Rides: Ron Pekrul’s Eddyline Raven

Real people and the boats they love

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Ron Pekrul, 64, of Panama City Beach, Florida, had fallen in love. Suddenly smitten. Head over heels. Being a forthright man, he called his girlfriend and told her about the development. "Okay," she said, "but four of your old boats have to go." Pekrul agreed and sold four of his eight kayaks to acquire an Eddyline Raven.

Pekrul has a whitewater background, but the only water that's white in Florida is the surf. The Raven was his first ocean kayak that was ready to take on beach breaks. Thanks to boat's considerable rocker, the bow glances off the sand in shallow water rather than biting into it.

We caught up with Pekrul for our Rides series to hear more about his favorite kayak.

C&K: So, how's your Raven working out?

Ron Pekrul: For years, I've gone out with younger friends to play in the surf. I'm 64, but in my mind, I'm 40. The surf break we frequent is in three feet of water and I'm able to use my Greenland paddle as a rudder to surf and play. My old Eddyline Fathom would hit the sand and stick there, and I’d end up going into the surf head-first. I would get banged up with my Fathom, but the Raven is a blast as a play boat. The nose can go under, but even if it hits the sand, it pops back up. I remember the first time that I was surfing the Raven and it hit the sand. Typically, I get scared when that happens, but nose of the boat just shot out of the water. I was really excited and thought, 'This is what I've been looking for.' I was an old man out there screaming, 'Yeah!'

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C&K: What else does your Raven do well?

I love to turn it and raise it up on an edge. The edge is excellent due to its secondary stability. The owner of the kayak shop where I work asked me to do some demo stuff and he said, 'That looks like a lot of work to me.' He didn't realize how much fun it is. I took it up on edge and spun it 180 degrees. I was having a blast. The mobility is excellent, better than any sea kayak I've ever had.

C&K: How’s the Raven for comfort?

I'm 6'1" with very long legs and size 16 feet. I couldn't sit in the other ocean play boats. I fit great in the Raven. I also love my Raven because it's nearly as fast as the Fathom. One time I got hit by a big bull shark; he took off the one way and I took off the other. I was mighty glad I had a fast boat.

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C&K: Is there some place new you'd like to surf your Raven?

I'd like to surf the Bay of Fundy with its big tidal standing waves.

C&K: Where do you paddle when you’re not surfing?

There's a place in Panama City Beach where they have dolphins. People take WaveRunners, big boats, and little motor boats to go sea them. Every evening in one bay, you can count on the dolphins being there. Once I was out in my Raven with some kayaking friends and all the motor boats. There was a pod of twenty dolphins swimming and feeding around us. One friend said, 'I don't understand why there aren't more people doing this in kayaks.'

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Have a canoe or kayak you love? Want it to be RIDES? Contact Katie McKy at katemcky@hotmail.com and put "RIDES profile" in the subject line. You will have to provide photos of you and your beloved boat.