Thursday, July 31, 2008
After whining about a rolling boat for a couple years now I finally pulled the trigger and bought a Valley Q boat. I blame a number of factors but the main factor was that Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium up in Grand Marais a couple weeks back. I borrowed one of the demo Q boats from the Valley guy and worked with Mike M and Roy on chest sculls, static braces, and the angel roll. While I was far from perfecting those techniques, the feel of the low volume Q boat was a big improvement over the Ore Freighter, my Aquanaut HV. I still need the ore boat for my creature comforts on trips so what to do? Enter factor two, the sale of my Feathercraft Big Kahuna to the ZumbroFallsImpressionist. The ZFI is a former co worker, Sierra Club activist, Prius owner, hugger of trees, landscape artist, and all round good person. The sheer green-ness and sustainability of the Kahuna, which could be packed in the Prius, no wind resistance to reduce mileage, light weight, etc. made it the perfect boat for Ms ZFI. Factor three was the Q Boat itself. RonO, paddling buddy and fellow beer afficianado, had actually ordered this very boat in the winter of 2007 from Midnight Sun. After playing with another friends Q Boat he came to the realization that it just would not hold the necessary creature comforts for extended paddles and switched to a Nordkapp. Changed horses in midstream as they say. The boat came in, Midnight Sun went out of business, and Midwest Mountaineering inherited the Q Boat. Midwest is arguably our finest paddle shop in the Twin City area. They do a lot of education, sponsor events, and are a great local resource. Peter, Jerome, and Guy are great guys to work with and knowledgeable paddlers as well. When I saw that they had marked down the price on the Q Boat and a couple of others, the rusty wheels began to turn in my brain again.
Malcom Gladwell defines the tipping point as, "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable". Factor four in this process, the true tipping point, came when the VOR and I began to discuss new windows and French doors for the patio. When the decision to visit the Renewal by Anderson showroom was made I knew I had to act and act quickly. The laws of economics are unbreakable. I stopped down at Midwest on my lunch hour and came back to work with a boat on my roof.
So far, I'm more than happy with the Q Boat. I managed to hit 3 out of 4 reverse sweep rolls in it the first time out and do a passable chest scull, skills which had eluded me in both the Aquanaut HV and the Avocet. It also, at 18' and 21" wide seems fast. We shall see since I will be paddling it in the Two Harbors Kayak Festival's Betty's Pie 5 mile race this weekend. As I've said before, sea kayaks are like hunting rifles; you always have more than you need but never as many as you want. I'm proud to do my small part to stimulate the economy.