This post covers the first of three elements to consider about yourself while searching out the right kayak so you can pursue your aspirations on the water with the best match in our line-up. When our staff and dealers speak to you, we often think of the acronym F.I.T:
Honing in on the perfect new kayak must have you first factor in the most important part of the equation--You!
The Inuit paddlers of course knew this and they relied on generations of experience to build their kayaks around their own body sizes and personal needs. When they entered the water in their kayak, they became “one” with the craft and the conditions. Today is no different! We all love recommendations from our friends but let’s make sure that we remember that this kayak is FOR YOU and all the factors that make you uniquely individual. One of the first questions our design team asks when approaching the creation of a new model is "who is paddling it and what are they doing?”. They delve into the details of this theoretical paddler as they design each kayak around them.
Here are factors about yourself that you may want to consider and share with sales staff so they can help you with the perfect match:
If you speak to one of our dealers across the country they will ask you to paint a picture of yourself so they can envision what craft might work best for you. It is easy to think that the purchasing process is all about the shop staff telling you all the features and benefits of a given kayak. But more importantly, we want to encourage a dialogue between you and the sales staff. Here are some of the attributes that many of our reps and store staff consider when helping paddlers narrow their choices:
One discovery we’ve made after hundreds of demo days is that any given model might not feel the same to everyone. This is a factor of the variables above but also has to do with paddler’s experience and skill set. A first day feeling of “tippy” could be tomorrow’s reward of “performance” says one Eddyline staff member.
Over time, we learn that a kayak can feature movement underneath our bodies but that this doesn’t mean we will immediately tip. We learn to relax into the hull with our bodies. This relaxation also gives us the added benefit of allowing us to add more torso rotation to our stroke.
The movement we feel when we first sit in a new kayak is there for performance in rough conditions by allowing the kayak to ride on many “surfaces of the hull”. This is often referred to as secondary stability. When you are first starting out, these benefits are easy to miss because there is some trepidation to capsize. As we develop our bracing strokes and body awareness, the many facets of Eddyline designs start to really shine. We began to feel that the dynamic movement underneath us is actually designed to allow us to start edging our kayak for aid in turning, steering and performance in variable conditions.
So, when receiving advice from fellow paddlers make sure that you factor in your experience level and realize that they may be coming from a different perspective gained through years of paddling experience. It is hard for an experienced paddler to sometimes remember how this interplay might feel to a beginner. But hang in there! You’ll be surfing your own learning curve in no time! Let’s now investigate a bit more about the parts of “you” that aren’t easily measured with a tape measure.
Are you someone who doesn’t mind having a few outings where you are learning your new kayak so you can be rewarded as your skills progress? Or, perhaps you are looking for your new kayak to inspire confidence with the openness to possibly upgrade if your enthusiasm and participate expand? Are you willing to invest a little bit in classes or paddling experiences that will sharpen your skills or are you just ready to get out there and stay in waters that are well within your safe zone?
We’ve all been part of a sport where your learning style has to be factored in and kayaking is no different. If you can help describe your learning personality to the sales staff that is assisting you this will help them make sure that you are happy with your kayak for years and not just the day you leave the store parking lot.
Whether you are excited for the challenge of learning into your kayak or just want to get a stable and confidence inspiring recreational kayak is up to you!