By Jill Toler
Today was the day; the maiden voyage of Float-n-Fly. There was more float than fly since it was my very first water day in my W700 and only my second time ever in a kayak.
The sun was shining, the wind was blowing about 10-15 mph, and the mosquitoes threatened to hijack my voyage by sucking all of my life blood from me. Despite the wind and squadron of eastern North Carolina skeeters; also known as crop dusters, I pushed off the bank and into a most epic experience. I was immediately blown into a scraggly bunch of above water branches and then decided I better do something so that I could actually claim that I paddled my kayak. I tentatively placed a blade in the water when my Fishing Buddy called out to me and said that my paddle was backward and upside down. Go figure; I did mention that this was my first trip, right.
Lesson #1-It does matter how you hold your paddle.
I adjusted the paddle and started with a good stroke, then another, and then another. Perhaps this was going to work after all. I paddled around in a circle; not because I tried to, but because the wind was pushing me around and around. I finally got turned toward the bank and glided right through the shallows and up onto the grass. It was at this time that I realized I was still on the seat of the kayak and not swimming to shore. Major accomplishment made super easy by the stability of the W700. Fishing Buddy, who is an avid kayaker, gave me some pointers on creating good, productive strokes by turning at my waist and when to lift the paddle out of the water.
Lesson #2-I am not paddling for a world record and it’s not a battleship. Easy and steady will get me where I want to go.
I received some more pointers and great information from Fishing Buddy about turning around and pushed off from the bank one more time. I paddled all around about half the pond practicing the proper stroke so as not to wear myself out and headed to the shore to find out how awesome, or not, I was doing paddling and turning. I said, “How do I look Fishing Buddy?”. She said, “Really good Fishing Buddy.” (“Fishing Buddy” is the nickname we use for each other because she; Jan, has a twin sister named Jill, and my name is Jill.) If you are confused, it’s okay because even after 8 years the guys in our fly fishing club can’t get our names right either.
Anyway, after she proclaimed that I was doing a good job I asked her what else I needed to know. She said, and I quote, “get the hell out so I can try it”.
I knew I had chosen a winner.
I want to talk about the obvious virtues of the W700 that are specific for me.
The first thing is that I am a bona fide big girl who loves to fish and wanted a new adventure. Most kayaks are not made for big girls and most big girls aren’t going to try kayaking or kayak fishing because you are afraid to be embarrassed by not being able to get in or out of a kayak. The W700 solves this problem with the ease of getting in and out without squatting, waddling, rolling, or flopping. You step in and sit down. It’s just that easy.
Secondly, I never felt like I was going to roll over, fall out or flip over. I was plenty nervous at first but I got my butt adjusted and just sat there. Easy, peasy. I wore my brand new life jacket in case I went for a non voluntary swim, so I felt very safe. Next time I will try standing up; which my Fishing Buddy was able to do right away. She is way more awesome than I, but I will get there.
Overall, I am just amazed with the W700 and so happy that I got one of my own. I have attached some pictures to prove it.