The other day the big boss came to town (Keith Miller, owner and president of CCK) for an evening meeting and invited any and all comers for an afternoon paddle on the river. The river being the lower American River that runs through Sacramento. And in spite of its class II rapids the plan was to use sea kayaks. It's something that doesn't work everywhere and can be just plain silly, but some rivers are perfect for getting in a little long boat paddling and even some surfing. The American is such a river and being smack in the middle of a large city doesn't stop it from being a beautiful and scenic paddle.
I took the chance to try out Jackson Kayak's touring boat the 'Journey'. At 14' it's a short sea kayak, basically the high end of their rec boat line. With Jackson's great whitewater boats lots of folks saw the pictures of the Journey and thought it might make a good rock garden boat. But things in real life are never as good as you imagine them to be. When I got into the boat it had a good, near-whitewater fit and it had incredible secondary stability. But once I tried to turn it I realized that the integral keel which helps it track so well keeps the boat from spinning. Even up on its edge it is a bit of a struggle to swing it around - one of the most important things in a good ocean play boat. It's lack of rocker also limited its surfing potential. It seems a little wrong to be disappointed that a boat does exactly what it is suppose to (paddle flat water straight, solid and efficiently) but we always hope to find that magic boat that does everything. Oh well, still a fun day.