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2011 was a great year for paddling. Here are some of my best kayak trips from the past year.
Still winter in Sweden. The winter was really long and cold during 2011. I bought a new kayak and my Qanik from Seabird arrived in mid february and no chance to paddle it until late march.
Fjällbacka is one of the most beautiful archipelagos in Sweden. We did a great trip in the end of april. Cold but beautiful. Read more about Paddling in Fjällbacka Archipelago
I tried a surfski for the first time and I got stucked. Surfski is great fun. Later on I bought a surfski. Read more about Surfski Spring Camp.
A new competition in paddling was held in the harbour of Göteborg at the same day as the world biggest half marathon in Göteborg. I didn’t compete but I got some great photos. Maybe I will compete in May!? 🙂 Read more about Paddelvarvet.
My friend Maria and I went for a weekend trip in well known water. This is normally a period when I hardly do any kayaking due to my allergy. Great weather and some new spots discovered. Gothenburg archipelago is really great for paddling. Read more about Paddling in Göteborg Archipelago.
The Gothenburg Canoe Association (GKF) had an evening with two really good sprint kayakers who gave us instructions. read more about the Paddling instructions event.
The annual kayak gathering at Valö south of Gothenburg was greatas usual. There was a kayak incident that turned out well. Read more about the Valöträffen.
North of the arctic circle is a great kayak event held every year. We attended for the first time. Loved it! 🙂 Read more about Arctic Sea Kayak Race.
Paddling in Lofoten
The best kayak symposium i have ever been to. Nigel Foster, Gordon Brown, Dubside and many more. Great Instructors, great arrangement and great weather. Read more about the Tjäröfestivalen.
I have been more into surfski during the fall than ordinary sea kayaking. Read more about Testing a drysuit andsearching for waves.
November was a month with hardly any paddling at all. We had a weekend of gray paddling. Read more about the gray Weekend paddling.
The year ended with great weather and we had a beautful paddling trip to Valö. Read more about the paddling trip.
Hilleberg the tentmaker introduces 3 season tents for 2012. Hilleberg has always been uncompromising about their tents to stand all four seasons. Now they introduce two new 3 season models. Both models are really light. Anjan is a tunnel tent and comes in two sizes (for 2 and 3 person), with minimum weights of 1.7 kg and 1.9 kg. The Rogen is a dome model inspired by the Allak and has a minimum weight of 2.0 kg.
They are still very solid. The biggest advantage besides low weight is ventilation. The outer tent stretches nearly, but not completely, to the ground allowing a large volume of air flow in all weathers. This will increase the ventilation. Espcially the Anjan seems great and might be a tent I will consider next year.
(The new Hilleberg Rogen. Used by permisson from Hilleberg)
Which is the best tent on the market? I do not know but I have finally done my tent review of the Hilleberg Allak. It’s a tent that I’m very pleased with. You will find the complete review under the Misc button.
Sunrise in my Hilleberg Allak. Read the full review here!
Which kayak should I buy? That question I asked myself last fall. I have paddled a Silhouette designed by Nigel Foster since 1999. That is a kayak that I have greatly enjoyed paddling. I fit well in the Silhouette, it is easily driven, it has a small cockpit and a low hull (I have the old version with a small cockpit). I think there is only one major drawback to it. The Silhouette is not particularly fast when turning. At least I can’t get it to turn quickly. So when I decided to buy a new kayak last year, I wanted to have essentially the same characteristics as my silhoutte but with better turning abilites.
The Qanik unwrapped. There is still thick ice on the sea. Here is Qanik at the place where I usually launch my kayak in Göteborg, Sweden.
I’ve looked and test paddled Anasacuta from Valley Kayaks. A very nice kayak actually meet most of my requirements. There are three things that made me not buy a AnasAcuta.
3rd Design and my vanity
I’ve also tried and paddled the Clapotis and that is an excellent kayak in many ways but it is too big. I have tried to convince the constructor Johan Linder to build a low and slimmer version of the Clapotis but without any success.
After reading about Seabird Designs cooperation with Björn Thomasson and when I understood that they had outlined a new kayak model, I was curious and interested in the Qanik. I made contact with Bjorn and asked my questions and talked about my requirements. The answer was positive to all my issues and with the fact that the pricing of Seabird kayaks is about 50% compared to Valley I decided to go for the Qanik. I bought it without having test paddled or even seen the Qanik.
I still have not paddled it but now it is in my possession anyway. The new kayak was delivered last week.
Qanik has a low profile and a classic shape
The finish is really good.
Screws in the cockpit. Im not used to have open screws at the seat. I know that some kayak models have it.
The first impressions of the Qanik is really good. The external finish quality is good, much better than i expected. Everything seems to be well planed on the deck. I really like the lines and shapes of the kayak. I fit in the cookpit. Seating comfort seems good but it has a soft seat that is riveted. There was surprisingly lots of space for my feet.I’m used to much tighter in my Silhouette.
The Qanik comes to a low price. You can tell by certain construction solutions such as the internal seam between the hull and deck. They like to use rivets and screws in different locations. They will hopefully do the work but from a designer perspective it could have been done more gracefully. Fortunately, you wont see most of these details externally.
