On Saturday, August 22, 2012 our whole family went to Hungry Mother State Park to enjoy a day on the lake and to try out our newest toy—a 2012 Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak.
Back in April I saw the new edition of the Zydeco at an outdoor store over in Boone, really liked it, and so I ordered one. I purchased it to be used with my 10-year-old, 12′ Perception Antigua Kayak for group trips or for quick “throw the ‘yak on the roof and go” short trips. In mid-June we picked it up, and we have been waiting for a several months to test it out.
So we packed up the Jeep for a picnic, put the two ‘yaks on the roof, and brought along some spinning rods for good measure. It was a beautiful day in the mid-70s with low humidity. The sky was mostly sunny, and the lake was really busy.
The beach was open, and my two boys were suddenly more interested in swimming and going off the diving boards than kayaking, so I took the new Zydeco for a solo trip all around the lake.
Circumnavigating the entire lake takes over an hour, as it’s about a 100 acre lake and there are approximately 3 or so miles of shoreline. I’ve kayaked from one end to the other and back in under 35 minutes while racing in the Mountain Do Triathlon multiple times, but it had been a while since I had just gotten out and kayaked for fun on a summer day. Consciously trying to stay close to the shore, in order to truly go around the whole lake, it took about 1 hour, 20 minutes of consistent paddling.
As I have written previously, Hungry Mother State Park also has trails that circle the lake, as well those that climb to the top of Molly’s Knob. With all that this park has to offer, it is still probably a bit underutilized except for some of the busier summer weekends. From my own personal use perspective, this suits me (and, I suspect, most of the other park patrons who live around here) just fine.
So, how did the Zydeco handle? Overall, pretty well. It’s very manageable at 36.5 pounds (a lot easier to get on the roof than the 49 pound Perception) and very easy to turn. The lighter weight suits it well for smaller folks, which is one of the main reasons I got it (for my boys and wife).
The shorter length does make the Zydeco track a bit less well than the Antigua (meaning it doesn’t hold a straight line without correction as well. Better tracking generally allows for more powerful paddling).
Both the Antigua and the Zydeco are “Adventure Recreation” kayaks, meaning they’re designed for light touring or class I or II+ whitewater, not for sea kayaking or hardcore whitewater rafting.
The Zydeco fits the bill for what we’ll need for the next several years when we go on family, mild whitewater, and fishing trips in the region. I think the two kayaks will pair up well for our future adventures.