GTS once as he'd made a bee line for the leaders boats! The more outspoken ones do ask why they get the old boats so pretty certain the rest noticed. The ones sitting to one side go round in circles with even less effort. Now chasing a fleet of GTs.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by LucyLou19 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:52 pm

Axioms! The 6.9 will go small enough for most kids, right up to the bigger sizes for larger kidults!

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Twix » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:13 am

I would consider avoiding sit on tops in the UK mainly because kids get cold more quickly than adults and Scouts might not have the best clothing. Sit in kayaks do keep you warmer.

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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by chriscw » Wed Nov 04, 2015 2:49 pm

I think at least 1 or 2 sit on tops are a must. more nervous paddlers and those with restricted mobility can use then. I would not go for a complete fleet of them though.
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Re: Kayak fleet for scouts sujestions please

Post by Robert Craig » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:43 am

For wee ones - probably more like Cubs than Scouts - Dynamos are really really good.

GTS is also good, but it seems to me that boys rapidly grow through the phase of fitting them.

I second those who say you need a variety of sizes - maybe have a guess as to the weights of the Scouts you have?

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