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And we are back! After a long break Kelly and I are very pleased to release episode 9 of Kayak Mainline.

In this episode of Kayak Mainline we learn about

  • a whitewater kayaker who is blind and training for a really scary whitewater adventure
  • the smashed record for kayaking the length of the Amazon River
  • the very smelly history of rotting whale disposal
  • plus weird drowning resuscitation fun facts that involve blowing smoke up the victims...um...bum.

We also interview Sean Morley who spills the beans on what to expect that this year’s Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium.

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

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I recently received a couple Vapur collapsible waterbottles sent to me as a sample. I knew they were coming but I got a nice surprise when I opened the package and discovered that that the company also threw in a couple of their kids bottles after they found out that I had two girls.

Vapur wanted me to give the new designs a try and let them know that the family thought of them.

To be honest, I’ve always been hesitant about collapsible water bottles after having once a bad leak while using a cheap one but when I pulled these out of the package it felt a whole lot beefier than others I have tried before. Vapur describes material they use this way:

Vapur Anti-Bottles are BPA-free and are constructed of three layers of ultra-durable plastic. The innermost layer is made from FDA-approved polyethylene, which is then bonded to two layers of nylon for strength and durability.

Other than that, the "adult" design is a water bottle with a quick flip-up plastic lid that doesn’t leak when you give it a good hard squeeze. The flip-up lid easy to open and with a built-in hinge, you won’t lose the top on a hike. It’s pretty simple.

Vapur Waterbottle Close-up

It’s was the kids water bottles that got my kids (and me) all excited. The Quencher is a smaller sized bottle that holds just under a ½ litre (14oz) so it’s light enough for kids to carry and manage. I can go on and on about design features but really, the best part of it is that fact that it comes with four different great monster patterns. On top of that you also get a sheet of cool plastic stickers so your kid can add the appropriate monster eyes and/or rainbow clouds as my youngest daughter said it required.

My only disappointment was that our sticker set didn’t come with unicorns running on the rainbows. Make note of that Vapur.

Any ways, they are great little water bottles that we’ve been using pretty regularly over the past couple of months and so far the stickers are still going strong (and isn’t that the important part?)

Vapur bottles range between $10-12 depending on the model. They can be purchased online at vapur.us. I also just found out that they have a great kids design-your-own-bottle mini site here so I know you will want to take a couple minutes out of your very busy workday to play with it this afternoon.

Have I got a treat for you today. I just got an email from the fine folks at the Greenland Tourist Association who just released a series of short films highlighting the great things about Greenland.

Take a look at the amazing sea kayak film they put together. What can I say, it’s gorgeous. When you are done with that watch the second clip below which more of a general film about what makes Greenland wicked awesome.

If you are wondering who the paddlers are in the films, one of them is Jens-Pavia Brandt from Greenland Outdoors. He is a local guide working in the Kangerlussuaq Fjord [map link] in western Greenland and offers a whole range of trips in the area for intermediate to advanced paddlers as well as rentals for those who want to do their own thing.

I recently heard about another trip being organized that you might be interested in. This summer the guiding company, Uncommon Adventures is organizing a 12-day adventure to Greenland but what’s unique about this trip is that 7-time Greenland National champion, Maligiaq Padilla will be co-leading the adventure.

Here is the trip description from the website:

This one is completely different. Combine the logistics expertise that Uncommon Adventures is known for with the celebrity status of our co-leader and you arrive to community dinners thrown in your honor. Travel like a Greenlander...hand-lining fish for dinner, learning to eat seal, hunting with your camera, paddling in sea ice, camping in sites used as traditional hunt camps for generations.  Think cultural immersion, think travel like a Greenlander with a Greenlander...all with a bit of a safety net that comes with our 31 year history in the kayak tripping business.

They are planning to do a loop of about 100 miles on the west side of Greenland out of Sisimiut [map link]

The trip starts at $4900 and you can get all the details here.

Mobile Phone into survival tools info graphic.

Next time you get stick in the wilderness with only your busted phone follow the tips on the info-graphic below. I'm pretty sure this will get you out of your bad situation in no time flat. That is, unless you have a fallen rock on your hand. In that case you will need to wait at least 127 hours.

You can thank me later for all this extra knowledge...

Cheap guy tip: Remember to try not to break anything when disassembling your phone so you can still try to make a warranty claim when you get back.

Oh look, another rock star is out on a SUP during his family vacation in Hawaii. Wait, what’s with those toes?

It seems that the Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler, suffers from Morton's neuroma which the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes as, “an injury to the nerve between the toes, which causes thickening and pain. It commonly affects the nerve that travels between the third and fourth toes.”

World renowned reporting journal, Celebrity Fix has all the details:

It seems he has had the problem since the 1970’s of wearing poor footwear and rockin’ it out on stage to much.

Steven has previously talked publicly about getting surgery to try fix the damage done by his hyperactive dancing on stage.

"The doctors told me the pain in my feet could be corrected but it would require a few surgeries over time," he told People magazine.

"The 'foot repair' pain was intense, greater than I'd anticipated. The months of rehabilitative care and painful strain of physical therapy were traumatic.

"I really needed a safe environment to recuperate where I could shut off my phone and get back on my feet."

Sorry about that. I know you can’t ever unsee those toes.

Photo credit: celebrities.ninemsn.com.au

This is why you don’t want to be on the water while a thunderstorm is rolling through.

