It was with mixed feelings that I saw fellow Team Fat Paddler member Burnsie drive away with his new boat – a boat that was once my main ride. As my red Valley Aquanaut RM HV disappeared down the road, I reflected on all the fun I’d had in her. From the disastrous first paddle on Sydney Harbour where I came out out in the middle of the shipping lane and needed rescuing, right through to the fun of learning to kayak surf and rock garden in the froth and rebound of Gelo cliffs. It’s a boat I’ve raced in events, used to sneak into Federal compounds, learnt to roll in, smashed myself senseless in rocks… in general she’s been a boat I’ve had a heap of good times in.
But inevitably us paddlers evolve and move on. I’ve never really grown to love the open sea in a kayak, preferring the dynamic area where the sea meets the land. I’ve developed a true love of surf and white water, the incredible sounds of booming waves on rocks and the rush of bouncing around in rebound. Im a playboater at heart, preferring short sharp sessions of maximum fun rather than long sessions of paddling grind. I’ll never be the expedition type, trucking for days or weeks along the coast or at sea. In fact, I’ll never become a true sea kayaker in the classic sense of the word, because I just don’t find it particularly interesting.
So instead I’ve settled on the boats suitable for what I love to do. For ocean surf, rock gardens and general salty fun, I have my Liquidlogic Remix XP10. It’s a hybrid white water boat with a little extra length, a drop down skeg and a back hatch for gear. It’s perfect for surfing and manoeuvring amongst rocks, so much so that even the new rock gardening group Neptune’s Rangers have one amongst their crew. For camping and inland adventures I have a pair of magnificent Wenonah canoes, that are a joy to paddle and swallow a mountain of gear. And of course I now have a Stellar SR surf ski, which I am slowly getting the hang of and developing a real love for. Any trips I end up taking at sea or on big swell will be in this machine, giving me levels of exhilaration that no sea kayak could match.
So it was time to find a new loving home for the Aquanaut, and what better than to have it placed into the hands of Burnsie who has used it a number of times and already fallen in love with it. He now has his dream boat, and will continue to get her wet each week in the search for new adventures. I’m sad to see her go, but happy in the knowledge she’ll keep on paddling whilst I can move on to the boats I love even more. It’s a true Win-Win situation! Cheers, FP