Now I’m curious how the kayak performs in the water and if it will be dry. I will found out soon. We are going to some indoor pool practice in two weeks. And hopefully the ice will melt within a few weeks.
Some days ago my friend Patric and I went to Marstrand to test ZedTech Griffin Surfski. Patric has recently been in New Zeeland where he tested a few surfskis and when he got back home to Sweden he was eager to try a surfski here. Although it is getting cold in Sweden, we set off to Marstrand to try the ZedTech Griffin. We picked up the surfski at the company Paddelkraft, which imports the kayaks to Sweden.
It was freezing cold so I didnt try the surfski. Why try a surfski for the first time during winter? I thought it was too cold in the water and I had no desire to swim. I had the opportunity to play with the camera instead. 🙂
Read Patrics impressions and his short review of the ZedTech Griffin.
“Some words, too many I know 🙂
My name is Patric and I’m a paddler who doesn’t have a background in kayak racing. But I have been active, and very happy, in quite “fast kayaks”. My main paddling hours have been made in sea kayaks, quite narrow sea kayaks that is.
“Fast kayaks”, firstly, that is if I compare to any normal sea kayak. And secondly, “fast” is not really the correct word for me. It’s not a matter of speed, but the feeling of flow. Just like I love a loaded tourbike for a multiday tour – I love a strong and sweaty trip on my light racer. Just as I like the slow and persistent walk with a backpack in the mountains – I do l like running. To enjoy a fast kayak for me is as the trip on the bicycle racer or the run. It’s really a different animal compared to the sea kayak.
I have owned the danish kayak Escape, it’s like a Zedtech TT or a Nelo Viper 51, and I have used it for intense trips in the Gothenburg Archepelago. I have been very pleased with the low resistance and the ergonomics in that kayak. But I have never felt really secure with regards to getting up in the kayak again. This have somewhat hindered my development and pleasure. At the same time this have given me adrenalin and on-the-limit-experiences… 🙂 The Escape have anyhow been av very good kayak to me. So far.
I have lately tried a few surf skis. I tried the the Epic V10 Sport and the Epic V10L in New Zealand. The basic go-nogo-question to be answered first was if I even like sitting “naked”… And that was okey. First question was about stability… And if that hadn’t been good enough for me, it would of course become the basic question in a very obvious way. 🙂 Second question about ergonomics and third about the flow, or “fast”, or my feelings on the match between my power and the resistance. I never use any other tool than my feelings when doing sports. I don’t compete, I just enjoy. 🙂
The Epic kayaks did get good points on everything but the last and third question. I believe that the Sport was a bit to wide and stable to be really “fast” for me. And the V10L is probably a bit too long for my strength. At least in flat water. But since I don’t live in Hawaii, South Africa or Australia I reckon I don’t need to bother too much about the surf on the ocean swell. I’m not aming at the Surf in Surf Ski, rather the Ski-part with an easy remount.
Ok, that was a long introduction.
I’m very pleased with the little test day in Marstrand. I got, again, a very good impression from Magnus Sivenbrant at Paddelkraft, he has been helpful before. I’m happy with the weather direction generating almost no waves which is good for a start a kayak like this. We started of with some minor hardware issues which I’m also greatful for, now in hindsight. It made me try out my balance a bit more. Ok, ok, ok….no more words…. What about that darn surf ski?
Well, the Zedtech Griffin is my kayak. Or rather, my kayak to become. At least if the good dialogue with Sivenbrant continue, which I do believe… 🙂
The Griffin felt great.
It was tippy the very first minute. But it felt, surprisingly, a lot more stable just some minutes later. I didn’t have any problem at all with the stability in the absence of waves. And I have some waves in New Zealand in my memory, and I feel safe to say that the “wave-thing” is a totally different thing in a Surf Ski than in a Escape. Then the ergonomics; yes I could work it with my legs. You can even see this in the little film. I did not sit to deep as in the large majority of the sea kayaks, which for me leads to a bent lower back and a hindered motion. I sat very good. And the kayak felt “fast”. Just as easy to paddle, resistance-wise (for me that is), as the Escape. And a bit or two easier than the Epics I tried. I did really like the sharp and narrow fore, that’s a wonderful sight from the cockpit.
What about the rest? Hrm… I would like to have a less colorful kayak. I normally fall in love with white kayaks or black&white kayaks. And I cannot really enjoy being a billboard for Paddelkraft and Zedtech. Not that I like these companies, I do, but I even more like kayaks (or bikes, jackes, etc) as they are in their raw shape without advertiments, logos or different patterns.
What more? Yeah, I do wonder how I will solve some kind of storage in my Griffin. That process will contain a big hole somewhere and a lid to the same hole. And a solution that makes my over-night-stuff dry on the way to the island Valö. Still to be solved.
So now I’m waiting for Christmas Eve and the big old generous Mr Santa Claus. No, I can and must handle without him… 🙂 I’m only waiting for the demo kayaks to come back to Paddelkraft. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my paddling muscels active.
It’s been a long time since I longed so much for the paddling season to begin again.”