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First Paddle: Antrim, Northern Ireland

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:57 am
by jon
Well after months of research and waiting for my bank balance to become healthy I just purchased two single AF kayaks. Took them up to Lough Neigh here in Northern Ireland, UK.

When I first got the two boxes I had a trial inflation of both in my garage to familiarise myself with them. It seemed like most people on the forum it took me 20 minutes the first time but down at the water it took me no more than 10 minutes for the pair.

One of the two kayaks had a small kink following inflation, so as per instructions on this forum I was able to unzip the inner cover and straighten this out - Perfect. A dodgy skeg soon straightened out in the sun! And i was ready to go.

At the water I was expecting to have a hard time getting the pressure right in the main chamgbers as it seemed to be a common issue on the forum here. I counted out 20 strokes of my double-action pump for each chamber. I then hardened the tube with several more strokes in one side until it didn't bend when lifted by one end! With one more pump just for luck I was ready to go.

In the water they paddled much more easily than i expected. They glided well and tracked beautifully. At the start I thought the kayak I was in was tracking off to the right slightly. I discovered I wasn't sitting central in the cockpit. When I repositioned myself I was fine!

After heading up the river and back again, we ventured out into the centre of lough neigh - there were small waves/swell but the AF seemed to glide over/through these nicely! My last inflatable would simply bend and warp as it rode over a crest!

All-in-all i'm very satisfied! No complaints - well worth the investment. We even had a few sailors/jet skiers asking about them!

I intend to invest in one backbone and install it in one of the kayaks - so I can easily compare the performance!

Will post the details when I do!