Friday, 22 February 2008

Rob Mercer in the Valley Rapier 20

Rob had his brand new Valley Rapier 20 Racing Kayak out on Tuesday night, here's his review of the paddle & the boat:

"My Tuesday night crew looked unconvinced as I carefully lifted My shiny new Valley "Rapier" racing sea kayak from the roof of the car. At 6 metres long and 43.5cm wide it looks fast and 'tippy' even just sitting on the sand. The Tuesday night paddle is a bit of a tradition and the diehards make a point of going out regardless of the weather 'just to get a taste of the conditions'. Last night conditions were light with a 1.5 metre swell. We like to cover a few miles and catch a wave or two at our favourite point break when there is no action along the cliffs and I think everyone was wondering how I was going to manage in such a long skinny boat even on a good night.
The Rapier is very efficient, it is so smooth through the water that you dont realise how fast you are going until you look around you. Fast paddlers in fast sea kayaks kept dropping behind and they were working hard while I just cruised along. The big test occured when we left Sydney Harbour and headed North into the confused, rebounding waves between North Head and Bluefish point. Even in light conditions there is always some wave action here and I was thrilled with the seaworthiness of my new 43.5cm wide speedster. I could easily surf down the back of the southbound waves as we headed North.I could also sit in the bumpiest section off Bluefish point and, with a light steadying brace, hold station while the rest of the group caught up.With a high tide and a gentle swell "The Bower" was too slow for board riders so we had it to ourselves. Everyone in the group picked up some good rides and some of us had a little "rolling practice" ( I discovered the Rapier rolls well but doesnt like the steeper takeoffs).At sunset we headed back to Sydney Harbour catching the swells with a big moon low on the horizon behind us and the city skyline slowly emerging from behind the South Head cliffs at our foredecks. I had to agree with Rod who announced to all present on landing: "it's all good".

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