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Rediscovering kayaking
  |  First Published: May 2017



 

The first time I encountered a kayak, it was part of an Outward Bound school type activity many years ago.

It was a big red tandem sit in kayak and us kids paddled in the sea around an island off Singapore. It was many years ago and my recollection of the details are hazy at best, but a strong certainty that I really enjoyed it. Kayaking as an activity never featured much in my life since then, apart from one camping trip up Cooloola way where a large group of us hired a variety of kayaks and camped up the river in what I recall to be the best camping trip I’ve been on.

 Since then I’ve had a recreational life where water featured quite regularly, whether it was exploring the bay in a little old Quintrex dinghy a friend and I share, or heading offshore in bigger boats with other mates. I can’t say that I’ve been feeling that I needed a kayak in my life, but I had noticed that fishing and outdoor stores have in recent times featured at least a kayak or two outside with more of a selection inside at prices, which seem like you might even be able to get away with as an impulse buy.
 Typical me, I began to hit Google to research the heck out of this potential purchase, and what started off as a ‘hey you can get a kayak you could paddle away in for a few hundred’ became ‘well it would be easier to load if it were lighter’ and ‘I suppose it would be more convenient with a rudder’ then ‘wow I really like the design of that insulated fish bag’ etc.
 So after an exhaustive amount of window shopping on the internet, I worked out the one I liked, which was a good balance of not too crazy a price for the features it had. I was also very conscious that I didn’t want to invest in something the price of a small car when I wasn’t exactly sure how much I was going to use it.

 As for use, I figured it would provide low fuss access to the inshore reefs and drop offs in Moreton Bay (without the hassle of having to prep a boat), access to the dams and rivers for bass, in addition to miscellaneous use such as new angles for photography, as well as exercise and general fitness. With some practice (and all the necessary precautions), I figure it would also be something I could take offshore up on the Sunshine Coast to access water bigger than my little dinghy would happily handle. Of course this might not be for everyone, so I’ll make the disclaimer that this is something each individual would have to risk manage based on their own experience and ability. I figured with the variety of occasions it would get used, I felt it would be a justifiable purchase.

 The kayak I ended up going with was a 4.1m approximately 25kg Viking Profish 400 Lite, in lava (black/red). I opted for the soft insulated kill bag instead of the rigid ‘chill pod’- I felt like the insulated bag would be a little bit more versatile, and if anything, would also weigh less, and I didn’t opt for the ‘tackle pod’ console, being satisfied with the flat centre cover which would leave a bit more working room.

The major addition was a Simrad GO7XSE depthsounder/chartplotter with Structurescan and I picked it for its bright screen visible in daylight, and its touchscreen design, with no buttons or crevices where water might well up. The biggest challenge in this choice was the positioning and mounting solution of the transducer which is approximately half the length of an arm! With a combination of bits and pieces from Railblaza and the invaluable help of Phoenix Noffke at That Fishing Shop in Jindalee, where I got my kayak from, we managed to work out a solution which placed the transducer to the side of the hull, easily mountable and removable for easy transportation. Jason Milne of Viking Kayaks Australia also helped out with a battery mounting solution, and also managed to hook me up  with a visor for my sounder courtesy of Martyn Gittens at Berleypro. While I’m listing credits, I relied on my mate Josh Coleman’s expertise with wiring and such, and he made up some plug connectors which work a treat.

 In addition, I’ve added a few other essential bits and pieces to complete the setup- rod and paddle leashes, a few Railblaza ports for mounting accessories like a GoPro and a visibility flag, and a set of wheels for the carting the resulting monster around. Other essentials- a lifejacket and an ICOM IC-M25EURO portable VHF radio, for safety.
 I’m pretty happy with the set up so far- a few test paddles have shown that it is very stable and a joy to paddle. I’ll be updating this space as I go so stay tuned for the next update!

• You can follow Ryan’s photography on Instagram @lightbrekkie.

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