Tuesday 31 July 2012

Chasing the Winter Swells

It's been blowing hard from the frigid south here in Sydney since Sunday, and a nice swell has built over the days, fat & fast, our typical long period southerly pattern.
Sean got in touch yesterday for a test paddle in the V10S, after finding his elite ski a handful in rough water, & was keen to find out what the Sport did in big confused conditions. What better way to find out how a boat handles this stuff than to get out amongst it, so on a bleak, windy & bloody cold morning we met down to La Perouse to take the V10S out for a spin.
We paddled east into some lovely big rollers that looked way too fast to catch, with a SSW wind blowing a sea onto our beams. Pretty gnarly, confused & horrible really…!
Things seemed to tidy up as we turned & headed back, and I managed a couple of nice runners, if you don't mind copping a few thumps as you speed along.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Some Rare EK Bargains

We have shipments arriving soon from Valley, Rockpool, Zegul & Tiderace & have to make some room. 
While we're not known for having mad sales, we have just listed a few offerings on our site for kayaks that might interest a few paddlers in the mid winter blues.

We have the demo of the Zegul 520 now available for sale, it's in great nick, near new, & on sale for the great price of $2790, a saving of $1000. There is a nice review of the Zegul 520 by Canoe & Kayak magazine HERE.

We also have a couple of 2011 model rotomoulded Valley Aquanaut HV's on the clearance table, while they're there they are $1995, down from their standard $2695. The Aquanaut HV is the big blokes boat of choice, a playful rough water specialist hull with plenty of room for paddlers in the 90-120kg range. We reckon we could get you into an Aquanaut HV kitted out with a full carbon paddle, PFD, spraydeck & paddle float for under $2500, so ask about a starters deal!
Give either of Rob or Mark a shout to lay claim to one of these rare bargains.

Monday 23 July 2012

Blowin' in the Wind

We had planned a relaxed afternoon in the winter sunshine down at Yarra Bay, tucked into a protected corner of Sydney's Botany Bay, where we were hoping to have a casual session of ad hoc instructing, and also providing the opportunity for people to try out some of our boats.
A strong wind warning forecast turned it into something entirely different but at least it gave a few paddlers the chance to find out what our boats really can do!
Bill had driven down from the mountains so it only seemed fair to give him a crack in the Nordkapp LV despite some pretty hefty winds & chop blowing into the bay. Without much paddling experience under his belt, he saddled up & paddled with me across the conditions, a nasty little rapid fire, meter high chop with a solid 20+ knots pushing abeam. 
For a boat some consider demanding, Bill was riding the mess like a pro, until the instructor alongside pushed him a bridge too far on an edge & he took an unplanned swim. With the break wall of the port extension a couple of hundred metres away downwind and, well, breaking hard against the wall, I thought it prudent to hook up a contact tow while we worked out a way to get Bill's paddle back.
Bill cutting across the wind
Bill did a great job holding the bow of his flooded Nordkapp hard against by bow while I paddled the two boats together the twenty or so metres to fetch his wayward paddle. With the cockpit completely flooded - I'd deliberately left the deck off during the tow - Bill then resumed paddling away from the break wall to give us some seaway to do a proper empty & get back underway. 
I figured a flooded cockpit is always going to be more stable than a half-flooded cockpit, and so it proved as again Bill showed some natural paddling grace to run a few hundred metres out into the bay. I got him to capsize again once satisfied that we had space & time to do an empty & rescue, emptied his boat using the excellent capsize empty technique & had him back in, deck sealed & off again in about a minute.
Bill then got a crash course in running a short, steep following sea & ran the 1500metres or so back to the beach with great aplomb. He swapped into the Etain 17'5 and immediately recognised the more predictable stability that this boat offers, but in the final wash-up preferred the elegance & responsiveness of the Nordkapp LV. He certainly wasn't left wondering about the rough water capabilities of the design!
Rob had been out in the morning with Gary Forrest & Matt Bezzina & a club group in some lively conditions off Malabar.
Megan running into the conditions (note how far Rob is above Megan in taking the pic!)
Gary Forrest
Gary going down, Roger going up.

