Monday, September 14, 2009

Kayaking Logistics

I won't pretend to be an expert at kayaking. I'm far from it with only 11 entries in my paddle log as I type this.

Even so, I've learned a few things along the way, and I thought I'd jot them down as tidbits of gouge / lessons learned / oolies about kayaking. These things may be old hat and/or pretty obvious to those of you who have been kayaking a while, so you will probably laugh at these trivial matters. For other beginners like me, you might read some of these, slap your forehead and say, "ooooooooh!"

Part 1. UEOs (Unidentified Elastic Objects)

My kayak has these mini-bungie-cord things on the side:

For a while I didn't have the foggiest clue why they were there. I asked some other kayakers on the Goose Creek group paddle and I asked a few of the staff members during the Jack's Boathouse guided paddle on the Potomac, but nobody could tell me what was their intended purpose. I even checked the Ocean Kayak website to see if they labeled them.


Then it just dawned on me when I was getting ready to paddle on Newfound Lake. They're to hold your paddle while you're getting in or out of the water, like this:


**Now, in hindsight, I went back to the Ocean Kayak website. If you click on the "features" tab, you will see one of the features is "paddle keepers." A-ha! There's no explanation WHAT a paddle keeper IS, but my kayak sure has them alright!

Part 2. Got dirt? Bring rinse water.

This is a practice I adopted in the course of scuba diving from the beaches near Monterey, CA. We saved a couple of large plastic jugs from orange juice or iced tea and saved them to fill up with water.

Bring a couple of these with you in the car. When you get back to the car and your feet are all muddy or there's clumps of mud or dirt on the boat, you can use these to rinse off your feet before you get in the car, or wash the dirt off your boat before you put it on top of your car. Oh, and the water will be nice and warm from sitting in your car (in the right season).

Part 3. Twisting your tie-down straps.

The guys at EMS taught me this trick. I'm actually very glad they did because I'm the anal retentive type who would have made all the straps nice and orderly and flat if they hadn't told me otherwise.

The problem is, if you do a very orderly, anal-retentive job of putting the tie-down straps on your kayak, wind flowing over the flat straps will induce a resonance that will cause the straps to vibrate and make a lot of annoying noise while you drive. What the EMS guys taught me was to intentionally put twists in your tie-down straps to prevent that resonance and annoying vibrating noise.

Flat = Bad . . . . .Twisted = Good

Part 4. REI Videos

I found that REI has some useful pointers in the expert advice section of their website. They have both articles to read and videos to watch. For example, check out this one about kayaking with kids.

That's all for now, but I'm sure I'll have more to share later on as I continue to learn through experience.

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