Today was a special day for me: I brought my first kayak home! It’s a 17 foot Necky Looksha (the Outfitter edition), a 300 pound plastic construction sand barrel that will crush the back panel on your Silverado but it’s a very capable boat I’ll be able to take anywhere. I bought it from Northwest Outdoor Center (NWOC) on the west side of Lake Union. We already have an annual pass there so that I can take Adam paddling practically anytime (they’re more restrictive about primetime summertime weekends, which isn’t a big deal to me since I can take Adam during the week whenever I want). I’ve had very positive experiences with NWOC over the years: I highly recommend them for renting or buying a boat. NWOC also offers instruction.
Loading the boat by myself tomorrow for a little test paddle down the Ship Canal may prove interesting. Getting it off the car wasn’t overly traumatic but I’ll admit I broke a good sweat carrying and angling it through the backyard and then down the steps through the outside entrance to our basement. For most of my life I’ve been pretty farm-strong in my upper body but the past few years arthritis has crept into my right shoulder, so I’ll have to be careful and not try to muscle my boat up and down. I almost took out a window (and believe me, that old leaded glass crinkles easy) in the basement, then our furnace and then the water heater. I was reminded of when we were kids and my dad would get after us when we ran into the water heater with our bikes or hit it with a ball. Anyway, it’s a drag having such a heavy boat (it clocks in at 65 pounds- in contrast, the composite versions of the 17′ Looksha clock in at 49 and 54 pounds respectively) but I consider myself pretty lucky to have a kayak at all so I’m not going to sit here and kvetch. The Looksha is available in a 14′ model. I would’ve preferred a shorter boat but I was most comfortable in the 17′. The thigh braces in the 14′ clawed at me really bad when I was getting in and out, and my shins took a beating. A yellow kayak wasn’t my first choice, but it’s a good safety color.
There’s storage in both the bow and stern (there are bulkheads located front and back, too). And my boat has a rudder system: I decided I couldn’t do without a rudder for photography’s sake. It comes in super-handy when I’m trying to take a picture and I need my hands free but the boat needs a steadying influence. I plan to be as disciplined as possible about keeping the rudder up unless I’m shooting or it’s windy. Besides, I prefer the rudder up.