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SalishSeaNior

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Okanagan Valley, Canada
Good Morning Fellow Ocean Kayak Enthusiast,

I have visited the WCP website often in the past, but had never thought to join until now. To be honest, I am not much of an online joiner and have only ever belonged to one other online forum. This one however strikes my fancy, as it connects with others who share my passion for the Ocean and Ocean Kayaking.

To introduce myself; a bit about my paddling history, and a few images. I have been ocean kayaking for more than half my life, a bit more than 40 years now. In my younger years, I spent much of my vacation time and many weekends paddling the Salish Sea, on both sides of the border, 3 trips to Haida Gwaii, too many trips to count on both coasts of Vancouver Island as well as the Southern Gulf Islands and the San Juans. Work took me to Eastern Canada for 16 years where I got in some paddling on 3 of the Great Lakes, as well as trips to Maine, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. My wife and I returned to B. C. about four years ago and since then I have done several trips a year, reconnecting with old paddling partners as well as quite a few solo trips.

In the summer of 2018 I did my first big wilderness paddling trip in quite some time, I and a group of friends from Campbell River spent a bit more than two weeks exploring Laredo Channel, Caamano Sound and Campania Island. I used Jon's blog, "3 Meter Swell" as an invaluable resource to help us plan that trip. Thank you Jon for your wonderful blog. That trip is now filed as one of the most memorable and beautiful trips of my life.

IMG_1980 (2).JPG

An image from Baker Spit, Aristizabul Island, Laredo Channel, 2018. Campania Island in the Background about 25 km away across Caamano Sound.

Since then, I have done numerous trips each year and am now fully reconnected to the Sea and to most of my "Paddling Tribe"

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My wife on Isaac Lake, Bowron Lakes Circuit, after the storm this past September.

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Pryce Channel, Desolation Sound at sunset this past June.

Anyway, that is probably more than sufficient going on about me for an initial post. I shall look forward to participating, reading your posts and posting an occasional one of my own in the future.

Cheers, Rick
 

kayakwriter

Administrator
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
890
Hi Rick,

Thanks for "unlurking" and introducing yourself. Lovely pictures. Please feel free to post as much (or as little) as you want going forward. Welcome onboard.
 

chodups

Paddler
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,033
In the summer of 2018 I did my first big wilderness paddling trip in quite some time, I and a group of friends from Campbell River spent a bit more than two weeks exploring Laredo Channel, Caamano Sound and Campania Island. I used Jon's blog, "3 Meter Swell" as an invaluable resource to help us plan that trip. Thank you Jon for your wonderful blog. That trip is now filed as one of the most memorable and beautiful trips of my life.
Thank you for the kind words. Glad you found the blog useful. Now, if the US can get a handle on this pandemic and earn back some trust from the international community I'll be back up that way to complete some trips I have planned and have something else to write about. As is I've been writing some random thoughts here: Flashbacks-Rumors, Myths, Legends and Lies.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
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Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,327
Location
Victoria, BC

chodups

Paddler
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,033
Jon: I always find your writing interesting; thank you! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
Of those recent blog posts, this one hit home:
Thank you, John. I appreciate it.
 

SalishSeaNior

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Okanagan Valley, Canada
Hi Jon,

Yes, I very much hope the US manages to make some good progress on the Covid virus. I have elder friends in both Washington State and California that have pretty much been sheltering in place since last April. It must be very stressful for those in high infection incidence areas. Fortunately for my wife and I we are in a very low incidence area and folk seem to be following the public health advice to a large degree anyway.

We, on my wife's side of the family have a cabin on Lummi Island just west of Bellingham Bay. We have owned it for decades. We were last down there in late February. I do a lot of paddling in the San Juan Islands, particularly in the colder months mainly because I have a nice warm cabin to return to after a few hours of winter paddling. I very much miss the luxury of going to the Island to spend a few quiet days of paddling in the winter. I see that you and quite a few others on the forums also paddle on both sides of the border.

It is snowing outside here right now and the forecast is for a long, cold and snowy winter. Oh well, the skiing will be good, that is if the hills and trails are open. I also try to get out paddling on the Lakes in the Okanagan now and then when the weather permits and the lakes are not frozen over. Here is an image of a paddle on Skaha Lake in early February last winter.

IMG_2488.jpg


My wife's Nimbus Horizon kayak and my Category Force 5 are both under lockdown under the cottage at Lummi Island where we cannot access either. I just bought a used Nimbus Lootas this past summer that my wife used on our Bowron Lakes trip in September. In fact it was because the border was closed and we couldn't get to the boats at Lummi, that my dear wife agreed to allow me to buy the Lootas. I also have my much loved North Shore Ocean 17. Both boats are here at home, so we still have boats to paddle here in B. C. It is a small positive outcome to my occasional propensity to try kayaks that interest me and then add them to the quiver.

Hopefully, we can all get back to paddling in our traditional haunts in the not too distant future.

Cheers and Best Wishes, Rick
 

pryaker

Paddler
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
208
Location
Powell River BC
Hey Rick, can you tell me what boat is the red one in your third pic; the one labeled Pryce Channel? It appears to be a fast tourer, a type that interests me while I'm thinking about what to buy for my bext boat.

