Celebrate the Solstice

It’s the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. That day of the year when we know that things will only get better; the days will slowly get longer giving us more time to go paddling. Of course if you’re in the Northern hemisphere the only thing that you have to look forward to is the coming of the rain, sleet and snow.

Two of our “gentlemen” paddlers, Steve and myself decided to “paddle in the solstice” with a quick surf session at our local spot. Fortunately for us the surf was very gentle today which was in keeping with our character, however we certainly had a heap of fun.

You will notice that Steve and I actually put on a “shortie” wetsuit to protect ourselves from the cold, something that you northern hemisphere paddlers probably only break out in mid summer 🙂

The video is short and the surf was small, but I’m sure you will get idea.

Happy Solstice
Ian……PaddlingSouth

Let’s go Boogie – Riot boogie 50 surf kayak

Life’s been a bit busy lately, what with new toys to play with and people wanting help with kayak fitouts and getting in lots of fun paddles.

I was asked to fit new footrests in a Riot Boogie 50, a surf kayak that I hadn’t paddled before, so I was fully booked for another day. The Boogie 50 comes with foam wedge blocks that are to be cut to the appropriate length for the paddler. Yes the system works, well for some people anyway, but I find them quite limiting when a couple of people want to share the kayak.

IMG_8412Originally the Riot Boogie 50 was set up for adjustable footrests,such as “Footstops”, as the mouldings for them are still in the kayak deck. Again, I find that style less than ideal in a surf kayak so I purchased a set of “Jackson Happy Feet” that would set up the kayak nicely.

First job was to remove the centre foam block ,which is easy after removing the securing tab in the deck and whacking sideways with a large rubber mallet. Then I cut the block to the leg length of the paddler so that it allowed  more heel space. Next it was simply a matter of using some of the surplus hard foam foot wedges, cut to size, to fill most of the kayak bow and then insert the Jackson Happy Feet inflatable footrests. Reinsert the centre foam pillar into the kayak, again with a rubber mallet, re-secure the pillar and your’e ready to inflate the footrests and set them in place.

If you haven’t come across Jackson Happy Feet before, follow this link to check them out. An absolutely brilliant system for getting a solid footrest into any surf or playboat.  I got the Happy Feet from Canoes Plus in Victoria, Australia, who are also the retailer for the Riot Boogie 50 and Jackson Kayaks.

Of course to check out my handy work I needed to hit the water. The local surf was tiny however it was big enough to check out the footrest adjustment and the kayak. The gallery at the bottom shows me in the yellow Riot Boogie and Rodney in a green Jackson Fun, having lots of fun on a beautiful Autumn day.

The Boogie is an older surf kayak design, however I was impressed by it characteristics, being stable to paddle and quite comfortable with an integrated seat and backrest. I managed an hour playing around in small surf and was able to get excellent speed with the 3 fins moved to a forward position. It also rolled easily as I found out when lacking a little concentration as a wave dumped on me. The polyethylene construction, combined with its solid handling characteristics, makes it an ideal choice for beginner to intermediate surf paddlers. The low volume tail, sharp rails on the back and long roomy front end, provides lots of carving power and allows for paddlers of all sizes.  In fact I liked it so much I think I will add one to my toy box very shortly…..Happy Paddling ….Ian

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 Kayak Spedifications

Length Width Weight Cockpit Dims Volume
7’9” 24.7” 36.3 lbs 32” x 17” 50 US gal
236 cm 63 cm 16.5 kg 81 x 43 cm 189 L
›› Surfing powerseat
›› Customizable foam footblocks
›› Drainplug
›› Molded-in padded knee pockets
›› Two rubber grab loops