Apart from leaving town with a new SOF kayak, Gail also picked up a new Tiderace Xcite S. Gail's initial concerns with the Xcite were that it would be slow, as it scores very low for 'speed' on the Tiderace website. "Some kind of weird typo error" we said, as we know the Xcite S to be very responsive, agile and quite nimble. Anyway, Gail sent us this great update from the third coast.
Dear Nigel & Kristin,
Did my first kayak camping trip this weekend and it was wonderful.
Six of us paddled 9 miles out to the barrier islands and camped near the dunes. Going out we had 15-20 knot winds and coming back less wind, but a real choppy following sea.
It was a group of 4 very experienced paddlers, one other novice and me. I wasn't trying to paddle fast but ended up way out front. The Tiderace website is way off on the Xcite speed rating. It was fully loaded and more sluggish than I'm used to, but am delighted by how well it handled.
The trip leader was John Whorff, an avid Texas coastal paddler who has written a wonderful book called "Kayaking the Texas Coast". He is also a zoologist, so visiting the barrier islands with him was a special treat because he is so knowledgeable about everything we saw.
The dunes we camped on are amazing, stretching for miles, lots of wildlife, no people.
I'm sending you a copy of his book, as a thank you for getting me into the Tiderace and letting me take the workshop, and as an inducement for you to consider coming down here for some paddling.
We had 80 degree weather and 80 degree water, no dry tops required. You'd be welcome to stay at my house and there are lots of beautiful places to paddle, rivers, bays, challenging surf. So if winter gets you down, consider a trip to Texas.
Don't think many people know what great paddling there is on the Texas coast, especially when it is so cold up north. John Whorff's book is full of trip maps, writeups and photos so think you will enjoy reviewing. Here's the Amazon link and a description.
I found a beach not to far from my house where I can park and walk about 50 feet to the water with the F1 on my shoulder. I keep the Tiderace in a cradle at the harbor but have found a way of carrying it on my shoulder to get it on and off the car. Am so happy with my two beautiful kayaks. Many, many thanks to you both, and to Zak as well."
Great letter, Gail.
And thanks very much for John's book...it looks very good.
We sure hope that by the time we are seventy years of age we too are taking up new, adventurous hobbies and doing crazy boat building courses. You are rocking it, girl.
See you in Texas.