February – and time to put it through its paces with a spot of rock hopping in the rock gardens… The small group began heading out left from Portreath, with a tantalising forecast of a super clean 3 foot swell plus crisp February sun, (fingers crossed!). We had a chance to explore close to the cliffs and get a first-hand look at the reefs with the help of the rolling swell pushing us up, over and sometimes against the rocks and reefs.
Impressed with its performance over a rock? Yes I definitely am.
What makes it great is the ability to stop and start quickly. Think of it in this environment as paddling a Red Jet Ferry compared with a Container Ship. You pick up speed quickly enough to time your rock hop with the waves and it stops responsively when needed, so that you don’t over commit and end up rock hopping when you don’t really want to. I wonder if it would stop and start even quicker if it were a little lighter? I need to weigh it before the next time I write.
Finally, it turns very well to put you in the right direction when on/in the white water caused by the wave breaking over the rock, giving a modicum of steerage and control whilst in the midst of white water mayhem. This works very well if you are able to commit it to its edge; trust its secondary stability; release the bow and stern from the water line and allow it to pivot, in a surprisingly stable way, compared with other similar short plastic kayaks.
So, how has the plastic held up on the rocks? For those of you that remember the Prijon kayaks, it is similar to scratching your old hurricane or invader – it can take a scuff or two. Very much akin to scuffing a pair of old boots; the tough ones that you have owned or a couple of years, and know that will still own a couple of years into the future. The strength of the plastic is a definite bonus of the boat for those of you that, like me, revel in a literally closer experience to the environment on your journey.
As the boat is shorter than I normally paddle and the wind was against me, I left a good length of time for the return trip. I am not sure if I had eaten an extra Weetabix that morning, or if some adrenalin was still running through my system after the rock hopping, but I made great time, arriving back to the beach ahead of expectations. I look forward to seeing how I feel paddling it over a longer time and distance.
Thanks for the pictures Mike Hayes – contactable through firstname.lastname@example.org.