Romany Excel kayak test paddle

Romany Excel kayak test paddle

On another warm, sunny morning of April 21, I loaded my used (but new to me), sleek, sexy, narrow, long, and fast Nigel Dennis Romany Excel sea-going kayak onto my Jeep roof racks. Due to my avoiding exercise for several months due to arthritis in my left hip, followed by surgery, followed by more than a month of recuperation, my body was in poor shape.  My physical condition was weak and my cardiovascular system was not strong.  I had to struggle to get the boat lifted onto the roof. 

I went to the lake at Martin Marietta County Park, for practice, because i have another trip planned there this coming Sunday to paddle with three other friends. I went to the first of four boat launches, the one with rollers. 

Unloading the boat from the Jeep roof was another test of my strength, and I just barely passed.  After carrying the boat from the parking lot to the dock, I was so exhausted that I had to sit for a while.  Not an auspicious start.  I had successfully pared down my equipment from my last canoe trip before the surgery, so loading the boat was not too bad. 

When I got on the water things did not improve much.  The boat is so unstable and tippy that my muscles stayed tense the whole time.  Just sitting still in the kayak made me tired.  Paddling forward was even more exhausting.  I made it about a mile around a point on the lake and to the back of the next cove.  There was a beach with another entry and exit place made of sand.  I tested myself by getting out of the boat, onto the shore, back into the kayak, and paddling away.  I passed this test with no dunking, but again I was exhausted. 

I found that relaxing and paddling considerably slower helped the situation a lot.  I was less tired upon returning to the beginning point, but still worn down.  I know the kayak is narrower and less stable than my canoe, which I have been paddling for 55 years and with which I am totally familiar.  But, I have also developed an opinion that it is not as tippy as I am paranoid about.  I think that if I keep paddling it then it will always be tippier than my canoe, but I can learn to get used to it and not be so tense and paranoid.  And hopefully not get so tired.  We will see when I do it again this Sunday. 


GPS Coordinates: 35 08 02,-77 04 45

Bob Laney

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Bob is the site curator and writer of Blue Ridge Outing. Since starting the Blue Ridge Outing travel blog in 2002, Bob has written, recorded and documented countless expeditions in the US and around the world.