Friday, April 21, 2006

round edges are better for creeking!!!

Speaking only in the context of edges, not chine, not angle, nothing else but edges, contemplate this for a moment...

Sharp edges are to allow your boat to release WATER from the trailing edge. In the world of creeking it might be a bit useful in the stern of a boat, but is completely useless on the sides. Kayak design has come a long way, and people are finally taking for granted the fact that nice sharp edges make for very playful and forgiving boats. But we have thrown out some of the traditional design principles that were actually good. Something like the use of a round edge so that the boat is less prone to tripping over rocks in shallow rivers. This is very necessary while creeking.

Imagine accelerating down a shallow slide, and you are a little bit sideways, either by accident or because you need some angle to set up that critical move at the bottom. Wouldn't you want a big round edge that just jumps over little rocks and cracks. It's like rocker for the side of your boat. You have lots of rocker in the bow and stern of your creek boat, why not on the sides?

Yes. Flat bottoms are the basis of a stable platform on modern kayaks. But, many people are paddling "creek" boats hard edges too. This is completely un called for! It is simply an added risk. A risk of tripping over the smallest stone and flipping in a creek. Not fun at all.

I understand that people want some kind of compromise, a "do everything" boat that can surf and creek. But ask yourself something........ would you risk falling on your head just so you can flatspin that one little wave in the class V creek? Or are you willling to accept a good old front surf if you could have a boat that can give you that added advantage when you need it in a hairy situation?

Here is a good compromise for low volume, class V- creeking. It has a hard edge on the bottom,but a round edge on the outside where it can bounce over small rocks. (again, think of it like sideways rocker...)
In a low volume creek, you might not need the speed of a dedicated creeker; you might not need the volume of a specific creeker, but you sure will need the forgiving edge in a low volume situation because you'll be bouncing off more rocks.
If you are running high volume creeks, then go with the dedicated creek boat with rounder/safer edges.
If youare running low volume creeks, then chose between the risk of a shorter/slower boat, or a longer/voluminous boat. But, BY ALL MEANS, chose something that has a round edge for creeking! Save the sharp edges for surfing. You can't have it both ways without taking a tremendous risk to your personal safety!!!