Family friendly fun kayak DELSYK NIFTY 430 ($1,249 w/skeg, $1,299 w/rudder, in roto-molded polyethylene, delsyk.com) L: 14″; W: 24″; 58 lbs., also in a smaller 385 model The Nifty’s ultra-stable double-chine hull and extra-large cockpit are perfect for beginners, and an absolute blast for advanced paddlers. That doesn’t mean it can’t perform in the rough […]
Ocean playboat P&H DELPHIN 155 RM ($1,799 in roto-molded polyethylene, phseakayaks.com) L: 15.5′; W: 22.5″; 58 lbs. The British design philosophy: You need speed to play. This tenet rings true for the Brit-made Delphin, the popular new plastic cousin to P&H’s composite Aires. “We wanted this boat to handle like a traditional sea kayak on […]
Rocking touring boat DELTA 15.5 Expedition ($2,300 in thermoformed plastic, deltakayaks.com) L: 15’6″; W: 24.5″; 54 lbs., also in a smaller Sport model Delta is known for producing user-friendly sea kayaks. So, we took one of their 15.5s, what Delta calls the “mini-van” of its fleet, into the meat of the surf break. The tested […]
Maneuverable touring kayak PRIJON MOTION ($1,650 in blow-molded HTP, wildnet.com) L: 14’11″; W: 23″; 57 lbs. Prijon’s low-profile Motion, which is formed from the same blow-molded plastic the German company uses in its famously durable whitewater boats, comes out of the wrapping ready to hit the rock gardens. Literally. “It’s got everything,” one tester said, […]
Classic Greenland ride BOREALDESIGN P2 BAFFIN ($1,839 in roto-molded polyethylene, borealdesign.com) L: 17′; W: 22.25″; 59 lbs., also in smaller P1 and larger P3 models Canada’s Baffin Island is one of the most inhospitable places to paddle on the planet. Any boat bearing its name should be ready to get beat up. So that’s exactly […]
All-around Greenland-style rock-hopper NORTH SHORE ASPECT RM ($1,299 in roto-molded polyethylene, northshoreseakayaks.com) L: 14’9″; W: 23.5″; 50 lbs. Since the early ‘80s North Shore has been making British-style sea kayaks known for being practical, affordable, and able to take abuse. The Aspect is all of these things, but in a wonderfully condensed package. Picture the […]
JESSE COOMBS IS TELLING ME WHAT HE DID LAST SUMMER. “Imagine a 14-hour jungle portage with 90 pounds of gear and multiple rappels over un-runable 100-foot, 300-foot and 600-foot falls,” the expedition paddler says, describing just one of the four days he spent last August in Mexico’s Barranca de Piaxtla, potentially the deepest river canyon in North America.
“So you’re starting to see what I mean about all the sanding?” says Ron Pellinen, my wooden canoe-building mentor, when I walk into his shop on a brisk March morning in Northern Ontario. Perched on an office chair in his workshop garage, Pellinen has just cut the power to the orbital sander he was using to smooth the contours of a thwart, one of the ash crosspieces that adds strength and structure to a canoe.
Camera. Energy bar. Eye drops. Deflated beach ball. Film canister filled with a “mystery item.” Somewhere in the large pocket of my PFD is the goal of all this rummaging around: a simple tube of lip balm. Sometimes I wonder if my PFD is like a “manbag” where I bring something for every conceivable situation and can’t find any of it when I actually need it.