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Kayaking

orange_kayak.jpgI think I'm going to buy a kayak. Specifically, I think I'm going to buy the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 seen at right (though I think I'll get it in yellow). I had previously been looking at the Riot, but the Tarpon line is a bit more "professional." I hesitate to use that word - there's no way in heck I'm going to be anything but a guy splashing around on a kayak - but I've always disdained the cheaper product lines. I like quality products.

At any rate, I'm looking to get a kayak for a few reasons:

  • I live very close to Lake Ida, which would be a perfect little lake for kayaking.
  • I live two or three miles from the ocean, another great place to kayak.
  • There are some intercoastals and whatnot around southern Florida that should provide good kayaking destinations.
  • I've got an Aztek, which may or may not be a good thing: it's got a roof rack, but the crossbars may be too wide for the standard fittings. I think a 10' kayak may not fit inside my Aztek. 🙂

I have kayaked (in a solo kayak) exactly once before in my life, but it's an interesting (albeit short) story.

My sister and I rented kayaks in Hawaii. The ocean was fairly calm, it was a glorious day, and we wanted to get away from the parents for awhile. We set out, and after a rough start, were quickly paddling out to sea. We paddled for about five minutes before realizing that we had paddled, oh, about a mile out to sea. The windsurfers were out another few hundred yards catching some of the healthier waves (Honolulu has a fairly shallow shoreline - we were only in about eight feet of water). We had certainly managed to escape our parents - we couldn't even see them.

We began to paddle back. The waves would rise, and we'd be pushed slightly forward, only to slide back down the backside of the crest. When looking at the ocean floor, we could clearly see we weren't going anywhere. I began to fear that we'd make the evening news for drifting out to sea. We kept paddling - sometimes I paddled while my sister hung on to my kayak to rest, and sometimes I swam while dragging my kayak. Two and a half hours later we set foot on the sandy beaches of Honolulu, absolutely exhausted. And the thing is, I'd have done it again if I could have lifted my arms. Five minutes out, one hundred fifty minutes back. How's that for the effects of a tide?

Anyway, the Tarpon 100 seems to be a pretty damn popular kayak, because everywhere I've looked around here is sold out for the next few weeks. The delay may be enough time for me to talk myself out of it, but then again, once I get something in my head I tend to go for it. Besides, kayaking will build my upper body a little, which should improve my rock climbing skills. Right? And the rationalization begins…

9 Responses to "Kayaking"

  1. I don't know anything about kayaks, but that looks nice. The name is just a little too close to another word with t-a-p-o-n in it though. I keep misreading the name of it and it's a little disorienting... 🙂

  2. I only really do river kayaking but that looks like a nice open top kayak. The name is pretty bad though, like Derek I keep reading it as Tampon rather than Tarpon.

  3. If you are going to get a kayak, get a closed one. You can have way more fun in a whitewater than you can in an open.

  4. Thanks for the hint, David, but that's kind of a silly statement given my location. Southern Florida isn't exactly known for its white water kayaking spots.

  5. I've posted a question regarding which kayak I should get over at Confluence Water Sports, the forum linked to from Wilderness Systems. I'm curious to...

  6. Forgive my ignorance, but what are the pros and cons of open/closed kayaks? I've only kayaked in closed ones myself.

  7. Erik,

    It doesn't matter, southern Florida or not, I'd still recommend getting a closed kayak. You can still get one that plays well in the surf, and I'll guarantee that you'll have more fun. Maybe it is personal preference, but I've kayaked since I was a young kid, and I always found that I get bored very quickly in an open kayak. Each to their own though.

    David

  8. Having previously considered a Riot and a Tarpon 100, I'm now looking at a Tarpon 120. Unfortunately, nobody has any. Anywhere. Florida is effectively "sold...

  9. Turns out a sit-on-top kayak was exactly the right thing for south Florida, especially as I got into fishing.


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