05 November 2009

Warming up to my "Mockpool"

All that vast "plain" deck needs some "bling"...
I was looking at my new (to me) Seabird Designs NorthSea kayak.
This unique kayak (unique as different than any other and unique as the-only-one in Australia) is a prototype that I purchased used after the importer assessed it.
It had a few scratches and it needed a bit of work but it was a kayak that I could fit.
My legs don't have to be splayed wide or flattened to the floor in this kayak.
I can have my legs slightly bent and my knees closer together, a position favouring a fast paddling technique (surfski style).
North Sea's cockpit compared to Tahe Greenland
What I did not like (initially) was the narrower beam and the round hull.
It felt tippy like a log when I first took it for a paddle.
Noticeably faster than my Impex Assateague (most narrower kayaks are) it has much less initial stability.
I was actually rather disenchanted at first and almost put it on eBay after a particularly frustrating first session in the surf with it.
I am glad that I listened to Mark Sundin when he told me to persevere and spend some time in it: I would eventually get the hang of it and probably love it.
A few months later I have to say that he was right.
While I will probably never have the same confidence to just bob around without my paddle in hand and trying to chase images in rough waters like I can do in the Assateague, the kayak is warming up to me.
I love how it needs so little effort to surf small wind waves.
The bay where I often paddle produces those conditions.
The waves are not big or steep enough to push my Impex but sufficient for the SeaBird.
All I often need is a couple of powerful strokes at the moment my hull is lifted by the following wave and I can usually surf along having fun.

It seems that the round hull of the SeaBird offers less friction (wetted surface) and a higher hull speed.
Looking at surfskis' bottoms there seems to be some similarity in the shape of the hull of my North Sea.

One thing I disliked about the SeaBird was the rudder.
Soudkapp (c)

Flimsy and very badly executed hardware prompted me to remove it and install a skeg.
If my preferred paddling would be racing or trying to leave my paddling buddies behind I probably would have left the rudder on, but for my style of just enjoying sea kayaking for the sake of it, a skeg suits me better.
So back to that big "plain" deck.
I am not a cool (?) "all white" kayak kind of guy.
While the hull on the North Sea is carbon/Kevlar weave with clear coat (admittedly very sexy) the deck begged for some "bling"
I like the look of SKUK (Nigel Dennis) custom deck designs and Rockpool's decoration.
Rockpool kayaks have not been available in Australia until recently.
Adding glitter to the finished kayak would be rather difficult, so I just settled for the "starfish"
Soudkapp deck (c)

A made-in-China kayak that is trying to impersonate a British boat?
Not wanting to pretend that it is a Rockpool I named my North Sea: MOCKPOOL, complete with the Chinese flag instead of the Union Jack.

Some might think that I ripped off Rockpool's design but certainly they are not the first to use starfish as decor on a kayak; they just made them famous.
If I can only work out on how to add glitter now... :-)


  1. Mate, I reckon the CopyKapp might be a better name for that little beauty, but even so there are design features in it which are unique. It was crying out for a skeg, so well done - I think the manufacturer now makes it with one. You need to paddle a 'tippy' boat to push your boundaries, I bet you feel invincible when you jump back in the Assateague. You're looking pretty relaxed in it now mate, I'm glad it didn't go on e-bay!

  2. Similar experience: my Valley Rapier felt completely tippy and scary when I first bought it. I'm not a very experienced paddler, but I always felt confident in a "normal" sea kayak. The first couple of outings in the Rapier convinced me that I needed to trade it for a wider, more stable boat. But after taking it out a few more times, I find that it just feels better with each successive trip. I can now handle mild chop and rip along pretty fast, opening up my stroke and getting a decent catch--I'm no longer held back by the need to constantly balance, and I can focus on training and technique. Fun!


Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Because of spam received from unwanted manufacturers/retailers all comments are now moderated. Allow a few days for your comment to appear when the operators of GnarlyDog News are on safari.