A new episode of Ken Whiting's online TV show, Facing Waves just got posted their and this time it focuses on my buddy and fellow team P&H Kayak paddler, Ray Boucher from Wawa, Ontario.

This episode focuses on rougher water paddling on Lake Superior. The cinematography looks great and I think you will agree that the camera really brings out Rays eyes.

Tuesday, 07 October 2014 00:00

Need Kayak Now? Build one out of Chip Bags

For years I now I've been wondering (and I know you have to) just how many bags of unopened chips would it take to keep me afloat and take me on an adventure.

Well some Korean students decided to tackle that last great life mystery and discovered that if you tape together 160 bags of chips into a kayak, you and your buddy can paddle off into the sunset and international fame.

chip bag kayak

More info: wsj.com

I love when people bring technology and the outdoors together in unique ways so I knew this project was right up my alley as soon as I stumbled upon it.

What you are looking at here is called the Tide Machine. It's a simple, internet-connected surfboard that reports the current wave height from your favourite weather buoy.

Here is a quick video to see it in action:

Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00

Design a Better PFD and Win $10,000

Think you can design a better PFD than the one you currently wear in your canoe or kayak? If so, you could win up to $10,000 in a contest organized by the BoatUS Foundation.

Yes, its super silly and my kids made fun of me for watching but I don't care.

This is brought to you by Ylvis, that same guy who wondered a while back what foxes say.

Just read some really good news tonight, the new organization, Paddlesports North America which replaces British Canoe Union North America has just become the official delivery organization for the BCU here in North America.

Alec and Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin explained the impact of this development on their website, Have Kayaks Will Travel:

This is an enormous development, and one that’s been in process for several years. It means that we can now promote, train and support coaches to deliver BCU programming and maintain all achievement records on this continent, and be more responsive to the needs of North American paddlers and coaches.

So congrats to everybody involved in getting this going and I’m really looking forward to watching PNA grow in the coming years.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 00:00

Weird Kayak Inventions We Are Better Off Without

Looking through the online Google's collection of patents turns up no shortage of weird kayaking related inventions.

Here is a quick round-up:

The paddlebow

The Paddlebow

Like kayaking? Like bow hunting? Why on earth would you ever consider looking at them as two different sports when you can combine them for a way better paddling/hunting experience.

This little invention allows you to clip on a trusty crossbow to the shaft of your kayak paddle allowing you…to…well, let's let the patent description do the talking:

The Paddlebow is a bow which can be easily mounted on the shaft of a paddle and used to shoot arrows. The bow is mounted to a paddle shaft by way of a clamp system.

The Paddlebow allows its users to shift from the action of paddling their kayak to the action of shooting an arrow in a quick and comfortable manor.

All I want to know is how the inventor expects you to comfortably paddle with a giant crossbow on the paddle. Also with the weight all forward of the paddle, it would just keep falling down hitting the deck of your kayak as you paddled.

The patent was issued in 2010 so maybe it just hasn't hit the market yet.

 

The heated kayak paddle shaft.

Heated kayak canoe paddle shaft

From the patent description:

Patent Description The heated paddle shaft is a heating device integrated into the shaft of a kayak or canoe paddle. The pads are placed on the shaft to keep the operators hands warm. A rechargeable lithium ionized battery source is the charge for these pads.

Maybe it's just me but I certainly don't paddle enough that I thought, “wow, a heated paddleshaft would come in handy right now.”

In 2010 the US patent office issued this idea.

 

The Kayak Rack

Kayak deck rack assembly

Here is an idea! Let's add luggage rails to the back deck of your kayak effectively making it impossible that you will ever be able to get up on the back deck if you need to be rescued. Also, let's stack as much junk on top of your boat and make it as top-heavy as possible.

Not sure why it hasn't taken off since the patent was issued back in 1993.

 

The paddle mirror invention.

