Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Outfitting the Crux

Creekboats are a little like shoes… when you first get them you slip around inside and generally feel really uncomfortable. Then… just when you’ve got them bedded in just the way you want them, its probably time to replace before you wear a hole in the sole.

Outfitting a new creekboat has become a bit of a ritual for me. Not only have I done all my boats but some of my friends and my girlfriends too, as so I wanted to get the Crux feeling just right asap. It arrived pretty much at the end of the last season so I never really bothered getting it sorted… but now to pass the time whilst waiting for the delivery of my shiny new chronic I thought I better sort it out before the winter water arrives.

The first thing to do was get some nice hip pads in there. I’ve used all sorts of hip pads, from the Pyranha syncro6 to ones I’ve made myself out of bits of foam. I really like these Teksport ones so Iv decided to use them, of course fashioning your own out of minicell foam has its advantages but I really fit these quite nicely and it certainly saves me a few hours with a knife. Hip pads like this can be bought from most canoe shops.

The next thing to think about was the essentials.


I don’t like my throwbag rattling around but I also don’t like clipping it in (its just takes a bit too long to get it out when the S hits the F). the best way I have found is to strap it in with elastics. Making it easy to grab if needs be.

Usually you would have to cut a hole through the central buoyancy to thread the elastic through (a right pain in the ass) but on the Crux it’s a bit easier… move your hands down the front buoyancy and you’ll feel a gap around where the footplate sits. This makes a perfect place to thread the elastic.

To make the bag sit a little more evenly I decided to cut my own “bag space” in the front central buoyancy. (disclaimer) I do not recommend anyone does this… to do so will certainly invalidate your warranty and tamper with an important safety feature. This did however work quite well for my bag and puts it in the perfect pace for easy access.


My new saw has a sheath and as this seams to be a pretty neat solution for stopping it rattling about and keeping it out of harms way. Clipping it to the footplate rail wasn’t too hard… a simple matter of unscrewing the belt clip and using the same bolt to attach it to the rail. A neat way of doing it… just need to remember to take the saw out when not in use (or it’ll rust pretty quickly)

Repair kit

In an effort to keep my creekers balanced I like sticking a little gear up front… usually this means taking the foot block out but in the Crux I’ve managed to use the same space I used to thread my throw bag elastic to sit my small BDH. Another piece of elastic makes sure it holds in place nicely. (my BDH is currently in my room in Bangor so I just used a spare throw bag to demonstrate.

Other kit…

I once heard a scare story about how keeping your splits underneath your airbags can cause breakages…obviously plastic bends when you hit rocks and if it b ends into your fiberglass/carbon paddles then their possibly going to break. Now… I don’t know if this is true or not however I don’t like to take the risk. What I do instead is split all the gear I intend to take on that particular day into two piles and stick each in a mesh bag (does anyone know where I can buy theses? Their so handy) for drainage. This just stops things like your paddle shaft working its way underneath your airbag and keeps everything together.

These bags I then place above the airbags before re-inflating. As many modern day creekers have an almost “hump-backed” stern you’ll usually find more than enough storage space (even in the “modestly proportioned” Crux).

For my creeking paddles I use the paddok system on my main set and my splits… this means that If I ever have a breakage I only ever have to replace the part that’s broken. So in a sense, instead of carrying a spare paddle… I’m carrying 4 spare parts. Meaning I can potentially afford 4 breakages instead of the one.

I also use the switch lock system on my spare in the back. This means that If anyone else in the group breaks their paddles I can set my blades up at the feather their used to with no hassle. I also ordered this set without an indent to make it suitable for a larger range of people.

Of course there are loads of different ways of doing this job... this is just my way which im sure many people will disagree with, but if it helps you come up with a few ideas then all good :)

(the boat all finished)