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Sometimes it isn't windy here at all - Tactical Ninja

Feb. 20th, 2014

09:32 am - Sometimes it isn't windy here at all

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About 7pm last night, as pombagira and I sat sitting licking the salt off our fingers from our fish and chip dinner, we watched a thick fog roll in from the south. This morning it's still here. This doesn't happen very often in windy Wellington, but when it does it shuts down the airport and the foghorns start up in the harbour with a vengeance.

This morning there must have been a boat going out and one coming in, because it was a foghorn duet. Last night there was one that you could feel vibrating your insides within our house 3km from the harbour.

I like foghorns.


So this kayak fishing idea has been kicking around in my mind for a while, and this week it crystallised into something that's within the realms of possibility. It's a combination of realising that Wellington has one of the fishiest harbours and coastlines in the country, but that a lot of it's not accessible by foot (too many rocks and weeds on the beach side) or boat (too shallow and lots of reefs on the water side). What this means is that there's this band of underfished water, outside the reach of both shore-based and boat-based anglers.

Enter the kayak, a wee manoeuvrable shallow-water compatible boat.

As it turns out, kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and is getting quite big here - as evidenced by me seeing as many people in kayaks as in boats from my forlorn beach at Makara on Sunday. And it was the ones in kayaks that appeared to be among the fish.

So anyway, I've been doing some research and discovered a few things:

1. Like many of the fun adventure sports, it's dominated by men. And the gear is mostly made for men.
2. It's big enough now so that they are making dedicated fishing kayaks, with things like rod holders and bait boards built in.
3. To set myself up to do this would cost me around $2500.

The first one is interesting. I had a chat with Dave at Fergs about it yesterday, pointing out that at 60kg I'm not interested in paddling a boat that's designed to cart a 100+kg rugby player around. Apparently Ocean did make a 'chick's boat' but nobody bought it because a) it was pink, b) it said on the marketing blurb that it was designed by women for women, and c) it was called The Venus. These combined factors ensuring that 'no bloke would buy one', and given that the kayak fishing scene is a sausage fest, that basically meant they didn't sell enough to continue the line.

I could probably teach Ocean a thing or two about marketing adventure toys to women. Like, make the boat a bit smaller and lighter but don't call it bloody Venus, don't make it bloody pink, and don't try to pretend that women are a separate species that need their own special equipment. Especially not in adventure sports. It's right up there with those Bic pens for women that the world is still taking the piss out of.

Basically, by making this boat so very gender-stereotypically marketed, they put off both women and men from buying it. Top tip for adventure marketers - women who do these kinds of sports have enough of a battle for recognition and acknowledgement, without someone's marketing putting them in a hot pink boat with Venus emblazoned on it and thus marking them as Not The Same And Therefore Suspect.

*ahem*

So anyway, the boat that appeals most to me is this one:



Yes, I know, it's orange. The shop model at Ferg's is green. They are deliberately brightly-coloured because hey, small boat, the brighter the better for not getting run over by those container ships with foghorns I was talking about before. And it's not pink.

This one rocks in at around $1600 new with a rudder (important in Wellington because usually it's windy and with no keel, kayaks are vulnerable to wind), and then would need a paddle, bouyancy aid, running rig with anchor, and a landing net to be set up. Also a set of roof racks for the car. So yeah, as with many sports the sky is the limit, but I could set myself up in this boat with all the goodies I need for around $2500.

I have $2500 in my savings. My savings is for frivolous things - I have a separate retirement and rainy day savings that I don't touch. I could spend my savings on doing this and have some change left over, but not a lot. And I feel surprisingly weird about cleaning out my savings for a toy. Especially when at this point I'll be playing on my own.

If I bought a motor boat I could take my friends fishing. It'd cost a shitload more to set up though, and have substantial ongoing costs. I've had three people already tell me they'd be keen to go fishing with me (and that's land based), which I couldn't do in a kayak unless they hired one to come too. But I would be able to go out on my own whenever I wanted, and my chances of coming home with fish would be vastly increased.


