Today was my Kayaking Essentials class. I got home about a half hour ago and have hung up my wetsuit and stuff. I just ordered a pizza, and now I can sit back and write. I'm BEAT!! But in a good way.
The boat I got to use was a SEDA brand.. not sure which model. From looking at the SEDA website, my best guess is it's an Ikkuma 17. It was a very nice boat. Fit-wise, it's in between the Tempest and the Perception. I took the Perception out yesterday morning so I would have a good comparison to whatever I used in class.
So yeah.. the SEDA is smaller than the Perception, but quite a bit roomier than the Tempest. It had a fiberglass seat with no padding and a fixed seatback, yet it was very comfortable. After three hours on the water, my tailbone wasn't even slightly sore.
It was a VERY windy day on the Willamette up in Portland. As in steady 15 mph winds gusting to 25+. Made for a very interesting class. We paddled across the river to a cove which gave some protection from the wind, though it still tended to blow us around a bit. We practiced all kinds of strokes.. forward, backward, forward sweep, reverse sweep, bow and stern rudder turns (I think that's what they called it), and two sculling strokes.
One guy was even nice enough to capsize so we got to watch an assisted rescue. No, I don't think it was intentional. :) (and no, it wasn't me)
I played around with edging a bit. Not really knowing what I'm doing though, but it seemed like it'd hold an edge fairly well, but since there were no thigh braces, it seemed like a lot of work to keep it up on edge. Or maybe it was the wind. It tended to track a bit straighter than my Perception, which has a tendency to want to bear to the right unless I put the skeg down. The Tempest (the one time I had it out) did the same thing but to the left.
I discussed kayak fitment with the folks there quite a bit. I explained how there were no thigh braces with my Perception, so they showed me the blocks of foam I can get to carve my own. They also explained how to position the thigh braces. I actually had it almost right the first time... closer to my knee than not.
So once home, I stole the thigh pads out of the Tempest and put them in the Perception. If they work well, I will "copy" them with carved foam so can include the originals with the Tempest when I sell it. I also reset the thigh braces and footrests, so if I go out tomorrow, I'll be set.
Oh, I also played with the seat adjustment some more. It's still not perfect, but it's a lot better.
Before leaving, I looked at all the boats they had in stock. I noticed that the Point 65 N boats have this really incredible Air Seat. It has a higher back just like I want, and several air bladders you can inflate to custom fit it. The seatback isn't so high that it prevents you from leaning back though. Man, I want that seat!! Though honestly, until I upgrade to a much fancier boat, I will find an expensive way to tweak the Perception's a little more.
So there ya have it. I know now that the Tempest is too small for me, plain and simple. There are "smaller" fitting boats that are bigger than the Tempest that will work better when I'm ready for one. For now, the Perception will do the job until I have the skills (and money) to warrant moving up.
And at $12 for an afternoon, I can rent any of their boats and take them out on the river to try them out. So I'll spend a lot of time doing that and then have a better idea of what I want when the time is right.