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The Test Paddle

The test paddle is a critical part of buying a boat. By test paddling, you'll learn a great deal about the characteristics of boats and help your body get involved in the buying decision. It is very important to test with a plan. In hopes of helping you, we've prepared an example of a logical plan that you should expand upon. This plan will be most valuable if you do the same thing with every boat you try.

Record your reactions. You'll ultimately create a score card that will help you finalize your decision. Keep in mind that there are all kinds of reasons why you might want one boat over another that go beyond or are in addition to on water behavior. Does it matter to you that one boat is better looking than another or obviously more neatly built? Add to this list and derive your own plan. Take charge of the buying process and you'll have a lot more fun and get better service.

Here Are Some Helpful Tips!

  1. Carry the boat to the water.
    • How heavy is this boat?
    • Can you move it around by yourself?

  2. With the boat in the water enter it as recommended by a staff member.
    • Can you comfortably execute this maneuver?
    • Are there tips or tricks you can learn?

  3. With a hand on the dock gently lean the boat from side to side If you do this with too much snap you won't easily feel the resistance points on the hull
    • Does the boat feel firm beneath you?
    • Does the boat resist capsize?
    • Does the stability of the boat comfort you?

  4. With paddle in hand, scull away from the dock.
    • Does the boat side slip easily?
    • Does it need to be leaned to do this?

  5. Using forward strokes move ahead
    • How easily does this boat pick up speed
    • How well does it track?
    • Where do you feel resistance?

  6. Gradually pick up speed.
    • When do you start to feel the boat hold back?
    • Are you satisfied with this hull speed range?

  7. Stop paddling
    • Does this boat glide or quickly decelerate?
    • Does this boat pull left or right?

  8. Using draws or sweeps turn the boat.
    • How large a circle must you trace?
    • Does the boat swivel, skid, or carve?
    • How does this vary with speed?
    • How does this vary with a heel to one side?

  9. Turn with a slight lean.
    • Does leaning help?
    • How secure is a lean while paddling?
    • Is custom padding needed?
    • Is the seat appropriately placed for you?

  10. Were the conditions appropriate for you and your concerns?
    • Should you return on a windier wave filled day?
    • Did you load the boat with enough weight?


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