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Thread: Kayaks - I'm finally one of the paddling fold

  1. #1

    Kayaks - I'm finally one of the paddling fold

    You guys may not remember, but from my earliest days at WUS I've been obsessed with Kayaks. Always coming close to buying one, but also, always, having other priorities for my money - diving, watches, cycling, camping, and so on and so forth.

    Finally - after years of planning and research, and with the handy justification of 'rewarding' myself for completing the MS Bike Tour (180 km, 2 days, in central Alberta) I bit the bullet and bought one. Or ordered one - to be more precise. The best part is that the company itself is based out of Airdrie Alberta. About 3 hours south of us. So customer service should be a breeze.

    It's a folding kayaking. And while I had checked out the offerings from FolBot, Klepper, Oru and a few others one stood out for me - Trak. Seems like a newer outfit, but I was pretty convinced by the reviews, and the product itself. Feels like the perfect boat to grow with. I particularly like the fact that you can actually alter the shape of the hull depending on the kind of paddling your planning on doing - ie. river / coastal kayaking where maneuverability is key? Or long distance ocean kayaking where you want to go fast and straight.

    Anyway, it's being shipped this week, and I should have it early next week at the latest. Pretty pumped. Anyone else have any experience with this brand? Folding kayaks in general? Kayaking touring (even more generally?)

    http://www.trakkayaks.com/

    Mine is black and white - which looks great on the water. Almost Orca-ish.



    Of course - with this sort of expense, money for watches is, once again, depleted. That's not stopping me from contemplating good watches to match with kayaking - I'm thinking it may (finally) be time to invest in a Bathys. Seems like a perfect complement - especially since I seem to be on an 'itch scratching' tear lately.

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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by thewalrus View Post
    You guys may not remember, but from my earliest days at WUS I've been obsessed with Kayaks. Always coming close to buying one, but also, always, having other priorities for my money - diving, watches, cycling, camping, and so on and so forth.

    Finally - after years of planning and research, and with the handy justification of 'rewarding' myself for completing the MS Bike Tour (180 km, 2 days, in central Alberta) I bit the bullet and bought one. Or ordered one - to be more precise. The best part is that the company itself is based out of Airdrie Alberta. About 3 hours south of us. So customer service should be a breeze.

    It's a folding kayaking. And while I had checked out the offerings from FolBot, Klepper, Oru and a few others one stood out for me - Trak. Seems like a newer outfit, but I was pretty convinced by the reviews, and the product itself. Feels like the perfect boat to grow with. I particularly like the fact that you can actually alter the shape of the hull depending on the kind of paddling your planning on doing - ie. river / coastal kayaking where maneuverability is key? Or long distance ocean kayaking where you want to go fast and straight.

    Anyway, it's being shipped this week, and I should have it early next week at the latest. Pretty pumped. Anyone else have any experience with this brand? Folding kayaks in general? Kayaking touring (even more generally?)

    http://www.trakkayaks.com/

    Mine is black and white - which looks great on the water. Almost Orca-ish.



    Of course - with this sort of expense, money for watches is, once again, depleted. That's not stopping me from contemplating good watches to match with kayaking - I'm thinking it may (finally) be time to invest in a Bathys. Seems like a perfect complement - especially since I seem to be on an 'itch scratching' tear lately.
    Is that a fully folding rigid kayak or a structured inflatable? There seems to be a lot of curvature in it for a rigid folder. *edit* having watched the video, it's clearly rigid but just looks like that - very impressive performance! *edit*

    I'm a big folding and inflatable kayak fan and run three of the buggers: a Klepper Alulite for serious touring, long distance and surfing. an ultra-lightweight Puffin for inland and an AquaSport inflatable for messing around and keeping fit. I honestly consider them to be some of the best investments I have ever made and they give me continuous pleasure. In fact, here's a couple of shots from an evening mess around last week.







    Here's the puffin:





    A fully armed assault hovercraft, by way of comparison:



    The Klepper with no clothes on



    Head on

    at an angle

    and side on


    and inside



    And here's the AquaSport - the very definition of craptastic, but you can be in and out of the water in five minutes and it is a very stable platform in even the most extreme conditions and not as slow as it really should be.



    There's some fine views:
















    But paddling around in a fabric contraption can get a bit scary. If you are going more than a few feet from the edge of the sea make sure you have at least two compasses, one that it always fixed to your life jacket, because fog can arrive fast and suddenly it looks like this:



    and conditions can change at the drop of a hat. From calm to force seven in half an hour!



    So welcome to the slightly strange world of folding stuff. The other bit of advice: find somewhere quiet to set up. While setting up a kayak can start some great conversations, it does attract the nutters and the dreamers...
    Last edited by Matt; Jun 16, 2015 at 04:02 PM.

