Paddling Cypress Creek
by Skip Johnson

Hi Chuck,

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 Compaq) ...


... 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.

Best wishes,