Terry and I have been paddling kayaks for a long time now. We started out with rotomold Native Watercraft kayaks, which we carried in the back of our Ford van when we were fulltime RVing. We use them everywhere from lakes and rivers in the Midwest to the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico.
Then we switched to Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks, which we could store in one of the bays of our motorhome, and which we very much enjoyed. They are comfortable, easy to inflate and deflate, and bulletproof. We were in our Sea Eagles when we paddled with the manatees at Crystal River that I wrote about in a recent blog post.
Now that we’re not traveling anymore, we wanted to get back into hard-shell kayaks again, and a while back, we bought a pair of Old Town Predator kayaks. I think I like my Predator more than anything else I’ve had. It is very stable and has the most comfortable seat I’ve ever experienced in a kayak. The only drawback to them is that they are heavy, and as we get older, loading and unloading them into and out of the back of our pickup is a problem.
When we bought our kayaks, our friend Jim also bought an Old Town Predator PDL, which is similar to ours except that it has a pedal drive system, so you can either use a regular paddle or a set of foot pedals. This is an excellent kayak for fishing because it’s hands-free, and you can go forward or backward or keep yourself steady right where you’re at just by using your feet. As it turned out, Jim decided that kayaking wasn’t for him, so I bought his Predator PDL and trailer, thinking I would like it for fishing.
Then I started having all my back issues and could hardly walk, let alone get in a kayak. And about the time I got that issue resolved, the summer was so hot that I never wanted to leave the air conditioning. But yesterday was a beautiful day and I figured it was time to try the darn thing out and see what I thought of it. As it turns out, I’m a paddler, not a pedaler.
I took the kayak down to the water and launched it, and immediately found out that short fat guys just don’t do very well in a PDL. The big bulky pedaling system right in the middle is too hard to get my short fat legs around getting in and out, and I just couldn’t make it comfortable for me. After paddling it around for a while, making some adjustments here and there, I decided that I much prefer my regular Predator and using a paddle.
Back at home, I logged onto an online Predator PDL Group and related my experience, and someone said that being short isn’t the problem, being fat is. He said his 5’2” tall wife has a PDL and loves it, but she is currently seven months pregnant with twins and find it’s impossible to use it comfortably. He said she can’t wait to get back on the water after she gives birth. I don’t think I’ll be giving birth anytime soon.
This news delighted my son Travis, who is not all that tall but is definitely not fat or pregnant, and when he comes down to visit, I know what he’s going to spend part of his time doing!
So the game plan now is to just hang on to the PDL along with our two other Old Town kayaks and our two Sea Eagles, so whenever somebody comes to visit, we’ve got lots of them to choose from. I have seen a lot of do-it-yourself kayak trailer videos, and there are even a couple of Facebook groups for them, and my neighbor Jesse Bolton across the street, who is a great guy and always willing to help us out, thinks he can modify the trailer the PDL is on to hold both of our other kayaks, making it much easier for us to transport and use them. I’m really looking forward to that when Jesse has the time.
Thought For The Day – I’m more round than tall. I think of it as directional multi-tasking.