Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trendwatchers


Yesterday-evening Paul and Paul (from Kanoshop.nl) and Rolph (the driving force behind bloemendaaloutrigger.nl) gave a presentation about new developments in the Canoe and Kayak-world at the Alphense Kanovereniging de Kromme Aar.


Rolph showed us what outrigger canoe racing is about. Of course it's a bit weird to talk about outrigger canoeing as a "new development" (the history of these crafts goes back for centuries in the Polynesian cultures), but as a sport it's relatively new over here. Last year the Bloemendaalse Outrigger Club imported the first OC6 to the Netherlands. Meanwhile a lot of Dutch people are introduced to the sport, the number of members the Bloemendaalse Outrigger Club is steadily growing and the first races have taken place. Look at the video's on oceanpaddler.tv and you'll understand the fascination.

Paul and Paul focused on new trends in kayak and canoe design. In seakayak design 2 major developments were distinguished. The first is the growing popularity of a fitness-orientated design, where speed comes first: seakayaks with a long waterline and a sleek efficient shape, combined with a cockpit-design that facilitates a K1-paddling style (legs centered, freedom of body movement). The most extreme example is the surfski. Examples of seakayaks with a closed cockpit in this category are the Epic 18X (picture), the Valley Rapier and the NDK Greenlander Pro Race .
The other seakayaking-development is just in the opposite direction. There is also a growing interest in playful, manoeuvrable seakayaks to paddle in rough water and surf: kayaks with a shorter waterline, a good amount of rocker and a cockpit design where the paddler is tightly connected to the boat for optimal control. Representatives of this category are for instance the Tiderace Xcite (picture), Rockpool Alaw, NDK Romany, Valley Avocet - and I would also classify my trusty Anas Acuta in this category.

Note: the pictures are not on scale - the blue Tiderace kayak is half a meter shorter than the yellow Epic kayak.

An upcoming trend in the Netherlands (in a wide range of variations) is finally the increasing number of sit-on-top-kayaks. The Pauls have high expectations of the sit-on-top-fishing kayaks. There are 1.6 million fisher(men) in the Netherlands - only a small percentage of fishers changing from a rowing- (or motor-)boat to a sit-on-top would mean a giant boost to kayak-sales! Personally I am more attracted by the idea of the waveski:

Or the closed variant of the waveski:
Yet Waveskis are no real success in the Netherlands - which is partly due to character of the surf. The swell on the North Sea is quit short, resulting in relatively small and steep waves - the surfrides are not long enough to really benefit from the advantages of a waveski - short rodeo-kayaks are preferred for playing in the surf on the beaches of the North Sea.

The presentation of Paul and Paul was a try-out for a new initiative of Kanoshop.nl . Kanoshop.nl will offer this presentation on demand for interested Kayak-clubs. I can highly recommend it. Of course has the Kanoshop commercial interest in this initiative (to promote kayak-sales!), but Paul and Paul are above all devoted kayak-enthusiasts and experts that offer a presentation that's far beyond a simple promotion talk. Thanks for a great evening!

2 comments:

Arnold Kuiter said...

Hi Hans,
Kayaks with a shorter waterline: don't fotget the ever popular NS Shorline. As much a classic as the Pintail or Anas A.

Best regards,

Hans Heupink said...

Hello Arnold! You are right, the North Shore Shoreline fits well in the list of playful, manoeuvrable seakayaks. So, nothing new with all those classics around? I think the difference is that over the last years kayaks like the Shoreline were mostly regarded as kayaks for small people (often associated with women...). The average paddler was looking for a longer and often more high volume kayak. The new trend is that more larger kayakers are tending to paddle kayaks like this - to enjoy paddling in surf and tidal races.
greetings,
Hans