bomber gear logoBomber Gear this year committed to sponsoring the Teva Mountain Games, its first sponsorship of the Games since joining the Confluence Watersports family of brands last year. Joining sister brands Dagger and Wave Sport, Bomber Gear is set to head to Vail, Colo., May 31-June 3 for the celebration of active lifestyles and mountain culture.

Over the past 11 years, the Teva Mountain Games (TMG) have grown into one of the premier outdoor sporting events in the world. With Gore Creek, Homestake Creek, Eagle River, the Colorado River, and the Vail Whitewater Park all right in its backyard, Vail is a paddler’s mecca. The spirit of competition, sense of adventure, and enthusiasm for outdoor sports at the Games make them a perfect breeding ground for the growth of kayaking and the paddling community alike, which also means the Games are an ideal partner for Bomber Gear, a company built upon the pillars of excellence, passion and authenticity.

“Bomber Gear finds inspiration in those immersed in their sport,” said Jessica Prescott, marketing communications manager for Confluence Watersports, parent company of Bomber Gear. “The Games foster this type of community of committed athletes and puts them to the test every year on bikes, trails, crags and water, and that’s exactly what we strive for – authenticity in conception and excellence in execution. Bomber Gear is proud to support these values and to sponsor the 2012 Teva Mountain Games.”

Bomber Gear is sponsoring the Steep Creek Championship, providing a Bomb Dry Top and K-Bomb sprayskirt to the winners of both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Bomber Gear will have a booth in “Gear Town” near the Vail Whitewater Park along with Wave Sport. The 2012 product line will be on display, and the booth crew will have games going on for chances to win great Bomber Gear swag. Bomber Gear products will be available for purchase at the Colorado Kayak Supply tent nearby.

About Bomber Gear
Bomber Gear was founded in Durango, Colo. in 1992, by expert kayaker Rick Franken. Franken bought his first sewing machine because he and a small group of adventure-seeking friends needed better gear – better gear that let them push the limits and perform at their best while staying warm, dry and comfortable. The goal was to design and manufacture task-specific paddling gear that worked for everyone. Today, Bomber Gear is a premium, authentic paddlesports brand that continues to specialize in the design of performance whitewater skirts and technical paddlesports apparel. Visit Bomber Gear online at

Blogger and friend of the site, Bryan Hansel from is currently taking pre-orders for an awesome t-shirt he got designed.

You need to purchase one of these shirts. Just think of it as a public service announcement for your friends to get prepared because when our zombie overloads finally descend it will be too late for everybody.

This whole zombie swimming thing originally came out of a post I did back a year ago where I fantasized about somebody making a t-shirt so I’m glad Bryan came through for us. Shortly after I posted the original article, a paddling/hiking shop in Kitchener,Ontario got famous for 3 minutes when their store marquee was featured on the Fail/Win! Blog.

Bryan’s black t-shirts with white ink are selling for $16.99 with $6 shipping to U.S. addresses. If you live outside the U.S of A, contact Bryan and he will let you know shipping costs.

Order it here.

You might have noticed that things have been a touch slow around here over the past little while. The reason is because I was away in Calgary, Albertafor the past two and a half weeks teaching several sea kayaking courses with my good friend, Tony Palmer from the local paddling shop, Undercurrents.

Over the 10 days I was teaching we ran a bunch of Paddle Canada courses including Level 1 Skills, Level 2 Skills, Intro to Kayaking Instructor and a Level 1 Instructor course.

I know that there are those of you who are thinking, “Alberta? Sea Kayaking? What?”

While it’s true that Alberta is known more for canoeing and whitewater kayaking there is some nice places to get out in the long boats including the many lakes all over the place and the long rivers that are perfect for the weekend of week-long trip. Also, the ocean is a quick 12h hop from Calgary to Vancouver if you are planning a paddling vacation.

Waiting to Go

A couple of quick highlights from my time out there include an overnight on the Bow River just south of Calgary. Along the 50km stretch that we paddled, the Bow is a meandering class 1 swift that runs along a valley carved out of the prairie grasslands. It was a totally fun experience.

We also got a chance (also part of the level 2 skills course) to get out on the Kananaskis River at Canoe Meadows and play in the moving water there. In the part that we paddled it wasn’t massive but a lot of whitewater kayakers did get kinda weirded out watching 16-foot sea kayaks take over the little eddies. Good times.

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Check out the Google Streetview of the Canoe Meadows parking lot below. I’m not sure what they are doing but it looks like a game of tag by a group of adults all topless and in wetsuits. I can understand why the Google car kept driving by. I would have done the same.

