Monday, 22 December 2008

Merry Xmas & thank you....

As the year draws to a close I'd like to take the opportunity to say thanks to everyone out there in paddling world who has taken the time to read my dipsarate blog offerings, and also to those of you who have given us your valuable custom in 2008. For something that was supposed to be a bit of a hobby for Rob & I, & also maybe a chance for a couple of kayak junkies to get our hands on some new designs, Expedition Kayaks has pretty quickly turned into a rather serious enterprise. Of course, none of that is possible without the kayakers who have been prepared to listen to our sermons on rudderless kayaking, & commit themselves to learning how to use our boats, the way they were meant to be used. It's very satisfying to see kayakers in our boats who have made noticeable improvements in their paddling since beginning to paddle their EK kayak.
To you & yours, a safe & happy Xmas, & may there be many hours on the water in 2009.
Regards,
Mark.

NDK Kayaks - The Quality History

I had a welcome comment on the blog this morning from Mr Anony Mouse, regarding the quality of NDK Kayaks in general, in reply to my post about paddling the Explorer for the first time a few months back. I thought it bore repeating on the main page to help to dispel a few misconceptions about Nigel's kayaks & the way they are being made in 2008.

Here's the thread:

Anonymous said...
21 December 2008 20:42
Without a doubt a great design but I do question your comments about the construction of these boats. Heavier does not mean stronger. As far as being "absolutely bombproof". Freya Hoffmeister's boat needed repairs while Chris Duff's Explorer virtually snapped in half during his circumnavigation of the South Island.

Mark Sundin - Expedition Kayaks said...
22 December 2008 07:01
Jeez Mr Anony Mouse, you're a hard judge. I'm not sure if you've read Chris Duff's account of the wave & beach that combined to break his boat on the South Island circumnavigation, but I reckon there wouldn't be too many kayaks on the planet that would have survived such an impact, fully loaded. Basically, Chris' boat was hit by a few bombs - it got through the first one but then got blown up by the next couple. The fact is, there isn't a boat on the planet that has been made to withstand the sorts of extremities the sea can throw at us on the wrong day. As for Freya needing some repairs on her way around the South Island, I would say any realistic expeditioner, undertaking a journey of those epic proportions, would expect to have a few repairs after 40 or 50 surf exits & landings with a fully loaded kayak. I think the fact that they CHOSE to paddle Explorers on a loop of the South Island speaks more about the all round qualities of the boat, than a couple of repair incidents, inevitable in my view on such a trip. NDK boats do have a reputation for being a bit dodgy on the build quality, but what a lot of people don't realise is that they have recently had a significant upgrade in their production & QC to address these problems. The 12 boats we have so far taken delivery of from NDK have all been brilliantly made, with just one small glitch with one paddler, which was quickly & easily fixed. We can directly compare them to the peerless Valley construction, which they're not too far behind, while they were miIes ahead of the standard US Impex layup, until we had those boats up-spec'ed for the Aussie market. I can put my hand on my heart & put them in the 'bombproof' category, based on what I've seen, and what many a good swathe of seriously experienced expeditioners have told me. Thanks for the comment.


Just to follow up what I wrote back to Mr Mouse, while the NDK boats have had their problems with quality over the years, the evidence in front of us - i.e. the boats themselves - indicates that these problems have been conhsigned to history. That's all we can go by as humble importers, & we have been really impressed with the way they present, not to mention their exceptional performance in rough water.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Thursday Morning Fitness Paddle

We've been doing our Thursday morning fitness paddle now for about 4 months, & more & more people are starting to tag along as regulars. The route is a flat water 12.5km along the shoreline of Botany Bay in Sydney, which we aim to do in our sea kayaks in about 80 minutes, averaging about 8.5-9km/h. This is pretty good workout pace for most sea kayak designs, & improves accelaration, as well as fitness, and also allows a paddler to get an idea of how fast they actually go over an extended time, rather than simply guessing. This is an important peice of safety knowledge for sea kayakers, as it greatly assists navigation if you have a decent idea of how quickly you can cover ground, especially when you need to....
Here are a few scenes from today's paddle, the last one before Xmas, 2008.

video

As always it was a beautiful Sydney morning. We're lucky to live in such a great paddling city.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Rapier 20 - First Impressions

