FOAK: Kayak Whitewater Playboat – purely for easy transportability.

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  • FOAK: Kayak Whitewater Playboat – purely for easy transportability.
  • Not sure why I’m asking a kayaking question on STW, but here goes.

    I’m a SOT user but I’m thinking of getting a white water playboat purely because a short boat under 2m will fit in the back of my vehicle which saves me the faff of roofracking.

    This will be for 4/5 miles paddles on Canal/River/Harbour/Beach.

    I plan not to bother with a spray deck if the water is flat, but don’t feel strongly about it – I’m confident I can get out if I capsize (or could 20 years ago). Do these boats have enough freeboard to work without a spray deck?

    Needs to carry 95kg.

    Any alternatives [1] I could consider, or any flaws in the plan I should be aware of?

    [1] Not inflatables!

    chrisdw
    Member

    They are slow and unexiting to paddle on flat water unless you’re actually doing some tricks. If you want to start using it properly with a deck and learning some tricks go for it.
    Otherwise it will be slow, harder to keep in a straight line, and less comfortable due to reduced space and more aggressive sitting position.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    Playboats by their nature have low volume and low stability.

    Sounds like a good application for an iSUP

    Premier Icon Pyro
    Subscriber

    What he said – they’re slow and enjoying unless you’re actually surfing/playing etc. Playboats are designed to surf and do tricks – on a long flat paddle they’re just annoying and uncomfortable. Even on long river paddles between play waves they’re a drag.

    I wouldn’t even willingly use my old ‘river runner’ (Dagger GTX) for a 4-5 mile paddle on the flat. It would do the job, but it would be hard work.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    Or one of those posh gas lift sea kayak roof racks.

    Stratos 14 here, my play boat days are over…

    geomickb
    Member

    I think you need a different plan. It will be a pain to paddle in a straight line. A slight swell will be pretty unnerving. Any short boat will be horrible.

    I used to have a Dagger Mamba (WW boat) and occasionally used it on the sea/flatwater ocasionally.

    Maybe some kind of crossover boat would be OK but probably will be longer than 2m.

    If it needs to go in the car then +1 for iSUP. They are great, hire one and see how you get on. You could get a really long touring one and it would be great for the kind of stuff you want to do. You can even do weekly hires and they will mail one to you.

    Thanks all sounds like a non-starter, but there’s still a little voice in me saying a rubbish paddle is better than no paddle, and I think I’m more likely to push a Playboat into the Van on an evening than endure the faff of fitting roof bars & load the SOT. Maybe the answer is find a cheap used playboat (if such a thing exists) and try it for myself. 90pc of my kayaking will still be on SOTs.

    Pumping up an inflatable is going to be more bother than fitting a roofrack and lifting the SOT on so that’s a non-starter.

    scotroutes
    Member

    Packraft. Inflates in a couple of minutes using a nylon bag.

    Packraft.

    I cannot believe that a playboat is a worse boat than a packraft for the use I described.

    I would echo what others have said, playboats are slow, I’d compare it to taking a fatbike on a long road ride. Playboats are also not normally very comfy, you often have to squish your feet into them, not great for a long paddle.

    Would agree though that any paddle is better than no paddle, it just might not inspire you to go back and do it again.

    How long is your van? could you get any extra room putting a kayak in diagonally? A friend of mine has a Vivaro with a 2.4m load length, going diagonally we manage to get two 2.7m kayaks in it. If you could get a slightly longer boat it would be much better than a short playboat.

    You can buy cheap playboats second hand although you would need a large playboat to float 95kg and not get water coming into the cockpit (I also weigh 95kg)

    Thanks for a well considered reply, bandb.

    you often have to squish your feet into them

    I was wondering that. I’m 6ft2, I can tolerate slow, I can tolerate hard work, I can tolerate poor directional stability but restricted legroom is a deal breaker.

    How long is your van? could you get any extra room putting a kayak in diagonally? A friend of mine has a Vivaro with a 2.4m load length, going diagonally we manage to get two 2.7m kayaks in it. If you could get a slightly longer boat it would be much better than a short playboat.

