Ely, Minnesota (July 15, 2015) – Educators and explorers Dave and Amy Freeman will kick off A Year in the Wilderness this September, continuing their efforts to gain permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. For this expedition, the Freemans will spend a full year in the Boundary Waters. Last year, for the pair’s Paddle to DC journey, they paddled and sailed 101 days and 2,000 miles from Ely, Minnesota, to Washington, DC, to help protect the Boundary Waters.

"We are wilderness guides and educators and this is our way of working to help keep this wilderness wild," said Amy Freeman. "We care deeply about this place and we will do everything within our power to ensure that it remains intact for the next generation."

Their new expedition will continue their efforts to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mines on the edge of the Wilderness and support the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. "We made a commitment to protecting the Boundary Waters when we took on the Paddle to DC, but we know we still have a lot of work to do to protect the Boundary Waters watershed from sulfide-ore copper mining and we want to do what we can to finish the job," said Amy Freeman.

"On September 23, 2015, Dave and I will launch our canoe in the Kawishiwi River and paddle into the Boundary Waters and become immersed in the Wilderness for a full year," said Freeman "We will camp at approximately 120 different sites during this Year in the Wilderness and travel more than 3,000 miles by canoe, foot, ski, snowshoe and dog team. This trip is about bearing witness to the very land and water we are fighting to protect."

Dave and Amy Freeman have traveled more than 30,000 miles by kayak, canoe and dogsled through some of the world’s wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic. They are 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year.

The Freemans also run the Wilderness Classroom Organization, an educational nonprofit geared towards inspiring kids to get outside and explore their world. Wilderness Classroom’s current reach is 100,000 elementary and middle school students, and 3,200 teachers around the world.

Throughout A Year in the Wilderness, the Freemans will invite others on resupply missions that will allow them to personally witness the beauty of the Boundary Waters and what’s at risk from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mining.

Dates and locations for A Year in the Wilderness kick-off events, resupply missions and other information will be announced closer to the launch of A Year in the Wilderness.

More info: savetheboundarywaters.org/WildernessYear

coffin sup

I love everything about the recent story in the Canberra Times newspaper in Australia where people have been reporting the eerie sight of a man dressed as an undertaker while on a stand-up paddle board shaped like a coffin. I'm serious; you can’t make this stuff up.

Jeanne Mclauchlan was one seasoned paddler who spotted the man during an early morning venture to the lake on Saturday morning.

"In the distance, as we came towards the Carillon we noticed a figure emerge from the thick fog," she said. 

"It was a figure of a man dressed in a tuxedo and top hat on a stand-up-paddle (SUP) coffin, complete with flowers, paddling toward us.

"We asked 'coffin man', 'Where are you going'? His response was, 'To Queanbeyan cemetery as I have a 3pm grave site to prepare'."

But of course some people have their coattails in a knot as some relatives of patients at Clare Holland House (a local hospice) felt that looking out and seeing him paddle by was both inappropriate and insensitive.

So the mystery lives on of who the paddler is and what I think is one of the greatest paddling costumes ever.

More info: canberratimes.com.au

Photo credits: Jeanne Mclauchlan

Thursday, 18 June 2015 11:00

Video: Learning to Roll with Dane Jackson

Check out this super succinct whitewater rolling instructional video posted by Dane Jackson. Five phases from zero to hero roller.

I just got word from the folks at Naturally Superior Adventures that trip I'm guiding this summer enough people signed up to ensure that it's a go. But I'm on the hunt for 1-2 more people to make it even awesommer.

Taking place July 31 to August 8, we are going to catch a boat shuttle who will drop us off our on the elusive, mysterious and hardly ever visited, Michipicoten Island on Lake Superior. Over the course of seven days we will circumnavigate the island then make the 16 kilometer crossing north between the island and the north shore. Once that adventure is complete we will turn right, keeping shore on our left and paddle back to Wawa.

So who is this trip for? Well, due to its extreme remoteness and long crossing, this trip is aimed towards the intermediate and above paddler. You should have a firm grasp on self and group rescue as well as the physical stamina of a crossing of this nature.

The thing that makes this trip unique is that it's a self-sufficient trip in that you are responsible for your own camping gear and meals. I won't be cooking for you but instead we will work as a group on decision making, risk management and route planning. It's perfect for those who have kayak tripping experience so doesn't need a guide to pamper them but appreciate the extra security blanket of somebody who has paddled the route before a couple of times.

Wreck of the Billy Blake on Michipicoten Island.

So what's out there to see? On a scale of 1 to wicked awesome, I would rank Michipicoten Island in the high fantastic to super cool awesome range.

It's got:

  • Wild Caribou
  • Shipwrecks (at the water's surface)
  • An abandoned fishing camp to explore
  • Three lighthouses
  • Sea Caves
  • An abandoned copper mine from the 1880's.
  • Extreme remoteness

So for me the two real gems of the place are the wild caribou (which there are about 100+ head) and the abandoned copper mine on the northwest shore of the island. Back in the 1880's the mining company packed up and went home leaving behind a large collection of mining equipment to rust. We will spend a good part of an afternoon exploring the site while at the same time avoiding the open mine shafts scattered around the now grown up forest.

Michipicoten Island copper mine.

Interested and want to come? You really should. To be quite honest, this is a very exclusive experience as only a small handful of people visit the island each year. The numbers are so low that a commercial trip (with the crossing) was only done for the first time when we did it two summers ago.

