Tag Archive: fishing

Fishing is a popular outdoors recreational activity, or sport, in the context of this blog.

John Forney’s First W Boat Design

John Forney is a boat designer and builder from Texas.

He has already designed and built a number of kayaks, both in wood and skin-on-frame.

John took upon himself to be the first to design and build a wooden W boat, and he did it.

This W is 12 feet long and 30 inches wide, and it can take two large size kayak fishermen with all their gear, as well as camping gear:

John Forney's 12 ft wooden W boatBennett Crow christening John’s W boat.  Photo: John Forney.

John says: “It’s a known thing that you build your first boat just to learn and then you throw it away, but this boat is just too good to throw – it’s amazing.”

John is now involved in building two more wooden W boats, and he plans to design and build W boats in other materials as well.

Yoav

Teaching Children How to Paddle – Part 4

Tracking.

This is a difficult thing to teach small children because their spatial perception is not well developed as ours.
They may not necessarily recognize an object such as a house or a tree after having seen it once, they may not yet have a good ability to distinguish between right and left or to remember a place they’ve already been to before.
There are more differences between a child’s mind and ours, but the bottom line is that tracking can be difficult for an adult to learn, and for a child it’s considerably harder.
In addition, a child’s attention span is more limited than ours, and therefore it’s harder for a child to concentrate on keeping the course.

Therefore, you need to lower your expectations and be even more patient.
The method that seems to work best in the beginning is to let the kids paddle their W Kayak behind yours or behind another paddler that can track well. Because the boat in the front is close to him it’s easier for the kid to focus on it than finding a static point on shore to focus on.

Try as much as possible to conduct such lessons on flat and calm water, preferably without wind or current, and progress as slowly as your child needs to. This is really an example of ‘practice makes perfect’.
As usual with kids, a period of quick learning and great result can come after a long period without any visible results. That’s the way it goes, and expecting a steady pace of progress is unrealistic.

The W kayaks is a good tracker by nature, which is an advantage, but once it’s going in a new direction it wants to keep going there, which means that both you and your child need to pay attention and correct little deviations from the straight course immediately as they occur.
It helps to explain why tracking is important, and the argument that seems to do the job best with kids is that in the end going in a straight line is easier than going in zigzag…

Yoav

Kids paddling on the river

Teaching Children How to Paddle – Part 3

Steering.

Steering is the easier part in navigating the kayak, and the more difficult one is tracking.

Teaching your child to steer requires a bit of patience because a child’s motoric and cognitive capabilities are not fully developed.

The child may not understand the effect of moving the paddle in the water, and will certainly have a problem visualizing the blade’s position in it, and therefore its effect on changing the boat’s direction.
However, kids like to learn new things, and eventually they do that too.
You should try and observe the paddle’s position and see if the child is not applying a J stroke without knowing it – A J stroke is what canoeists use when they want to steer their canoes in the same direction as the side they’re paddling on.

Being small can actually be an advantage when it comes to steering a W Kayak since it makes it easy for the child to lean into the turn. Therefore, you can try and teach your child to do it at a very early stage, and it would prevent him/her from leaning to lean to the side on which the paddle is moving and by that involuntarily steer the boat in the wrong direction.

All this may sound complicated but it’s not if you’re a reasonably good W paddler yourself.

Yoav

Kid paddling a W fishing kayak with his dad onboard


Teaching Children How to Paddle – Part 2

The first thing you need to teach your kid is to get into the boat. It’s always good to remember that W kayakers don’t get their feet wet because we enter the cockpit from the back and exit it from the bow, unless we dock. In such case it doesn’t really matter how the child enters or exits the boat as long as he/she does it slowly and carefully.

Generally speaking, when teaching a child how to paddle you shouldn’t set your expectations too high: Some kids are fast learners and some are not. There’s no point in accelerating the pace, as it’s better for the student to enjoy the whole process.

There are two basic sets of skills that every paddler, including children need to master. The first has to do with propulsion and control, and the second is navigation.

Propulsion and control include both getting the kayak to move forward and preventing it from tipping over. It’s easy to teach children to propel a W Kayak because they can focus just on it instead of diverting their attention to balancing, which can rather difficult in traditional kayaks. The W kayak is very stable yet only 25″ wide, which contributes to easy paddling and learning.

It’s easier for small kids to use a double blade (‘kayak style’) paddle when they paddle solo but it’s also easier for them to use single blade (‘canoe style’) paddles when paddling in tandem with another kid. This is because children’s coordination skills not well developed at an early age and they develop over the years. Practically, this means that having two inexperienced kids kayaking in tandem would inevitably cause their paddles to hit each other.

Generally, it’s advised to start on a pond or a small, shallow lake, and in pleasant weather. The presence of wind while they’re paddling without an adult onboard might distract kids and confuse them.
You’d preferably take the child paddling with you several times before letting him or her try to do it alone.

Five year old kayaking solo Five year old kids kayaking in tandem

Yoav

Teaching Children How To Paddle – Part 1

Before anything else: Kids who go in kayaks must always wear a suitable PFD (personal flotation device), and they need to know how to swim.

Children like to go on water. Whether it’s fishing, touring or playing in waves – they very much enjoy paddling, and as they grow up they tend to prefer to do it by themselves.

Small children starting at age five can be taught how to paddle a W Kayak solo and in tandem. The process requires time and patience but it’s fun both for the kids and their parents.
Obviously, before attempting to teach anyone paddling you’d better be a reasonably good paddler yourself…

Being small and lightweight a child has no balance problem when in the W kayak. This is an important fact since feeling at ease from the start facilitates learning.
However, it’s also important to remember that a child that young still has developed neither adults’ motoric skills nor their sense of orientation. And obviously, such young children possess only a fraction of the physical power that we as adults have.

In recent years I’ve taught several children or various ages to paddle, and I’ve noticed that sooner or later children would raise from the W saddle and stand up, usually when they feel they need more power. This is understandable since when standing it’s easier for children to get power by applying their weight on the paddle through the use of their legs. If (actually when) this happens you shouldn’t discourage it – The child is not in danger of tipping the boat over, and he/she feels more empowered, which is good.

father and two kids in a W kayak Five year old kids paddling in tandem

Yoav