    It’s a Trafic, crew cab, similar to a Vivaro, but obvs the crewcab eats length. I can get a 2.4m bit of wood in diagonally corner to corner but being wider a kayak bow/stern won’t get *right* into the corners hence my 2m estimate.

    You can buy cheap playboats second hand although you would need a large playboat to float 95kg and not get water coming into the cockpit (I also weigh 95kg)

    That was also a concern, I really don’t want to go to all the effort of buying a new boat only to swap a 10 minute roofrack faff for a 6 minute spraydeck faff! (Obvs in my case the 95kg is mainly densely packed muscle…)

    Decision made, I’ll abandon the idea and maybe try to get someone to let me try their playboat just in case it pleasently suprises me.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    Firstly, I used to have a Fiesta, and I’d get my creek boat into that. I folded the passenger seat back, opened the glove box and stuck the nose into that and bingo, I could shut the boot. 😊

    When I lived in Brighton I would take my playboat out and just mess about in the gently breaking waves doing little turns and spins and mooching along the seafront on a summer evening. Absolutely beautiful.

    When the sea got up and started dumping, and it can dump hard in Brighton!, the playboat was mega in the dump, getting spat up the beach, often upside down on the pebbles! Awesome fun.

    But yeah, I’d get a compromise. A river runner with lower volume ends and find a way to fit it in the car. The slicey ends can help you squeeze it in and are nice in the water if you want to learn tail squirts and flatwater cartwheels etc.

    For all that of course, you’ll want a deck. Imho it’s not great not having a deck. The water runs down your paddle as you cross your body and drips into your lap making you look like you wazzed your pants.

    I reckon many shops would let you try a boat in your car.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    Ammo/nano is short enough to fit in the back of a van easily and still have the volume to carry 95kg. My medium fitted in my A3

    dog slow but if you aren’t in a hurry.

    dovebiker
    Member

    Sounds like you need a Trak kayak

    Premier Icon tomcrow99
    Subscriber

    Your weight shouldn’t be a big problem, Playboats/Freestyle boats all generally come in multiple sizes just make sure you get the L/XL option. Like wise size etc you should be ok in the largest size, though I say that as someone who has been cramming size 12s into tiny boats for over 20 years so it may well come as a shock coming from a SOT. Modern playboats with a high knee position are much more comfortable than the old slicy ones.
    Im with Kayak23 above, at least with a playboat you have the options to play a little, maybe learn a few tricks (cartwheels, bow stalls, stern squirts etc) I regualarly go for a flat water paddles in my Jed (L) on my local canal and its fun and im not convinced a bigger river or creek boat would make life much easier. I guess it boils down to what you want to get out of your time on the water. If you definattly want to cover a set distance then you might struggle in a short boat, but if you just want 30min on the water enjoying the scenery with as little faff as possible the you should be fine in a playboat. Regarding what will fit in your van, my van has a cuboard in the back, 1.9m wide by 1.9m tall. boats up to 2.4m in length (ive got an old eskimo quadro) will stand up diagonally, so you should be simelar in the back of your traffic.
    Saying all that I got an inflatable SUP a couple of years ago and it would be perfect for what you describe. Witha little compressor iits pumped up in 5-10 min with no effort.

    rkk01
    Member

    I’ve got a Dagger Axiom that I use in the manner you describe…

    Yes, it gives a good workout on flat water 😉 and will randomly spin off course after 20 or so strong strokes – but I can easily keep up with my wife + daughter in their Tarpon tandem SOT, or with my wife if she’s in the sea kayak.

    I’m 6’3 and 100ish kg so have the Axiom 9.0 – picked up on eBay when we lived in S Wales and had access to better rivers. I’ve also paddled the smaller 8.0/8.5(?), but found it too cramped.

    The 9.0 fits in the back of the van and has been off on hols to Brittany for a bit of coastal / estuary exploring, as well as regular S Cornwall usage

    owenh
    Member

    Could get a 3 piece kayak like this one from NDK:

    3 Piece Romany Surf 50/50 Layup

    Guessing it would be around the £3k price range though in std construction.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Any boat fits in a vehicle. You just need the motivation.

    null

    Sounds like you need a Trak kayak

    I love it, but I reckon I can fit a roofrack quicker than I can put that together!

