Armchair boat

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murray
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Armchair boat

Post by murray » Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:37 pm

I started paddling when gone 50 and having now hit 60 starting to think an armchair would be most suitable when going down a river. I am an ok intermediate happy on 3+, but find continuous grade 4 fairly hard going especially as my roll is far from bomb proof. I started with various Burns and then bought a Zet Raptor which I have really enjoyed. my mates are paddling the large Machno which I have tended to ridicule as an armchair but beginning to wonder if that is a good idea. so finally getting to the question has anyone paddled the Zet Cross, seems to be a similar sort of boat from the advertising blurb

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:20 am


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davieq
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by davieq » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:11 pm

Hi,
I am also the wrong side of 55 and having had 4 shoulder ops my whitewater paddling was all but finished. I have never owned a creek boat but decided to purchase a second hand one to see if it would prolong my paddling. I found a wavesprt Recon 83 at a very resonable price and having paddled it twice am very pleased with it, I consider it my "armchair" boat, very comfy, surprisingly responsive and handles really well on the rough stuff,

Good luck with your search..

Davie

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Mark Mulrain
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by Mark Mulrain » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:40 pm

Why don't you spend the money on some coaching to boost your skills and confidence instead?

murray
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by murray » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:39 pm

I have been thinking about my response to this overnight and keep falling into a bind
if I want to keep boating for another 10 years then what sort of paddler do I want to be? I really enjoy some of the thrill of whitewater but don't want that to become uncomfortable/dangerous for me or others. I live in the east of London, Lee Valley is easy to get to and I go most weeks. rivers are a long way and mean weekends. so I have fun at the weekend, am ok on both the Olympic and Legacy courses and with the bank support feel well within my comfort zone if I have a spill. if this is enough a new boat is only about the retail habit, might be fun might be a waste of money. if I want to be a better boater and feel comfortable on a higher grade and do more river running then yes I agree coaching is bound to be more effective than having a shiny new boat. probably like a lot of weekend boaters I have had very little coaching and have got to my style by trial and error. no doubt this encompasses bad habits as well as good and certainly there are areas where I do not understand why I cannot paddle effectively. however I have still really enjoyed my paddling, I have done some rivers here, Dart upper and Loop, Tryweryn upper and Lower, Tees upper and been abroad to Slovenia, Austria and Georgia.
so not sure if the answer is happy to fall into a decline, buy a barge and gradually paddle less or buy some snappy new boat, looking at a Waka Stout and try and push on for a couple more years, including getting some coaching.
has anyone else turned 60 and confronting the same issue

countvoncount
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by countvoncount » Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:00 pm

Hi Murray,
I still have a while to go until I hit 60 but I have paddled the Cross. Lovely boat, though not as wide as something like a Waka OG/Stout or a large Machno, and not really a "drift down the river" type boat, if not as sporty as a 9R etc. I personally do not get on with the Machno, so whatever you do, you should trial before you buy.
I am not sure buying a "barge" is a sign of giving in to old age, in any case: a new boat can re-engage you with your paddling, forces you to adjust your technique, and it's not like a big boat has an auto-pilot. One thought though: if the Olympic course is your go-to paddle, do you really need a bigger boat? Artificial courses are narrow and technical, and 350 litres of boat are a lot of boat to throw around/boof/play. I think a small(er) boat can be re-assuringly nimble and often take less strength to paddle--though they do get you into trouble if there are monster holes (even if they are better at surfing out of those holes...).

murray
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by murray » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:11 pm

thanks Count to be honest only looking at the Cross because I like my Raptor but I suspect it is too big a boat for me. I took up cycling to work last year and have managed to get my weight down considerably hoping to be around 11stone by end of year. I really like the Raptor because it is quite a flat position in the boat(short leg syndrome) as opposed to the Burn I had previously. I could try a Veloc but that is going the opposite way to an armchair. anyone got any suggestions.

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Jim
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by Jim » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:19 pm

This is not going to help at all!

By my mid thirties I had kind of got fed up with pushing to do ever harder rivers, for harder, read steeper, more rocky - I mean we only have 6 grades of which only 5 are really used and I was paddling all of the used grades already so things were not particularly getting harder, just steeper and rockier and more painful even when you get it right.
I ended up taking a bit of a break, co-inciding with several friends settling down and having kids I guess, but I wasn't doing much boating at all (pretty much only the Grand Canyon, again).
I started mucking about in OC1 a bit, and then the artificial course in Glasgow got built (think a slightly smaller version of the Legacy loop) so I rejoined a club I used to be in, and then joined a slalom club too. I had an old C1 I had never paddled and thought it might be good training for the OC1. Turned out it was completely unsuitable, both for me and the course, but a few years on I find that my interest has mostly switched from hard whitewater, to racing, where I can test myself the same amount, or more, on much easier water. I do slalom in K1 and C1, WWR in K1 and C1, and even my sea kayaking is now mainly restricted to racing rather than touring/camping.

What I am trying to say is that it is perfectly normal for paddling aspirations to change over time - 25 years ago I would never have thought I would be a slalom paddler now, but I am. Realistically you probably don't have long left to build up to your maximum ability before decline starts to take over, already in my forties I can see it is more difficult for me to recover between sessions than the 20 year olds I paddle/train with, in fact forget 20 year olds, I know 13/14 year olds who can paddle rings round me! Don't dismiss the idea of getting some good coaching now whilst you are still able to learn and adapt if you want to continue paddling for the longer term, because there will come a point where the training is just to maintain status quo, and then later where it is to slow the decline - the better and fitter you can be before you reach that limit, the longer you will be able to go. I know a few slalom paddlers in their 70's, they aren't as strong or as fast as they used to be, but they are mainly able to keep going because they never stopped.

