Saturday, January 24, 2009

An introduction to "my babies"

I absolutely must give credit where credit is due - in my many years of kayaking, my two kayaks have served me well and certainly deserve a bit of recognition and props! First, their backstory....

When I first became interested in kayaking (early high school, I believe, which would date back to 1997 or 1998), my mother began to look for a kayak as a possible Christmas present. She didn't have to look far! My uncle, an anesthesiologist in Grand Rapids, had bought two kayaks for he and his wife, who had been diagnosed with Lupis. He figured it might be an activity they could share and that she could participate in, especially since she was bound to a wheelchair. Unfortunately, they didn't get much use out of them at all, and as the story goes, my mom got in touch with him, he was willing to sell, and the rest is history.
So here I was, a high school kid thrilled to have two relatively new kayaks. Fast forward to over ten years later, and I still use them, still adore them, and they have served me well.

I've had quite the time researching the model of my primary kayak, and it's so "old school" that I can't find a great picture of the model online. Fortunately, I have a picture of my kayak on the computer!

Boat #1: An Aquaterra (predecesor to Perception) Caspia recreational kayak

This guy can do it all....equally suited for rivers and lakes. I've taken in across three different lakes, use it to paddle to work when the weather's good, and have taken it on all my river expeditions up north. She cuts through the water beautifully, is stable as can be, and super comfortable! My kayak does not have the port hole in the back that this model does, but I've taken to lashing a deck-top dry bag in the back which more than makes up for it. I can jam my sleeping pad, tent, and a few other miscellanous items in the back, and all in all, I can't speak highly enough about this recreational kayak. She has served me well.

Boat #2: A Perception Keowee recreational kayak

I have to admit, I haven't paddled this boat nearly as much as its counterpart, but this little boat has alot of personality and has been a great resource when dragging friends along on adventures with me. I find that its wide, rather "fat" design makes it a bit more stable for more novice paddlers, though it doesn't cut through the water as quickly or gracefully as my Caspia. It will, at times, wobble, or as some like to say, "waddle" through open water, but not so much that it's an annoyance. The interesting feature about this kayak is that it has a second seat that can be slid in and out if you wanted to cram another, presumably smaller person inside. I can't imagine fitting another person in the cockpit of this boat, and therefore, I've never used it in this capacity. If I were going to jam another person in that second seat, you'd better believe it'd be a little little kid. The second seat in mine is removed. I found glowing reviews of this boat at one of my favorite paddling sites:

Once the feet of snow melt around us, I intend to get some good pictures of the boats to post here. They're going to need a bit of TLC this spring....after all of the abuse I've put them through, some of the detailing is scraping off the Caspia (not a big deal) and they could both use a good scrub. My old back support for the Caspia has finally fallen apart, so I'm planning on hunting for a new pad to outfit the old girl with.

I realize that they are old and not very technical boats, but for my kind of paddling, they suit me just fine. Afterall, you can't beat a classic, right?

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