Kayak paddle with safety mirror

So this inventor clearly hated looking behind him and felt that there were huge crowds of people who also only wanted to look at their friends via a mirror and felt there was some sort of market for this.

It's exactly what you think it is. A mirror that attaches to your paddle so you don't need to turn your neck.

The patent description is priceless:

A major problem in kayaking is that the user must normally turn the kayak to some extent in order to view the area behind the user, which turning is difficult and time consuming, and also very dangerous in white water kayaking conditions. Also, a busy kayak user must generally keep both hands on the kayak paddle for control of the craft, which is quite tipsy in the water.

 

kayak breakaway hatch

Breakaway kayak cockpit and method

Ok, here is one invention that is an interesting idea but there some real world design flaws with it.

The idea with the breakaway cockpit is that if you are kayaking and get stuck in your boat that you could push up and against the front of the cockpit, the panel would release giving you lots of room to escape.

The problem with it is that the deck of the kayak would lose a lot of structural integrity epically in a small whitewater kayak where having the deck of the kayak implode is a realistic scenario. That's why they put those vertical foam pillars down the length of the boat.

Also, it looks like the breakaway panel and by what I can read in the description, the coaming itself is held in place by rubber gasket. That might keep things together while the kayak is on the shop floor but the stresses on these areas of the boat are considerably greater than what a little gasket can stand up against. I'm pretty sure that the whole system would just fall apart.

Looks like the idea never really panned out as a patent was filed way back in 1985.

 

The Kayak airway system

Emergency air system for kayaks

This seems like an interesting concept in principle but wow, look at the huge number of parts making the simple idea of a breathing tube for whitewater kayaks overly complicated.

I like how the inventor has added a snorkel mouthpiece to make breathing more comfortable (like you are going to be using it all the time).

The inventor got his patent back in 2004.

 

I love when cool technology comes together.

Huntsville, Ontario resident, Ben Carlin started up a new company this past Spring called Intrepid360 with the aim to combine 360 degree video and marketing.

He recently partnered up with Algonquin Outfitters to demonstrate the immersive and very powerful form of video by taking us on a family canoe day trip in Algonquin Park. You might recognize blogger, Jennifer Johnson and her family from the site, Backcountry with the Kids.

Watch the video below, move your mouse around and visit Algonquin Park in just over 3 minutes.

I love this old footage from 1949 showing the demonstration of a game of canoe polo at a local boat regatta. To both the untrained and trained eye it looks like total chaos but at the same time a serious boatload of fun.

I got a pleasant surprise in the old email box the other day when I discovered that Jeff's Map has released a brand new map for Temagami region as well as a major update to his Killarney Provincial Park and surrounding area.

If you are an Ontario paddler who hasn't tapped into the amazing resources that Jeff produces and makes available absolutely free on his website you are missing out for sure. They are easily the cleanest and most comprehensive canoe/kayak route maps out there today. Also, in many cases they are more accurate than the official park maps themselves (I'm looking at you Algonquin Park Canoe Map).

The Temagami canoe map is filled with a pile of relevant information for canoeists including:

  • thousands of campsites and portages
  • hundreds of canoe routes
  • crown land
  • ice cold springs
  • historic ruins
  • fire towers
  • historic ranger cabins
  • other notes of interest

Also, the northern and western extremes of Temagami region are fully documented for the first time.

Jeff's Map of Georgian Bay

Sea Kayakers will be happy with the updates to version 2.0 of his Killarney Provincial Park Map which now includes more detailed information for the Georgian Bay area just south of the park.

As I mentioned Jeff makes all his maps available for free to anybody who wants to view or print them off yourself (ahem, the colour printer at work) but he also makes them available for a small charge if you wanted to order it on waterproof paper. One cool thing is that 5% of all sales of the new Temagami map is donated to Friends of Temagami who do a great job lobbying to protect that area.

More information: Temagami, Killarney, Algonquin Park

Map Credits: Jeff's Maps

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