Tuesday, 11 December 2012 13:01

Sneak Peek: The New and Improved P&H Aries

I recently got sent a couple photos of the updated P&H Aries that is just starting to arrive in North America from the UK factories. The Aries is the fibreglass (or Kevlar) model that is very similar to the rotomolded plastic and highly successful Delphin.

Though the Aries has been out for a couple years, they have made some design adjustments based on feedback from boat owners and P&H team paddlers (which I’m a member of).

Apologizes in advance as a couple of the photos are not the greatest but it will give you an idea of what to expect in the spring when the boats show up at your local paddling shop.

The biggest change is the addition of a day hatch. To make room they changed the existing rear hatch from a large turkey platter to a smaller 8” round cover to match the front. This change totally makes sense since the vast majority of people are not packing this boat for a 10 day expedition and a day hatch is bit more practical.

They are now recessed slots in the bow for a spare paddle. Looks like a nice design feature that will help keep paddleshafts in place in surf.

P&H Aries front deck with new recessed paddle holders.

The security bar has been moved from directly behind the seat to between the day and rear hatch. The gap below the security bar looks slightly deeper as well so it should fit thicker lock cables than older models. The other advantage to this move is that the new location will also make it function better if you set your boat up for a deck mounted tow line.

P&H Aries rear deck.

Check out those new thigh braces! I can see the whitewater outfitting influence here and they should give you more boat control.

P&H Aries cockpit.

A couple of other updates include the new improved skeg slider system as well as improved stainless steel backband ratchets. No more rusting in salt water!

It’s never a good sign when rescue officials refer to you in the local paper paper as, "incredibly under prepared, inexperienced and did everything wrong."

This comment was dished out by Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt after the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter in New Zealand had to go and pick up a father and son duo that planned to paddle down a 60km section of the Tutaekuri River . The pair thought it would taken them 5-7 hours to complete.

"They were located near the Maungatutu end [of the river], having travelled about 5km in 24 hours. The planned trip was about 60km long on the river which has a low water flow at this time of year and is not normally suitable for this type of kayak trip.

"With their speed of travel it would have taken about five days to cover the distance they intended and that would have involved a lot of walking."

The article also made a summary of some of their other mistakes:

  • The pair wore light clothing and were poorly equipped to stay out overnight.
  • They were wearing life jackets but had no means of emergency communication.
  • A cellphone they took with them was "useless" as the area had no coverage.

You can read the full story here.

Photo credit: Martin Cathrae - Creative Commons

Just imagine how envious your camping neighbours will be when you pull this out of your canoe and set-up shop. The only addition I would make is to add in a battery operated light that turns on when opened. People will swear that it’s filled with glowing gold.

Can somebody please rush this to market? Work with me people.

Photo Credit: cheezburger.com

There is a new rough-water sea kayaking symposium taking place this coming September in the Maritimes that you should plan to attend. The Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium will be a 3-day paddling event that combines world class coaching with paddlers in one of the most spectacular coastal setting in eastern North America, The Bay of Fundy.

Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium Logo

I just got an email from one of the event organizers, Christopher Lockyer who mentioned that they are looking for coaches for the event. If you are interested in teaching you should apply [pdf link]. The application deadline is February 1, 2013.

Check out their website for more info.

Top photo credit: BOFSKS

Paddling Headquarters Logo

I’m super excited to finally unveil Paddling Headquarters, the next step for Paddling Instructor.

The idea for the rebrand started a couple of months ago when I was looking back through the site archives and I realized that even though there is a lot of teaching resources and “how to teach” articles scattered throughout, the site is much bigger than that. I think the name; Paddling Headquarters is more about what this place really is. A spot for people to come and discover the crazy weird stuff out there related to the outdoor world.

For those who might worry, I don’t have any plans to change the type of content I currently posting. It’s all stuff that interests me so why would I write about anything different? I do have plans to expand the instructor resources available for download over the winter as some of the existing content is getting a little long in the tooth.

So let me know what you think. I’m always interested in your thoughts, story ideas and suggestions.

A very special thanks to goes out to Keith Wikle for the name suggestion, it’s greatly appreciated. You should have heard the duds I was going to name it...

Sad outdoor industry news to share. The manufacturing shop for Sterling Kayaks in Bellingham, WA burned to the ground today. The building and all its contents was a complete loss. Early reports speculate it could be from something faulty in the electrical wiring.

I really hope they are able to get back on their feet soon as they have put out some really cutting edge designs over the past couple of years. So good in fact that Outside Magazine named their Reflection as best boat of the year for 2012. I got to demo one this fall and boy was it fun to surf with.

More info: Sterling Kayaks Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Sterling Kayaks

Update: Sorry kids, the boat is sold.

You are looking at one of the greatest kayaks ever built and it could be yours for only $800 firm. Behold the Slipstream designed by the late, great Derek Hutchinson and manufactured by Current Designs.

The slipstream is 10 years old and she has taken me all over Georgian Bay and Lake Superior on trips up to 7 days. She surfs great and really loves to play in and around rocks.

This boat has been highly customized over the years including:

  • fibreglass/graphite reinforced keel strip
  • deck compass (has a crack in the housing but can be replaced)
  • sailing cleat and eyelet for a deck-mounted tow system (rope not included)
  • custom front bulkhead (for an inseam of 32” or shorter. Sorry basketball superstars)
  • Guzzler 400 foot pump (MSRP $200)
  • North Water reflective deck line covers on the bow and stern

I will be straight up with you; I wouldn’t describe this baby as like-new or even in newish condition. The fact is she is well used, so if you are looking for a scratch free boat, keep looking. There are a couple of minor chips in the fibreglass here and there but there are no structural cracks in the hull or anything like that.

She is still a fine boat with years of life still in her.

Please note that with the custom bulkhead it is going to be a tight fit for anybody with an inseam longer than roughly 32”. It’s possible to cut out and move the bulkhead if you find the fit too tight for your monster long legs.

The boat is located in downtown Toronto, Ontario and I can arrange an on-water boat demo at any time.

If you are looking to purchase your first kayak and looking for a high performance boat at a cheap price, you found her.

If you want to see the full collection of photos in high resolution click here.

Interested? Email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Update: Sorry kids, the boat is sold.

Sad to hear that Harlan Taney was forced to abort his attempt to break the speed record for paddling down the 277 mile Colorado River. His goal was to catch a scheduled flood release to help push him down the length in just over 24h. The current record is 36 hours.

Things went wrong at mile 82 when his Epic 18X touring kayak got pinned on some rocks at Grapevile Rapids and he broke his elbow (ouch).

Harlan is ok but he had to swim another three miles before he could hike back out of the canyon.

Here is the press release announcing the record attempt while local Arizona public radio covered the sad news of the accident.

Monday, 26 November 2012 15:55

Look Who’s Canoeing Now: Lance Armstrong

The king of cheats, Lance Armstrong was spotted this weekend in Hawaii out paddling in an outrigger canoe with friends.

Lance Armstrong canoeing in Hawaii.

Image credits: dailymail.co.uk

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