I thought some of you might be interested in my Mad River Explorer RX16 with iq2 gunwales as the boat is often complimented on and questions asked about its additions.I purchased the canoe around 6 years ago and it came with a bonanza of kit along with a host of IQ2 outfitting accessories which I have slowly been adding to, not easy in the UK when IQ2 kit is no longer being manufactured and most these rare extras are seldom found outside of the USA.
Portaging and soloing whitewater paddling up to class three was the plan for my short adventure this day. First, I go through some of my wilderness outfitting gear including my spraydeck, whitewater canoe, drybag and drysuit before heading out on my Magnetawan River canoe trip.
My plan was to head downriver to a bridge where my wife would pick me up. The route would include two portages, a couple class 1 and a couple class 2 rapids as well as one big class three rapid. As soon as I ran the first rapid it felt awesome to be on the river. It was hot out for this time of year and after a portage around a big canyon and unrunnable rapid, I soon ran out of drinking water. Fortunately, it wasn’t long until I found a natural spring with delicious and cold water.
After dealing with the raging whitewater of a big drop, I paddled through a calm section and had a weird feeling like something was staring at me. I turned around to see a small, brand new log cabin built on top of a hill. It kind of struck me as odd that this would have given me the urge to turn around and look behind me. Before too long my trip was over and I met Tori at the bridge and I was home by dinner time. I felt tired but rejuvenated after the little outing, but more so I felt fortunate to live in the place that I do.
Over the last few months we have seen a number of images on Instagram showing some really trick conversion kits that allow a K1 to be converted to a C1 without the need for lots of cutting/sticking of foam. We reached out to Paul Harwood at UK firm C1 Kayak Conversions to find out a little more about what they are doing.
With the RRP of most whitewater kayaks hitting the dizzy heights of £900-£1000 buying second hand has a great deal of appeal. There are hundreds of unsused boats out there lurking at the bottom of gardens or getting in the way in garages.
You can find adverts for 2nd hand boats listed on Kayak/Canoe Forums, Facebook groups and of course sites like ebay. If you can it is always best to see the boat in person as you will potentially be buying something that will cost 100s of pounds and will need to take you safely down whitewater.
I am going to give a quick run down of what to look out for if you decide to go down the 2nd hand route. I’m also going to focus on the plastic kayaks that the vast majority of paddlers use.
Before 2014, I’d only seen a Pyranha Spanish Fly and a Big Dog OC1 on the rivers around Scotland. They looked weird and I didn’t like the idea of swamping and kneeling when I could have a comfy kayak seat and a spraydeck. After stumbling across a group of OC1ers in Glen Etive one New Year’s Eve, I really had my eyes opened to the C-boat world, albeit a rather mad one! After enjoying open canoeing for the past few years and becoming impartial to the single blade, I’ve recently decided to take the plunge with a Silverbirch Covert 9.3.