    I guess it boils down to what you want to get out of your time on the water. If you definattly want to cover a set distance then you might struggle in a short boat, but if you just want 30min on the water enjoying the scenery with as little faff as possible the you should be fine in a playboat.

    Very much this. If I have a set distance I’d be in one of my SOTs. This is get home from work with 1hr20 daylight left, stick a boat in the Van and go to the harbour for a potter. I wouldn’t be fitting a roofrack for that, I *would* throw a boat in a Van.

    Ammo/nano is short enough to fit in the back of a van easily and still have the volume to carry 95kg. My medium fitted in my A3

    Thanks, I reckon I’d get that in. Frankly I could just bungee the doors if I had to – a 30cm overhang is a bit different to a 1m30 overhang!

    Yes, it gives a good workout on flat water 😉 and will randomly spin off course after 20 or so strong strokes – but I can easily keep up with my wife + daughter in their Tarpon tandem SOT, or with my wife if she’s in the sea kayak.

    One possible use for this boat is to follow a 4yo and and 8yo in SOTs on inland water. They aren’t fast. Or one of them could use it (volume and space no longer an issue) and I could take one of the SOTs. That’s not why I’m considering getting one, but it *could* be put to that use.

    Good old STW, spend all morning telling me not to bother and then all afternoon telling me it’s a great idea. 🙂

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    FWIW I can put roof rack on and two 17′ open canoes on in under 15 mins, by myself. I’ve a real system going, complete with boxes of kit ready so I can literally fling boxes and paddles in, boats on and then chase the kids to hurry up..!

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    Gumotex Rush 1 comes in an 80L rucksac and takes around 15 minutes to assemble/pump up.

    https://www.brighton-canoes.co.uk/productpages/gumotex/rush-1.htm

    FWIW I can put roof rack on and two 17′ open canoes on in under 15 mins, by myself. I’ve a real system going, complete with boxes of kit ready so I can literally fling boxes and paddles in, boats on and then chase the kids to hurry up..!

    I’m pretty ordered and efficient in loading up but I could certainly do better, but *nothing* is as quick as (say) being able to leave a boat in the back of a van all week and go at zero notice. …and I can certainly stick a boat into a van quicker than I can fit a roofrack and strap a boat on.

    Gumotex Rush 1 comes in an 80L rucksac

    Every time someone recommends an inflatable on this thread a fairy dies.

    sweepy
    Member

    Whereabouts are you OP

    alanl
    Member

    The Pyranha Nano mentioned above would be a good choice if you could fit its 224cm in the van.
    They are £300 or less secondhand.
    A playboat for you would cost more, and be a worse experience on flat water. Something like a Wavesport Project X64 would just about fit you, but they really are a right pain paddling flat water.

    Premier Icon Johnny Panic
    Subscriber

    If you do go for something you can squeeze in diagonally, be careful closing the hatch/tailgate.
    I have a mate who’s cracked 2 windscreens doing that.

    poly
    Member

    Pumping up an inflatable is going to be more bother than fitting a roofrack and lifting the SOT on so that’s a non-starter.

    As the owner of both SOT and iSUP that is true. But there are good high pressure electric pumps that would inflate the sub in less time that it takes me to put a wetsuit on.

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    Everytime someone comes into my shop looking for a play boat because it looks like it will go in the back of their van a part of me dies too.

    Same goes for people wanting Axioms and Diesels when what they really need is a nice touring kayak like an Expression or Stratos.

    Personally I’d much rather paddle a Rush with its dropstitch floor than ANY play boat in 90% of situations most UK paddlers find themselves in…and I’ve paddled a bit.

    But hey each to their own. Just trying to help.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    I like my stratos on the water, but it’s a pain in the ass everywhere else. Is the new 12ft version available yet? I’m seriously tempted.

    Whereabouts are you OP

    PM sent. TIA.

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    Yes it is – and it looks totally awesome, especially in the waves.

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