|Trying the Puffin II on the ocean (2004)|
Puffin II folding kayak paddling report
I took my Pakboats Puffin II out in the ocean, today. I also took it out with two people aboard, for the first time.
The water was mild-- waves 18-24 inches, although the surf seemed disproportionately strong. I launched into the surf solo, first, in open-top configuration (i.e. no deck). I was surprised by how seaworthy it was. It took waves from all angles, and stayed completely controllable. As always, with only a 200 lb. (90 KG) solo paddler in the middle of the boat, it dances over the waves-- it won't "cut" through any waves, but that makes it a very dry ride. I had no problem launching through small breaking waves. Landing in the surf was no problem, either.
I then quickly re-configured the boat as a double, and took my wife out. We're talking about 145KG (320 lbs) in a 185 KG-capacity (that's 400 lb) boat. The weight was decidedly concentrated towards the rear. Again, it handled the surf launching and landing quite impressively. We paddled out into the sea and traveled in several different directions (in relation to the waves). The boat handles two people very well without a rudder (this is much different from my Klepper). Not surprisingly, it rode more solidly in the water with the extra weight. The stability was exemplary. My wife had been very nervous about launching into ocean, and came back pretty happy with the experience. She commented, on the way home, that she liked it more than the Klepper (based not only the boat's performance, but also on it's weight and ease of assembly). I think her reaction is a very strong recommendation.
I am now even more convinced that the Puffin meets many people's needs at least as well as some of the more, err... "fancy" boats on the market. I can't see steering someone new to our sport towards anything other than a Puffin or, perhaps in some cases, a Folbot.