As for a choice of armchair boat, I have no idea. I never liked creek boats. I am of the generation that got away with paddling grade 4 and 5 in slicey playboats before everyone started to get sensible and more suitable boats came along. I own a burn, but I don't really like it, too big and stable and no fun to paddle - to me the boats you are looking to move out of are already armchairs! However, I do recognise that these kinds of boats have enabled vastly more people to do the sort of things previously only a few of us had the skills to to in less suitable boats, and they have enabled the guys at the top to puch the boundaries quite a bit further than I probably envisaged, so actually I think your armchair plan is reasonably sound for where you are at, I just can't help with it.

Whatever you decide, have fun!

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Re: Armchair boat

Post by Franky » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:53 pm

countvoncount wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:00 pm
if the Olympic course is your go-to paddle, do you really need a bigger boat? Artificial courses are narrow and technical, and 350 litres of boat are a lot of boat to throw around/boof/play. I think a small(er) boat can be re-assuringly nimble and often take less strength to paddle--though they do get you into trouble if there are monster holes (even if they are better at surfing out of those holes...).
The Olympic course is no narrower than a medium-sized river, and is considerably bigger volume than most British rivers (most of the time). It's more like an Alpine river without rocks. I think there's every reason for wanting a bigger boat for it. My own experience on it is that the smaller your boat, the harder you need to paddle. I've been down it in a playboat and you really need to be on your game for that.

I'm fifty, and there's no doubt that one's ability to paddle at full power for extended periods diminishes as one gets older - however fit one is. If you find a bigger boat that you get on with, it does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, reduces the number of strokes you need to make, and generally makes the experience less stressful. I have a Jackson Nirvana, and far from feeling like too much boat, it feels made for big water like the Olympic.

murray
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by murray » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:28 pm

thanks for all the replies, Jim the problem for me is that I started way too late so never had the chance to learn all the skills as a kid and enjoy everything in what ever boat is available. the older you get the more it seems to be about the mind trying to control instead of relying on intuitive reaction. however I was at Lee Valley on Sunday, only on the small course as my mates both had sore shoulders, spent the whole time in the waves and had a wonderful time, just shows that having a smile on your face is far more important than how steep the grade. davieq never tried a wavesport boat but guess I will just carry on with my Raptor and maybe buy a new mountain bike instead

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Re: Armchair boat

Post by countvoncount » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:34 pm

Franky wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:53 pm
The Olympic course is no narrower than a medium-sized river, and is considerably bigger volume than most British rivers (most of the time). It's more like an Alpine river without rocks. I think there's every reason for wanting a bigger boat for it. My own experience on it is that the smaller your boat, the harder you need to paddle. I've been down it in a playboat and you really need to be on your game for that.
I agree that taking a playboat down the Olympic requires harder paddling because a 6 foot boat is very slow and has to be pushed across currents, eddy lines etc.
But Murray is talking about getting a boat that is bigger than his eight and a half foot, 300 l Zet Raptor. A 9 foot, 350 litre boat like the Cross will not make the course substantially easier, I don't think: it's a little faster and runs a little higher, but in terms of setting the right angle for crosses, adjusting the line on the fly, carving it around on a wave, etc, the extra half foot of length and extra volume will make things harder, not easier. I am saying that to some degree this logic also holds true if he paddled a 260 litre boat (say something like the Liquidlogic Remix 69, which is a great boat, even if the rocker is low by modern standards)--especially if one wants to play a bit. On a proper Grade 4 river, as opposed to a Grade 4 artificial course, most paddlers are more inclined to "run" a rapid rather than playing it, because the environment is dangerious; and this may tip the balance towards a boat that, above all, punches things well.
But it is also true that everybody has their own preferences: some paddlers value agility more, others like floating high and dry, and so on.

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Re: Armchair boat

Post by Franky » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:35 pm

@countvoncount - I agree with what you say, in general. I demo'ed several creek boats at LV (Machno, Phoenix, T-Rex), and most of them I found too big and lacking in agility. The reason I bought the Nirvana is that it's amazingly agile for a 9-foot boat. I'm currently embarked on a mission of getting every eddy on the Olympic in it. There's a way to go yet, but I'm making progress :)

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Re: Armchair boat

Post by countvoncount » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:24 pm

Yeah, the Nirvana looks like a fun, carvy boat, Franky. It's on my list of boats to demo. Have fun eddy-hopping!

marcwel0
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Re: Armchair boat

Post by marcwel0 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:24 pm

Similar to you I started kayaking four years ago at the age of 51 and for the last three and a half years have been paddling a Raptor and a Wavesport Mobius more recently, both at Lee Valley.

I haven’t paddled the Cross, although I have paddled the Five, but have being checking out the reviews, they all say that like all Zet boats it needs to be paddled quite aggressively which isn’t what you are aiming for. One particular YouTube reviewer is a an American guy called Alex Barham. He works at a kayak store and he doesn’t get paid for any reviews but has tested a lot of boats including the Cross and the Machno, both of which he liked, he’s worth checking out.

He describes the Cross as a scaled up Five, I disagree as the hull is fairly railed whereas the Five isn’t and another reviewer noted that at 350 litres it barely looked bigger than the Five at 300 litres.

Two guys I paddle with both paddle medium machos and love them. Personally I think the Zet outfitting is much superior to the Pyranha as is the bracing under the seats. You’re already aware no doubt that the plastic of Zet boats is very tough. Pyranhas look great with all that multi coloured finish but according to Zet, mixing up the colour dyes like this weakens the overall strength. That said. I don't recall pyranhas being known to break too readily. Worth bearing in mind if the boat has to last you 10 years. I’m looking to replace my raptor with a Five in the coming months. Good luck with your search.

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