Cheers

Roger
 

SalishSeaNior

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Okanagan Valley, Canada
Good Evening Pryaker,

The red boat in the picture that you are asking about is a Nimbus Sprint . That particular boat was, I believe, the first one ever built and belongs to an old friend who was the person that got me started in ocean kayaking. It is almost 40 years old and still going strong. The boat in the picture has no bulkheads and the owner paddles old school with dry bags and flotation. He is one of the most accomplished and least known paddlers on the coast. With two solo trips of the Inside Passage and a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in his CV.

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I can attest to the fact that his Sprint is a fast sea kayak, having often paddled on extended trips with the him, he can relax and dawdle while I work a lot harder in my slower, more docile expedition style boats. The Sprint has a published length to width ratio of 10.3 and is thus "categorized" as a "Fast Sea Kayak". In my estimation, the Sprint is very much an expert paddlers boat. Its very rounded hull, length 17.6, with a 22 inch beam and lack of rocker make it quite tender with respect to both primary and secondary stability. But, yes it is very fast and hauls a lot of gear.

There were never very many Sprints built, so they are rare. As far as paddling it, with respect to both stability and speed, It reminds me a lot of a Current Designs Expedition (l/w ration 9.7). Both are fast expedition boats; but feel, at least to me, a bit like paddling a log, or perhaps a torpedo might be a better analogy. Both are much too unstable and tippy for my tastes. You probably won't be taking many photos while paddling either. They both also "require a rudder" to turn them with any efficiency.

The big problem with acquiring a Sprint, is that if you are truly interested, you would likely have to custom order one from Rainforest Designs. Steve Schleicher and a small staff are still building boats on a limited scale on Quadra Island; 39 per year I was told this past summer; so you would probably have to put in an order and then wait for the boat to be built.

I also expect that It is highly unlikely that you can find one to test paddle. You may wish to contact Steve at Rainforest Designs and talk to him about the boat if you are truly interested. It is even remotely possible that he has an old one on the property, or perhaps knows someone who has one you might try if you are truly interested. Good luck with your search for a new boat.

Cheers, Rick
 

pryaker

Paddler
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
208
Location
Powell River BC
Ah, thanks for the info Rick. I'm not really interested in that particular model, more curious about it and the style. I wouldn't want a boat with no integral flotation. I've been thinking of a tiderace boat; either the Xceed (brit style) or the Pace Tour which is a Fast Tourer.
 

Jurfie

Paddler
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
833
Location
Semiahmoo, South Surrey, BC
Since we’re veering off topic anyways, who is left that sells the more performance based boats in BC? Comox Valley Kayaks sells decent boats (NDK/SKUK, CD, Nimbus, WS), but with the demise of Ecomarine and MEC’s now lacklustre selection, and Deep Cove/Coast Outdoors seeming to focus more on surfskis and SUPs, who is left? Western has some CD boats and Norse (which I’d never heard of until I looked at their website) that seem decent, but where are the others? I know Necky is no more. P&H? Sterling (I know you can buy direct, but no dealers)? Valley? Impex? Seaward?

And when did Boreal buy Maelstrom and some of Seaward’s models? Ugh...I‘m so out of touch after a few years away from paddling...
 

SalishSeaNior

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Okanagan Valley, Canada
Yup, off topic, but an interesting discussion. I was actually thinking the same thing as Jurfie while answering Roger's question. I have paddled a lot of different boats over the past four decades and I find kayak design to be a very interesting subject to discuss. My first boat was an original Mariner. It was an incredibly fast kayak, (l/w 10.7) and it carried more gear than any other single kayak I have ever seen. My younger brother has it now. I find that as my age and circumstances have changed, so have my preferences in Kayaks and the Mariner just began to feel to big for my tastes.

So many of the West Coast builders are now gone or bought out. The specialty kayak shops have been closing and even those left are not carrying the range of styles and brands of kayaks that one could find even 10 years ago. As far as fast touring kayaks are concerned, many of the European Manufacturers seem to be designing them, often based on surf ski hulls. But it is getting to the point where you almost have to custom order anything other than the most mundane of kayak designs. Seems fishing kayaks and plastic recreational boats are the main market for many west coast retailers these days. Gone are the days when you could go to Eco Marine and rent or trial a kayak you liked the look of.

Also, long gone are the days of Sea Kayak Symposiums where you could look at and yes paddle a boat you might be interested in. I suspect the last place left in B. C. where you can actually walk in and look at a large selection of performance kayaks seems to be Comox Valley Kayaks. I was there last summer and it was a real treat to be able to walk around and look at actual boats.

