So here’s the thing. I’m sick of collecting “stuff”. It’s not necessary, affordable or cool to pile up “things” be it kayaks, cars or stand-up boards. These days I find myself trying my best to refocus on what is important to me and, as the love of my life often says, “Unburden myself.”
When it comes to kayaking. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. One kayak should be enough. Enough for me anyway. That’s why many of my old kayaks are suddenly ending up on Craig’s List. So if I can only have one kayak, which one? It’s THE question, isn’t it?
Well, If you read between the lines of my blogs over the years I think you’ll see an emergent pattern. There are two kayaks that I have always come back to. For rolling, traditional paddling, I’ve always sort of fawned over Valley’s Anas Acuta. (I even had one once that was sacrificed to the winds of change.) These days there are all sorts of rollers out there, skin boats and what not. They are all great. Many are much better rolling boats than the Anas. Still, when it comes to a standard, glass, kayak that can still play with traditional kayaks, the Acuta has never been a slouch.
As a teaching and tripping kayak I can’t pull myself away from Nigel Dennis’s Romany. I could go on and on about the obvious and subtle virtues of the Romany. Having paddled now more years than I care to mention, I have come to realize there are many great boats out there but only one Romany.
Here’s where serendipity comes in. I walked in to Rutabaga in Madison the other day to teach a private class to a couple of wouldbe traditional paddlers. I was under the impression that we were doing a rolling day, so I didn’t bother bringing my boat or paddle for that matter. I’d spend the day standing in the water. Well, that’s not how it turned out. They actually wanted strokes lessons as well… I needed a kayak!!
I walked back into the lot to look for something to use and happened upon a used Anas Acuta that had just arrived in the shop. It was out on the rack and priced for sale. Now, I love the Anas, but this one wasn’t quite what I would have chosen if I were to buy one new. It’s grey with navy blue trim. Like an old battleship. It’s biggest sin is the keyhole cockpit. I mean, a key hole cockpit on an Anas Acuta is just sick.. Still, I needed a kayak for the class and keyhole or not, an Anas Acuta is the right boat for an intro into traditional paddling.
Over the course of the day I realized something.. The Anas, with the keyhole cockpit might just be that “One Kayak”… for me anyway. It rolls like a dream, it’s agile, light and I can still demo standard rescues with the keyhole cockpit…. No, it’s not quite that safe, stable, reassuring Romany, but I’ve been paddling for awhile. It doesn’t have to be.