Surfing the river kayak

May 26, 2007

not today but same place

This picture is from last year – no camera today.

3 hours of fooling around in the surf today in my borrowed river kayak. It was a beautiful day, 24degrees and sunny and the beach was relatively disserted. (But it still bugs me how Japansese people seem to think its okay to drive on the beach, all these guys with their motors parked right next to where they are fishing or having a bbq – it doesn’t just bug my environmental happiness but also my sense of aesthetics…)
skirt and helmet

No photos except this one of my new spray skirt and helmet. The helmet was great, super comfortable – I forgot I was wearing it, the spray skirt was okay. It fit but not really tight enough. It’s fine for rolling and most waves but when I mistimed a run and got pounded by a big breaking wave part of the skirt popped, a crack but enough to let enough water in that I had to beach and bale. But for 5,000yen what can I expect?

The surf was pretty big, from the road it looked nice and I parked about half way along the beach thinking I could get out no problem but when I got to the shore I realsied I needed to walk a bit… The great thing about this beach is the shape, it curls round and hence has a range of waves from big to flat so you choose your height.

the curved beach gives wave variety

I, being a wimp, chose the middleish; 1-2 feet waves which allowed me only about 30m of surfing. The nice big waves (my guess today was 4-5feet) were breaking pretty far from shore and running for at least 100m. I hate myself for not being more machO!

At first I was nervous about this new-to-me kayak but after some rolling and bracing practice (as you’d expect easy to roll) and getting a feel for turning around easily I got a bit more confident. I started bongo sliding a few waves in and then surfed. It was easy to get on the waves – the kayaks big fat bum meant it got picked up quickly – and the round end stopped the nose diving. It was also easy to turn around and get off the waves. Breaking through waves was tougher than with the sea kayak. I was also not happy with the lack of flotation in the river kayak – no bulkheads and no back up bags… Need to think about this.

I wiped out twice and failed both times to roll up in the surf (disappointed) and hauling the waterlogged kayak to shore is hard work (lost my shades in one of the wet exits).

Water temperature was 16degrees and after a while got a bit cold. But I really enjoyed myself: fun, easy and great to be on the water. Also realised that I can probably sell my sea kayak earlier than I thought and go surfing for the last month…


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