So, instead of going "Fuckit" and spending most of my savings on what isn't really an impulse buy but feels like one in a way, I arranged with Dave to go in sometime this weekend and go for a paddle. They have a couple of fishing boats in their hire fleet, and the idea is that Dr Wheel and I go down there, hire a couple of boats, paddle around, hop out, tip the boats over, right them, hop back in, swap, paddle around some more - in short, give them a good test. Dave suggested I bring a rod to see what actually fishing from one would be like.

That way I should get an idea of how hard it is to get where you want to go in a kayak, and whether I'll find it enjoyable enough to do regularly. But I suspect if I do enjoy it a lot, in the near future I might be forking over a shitload of money for a large hollow bit of plastic and some string.

In orange (or green). And with the manly name of Prowler. *ahem*

Comments:

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From:ghost_light
Date:February 19th, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
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Kayaking always sounds fun, I've never heard of people fishing out of them!
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 08:42 pm (UTC)
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Years ago I did a bit of whitewater kayaking. I was never very good at it, because the restriction of sit-in kayaks combined with the increased likelihood of ending up upside down in a river current while thus restricted scared the crap out of me.

But the advent of sit-on kayaks has opened up a whole world of possibilities in terms of a portable platform for doing fun things with. They're more stable too, if they tip you are free to swim away, and wet exiting doesn't result in your boat sinking. So it's all win and I'm kicking myself for not having thought of it before. ;-)
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From:ghost_light
Date:February 19th, 2014 08:45 pm (UTC)
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I would be afraid of going upside down in one too! This is so cool to read about!
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 08:50 pm (UTC)
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I even did a course where I learned how to right myself without getting out of the kayak, I could do it but never mastered it. And doing it while in a swimming pool surrounded by others is very different from doing it in a river while you're being carried downstream towards rapids at high speed.

The upshot was that the thrill never outweighed the scary/effort for me with whitewater boats. But the idea of using one to facilitate me doing a sport that I know I really enjoy? Feels like a good idea.
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From:ghost_light
Date:February 19th, 2014 08:53 pm (UTC)
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It really does sound great for you.
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From:nessaneko
Date:February 21st, 2014 08:47 am (UTC)
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I did kayaking for about five years, from 10-15, because my stepdad was really into it and so a lot of family holidays were spent kayaking. We did those practice courses every holidays but I was really not into the idea of getting wet (although I could flip myself upright pretty well after a while). As a result, we did five days on the Whanganui River and I was the only one who didn't go under, cos my reaction was "NOPE NOT FALLING IN SO WILL STAY UPRIGHT THX".

Also, two recommendations: a) you can get second-hand ocean kayaks quite cheaply, and b) if you do reconsider the sit-in kayak, I really recommend either a 'Storm' or a 'Squall' - they're both really stable and sturdy but even as a fifteen-year-old 55-60kg-ish girl I was able to maneuver both very easily, especially the Squall. Plus it was fun to surprise old dudes by picking it up to load it back on the trailer.
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From:downwardlashes
Date:February 19th, 2014 09:28 pm (UTC)
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Are they sure that the Venus boat wasn't designed by four year old girls? It's hilarious but also maddening :/
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 09:35 pm (UTC)
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SRSLY.

I looked it up, here's their marketing.

"Easy car-topping" is apparently a thing. Except there are techniques that allow anybody to put a kayak on a car roof without help, regardless of height or strength. And it annoys me that they assume women can't do it.



I also note that the main pic and blurb in the Ocean NZ site features a yellow boat and non-gendered writing. Maybe they have learned something about how kiwi women don't like to be patronised.
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 09:48 pm (UTC)
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It's not a proper gender-normative alliteration unless it has Penis in it somewhere.

Seriously - venus for girls, penis for boys. It'll be a hit! Right?
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From:tatjna
Date:February 20th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
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Fish fingerer.

But seriously, Prowler? Might as well say "I am the night" or "Tigers got nothing on me."* Whereas Venus says "I'm from another planet."

