Darren Clarkson-King is a huge fan of old school kayak designs and owns many of the classics. He gives us his take on Old Is The New New.
Should you buy new or used, will you enjoy your paddling more in the latest boat?
We all love the smell and feel of a fresh new boat – the latest design, latest color to match our PFD. We may tell ourselves that our skill base will increase with the latest design. Whilst this may be a half truth it is not the whole truth. Some of the worlds hardest runs were pioneered many years ago, at the evolution from composite to plastic. Sure you have all seen Stikine footage of Dancers, Eclipse or Overflows. Or the Indus footage in Stunt and Roto bats. What about the Tsangpo in H2 or classic Cali runs in the Diablo. Lets not forget the steep runs of Europe in the mighty Topo. You can still find these styles of boat on ebay, gumtree etc for less than a night out.
Why spend £1000 on a boat you are going to want to upgrade soon anyhow, or worse break and landfill, taking 500+ years to decompose. An older design will do he same job for a good part of your paddling than a latest design. It’s good to see some of the classic making a come back, on weekends around the UK, on longer multi day trips across the globe and on late night ebay shopping the rise of older boats is plain to see.