I used to be scared of whitewater…Anna’s Perspective
IÛªm Anna, wife of Adam, and here to tell you what itÛªs been like watching the development of the bellyak from my perspective. åÊIf youÛªre interested in polyethylene, foam and fiberglass, you will not be interested in what I have to say. åÊIf you only want to hear about how extreme this boat can be, go ahead and click onto another post from Adam. åÊIf, however, you are someone who is new to whitewater, maybe a little afraid of trying kayaking for fear of being trapped in a boat, or you just want a sweet little love story, read on.
So IÛªve always liked water, but notåÊloved it. åÊI know, to all you hard core paddlers out there, you must think IÛªm weak. åÊIt was just never my thing. åÊI love beingåÊnear the water! åÊTo stand on a sandy beach and look out over the expanse of ocean-like the rest of the Earth is just beyond the end of the horizon-is an unmatched feeling. åÊI grew up in Western North Carolina, 4 miles from the French Broad River. åÊIt always felt like a part of me, like somehow that murky water was in my DNA. However, due to my immense respect for the power of water I was always happy enough to just look at it, watch the waves curl white over the rocky surfaces. åÊMy family would take a rafting trip once a year down the river with the French Broad Rafting Co. åÊIt was great! åÊI loved being on the waterÛ_but my exploration ended there. åÊWhat was my next option? CanoeÛ_.not interested. I tried a Ducky years laterÛ_fun and safe, right up my alley. åÊBut to kayakÛ_this is where my relationship with the river ended. åÊI couldnÛªt get past the spray skirt. åÊIt seemed like too steep a learning curve. åÊI am HUGELY impressed by all whoåÊcan get in a sprayskirt and learn to roll, or at least face that challenge. åÊBut, so sorry, NOT for me!
Fast forward several years, and I met Adam Masters. åÊ**Cue wedding music** We met, fell in love, got hitched. åÊOhhÛ_how sweet! åÊ Unlike me, Adam has been in and on water his entire life-kayaking since 6 yrs old. åÊWhat does this have anything to do with the bellyak? åÊIÛªm getting thereÛ_
As we develop and test the boats, we have to get them out on the water to feel how they do. åÊIÛªve watched and helped Adam develop and design the boats for the past year now from the perspective of someone who is green to the river. åÊFor months, I was the wimp whining, ÛÏit hurts my neck! åÊWe need to steepen the curve of the chest cavity.Û Or, ÛÏI feel too insecure, out of controlÛ helped realize a deeper body cavity to lower the center of gravity and soften the edges of the boat so it was less tippy. åÊI canÛªt tell you how many times Adam would lead me through a rapid and immediately turn around once through, only to see me getting flipped and dumped on some benign rapid. åÊWhat came out of all this was some perspective of those who donÛªt know water as well. åÊItÛªs definitely an art. åÊThereÛªs a whole language in how the water moves and as someone without all the experience, it was important that the boats could be ridden by everyone, even us newbies. åÊAnd thereÛªs plenty of us out there! Kayakers are amazing. åÊThey can take a boat beyond the limits of what seems sane, safe, or possible. åÊBut there are also lots of people who simply want to have a fun and safe experience. åÊWeÛªre hopeful that the boat can provide this for youÛÒespecially the FrequencyÛÒour more stable of the two models.
What the bellyak has done for me: åÊIÛªve taken the bellyak down sections of river I never would have seen before unless in a raft or ducky. åÊNot only that, but the vantage point isåÊentirely different! åÊIt is so much more intimate as the water splashes up and down the body of the rider. åÊItÛªs not like sitting up and above the waterÛÒyouÛªreåÊin it on the bellyak! åÊThe bellyak has helped me get out and see places I probably never would have. åÊIt has provided me with another way to encounter the water and to go places I likely wouldnÛªt have traversed. åÊWe live in such an amazingly beautiful and rich planet. åÊTo be out on a river or out in the ocean surf and feel safe is such a gift.
So I encourage all of you who may be too timid to try kayaking to try bodyboating in a bellyak. åÊIt might just do for you what it did for me.