Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Post by LRB125 »

Hi all

Just popping in to say hello, I'm very new to this sport and seem to have fallen hook line and sinker into it

Just got a place in Anglesey and started a couple of weeks ago with some sit on kayaks (kids as well). Took a one day course in a sit in and loved every minute of it and since been on Ullswater and Anglesey again trying different boats. Must admit its a different feeling paddling in the sea to sitting on an open lake and nervy for sure but love the freedom it offers

Boats that I've tried to date have been: Jura (plastic) open sea, Atlantic and Aspect (plastic) open lake, Romany Surf (composite) and Romany Sport (plastic) open sea

Jura felt comfortable and stable (full day), this was my 1st taster of sit in kayaking and spent the time learning technique and paddling along the rock lines and coves

Atlantic also felt good (2 hours) followed by Aspect (1 hour). Aspect felt really good as was a smaller boat and stable (a little twitchy at times till I settled down)

Romany Surf felt really good out on the sea, it was quite a bit choppy but felt safe and comfortable albeit when we stopped for lunch my thighs were aching till I got the circulation back

After lunch tried the Romany Sport, felt terrible and unsafe from the offset and changed back to the Surf ASAP. Tried some surfing in the R Surf and loved it albeit fell out a few times

This Saturday got a taster on the Lake with a Valley Etain and another Aspect so hopefully nearing to be able to make a decision and order myself a kayak :)

I'm not really interested in going away camping/touring (at this present time) just following and hugging the coastline and love the idea of playing in the surf and waves. So battling and bracing myself ready for all the accessories that will be required and money to burn. One thing that's going to be top of that list for sure is a DRY SUIT

Any tips/advice along the way will be more than welcomed

Thanks in advance

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Re: Newbie

Post by seawolf856 »

Hi LRB125, welcome to the best kayaking forum on the planet. You have certainly come to the right place for advice.
I paddle a plastic Jura, in fact I'm on my second one I like it so much. The trouble is that your boat is a very personal thing and you are likely to face an avalanche of people's personal favourites when you ask for recommendations. I have also had plenty of opportunity to try various other boats so I'm not blinkered by my choice, I also like the P&H Scorpio, the P&H Delphin, and the Valley Etain.
One thing is for sure, Anglesey is a world class destination for sea kayaking so you are very lucky to have it as your back yard. Take time to learn the very complex tides around your local coastline and the idiosyncratic nature of the local variations. Get yourself a copy of the guidebook "50 welsh sea kayak journeys" and study it closely before setting out to paddle the Anglesey coastline.
Apart form the boat, there are so many other items you will need in order to paddle safely at sea, most of then will eventually cost you a small fortune but the most important one of all is free! and that is a reliable paddling partner. Don't go to sea alone, it may look beautiful and harmless on a perfect day but it is a very dangerous place when things go wrong. Get some safety training and never knowingly paddle in conditions above your skill level.
Good luck with your sea kayaking career.

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Re: Newbie

Post by SJD »

Yes, welcome to the forum and it is nice to see a new paddler actively starting in the sport as you are. Here is a little food for thought on your kayak selection:

Try to focus your efforts toward the type of kayak. You mention liking the Romany Surf and your interests appear to be near coastal and play type paddling. A kayak in the day boat or play boat realm may suite your needs just fine while also allowing for weekend trips.

Decide on construction, plastic, composite or thermoformed.

Set a budget and decide on new or used. A solid argument for someone in your situation is going the used route.

Size matters: If you are above or below average in stature you may want to try the HV or LV variants in certain models.

Fit and comfort: Some kayaks fit fine but are uncomfortable. Many comfort issues are correctable with foam padding, a better backband, etc. as long as you fit the cockpit.

The following list of kayaks are models I have owned or have significant seat time in over my 37 years involved in the sport and feel comfortable recommending to any paddler looking for a day boat, play boat, or a general all round nice paddling kayak. Rockpool Alaw Bach (or TCC version built by Eddyline), Rockpool Isel, Tiderace Xtra, Valley Gemini ST, Gemini SP (may be a little twitchy for inexperienced paddler), last but not least the Valley Pintail.

I have never paddled a Romany (the standard or classic model) but many paddlers I know love it as a learning platform they grow into.

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Re: Newbie

Post by LRB125 »

Thanks seawolf856,"50 welsh sea kayak journeys" is already sitting on the bedside cabinet :) was recommended by my 1st lesson tutor who also had it at the morning meeting showing and planning our trip for that day - great reading

Yes we have just acquired a static on Anglesey right next to the sea so yes blessed I think. We didn't buy it with the intention of sea kayaking but wow I dropped really lucky. I guess I'm well late to the party as getting on a bit, thankfully reasonably fit and better late than never as they say

I've been watching kayakers coming to and thro with my binoculars and fascinated how the sea conditions can change and indeed appreciate what a dangerous environment it can be

I hope to make some friends whom I can partner with as appreciate this would be the safest way to learn and progress, if I do go out alone it will be just off the shore line with plenty of practising pottering about

Thanks SJD, yes a day boat sounds just what I'm looking for. I was told that you should be able to sit in the seat then be able to lower your legs into the boat one after the other, it does feel a little claustrophobic in there though but will have to get used to it :)

You mentioned Gemini, thats the one I'm also trying Saturday not the Aspect as I quoted (tried that last week)

And thanks for all the advice, tips, makes & models, much appreciated

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Re: Newbie

Post by simon64 »

The Plastic Gemini SP is a lot less twitchy than the glass one, and quite a nice day kayak, lower the seat a bit and its even better.
Try the P&H Virgo as well, its designed as a day boat and is easily the best kayak I have ever paddled In all conditions, agile and responsive, great stability.
Make sure whatever you get fits you well as comfort is very important.
For paddles I like the Celtic kinetic range, they do three blade sizes, I have the middle 650 size in tough CF (carbon infused nylon) on an adjustable leverlock shaft 205-215cm, use it mostly at the 205 setting.
P&H Virgo

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Re: Newbie

Post by charleston14 »

If you’re after some coaching there is probably a club nearby, or you can contact a coach like nick cunliffe at kayak essentials, based at Menai bridge. Also take a look at plas y brennin courses

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Re: Newbie

Post by LRB125 »

Thanks simon64 & charleston14

Yes guessing comfort is high on the pecking order. I now have some neoprene boots which made a difference last week so should get a bit more comfort tomorrow in the foot department

Paddles, not even given paddles a thought albeit went out in a tandem sit on last week with girlfriend and the cheap paddles felt horrendous after being out in the sit in ones. Not sure what make they were but there were set at zero, the instructor did put a slight twist in them initially but they felt awkward on the stroke - such a lot to learn and take in :)

Funnily enough I've just sent an email to Snowdonia Canoe Club tonight and had a positive reply so looking at joining their club

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