Here is a photo gallery of the trip I guided two summers ago.

 

More info: http://www.naturallysuperior.com/michipicoten-island-advanced.html

Thursday, 02 April 2015 20:58

What's Wrong with this Photo?

For a while I had a job where I outfitted ad agencies with gear and we worked hard to keep them from making stupid mistakes like this.

Thanks to my buddy Tim who discovered this gem at his local gas station in Newfoundland.

ARCATA, California (March 23, 2015) – Kokatat announced today that it has teamed up with paddling industry veterans and expert instructors Steve and Cindy Scherrer and their Shellback Paddle Experience (www.shellbackpe.com).  The Scherrers recently founded the program to share their stand up paddleboarding expertise with aspiring paddlers and the top paddlesport shops across the country.

“Steve and Cindy are two of the most respected paddlesport instructors in the industry,” said Lisa Kincaid, Kokatat PR/Promotional Marketing Manager.  “They've been great supporters of Kokatat over the years and we are excited to have them back on our team.”

The Scherrers founded Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe in Portland, OR, in 1986.  They sold the business in 2004 and joined Confluence Watersports to help design boats and work in the field as training and technical specialists.  They left Confluence last year and founded Shellback.

While touring the country they will be conducting skills classes in SUP as well as training and certifying ACA SUP instructors. Additionally, the Scherrers will be providing shop clinic support to Kokatat's sales team and will be highlighting Kokatat's products during their classes.

“We've been fans of Kokatat since before our Alder Creek days,” said Steve Scherrer.  “We've had a strong relationship since then and believe they not only produce the finest kayak apparel, but are a model company.”

For details on the Shellback Paddle Experience and dates of their clinics visit www.shellbackpe.com.

About Kokatat Inc.

Kokatat has been manufacturing paddling gear in Arcata, California for more than 40 years. At a time when many technical apparel brands were moving manufacturing offshore, Kokatat continued to invest in infrastructure in the United States. Kokatat founder Steve O’Meara was committed to the development of the finest and driest paddling apparel in the world and recognized the need to control and continually evolve the development of our dry wear. In the early days, Kokatat worked closely with W.L. Gore & Associates, makers of GORE-TEX®, to refine the sewing and sealing techniques required for full immersion suits and tops. Today, our hands-on approach to manufacturing continues to set the standard in paddling apparel. Into the water with Kokatat! Please visit www.kokatat.com and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.

Did you know it's possible to navigate your way to every single NFL stadium in the US by kayak?

It's true. A couple of days ago Reddit user, /Bhockzer posted the routes to every single one. And while he did have to be "navigationally creative" for a couple, it's possible to paddle to your next big game even if it's via a storm creek.

Heinz Field via Google Maps

Here is part of the full post:

Take St. Lawrence Seaway to access the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes. Be on the lookout for sea monsters, vikings, wayward Pilgrims, and Explorers.

  • Gillette Stadium (NE) > Neponset River > Atlantic Ocean
  • MetLife Stadium (Jets & Giants) > Upper Bay > Newark Bay > Hudson River > Atlantic Ocean
  • Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles) > Delaware River > Atlantic Ocean
  • M & T Bank Stadium (Bal.) > Chesapeake Bay > Atlantic Ocean
  • FedEx Field (Wash.) > Cattail Branch > Beaverdam Creek > Anacostia River > Potomac River > Atlantic Ocean
  • Everbank Field (Jax) > St. Johns River > Atlantic Ocean
  • SunLife Stadium (Miami) > Royal Glades Canal > Atlantic Ocean
  • Bank of America Stadium (Panthers) > Irwin Creek > Sugar Creek > Catawabe River > Fishing Creek Lake > Wateree Lake > Wateree River > Lake Marion > Lake Moultrie > Cooper River > Charleston Harbon > Atlantic Ocean
Photo credit: Heinz Field HDR | Flickr by Jacob Caddy Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC 2.0

Sea Kayak explorer, Justine Curgenven just posted a new trailer of her most recent expectation where she joined Sarah Outen and set-out to paddle the 2,500 kilometer length of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

Judging by the trailer, it looks like one of the craziest adventures either of them has been on in quite a while.

Kokatat has outfitted a four-member team that just began a whitewater journey of a lifetime, reaching from South Africa into China.

Stage one of Expedition Inception, a two-stage expedition, will take the team from South Africa to Egypt. Over the course of about eight months, the paddlers plan to run and explore multiple first descents and source-to-sea waterways.

After a short break, Kelly and I are really happy to announce the latest episode of our podcast, Kayak Mainline. Sweet, lucky episode 13.

This time we get together and discover

  • a contest to win $10k for a PFD design
  • a weird amnesty pond for unwanted goldfish
  • the strange history of nuclear-powered wetsuits.

Plus more science fiction book reviews and why Trailer Park Boys is the best Canadian TV show (except for the Beachcombers).

The Beachcombers banner

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did putting it together.

There are several different ways to get our sweet voices directly into your ears:

You can stream it live in your browser here:

 You can mp3directly download the mp3 (Right click and select, "Save target as..." or "Save link as...".

Subscribe via iTunes Subscribe via Stitcher

iTunes user? Subscribe and get each new episode downloaded directly to your iPhone/iPod as soon as it’s uploaded.

 

itunes podcast icon

Not an iTunes user? We distribute Kayak Mainline also via Stitcher. They offer a free fantastic podcast app for both iPhones and Android making it easy listen while on the go (or sitting traffic).

 

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