Cheers, Rick
 

dermot

Paddler
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
56
Deep Cove has a more than a few performance boats in their rental or instructor's fleet, Current Design's Prana / Sisu / Karla in rentals, both standard and LV, Delphin and Romeny sports in the instructor's pile-0-boats, and some surfski style kayaks - i think from Epic, didn't pay much attention to them.. worth asking about a demo
BlueDog in Victoria are NDK dealers, they do a bulk order about this time of year
Kayak Academy in Seattle are Tiderace dealers, Eva bought her Tiderace Vortex from them and we drove it up here (long before Covid), have not seen another Tiderace in the Vancouver area
 

pryaker

Paddler
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
208
Location
Powell River BC
No tiderace dealer in Canada. They are available from the west coast distributor who told me they shipped a Pace Tour up here via broker in Bellingham (or blaine?) I think I'll have to wait to get down to the US to demo both boats. And while I'm at it I'll probably check out Sterling's boats too.
 

SalishSeaNior

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Okanagan Valley, Canada
Roger et al,

Yes, Tiderace is a very interesting line of kayaks. Many models for many different uses. For those of us north of the border though, very difficult to see or demo. Sterling Kayaks shop is just north of Bellingham on the guide Meridian and his boats are incredibly well built with tested and proven designs. He also builds his boats with ultramodern military grade materials, so they are priced accordingly. But if what you want is a fast touring kayak, probably not the boat for you.

It is a little known fact, as acknowledged by Sterling himself, in the linked article that he does not consider himself a designer, but rather a master builder. Sterling has a collaborative relationship with top paddlers and designers like Steve Schleicher. The boats are tested and modifications made in order to

In fact the Illusion kayak is I believe a Steve Schleicher design and is based on an earlier model the Kap Farvel. If you compare the images of the boats side by side, you can see the similarities. Both are 16' 10 " long, Kap Farvel has a 21" beam and the lllusion is 21.5". Total volume of the Kap Farvel is 255 liters, 286 for the Illusion. The illusion is half an inch wider, with a larger cockpit and coming and appears to have a bit more volume under the cockpit to my eye. Steve paddles an Illusion himself.

Sterling lists the design goals for each model he builds. The introduction for the Illusion reads:

"A touring kayak that is also a good play boat. A kayak created to surpass expectations in wind, waves and combined coastal conditions."

If you want to actually see what the Illusion is designed to do, watch the video of Warren Williamson paddling one in a winter gale in Deception Pass. There is a link at the bottom of the linked Illusion page above.

I am probably giving Rainforest Designs a lot more publicity than they want nowadays, They are certainly not looking to expand production. But I do believe that Steve deserves a lot more recognition for the excellence of his designs and the quality of his boats than he gets. Largely because he is a designer and builder who does what he does more for his own satisfaction, than for any other reason. He's now semi-retired and doing what he does at a pace he likes.

While we are at it, and talking about "fast sea kayaks' and kayak designs, there is one other Canadian manufacturer in the East that I think is worth a mention. That is Abitibi and Co. The original manufacturer, Mid Canada Fibreglass went under in 2012 and was purchased by two Quebecois entrepreneurs, who moved the operations to Abitibi, Quebec from Temiskaming Shores, Ontario. They now build the Impex line of kayaks and Scott Canoes there. The Impex kayaks are a North American take on old school British style skeg boat designs. Their Force line has a particularly strong Greenland style aspect to it. They were popular in the East, both Canada and the US and also were sold in Australia where they get excellent reviews, at least in the older search results on the web.

In 2016, I had the opportunity to purchase a Impex demo boat in a K-Lite layup, which is an amalgam of carbon and kevlar, with a gelcoat deck. She weighs about 50 lbs and is extremely well built. I am pasting below, a review I did of her soon after I brought her to the west coast and had the opportunity to paddle her in the San Juan Islands. This is the boat that is currently at our cottage in Washington.

IMG_1490.JPG


She is 18 feet long with a beam just under 21 inches. She has a relatively flat bottom with steeply rounded chines and virtually no rocker. I was paddling her empty for my sea trials as set out below:

"...On calm flat water, she feels stable and docile. As soon as you get on living water though, she begins to show her Thoroughbred lines and personality. Each day, it took me ten to fifteen minutes to get accustomed to her liveliness in moving tidal currents, chop and waves, but once my own skittishness settled, she showed her true capabilities. The boat is fast, very fast! She tracks like an arrow on a flat keel, but turns easily on edge. She handles rough water and breaking waves with ease, a simple lean or a quick brace and carry on. She fits like a glove and I felt wholly at one with this boat. She tracks and handles extremely well without deploying the skeg. The only exception is a bit of moderate weather cocking with strong following winds, which deploying a bit of skeg quickly corrects.

On my third day of trials, the wind moderated to light and I took her out for a power paddle around the South end of Lummi Island. Did I mention this boat is fast? On my return up Island, again in Hale Passage, I paddled her against another strong ebb. She cut through the ebb current and paddled into it with little decrease in speed or increase in effort.

The Force 5 is a fast expedition boat par excellence. The useable packing volume is rated at 181 litres. The total volume is listed a 380 litres which is excellent for a British style design. I can get an extra 10 or15 litres of storage with a dry bag in front of the foot braces, so she will definitely handle enough gear for extended trips..." End of Report.

Now, you won't find an Abitibi & Co. dealer on the west coast anymore, I don't think, but I just wanted to put out there, that there are still excellent North American designed and built boats available. We enthusiasts just have to do a lot more research and consider the options when we are looking for a well built performance kayak.

Cheers, Rick
 
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