It is the prevailing opinion that once you are too heavy for your kayak, you need another. However I have found a practical alternative… Squirt Boating! The only kayaking discipline in which sinking is desired. Because I can still fit into my Jackson Kayak Shooting Star (it is most definitely not easy), it provides a fantastic base from which to start squirt boating.
On the weekend starting the 19th, I went to Nottingham with Danny and Jen Mcgaley, ready to test out our new Short Sleeved Sandiline Cags. The Cags are looking to be worth while companions in the upcoming summer months, because overheating is very exhausting, while staying dry is desirable! We met up with many of the squirt boaters who are training for the European Championships this year. We learnt a huge amount from Ben White, who, after squeezing himself into his squirt boat (which sank immediately on contact with water) ran through every squirt boating move imaginable.
Although I don’t have a squirt boat, the Jackson Kayak Shooting Star was fully capable of completing nearly every task assigned, with a few exceptions which ended just as abruptly as they started; in a face plant! After a morning of flat water freestyle on both days, we headed down the course. The main objective being: a full mystery move, sinking all the way down. We practiced or learnt how to perform the trick. In my sinking float boat, I was unable to sink all the way, however the others were having some brilliant success!
While tail squirting on the eddy lines, there were some very close encounters. Squirt boats were appearing from the murky depths, and then spinning around in the eddy. It is amazing that we take for granted the fact that nothing is underneath us when paddling! After we had got off the water, and finished admiring the re-furbished changing rooms, it was time to go… And in conclusion, this discipline does float my boat (but hopefully not in a literal way!).
I am hoping to paddle a lot more over the next few months, and continue paddling at LVPSC (Lee Valley Paddle Sports Club) on Wednesday evenings and at Sudbury. The lake at Lee Valley is an excellent place to practice because the water is clear, and you can see exactly what you are doing underwater. Hoping the weather remains sunny!
By Hugh Mandelstam
Photos By Jack Mcgaley