Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009.19.150 - 2009 MEC Victoria Paddlefest

Today, MEC hosted their third annual Paddlefest Victoria at Gyro Park on Cadboro Bay. Paddlers came from far and wide to take on-water instruction, attend dry-land seminars, or just paddle some boats.
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The sun shone brightly, but the breeze was blowing as well, possibly making some of the newbies taking lessons a little wary of small but choppy waves it was kicking up.
Paddlefest 2009

The first thing that caught our attention were these beautiful hand-crafted paddles by Select Paddles in Duncan, BC. They make Greenland-style paddles, as well as canoe paddles. They look almost too gorgeous to use.
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We hung out at the Delta Kayaks tent for a while...
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..before checking out the rest of the beach. There were kayaks of all shape and description...
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...but we were here to paddle boats. So naturally Bernie had to be different and he headed out in a boat that you don't paddle: the Hobie. He liked it a lot, but not perhaps as much as his neighbour Curtis who took it out at least three times and seemed to be headed for the horizon on more than one occasion.
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I tried the Nimbus Telkwa and liked this boat a lot. It tracked well, and turned fairly easily for a boat of its size. At 18'3", it's just slightly shorter than my Delta Eighteen5. Our friend Richard paddles a Telkwa HV and likes it, although he sometimes complains that it drives like a tank. I had no problems turning this one -- let's face it, it ain't gonna be nimble, but I found it easy to maneuver.
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Paula tried the Hobie, but didn't do as well as Bernie. She found that she couldn't get the sail unfurled, and found it unwieldy to turn.
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Next I took out the Boréal Design Epsilon C300. You know how when you get into some kayaks and they immediately say to you, "This isn't going to work"? This was the total opposite. This kayak said "Welcome. Get comfy and let's have some fun." I've never tried a Boréal before, and I was impressed. It was fun, and handled today's small chop effortlessly. Bernie took it out after me and he also enjoyed it.
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Bernie also tried a paddle board for the first time. He started by paddling for a bit on his knees, then he stood up and paddled. He did not fall in. He sort of half-climbed off, half-jumped off once, but he did not fall in. He really wanted me to make that clear.
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Paula tried a Valley Avocet LV and see just loved it. She had a hoot! Not that she was looking, but she may have found her next kayak. Negotiations with her spousal unit are underway. We'll keep you advised.
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See you next year!
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My pictures are here.

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