Surfing the Delta 12.10
Last weekend I had the opportunity to get my hands on a fun little kayak from Delta Kayaks; the Delta 12.10 kayak. Seeing it on the showroom floor of Backpackers Supply, I was curious to see just how it performed. Although its length might suggest that this boat should be categorized as a recreational boat, it really belongs in the touring group; albeit a very short touring boat. It comes standard with full deck lines, bulkheads, and deck bungees. As I eyed its deep V hull, I couldn’t help but wonder if this boat had any potential as a play boat in the surf?
Wild and scenic rivers
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It didn’t take long to get one on my racks. At 36 lbs, I felt that I should throw some weights in the compartments just so I’d get my usual workout. Got to love a light boat! Once in the back yard, I started going over its features a little more critically. The back band, which is higher and stiffer then I’d like gave me a moment of pause and I wasn’t sure how it would effect rescues or laying on the back deck when needed. However, other than having to retire a beefier figure-eight knot in the adjustment line, I found the back band was comfortable and unobtrusive. Although I’m not a big fan of foot-pegs, as my Tempest 170 Pro has the forward bulkhead glassed in to accommodate my inseam if I had to have foot-pegs I like these. They have a rod which flips to a lock/unlock position and I could adjust them while in the cockpit. Next, I was headed to the pool.
Delta 12.10 Kayak Review
Once in the pool, the first thing that I noticed and was really excited about was the incredible secondary stability afforded by the deep V hull. I could edge this boat up to 70 degrees, and hold it without the slightest brace! I ran through the list of recovery strokes and she behaved fine. My first roll, however, was a bit disappointing, when I went to do my hip snap I just came right out of the seat. The hull is wide at 25”, and the seat is adjustable riding on a track attached to the hull. As a result of this setup, there are no seat hangers to hold a person securely and I’m a wide-body as well. Smaller paddlers would literally swim. Still, an afternoon with some minicell foam and glue would take care of this, and once I knew what I was dealing with I just wedge myself more aggressively in the boat and was able to roll her.
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One nice surprise of all this room is when I went to perform a Scramble Rescue I didn’t scrap my shins to the point of bleeding which is more then I can say for most other boats. A Re-entry & Roll was again a breeze being able to slip right in the seat. Having done these rescues so effortlessly, I didn’t bother with a Paddle Float Rescue, but I can’t imagine that it would be difficult. The back deck has a slight indent to hold a paddle shaft and there are straps positioned to securely hold the paddle in place.
Being so impressed with my pool session, I headed out to the coast as soon as I could. The coastal fog had the visibility down to about a half mile so I made sure the VFH was working properly, then headed out to see how the Twelve would perform. Again, I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn’t get over how well she tracked for such a short boat, and there where times, when I’d let her surf straight down the face of the wave with my paddle, held out of the water just to see how she’d respond and she’d track straight and true; a bit of edge and she’d start to curve. I even let her broach to the waves with no brace just to see if she’d window-shade me, but in the 3 footers I was riding, she just skipped on the pillow. At the end of the day, I popped the hatches and found less than half a cup of water in the forward hatch, and a bone dry rear hatch. Incredible.
All in all, a really fun day with a sporty ‘roadster’ of a kayak, full of responsive handling and well thought out details. Although this boat is probably designed more to the beginner paddler, a fully adjustable seat in the cockpit and this boat would be great fun for any skill level of paddler.