The thing about taking vacation the day Canoecopia ends is that it takes you forever to get around to reporting in it when you get back. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
The short report is that it’s a great event and if you don't go, you need to. It’s one of the few consumer trade shows that the owners and reps of various gear manufactures actually attend so if you can get the goods on new products straight from the horse's mouth.
I had the great pleasure of being invited to give two presentations this year so I showed up with laptop in hand to speak on, "The Search and Rescue Machine" and, "Paddling in Georgian Bay". The first presentation was a look into the technology, gear and history of search and rescue while the second presentation was about why Georgian is the second best freshwater paddling destination in North America behind Lake Superior.
Throughout the weekend I was mainly working in the Naturally Superior Adventures booth meeting people and giving them all the reasons why they needed to cross the border and do a trip on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. I'm super excited about leading a trip for NSA this year (more on it another day) so I spent most of my time telling people that they need to step up and register for the trip if only for the reason that I’ve already asked for the time off work and I really wanted to go.
Wandering around the show floor, I got to hang out with my buddies at P&H Kayaks who were selling kayaks like a flood was coming soon. I will admit that I ended up spending spend too much time sitting in the new Aries 150 and I kinda fell in love. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
For 2013, P&H tweaked the deck and outfitting of the Aries a bit by adding a day-hatch and recessed slots for a spare paddle. To make room for the day hatch, they replaced the rear oval hatch with a smaller hatch which makes sense as it’s a boat built for rough water and this should help keep the hatch from imploding in big surf.
Of course there was a huge pile of new gear on display at the show and by now you have probably read some of the very good reports by other bloggers of their Canoecopia shopping adventures. If you are looking for a solid report, check out Preston Ciere’s blog, portageur.ca. It’s super extensive and he has several great posts showing off some of the treasures he found along the way.
Two of the items that really interested me that were new this year included:
Kokatat has a bunch of new new lifejackets are on the market this year including the very cool Maximus. I tried it on and found it to be super comfortable and streamlined. I really like the small design features like the tapered foam edges which help bulkiness feeling to a minimum. Ticket price for this bad-boy is about $160.
Did you know Lendel Paddles are back? For 2013 they have released several new blade models including their Kinetik Touring line which is a fully carbon blade with a foam core. The construction looks really solid and I like their redesigned Lendal Paddlok ferrule that uses a titanium insert that is pressed out against the paddle shaft to lock the unit together.
I’m really keen to give the new Lendal Paddles a try this season to see how they feel in the water. When I was standing in in the Lendal booth I decided to take one for a paddle up and down the aisle and in the process almost took a ladies head off who was standing next to me. I still feel it was her fault.
I will admit that it’s a bit of a haul driving 12 hours for a weekend but it's a total blast hanging out with paddlers who I see only a couple of times a year. It reminds me of friends you might have had a summer camp when you were a kid. Even though you go months without talking, you fall back in the rhythm and pick up right where you left off when spending the evening figuring out how to change the paddling world over beers.
New kayaking strokes (let alone one that you can actually use) come along once in a blue moon but I think we might have a possible winner here with The Haghighi.
Taught to us by Leon Sommé from Body Boat Blade, The Haghighi is intended as a very powerful stroke when you need to turn your kayak downwind or if you need to quickly turn and catch a wave downwind to surf.
Leon explains the whole thing in the video below so take a look. I haven't played with it yet so I'm keen to see what you think about it after getting out on the water and trying it out. Post your comments below.
Cool history to this stroke, it was invented by Leon's dentist, Dan Haghighi.
These raft guides clearly know where the river photographer is...
Got a quick joke for you:
Q: What's a raft guide without a girlfriend?
NASA recently released a colourised photo representing the ocean salinity differences around the world.
I thought it was pretty cool to see how much of an influence the Amazon River, St. Lawrence River and the ice caps at the north pole. Makes sense when you think about it but I clearly hadn’t thought about it before.
This information comes from data captured by NASA’s Aquarius instrument.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory website explains what’s going on and why we should care about this:
Launched June 10, 2011, aboard the Argentine spacecraft Aquarius/Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas (SAC)-D, Aquarius is NASA's first satellite instrument specifically built to study the salt content of ocean surface waters. Salinity variations, one of the main drivers of ocean circulation, are closely connected with the cycling of freshwater around the planet and provide scientists with valuable information on how the changing global climate is altering global rainfall patterns.
The salinity sensor detects the microwave emissivity of the top approximately 1 inch (1 to 2 centimeters) of ocean water - a physical property that varies depending on temperature and saltiness. The instrument collects data in 240-mile-wide (386 kilometers) swaths in an orbit designed to obtain a complete survey of global salinity of ice-free oceans every seven days.
They also released a very cool visualization showing the ocean surface salinity changes from December 2011 to December, 2012.
Photo credit: NASA
Kokatat has unveiled a brand new system to design your own custom dry suit so you no longer need to look like everybody else on the beach. I remember hearing rumours of this about a year ago so I’m glad to see it is finally available.
The process is pretty simple. After choosing the base model you want, you are presented with a wide variety of options where you can adjust everything from the fabric colours (both top and bottom) to gasket size to the ability to add (or remove) a hood. Of course different options will add to the overall cost of the suit but if you need to have it your way, now you can.
If you are a dreamer jump in and design away to year hearts content. Just don’t copy the gorgeous set-up I designed above or else I will total call you out next time I see you.
More info: Kokatat.com
Check out the trailer for the feature-length film, Midway. It's both fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time.
Using spare narration and stunning imagery, Chris Jordan’s feature film Midway explores the plight of the Laysan albatross plagued by the ingestion of our plastic trash. Both elegy and warning, the film explores the interconnectedness of species, with the albatross on Midway as a mirror of our humanity.
Midway is a feature length film in production schedules to premiere in late 2013. Our film is made possible from generous donation and grants. Please contribute through Fractured Atlas. All donations are tax deductible.
We covered Chris's first photographic journey to Midway Atoll back in 2009.
Thanks to Ray for the tip.
SUP and surf board manufacturer, Blue Planet recently released a comprehensive factory tour showing the manufacturing process of their SUP boards from end-to-end.
I find it amazing that the stickers are all hand-cut with scissors and applied to the board after a good soaking in in water just like model airplane kits you built as a kid. For some reason I always pictured this step as being done with giant robotic arms.
Episode 10 of our monthly(ish) podcast, Kayak Mainline is now out so get it while it's fresh.
In this episode of Kayak Mainline we learn about:
Plus we talk to Darren Bush about the of Canoecopia as well as Ryan Rushton tells us about the kayak trip in Alaska he is planning.
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 directly download the mp3 (Right click and select, "Save target as..." or "Save link as...".
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Flicking through a fabulous collection of our supreme leader, Kim Jong-un looking at stuff, I discovered that North Korea is using the latest and greatest in outdoor safety technology.
What do we see below on these fine-young sky divers heads? Yep, those are Pro-Tec helmets circa 1994? It goes to show that a well-designed product that is basically just moulded plastic will last forever. In fact if you go to any good white water paddling school and you are bound to see a bucket full of these bad-boys ready to be rented out to students for $5 a day.
If you are keen at keeping with the latest North Koran trends you can still get one of those classic designs if you know where to look (ahem, Ebay).
Interested in seeing what else our leader approved of or at least stared at? Here is the full collection below.
Top photo credit: Reno_Whitewater_Kayak_0179 | Flickr - RenoTahoe http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0