I love the Outdoor Retailer trade show. It’s that time of year that the dam bursts and companies start unveiling all the new gear that will be on the store shelves next season.
This past weekend Necky Kayaks pulled back the curtain and showed the world their newest boat, the Elias. The Elias is based off the same lines of their highly successful female focused boat, the Eliza.
Necky describes the Elias as:
An agile, playful and responsive touring kayak. The Elias takes its design cues from Necky's popular women's specific Eliza kayak, with a slightly longer and larger hull designed to appeal to a broad variety of paddlers.
At fifteen and a half feet, the Elias is extremely efficient for a kayak its size. Its relatively modest waterline translates into less effort for the paddler at normal cruising speeds, making the Elias significantly more efficient for everyday touring than other kayaks in its class. Also available in a fibreglass and carbon layup, the Elias is ideal for day touring and weekend excursions.
The Elias is available in both rotomolded plastic and composite layup and is 15’6” long with a beam of 22.25”. Similar to the Eliza series, the plastic boat is only available with a rudder while you have the option of a skeg if you purchase the fibreglass or carbon layups.
Check out this very cool raw footage from a recent five day canoe trip in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park north of Kenora, Ontario.
The film was shot by Justin Evidon using a Canon 5D Mark 2 and even in its raw, uncut form, it looks fantastic. Make sure you stick around for the forest fire footage. It seems a little close to their campsite if you ask me...
There is a great set of Flickr photos of the trip but sadly sharing has been disabled so I can only provide a link.
Top photo credit: Capture from video - Justin Evidon.
P&H Kayaks unveiled a couple new toys at Outdoor Retailer this year with the biggest announcement being a new kayak model called the Hammer.
Here is the description for the Hammer from the P&H website:
The Hammer is a new generation of sea playboat that will take 'playing the sea' to a higher level.
Benefiting from the expertise at Pyranha Whitewater kayaks and the influence of the P&H Delphin, the Hammer is designed for rock gardening, surfing and 'extreme sea play'.
The Hammer’s planning hull, progressive rocker and unique bow profile make this ocean playboat extremely versatile. The Hammer is loose and manoeuvrable in surf and in tight rock gardens, yet tracks well on flatwater.
Construction is a tough, single skin roto-mould, the same as Pyranha whitewater kayaks, and offers full whitewater outfitting including a fully adjustable seat, adjustable hip pads, thigh grips and full plate footrest.
The boat is 13.8 feet long with a beam of 24.5’ and as you can see from the photo there is huge amount of bow rocker so it should perform very well in surf. I’m looking forward to giving it a try when they are available in the near future.
The other big announcement from P&H was a redesign of their skeg slider system. Many people have been complaining that the old slider made the skeg very difficult to actually use. I can agree with them. It takes far too much work to put the skeg on my Cetus LV back up I hardly ever use it.
I tried out the new system a couple of months ago and can testify that it’s a huge improvement to the old sliders. The skeg is actually useable.
Photo credits: P&H Kayaks
Come Spring 2013, you will be able to see their new high-angle touring paddle called the Oracle which looks promising. They are also introducing a carbon blend shaft for all of their blades to cut down on the weight.
You can get the full skinny on the new AT models below.
You read that headline right. Jonathan Berger from
The Winnipeg Free Press recently did an article on the amazing accomplishments of this surprisingly risk-averse guy. You can read the full story here.
Surely, in all that time canoeing uncharted rivers with rapids, cataracts and waterfalls, thousands of kilometres from civilization, he has encountered some mishaps and adventures and learned some difficult lessons.
Well, the last time he had a canoe tip was 1971. He has never had to be evacuated. He has had just two bears in his camp in all that time, and they ran away when he and fellow travellers banged pots and pans.
"I don't know what to tell you," Berger said on a recent stopover in
Winnipeg. "I just don't take chances." That's probably the boring secret to how you keep paddling for months at a time every summer for 50 years.
I loved the quote right at the end of the article when asked how he can find the time to so many canoe trips:
"It depends what you want to do. You make sacrifices," he said about dedicating so much time to canoe-trekking. That includes sacrifices both monetary and in terms of professional advancement, he said.
Update: In my research, I discovered that Jonathan is also the co-author of the coffee-table book, Canoe Atlas of the Little North which highlights the best canoe routes of Northern Ontario and
Photo credit: Jonathan Berger
I’m really excited to finally be able to announce the addition of Keen Footwear as a sponsor of paddlinginstructor.com.