Roger Boardman putting the Rapier 20 through it's paces.
Rob brought his shiny Rapier 20 down to our demo day at Ramsgate Beach yesterday, so I took the opportunity to take it for a bit of a spin, seeing as I've got my own one arriving in a couple of weeks. It's is definitely something out of the box, 20 feet long, 42cm wide, very aptly named considering it looks as close to a deadly weapon as you could imagine a kayak looking, and fast. The initial stability was a concern for me, with no background whatsoever in surf ski paddling, and everyone considering the Rapier 20 to be akin to a surf ski with a deck. Where it differs greatly from a surf ski however, is in the chine profile, which offers a reasonable amount of secondary stability. We're not talking eat your sandwich while taking a photo & sending a text message secondary stability here, but for something capable of the speed the Rapier 20 manages, it's pretty good. The close catch is something a sea kayaker would need a bit of time & adjustment to get used to, as you really do feel like you're planting your blade on top of your feet, but the response when you get your stroke right is something else. This thing absolutely flies........
I realise now that I am going to have to be a bit more dedicated to this kayak than just about anything else I've paddled, but what's life without a challenge. The idea of riding some big ocean swells out at sea in the Rapier is the gold at the end of the rainbow.........

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sydney Demo Day, Saturday, December 13

Following the great success of our demo day at Currumbin prior to the Queensland Sea Kayak Symposium, we're offerring an opportunity for Sydney paddlers to come along & try out our range of kayaks & Mitchell Blades. We will have available on the beach the NDK Explorer, the Valley Nordkapp, Nordkapp LV, Aquanaut, Aquanaut LV & Aquanaut HV, as well as the Rapier 20, and from the Impex range the Assateague, Montauk & Force 5.
We'll be on the beach from 7.30am, this coming Saturday, December 13, and will be offering instruction on rudderless paddling, as well as individual forward paddling tips for those on the water in the demo boats. The venue is Ramsgate beach on Botany Bay, entrance to the beach via the car park opposite Florence St (GPS Ref. 33°, 58’, 56.82S; 151°, 08’, 53.95E). If you’re travelling south along Grand Pde from the city, the car park is 4.1km from the Cooks River bridge, on the left. If you’re travelling north along Grand Pde, the car park is 1.25 from the beginning of the Grand Pde at Dolls Pt. For a more detailed overview click HERE. It's a great opportunity to pick up a well deserved Xmas pressie......! If you intend on coming along along, please register your interest with me on 0417-924-478, or at mark@expeditionkayaks.com.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Tasmania Sea Kayaking Weekend


The Tasmanian Sea Canoeing Club have announced a new annual symposium style event for February next year, the inaugural White Bay Weekend. With the success of the long established New South Wales Sea Kayak Club's Rock & Roll Weekend, and the well received National Sea Kayak Symposium held in November this year in Queensland, it is a terrific addition to the calendar. I think it's another step towards establishing an annual event calendar for sea kayakers such as those which keep everyone busy in the US & Europe. Those great symposium weekends are something of which I've always been pretty jealous, considering the introverted nature of sea kayaking in Australia. Listening to Nigel Dennis describe his famous Anglesea symposium was rivetting, especially when you consider that attendees are lucky enough to be able to rock hop, surf a tidal race, do a cruisy cliffline paddle & some flat water coaching all on the one day within about 5 miles!
Sunset off White Beach, Nubeena
Rob Mercer & I are heading down to the White Beach weekend do three days of instruction, & hoping to pick up some different perspectives on paddling from the Tasmanians, who are mostly paddling in very challenging & cold water, compared to what we on the mainland are used to. Organiser Greg Simson has organised a great venue, the White Beach Tourist Park at Nubeena, just south of Hobart, where there is a good variety of water & excellent facilities. I reckon it's a great opportunity for people who have always wanted to do some paddling in Tassie, but weren't sure of where to go or who to talk to, to make some contacts, enjoy the company of our southern cousins, & have a fun weekend to boot.
The fee for the event is $30, including all on water activities, instruction & entertainment, some guest speakers on the Saturday night & dinner. Value straight from the 1950's if you ask me....!
If you're interested in attending you can contact Greg on (03 62353534) or simson.greg@abc.net.au.