FAQs: Getting into squirt boating

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Pete C.
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FAQs: Getting into squirt boating

Post by Pete C. » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:28 pm

How do I find a boat?

Right now there's no easy answer if you're in the UK. The only manufacturer at the moment is Big Dog who make the Karma, which is a new design. I've no idea how well it paddles... But the obvious approach is to keep an eye out on the second-hand market. It's worth looking on the private sales board on here, and on eBay and maybe Thames Valley Freestylers too.

What boat should I be looking for?
Well, you can often find older boats made by 'Valley' or 'Downtime' like the Bigfoot and Shred for £100-£200+, or more recent boats like the Asylum for £250+. Boats are cut for particular weights - a Shred that's cut for a 60kg paddler is very different from a shred cut for an 85kg paddler, so make sure to check before getting your hopes up. And different shaped boats are designed for different inside leg measurements too: Bigfoots and Wispers tend to work if your inside leg's up to 34", while Shreds, Asylums, Hellbenders and Prodigies tend to work up to about 32". Maestros are a bit shorter, up to 30-31". Budget for a new spraydeck too - I normally get mine made by Phoenix spraydecks.

What do I need to inspect? Ideally you'll want to check you can fit in a boat before committing to it, and also get a chance to float it on flat water. The most important thing is that it balances well - it shouldn't be too bow- or stern-happy, floating pretty much level in flatwater (you can often build up or trim down the backrest to do this. As a beginner boat it shouldn't be too small (so not all the boat should be submerged), but you should probably have most of the stern underwater, and be able to submerge the bow by leaning forward.

What if I want the latest models? Well, you'll need to buy from the US or Canada. PS Composites and Murky Waters are the only choices - the newest designs, great construction and years of expertise in getting the right chop. But you'll need to either import them to Britain or - if you want a float chop - travel out there to pick them up.

I've found a Eurokayaks Enigma or Axis - what's it like?
Well, it's not really a squirt boat. These are 'plastic squirts', but the problem is that they've got too much volume in them to be able to mystery move, and so aren't really squirt boats. It may be worth a try, but you're probably better off hunting for a composite boat. The Enigma's the original long boat, while the Axis is an Enigma with the ends sawed off. Other 'not quite squirt boats' include the Perception Jib and the Wavesport XXX.

zachy89
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Re: FAQs: Getting into squirt boating

Post by zachy89 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:10 pm

Pete C, I think there is a mistake in your FAQs: Getting into squirt boating - What if I want the latest models?

I believe you have missed out the Big Dog Karma as it was only designed recently, unlike most of the designed produced by PS Composites and Murky Waters. I think it is only right if we are going to support a British company trying to save the squirt scene that Big Dog needs to be in there. As you are able to order a Big Dog Karma in any canoe shop in the UK that stocks Big Dog....

Lets give Big Dog some help and support!

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Pete C.
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:16 pm
Location: Chester

Re: FAQs: Getting into squirt boating

Post by Pete C. » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:22 pm

Sorry - meant to say 'latest Snyder models'. There's a link to the Karma in the first question, though...

Where can I go squirt boating in Britain?

The obvious answer is 'anywhere it's deep enough' - squirt boats are loads of fun on flat water, and give you plenty of chance to hone your balance and skills. Once you get used to how the boats work, it's best to start gradually on gentle, deep eddylines where you don't have to worry too much about hitting the bottom. Then, once you're looking for mystery move spots, you might want to try places like Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham, some of the Thames weirs, the Dart and Exe, the Dee and a handful of others. There's a rather good guide to mystery spots on Sinkspots.

Where are all the squirt boaters?

We're spread fairly thin, but there are local concentrations in Nottingham, the South West, North Wales and the Thames Valley. There are also occasional gatherings, including the annual Squirt Gathering at Nottingham's Holme Pierrepont every August, where even absolute beginners are welcome.

Where can I buy a new design of boat in Europe?

I think the only option at the moment is the Big Dog Karma. To find out how it paddles get in touch with Big Dog - they've got demo boats you can try before you buy.

How can I find out what to do in a squirt boat?

The simple answer is Squirt Boating and Beyond by Jim Snyder. The layers of meaning are densely packed, and you can spend many years unpacking them. If you prefer something a bit more visual, I can thoroughly recommend the DVD reissue of Great White Charc, which covers all the basics as well as touching on some more cubic progressions.

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