View Larger Map

One of the major goals of the courses in Calgary was to increase the number of active sea kayak instructors in the Province. Before this, there were only 2-3 SK instructors as well as only one instructor trainer. I was very happy to add another 9 instructors and 1 more IT to the ranks.

So now, I’m back in Toronto and getting ready for more stuff coming up. I checked the schedule and I’m teaching a bunch of land navigation and weather clinics at the upcoming MEC Paddlefest next weekend as well as another sea kayak instructor course coming up the weekend after that so I’m back to work on refining my lesson plans based on what worked and what didn’t out in Calgary. After 10 years of teaching instructor courses, lesson plans are a constant evolution.

Rapid Media's Kayak Angler Magazine Editor, Paul Lebowitz, recently took two top honors at the annual Outdoor Writers Association of California conference in the 2012 Excellence in Craft Competition for Best Conference-related work and the Best Website categories while regular contributor, Allen Bushnell, picked up a second place for Magazine Feature.

Lebowitz has been at the forefront of the kayak fishing world for over a decade and is one of the most respected and polished writers in the industry.  As editor of Kayak Angler Magazine and, his passion and dedication for the sport leaps out at readers.

"Paul is one of the most humble people I know," says Rapid Media's Dan Caldwell. "He won't want us to send this out but all the staff here think he deserves the recognition for his talent and hard work, so we're doing it anyway!"

True to form Paul insisted the focus be shifted to Kayak Angler contributor Allen Bushnell, who scored a big second place award in the hyper-competitive Magazine Feature category for his Spring 2011 story When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted.

See the award-winning work for Best Website at and the Spring 2011 issue of Kayak Angler Magazine to read Bushnell's story.

Rapid Media has been the leader in paddlesports media since 1999. Rapid Media publishes Rapid, Adventure Kayak,Canoeroots & Family Camping, and Kayak Angler magazines, and produces the Reel Paddling Film Festival and Rapid Media TV. For more information, visit

kokatat logoThe fate of the early sea otter and Aleut populations are intrinsically linked. Before contact with Europeans it is estimated that there were 25,000 Aleuts, today there are about 2,000. Similarly the sea otter population is believed to have undergone a decline exceeding 50% over the past 30 years.

Kokatat ambassador Keirron Tastagh, and his long-term student and paddling partner George Shaw have embarked on a 1,500 mile expedition through the Aleutian Islands to investigate the current status of the sea otter population in the area.

“Our expedition is inspired by the Aleutians rich culture and kayaking heritage,” said Tastagh. “The journey will not only paint a picture of the current sea otter population, but will also provide a better understanding of ‘The Aleut Story’.”

Working with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Tastagh and Shaw will be recording the presence or absence of sea otters in bays, and noting killer whale position as well as taking photographs for identification for marine biologists’ live projects. Killer whale attacks are suspected to be leading cause for the decline of the Northern Sea Otter in the Aleutians, which is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Setting out from Unalaska, Tastagh and Shaw, who both train and live on the Isle of Man, UK, will paddle unsupported. They will carry all their kit and freeze dried meals on-board and will supplement their diet with fresh fish. Along the way they will encounter challenges such as katabatic winds, large tidal ranges, open crossings, sea fog, landing zones and the unpredictable and stormy Bering Sea.

Tastagh and Shaw plan to “explore as far as necessary to reach the conclusions we require” which could be as far as the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula.

Kokatat has supplied both paddlers with various gear for their Expedition Kit:

  • GORE-TEX® Expedition Dry Suit
  • Ronin Pro PFD plus Tributary Hydration System
  • TROPOS Light Storm Cag
  • GORE-TEX® Anorak

For additional information on the Sea Otter project visit their website and follow the expedition on their blog.

For more information on this and other Kokatat sponsored expeditions visit

About Kokatat Watersports Wear:
Celebrating over 40 years of innovation, Kokatat is an independently operated, US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports. Handcrafted in Arcata, California, Kokatat employees are focused on building the finest functional product for people who work and play on water. Our gear is designed for paddlers, by paddlers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water all year long and in all weather conditions. Into the water with Kokatat! Please visit and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.

Christopher Stec hails from south Louisiana and has been working in the paddlesports industry for many years in a variety of jobs.  Prior to becoming the Chief Operating Officer of the American Canoe Association, he worked as an outdoor instructor for the YMCA, a field assistant for Davidson College’s off-campus Biology semester, and a raft guide for the Nantahala Outdoor Center to name a few.

An avid instructor (of course!), he holds ACA instructor certifications in whitewater canoeing, river stand-up paddleboarding and swiftwater rescue. When not on the water teaching or in the office crunching numbers, Christopher sits on several national committees including the National Safe Boating Council, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and U.S. Coast Guard’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council

He is also a poetry writer, an Eagle Scout, an Assistant Scoutmaster, fly fisherman and duck hunter. Oh yeah he also has a family with two kids aged five and three.

