Tuesday, 16 October 2012 16:21

Look Who’s Canoeing Now: Amber Tamblyn

Actress, Amber Tamblyn (of House, M.D. fame) got married a couple off weekends back to David Cross (Arrested Development) in a non-traditional wedding that involved a yellow-dress and canoes for both her and the wedding party.

I would have been quite happy to have been invited to the wedding since Yo La Tengo performed during the reception and Questlove served as the deejay.

Photo credit: Questlove

The sea kayaking community lost one of its true legends today.

Derek Hutchinson has often been called the father of the modern sea kayak as he one of the first to bring sea kayaking to the masses with is many books and DVD’s. I remember when I was young being fascinated with his book, Derek Hutchinson’s Guide to Sea Kayaking and for me was one the key books that got me interested in paddling.

Derek was also a prolific designer and over the years designed several kayaks including the famous Gulfstream and its little sister, the Slipstream for Current Designs. At the time (early to mid-1990’s) both boats were years ahead of the market curve compared to what the other North American manufacturers were putting out. The Slipstream was the first kayak I ever owned and still look back in fondness to the many adventurers (and mishaps) we had together.

Earlier today Wayne Horodowich from University of Sea Kayaking posted this note on Facebook:

At 4:12 PM GDT I said my final farewell to my adventure partner, my mentor and dearest friend Derek Charles Hutchinson. Derek passed peacefully in his bed. His adventure on this earth started June 30, 1933 and ended Oct 10, 2012. He has now launched for his next adventure.

I wish to thank all of you who have sent your comments to Derek. It meant so much to him, his family and his friends. It is typical to wonder if you have made a difference during your time on earth. The comments you have sent are just a fraction of the number of people Derek has touched. There is no doubt he made a huge impact during his life.

Derek was an innovator, a thinker, a designer, a teacher, a writer and was never shy to share his opinion on any topic related to paddling. He will be missed indeed. Paddle on brother, paddle on.

I was pretty excited to open an email this morning from Aquapac and Sigma telling me that I was the grand prize winner for their annual photo contest.

Here were the judge’s comments:

Wilderness to me is about wide open spaces and our sense of scale in relation to that space. This image captures that wonderfully, you feel in awe of what the rower is doing and also slightly afraid for him as he looks so small against the menacing water.

This photo is of my kayaking buddy, Erik Ogaard on Lake Ontario on a cold December day a couple of years ago. I remember it being a pretty cold day that day with the temperature just above the freezing mark. The conditions that day were great for paddling with rolling south east swells and really good surfing closer to shore.

For the camera nerds out there, the photo was taken with my trusty Canon Rebel Xti and shot using the Aquapac SLR submersible bag. For me, the waterproof bag one of the key pieces of gear for shooting on the water and it’s always with me. The original purchase was the deal I made with my wife so I could take it paddling!

Here is the full list of winners on Facebook.

Expedition leader, H. G. Watkins climbing on floe from kayak.

Back in 1930 UK explorer, H.G. Watkins (the guy in the photo above) gathered a team together to see if a new air route between Britain and Canada could be established rather then flying across the dangerous ocean. The proposed route was to cross the Arctic via the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Baffin Island and Hudson Bay before reaching Winnipeg.

Along with figuring out the route, the 14-man team had a goal to map the very poorly understood Greenland shoreline as well as gather climate data of the icecap of Greenland during the polar winter.

All in all the year-long expedition was quite a success and it have some slow times allowing the team to take some kayak lessons from the local people living in Greenland.

The footage below was captured in the summer of 1930 and shows members of the expedition in the last half.

Two interesting observations from the film; first, it’s clear towards the end of the footage, it’s team members rolling and playing around in the boats so they must have had enough time (and willingness to get wet) to actually learn how to roll. Could these be one of UK’s first people to learn how to roll a kayak? Not sure.

The second thing I realized that even 82 years later, as soon as a group of kayakers who can roll get together somebody always wants to organize some sort of synchronised rolling demonstration.

Of course not everything on the expedition went smooth. During the winter of 1931, Augustine Courtauld volunteered to live solo at the weather station in the interior of Greenland for five months and take weather measurements.

Freeze Frame has a better description of his adventure then I could ever make up:

Having left his spade outside [the station], Courtauld had struggled with the snow, it had filled both the exit and the openings into the snow house and stores. He had also been troubled by the loss of paraffin from two slightly punctured tins, this resulted in a shortage of fuel and as he also ran out of candles he had to spend some time in the dark. He also ate his meals uncooked so that the limited supply of fuel could be conserved to melt drinking water.

More info and fantastic photos can be found here.

Update: Upon further investigation, I found out that expedition leader, G.H. Watkins went back to Greenland in 1932 on a second expedition which would sadly end in tragedy for him.

During both the 1930 and 1932 trips to Greenland he spent a lot of time with the local people becoming quite proficient at kayaking. In fact he fell in love with the activity and people so much that the expedition was one of the first to make use of indigenous techniques and methods. He and his men were so at hunting seals from a kayak that they planned on not bringing any food for their 1932 expedition but rather live off the land completely. At the time this was completely unheard of especially by citizens of British society who looked down at the people of Greenland as savages.

Sadly the method of travel for the expedition wasn’t to come about as Watkins drowned in his kayak while he was out hunting on his own one day.

G.H. Watkins legacy to polar exploration was a real shift in mindset in how future expeditions are carried out; as well he planted the seeds of respect for the local people. It’s best described on the very fascinating site, Freeze Frame:

This expedition marked a real shift in the way explorers viewed indigenous technologies. Apart from following in Nansen’s footsteps in adopting the sledge and snowshoe designs [Watkins] adapted from Inuit versions during the periods in which he overwintered with them, few explorers had wholeheartedly examined and embraced Inuit survival techniques. Watkins’ final expedition, for which the food source was based entirely upon Inuit hunting methods, marks the start of changing views with regard to the Inuit and their techniques.

