On April 8th Matthew White and Skye Marchesi will depart on a sail assisted kayak expedition from Olympia, WA, to Glacier Bay, Alaska through the Inside Passage, with hopes to raise $100,000 for the Seattle area YMCA Camp Orkila.
“Summer camps are where many children have their first paddlesports experience,” said Lisa Kincaid, Kokatat Promotional Marketing Manager. “We wish Matthew and Skye the best of luck on their trip and hope that their expedition will give many more Orkila campers the opportunity to fall in love with paddlesports.”
White, a former Orkila camper and counselor, has long wanted to give back to the camp and provide more children with the opportunity to attend the camp where one in six campers receive scholarship assistance. After discussing the topic with Marchesi, his girlfriend and a successful fundraiser, they spawned the idea of an expedition that fused their love of the outdoors with the mission to raise a substantial endowment for the camp.
“Orkila has a special place in my heart and it’s from my experiences there that lead to my love for the outdoors and paddlesports,” said White.
YMCA Camp Orkila, founded in 1906, is located on the north side of Orcas Island in the Washington San Juan Islands. YMCA Camp Orkila provides summer camp opportunities including day and overnight camping for boys and girls where they can explore nature, learn new skills, make new friends and gain respect for the environment.
White and Marchesi will be relying on a full kit of Kokatat paddling gear to keep them dry, safe, and comfortable. Included in the kit are Kokatat’s GORE-TEX® TecTour anoraks, GORE-TEX® Whirlpool bibs, personal floatation devices (PFDs), Nomad Boots, and additional accessories. To assist White and Marchesi on their trip they will be using Triak trimaran sailing kayaks.
To learn more about the expedition and follow their progress at http://triakfororkila.com.
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 www.kokatat.com and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.
Wilderness Systems is teaming up with three major national media outlets for a high-profile angling sponsorship package developed by The Heliconia Press. The much anticipated partnership will showcase the brand’s leadership position in the kayak angling community and star well-seasoned Wilderness Systems Pro Staff Director Chad Hoover.
In his network television debut, Knot Right Kayak Fishing, Hoover offers helpful kayak bass fishing secrets, tips, and tricks. Wilderness Systems is a major sponsor of the new three-episode mini-series, which premiered Friday, March 30, on NBC Sports. Viewers can tune in Fridays at 1 p.m. EST for the remainder of the episodes. On the show, Hoover travels around North America in his kayak to pursue a range of different types of bassin’ adventures, but the fishing lessons don’t stop there.
Starting in July, the World Fishing Network, with Wilderness Systems as title sponsor, will air a full 13-episode run of Kayak Bassin’ with Chad Hoover. This show will allow Hoover to spread a wealth of kayak fishing knowledge to an ever-growing kayak angling audience. All episodes will feature Wilderness Systems boats and Adventure Technology paddles.
Wilderness Systems is also proud to continue serving as a major sponsor of Hoover’s YouTube channel KayakBassinTV. His popular fishing segments will further engage his online audience as the web-series heads into its second season.
“It was great to work with Heliconia’s Executive Director and Producer Ken Whiting and our Pro Staff Captain Chad Hoover on this multi-media project,” said Cheri McKenzie, Chief Marketing Officer for Confluence Watersports. “The Wilderness Systems team is dedicated to growing the sport of kayak fishing, and this sponsorship trifecta presented an entertaining opportunity to support and further educate the growing base of anglers, retailers, and fans who have come to love this pastime.”
For additional information on Chad Hoover and the Wilderness Systems Pro Staff team, please visit www.wildernesssystems.com.
About Wilderness Systems:
Innovative designs tuned for performance, premium outfitting, and superlative quality have aligned Wilderness Systems boats with the most acclaimed paddling experiences in the world. Since 1986, Wilderness Systems has pushed the limits of design and innovation, by refusing to compromise. A Wilderness Systems kayak offers the ultimate in performance and design for the recreational boater to the expedition paddler. Taking that same drive into the angling market, Wilderness Systems fishing kayaks exemplify the ultimate experience for anglers. For the times you can’t be on water, experience Wilderness Systems at www.wildernesssystems.com and join the Wildy Community.
There are not too many people I know who are in love with canoeing as much as Darren Bush. I don’t know this for a fact, but the word on the street is that when he talks in his sleep it’s naming off canoe parts. One look at his boat rack confirms the obvious.
To feed this passion for canoes (and kayaks) he runs the outdoor retail shop Rutabaga located in Madison, Wisconsin.
