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