Daft new questions from a daft new user^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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AdyJ
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Daft new questions from a daft new user^

Post by AdyJ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:11 pm

As a newcomer even to the idea of sea kayaking, I've been searching for helpful advice. I'd really like to do sheltered coastal paddling with the aim of finding nice out of the way places to further my photographic work. Having the flexibility of a stealthy environment friendly craft seems like a great idea.

I have kayaked in the past (only on lakes and fairly still rivers). and have open canoed on lakes too. My experience is limited though (I still consider myself a novice).

I have already decided that I need some expert tuition, and will hopefully be booking a beginners weekend course at some stage very soon.

I was just looking for helpful comments regarding a first kayak. There are obviously many about at varying costs. My initial thoughts are to go for a budget based plastic boat such as the Perception Carolina Expedtion, but have had all sorts of advice given regarding a composite boat such as (far more expensive) a P&H Capella etc. I've sat in both craft and they both seem like a good fit. Obviously, I'll not know for sure until I've paddled one.

Any comments, good bad, or just abusive (!) are all welcome.

Many Thanks

Adrian (AdyJ)

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:37 pm

Welcome Adrian - no such thing as a daft question - some thoughts in this discussion which may help. If you've not been there already, have a look at the Almanac / Sea Kayaks page where there are numerous links to thoughts on boat choice etc.

It really all comes down to what fits, feels right and is within your budget. Try, try and try as many as you can.

A plastic Capella would be a good choice - if you can get a Quest (maybe 2nd hand) it would also be a good choice. Check the For Sale pages - there are (or were) some there.

Mike

AdyJ
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Post by AdyJ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:42 pm

MikeB wrote:Welcome Adrian - no such thing as a daft question - some thoughts in this discussion which may help. If you've not been there already, have a look at the Almanac / Sea Kayaks page where there are numerous links to thoughts on boat choice etc.

It really all comes down to what fits, feels right and is within your budget. Try, try and try as many as you can.

A plastic Capella would be a good choice - if you can get a Quest (maybe 2nd hand) it would also be a good choice. Check the For Sale pages - there are (or were) some there.

Mike
Many thanks. All that info. should give me plenty to go on!

Fortunately, I'm working in Stockport at the moment, so am about 15 minutes walk from Brookbank Canoes, whom seem very helpful after an initial visit.

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CaptainSensible
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Post by CaptainSensible » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:09 pm

Brookbank have one of the (possibly the) widest selection of plastic sea/touring kayaks (including the well-outfitted Wildnerness Systems Tempests), so you'll be spoilt for choice.

Don't be swayed by people telling that you must have this or that. I wanted a comfortable boat that could be taken apart for easy storage = 3 piece (Rockpool) Alaw (going to [finally!] order it this week). It is a composite boat, but wanting the other two things left me with little choice. After seeing the horrendous photos of a chewed up Kaspian and reading about several near misses/encounters with rocks that "weren't supposed to be there", my feelings about composite boats are somewhat mixed.

AdyJ
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Post by AdyJ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:09 pm

CaptainSensible wrote:Brookbank have one of the (possibly the) widest selection of plastic sea/touring kayaks (including the well-outfitted Wildnerness Systems Tempests), so you'll be spoilt for choice.
Spoilt for choice is the word! A bewildering array of kayaks when I went in. Seemed friendly enough and seemed to give me some reasonably honest advice, but I haven't gathered enough info., nor trialled any boats yet!
CaptainSensible wrote:Don't be swayed by people telling that you must have this or that. I wanted a comfortable boat that could be taken apart for easy storage = 3 piece (Rockpool) Alaw (going to [finally!] order it this week). It is a composite boat, but wanting the other two things left me with little choice. After seeing the horrendous photos of a chewed up Kaspian and reading about several near misses/encounters with rocks that "weren't supposed to be there", my feelings about composite boats are somewhat mixed.
3 piece? Didn't know there was such a thing! How constructed?

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CaptainSensible
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Post by CaptainSensible » Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:23 pm

Nimbus make a 3 piece boat, but they use (as do Valley I think) metal bolts to attach the pieces through the bulkheads (which are the ends of the sections in a 3 piece boat; they merely divide the hull up into watertight compartments on a one piece boat).

Rockpool have developed a very elegant system which uses six recessed lever operated hooks & clasps on the outside of the pieces instead of bolts; pics here, here, and here.

AdyJ
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Post by AdyJ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:58 pm

CaptainSensible wrote:Rockpool have developed a very elegant system which uses six recessed lever operated hooks & clasps on the outside of the pieces instead of bolts; pics here, here, and here.
That looks brilliant! Very expensive though. Have you paddled one? How do they shape up to a single piece model?

