It has been quite some time now since I have been yearning to get back on the water. While I was training for Abu Dhabi and a killer sea-kayak leg in that race last December, one of my favourite sessions was riding to my friends Jeff and Becky`s house and getting out for a couple of hours in his Lettman sea-kayak.
I had been keeping my eyes open for second-hand flatwater kayaks and I came across a pretty reasonably priced Viper 55. So I took the train up to the Bodensee to try it out with my friend Staffan. We were met at the train station by the wife of Beat Hausmann who took us to their lovely little kayak school on the shore of Lake Konstanz or the Bodensee (as it is know in Switzerland) The last time I had been there was on training camp in preparation for theU23 World Rowing Championships taking place in Linz Austria in 2002.
After the initial fear that I wouldnt last more than a second upright in the boat (sidenote: this fear has grounds in reality: when I was a rower we played a game one day while on training camp in Seville by switching boats with the guys on the Irish flatwater kayak team. They managed to sit upright in our single sculls no problem, but as soon as we pushed away from the dock in their teeney weeny skinny excuses for boats, in fact, even before we pushed away from the dock – we were swimming) But as soon as I sat into the Viper 55 I knew it wouldnt be a problem, it was quite stable and easy to paddle and Staffan and I had a nice time paddling around the edge of the Bodensee in the pouring rain (the weather could have been nice, but we didnt really care that much)
I had made up my mind to buy that boat when Beat Hausmann, the Swiss Nelo dealer and owner of www.kanuschule-bodensee.ch got in touch with me a few days later and said he had an even better offer just come in the door, the Viper 51, less stable, and more racey he thought it would suit me better.
The Viper 51
I have now invested in a beautiful little Nelo Viper 51. About 1 year old, not used much and in mint condition.
I hope to be a super paddler in no time at all!