I love the Outdoor Retailer trade show. It’s that time of year that the dam bursts and companies start unveiling all the new gear that will be on the store shelves next season. This past weekend Necky Kayaks pulled back the curtain and showed the world their newest boat, the Elias. The Elias is based off the same lines of their highly successful female focused boat, the Eliza. Necky describes the Elias as: An agile, playful and responsive touring kayak. The Elias takes its design cues from Necky's popular women's specific Eliza kayak, with a slightly longer and larger hull designed to appeal to a broad variety of paddlers. At fifteen and a half feet, the Elias is extremely efficient for a kayak its size. Its relatively modest waterline translates into less effort for the paddler at normal cruising speeds, making the Elias significantly more efficient for everyday touring than other kayaks in its class. Also available in a fibreglass and carbon layup, the Elias is ideal for day touring and weekend excursions. The Elias is available in both rotomolded plastic and composite layup and is 15’6” long with a beam of 22.25”. Similar to the Eliza series, the plastic boat is only available with a rudder while you have the option of a skeg if you purchase the fibreglass or carbon layups.
P&H Kayaks unveiled a couple new toys at Outdoor Retailer this year with the biggest announcement being a new kayak model called the Hammer. Here is the description for the Hammer from the P&H website: The Hammer is a new generation of sea playboat that will take 'playing the sea' to a higher level. Benefiting from the expertise at Pyranha Whitewater kayaks and the influence of the P&H Delphin, the Hammer is designed for rock gardening, surfing and 'extreme sea play'. The Hammer’s planning hull, progressive rocker and unique bow profile make this ocean playboat extremely versatile. The Hammer is loose and manoeuvrable in surf and in tight rock gardens, yet tracks well on flatwater. Construction is a tough, single skin roto-mould, the same as Pyranha whitewater kayaks, and offers full whitewater outfitting including a fully adjustable seat, adjustable hip pads, thigh grips and full plate footrest. The boat is 13.8 feet long with a beam of 24.5’ and as you can see from the photo there is huge amount of bow rocker so it should perform very well in surf. I’m looking forward to giving it a try when they are available in the near future.   The other big announcement from P&H was a redesign of their skeg slider system. Many people have been complaining that the old slider made the skeg very difficult to actually use. I can agree with them. It takes far too much work to put the skeg on my Cetus LV back up I hardly ever use it. I tried out the new system a couple of months ago and can testify that it’s a huge improvement to the old sliders. The skeg is actually useable. Photo credits: P&H Kayaks
Looks like Adventure Technology Paddles is trying to steal some market share from Werner Paddles by introducing several new models aimed at the high-end market. Come Spring 2013, you will be able to see their new high-angle touring paddle called the Oracle which looks promising. They are also introducing a carbon blend shaft for all of their blades to cut down on the weight. You can get the full skinny on the new AT models below.
Face it, nothing is quite as frustrating as getting your boat stolen from the top of your car while you are sleeping at a hotel on your way north to the trip put-in. To keep your canoe, kayak or surfboard from walking away; invest in a set of Kanulock stainless steel reinforced straps. For the past couple of months I have been eying them online but since I don’t own a car, I don’t get to experience the joy of tying down boats very often. I finally had the opportunity to play with them this past Spring while teaching a several kayak courses with my good friend Tony Palmer, owner of the paddling shop Undercurrents. Over the 10 days of teaching we hauled boats back and forth to the local lake every day. The Kanulock straps are exactly what you think they are. They are constructed of tubular nylon webbing with two braided stainless steel cables running the length inside the webbing. The wire reinforcement is designed to keep an opportunistic thief away as the straps can’t be cut with knives or scissors while the synch-down cam has a built in lock to make the system even more secure. The first time I tied down a boat I thought that straps would be really stiff but I was pleasantly surprised at how pliable they were. You can easily tie the straps in a knot or loop the ends around the racks to eat up the extra strapping. The Kanulock straps come in three lengths 8 feet, 13 feet and 18 feet and pricing ranges from $79 to $99 so check out your local paddling shop or visit online at
Kokatat has just announced the fruits of their labour with the recently announced partnership with Eric “E.J.” Jackson and his son Dane. Starting January, 2013, you will be able to purchase the Kokatat Jackson Collection which will include specially designed dry suit, dry-top and shorty dry-top. Everything will be unveiled at Outdoor Retailer in a couple of weeks but they released a couple of sneak peek photos below. As you can see, everything is designed from a whitewater kayaking perspective so most of the bells and whistles (like pockets) that come on their touring gear have been left behind with a focus on sleekness, function and flexibility.  GORE-TEX Icon Dry Suit The new Icon Dry Suit is a tangerine coloured suit with nice graphics on the arm. The most obvious design change (compared to their other suits) is that they moved the entry zipper from across the front of the chest to the back of your shoulder. I don’t know all the reasons for the change but my guess is that it allows the front of the suit to be more flexible and move more comfortably during whitewater tricks.   GORE-TEX Legend Dry Top The new Legend Dry Top has many of the same features and colour pattern as the Icon Dry Suit (minus the pants of course). If you have a tighter budget, the dry-top will also be available in their new Hudrus 3-Layer fabric. More on that below.   Hydrus 3L Mythic Shorty Dry Top The new Mythic Shorty is going to be available in a new material called Hydrus 3L. I don’t know a whole lot of information about Hydrus 3L but it looks like somebody has finally figured out how to make a waterproof breathable nylon material. Here is the description I found: The Mythic shorty, part of the Kokatat Jackson Collection, features Kokatat’s new Hydrus 3L, a three-layer fabric that is exceptionally waterproof and breathable thanks to its super tough Nylon outer layer with a DWR finish, a proprietary polyurethane micro-porous coating, and a soft polyester inner layer to manage moisture. I wrote to Kokatat…

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