If you haven’t heard of Rutabaga before, that’s ok though it’s quite likely you have heard of the other tiny event that his business runs every March called Canoecopia. It’s a paddling trade show that attracts roughly 22,000 people over one weekend.
When not working in the shop or out on canoe trips, Darren spends time hammering steel into useful items in his own blacksmith shop as well as writing for his very interesting blog, canoelover.com.
I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Darren to learn more about what makes working in the outdoor industry so wicked awesome.
1) How long have you been working in the outdoor industry and what got you started?
I grew up in the desert in California, pretty close to the beaches but still...there were two seasons, green (two months) and brown (the rest of the year). I took my first Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Trip as an advisor to my church's young men's group. The BWCA was like a different world for me, and it was all downhill from there. I was smitten. I felt totally at home in a canoe from the first stroke.
2) What’s the best part of your job?
You mean best parts, right? So many things...I love providing jobs for really good and loyal staff. We have very little turnover in the permanent full-time staff so they've become a pretty tightly-knit team. I love seeing people go from beginner to participant and from participant to enthusiast. That's our work: to move people along the continuum.
I love working with really good people. After twenty plus years I have some wonderful friendships that will last a lifetime, too many to count. When I call a vendor, they don't ask for my account number, they ask about my family by name. When I was injured in an accident, Wenonah sent me a paddle with the signatures of all the staff. Those are the kind of people we work with.
A few years ago I taught a private lesson to a woman who wanted to get out on her own. Her spouse wasn't interested in paddling, so she took matters into her own hands and bought a solo canoe. After a few hours she had the basics down and was ready to get out on her own on some local streams and ponds. We loaded her canoe on her truck, and after she strapped it down, she turned and embraced me. She said "Thank you, you just changed my life." Well, it doesn't get any better than that.
3) What’s the most difficult aspect of the job?
A lot of folks say to me "Man, your job is so cool..." They're right, but what they don't realize is that half of what I do has almost nothing to do with paddling. Basic business practices are what they are. Working with banks, making sure our accounting is dialed (we have the best accountant in the universe), managing cash flow, dealing with inevitable personnel conflicts, working with advertising and PR people, IT headaches, etc. It's just basic stuff that has to be done. As great as the vendors are, there is still a lot of communication that has to go on and it takes time; time I'm not on the sales floor working with customers.
4) What are two tips you can give to somebody looking to start and outdoor shop?
Go into it with both eyes open. The idea of an outdoor shop is sometimes better than the actual one. It's not a dream job; it's a lot like work. You better have a business plan that takes into account the stuff that can hit the fan. If you want to do a one-person shop, be prepared to live there. If you want to hire employees, you're still going to be living there. Your shop is represented by your worst person on their worst day. Hire slowly, fire quickly. Hire nice people and teach them what you want them to know, rather than hiring knowledgeable people and trying to teach them to be nice.
For every dollar that comes in the front door, most of it goes out the back door. Get a great accountant. Only work with local banks. They care about your business. If you want to work with a big bank, be prepared for dealing with three tiers of suits and reams of paperwork. Local is the way to go.
As far as competition goes, be friendly with them if they're honorable people. Most of them are. If they're not, stay out of their way, they'll self-destruct on their own and you don't want to be around when the bomb goes off. And while they're imploding, they send you a lot of upset customers into your open arms.
5) What about your job do you think would most surprise people?
How much non-paddling stuff there is to do. How much planning goes into running a successful business. It may look free and easy, but rest assured it's not. They might be surprised at number of entrepreneurial businesses and the number of companies still run by their founders. There's a lot of private equity in this industry which makes a difference in how decisions are made. I have no shareholders but me, so if I want to make a long-term decision that may not pay off this year, I can do it and my shareholders won't squawk about their ROI this quarter.
6) What was the coolest thing you remember finding when you were a kid out exploring?
It's funny you should ask that question...I was always interested in the little things in nature. I'd be on a backpacking trip in the Sierras and while a lot of folks were taking in the view (spectacular), I was often snooping around little streams and bogs and outcroppings. They'd see a mountain, but I'd find a salamander or wildflower or edible wild plant. I remember one trip where people were sick of mac and cheese with spam cubes. I had wild onion soup with mountain sorel. I loved Euell Gibbons.
To this day, while the birders look up at the trees, I'm turning over logs and finding the little beautiful things. I like birds and such, but I'd rather watch a dragonfly emerge than watch any bird do anything.
7) If you could tell something to your 18 year-old self, what would it be?
