Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Flat-water fun

The Likkewaan Canoe Club is our local paddling club in Parys. It lies just outside of town (Jo'burg side) on the left bank of Vaal. Thing shades lawns, big trees and weeping willows. It is a beautiful location.

On Thursday last week we took our plastic Epic V7 surfskis to the club. I've only once been on a surfski - a double, many years ago off the Kloof coast in Durban with an adventure racing friend. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience although I felt a bit queasy on our return route coming back with the runs.

Our Epics are one of a kind. Celliers moulds them and ours are ones that he used to test two different plastic colours. Mine is green, his is orange.

They're smooth. Never again will a fibreglass kayak (K1, single or K2, double) be the same again. Plastic moulded, the Epics are heavier than a racing kayak and they're sit-on-top instead of sit-in.

The body of the V7 is silky smooth and it cuts through water. Made for surf, it is quite a dream boat on flat water too. The element that stood out for me the most is the foot pedals for steering. It has a shark-fin, carbon-fibre rudder at the back of the boat, under the hull. Smooth carbon-fibre foot pedals control the direction and what ever they're doing with the cables works beautifully. Very, very smooth to use and the surfski responds beautifully.

I'm paddling with my regular wing paddle.

There's also a shorter plastic surfski model, the Epic V5. It is a bit shorter and a bit wider and thus, a bit slower than the Epic V7. The Epic V5 was recently launched with this fabulous video that shows off the boat's capabilities. I'm loving my V7 and I'm itching to try the V5 too - I think it will fit perfectly on my roof racks.

Being a watery activity, I haven't taken any photos of the club nor the magnificent stretch of Vaal River that we're paddling.

There's a weir just below the clubhouse (and across the main channel on the other side of the island) and from the put-in we paddle upstream for about two kilometres with houses on one side and island on the other. Paddling anti-clockwise, we round one of the many islands and paddle downstream in the main channel, skipping again between islands further down to get back into the side channel where the club is located.

We just did one loop last week and one loop yesterday (time trial is two loops at around four kilometres each). My paddle arms are coming back slowly.

My mom came along for her first paddle. We put her on a Fluid Chumani single sit-on-top and she did beautifully.

Every Tuesday is time-trial at 17h00 and mom will be joining us regularly. As she says, a few more sessions to learn and then it is competition time. Fiesty, that one is.

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