I recently sat down with Christopher to find out how he is able to keep so many things in the air at once and what keeps him motivated to go paddling with his family weekends after thinking about canoes all week.

1) How did a guy like you land a job at the ACA?

After essentially failing my first canoe instructor certification course back in 1995, I began to volunteer at the regional level for the ACA.  After over a decade of volunteering, and improving my paddling ability, Pam Dillon (Executive Director at the time) actually hired me to work in the ACA’s Safety Education and Instruction Department.  Over time I worked my way to the Chief Operating Officer position and now oversee all of the ACA operations in the U.S. and abroad.

The Stec family out rafting.


2) How long have you been working in the outdoor industry and what got you started?

After canoeing with my high school English teacher, Cabel Tutwiler and the E.S.A. Outing Club (Episcopal School of Acadiana) from the drainage canal behind our school through a south Louisiana swamp to the nearest town, I knew that paddlesports, and the beautiful natural world it leads us to, would play a role in my future.  After the last game of my Division I Collegiate basketball career at Davidson College (thank you Coach Bob McKillop for believing in a walk-on) occurred, I was able to devote my concentration to paddlesport. With guidance from notable paddlesport experts Ed Daugherty, Gordon Black, Sam Fowlkes, Bunny Johns, Eli Helbert, Wayne Dickert, Bob Foote and many others, I was fortunate to find both seasonal and then  permanent work in the outdoor industry with a focus on paddlesport.


3) What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is the daily interaction, either by phone, via email or in-person, with people across the country who share the same passion for the outdoors and the paddle craft that allow them to experience it.


4) What’s the most difficult aspect of the job?

In the non-profit world, there never seems to be enough time or money to accomplish all the things either your members want you to do or that you need to do in order to continue to move the association forward.  The hardest thing about this position is to manage your time between family, work and personal time. I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old and an extremely understanding wife, but it’s still a challenge to balance the desire to make a positive difference for all the paddlers you’re working for and spend enough quality time with your family.


5) What are two tips you can give to somebody who wants to work for the ACA?

Besides being a good person, in order to work for the ACA, an individual needs to be well-rounded and exhibit a history of taking initiative.  The intricacies of the actual job position can be taught, but you need to already have good people skills.  The ability or desire to learn how to paddle is also a plus.  Our office is less than a block from the river and we routinely have our monthly staff meeting on the water.

Christopher Stec giving a presentation on SUP.

6) What about your job do you think would most surprise people?

I think it would be the extreme variation in skill sets that are called upon on a daily basis. This job position has a wide range of responsibilities, from governmental public policy to overseeing the National Paddlesports Instruction Program to being the primary risk manager for a national on-water insurance program for paddling clubs and instructors that spans class V rapids to open ocean U.S. Coast Guard small craft advisory conditions. The most surprising part of my job, at least for me, is although I have a basic working knowledge of four languages (besides English) we have instructors in 22 countries around the world, and I sometimes spend quite a bit of time using Google translate.


7) What was the coolest thing you remember finding when you were a kid out exploring?

Thanks to my parents, I had an amazing opportunity to attend the 17th World Scout Jamboree at Mt.Sorak National Park in South Korea in 1991.  On an overnight backpacking trip, our local guide took us into a cave/cavern on the mountainside.  About 50 yards in there was a 10 foot high Buddha shrine covered in gold with prayer offerings from the local village surrounding it. Regardless of your religious beliefs, it was a work of art and a truly unique experience for a teenager.


8) If you could tell something to your 18 year-old self, what would it be?

Continue to pursue your outdoor oriented career path, but take a few finance and business courses along the way!  Virtually no matter where you end up, it’s bound to help you down the road, I mean river...


9) Do you travel for work?

Yes, I sure do.  I usually travel domestically at least once a month, but most months two to four times.  In regards to the ACA’s international presence, over the last few years I’ve been to Austria, Germany, Chile, Canada and China.  In regards to funding this work related travel, as a non-profit, we leverage every member’s dollar to its fullest extent and work hard to acquire funding from other sources such as grants and sponsorships to help with the ACA’s outreach endeavors.


10) Any last thoughts?

The ACA is a unique organization as it encompasses all aspects of paddlesports. Everyday I look forward to the opportunity to serve paddlers and ACA members across the country as we continue our mission to improve paddlesport Education, Stewardship, Competition and Recreation for everyone.

More information: American Canoe Association

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 12:55

Hi-N-Dry Rolling Aid

After writing and scrapping a piece about this, I decided you can make your own conclusions if this is worth the $87.50 they are asking or if it would be better spend putting it into a rolling pool clinic. You can find more info about the Hi-N-Dry here.