It’s been a bad week for kayak thefts.

The Seaward Kayaks storage compound in Chemainus, British Columbia was broken into over the weekend and had six thermoform kayaks stolen.

This was posted on their facebook page:

Well, Seaward kayaks was broken into & robbed at the weekend. We have two separate fences, outer & inner, with barbed wire on them. Our compound is not easily accessed & is highly visible.

5 kayaks were stolen - all new thermoform kayaks:

Intrigue - Mango - QKN03465 I 212
Intrigue - Red - QKN03466 I 212
Halo 130 - Yellow - QKN03420 G 212
Compass 140 - Mango - QKN03461 I 212
Compass 140 - Mango - QKN03405 G 212

So, if you are offered a new thermoform Seaward Kayak, please let us know - we'd appreciated it!

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer's stolen kayaks.

Just as heartbreaking is news that Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer just had their Tahe Marine Greenland kayaks stolen from the roof of their car.

Mark posted this today:

Please be aware that two Tahe Marine Greenland kayaks have been stolen from the roof of Helen's car. One is the distinctive all black one featured in the DVD. The other is white decked and black hulled. The theft occurred on the Canadian side of the Peace Arch Border. Please spread the word!!!

I feel terrible about these thefts. If you live in the British Columbia/Washington State area keep an eye out on your local used gear bulletin boards as they are sure to end up there. It’s not like these are easy to stash somewhere...

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 09:35

Introspective Bears [Nature Photography]

introspective bears

I’m pretty sure this is what happens every September once all the people drives back to the big city at summers end.

Photo credit: imgur.com

The European Union has just launched the second of three weather satellites which should greatly increase the accuracy of weather forecasts.

The 3.2 billion Euro project called MetOp is a joint venture between the European Space Agency and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and involves a total of three satellites. MetOp-A launched back in 2006 and MetOp-C is scheduled to launch sometime in 2016-2018.

The sensors on MetOp-B is considerably more accurate than before:

The [satellite] measurements slice the atmosphere into air columns measuring a single horizontal kilometre wide. Scanners measure the temperature and humidity to within 1-degree C and relative 10 percent, respectively. "These crucial instruments will be used for weather forecasting and to help us all gain a better understanding of the Earth's systems," stated Gene Martin, POES Project instrument manager.

With the massive increase in near real-time atmosphere data you can bet that the lonely weather forecasters in the Netherlands will be breathing a sigh of relief. Especially if local councillors get their way and pass a law fining them for every wrong forecast made...

More info: gizmodo.com & wikipedia.org

Isaac Levinson

Kokatat is proud to announce that professional whitewater kayaker and  2012 Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year, Isaac Levinson, has officially joined its team of elite athletes.

The twenty-three year-old Atlanta native began his paddling career as a whitewater slalom racer.  Levinson’s strong foundation of slalom skills has brought success on the extreme racing circuit, where he has been a fixture on podiums over the last several years.

“Everyday on the river is an adventure for me; I’ve been able to kayak in some amazing places and push my personal limits on challenging whitewater,” Levinson said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Kokatat gear, and I’m excited to be joining their team and representing the company.”

Most recently, Levinson was given the coveted Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year Award at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012.

He was the 2011 Green Race champion and North America’s top finisher in the inaugural AWP Whitewater World Series.  Keeping close to his slalom roots, Levinson competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and finished ninth in the highly competitive K-1 class.

Levinson will be wearing and providing feedback on various Kokatat products including the new Kokatat Maximus Prime.  The Prime is the Type 5 rescue version of Kokatat’s latest and most advance PFD platform.

Levinson joins Kokatat’s distinguished group of paddle sport athlete ambassadors that includes among others such luminaries in the sport as Dane and Eric Jackson, Jesse Coombs, Paul Kuthe, and Adriene Levknecht the Canoe and Kayak Female Paddler of the Year.

For the full roster of Kokatat athletes and ambassador team members visit http://www.kokatat.com/team.

If you are an adventurous soul living in the UK or Ireland and thinking of organizing a big adventure in 2013 you should make note and apply for the Kukri Adventure Scholarship.

The Kukri Adventure Scholarship is a brand new program aimed at providing up to £20,000 in funding to help get your trip off the ground. Along with the cash you also get a pile of free gear as well which is fantastic.

Entering into the contest involves first coming up with a fantastic idea then making a short two-minute video to sell the idea to the judges and the public on Facebook.

The cool thing about the scholarship is that your level of expertise or fame isn’t a factor in winning but rather your ability to think up a good adventure, able to carry it out and bring back a good story to tell the world.

More info: Kukri Adventure Scholarship
Photo Credit: kukrievents.com

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 21:26

Kayak Mainline Episode 6.5 Streaming Now!

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Kelly Blades and I are very happy to announce the 6.5th episode of Kayak Mainline. We named it 6.5 because it’s an update to the 6th episode we pushed out the door last week before discovering that the sound quality wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. Sorry about that. This one is much better.

On Kayak Mainline episode 6.5 we learn about monster crocs, monster sturgeons and a crazy beaver attacking kids. KIDS! We also discover that Netherland weather forecasters might get in trouble if they are wrong. Plus your kayaking questions answered.

This one was actually recorded several weeks ago but August was so busy that we haven’t had time to publish this until now.

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.

 

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Not an iTunes fan? We distribute Kayak Mainline also via Stitcher. They offer a free fantastic podcast app for both iPhones and Android and you can search and subscribe there as well.

 

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