Paddling Cypress Creek
by Skip Johnson
I had promised a report on EasyB,
so here it is for the moment.
First EasyB does a good job with one of the first design criteria,
and I can haul around granddaughters with ease.
As a bonus Mothers-in-law also.
Most of my paddling is done on a little section of Cypress Creek
not far from my office in Houston Texas. There is a relatively
easy put in under the 249 bridge though it is a long 1/4 mile
carry from the nearest parking lot. A side benefit of some road
construction some years ago was damming up the flow of the creek
a bit so there is a pool of water upstream that's paddable even
during the dry season. It helps too that there's been a lot
of development upstream creating more wastewater discharges,
though most people don't like thinking about such stuff.
The 249 Bridge
There's about a 2 mile stretch upstream to the
Jones Road bridge that I currently paddle two or three times
a week. There are a lot of other places along the creek to paddle
as well as other venues, but this little section is like an
old friend easy and comfortable to be with, willing to let me
ramble and reflect on my life, without passing judgment.
The Jones Road bridge
There is little visual evidence of civilization,
one view of the top of mid rise offices at HP's campus (formerly
... and a pipeline crossing at the only real shallow
spot in this stretch
Most of this section looks like this...
...just before the 249 bridge.
Back to the boat itself, EasyB was built out of scrap/salvage
Cieba with an emphasis of the shape rather than being an elegant
looking boat. Turned out the Cieba looks really good under a
coat of purplish old epoxy (kinda dead looking under clearcoat
resin) and the shape I had planned to be 'just right' is flawed
several places with creases and wrinkles (first time in 18 boats)
probably brought on by glassing the outside during a driving
rainstorm. Fortunately, not being perfect isn't a fatal flaw,
else I would have been dead a long time ago. The creases and
little bumps are like beauty marks now, just a part of the boat.
Haven't fixed a seat or footrest yet, just sitting cross-legged
on a 3" hard foam pad works for the moment. I'm still using
the double blade from the Bionic Log which is a little too short
for this boat plus the blades want to be a little smaller shaped
different, less effort required. Embarrassed to say I haven't
tried a wet re-entry, the only times we've been in deep enough
water, a lot of other family stuff was going on. I did go swimming
once before I got the floatation fitted in the ends, but was
also dealing with a runaway ACDC and got to swim two boats back
to the shallows, not my finest moment.
The strips for a light new tapered birdmouth paddle shaft are
made up and I'll get you an update when I get a seat and the
other stuff done.
There's not much I'd change on the boat right now, it works
really well. Hence the enduring popularity of similar boats
like the Wee Lassie. Might cut down on the crown of the decks
a little bit, would definitely widen the spacers at the gunnels
an 1/8" or so, the gunnels flex a little more than I thought
they would when levering my 190+ pounds out of the boat. Thought
the freeboard might want to come down just a bit but it seems
to be just about right as is. Handling wise the boat moves up
to its wave limited speed quick and smooth, truly easy to paddle.
The only surprise so far is a tendency to turn away from the
bank when running through a shallow spot.
This is the first boat of mine that I'd consider building another
just like it (except for the beauty marks) so maybe its time
to think about developing a set of plans and instructions.