Wooden Kayaks are Best!

Wooden Kayaks are Best!

For nearly eight years I have now I have been paddling a Pygmy Boats Coho and loving every minute of the experience. I built the kayak in the living room of my tiny cabin (still a single guy back then) I had two questions running through the back of my mind. Firstly, once the construction had begun I was questioning whether or not I could get the hull out the front door. The second question was more pertinent, was this the kayak for me or had I wasted a few hundred bucks and months of my life for a kayak that did not suit me.

Not having had the opportunity to test paddle this particular design before I bought the kit based on looks alone. The Coho is sexy! I did get it out the door knocking much of the items on my kitchen counter to the floor in doing so. And that day, Canada Day in fact when I lowered the freshly varnished gleaming boat into the water so as not to let a single stone scratch it, and sat down with all eyes of my paddling gang on me. It was a perfect fit. Stable yet playful and fast. I have not paddled anything else since then.

The wooden boat provides a different kayaking feel. Playful and organic, yet stable and solid. Looking out across the long nose of my kayak in the sunshine it looks like a guitar. Somehow paddling a wooden boat gives me a sense of being closer to the natural world I explore. Of course, there have been other kayaks on my back yard rack in the years in between. One boat stands out in my mind as i had spent many hours restoring it. The Woodfin. A painted wooden hull contrasted its red and yellow cedar pin-stripped decking. A brass name plate adorned the sheer by the cockpit and under the rear hatch a psalm from the bible about nature. It was around my yard for a couple of years  with a history before that of being built by a fellow in Clayoquot Sound and used as a commuter vehicle by its then owner who worked at a fish farm near Tofino.

Sadly, it disappeared in a storm not a week after I sold her due to a novice knot to a slim tree branch. Alas, it is gone but not forgotten and resides in happy memories of paddling trips to the west coast and one adventure in attempting a week to the hot springs but forced to live it out on a beach on an island instead. Pictured here.

My Coho and the Woodfin on Vargas Island, Clayoquot Sound BCPhoto by Dave Barnes

My Coho and the Woodfin on Vargas Island, Clayoquot Sound BC
Photo by Dave Barnes

Build one, from a kit or from your own head, and paddle. Take it from this convert, wooden kayaks are simply the best!


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