24 February 2015

Video: Petra surfing Dugong

Let's name her Dugong!
Short, stubby and just a bit "a face only a mother could love" look... the Whisky16 (designed by Nigel Foster) is not a pretty kayak in a traditional sense.
Dugong seemed an appropriate name for Petra's new kayak.
While looks are often deceiving, this kayak fits Petra very well and being very maneuverable spurs confidence in rough water.
The inspiration for the name came from the previous day's event where Petra and I were kayak-sailing back from my favorite play spot. A dugong suddenly surfaced too close to my kayak and looked at me with spooked eyes: I don't know who got the bigger fright, me or the dugong.
Then he quickly dived, his tail flew inches away from my face wetting me completely while I ducked my head avoiding the slap as he desperately tried to miss my kayak.

That evening a sail was hastily mounted to the Whisky16's deck as next day's forecast was promising conditions for a pseudo tidal race: wind against ebbing tide.
With the new SeaDog sail mounted up front Dugong really brings smiles

click on image above to play video

Edging and rolling the Whisky16 seemed easier than the borrowed kayaks: a good fit where one can brace without having to splay the legs too far could be the reason.
The keyhole cockpit where the legs can be kept relatively close together, allowing some wiggle room but still offering a solid wide area of contact, is probably a better solution than the diminutive thigh braces wings I see in most kayak cockpits.
So far the two kayaks that I own with such keyhole cockpits are way more comfortable than the other system I have tried.
The rear deck is not particularly low in the Whisky16 however layback rolls are still reasonably easy since the seat is not jammed right against the rear of the cockpit rim.
For once the seat is not shaped as a racing short-pan paddler crunched-over design: a lower front lip allows for more relaxed seating.
My experience with short seat that have a higher front has not been positive as I often end up with "dead legs". A flatter pan and longer seating area is key for longer paddles where my thighs don't suffer from blood circulation cut off.
Petra, while being the exact opposite of my bio-metrics, seems to agree: she dislikes short peaked seats and loves the flatter pan. The seat of the Whisky16 is here to stay.

The front deck however has already been modified to accept a sail and place it at closer reach. Details here.


  1. At last, some local insight into the Whiskey16, a much overlooked kayak in my opinion. People have rightly got quite excited about some of the shorter, more rockered "play-the-sea" style boats, when all along there was the Whiskey16. We also had the locally made Inuit Classic and I wonder whether any of the Mariner kayaks ever made it to Australia? I had a Pyranha Orca for a while, a 4.5m, chined kayak constructed from royalex, and a remarkable, sweet, manouvreable little boat it was too. It came with a huge, thumping rudder though and would have benefitted from a skeg. I wish I had kept it given the benefit of experience. I hope Petra continues to enjoy her cleverly designed little playboat.

    1. the Mariner never made it to OZ in it's true shape but I believe a very popular, strikingly similar hull is currently being produced which seems to have a bit of cult status. Despite the Whisky16 being short in overall length (lacking the typical overhangs that most classic kayaks display) it is not so short at waterline. The lack of the overhang makes the Whisky16 look a bit stubby, hence here named Dugong :-)

    2. Do you know what that very popular, strikingly similar hull currently being produced is called? Not the SOF F1 design that originates from the US?

    3. owners of the Nadgee Expedition that have compared it to the Mariner have assured me that the hull looks very similar (without measuring it), but I can't confirm that (I never had a close look at the Mariner). If interested do a Google search and see if the hull of the Nadgee is indeed close to the Mariner and then try to find one for a test paddle.

  2. Very nice video, congrats!

    What height is the camera mounted at,and how is it mounted, for the view from behind Petra?

    Yours in jealousy from Hungary,

    1. Thank you Justin.
      The camera is mounted a bit higher off the deck than most commercial mounts like suction cups, extension arms etc. allow, while still being solid enough to prevent wobbly footage.
      I fabricate my own mounts that are specific for each angle I capture and have to be fitted to the kayak they are mounted on; they are not off-the-shelf mounts.
      In this video I used several mounts and each required re-rigging (done on shore). It is a tedious process of planning, fabricating, testing, redesigning, and eventually succeeding, that I enjoy a lot.

    2. Any chance of a DIY post on how you design and make them sometime in the future? - I am massively dissatisfied with the commercial mounts I have tried!

    3. Justin, the request for a post on my camera mounts has been asked before. At this stage I flatter myself with thinking that there is a certain "magic" in some of my footage. I feel that revealing them might take away some of the mystique :-)
      Private email me and I might give away a few "snippets"


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.