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For the past several years I had been using low-cut neoprene booties which had been working out pretty good except that the tread had worn down completely smooth making walking through puddles and mud a touch...well dangerous when you have a boat on your shoulder. The biggest downside with neoprene is that they take a very long time to dry out so by mid season, I was always asked to stand downwind of my friends due to the foot stink. I’m not kidding.
As a replacement to the black neoprene stinkers, I was really excited to give Keen’s water shoe, the McKenzie a try and it’s since proven to be a great little paddling shoe. The McKenzie is a hybrid shoe in that it wears like a regular running shoe but it has several mesh panels to drain the water out and dry quickly so it has the light and breezy qualities of a sandal. The shoe dries quick and has great group on wet rocks which were two key qualities I was looking for.
One thing I did discover is that the McKenzie’s fit a little big. In my case I had to go down a full size then I normally would so keep that in mind if you happen to order a pair online.
So I’m pretty excited about this sponsorship. Keen makes great footwear but they are also pretty serious about giving back to the community. They currently budget close to 1% of their profits and give that back to a variety of non-profit organizations around the world.
One cool story that caught my eye was mentioned on the Keen Wikipedia page. Back in 2004 right after the Asian Tsunami, they decided to take their entire marketing budget for the year and donate it in total to relief efforts. That’s pretty serious.
So a special thanks to Keen for sponsoring this site as well as protecting my feet while carrying by kayak to the waters edge.
Jackson Kayak will formally unveil two new whitewater kayaks and a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jackson Kayak’s new Star series, now production ready, the groundbreaking Karma creek boats alongside the new SUPerCHARGER Stand Up Paddleboard were designed and manufactured at the company’s factory in Sparta, Tenn., and will be on full display throughout the expo.
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For the latest line of kayaks, Jackson Kayak returned to the successful partnership in design of David Knight and Eric “EJ” Jackson to produce a full upgrade to their leading freestyle Star series as well as adding depth to the creek/river running line leaning on the success of the 2012 Zen hull design with added creek-savvy innovation. Leading designer Tony Lee teamed with whitewater industry veteran Ken “Hobie”Hoeve to bring Jackson Kayak to a new stage in river craft with his introduction of the SUPerCHARGER, a SUP designed for running rivers and whitewater play.
Kayak: Star Series
Ready for World Championships Freestyle Kayak- Three sizes, like our past Star series, Star, All-Star, Super Star. Going for more user friendly than the Rock Stars but super high performance. Main differences from past 2010 All-Star, or 2012 Rock Star will be having a longer boat, again, with some of the benefits being slicier smoother feel, but still huge loops and aerial moves. Visual will be a very sexy boat, less stubby. The Stars will focus on lighter weight, fast, smooth, balanced and easy to paddle.
STAR Length: 67” Width: 25-3/8” Volume: 51-1/8 gal
ALL STAR Length: 70-1/2” Width: 26-5/8” Volume: 59-3/8 gal
SUPER STAR Length: 73-5/8” Width: 27-3/4” Volume: 67-5/8 gal
"Star Quote - EJ"
Jackson Kayak’s Fourth Generation Creek Boat in the past 9 years takes a big leap forwards. The Karma takes a turn towards speed, stability, and carving. Following up from the success of the 2012 Zen hull design, the Karma takes the speed and performance of it’s sister craft and is built for the tight lines and drops of the creek. Fast, stable, and forgiving, with predictable turning, boofing, and a bow that rises over anything in its way. The Karma will be released in October, 2012 in two sizes.
KARMA M Length: 8’6” Width: 26” Volume: 83 gal
KARMA L Length: 8’11” Width: 27” Volume: 96 gal
"Karma Quote - EJ"
This board is by far the most stable, stiff, durable and versatile river running SUP ever made. Constructed out of the same material as our whitewater kayaks it gives riders the ability to surf standing waves and paddle the most difficult rapids with ease. Its channel bottom hull and removable fins allow it to track yet spin quickly. It’s the board that will outlast and outperform in the river environment.
MSRP – $799
Length – 9’ 8” Width – 36” Weight –45 lbs
"I have paddled every type of SUP in whitewater and the SUPercharger is BY FAR the most stable and river worthy board I have ever used. It has it all. Superior stability, incredibly durable and versatile and it punches thru holes and waves yet allows the paddler to turn quickly. It makes any section of river more fun and instills confidence in it's paddler. This is the one board that anyone can hop on and immediately feel the stability and charge the river." – Ken Hoeve, JK SUP Guru
About Jackson Kayak: Jackson Kayak was founded in 2003 by Eric Jackson. