A collective group of water safety experts from Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are calling on the outdoor industry to drop the term "PFD" in favour "lifejackets" when it comes to water safety education.

It's part of a list of guiding principles related to lifejacket promotion that were recently developed by several water safety organizations including Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (UK) and the Canadian Safe Boating Council. Here is the full list of the principles.

I think it's a really interesting idea and something I support for sure. Ask anybody on the street what that dapper guy above is wearing and after staring at his moustache, they will tell you it's a lifejacket.

Why would we want to confuse people by using the technical term PFD? Here is the thing; a PFD is just the name of a lifejacket that happens to be classified a specific way due to its design. Nobody cares and neither should we.

So here my challenge to you fellow canoe/sup/kayak instructor. Drop the term PFD from your lexicon and just call them lifejackets. You students will be happy and they won’t laugh at you when you accidently refer to them as a PDF.

Photo credit: cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Andreas Nilsson

More info: lifejacketwear.com

Justine Curgenven, producer of the highly successful and influential, "This is the Sea" series has just released the trailer for her latest production called Fundy Fun.

Oh my. It looks like another group of kayaks got in trouble with Johnny law over the weekend when they were caught trying to smuggle in 297 pounds of marijuana worth around $178,000 from Mexico into the United States.

Watch this video that was just recently posted on the Youtube.


I've always enjoyed the videos that the gang from Body Boat Blade. Shawna Franklin and Leon Sommé are super down to earth instructors and their passion to make kayaking fun is clearly there.

Just got an email letting me know that the Canadian canoe and kayak manufacturing company, Mid-Canada Fiberglass has gone into receivership and will be closing their doors after 53 years of making canoes and kayaks. Though you might not have heard of the company name Mid-Canada, you have probably heard of their extensive product line including Scott Canoe, Bluewater Canoes and Impex Kayaks (also once known as Formula Kayak).

Scott Canoe

It's a sad day for Canadian manufacturing for sure.

Update: I received the following statement from Scott Canoe:

The end is here. Wilderness Dreams Adventure Store and Scott Canoe in New Liskeard is having one final massive liquidation sale, for 2 days only. Everything must be sold. This Saturday Nov 30 and Sunday, Dec 1, 2013 from 9AM to 5PM. Come in and check out the best prices you have ever seen on, canoes, kayaks, paddling gear, clothing, footwear, camping gear, and so much more. Drop in to the location by the hospital in New Liskeard at 156457 Clover Valley Rd., New Liskeard, Ontario. This sale is being conducted by msi Spergel Inc. Court-Appointed Receiver for Mid-Canada Fiberglass Limited.

Canoe photo credit: Scott Canoe

This past weekend I was out paddling with by buddies Erik and Wilber here in Toronto on Lake Ontario. The three of us have been working with a group of intermediate paddlers introducing them to the wonders of late season paddling and the joys of rough water. It has been a lot of fun.

So, after several weekends of fairly calm conditions we decided to push the envelope a bit and take the group out in rougher water since the SW winds on the lake was finally bringing us really a nice 2.5-3 foot swell.

Out paddling in the rough water we had two people tip out into the water (not at the same time) and quickly got them back up and running again so there was lots of learning for everybody throughout the day. I know I walked away with some interesting insights and things that we should emphasise more so students are more prepared about rescues. Here they are in no particular order:


1) As instructors, we need to teach students that not to be a passive victim if you find yourself swimming.

For some reason we always teach swimmers take direction from the paddler in the kayak and not to take any action until she tells you to. That makes good sense from the perspective that it teaches the paddler how to take control and give directions in an emergency situation but the reality is that in real life conditions, if the swimmer is perfectly fine I believe they should take a more assertive role in helping the paddler help them. As rough water partners, both should know their roles and the steps to rectify the problem. It just speeds the whole thing up considerably.


2) We need to really, really, really drill home the idea of holding onto your gear and boat.

My students understand the concept but when they are floating in the waves everybody forgets about their paddle. The concept grabbing and keeping your stuff from floating away really needs to be drilled home, over and over again as you can’t swim faster than a boat blowing away. Never let go of your paddle or boat. Never.


3) Teach your students how to use their own paddle to swim faster.

