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OZ SHAD REVIEW


DGW
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I have had my Shad on the water seven times now and thought some paddlers might like a review of my perceptions of the Shad's performance. I paddle with a Greenland paddle.

 

I find the Shad is twitchy as I enter it (bum first) and as I get out of it. I live in fear of loosing my self esteem by doing an ungainly flop onto the water at the boat ramp where we usually launch on Thursday mornings. However, once I am on the way it all changes - the boat is stable and I feel quite secure.

 

The Shad tracks beautifully - it runs as straight as a die. However, like most kayaks, it is easily moved by eddies at river bends and eddies caused by obstacles. I paddled against a strong current and between oyster covered pylons under a bridge this morning. The eddies caused by the pylons wanted to move me towards the oysters and I had to work quite hard to avoid shredding the skin on the sharp shells.

 

The Shad turns easily and smoothly even without edging. It will turn a on a dime (I don't know why we say that here?) if you edge a little.

 

The Shad is fast. I find it very easy to stay in touch with my paddling companions who all use Euro paddles in a mix of sea kayaks. This morning we had seventeen paddlers in the group but my Shad is the only SOF.

 

I have paddled the Shad in one metre (about three feet) wind waves on Lake Illawarra without trouble. Turning in those conditions was ok and beam on waves did not cause undue problems. Going into the waves is straight forward. I did discover, however, that after about and hour I had water up to my ankles in the kayak. This was a little disconcerting and my imagination had me sinking because of a cut to my polyester skin. I pumped out and one of my paddling friends accompanied me back across the lake while the others pressed on. There were no cuts in the skin - the water was coming in where the front (mainly) and rear carry ropes pass through the skin and gunwales. On this paddle, the nose had spent a fair bit of time beneath the waves. I have since attended to this problem and I think I now have the entry points sealed with silica. The kayak is now pretty well water tight.

 

I have used the Shad in small surf (about one metre) and feel comfortable although not entirely secure. I think the lack of security stems from knowing that the boat does not have bulkheads like my other sea going kayaks. The Shad catches waves easily and stays straight. Broaching with a brace into the wave feels good.

 

Weight - what weight? It is so easy to carry to the car, to load onto the 4x4, to carry down to the water that I do it all just for fun, whether I am going for a paddle or not. It is a delight to transport. I am not sure how much it weighs but figure it might be around 12 kg maximum.

 

In summary, I think this is a great kayak. I think it may be best suited for paddlers who already have some experience. I think brand new paddlers might think it is a bit too twitchy. It is excellent for lakes and rivers and I think that will be where I will be mostly using mine. Because it doesn't have bulkhead, I don't see myself using the Shad for trips up and down the coast.

 

I am going to build another SOF from Kudzu Craft and am pretty sure it will be the Short Shot. What do others think? Am I on the right track?

 

Cheers,

 

Denis983593911_ShadJuly2018.thumb.jpg.ac0aacfd190457b273308dccc5a3be29.jpg

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that's a great pic of your Shad.

I've lost motivation to finish mine, so the frame hangs in my garage waiting for me to get inspired again.

Good review too.

Like you, I'm also lucky to have a huge lake nearby. For me it's Lake Hume, near Albury / Wodonga in Victoria.

 

Well done :)

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Good review Denis.

 

I was goin to say you should do yourself a favour and get some float bags - then I noticed some colour that could be float bags showing through from inside. Is that the case or is the hull empty?

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Hi gorn and labrat,

It is nice to get a note from other SOFers in Australia - many thanks for the comments.

gorn, I travel via Albury from time to time on my way down to Mt Beauty where my wife and I have friends. I haven't paddled Lake Hume but will do so one day.

labrat, yes you can see two float bags. They are not Kudzu Craft bags, they are small and don't fit too well. When I place an order with Jeff for my Short Shot plans and more 8 oz polyester I will also order his made-to-measure floatation bags. I may then feel more confident in the Shad in rough conditions. On the other hand, my lack of confidence might be more correctly attributable to age. I am getting on and am aware that I am no longer as bold as I used to be. There was a time when 95% of my paddling was on the ocean and 5% was in rivers and lakes but the figures are now reversed.

Cheers,

Denis

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Hi Denis, Great review on the Shad a nice kayak. Our Monday paddling group also keep to the creeks rivers and lakes now and love the exercise once a week.  Regarding your float bag comments I gained an enormous amount of confidence after watching a YouTube video titled:  Skin - on - Frame Kayak self rescue.   My SOF kayak is so light and buoyant the water drains from the cockpit after turning the kayak upside down in the water and a rear deck entry is possible even for a septuagenarian.  

As a group we have a self rescue day once year off a nice sandy bay beach in the warm months, lots of laughs and we probably look like a bunch of old idiots floundering around to those on the beach but this practice keeps us paddling with confidence for the rest of the year. Hope to see you on the water one day.

Bob  

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Hi Bob,

Thanks Bob for your comments. As I understand it, a septuagenarian is someone between 70 and 80 years of age and so I am a member.

I will track down the YouTube video and have a look at it. I have never been much good at self rescues over the rear deck but generally am able to execute a re-enter and roll. Although the renter is always successful, the roll up is no longer bomb proof. When the weather warms up I will see if I can roll the Shad and will see what happens with a re-enter and roll. I haven't fitted a thigh brace but have added some closed cell foam beneath the coaming - it may not be enough to lock me in - we will see.

I wonder if any forum members would like to comment on how the Shad rolls?

Cheers,

Denis

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