After ordering my Dagger Axiom 8.5 from North East Kayaks and Paddles and waiting a few weeks for the ‘custom’ colour to be ready it finally arrived and is stunning!
Personally I’m really not a fan of the wavey two tone stripe on the boats and love the clean look of the boat in a block colour. The colour is a buttery, strong yellow, a bit deeper than sunshine but not as dark as mustard, therefore she is called ‘Buttercup’!
When I got the boat home I set about outfitting the boat. The foot plate in the Axiom is brilliant with adjustment screws which you loosen to move and angle the ‘foot cups’ to fill the space. I adjusted the rail and positioned the foot cups roughly so I could get on with cutting the foam wedge to size and placed some small airbags behind the foot cups.
Dagger have provided quite a lot of foam to help you outfit the boat. I started with the with foam wedges that had Velcro attached to the back, placed in and cut to size, before overlaying with the foam pad which has the raised circles. Although it comes with a peel off sticky sheet, I applied glue to the sheet before sandwiching together and I also removed the Velcro strips, aligned to where the strips are on the foot cups and reattached (with glue) to the back of the foam, waiting 24 hours then simply placing them in the foot cups ensuring the Velcro was stuck together. I did move the rail back one when I had placed the foam in, but I would have needed to remove the foam and adjust the foot cups if I wanted to move further.
With the rest of the outfitting I didn’t have to do much apart from tightening the back band and moving the seat a couple notches forward which were all extremely easy tasks. After our recent trip to Wales I did decide to insert a seat booster shim as I felt a bit too low in the boat. All in all this has been the first boat I’ve actually enjoyed outfitting as it has been relatively straight forward and quite intuitive.
My first outing with Buttercup was on the Awe, getting to grips with tailies and surfing a couple of waves. Despite having a grapefruit sized lump on my bum due to a skating crash earlier in the week, we took the boats to Tryweryn for the weekend as it really was an ideal river to try a bit of everything (and there is like NO RAIN!!). By the end of the day I was surfing, boofing, attempting slalom gates and eddy hopping my way down the river, exploring new lines with confidence. It also means I am now not only an active (and most hilarious) member in the “North East Kayaks Crew” I have now become eligable to enter into the “Axiom Division” which is currently three strong and growing!
I knew from previous trips in an Axiom that it is a fast boat and think this will do wonders for dialling in timings for those strokes and moves, without having to be as concerned with forward paddling to gain speed. I’m looking forward to refining my skill set on the river, as well as getting monster tailies!