Below is a sequence of three, 30-second exposure photos taken over a course of three minutes during a thunderstorm in Chicago, summer of 2011.

Pay close attention to the time stamps below. In the first photo, notice the police boat (the blue line on the water) moving on the water.

In photo two they make the decision to turn around and go back.

Flip to photo three and see what happened to the storm only two minutes later.

Probably the best decision the captain of that boat ever made.

Oh wow, you need to check these out. Below the Boat is a brand new company that produces 3D wooden nautical charts laser-cut from sheets of Baltic birch and glued together in a wood frame.

They offer a wide selection of charts from across North America including San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Long Island Sound.

San Juan Island wooden chart

Prices range from $130-300 depending on how large and complex the map is.

More info: belowtheboat.com

Rescue team with no number.

Hope they got their phone number sorted out soon. We might need them!

Credit: criggo.com

Today I saw the first press release for Canoecopia and was excited to discover that Jon Turk is going to be this year’s keynote speaker. Jon Turk is an adventure writer planner of expeditions to the wild corners of the world. This year he will be speaking about his 1,400 mile sea kayak circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island which earned Turk Canoe and Kayak Magazine’s "2012 Expedition of the Year award."

If you haven’t been to Canoecopia you should mark it on your calendar to attend. It’s been described as the world’s largest consumer canoe, kayak and outdoor expo and it all takes place this year March 8th-10th.

I was also invited to speak at Canoecopia as well though I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t mentioned in the press release. I mean, how hard is it to drop in a sentence right at the end along the likes of, "oh yeah, some guy from Toronto is also speaking".

As far as presentations, I’m going to be blabbing on about two different topics. The first one is about the wonders of paddling in Georgian Bay (I’m really going to sell it!). The second topic is about the search and rescue machine and what exactly happens after you put the mayday call out while out on your canoe or kayak trip.

I’m over the rejection of top billing I just hope that I don’t get listed below the official Canoecopia pupper show. That would be embarrassing.

Photo credit: Eric Boomer

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:55

Long Term Review: Adanac Greenland Paddle

About a year ago Jill Ellis from Adanac Paddles contacted me to see if I would be interested in testing a new prototype Greenland paddle design she was working on. I quickly yes so when the paddle was ready I was invited to come and visit her woodworking shop in the booming city of Dover Centre, Ontario (population 11 people).

One of the things that I learned while visiting Adanac Paddles world headquarters was that every single paddle is custom made to order. When an order submitted, Jill contacts the buyer and asks for a variety of measurements including the arm span, elbow to wrist length, elbow to fingertip, as well as the diameter of your first finger and thumb when doing the "OK" symbol.

Adanac Paddles Logo

Though it sounds pretty precise, these follow the traditional measurements that would be taken from a Greenland or Inuit paddler for a new paddle. The advantage to this is that you receive a paddle that is custom built to your size. It also ensures that the overall length isn’t too long and unwieldy, the paddle shaft (or loom) isn’t too thick and the width of the blade at the end is just wide enough for your hands to grip when rolling or paddling with an extended blade. Long sentence short, you get a paddle that just fits.

As mentioned before, the paddle that Jill made for me was a prototype model she had been working on. The overall shape of the paddle itself was similar to other traditional Greenland designs but what made this Western Cedar unique was the bone like material added to the blade tip for protection from rocks and ice. At the time, Jill was testing the material as well as a new way of attaching it to the blade itself.

One of my goals over the past year was to take the paddle out in a wide variety of conditions including large surf, rocks and ice and try to break the tip off. A year later and I’m quite pleased to say I haven’t busted it yet.

How do I like the paddle? The short answer is that I love it. The finish on the wood is a mixture of oil and wax so it’s super smooth on the hands. It will also be easy to sand out and scratches and buff up with more oil down the road.

While the new tip did add a very small amount of extra weight, the trade-off is a very strong paddle for playing in and amongst rocks. Overall I think the addition if it is well worth it considering how rough I am with all my paddling gear. For example, the photo below is one of the rough water tests I put the paddle through here in Toronto.

Welcome to Canada! (We like you already)

The first time I took the paddle out on the water I was also quite pleased to discover that there was very little blade flutter when pulling the paddle through the water. Also, when it comes to rolling, the blade sliced through the water very smoothly and since this particular one is made of Western Cedar it’s super buoyant making rolling that much less work.

When ordering, Adanac offers several different paddle models available in different wood options (from domestic to exotic) so you are going to be able to get exactly what you are looking for. If you choose to "pimp your paddle", Jill will carve a very cool graphic (of your choosing or design) into the tip. My friend Rob got this very nice design carved into his paddle when he ordered it. Did you know that Jill was a champion bird carver? Highly detailed finches were her specialty so you can be confident that the design will come out perfect.

Adanac Paddles - Paddle Pimped

If you already have your own Greenland Paddle and interested into building your collection of Greenland paddling accessories Jill also builds very nice Norsaqs as well as Harpoons. The Harpoons are custom orders so contact Jill and she can give you full pricing and order details.

Adanac Paddles Norsaq's.

Adanac Paddles Harpoon

They really are a work of art.

More info: Adanac Paddles

Rough Water Photo Credit: Andy Barrow
Norsaq Photo Credit: Adanac Paddles
Harpoon Photo Credit: Chris Johnston
All other photos taken by myself.

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