I was hoping to use our new HD video camera and get some beautiful scenery as backdrop for this weeks post. As it worked out, the kayak gremlins were in full effect.
I met Shawn Altman at the shop and we made plans to paddle out of the marina on the NE side of Tomahawk Island into the Columbia River. Mount Hood was glowing. The fresh snow reflected rare November sunshine. It would have made for a perfect backdrop to get footage of the Prowler Trident 15 getting put through the paces.
That would have been so awesome, except I left the micro SD adapter at home. The brand new HD video camera was useless. Being reasonable people we decided to adapt, and use the Olympus Stylus 850sw and test the video mode.
I don't think I got the setting quite right, but for a point and shoot camera, it's pretty darn good. Here is that bow rudder we were chatting about on North West Kayak Anglers
I didn't quite get the 180 on that shot. I was able to get it to turn more than 180 on several occasions, but the camera man was this guy:
Yeah I'm talking about you Saltman!
Here is a cleaner rendition of the bow rudder in a closed cockpit kayak.
I feel that the closed deck gives you greater control for edging the kayak, which translates to performance, higher secondary stability, and rollability. I do need more practice in the sit-on-top. I'll get on that and let you know how it feels after a month or two.
So needless to say, with Saltman working the camera, I did not get the beautiful mountain backdrop, or any good video of the low brace turn (which I think is easier to get a 180 than the bow rudder with a wide boat), or a solid shot of a 180 with the bow rudder.
Up until this point, I was confident I could roll anything, anywhere, with ease and grace. Although I did manage to roll the Prowler Trident 15, I have to admit it was challenging.
Earlier, when we were leaving the shop to take the boats to the launch, I realized I forgot my thigh straps, and grabbed some off the wall. The show must go on!
I noticed the metal clasps on these thigh straps were smaller than the big beefy ones on mine. This would turn out to be a fatal flaw. The clasp was to small to fit on a standard pad-eye. I hooked it on without being able to close the clasp, and hoped for the best.
On my first attempt to roll the Prowler, and a sit-on-top for that matter, the clasp on the right thigh strap snapped. I guess I should have expected it. I took it as an opportunity to show how to self rescue on a sit-on-top kayak:
If you listen carefully, you will here me say, "It seems like it would be pretty easy to roll though." I would say that, having the busted thigh strap to blame for my botched roll.
I used the lanyard that connects my knife to my PFD to tie the thigh strap through to the pad eye on the kayak.
All systems go!
I dump over and POP! The left thigh strap brakes. Needless to say we are notifying the manufacturer of this problem with that particular model thigh strap, and I'm sure they'll go back to the bigger, better clasp like I have on my set.
I tied off the left thigh strap, and set to roll the Prowler. It was much more slow to roll than any boat I have ever rolled. The slowness of the roll threw off my timing. I was used to throwing my torso around lazily, and gracefully rocking the boat back upright with a flick of the blade and my hip.
Not on this bad boy. I'm not sure if it was the fact I had never rolled a sit-on-top kayak, or the shape of the deck and hull, or the fact that I've been sitting on my lazy duff for the last month and a half because of a stupid pinkie injury, but I found it extremely difficult to get it upright.
I gave up on my normal sweeping roll and my c to c, and decided to try an extended roll. I thought that roll would make rolling anything easy as pie, but it was still challenging. I'm sure with a bit more practice rolling the sit-on-top, it will get easier.
This clip is by no means instructional. There are a number of things I did to make this boat roll that aren't proper, like my head coming up first, and the extended paddle position. That particular rolling technique puts allot of pressure on your shoulder, and can lead to injury. Usually I don't lay back on the deck either. I ended up doing a sort of extended storm roll to get it up. Kind of a kooky way to roll a kayak, but whatever it takes right?
I'm thinking of trying to trade the Prowler for the Scupper Pro, from Ocean Kayak. It seems to be a bit thinner in the hip, and holds the hull lines of a traditional kayak.
Maybe I'll try and keep the Prowler and just add the Scupper Pro to the fleet!
By any means, I think the Scupper Pro would be a bit sportier, easier to roll, and more fun to play with in the surf.
I sure do like float lounging on the Prowler though. It's the only kayak I've ever made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on while at sea. And there's something nice about that, especially thinking about fishing for 1000 pound winter sturgeon in the next few weeks.
Like I said before, I need an Armada of kayaks. I also need the girlfriends approval. (Doh!)
This is really the best way to flip a 180 in a sit-on-top kayak:
I thought I would give stand up paddling a try:
All said and done, it was pretty fun messing around with the Prowler. Although the rolls were a little ugly, I still rolled, and I guess when it comes down to it, that's all that really matters. It was a little humbling at the very least.
After the challenge of rolling that particular kayak, I would have to say, that if I capsized for some reason, it would be much easier to just ditch and climb back on. I guess that's the beauty of the sit-on-top.....Just climb back on! There are a few circumstances where rolling might be necessary, like if there were a chance of the boat being sucked away from you, but I can't think of very many other than that.
Until next week,
PS- Does this back up my bull enough to keep me from wearing the "Ass-Hat"? Or does it make it more likely?