The reason I love the Play 35 is the same reason Bill Wunderlich, 2 time Tennessee State heavy weight wrestling champion loves the Play 45: it just fits. When I first cruised on a Bellyak I made it down the Class 4 waters we were paddling with a huge smile on my face. I’m sure that was the only pretty thing that day because I had only a taste of what was possible. Now, 2 years later, my bellyak and I have been getting down right nasty. While the barrier to entry is low on a bellyak, the level that you can take it athletically seems to be limitless at this point. Taking my game past the point of river running and basic belly surfing required me to tap into my friends named agility, strength and finesse.
Let’s Talk About Feelings
This is what I really love. I love how agile the Play 35 is. If you give it a little nudge you can go places together. The boat is designed to be stable enough to inspire confidence but with an agility derived from the advances in hull design of modern freestyle kayaks. The ample rocker allows the boat to spin and pivot with ease. I knew it had potential because on my first ride it spun me and took me places I never intended on going. Once I made the commitment to work together with my Play 35, I was hooked.
Confidence and communion with the river is something I have been able to achieve in a greater way than I ever could in my kayak. Perhaps it’s because my body covers more surface area on the water. Perhaps it’s how I”m able to respond to the river rather than just reacting to every single current that comes at me.
Going Fast Sitting Still
Nothing says New-Age spiritual like surfing a wave in a bellyak. One of my favorite pastimes is surfing at staging eddy on the Ocoee, watching creekers in full faces practice their roll in the eddy next to me. And as I write this I can’t help but laugh a little because in a few years our experience today will seem so underwhelming by the standards of what will be created tomorrow.
Like jumping curbs back in your huffy bike glory days thinking you were all that therewas in the world only to learn that mountain biking was already a thing and you were living a lie.
I have to admit I used to be a little bit of a freak about getting a workout in and I’ve always dreamt of legitimately having fun and being fit at the same time. I like ball sports but they still hurt when I’m tired, but have you heard of Bellyak Fitness? My idea of Bellyak Fitness is taking my bellyak whitewatering and playing as hard as I can only to find out when I am done that I am completely exhausted, my hip flexors are more open than that can of worms you opened when you asked your grandma how she was today, and my arms and abs feel like I’ve been on that crossfit diet. All the while I was just having fun.
Better than the local public pool
Really there’s not much I love more than river running on the bellyak which is something almost all of us can do whether it’s on class II or Class IV. I love many water sports, but the one that makes me giggle the most at the same time challenge me is bellyak. Aside from swimming, it’s the closest I have been to really being a part of the water.