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  5. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    Is that a fully folding rigid kayak or a structured inflatable? There seems to be a lot of curvature in it for a rigid folder. *edit* having watched the video, it's clearly rigid but just looks like that - very impressive performance! *edit*

    I'm a big folding and inflatable kayak fan and run three of the buggers: a Klepper Alulite for serious touring, long distance and surfing. an ultra-lightweight Puffin for inland and an AquaSport inflatable for messing around and keeping fit. I honestly consider them to be some of the best investments I have ever made and they give me continuous pleasure. In fact, here's a couple of shots from an evening mess around last week


    Here's the puffin


    A fully armed assault hovercraft, by way of comparison:

    The Klepper with no clothes on

    Head on

    at an angle

    and side on


    and inside


    And here's the AquaSport - the very definition of craptastic, but you can be in and out of the water in five minutes and it is a very stable platform in even the most extreme conditions and not as slow as it really should be.


    There's some fine views:

    But paddling around in a fabric contraption can get a bit scary. If you are going more than a few feet from the edge of the sea make sure you have at least two compasses, one that it always fixed to your life jacket, because fog can arrive fast and suddenly it looks like this:



    and conditions can change at the drop of a hat. From calm to force seven in half an hour!



    So welcome to the slightly strange world of folding stuff. The other bit of advice: find somewhere quiet to set up. While setting up a kayak can start some great conversations, it does attract the nutters and the dreamers...
    Wow. Those are some awesome photos. Thanks for posting them - getting me even more excited to get out on the water! Did you happen to paddle out by Santa Monica - certainly looks like it from some of those shots. We're out in Alberta, Canada right now (maybe moving to BC soon) but the upshot is that we'll have a good opportunity to get used to kayaking on some decently sized (but calm) Rocky Mountain lakes leisurely prairie rivers before we head out beyond the shore. Which is good… even though the water in some of the glacier fed lakes can get just as cold as anything you'll find in the ocean. That said, I'm definitely looking forward to taking these boats out on some real water off the Pacific coast. I've heard the same thing about constructing your kayak from a few people - you always get people approaching you and wanting to know what's up. I can indulge people like that, sadly, hopefully it won't keep me off the water for too long.

    The Trak is pure rigid frame folding kayak. The bend you see in the surfing picture is actually a function of the unique design which enables you to choose a hull shape - increase or decrease the rocker - depending on what you're doing. In that picture he's clearly got it jacked up pretty high so he can help maneuver the kayak into the wave. If you wanted to take it on flat water you'd decrease the rocker using the same system.

    http://www.trakkayaks.com/pages/seeker-kayak

    Here's an image of the boat in it's flatter hull shape

    Last edited by thewalrus; Jun 17, 2015 at 03:16 AM.

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  7. #4
    optimistic pessimist hayday's Avatar
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    I'm also obsessed but I'm without one as of yet. It's an inevitability, however. Oh, yes it is. I'm an inactive member of the Church of the Double-Bladed Paddle.

    -hayday
    The pessimist says it can't get any worse while the optimist says it can.

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  9. #5
    Happily unadjusted 😜 popoki nui's Avatar
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    Welcome to the kayak klub! . Mine isn't a folding boat, rather a one-piece polyethylene model designed primarily for kayak-surfing (which i'm going to try very soon), but is a wonderful all-round kayak.
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    Enjoy your kayak!

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  11. #6
    Wow. Those are some awesome photos. Thanks for posting them - getting me even more excited to get out on the water! Did you happen to paddle out by Santa Monica - certainly looks like it from some of those shots. We're out in Alberta, Canada right now (maybe moving to BC soon) but the upshot is that we'll have a good opportunity to get used to kayaking on some decently sized (but calm) Rocky Mountain lakes leisurely prairie rivers before we head out beyond the shore. Which is good… even though the water in some of the glacier fed lakes can get just as cold as anything you'll find in the ocean. That said, I'm definitely looking forward to taking these boats out on some real water off the Pacific coast. I've heard the same thing about constructing your kayak from a few people - you always get people approaching you and wanting to know what's up. I can indulge people like that, sadly, hopefully it won't keep me off the water for too long.

    The Trak is pure rigid frame folding kayak. The bend you see in the surfing picture is actually a function of the unique design which enables you to choose a hull shape - increase or decrease the rocker - depending on what you're doing. In that picture he's clearly got it jacked up pretty high so he can help maneuver the kayak into the wave. If you wanted to take it on flat water you'd decrease the rocker using the same system.

    http://www.trakkayaks.com/pages/seeker-kayak

    Here's an image of the boat in it's flatter hull shape
    It's my pleasure. I can always get excited about kayaking and over the years I have got a few good shots. I confess I'd be very nervous paddling in glacier lakes. Even in the calmest conditions, all it takes is a moment's lapse in concentration and getting your paddle angle wrong and you are in the water. It's fine in winter as you can wear an open five mill wetsuit and not overheat, but in warmer conditions with very cold water, the difference between in and out of the water gets quite extreme. A good paddle jacket is an essential and these trendy wetsuit shorts are lovely. I quite often wear them over climbing tights as even they make a hell of a difference to warmth in the event of a wet exit. Diving boots are warm, cosy and easy to swim in. Don't wear flip flops, they might as well be watersoluble.

