As I am currently testing the Vestvika from MSC, I needed also some heavy sea to test the kayak in. Part of my test-protocol is paddling and surfing in breaking waves because I need to know what a seakayaker can face when he or she has to navigate in breaking waves or surf when the weather has turned bad. Just to let them know on forehand how the kayak will behave in a situation like that in case they have ever to face these conditions themselves.

Sometimes I have to wait some time for heavy weather. However this time I was lucky. I followed the wind-forecasts on and already a week on forehand, the expectations were windforces of 8 Bft on thursday till saterday. Honestly I thougth this was too heavy for a test. But here I was lucky again, for during the week the expectations changed in my favour: the whole week there was quite a lot of wind with the climax on friday with 8Bft. But saterday, testing-day, a windforce of 5-6 Bft was expected. Perfect, because "the wind is still in the water" and quite a lot of surf can be there.

Saterdaymorning 9.00h: Wietse and I were standing on the beach of Bakkum and Castricum. The surf looked impressive. May be it is because of this that I dressed myself in my steamer backwards: with the back on my breast. At the moment I wanted to close the zipper I just wondered: was the zipper always on my breast?? Last time I remember it to be on my back. Joking: I only have this steamer for at least 10 years already.
There is no other way then to undress again and go through the heavy cycle of undress and dress again. Don´t laugh, you there!!

First I paddled alone while Wietse shot pictures of me in the surf.

After that Wietse joined me there.
Paddling this surf in the Vestvika was a little bit on the edge because I had to be very alert on stability and had not much energy in reserve to spend eventually on other kayakers. This again is proof that this kayak is ment for very experienced kayakers.
Because of this I had not much energy left after 1,5 hours and I had no fun anymore; The information I got was that everything a kayaker can have to face in surf can be done with this kayak IF the kayaker is experienced. However there is no much fun in doing so because you are working on the edge. This is the reason that I did not have the courage to experiment, while testing, with "not leaning far backwards while surfing" to prevent nose-diving, because I didn´t like to make a forward loop under these conditions in a Vestvika. However I was surpised the Vestvika had, because of its slender stern, no tendency to loop backwards while breaking through surf. Backwards surfing did not occur because I, again, did not like to let this happen today, but I expect you will have to perform a very fast high-brace once this occurs. Because I was not too happy after some time, I even had a wet exit in a big dumping wave which forced me upside down in a very strange way.

After the 1,5 hour we decided to quit and head for the Almaardermeer (quite a big lake nearby where the wind builds waves as well) to compare Wietse´s Bahiya and the Vestvika on their stability in waves: I would like to use the Bahiya as a reference for its stability because in the test of the Bahiya, a few years ago, we concluded that the stability and other characteristics of the Bahiya were reason to advice this kayak only for advanced paddlers.
So now the opportunity was there to compare both kayaks.

Unfortunately I had to remove all of the foam, I customised the Vestvika with, for Wietse did not fit into it: This proves how personal the customising of a kayak is.

But it was worth it because I was surprised about the Bahiya: compared to the Vestvika I could sit very relaxed in it under this conditions, in which the windforce increased till 6-7Bft in the meantime, without the constant balancing of the hips which the Vestvika required.
So I must have gone through a big learning cycle in practising better balance because, during the mentioned test of the Bahiya, it was concluded that she was not very stable.
I was astonished about this learning cycle because I am used to train in a flatwater, competion kayak (a K1) and did not expect to need more balance in any seakayak than in the K1.
The difference between Vestvika and Bahiya is in the initial stability, because the end-stability is the same for both kayaks; which means "a little bit low" as well.
Wietse thougth the Vestvika also to be more advanced than his Bahiya and expects paddling the Vestvika costs quit a lot more energy (mental and in balancing) resulting in being more fatigue after a tour. He did not like the behaviour of the stern, neither the comfort of the seat.

So the end of the test-period comes nearby. If possible I would like to paddle big following waves again to concentrate on nose-diving. Besides this only minor research rests; like the x-rescue and the measuring of the volume.