Mystery Monday: Kayaking Adventures

ESP Boss kayaking, Father's Day 2010

Happy Father’s Day!

About three years ago, my folks hosted a Rotary Exchange student from Brazil. While this was an interesting experience all the way around, one of my favorite parts was getting to do all types of brand new adventures in my own backyard.

One of the first things we did with Diogo was rent kayaks on Watson Lake. Needless to say, I was hooked! I bought a red 10 foot kayak (a Perception Prodigy) and starting heading to the lakes. Soon after, ESP Boss decided he couldn’t let me have all the fun, and bought an identical kayak as well.

Now, Dad & I are getting set for our next big adventure: an overnight kayaking trip! Much like backpacking, we’ve got to figure out how to get all our gear into the storage spaces in the front and back of our yaks.

And that brings me to how we spent our Father’s Day: ESP Boss decided that he wanted to test out some different kayak models. Luckily, our one & only local sporting goods store Manzanita Outdoor offers kayaking testing every weekend.

The first yak ESP Boss tested out was a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Kayak. He said it was okay, nice and roomy, easy to paddle, and with a hatch for dry storage. (Our Prodigy kayaks don’t have any dry storage.) But, he wasn’t overly thrilled with it because it seemed kind of tippy and not really stable.

(If you’ve ever seen ESP Boss get into or out of a kayak, you’ll know that stability is a must. That man ALWAYS gets wet!)

The second kayak was a Native Watercraft, Ultimate 12. The kayak was super steady (a good thing) and had a large cockpit. That’s a really good feature for ESP Boss since he get’s kind of claustrophobic if he has to put his legs into too small a space. It had a ton of storage too! And a really comfortable seat.

The problem with the Native kayak was that it paddled more like a canoe than a kayak. ESP Boss said that it didn’t cut through the water very well and it had problems with tracking (going in a straight line).

The third kayak of the day was a Dirigo by Old Town. It had lots of tie-downs for cargo and a dry hatch in the back. Of the three, this seemed to paddle as close to the Perception Prodigy that he already owns. One really cool feature was a built-in cup holder that is molded into the deck. When the cup holder is in the seat between your legs, you always bump it and send the water bottle rolling around the cockpit of the kayak. It also had a little tiny dry storage well — perfect for a cell phone or small camera.

The biggest thing that made ESP Boss not like this kayak was the width of the cockpit. Old Town makes excellent yaks, but the cockpits do tend to run a little narrow.

But, the good news is that ESP Boss did find a kayak that he really loved. The fourth kayak of the day. ESP Boss got in, paddled away from the shore, and turned to me suddenly and said: This is it! This is the kayak I like!

And the lucky winner?

The Perception Prodigy 10.0. Yep, the kayak he already owns!

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