Normal isn't. Paint your own picture and live in it. Being smart doesn't mean you're wise. Being kind is more important than anything else. If someone makes fun of you for doing something, there's a 100% chance they're jealous of you and don't have the courage to do it. Don't go to graduate school. Become an EMT instead, it will help more people.
Photo Credits: Darren Bush
As floating debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami continues to drift towards the west coast of North America, scientists have been following along and using it as a giant study project in ocean currents.
To help with the research The Ikkatsu Project is getting organized which will involve a group of kayakers setting out to document the flotsam as it begins to come ashore along the remoter parts of the Washington state coastline.
One of the project leaders, Steve Weileman sent me some information about it:
Between Neah Bay, at the tip of the peninsula, and Ruby Beach, at the southern end of the roadless section, lies approximately 60 miles of pristine Olympic coastline, much of it inaccessible to foot travel. It is here, on secluded pocket beaches surrounded by soaring sea stacks and intricate rock gardens, that the debris will make landfall.
Our team is composed of three experienced professional guides, each having a multi-year resume including multiple trips and expeditions to remote coastal environments. Ken Campbell has authored several books on Pacific Northwest kayaking and is a frequent contributor to print and online magazines on subjects relating to the outdoors and the environment. Jason Goldstein began his kayaking career in Christchurch, New Zealand and currently owns his own guide service as well, he works as a cartographer and GIS specialist. Steve Weileman is a documentary film maker and photographer, with previous experience in Newfoundland and Alaska, as well as numerous locations throughout the Northwest. Each of us brings a specific set of skills to the project and is looking forward to this unique opportunity to combine science and adventure.
You can find more information about The Ikkatsu Project on their website.
Flickr Photo Credit: Aerial view of debris following earthquake in Japan. / Official Navy Page / CC BY 2.0
I saw this tweet and discovered the most lovely little critter Otter (sorry nature lovers) I have seen in a very long time. Makes me want to pick him up, give him a big squishy bear hug and take him home to play with.
Thanks to @BoxyButGood for letting me post it.
Archaeologists from Boston University have recently uncovered what they feel could be the oldest campfire ever. Located in Wonderwerk Cave, located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, they found ash of grass, leaves and bone fragments at a depth of 30 meters - roughly one million years ago.
The excavated area is located far enough back in the cave to be out of reach of lightning strikes and has tested negative for bat guano (which can spontaneously combust in sufficient quantities), "This left us with the conclusion that the fire had to have been created by hominins," says Berna. "The fire was only confirmed when the sediment was analysed at the microscopic level. It is possible that the reason we have not yet seen more evidence of early fire use is because we have not been using the appropriate methods," he continued.
Derna's findings were published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and while many archaeologists agree that the evidence does suggest that hominins did use fire in the cave one million years ago, there is still debate on whether or not the early people mastered the flame sufficiently to cook regularly.
Flickr Photo Credit: Doug Beckers
A while back Christopher released the Rolling with Sticks Guide Book which is a really innovative and simple book that breaks down each individual Greenland kayak roll. The stick guys do a great job highlighting the key steps for each roll.
The brilliant idea with the book is that it’s printed and bound on waterproof paper so you can take it with you on the water
Now Christopher has moved to the next step and produced an instructional DVD called Rolling with Sticks which looks pretty good.
As the preview demonstrates, each video is clearly demonstrated showing it in multiple angles both above and below the water.
You can purchase just the book for $29.95, DVD for $19.99 or as a package deal for $39.95.
More info and image credits: qajaqrolls.com
If you got a job this summer to be a guide on the ocean make sure you print off or memorize this handy-dandy chart to help tell the difference between "octopuses," "octopi," and "octopodes". Click on the image below to see the full size version.
This is critical training as you don’t want to ever want to get it wrong in front of your clients.
Flickr Photo Credit: Octopus Eye by you are your atman - Creative Commons by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
It’s that time of year - when those cute little Swans make their nests and vigorously defend them against all intruders.
With that in mind make sure you give them lots of room the next time you are on the water lest you will feel their wrath as Joe Davies from the UK did when he recently got attacked.
The dramatic scenes were captured this week when Joe dared to venture on to a stretch of water patrolled by a bad-tempered swan aptly nicknamed Tyson.
Joe, a local pub chef, said: “He went for me as soon as I got in the water – it made me wobble in the kayak and I capsized.
“As I was falling in, he went for me again, which made me panic.
“I was terrified. It took my breath away. I’d heard the rumours about Tyson but I’ve never seen him before. You hear about the damage swans can do when they attack.
You can read the full story here.
Thanks to Fiona for the heads-up.
Photo credit: express.co.uk