Gear

The kayak forward stroke. We make use of it 99% of the time out on the water but it’s also the one stroke that most people do poorly. Sure we can get from A to B with little difficulty but as soon as you need power or efficiency most paddlers don’t know how to fix it without coaching and serious practice. Motionize is a new product to help make your kayak forward stroke better by using of technology as a virtual coach.
Kokatat has always been known as an innovative company especially when it comes to dry suits. While they didn't invent them back in 1971 when they first started stitching, there is little doubt that they should get the credit for making them appealing to the masses. Starting next year Kokatat will be taking a giant leap forward with the roll-out of the Idol drysuit with what they are calling SwitchZip technology. Gone will be the giant brass zipper across the chest in favour of a 360 degree waterproof zipper located around the waist. To me this is going to be a huge game changer. The new zipper will still be a 100% waterproof but will allow you to completely separate the pants from the top allowing you to mix and match depending on the conditions and/or water temperature. If you only need a paddling jacket than leave the pants behind or zip them together as a regular drysuit. I will file this whole thing under the why-didn't-this-come-out-10-years-ago-idea. I haven't tried it on yet but I suspect that this is also going to make the fit and comfort of the suit a whole lot better as it should be considerably less bulky upstairs without that stiff brass zipper jammed under your lifejacket. Also ladies, you won't need to order the drop zipper any longer. You know that drop zipper that makes butts look twice as wide? I kid! I kid. As far as the placement of the new zipper, I've been told that when seated, it will sit inside the kayak cockpit between the backband and the seat. Designed into the suit is a simple Cordura cover so it won't get hung up in kayak rigging or PFD's. So when will it be showing up at paddling shops? Kokatat says to watch for the new Idol sometime in January, 2015.
BCU Coach, Howard Jeffs recently rolled out a series of quick-repair kits developed specifically for kayakers. The nice thing about them is that they are individually packaged, sealed in plastic and ready to go when you...um...smash your boat and need to fix it, often right there on the water.
Anything that's 3D printed is just awesome in my books. Doesn't matter if it's this thing or that thing, it's awesome. Leave it up to Jim Smith over at Grass Roots Engineering to take things to the next level with his latest project, a 3D printed sea kayak.
For me, the worst part about paddling in the winter is the cold hands. It seems that no matter what I try my thumbs are always unhappy inside of 30 minutes. To help address the problem, UK wetsuit manufacturer, Ianovated has come up with a unique wetsuit design with an integrated breathing tube to deliver hot air directly to your hands. The idea is that when your fingers get cold, all you need to do is blow into the tube and deliver a stream of hot air. The manufacturer says it works well with both gloves and open palm mitts. So far the wetsuit has been marketed towards the wind surfing community but I think it could easily be used for paddling due to its loose fit above the waist for freedom of movement. To keep the top from filling up with water it has a neoprene gasket that you can tighten. Here is a quick video of the suit in action. Right now Ianovated has a deal going on where all their suits are £250 ($415US). You can also give the new suit a try for six weeks and if it doesn't work out you can return it for any reason. That's a pretty generous offer. More info: ianovated.co.uk Photo credits: ianovated
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