Despite having a heavy cold, I headed up to Fairlie yesterday for the Karitek Demo Day. Ann & Geoff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and I got lots of advice about which kayak(s) might suit me and which to add to my "when I can afford a new kayak list".
It was a lovely sunny day, but quite windy (apparently around force 3/4 at the start, picking up to force 5 or maybe 6 by the end) and quite choppy, making launching in an unfamiliar boat slightly challenging for someone quite inexperienced like me.
The combination of a heavy cold, wrists and wind meant I didn't paddle many kayaks, but I did sit in a lot of boats - and discounted several from my list that way. Everyone taking part was really friendly and keen to discuss the characteristics of the different kayaks and help each other decide what to demo next based on their previous experiences. One guy who can't roll rolled the Alaw Bach!! I tried sitting in the Alaw Isel but that was enough - it's too small for me to be really comfortable in. I liked the NDK Explorer and the Rockpool Alaw Bach best of the ones I tried - both handled really well in the waves and felt very stable - which was really good considering it's probably been 2 years since I've been in waves that big!
There was a fairly sheltered bit once you got out a little from the beach and I managed to grab a quick photo, but mostly it was too choppy for me to risk taking photos on the water, especially as I was in an unfamiliar kayak. The wind and waves also picked up after I took this photo.
I definitely want to attend another demo day and try out some other boats (such as the Cetus, Romany & Alaw) as well as paddling the Alaw Bach and the Explorer again, and maybe have another go at the Eddylines Fathom (which wasn't quite as comfy as the Explorer and Alaw Bach but edged really easily and is very light to carry). I'll hopefully get my choice narrowed down to 2 boats and then maybe hire them for a day or weekend and give them a good workout to make a final choice - then start some serious saving!