It's always neat to see hobbies cross over, and today Paula introduced me to a couple of new boats that may bring me one step closer to finding a kayak that fits on the scooter. For those whe don't know me, I own a couple of motorscooters, a 1975 Lambretta LI150 and a Vespa GT200. I've sort of been thinking how neat it would be if I could just get all my paddling gear and kayak on the bike. Today I found a kayak that fits perfectly on the GT's floorboards, but doesn't really fit me.


Paula's conducting a fun focus group to throw what we've got at two new Advanced Elements inflatable kayak models. She absolutely loves her Advanced Elements Firefly - it's allowed her to get on the water virtually car free and she finds that tremendously liberating. She even took it to Toronto during a book conference last summer - read about it here. She's pretty passionate about these boats and wanted me to try one out for myself for an article she's writing. Both boats were 13' models and they're fantastically innovative and tough. The Expedition model fit on my shoulder with little effort and weighs considerably less than my long boat. The build quality is fairly good despite a few oversights in water tightness seat comfort, but hey.. I'm a big guy so I'll cut them some slack, it's a boat designed for someone else.


These little boats are all filled with air and take a bit of pumping to get full. Paula noted that the expedition model I took out was a little under inflated once she saw me in it - and pointed - and laughed, but the straight edge sit on top model was taught. If you're a heavy dude, fill it all the way - with Paula sitting in the under inflated boat, it was perfectly flat in the water and she also said it felt much more able to cut the waves than the SOT. The cockpit is fairly roomy and the sponson/gunwales stretch out to infinity on either side. These things are very wide and stable and Paula tells me they're loved by the fishing crowd for sneaking up on their favorite catch.


Speaking of catch, and there's one invariably, at 255 lbs 6'4" and size 14s, this is yet another boat that is simply not going to be a comfortable boat for me beyond a few km. Comfort's pretty much the oversight of both boats I tried - The deck leaks quite a bit of water through a foredeck zipper on the Expedition model, which quickly dropped right onto my crotch. The straightedge's hull slaps roughly on even small waves and I couldn't find a way to get my big self into a comfortable seating position no matter how I squirmed around. But hey, we got out on the water and had a beautiful paddle to flower island. The novelty of the boats fitting on my scoot is awesome, but the boat is just not the one for this kayaker. I'd say these kayaks are probably more fun on flat water and with a considerably smaller person sitting in them - definitely even better if that person doesn't have a car, space or wants a neat scooter accessory. Between my timbuk2 bag the under seat storage, I was able to pack all my kayaking gear to and from the beach - now I just have to continue the quest for a boat that will fit the scoot and my butt.

Trip Distance: 4km

YTD: 94km

See All Photos »