For me the Xtra is a natural extension of Tiderace’s no compromise approach to developing sea kayak performance. It is a boats that takes playing the sea into new dimensions.
Extra Special Place
A couple of hours drive takes us from my home to some of the world’s most special places where challenge and adrenalin can be found big style by the sea kayaker. Islands and seascapes that are the stuff of myth and legend, settled for thousands of years where for most of the time the sea was the highway. Civilisations rose and ebbed, monastic orders, the Vikings and the Celtic kings all arrived on the tide and departed on the West winds here. Seil Island, the Sound of Luing, the Garvellachs, Scarba and the Great Race of Corryvreckan and the Grey Dog. Fast moving water at the edge of the Atlantic remote not in distance but inaccessible if your kayak is only a play boat. The Xtra took me to play and journey in these seas and home again.
Xtra Special Boat
The Xtra loves this meeting of rock and the Atlantic, this inaccessible edge. And I love being in this boat. It works brilliantly, is highly manoeuvrable yet rock solid in bounce back near the cliff base, edges and rides the waves and is always looking for more and more challenge. It is not designed for speed but I have no problem keeping up with others who are out for a paddle and to watch the world go by. But when the going gets rough and lesser boats hesitate the Xtra gets going.
Some weeks ago Lady Luck smiled upon us. I had an Xtra, we had time and cameras, and my friend Les Kirkpatrick was there. Les can do things in moving water that show exactly why he paddled for his country. This is our Kayak Bute demo Xtra, a sea kayak playing Stanley rapids on the might River Tay.
I think we can safely say that in the Xtra, Aled Williams has designed a boat that has play at heart. And thanks to Les for the great images – and no scratches or worse!
Journeying to play.
Scotland has many world class play areas and the Xtra is a sea going craft that can journey as well as play. It has the carrying capacity to take all that is necessary to make overnight camp and then take us into the playground. Why journey to beautiful places and leave without soaking them in, appreciating and savouring them? When I have the chance it is much more satisfying to journeying by kayak and play and stay rather than arrive and leave a few hours later. The Xtra holds the promise of opening new horizons in how play can integrate with journeying on the sea. I wonder what journeys it could take you on and what playgrounds you might find?
Roddy McDowell, Kayak Bute.