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This summer was taken up mostly by squirt boating yet again thanks to Cowbell and a new Ninja designed by Jim Snyder and built by Ed at Murky Water Kayaks up in Canada.

The process started sometime in December 2022 when a friend of mine from Asheville let me borrow his 12 year old Ninja. He just got a new Squid and loved it, so for him it was no big deal to share it. I had a Stealth designed by Jim that I really liked but could feel it ascend to the surface when I wasn’t ready. I felt like I needed a longer, wider, slower, lower floating boat that could open up doors for me underwater, and that’s exactly what ended up happening.

The loaner Ninja was one of the smallest most painful boats I’d ever been in. At some point this past winter I ended up at the confluence of the Little River and the Tremont Branch just outside Townsend, TN for a sink sesh with a couple of friends at a prime 3.5 ft level. We arrived early at the Y and I was first into the water. I dropped my dry bag off on river right and paddled into the seam, tilted the right side of the Ninja into the oncoming current and slowly but surely started to spin to the left. I gulped air quick because within a couple rotations the boat tapped bottom. My rides have never been very long but are progressing nicely, and this boat was helping.

I surfaced and honestly thought that first easy dip in a Ninja, at the Y, my favorite sink spot, was kind of a fluke. It wasn’t. After the third sinky ride I knew I had to get one of these boats. I was hooked on this design and that’s when the process started. We stayed for hours that day, it’s the type of spot you don’t want to leave.

A couple months later I had to give the boat back. Fast forward to June/July there was a gathering at Cowbell which was awesome and then the new Ninja I ordered showed up. It has been hands down one of the most fun boats I’ve ever paddled.

It’s actually a little comfortable which means I can fit a drysuit in it for cold water sessions plus it floats just above my belly button which is perfect. It tends to slow itself to a stop and want to switch direction of rotations, which is always fun, not to mention the ease of it’s sink and how it will really hang deep and stay put. If I can just figure out how to extend these rides things will only get better. Paddle paddle paddle …