Posts Tagged ‘Kayak Review’

Well, I Finally did IT!! I took the plunge and purchased my first Touring/Expedition Kayak. Some who know me will be surprised to learn that I did not actually own my own Touring Kayak, even after 8 years of paddling as a Guide/Instructor. Did not need to because I always had something to paddle working for Osprey Bay Outdoors. (actually many yaks to choose from)! So any way lets talk about my new boat!!!!

I Decided on this Kayak for a few reasons, first and foremost, I could not pass up the price deal I got. As we all know times are hard right now and if you can afford a picture of a kayak your doing good, let alone the real thing!! Now I can not disclose how good a deal I got, because we need to protect the names of the innocent, there was an exchange of cash. Lets just say I should have been put in Paddlers Prison!!!! As they say “It was a STEAL!!!!”

Second reason is because my Paddling Buddy KayakKev or “Sugar Bear” as I know him has an Atlantis Titan Kayak, the largest of the Atlantis Kayaks. These boats were designed using NASA Space CAD/CAM Software. Also they are made in Vancouver Island,Canada; a place known for its rough paddling conditions. So I knew these boats were built to last and handle well in BIG WATER, and designed for open water crossings. The third reason was the color was just right, anyone who knows me; and for those of you who don’t. I LOVE GREEN!!!! The kayak is Lime Green on the deck,trimmed out in Navy Blue hatch covers and the same for the seam tape. Hull is Snow White.( Yes, I think you could fit the Seven Dwarfs in her hatches!) Now I’ll tell you her specs and how she handles::

The Atlantis Mis T (Miss Titan) is actually built for the woman paddler, but the only difference between the Titan and MisT is length, and hull shape. Atlantis also makes a kayak called the Wav and it is identical to the Mis T only a different hull. The reason I chose the Mis T over the other 2 is that it has a hard chine hull and the other 2 are soft chine. I personally like the feel of a hard chine hull, the way you can lock it into two distinct positions when “J” leaning. The kayak is 16.5″ feet in length and 22.5″ in width. This is wider than what I normally paddle but after comparing to several well known expedition Yaks( NDK Explorer & Nigel Foster Legend) it was very similar in dimensions. The Yak has a Canadian style bow much like a Necky Elaho (now discontinued) and cut-off stern also similar to the Elaho. The boat tracks super straight when using a reverse stroke for going backward. And, well what can I say– PLOWS through chop and rolling waves!!!! The Yak does have a rudder and at first this was awkward for me because I usually prefer a skeg. The thing to remember is if a Yak has a rudder there is a reason why!!!! To help steer in rough winds (usually a beam or side wind) and certain currents!!!! After playing with a rudder most paddlers will come to appreciate them, especially when their Kayak is getting squirrelly in side winds and you drop the rudder and make slight steering adjustments and the yak straightens right up( does produce some drag!). This is a fast yak that I am enjoying more and more with each new paddle I do. The boat does slow down a little in calm water, this is due to its design and love for rougher water( alot of rocker). All in all there is no perfect Kayak, but this yak will get er’ done from playing on day paddles to month long expeditions! Also not to bad on weight at 52 lbs., (a little heavy for fiberglass, but this is due to tough construction of kayak). Highly recommend this boat!!!! See you on the WATER!!!!

Sean “Topa Honu” Fitzgibbon

Safety is very important to my guests and me as we paddle together.And frequently my female guests talk about their frustration with kayaking PFD lifejackets.Their irritation comes from dealing with sales people, the fit, and the feeling of paddling during the hot humid days in Florida.

Most kayak shops are in the business of selling the products that they have.Yet occasionally, I have heard of a small business owner who is in love with expanding the love of kayaking and not worshiping the pursuit of cash.The latter shops are cool because all of their staff paddles and have cool stories of their last adventures.Never the less, the former shops are more prevalent and most of those sales people and sometimes owners rarely paddle if at all. So if a sales person says…this lifejacket is what I use, all other lifejackets suck but this one, or you will never need a lifejacket so buy this cheap one to keep it on your kayak, RUN out of that store.

Your best bet it to try to find a sales person who is not overtly motivated by commission to sell what they have in the store.If they kayak and have a similar torso shape then their personal tastes may reflect your need.But your best bet it to try to find shops that will let you try on lifejackets on the water to find a fit that does not irritate the chest and under arm.

So what female kayaking lifejacket really works? In my experience as a guide and instructor in Florida, I have listened attentively to the women on my trips and in class about their experiences with lifejackets.

MTI – PF Diva

These women play in the whitewater rivers up north, surf kayak, paddle in the hot humid waters in Florida, scuba dive, and fish offshore.They all have tried and unanimously like three lifejackets due to their female friendly cut and flexibility. Check out MTI – PFDiva, Stohlquist – BetSea, and Kokatat – MsFIT Tour. Three things make these aforementioned kayaking PFD lifejackets female friendly.Each one has large armholes, a shelf that lifts, and is free of bulky paddling.So try them out, and stay safe on the water.

Stohlquist – BetSea

And each one of these lifejackets will keep you safe on the water.To quote the American Canoe Association on safety, be prepared “to capsize and swim occasionally when paddling a canoe, kayak, or raft – it is part of the sport! But when you hit the water unexpectedly, even strong swimmers need a lifejacket, also known as a personal flotation device (PFD). It allows you to concentrate on doing what is needed to execute a self-rescue and will allow you to assist others.Nearly 70% of all drowning involving canoes, kayaks, or rafts might have been avoided if the victim had been wearing a lifejacket!”

Kokatat – MsFit Tour

In Florida, the biggest excuse to not wearing the lifejacket is the heat. And heat exhaustion can be a problem. The great thing about two of the three female friendly lifejackets is the cooling feature. The MTI – PFDiva and the Kokatat – MsFIT Tour both have a long front venting zipper and a quick release buckle at the bottom of the lifejacket. And a kayaker is safer with the zipper open on their lifejacket than with the lifejacket under a deck bungee.In addition, as the temperature rises if a person splashes water on the inside of the lifejacket their torso will stay cooler than being in direct sunlight.

So please try out the MTI – PFDiva, Stohlquist – BetSea, and Kokatat – MsFIT Tour. All of the athletic and recreational kayaking women who I know use one of these three lifejackets. And I know that they will help to make your day on the water fun, and carefree.You may even forget that you are wearing a lifejacket after you use one of these suggested women friendly lifejackets. – Jeff

UPDATE – 28 June 2011

MTI – Mona Lisa

MTI Adventures has a female PFD that is allegedly designed to fit a woman that has more than the average woman.  It is called the Mona Lisa.  I have not met a woman wearing one yet since it is a newer product.  It is described as having two pockets, front zip entry, and 7 points of adjustment.  It is also designed with a deep V-neck and slightly longer waisted internal framework that should give more support.  Consequently those two features should decree bulkiness.  The company also makes it to fit women who are XS to XXL.  The moment I meet a paddler who is wearing this PFD I am going to ask them to write a post.  – Jeff