Thanks to the Bloyd-Peshkin’s at Have Kayaks, Will Travel for the awesome heads-up.

Photo credits: Hi-N-Dry

Kokatat LogoKokatat announces that Charlie “C-Mac” MacArthur has joined its group of elite paddlesports ambassadors. MacArthur, founder of the Aspen Kayak and SUP Academy, pioneered stand up paddleboarding (SUP) on rivers and spearheads the Whitewater SUP Championships. MacArthur will exclusively wear Kokatat PFD’s and technical apparel and promote the brand at various events.

“It’s amazing what Charlie can do on a SUP in raging rapids,” said Lisa Kincaid, Kokatat Promotional Marketing Manager. “SUP is one of the fastest growing segments in the paddlesports market, and Charlie’s easy going demeanor paired with his SUP skills makes him an ideal ambassador for us as we look to increase our visibility in the sport.”

Watersports has always been a part of MacArthur’s life. He grew up surfing in Hawaii and Southern California before moving to Colorado in 1978 where he became one of the regions best known whitewater kayakers. In 2003 MacArthur tried SUP for the first time while vacationing in Fiji. The sport quickly took hold and within the next year MacArthur was paddleboarding on rivers and making numerous SUP first descents.

“I’ve been in paddlesports for a long time and have always had the upmost respect and appreciation for Kokatat as a company and for the quality of its gear,” said MacArthur. “I’m excited to help with their SUP specific gear and spread the Kokatat word.”

Along with running one of the top SUP and kayak schools in the country, MacArthur is credited with co-designing the world’s first whitewater specific standup paddleboard, the CMAC ATB made by the foremost SUP manufacturer C-4 Waterman.

Since the sport’s inception, standup paddleboarders have relied on Kokatat gear to keep them dry, comfortable and safe on the water. Kokatat’s low profile Orbit Tour PFD and GORE-TEX® Lightweight Paddling Suit have been adopted by numerous SUP paddlers as their go to pieces as they both provide freedom of motion for optimal paddle strokes and superior breathability for the aerobic nature of the sport.

MacArthur will be wearing and providing feedback on various Kokatat products including the new NeoCore shorts and tops. NeoCore, with its paddler specific designs and lightweight fabric, is great for SUP paddlers who often fend off splash, but do not need a heavy insulation. NeoCore is a wet insulation layer in a lightweight 0.5mm neoprene fabric with a plush polyester inner lining that is comfortable against the skin while retaining little water. Additionally, its permanent Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating on the outer surface helps NeoCore regulate body temperature by reducing the effect of evaporative heat loss.

MacArthur joins Kokatat’s distinguished group of paddlesport athletes and ambassadors that includes such luminaries in the sport as Dane and Eric Jackson, Jon Bowermaster, Jesse Coombs, Anna Levesque, and Bryan Smith among others. For the full roster of Kokatat athletes visit

About Kokatat Watersports Wear: 
Celebrating over 40 years of innovation, Kokatat is an independently operated, US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports. Handcrafted in Arcata, California, Kokatat employees are focused on building the finest functional product for people who work and play on water. Our gear is designed for paddlers, by paddlers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water all year long and in all weather conditions. Into the water with Kokatat! Please visit and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.

Whitewater Kayaking Newspaper Ad

Not sure who picked this photo for the newspaper advertisement but I’m glad they did. It totally made my night.

The photo caption says: "Kayaking doesn't have to be all adrenaline all the time. On Virginia's Eastern Shore you can combine wine tasting with a gentle kayak excursion."

Image Credit:

If you have been looking for a good reason to be more afraid of the water then you currently are I think I finally found it: Monsters live below the water surface and they are getting ready to take us down.

Don’t believe me? Witnesses in Victoria, BC saw an almost one metre-long Great Pacific octopus attack and eat a sea gull. When I heard the news this is what I was picturing:

But of course it was more like this…today but what about tomorrow?

An octopus eating a sea gull.

I’m pretty sure that the sea gull didn’t even see it coming so keep that in mind next time you are out paddling and decide to practice your rescues as there is a very, very high chance that you will end up just like this guy.

Sub-Mariner comic book cover.

Also, if you don’t think that a bird eating octopus is bad enough, evil scientists (only an evil scientist could have come up with this) finally figured out a way to put lasers (yes, lasers) on sharks. Nature’s most efficient killing machine just got a whole lot scarier.

Sharks with a laser!

Is it time to re-enact that awesome Iron Maiden song and run to the hills? All signs point to yes.

Top photo credit:
Middle photo credit: Ginger Morneau
Shark photo credit:
Comic photo credit:


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