WildWater wrote: »
A Dagger 8.1 is a river runner / white water boat. The foam serves multiple purposes. A tphase has pointed out it is there for buoyancy. In other words when you fall out and the boat fill with water the foam provides buoyancy. 1) by its own buoyancy properties and 2) buy allowing less water into the boat.
Most kayakers will fill any cavity in the front or back of the boat (that they don’t need for gear) with either more form or air bags. If you fall out a lot then you will be very thankful that you have filled the boat with foam and air bags.
The foam also has a structural function in that it provides increased rigidity to the boat. High volume fast flowing rivers are a powerful force of nature. Get caught in the wrong spot and your boat could be crushed around you. The foam helps to prevent this from happening.
In sort, do not remove the foam.
As I said at the start, the boat you have is a river runner and river running is incredibly dangerous even when people know what they are doing. If that is what you want to do then you need to join a club and go paddling with people who are experienced. Whitewater is a great trill but you need to build up to it and always go with a group who have leaders who know what they are doing.
You can mess about with in on flat water, improve your balance and your strokes etc. Initially you may find it difficult to paddle in a straight line. The reason of the is the boat is designed for quick turning on a fast river not for going in straight lines. You will be able to master going straight but it make take you a couple of goes to get it. Once you can paddle straight you can do a bit of distance but padding a boat like yours over say 1km is going to be a real dog. That’s touring boat territory.
You have the boat. My advice is by a good buoyancy aid and helmet and join a club. Finally, do not use a spray deck until someone has done a capsize drill with you. Good luck.