OK folks - I'm a big chap, ex. Rugby front row (quite good at the time!) and (I like to think) a pretty reasonable kayaker too. (I have recently lost 8kg with another 10kg to go so it's not all doom and gloom!). There is a point to this!
I've done the Devizes to Westminster twice, race at the to of Div 6 UK Haslar Marathon in K1 and K2 and occasionally show up at Surfski races in UK and South Africa.
Aspiring British Canoeing Advanced Sea Kayak leader (5*) and in the process of gaining my BC Coaching awards.
Ex. Team GBR International Sailor.
I've been on the sea all my life. #I'mathomeonthesea
Today, I paddled my new SKUK/NDK Romany Surf (basic glass, standard boat) purchased from Steve Jones at Southern Sea kayaks.
I am totally gobsmacked! 😂
What a revelation!
I bought the boat for a professional Coaching platform, a day boat and "play the sea" fun boat (I also have an RP Taran 18 for long stuff and other boats).
The Romany Surf has inspired me (well that and this evening's wine too) 😏
I paddled it first time today - it was bought on reputation, knowledge of the design and my experience in other boats and a dry cockpit - size test only. One might say buying without a proper trial is stupid .............but pedigree and reputation count! I "just knew" it would work for me 😀
45 minutes in a building breeze 5 - 15knots, wind over tide producing a typical Solent chop.
Light boat - me, a paddle, BA and deck - no guiding/safety kit - I now weigh 110kg.
I was right 😀
The boat is feisty and fun yet very stable. Look where you want to go and it just takes you there. Apply minimal edge and it turns you there very quickly 😀
I never felt she was going to tip me in but at the same time she was still bright, responsive and fun to paddle - not de-sensitised or dull which you might have expected with that rock solid stability.
Once I got rid of the backrest and just used the foam block I was positioned "in" the seat and the boat was beautifully balanced.
I used a touch of skeg to help me track dead downwind in some confused waves from different directions but on the bigger waves used none and she carved inside edge beautifully and with control.
Other than that, no skeg required 😀
Put my guiding kit (First aid, bothy bag, spare clothes, repair kit, emergency hatch covers/bouyancy bags, water, thermos etc. etc.etc.) behind me into the day hatch and she will rarely require skeg at all.
I have plenty of space around my hips (being a K1/K2 paddler I look for hip rotation and don't believe you should be locked in at the hips - it also limits mobility with stern rudders, hanging draws etc). I realise that may be controversial but you cannot fwd paddle big distances and engage you legs and lower torso if you hips are locked solid into the boat. Great for rolling in a pond as an exercise but try fwd paddling like that for 8 hrs and still be able to hold your brew afterwards! 🙂
When I'm relaxed in a neutral body position there is plenty of room above my knees but ease fwd into what I call the "attack" position and my knees automatically rise and engage into the deck blisters and give all the contact I need for control during manoeveurs and rolls 😀
This boat is "easy" - that is not a denegration or slur - it's praise!
Why does life have to be difficult? My body weight means differences making life harder from more "normal" weighted paddlers in a lot of boats which I understand but it means, for example, having to aggressively over edge to get tight turns - not what's wanted in "Conditions".
This boat is amazing - the slightly V'd shape, rounder chine and slightly wider profile and smoother, more rounded ends (on a similar overall rocker profile to other brand's similar models) means it turns/spins with minimal paddler drive. Really confidence inspiring in big conditions.
The cockpit size makes getting legs out on the water relatively easy for an old git like me but it still takes a std. R4 spray deck size.
As you can see, I'm rather taken by my Romany Surf
So, fo me and my personal build, for what I want out of it, it's perfect!
I also know a lot of friends in the 80-100kg weight range who love this boat.
Lighter? Then you should be looking at the Romany Classic or the Pilgrim series.
Below that is the new Echo for the really light weights.
The Older I get, the better I used to be!