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Bruxy
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Post by Bruxy » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:02 pm

Hi Ady,

welcome aboard!

I too was in your position seven or eight months ago - complete novice who'd been on a holiday to the Outer Hebrides which featured some sea kayaking - and was completely taken by the whole ethos of being able to pack camping gear and toddle off and explore some fantastic scenery.

It enables you to meet up with some genuinely nice people too and share banter, sunsets ... and midges :-)

This invariably allows you the opportunity to try out different boats as virtually everyone I've met from this forum has been kind enough to swap boats for a spell - this is an invaluable opportunity.

However, you're in the same catch-22 position as I was ... you'll not want to be paddling some of the boats mentioned in the conditions you may well aspire to without some experience...and how do you get experience unless it's in a forgiving, mild-mannered boat?

That's what I found. If I'd put myself in a "high-skill-demanding" boat, on the sea, on day one - I may well have had a different opinion to sea-kayaking, gone home shaking and bought myself some new caving rope instead!

However, after a time, you'll gain confidence and skills and the same boat that seemed tippy and only too keen to dunk you in the sea will seem very stable and may almost feel a little unresponsive as you begin to ask more of it.

As a relative newcomer to this wonderfull world of skerries and spraydecks, this was my experience and I'm still in there with a boat that is very forgiving and seemed perfect six months ago but has shown some less than ideal behaviour in a taste of the more challenging conditions that I aspire to.

So, having been there recently, I echo Mike's sentiment for all it's worth .. try as many boats as you can but bear in mind that what seems perfect now, in sheltered water, may well prove less ideal later on. I'd suggest, therefore, that you don't break the bank on your first boat as you may find yourself, like me, thinking of upgrades sooner than you thought you would!

Difficult, I know - but on a more practical front - I live on t'other side of t'Pennines to you in Chesterfield ... relatively easy drive or well serviced by bus from Stockport.
If you would like to try a plastic Aquanaut and Avocet on some flat, inland water (all I can offer in Chesterfield, I'm afraid!), then pm me and you'd be more than welcome to have a play in both boats and see how they feel.

Good luck

Chris

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Gareth Plas
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Newcomer

Post by Gareth Plas » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:15 pm

Ady

There's a small group of us based in North Wales, a couple of us are newcomers, others are very experienced in the likes of Mike Marshall, and Gavin Jones who came out with us yesterday.. We have been out for the last 2 weeks and it appears we will be keeping this up through the Summer.

If you PM me then I can chat through various aspects and arrange a meet if you like.

I am sure that you would be made most welcome amongst us on the water.

Gareth

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:24 pm

If you are fairly new to kayaking and intend taking photos from the boat you are unlikely to need anything particularly capable in rough seas (because it's impossible to take pictures under such conditions). I would therefore recommend that when trialling potential candidates you look for something with good initial stability rather than speed or anything like that. It might also be worth looking at things like how easy it is going to be to store your camera gear where you can get at it (I carry my SLR on deck in a special Ortileb camera dry bag - Douglas liked it so much he had bought one within a week of seeing it!), or if you also plan to paddle to locations for landscape photography etc. it might be worth checking if you can get your tripod in the hatches.

I don't know what would suit everyone, but my former boss was looking for something to pootle around the coast where he lives and he found the Carolina ideal from the point of view of someone with little kayaking experience so I would definitely recommend trying it (and similar boats) rather than just listening to popular opinion. Obviously if you are planning to go seriously remote for any length of time you will want something faster and more capable, but even so it may be worth getting a cheaper polythene boat (maybe second hand) for now until you reach the point where you need something fancier. The danger is being sucked totally into the sport and then "needing" all the trimmings!

Oh yeah, don't skimp on paddles budget at least £100 to get something well shaped and lightweight, and once again try some different lengths and styles before buying some - they make a huge difference.

JIM

AdyJ
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Post by AdyJ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:22 pm

Bruxy wrote: Difficult, I know - but on a more practical front - I live on t'other side of t'Pennines to you in Chesterfield ... relatively easy drive or well serviced by bus from Stockport.
If you would like to try a plastic Aquanaut and Avocet on some flat, inland water (all I can offer in Chesterfield, I'm afraid!), then pm me and you'd be more than welcome to have a play in both boats and see how they feel.

Good luck

Chris
Many thanks for the kind offer! I may even take you up on it at some time in the near future!