After the ocean paddle in the morning, Rob came down to the bay & took Caoimhin out for a crack in the chop as well, giving him a pointed lesson in running a following sea, something the wind-fired sea state was tailor made to provide.
Stephan accepted my challenge to come out in the Taran and proceeded to leave smoke on the water. A bit wary at first in conditions that couldn't be described as easy, he got the hang of the planing hull & was soon cracking long rides down sea. I was trying to foot it with him in the Etain 17'5 but was no chance.

He came back all smiles, described it as FUN, in big letters.
Once the boats were packed we headed across to the Coast Golf Club for the NSWSKC AGM, which was blissfully brief, to the point, & offered more time for catching up with old mates than debating the hard issues of sea kayaking. Rob & I then presented a slide show of our North Reef Expedition, now a mournful memory of almost exactly a year's passing, and then Stephan presented a great pictorial of his 3 week trip in the wilds of Canada.
It's pleasing to see the renewed emphasis on social events in the sea kayak club, their meetings & weekends are great fun.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Yarra Bay Demo Afternoon this Saturday

Rob & I will be down at Yarra Bay between midday & 4pm this coming Saturday, July 21, running an informal instruction & demo session as part of the NSWSKC AGM day.
If you'd like to come down some time during the course of the afternoon & try a boat please let us know in advance, so we are sure to have the boat you're after with us in the range.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Which Sea Kayak for Me...?

  • The Nadgee Solo - Legendary iconic Australian sea kayak, designed to track hard and true, keep you safe from waves and nasty seas, and provide a solid comfortable ride.

We've firmly held the view that next few years will see a whole new genre of sea kayak popularised, as the idea of fast & athletic touring gains a foothold. It's hard to argue with the numbers, with old sea kayaking speed records falling one by one to paddlers with good technique, fitness & a plan. Don't think that these boats are all about speed however, the drastically improved efficiency in the hulls translates to an easier day on the water, less energy expended getting from A to B and everywhere in between, and a less taxing day on the water. None of these things is possible without stability, and the good fast touring sea kayaks have that in spades, the days of fast automatically meaning unstable are thankfully behind us. A more detailed explanation of what makes a good fast tourer is HERE.
  • The Expedition Kayaks Audax - Our own design, launched in 2017 after more than two years of development, testing and prototyping, and proving to be a very accessible, stable and user friendly addition to the fast touring market. It's also the fastest hull in the genuine sea kayak range that we have ever measured. A cracking boat downwind, fast enough to put a 10 hour Hawkesbury Classic within reach of a reasonably fit paddler, and built in Australia for tough expeditioning. You can read all about the Audax HERE. Designed specifically to be a stable alternative to some of the more demanding early designs like the Rockpool Taran. Priced from $5490
  • The Expedition Kayaks Azure - designed and manufactured in Australia, aimed squarely at paddlers in the 55-75kg range, as an option for lighter paddlers eating all of the performance, speed and handling of the Audax. Details on the Azure are HERE

  • The Expedition Kayaks Aurora - the same hull and deck footprint as there Azure, with a wider bilge and flatter mid section to aid with stability. Designed for paddlers in the 50-75kg range, and very quickly winning fans around the country. Details on the Aurora are HERE 

  • Epic 18X - Now ensconced in it's third incarnation, that features a smart track rudder system, sound & adjustable ergonomics & a proper expedition fit out that includes a day hatch as standard. Off the shelf it's a well fitted out kayak, with little or nothing to do to customise other than make use of the factory fitted adjustability. The 18X is probably too quick for the average paddler on the flat to ever reach, and has a proven track record of, well, epic expeditioning to stand on, having recently been piloted around Australia & then Cape Horn by Freya Hoffmeister. Price $4290 

There you have it, a brief summary of our range & where they fit in relation to one another, and their design strengths.If you have any questions or queries please feel free to to give either or Rob or myself a bell, or drop us a line. We have a demo boat available in each & every one of the models mentioned above, & will take you out on the sea for a test paddle in live conditions.

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