After two solid years of R&D, we can finally announce a series of successful sea trials of our new foiling sea kayak rudder, The Velocimiser.
Whilst only so far tested on the Audax, a fast and slippery hull that is easy enough to get up to foiling speed, we do believe it has the potential to revolutionise range in conventionally shaped sea kayaks.
Based around the same principles of 'wing style lift' from ancient Greenland paddles, we've developed a shape that we think even the Inuit would find pleasing, especially when they discovered they could suddenly chase after Narwhals at high speed.
Fitted with an electronic pitch adjuster, you can make your foil lift early and simulate a downwind, down-wave run where none exists (as your stern lifts majestically from the water), or for the traditionalists, you can do the opposite and create your own hard core headwind, minus the wind. Switch to headwind mode and you'll instantly be in grinding misery, rejoicing in the manliness of the struggle, whilst all around will be oblivious to how hard you've made things for yourself.For now it's only available on our range of sea kayaks, the Audax, Azure, Aurora and Nadgee Solo, but we will be offering an adapter kit in coming months so you can get foiling too.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates and further scintillating foiling footage.
We're occasionally asked if the Audax is just a surfski with a sea kayak deck, usually followed by our explanation that you can't just do that, because sea kayaks have to carry the paddler and a lot of gear, and surf skis only have to carry the paddler.
In fact skis don't have hulls designed to carry weight anywhere except where the paddler is sitting, and when you do load them with weight elsewhere, they are a very different animal, and not a very nice one at that. We've done the experiment...!
When we designed the Audax we wanted a sea kayak that was as stable as the new breed of entry level skis, which are easily the most stable craft we sell, which went at least as fast as they go on the ocean, but of course COULD carry a substantial amount of gear, and carry it well.
The short video below illustrates the performance of the Audax in a moderate running sea, maybe 15kn, and it looks an awful lot like the surf ski footage you see around the web. Except of course, that this glide, acceleration and run are achieved with Rob the paddler, and just over 40kg of gear on board.
With the booming number of paddlers who now begin their ocean paddling journey on a ski, and not a sea kayak, it's proving to be an instantly familiar craft which behaves very much the same way as their surf skis, but with a huge amount of stability and predictability. There are well over 150 Audax out there in the market now, and only a couple of paddlers who have found it to be anything other than a super stable and reassuring craft. We reckon that's a pretty high approval rating for a design that most traditional sea kayakers look at and just expect to be unstable.
If you've cut your teeth on a ski and are wondering how to broaden your horizons with a genuine multi-day paddling adventure, the Audax is well worth a try. In a relatively short time it's won acclaim as a reliable and very fast big water boat, with paddlers from a wide range of experience levels managing to pull off some impressive trips around Australia and New Zealand in great style.
Get in touch if you would like to see what's possible in a sea kayak.
The Audax, proudly designed and manufactured in Australia. Specs and pricing are available HERE
Here's a little grab of some of our favourite moments, the trips, the events, the weekly paddles, big water, flat water and everything in between, and most important, the people with whom we shared our adventures.
To everyone who has supported our business this year, we say thank you for your good company, good custom, and good humour.
2020 has been a wild ride for paddlers, with many around the country forced from the water as lockdown restrictions were put in place to stem the potential for pandemic outbreaks.
Here in NSW, at the critical moment, our peak body negotiated a sensible deal with the health authorities which kept us paddling. Paddlers responded in turn by being......sensible! No incidents, nobody being seen to do the wrong thing, and the result was a winter of uninterrupted paddling in pairs through the most serious stages of lockdown.
The benefit of this advocacy flowed through to all paddlers, regardless of whether you were a member of Paddle NSW, and it's something to think about if you ever wonder what a peak body actually does for you.
When the Myall & Hawkesbury Classics became the latest casualties of pandemic prevention, Paddle NSW announced the Morison Cup. Run along the same inclusive lines as the Myall, with a 50km, 25km, and 12km option, on an out & back course beginning at Windsor in the afternoon and into the night, it promised to give us our Hawkesbury night-time experience, as well a challenge to suit your ambition.
pic by Ian Wrenford with thanks.
Named in honour of the late great Joan & Bruce Morison, it had special significance for my own paddle club, and the Sutherland crew were out in force as usual. Axe and I decided to let our Big Bird loose, the mighty V8 Double.
Our training schedule composed of a game of golf with old cricket mates at Mollymook and a night on the cans where we decided we'd done the Hawkesbury last year, and we'd be fine for a race half the distance, just on the basis of experience. We call it the tapering strategy, just pure tapering. In the broad church of sports science, it's not a well known strategy.
It was very apparent that a winter without racing had the marathon crowd primed for this one, and the speed off the start line was a little too hot for mugs like us. Nevertheless, we settled into our cheerful rhythm of banter and chirp, but being a little off the pace, sadly we didn't have the usual number of mid-packers around us to annoy.
Sometime around the 15km mark amid teeming rain & electrical storms, the heavens opened up and dropped a good ten minutes of stinging hail in our laps. Having never seen a hailstorm last that long on the water, and certainly never being stupid enough to stay out in it and keep racing, I got a shock at how fast the temperature dropped and revealed our poor choice of ice-resistant paddling clothing.
We decided to soldier on despite getting cold enough to be quite concerned, and thankfully the weather eased, the wind stopped and the normal muggy spring evening resumed soon enough.
Just as we approached the 25km turnaround, Annette & Mark piloting the safety boat advised us that we had to turn & head for home.
We later learned that there had been a problem with the other safety boat which made it hard to continue the race.
Whilst our trip downriver was fast & cheerful, the slog back into the tide was a little more character testing, or maybe character revealing, or maybe even preparation revealing.....
Along the river as we chugged home almost all paddlers either passing or being passed would shout out a word or two of encouragement or crack a joke, which proved that in spite of some crappy weather and a genuine handbrake tide, everyone was happy to just be back out there among their peers.
We were treated to a golden sunset, something I've never encountered on the Hawkesbury because I'm usually going the other way. It was a stunner, worth the entry fee alone.
The new Windsor Bridge and the finish line beckoned soon enough and we were done, maybe not in great style, but certainly looking damn stylish. And truly, the next race we go in, other paddlers should heed our warning, nobody ever beats us 33 times in a row.
Well done to everyone who made the trek out to Windsor to take part, it sure felt good to be among a big bunch of paddlers again in this wacky year.
And thanks again to the unsung folks at Paddle NSW for getting this event together at the last minute & giving us our night out on the Hawkesbury.
A full and comprehensive run down of the features and characteristics of Australia's most iconic sea kayak, Dave Winkworth's Nadgee Solo, by Robert Mercer, who has personally paddled the Nadgee many thousands of kilometres along the Australian coast.
The Nadgee Solo is now being manufactured in Australia by Expedition Kayaks, available in two layups, and built to exacting standards of thew Audax and Azure.
For full details on the Nadgee Solo, including pricing and specs, go to