* Or, "I lurk in dodgy alleys and sometimes steal the undies off your washing line."
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From:pombagira
Date:February 19th, 2014 11:20 pm (UTC)
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so if that is venus II what happened to Venus I??

also the colour.. it burns.. :(
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
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I think it's actually an 11, and the previous model was the 10. And since they're made in the US, I'm going to guess that that's how long they are in feet.

But yes, the colour. Eek.

I would have nothing against pink if it didn't keep getting applied to my gender as some kind of significant thing, and if it thus hadn't come to be seen as a colour that is somehow inferior - as if anything associated with women is automatically inferior. Ugh.
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From:pundigrion
Date:February 19th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
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Hey, lookit you being all Canadian!!

As the home country of the kayak, we have quite a lot of female options, but most are not sea kayaks....and sadly many are still pink and tied to breast cancer. (Seriously, I think people are aware of it by now kthnxbye) Perception makes some smaller vessels (and in Not Pink!) but I'm not sure if any are ocean-appropriate. We have lots of fishing kayaks, but mostly for flat water aka lakes.

Actually half of your rant is pretty applicable to my sock rant. (Also just ask me what I think of the colour options in camping clothing that actually comes in my size! On second thought, you probably know the answer anyhow.)
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
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My snowboarding jacket is grey, because the only alternatives in my size were eggshell blue, or pale pink. *vomit*

Damnit give me acid green or give me death...
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From:pundigrion
Date:February 19th, 2014 10:01 pm (UTC)
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*gasp* You actually found GREY!!!!

Jealous.
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From:tatjna
Date:February 20th, 2014 07:18 pm (UTC)
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Yes. I get the feeling that the sports where numbers are more even have a much better idea of what 'women's' gear should actually be like. Sports like fishing that are still male-dominated tend to retain the archaic view of women that sees us as a separate species.

I also think there are times when things for women should be specific too, like climbing harnesses need to be a different shape. But they don't need to be pink. And a kayak is kind of like a carabiner - your weight might make a difference to which one you get, but being female doesn't mean you need a completely different shaped one in hot pink.

My climbing harness is a Petzl Bonny. It's orange. Bonny is a dumb name, clearly in the 'this is a girl thing' category, but I guess model names have to be a bit silly by tradition - like shoes...
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From:nessainwe
Date:February 19th, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
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I have a kayak but i didn't use it as much as I should have last summer.. on my to do list this summer though :D
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 11:08 pm (UTC)
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I have a kayak too but it's an old school whitewater one, so not really suitable sadly.

I look forward to reading about your adventures!
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From:fbhjr
Date:February 19th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
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Way cool!
That sounds like it would be a lot of fun!
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
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I have been watching videos of people fishing in kayaks on the internet. So far it looks like the fun outweighs the work by quite a bit, but I guess people don't video themselves just paddling for hours, eh?

I guess there's only one way to find out for sure..
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From:bekitty
Date:February 20th, 2014 01:53 am (UTC)
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OMG I really want to go kayaking now. I haven't been for ages, mostly because even hiring one is out of the question for me money-wise.

"Venus" makes me think of that Bananarama song, and those ladyrazors. Which are also pink. And scented. And bloody expensive.

And "Prowler" makes me think "predator" and "creeper". *shiver*
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From:tatjna
Date:February 20th, 2014 01:58 am (UTC)
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I think that's exactly the tone they were going for, only in the 'stalking tiger' sense rather than the 'dude that peeps in your window' one.

English is awesome.
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From:danjite
Date:February 20th, 2014 10:02 am (UTC)
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As mentioned, interested in on land or even charter.

Will consider kayak... sounds fun.
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From:spotsofcolour
Date:February 20th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC)
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Oohh fish and chips.


I just cannot with the image of a bright pink kayak called 'Venus'. Like. I don't understand why they thought that should be a thing.

Good luck with your adventures in fishing!
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From:adam_0oo
Date:February 24th, 2014 04:07 am (UTC)
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I knew a girl who had one of the fishiest harbors.

Also, I am going to need to see a citation on kayak fishing being one of the fastest growing sports.

Or on fishing even being a sport.
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