If you guys recall, I put on layaway, way back last October at the Sea Kayak Georgia Symposium (Tybee Island) an NDK Pilgrim Expedition. It was originally made for Eila Wilkinson, when she and Nigel were supposed to come to the Symposium (but were unable to, due to Trump-induced visa issues). It's got a white deck, black hull, and orange trim. My friend Joel and I drove down last Friday and camped over the weekend at the RV park/campground on Tybee. On Sat. we picked up the boat (named, appropriately, Eila) and then took two full days of semi-private instruction with Ronnie and Marsha of SKG. I was really unconfident the first day. Going from my short, fat WS Tsunami 140 to this was, as Joel said, like going from a Chevy Impala to a Maserati. It felt unstable and it was hard to find the edges without feeling as if I were about to go over. We piddled around a bit and then it was right out into the surf. When I was at Tybee before, I was all, "where are the bigger waves? Bring it on!" So it felt weird to be nervous and unsure. But by the second day I was edging it and getting the hang of it. The hardest thing to get used to is getting in and out. The "Smarty Hatch," which is a shallow hatch for sunglasses and camera right in from of the cockpit, interferes with my shins when I get in and out (not in a wet exit, fortunately). I wouldn't have gotten a smarty hatch if it had been my choice, but it was on the boat. It IS handy, esp for my camera, but the 2 inch bump-out into my legroom is taking some negotiating! The fact that it's a small cockpit, combined with the smarty hatch issue, means that I have to balance behind the cockpit and scull, instead of sitting down in the seat, while I get my legs in and out, and I'm not used to that! If I could have practiced in flat water for a few days, fine, but doing surf landings and launches while laid back on the rear deck was unnerving! Getting better at it and will practice on our lakes. And after all my worrying, I ended up being the only one out of us 3 students (me, Joel, and a WW instructor there to learn about sea kayaking) who didn't capsize in the surf LOL. I even learned to do a re-entry and roll, and worked on rolling up when I'm discombobulated and not in set-up position. It was a great weekend! No pix of surfing b/c everyone was too busy staying upright. Marsha probably could have gotten some from behind but the second day I forgot to put my camera in the smarty hatch. Didn't want it around my neck in case I lost it. Anyway, it's a brave new world! I am glad that I had already sold my Tsunami, b/c on Saturday I was almost ready to say "never mind!" and go back to what was comfortable! But I persevered and now I have a sleek, fast, edgy new boat!