Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Modern Sea Kayaking
I've ordered Gordon Brown's book 'Sea Kayak'. I found it listed on the Canadian Amazon site, so figured, 'Why not?' I might be a good kayaker one day and need to know what the "intermediate to advanced" paddlers already know. Maybe it will keep me out of trouble, or conversely, get me there quicker. Maybe it will just keep me on the water...
I do have concerns about the book, beyond those expressed here and there by various reviewers. If the kayak marketplace is any indication, a kayak over 14 ft is probably useless for most people. It also seems that composite boats are not suited to modern kayaking. Polyethylene is today's choice of material. Don't even think about 'skin'! The thoroughly modern kayaker rides in a nice wide SOT as well these days, I suppose so that he or she can stand while casting from a stable platform. I gather that water-tight hatches have been replaced by milk-crate boxes as they are so much more versatile and quick draining, an obvious safety feature. Paddles of any sort, of course, are out. Pedal driven flippers being the obvious choice of today's kayaker. Think about it, are your legs weaker than your arms? Of course not! Get rid of those paddles, before someone gets hit by one.
I suspect Brown's book will attempt to fly in the face of these obvious market-driven improvements to kayaking, but I've always believed there is a place for the traditional, long, slender, glass or carbon fiber enclosed boat even in the modern world of kayaking. This book will, if nothing else, be a chance for me to reminisce, to wallow in the 'good ole days'. It may give me the strength to continue paddling my dated boat for a few more years and for that alone, it will be well worth its purchase price. It arrives in early December. I can't wait.
Photo by W. Killoran, North Channel off Manitoulin Island