    Likewise, it's critical that you either learn to roll or get a paddle float. Rolling is so much easier, but check reviews as that looks a bit forward to be able to lean back effectively to get an easy roll and make sure that your splash deck pops off when you want it to, this can be a real issue on folders as they tend to ride up and get hard to pull off in a way that hardshells never do. Practice it on grass when soaking wet and with your eyes closed. It's rare you'll want to , but if you do, especially in surf, you want it to be a toatlly smooth and instinctive action. Obviously, wear a helmet, even in smooth water. You roll in a shallow stream and you can easily smack your head and what is an inconvenience becomes slightly more permanent. Another essential is a small, effective bilge pump. When you are not using a spray deck, you'll be amazed how much water gets in just from paddling, let alone waves. Personally I always attach to the kayak with a three metre leash and have a loop with knots to act as a ladder. Again, practice self rescue repeatedly once it is second nature, accidents are only ever incidents. I usually end a paddle with a few silly exercises like that just offshore. If that seems too unpleasant then you need to think about the conditions you are paddling in and the gear you are wearing. Obviously, whistles, high quality very waterproof flashlights and so on are a must, as is some form of reserve paddle. Personally, I use webbed neoprene gloves as they are easy to stow and allow you to chase your paddle even in horrid conditions. Don't use paddles that don't float and try to have some bright colours so they stand out. Paddles tend to stay put relative to the current and you drift away with the wind, so always look upwind first.

    Obviously, when going out to sea, make sure you know tide times, weather forecast and let a friend know where you are going. If going anywhere populated let the coastguard know as they tend to assume that anyone who hasn't is also dumb enough to get into trouble that they will have to sort out. It's a good idea to paddle every ten minutes or so, as you'd be amazed who is watching you and assuming you are in trouble. A sign of life stops the coastguard from getting all over excited and avoids being visited by cynical folk in high powered ribs or even 0D30 in a professional capacity. Because once you start costing money, people tend to get quite sarcastic no matter how sure you are that everything is under control. Don't bother with a mobile phone unless it is waterproof, all it will do is give you a false sense of security.

    Ok, I just got carried away. Kayaking is a great sport and, like many things, as safe as you make it. Water in general and the sea specifically, generally punishes the ill prepared, but is very friendly to those who are ready for it. It's a brilliant sport, but it really does require more than a lifejacket (cut away arms are an essential)
    Last edited by Matt; Jun 18, 2015 at 04:27 PM.

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  13. #7
    Higher Entity Jeannie's Avatar
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    Kayaking has always sounded like great fun to me and I keep promising myself I'll try it but never have.

    My husband and I signed up for a group kayaking trip several years ago and then it got cancelled at the last minute. I think someone in charge got the flu or something.

    Jeannie
    The adventures of Bob the Traveling Watch


    . . . . . . . . . .

  14. #8
    Here's a shot from the shake-down paddle last weekend. Matt'll be rolling over seeing how unprepared I was - but I was paddling around a shallow, warm-water lake. Never more than a couple hundred feet from shore.

    The boat felt fantastic. Quick in a straight line. But a bit of a beast to turn in the straight away hull configuration. Loved the feeling of the waves through the skin. And the sound of the skin creaking over the ribbing. Felt and sounded very much like an old wooden vessel. Absolutely love it. Hopefully we're going to have a chance to take it out on some bigger more interesting lakes in the near future. Until then - here's a first shot of me navigating around some rushes. Taken by my wife in her inflatable Innovo Kayak (which she absolutely loves, is incredibly stable, very manouverable and surprisingly quick).

    Name:  Alberta Kayaking.jpg
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  16. #9
    Solipsistic Philosopher mpfrost's Avatar
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    Your Seamaster seems to be very much at home on the water. Congrats on the new purchase, kayaking is quite a bit of fun. Excellent exercise as well.
    I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul

  17. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mpfrost View Post
    Your Seamaster seems to be very much at home on the water. Congrats on the new purchase, kayaking is quite a bit of fun. Excellent exercise as well.
    Unfortunately that's not my Seamaster - that's another member's SMP who's also a folding kayak enthusiast. I don't think I was wearing a watch in the picture I posted above - though normally I would be seen in and around the water in either my Doxa 1000T or my Tudor Black Bay (which is unfortunately going in for repairs soon).

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