Inspired by the inch of rain we got since yesterday, I thought I’d try my new pro-deal Riot Boogie 50 surf kayak on the Passagassawakeag River. Prior to this, the only time I’d ever been in a whitewater kayak (or any kayak less than 12 feet long) was during a rolling session in an indoor pool. The flat hull of the Boogie 50 (think surf board flat) made me initially think I was back in the cardboard box boat I built a few years ago. (You haven’t paddled hard chines until you’ve paddled a box, but that’s another story). A bit unsettling! Within a few minutes, however, I began experimenting with using the boat’s sharp edges to grab the water and carve aggressive turns.
The whitewater sections of the river were bony; waves were scant. Probably more suited for a creek boat. The flatwater sections were sluggish and made me long for the powerful glide of my usual sea kayak. But mostly I got what I wanted — a couple of hours on the water and a chance to get to know the Boogie 50 a bit before trying it out in the surf.
The Boogie 50 is described as being high in launchness and planing speed, low in bounceness and looseness — just as a good surf kayak should be. Guess I’ll have to work on my vocabulary as well as on my paddling. Mostly though, it’s all about the fun-ness.