Sunday, July 15, 2007

2007.15.79 - MEC Paddlefest

It's a nice sunny Sunday, and time to get on the water.

A local kayak store held a demo day today, so instead of the usual Sunday paddle, we enjoyed a day of paddling other people's boats.

There were mostly Seaward Kayaks to demo. Louise started off with a Cosma TX, a thermoformed plastic kayak...

...while I started out in a Tyee XT, a longer thermoformed boat. We find them slightly tippy at first but that feeling soon passed. My boat was deep and with a big cockpit, which is something I need due to my shoulder injury. Getting out of a boat can be a bit of a struggle.
Overall, we liked the boats, but we had two big issues. First, the seats suck. We hated 'em. (To be fair, I took it out again later, and was able to adjust the seat so that it was better. Not acceptable, but better.) Also we both noticed the sound of running water while we were paddling, like someone had left a tap open somewhere below the decking. It was very strange and disconcerting.

Paula tried a Silhouette and hated every second she was in it. She truly hated this boat. "Hate" might not even be a strong enough word. "Despise" only begins to broach her feelings about this boat. In fact we didn't notice a single person who liked it. One poor woman spent five minutes trying to get in it (and falling into the water) before giving up on it.

Then Paula tried the Luna which she much preferred.

Meanwhile, Bernie headed out in this Chilco which he enjoyed.

Paula and Louise tried this tandem and loved it. It has a huge storage capacity. They want to take it on an expedition sometime. They figure that it is so fast that they could beat Bernie and I to the landing site, set up the camp, and have food waiting for us by the time Bernie and I arrive. (At least, that's the way I remember hearing it.)

Paula (who tried every boat on the beach at least twice) tried this Ascenté and liked it a lot.

While Bernie was trying this Intrigue, I paddled the fiberglass version of the Tyee that I had tried earlier. What a difference! It paddled like a dream, the seat was comfy and it had great initial stabilization when compared to the thermoformed version. I talked to the Seaward rep about it and he said that he finds that thermoformed are too "slippy" in the water. Now, some slipperyness is a good thing, but he thinks that thermoformed boats go a little too far. Add to that the extra stiffness you get in a fibreglass boat, and he still thinks glass is the way to go.
I'd have to agree that at the very least the fiberglass Tyee gave a much cleaner and stable ride than the thermoformed version. But despite them both being the same model, I had a devil of a time getting out of the fiberglass version. The cockpit seemed just a little smaller, and this was enough to make it a real chore for me to get out of it.

Bernie tried the Silhouette, too. He hated it.

Time to save money! Need more boats!

My photos are here.

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