Today, several long months after purchasing my 1962 Pionier 450S, I paddled it for the first time.
The interesting spraydeck did not remain attached to the coaming on the right front of the cockpit. The clips kept coming loose. I eventually removed it. The after portion of the spraydeck remained in place without any problems, and I left it on.
I did not use the rudder today. This boat doesn’t track nearly as well as my Pouch E68, but then, what does? I used the kayak’s inflatable seat cushion, but while using it, never felt securely in place. When I stopped to stretch, I removed the cushion and stowed the front part of the spraydeck behind the seat.
The kayak’s primitive-looking wooden seatback, affixed to a sort of thwart upon which it swivels, provides comfortable back support, totally unlike the seatbacks crafted for the more modern Pouch E68 and RZ96. With the inflatable cushion off the apparently ergonomically curved wooden seat-bottom, I found paddling much more comfortable and felt more securely, um, in touch with the kayak.
The cockpit’s traditional gothic-arch shape allows the paddler to lock knees under the deck outboard the coaming. My E68 feels “loose” around my waist without the inflatable hip-pads on the Nautiraid Greenlander seat I use in that boat. The 450S does not feel like it needs a hip-fit modification. Another cool thing about the gothic-arch cockpit is that it minimizes, along with paddle drip rings, the volume of paddle drip falling into the boat. I used a Euro paddle today, for no good reason I can think of, but was glad of the paddle’s drip rings when I removed problematic forward section of the spraydeck. Although I didn’t paddle for more than two or three hours today, my butt, legs, and lower back did not and were not numb after a fair amount of time on the uncushioned seat.
The Pionier 450S is not as fast as my Pouch E68. It has some rocker (the E68 has none), and is about a foot and half shorter. It took me longer to paddle a short distance, which may be accounted for, in part, by the fact that I have not paddled in several months – probably not since July of last year.
Paddling did not seem to unduly stress the shoulder that’d required surgery in August of last year. As I write this, my surgery-side trapezius is painful – but I can probably correct that with better posture and exercise. Of late, I have not religiously adhered to the regimin of post-surgery corrective exercises prescribed by my physical therapist.
For about the first 30 to 45 minutes, none of my body’s right-side movements seemed to coordinate with those of my left-side. I had a strong sense of lopsidedness. Eventually I seemed to get a rhythm and my muscle-amnesia lifted a bit.
Some of the Normandy Lake pictures I took today follow: