Saturday, April 4, 2009

2009.02.133 - Advanced Elements Trial

At the beginning of the year, I set an unspoken goal of breaking my record of 49 paddles in one year and go for the half-century mark of 50 paddles. So far, things have not turned out so well.
January brings storms, of course, and not as many chances to paddle. While I did manage to get in one paddle in mid-January, my elderly mother became gravely ill a few days later. Paddling time became visit the hospital time, and worries over whether I could afford a new paddle gave way to concerns over my mom's health and future. Then in February, I had a second eye operation as the cataract was removed from my left eye, which resulted in another lay-off from paddling.
After more than a month my mother left the hospital after what even the doctors call an amazing recovery, and plans for her future care are in place and in motion. My eye healed up quite nicely, thank you, and now that both eyes have had their respective cataracts dealt with, I am actually able to see where I'm kayaking (and I might even be able to catch some of thoze speelling mistakez that kreep into the blog with an annoying frequency).
A few weekends ago I was happily looking forward to be finally back on the water. Instead, Louise sprained her ankle at the gym, and another winter storm blew in bringing snow, wind and cold temperatures. And then the next weekend I got the flu and another windy storm blew in.
25 days of flu-suffering later, the stars have aligned and we headed to Cadboro Bay to test some Advanced Elements kayaks that Paula acquired.

It was also the chance to test out some new gear, like my new hat. Bernie said it was the dorkiest hat he has ever seen.

Okay, maybe the hat wasn't working out so well, but the kayaks didn't do so bad. Louise headed out in the AdvancedFrame Expedition kayak...
...while Lila and I tried the Straitedge2...
...while Paula led the way in her Dragonfly.

These are perfect boats for slowly meandering along the shore. Terrific initial stability and maneuverability means that an utter novice could hop into in one and have some fun right away.

We put in at Sheep Cove...
...and played musical kayaks: Lila moved into the Dragonfly, Louise and Paula into the Straitedge and I tried the Expedition.

I liked both kayaks. The Straitedge was a lot of fun and tracked reasonably well. The Expedition tracked a little less well, but both were very easy to correct and keep on course. I did have issues with the seats and really did not feel comfortable. We're going to try these kayaks again soon, and I'll have to pay a little more attention to the seat adjustments and see if that helps.
Still, they're well-built kayaks and if they fit the style of kayaking you want to do, then are probably worth the investment.

Trip length: 4 km
My photos are here.

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