AdyJ
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Re: Newcomer

Post by AdyJ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:24 pm

Gareth Plas wrote:Ady

There's a small group of us based in North Wales, a couple of us are newcomers, others are very experienced in the likes of Mike Marshall, and Gavin Jones who came out with us yesterday.. We have been out for the last 2 weeks and it appears we will be keeping this up through the Summer.

If you PM me then I can chat through various aspects and arrange a meet if you like.

I am sure that you would be made most welcome amongst us on the water.

Gareth
Many thanks to you too for the offer. I'm pretty sure I'll be sorting out a couple of visits and tryouts to get a feel of things! Cheers.

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GeoffBowles
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Post by GeoffBowles » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:41 pm

The Necky Manitou 14 might fit the bill. It's not a specialist sea kayak, but I live a long way from the sea and wanted something suitable for touring rivers and canals, while also being a good sea-boat for coasts and estuaries. It means I can get out on the water when I have a few hours at a weekend, without having to plan a 2+ hour journey to the coast. I've had it on salt water a few times now, notably off Anglesey on a Plas y Brenin "improvers" course and in surprisingly rough conditions in Poole harbour...

When I bought it in January, I spent more than I intended on the paddle (a Robson master) but am very pleased that I did - it really does make the paddling more enjoyable and less tiring

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steve-m
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A newcomers views

Post by steve-m » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:48 pm

I started sea kayaking in 2004 in a hired plastic Capella, subsequently i bought a plastic Prijon Seayak for £450 on e-bay. Since then i have used this to paddle round Mull, Iona, out to Staffa and the Treshish isles, part way round the Isle of Wight, and various trips along the Llyn peninsular and around Anglesey and Llandudno.
I am very happy with my Seayak, it may not be the fastest boat on the sea but it is stable, reliable and predictable. It has taken me through some fairly tricky sea conditions and survived some fairly tough landings. It is also a reasonably stable platform from which to take photos. A kayaking friend of mine sold her fast but tippy glassfibre boat and bought a plastic Capella partly because she was fed up with capsizing every time she stopped to take photos!
A friend of mine has just bought a Prijon kodiak on e-bay (under £500), we have had this out a few times around Anglesey and North Wales and it seems to be fine.
As for paddles I tend to suffer with wrist and elbow problems and on the advice of Brookbank at Stockport i settled on Lendal Archipelago blades on long (220) cranked shafts. This seems to have been a good choice, I seem to be able to paddle for hours at a moderate speed with no wrist or elbow problems.
Regards Steve
Steve-M Shropshire

AdyJ
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Re: A newcomers views

Post by AdyJ » Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:22 pm

steve-m wrote:I started sea kayaking in 2004 in a hired plastic Capella, subsequently I bought a plastic Prijon Seayak for £450 on e-bay. Since then I have used this to paddle round Mull, Iona, out to Staffa and the Treshish isles, part way round the Isle of Wight,
Thanks for that info. Steve. Sounds like you grabbed a bargain with the Seayak. I've spent a lot of time looking around and have had loads of excellent advice! From what I have gathered so far, there are quite a few models that I would be absolutely fine in using for a 'first time sea kayaker'. I'll certainly be on a budget, so I'llbetrying to keep my costs as low as I can, whilst trying to get a good kayak, paddle and clothing. Stil havnt got round to trying to sit in one on the water! That's next!

Cheers

AdyJ
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Gone and done it!

Post by AdyJ » Thu May 04, 2006 7:47 am

Jim wrote:I don't know what would suit everyone, but my former boss was looking for something to pootle around the coast where he lives and he found the Carolina ideal from the point of view of someone with little kayaking experience so I would definitely recommend trying it (and similar boats) rather than just listening to popular opinion. Obviously if you are planning to go seriously remote for any length of time you will want something faster and more capable, but even so it may be worth getting a cheaper polythene boat (maybe second hand) for now until you reach the point where you need something fancier. The danger is being sucked totally into the sport and then "needing" all the trimmings!
Well, I've gone and done it and am picking up a Carolina from Brookbank today! The thinking here is that this is my first sea kayak, and I can let my wife use it if I decide to upgrade (as my wife would really like one too!).
I'll be putting it on a local river this weekend to play in it and get used to it, and also to let my wife have a go. Next weekend I'll also be out in very sheltered coastal water to see how the waves like it!

Next step: book a weekend course on Anglesey!

Thanks for the advice everyone, it's been most valuable!

AdyJ

Puffdiddly
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Camera's n Water...

Post by Puffdiddly » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:01 pm

Check out the latest Photoplus magazine. They have just done a feature on diving cases for SLRs and trialled an ewa-marine casing I reckon would fit the bill perfectly if you haven't already got one

ATB

Mike

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