I'm a kayak geek and I'm happy to admit it.
So, when Paddlefest comes around every year, I get quite exited. So many boats to try and experiment with!
This year happened to be on quite a windy day. It was over 15 knots, gusting up to 18. That is far from ideal for beginners to learn and try out boats, but it was great news for us.
This year I really wanted to try the P&H Delphin 150. A friend of mine has a Delphin 155 which I have tried before, but I found it way too large for me. Since I'm too light for the 155, I found it way to stable and quite a chore to throw on edge.
The Delphin 150 however felt way looser and more comfortable for me on the water. It edged and behaved like I felt it should have. As other people have mentioned before, the Delphins are not the quickest boats out there, but they are not meant to be fast.
I really enjoyed paddling the 150, but the one thing that I hated were the foot pedals. They were pathetic! They were finicky to adjust and they gave out on my twice. I checked to see if they were locked in place (they were), and I asked one of the P&H reps to make sure that it was correct. I would be paddling along and all of a sudden it would just give out... and over I went. Needless to say, the boat rolls well.
If I were to get a Delphin 150 at some point, it would definitely be the surf spec, which has a nice solid foot plate instead of pedals.
Next on my list was the P&H Hammer. I realize that it is designed for someone much larger than me, but I was still really curious to try it.
It's a bit of a strange boat. It's designed for playing in rocks, which I enjoy, but something didn't quite feel right for me. I feel that the boat would need to be tested in the environment that it was designed for... but that wasn't happening in the bay.
I was hoping to try the Valley Gemini SP (In plastic) to compare it to the Delphin 150, but surprisingly Vally wasn't there. Next year, perhaps?
Next we went over to Sterling's booth. We chatted for a bit and I suggested that Matt should try the Sterling Reflection. He tried Rowan's boat, and I grabbed a demo Reflection. We paddled out into the wind, and we managed to surf a few small waves on the way back.
I've tried the Reflection before, but it was the full sized one... which felt huge on me. The one that I borrowed at Paddlefest was the 1" cut version. This Reflection was still a bit large, however I didn't feel like I was swimming in it. It was a really fun boat, and it surfed very well on the small waves that we had that day.
We ended up staying for pretty much the whole day and we ran into a surprising amount of people that we knew. I'm looking forward to next year :)