If you need to move around in the water it’s way easier to use your paddle to help pull you through the water. This really rings true if you need to go any type of distance greater than 2-3 boat lengths. It’s also a lot easier then swimming with one hand and the paddle beside you so teach it to your students and they will thank you for it.

If you are not sure what I’m talking about here is a quick video I found demonstrating it.

What do you think instructors? Share your own tips or insights below.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013 21:48

Sea Kayaker Magazine Sinks

Big news in the world of outdoor publishing today. After 30 years and 158 issues, Sea Kayaker Magazine has decided to hang up their paddle for the last time and close down the magazine.

Here is the announcement from their web site:

For nearly 30 years, Sea Kayaker magazine has been an exemplary cornerstone of the sea kayaking community and a defining influence for the standards of our sport. We've been pleased and proud to share 157 issues with the kayaking community, but now we must announce with great regret and sadness that the next issue of Sea Kayaker magazine will be our last. In the course of our many years of service to kayakers around the world, we've seen many changes in sea kayaking, the industry it supports, and the business of print and web media. For our first two decades the changes generally worked in our favor, but over this past decade, the tide slowly turned. Though the magazine and the website continue to draw nearly universal praise from our readers, we recently recognized that we've been paddling against an overwhelming current and it's time to come ashore.

And so, we're celebrating the final chapter of the Sea Kayaker legacy with our special 158th issue, to be released in February. Current subscribers will receive the February/March 2014 issue in print, digital or both per your subscription. We thank you for your years of support and ask your patience while we sort out the closing of the magazine.

Over the last five years or so we've lost several really good paddling magazines, including Kanawa and Paddler. It's really sad to add this grandfather to the list.

To be honest, while I always appreciated the magazine, it's been several years since I read it cover to cover. I used to really enjoy it but I always felt they were aimed at an age bracket much higher than mine with the conservative layout and extremely long articles and trip reports. I know there are lots of people who appreciate the extensive research the writers put into their articles but I would always seem to get lost somewhere along the 3000 word mark. That being said, their kayak reviews were far superior to anything else out in print or online today. For example, you were the type that wanted to know exactly how much energy it took to paddle that P&H Cetus LV at 3 knots, they had the graph to tell you that it hardly took any energy at all. It was a kayak nerds paradise that nobody has replicated online yet.

So long good buddy, it's a shame to hear the bad news.


Here is something you don’t see every day, a helicopter dropping off sea kayaks to some remote location at the start of a trip.

I have no idea of when or where it was shot but it was uploaded to Steve Ruskay’s YouTube account who has been a long-term sea kayak guide in northern Canada and Greenland for Black Feather for many years.

All I can say is that there is a lot trust put into the strength of those deck lines or end toggle not to break!

I was terribly excited to get an email from the organizers of the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium inviting me to come teach at this year on January 31 through to February 2, 2014. The GGSKS has been on my bucket list for many years and I’m thrilled to finally make the trip out to San Francisco.

Now in its 6th year; the GGSKS has proven to be the premier rough water paddling event in North America and one of the best in the world. The reasons are simple, the location is superb and the list of coaches is first rate.

As you can tell by the name, the symposium takes place in Horseshoe Bay right in the heart of San Francisco in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. How cool is that? Paddling in the area is first rate with lots of rock gardens, tidal currents & surf so paddlers of all abilities will be happy.

Paddling in currents at the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

As far as coaches, the teaching list this year looks pretty first rate with the likes of Sean Morley, Gordon Brown, Rob Avery, Christopher Lockyer, Jen Kleck, Ginni Callahan, Ben Lawry, Cindy & Steve Scherrer, Leon Sommé, Paul Kuthe, Matt Nelson all going to be there. This is just a partial list of coaches so check out the website for more info.

The full weekend schedule should be posted soon (Update: it's posted now!) but in the past they have offered courses focused around topics like rock hopping, surf, working in tides and current and navigation. They will also be offering several ACA and BCU training courses during both the weekend as well during the week afterwards. Keep an eye on the website for the full course descriptions.

So should you attend the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium? The short answer is yes. The event is designed for a wide range paddlers with skills ranging between advanced beginner up to advanced intermediate. If you are interested in working on your rough water paddling skills, this is the place for you.

More info: ggsks.com
Photo credits: Dominick Lemarie courtesy of the GGSKS.


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