The following post is by Brian Miller, former member of the US Freestyle Kayak Team and keeper of the stoke for Team Bellyak.
I’ve been trying out the Bellyak this summer and it is a real Blast!åÊ My sons ages 8 & 9 took the Frequency surfing for a week off the coast of SC and they loved it.åÊ The Frequency fit both boys on it quite nicely and they had great success catching an endless number of waves.åÊ They also took it on theåÊ inlet river chasing Dolphins and Shark fishing off the back ofåÊ and loved it; although it was little sketchy whenåÊ they landed a shark onto the Bellyak! åÊ They were able to lay, sit and even stand both on the ocean and flatsÛ_.honestly they could not get enough of it.
Over the past several weeks I have had chance to hone my skills on the Play 35 runningåÊsome big water like the French Broad at 17k, Charlotte White Water ParkÛ_and I have to admit I am getting somewhat hooked!
What I love is that it has changed the OPTICs fromåÊwhich I seeåÊthe river. åÊIt brings me back to that little kid on Christmas Day feeling where everything wasåÊnew and excitingÛ_.from class II rapids, to surfing waves of all sizes to runningåÊsome stout Class IVåÊsmiling and grinning from cheek to cheek. åÊåÊRemember as a kid body surfing or boogie boarding on an ocean wave and feeling the water vibrating all around your body , pounding and pulsing, foam everywhere and you are plainingåÊout above it,åÊsurfing it, head dry, carving left and right? åÊRemember at the end of that ride you would pop up full of energy ready for the next surf?åÊ That is the feeling I am getting from the Bellyak. åÊIt is almost like that water rushing all around you is infusing energy into your spirit, your soul; almost a born again Riverman type of experience.Û_so much different from kayaking. åÊDonÛªtåÊget me wrong,åÊI love my C-1. CleanåÊcart wheels,åÊblunts; that love will never die but the opportunityåÊto take those skills and try to pioneer new tricksåÊand first descents on the BellyakåÊis very coolÛ_.and yes I can get clean spins kneeling on the Bellyak. åÊIåÊhave seen the current Bellyak World Champion nail with consistencyåÊÛ_blast surfs, 360 shove its, clean 360 spins, kneeling surfs, kneeling 360åÊcleanåÊspins, body varials and superman seat grabsÛ_.now how cool is that!
The BellyakåÊexperience is so different from hard boating where you are stuffed intoåÊthe kayak and very little of you ever touches or is engaged with the waterÛ_truth be told we boat because we love the water, however in a kayak so little of your body ever engages with the water. åÊOn theåÊBellyakåÊyou are at eye level in the river, totally engaged with the craft and the water, you get to use your hands, feet, rails of the craft, you can lay prone, kneelåÊand if you are good enough, stand.
What is totally addictive andåÊoutright fun are theåÊepic blast surfs you can pull off on theåÊBellyak and running big water at eye level is FULL ON.
Curious if any other boaters have given this a go. åÊWhatåÊI have learned from the Bellyak is that it takes riveråÊruns and features that you are totally familiar with and makes them all new and FUN again. åÊåÊDonÛªt think I will ever hang up the kayak but the Bellyak has been a great surprise, it hasåÊbeen rewarding and exhilaratingåÊon runs I normally would have beenåÊboredåÊon.åÊåÊEven after a big weekend of creeking I found myself on Overflow thinking about the Bellyak. åÊThe utility of the Bellyak is huge and the potential is endless. åÊThat being said off I go to the French Broad River Ledges section for an after work sessionÛ_..hope to see you out there!
Author, Brian Miller:
Former US Freestyle Team Member
Former C-1, OC-1 National Champion
2000 C-1 , OC-1 World åÊChampion.
Proudest Accomplishment: Green River Project that raised 10k to preserve access to Green river in memory of Daniel Delavergne.