I am fortunate to have access to a private acre-sized pond where I enjoyed storing and using a fifteen and a half foot Mackinaw canoe. Many hours were spent on the water enjoying the surrounding woods while fishing along with family and friends. It held three adults and fishing gear. I have also taken it to a local reservoir and was able to explore various inlets and areas only accessible by boat. It was basically a two-man operation to load it up for transport. I learned how to do the “J” stroke with the single paddle and could maneuver quite well. For ten years I stored the canoe by the remote pond when one day I arrived to find it missing and was quite forlorn. Now that nearly a year has passed I decided to acquire a kayak which opens a new chapter in life for learning and experience.
This is an eight foot entry level kayak in a market that offers differing purposes, qualities, and price ranges. On my inaugural voyage I noticed some significant differences: I sat straight-legged, it had a smaller draft line with less stability, gear space was limited, it used a dual paddle whose technique differed than a single paddle, it carried a single person, and it was light enough to carry in one hand. It weighs only 27 lbs. and I can easily load it by myself for transport which enables me to store it safely at home.
Initially I tried to apply my canoe paddling techniques to the kayak but wobbled all over. Subsequently a friend has helped me to learn the ways of kayak paddling and had great suggestions for various accessories to make a more safe and pleasant experience.
I realize that the pond is a peaceful environment and someday I may want to graduate to a placid stream or white water river but that will require additional safety gear and training. That endeavor may also lead to a higher grade of kayak but for now I am getting acquainted with the fundamentals and I’m looking forward to making new memories with this versatile and affordable water craft.