Submitted: 04-25-2005 by Jay Shores
It was a good weekend at the Shores of the Texas. On Saturday morning I baptized the 14’ Pungo Kayak under less than ideal conditions… 25 mph wind, temp @ 53 degrees… and it went very well. The little boat is quite stable, has minimal windage, paddles easily, tracks well with a relearning paddler at the helm (I used a peanut class racing shell for a wile in college, and have spent a lot of time in canoes during my 62 years), and being a bright red kayak paddled by a jolly (5'10" by 235 lbs) fellow in a red polar fleece with a full white beard along the shore of a county campground… attracts kids. I think they felt they found out what Santa does in his off-season. The boat is easily slipped in the back of the Chevy Blazer for the short trip to the local lake. And it was wonderful working my way up a small creek for a while. I watched Kingfisher’s along the way looking for tadpoles and minnows and observed a lot of small shore birds.
The 7.5’ lightweight Warner paddle (black carbon fiber handle and bright yellow blades, all the better to see me with) worked quite well. However, in 25 mph breezes the drip rings did not help keep water out of the boat… it just flew straight off the paddle and onto my jeans. I’ll use the spray shield next time out in heavy winds. There is plenty of room for a small child or dog in the cockpit. And the foot braces placed high in the boat enabled easy bracing of my knees under the cockpit top. I’ll probably pad that area a little after a few further runs when I’m certain what my paddling position will become.
In short, the Pungo does exactly what I thought it would it is a good tracking boat that responds easily and confidently to a lean, takes to both skinny water and open water white caps well. Thus far, it gets a 10 of 10 from this senior paddler.