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Choosing a Kayak, things that didn’t happen – article

This is an article about British kayaks, written by an American importer, but you might find something of interest. It is an interesting document, historical because it was written in 1998 and because a number of “exciting things” just didn’t eventuate or statements were out of date when it was written. It also only mentions two British manufacturers, missing out P&H who have been around for about as long as VCP and Nigel Dennis.

Choose a Kayak PDF (1 MB).

The Cliffhanger on page 6 is a classic example of something that “did not get off the ground” and soon after a few were built they were hidden away and few ever saw the light of day.

There is also the classic British attitude to rudders, “We have never been too keen on rudders before because of their tendency to fail when you need them most and their need for frequent repair.” Despite this all of the New Zealand Nordkapps after 1983 were being fitted with them and Paul Caffyn, after the start of his Australian circumnavigation, always paddling with one.

There is also the statement, “C-Trim Rudder – The VCP rudder system is the best and most rugged one we have seen.” The standard 270° retracting rudder was devised in 1981 by one of the pioneers of sea kayaking in Australia, Tasmanian Laurie Ford, and they are now used world-wide, long before the C-Trim version was designed.

The best design, the Daggerboard Rudder by Don Currie, saw the light of day in 1992 and was on a kayak that circumnavigated Vanua Levu, Fiji in 1994.

The deck fitted pumps, page 9, “Another VCP innovation that has caught on industry-wide” that everyone was going to fit never eventuated either.

Probably the worst statement is “World-wide there are only seven countries where sea kayak designing has taken place“. The mention of only 7 countries designing kayaks and New Zealand not being one of those. If they missed out New Zealand how many others did they miss? Challenge Plastics, Paddling Perfection and Q-kayaks and were in production with their own designs long before 1998.

About the Nordkapp, page 3, “Its most notable achievement was the 1977 rounding of Cape Horn by 4 Britons including Frank Goodman.” this was the same year that Paul Caffyn started his circumnavigation of the South Island of New Zealand.

One other kayak mentioned, page 5, and imported at one stage into New Zealand was the Skerray(RM). A recent rudder design by Venture and called the Skudder was first designed by Don Currie in New Zealand a couple of decades before and was fitted to a couple of the imported Skerrays.

KASK's aims are to:

1. Promote and encourage the sport of sea kayaking
2. Promote safety standards
3. Develop techniques and equipment
4. Deal with issues of coastal access and protection
5. Organise sea kayak forums around the country
6. Publish the Sea Canoeist Newsletter and the KASK Handbook