Forspaddling i Stockholm – Whitewater kayaking in Stockholm
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Beginner Boat Evolution

History keeps on repeating itself so perfectly that with a little thought on what makes a good beginner boat, the answer will just jump right out at you.

Qualities of a good beginner boat-

1. Stable- A boat should be wide enough to give the beginner a stable platform to sit on. A narrow boat is difficult to keep right side up and the more a beginner has to worry about flipping, the less they will try, and the slower they will learn. How wide is ideal? It depends upon the weight and size of the paddler. Generally a hull around 20-22″ for 90-120lbs, 22-23″ for 120-180 lbs, 23″-24″ for 180 and up is a good platform and still not hindering the roll at all.

2. Easy to control- Any time you get confused about what kind of boat is easy to paddle, just take the characteristic you are confused about and take it to the extreme. For Example, length. Is it easier to get a long boat down a rapid or a short one? Try a Mirage or Dancer some time. It takes real skill to paddle one of those in and out of eddies, ferries, etc. Shorter is easier, period, end of sentence. The kayaking scene has been mislead and paddlers in general have really not thought for themselves regarding the qualities of good equipment. Do you know that you would be laughed off the ski slope if you tried to convince someone that longer skis that tracked well and had lots of speed were better for beginners! Imagine: OK Mr. Beginner, here are your 250cm skis. They track really well so when you get off the lift, just pick a line down the mountain and go. Don’t worry they have lots of speed and won’t get knocked off line when you hit those bumps. The superior speed will help you make those critical moves. Good luck! Sounds stupid, huh. Well the same applies to kayaking. A boat that manuevers easily is easier to paddle than one that tracks, period. The easier it manuevers the easier to make your moves, period.

What moves are critical to a beginner?
1. Peel outs, ferries, eddy outs

As the length of a boat increases, the leverage the water has against you increased to the expotential power of 3. Twice as long, 8 times the difficulty in manuevering. Displacement hulls grab the water much more than planing hulls. So a shorter planing hull has much more margin for error when crossing eddylines.

At the Wilderness Tours School of Kayaking on the Ottawa we had a fleet that was 1/2 Kinetics (very much like an RPM) and Godzillas, and 1/2 X’s and Z’s. By day three of every beginner clinic, the Kinetic and Godzilla people wanted to know how come we didn’t give them an X or Z. Why? Because they were tired of flipping over and missing their moves.

IF YOU ARE 100-150 POUNDS AND A BEGINNER, YOU WILL FLIP 1/2 AS MANY TIMES IN AN X THAN A KINETIC OR RPM. IF YOU ARE 150-220 POUNDS YOU WILL FLIP 1/2 AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WOULD IN A GODZILLA OR EQUIVELENT BOAT. 1/4 AS MANY TIMES AS A DANCER, OUTBURST, PIEDRA, LAZER, ETC.

Have you looked at the catalogs from the past? The RPM is listed as expert only in 96! The X was listed as a rodeo boat only. Well, we were wrong. And in history every successful beginner boat was once considered radical and when it came out the dealers wouldn’t sell it to beginners. Two years later it’s merits are discovered and voila, a beginner boat.

Dancer, Piroutte S, RPM, X all rodeo boats turned beginner boats.

Every single argument for buying an old style displacement hulled beginner boat is based on ignorance, lack of understanding, experience, and buying into old wives tales. Logic and truth are behind the new technology.

Would you offer your 286 computer with no windows or modem to a freind to learn to use? Certainly they will have to learn alot to use it, but their output from that computer will be limited and they won’t really understand what a computer will do. In fact, they probably will lose interest in it and never use one again, or get a new one.

There is a couple of posts saying things like ”if you are an aggressive beginner get the X, conservative, the RPM or Kinetic, or similar boat”

Wow, that is so backwards it isn’t even funny. If you want to challenge yourself by getting a boat that is harder to paddle down a river, with less upside potential, and more flips than get the RPM. If you are really timid and just want the easies learning curve possible get the X. If you really want a challenge, buy a Dancer. If you are a looking for self abuse, learn in a wildwater boat.

Final observation- Almost without exception the beginner who learns in a planing hulled boat will have 3 times the skill as the displacement hulled person in one year. Every try to surf a hole in a displacement hull? The water pushes you into the foam, the foam lifts you up, then drops you into the green water again, bouncy and out of control, then you try to get out, only to catch your long stern and power flip you, then you stay away from holes. Why do you think hole surfing is so popular now? Because it is easy and less abusive in the new boats.

Every word written here is based on 20 years of experience as a full time paddler, as an instructor, boat designer, etc. I paddled the Letman Mark IV as a beginner because the store wouldn’t sell me the Mark V because it was too low volume and radical. I paddled the Mirage for a year, then the Dancer for 7 years. Then the Crossfire, Frankenstein, Kinetic, STubby, X, etc. I still race slalom, got 2nd in U.S. team trials and know all about longer boats. They suck for everything but going straight fast.

If you don’t believe anything written here, wait two years. Just don’t keep making the same mistake then too when we have even better beginner boats.

EJ

Källa: Boatertalk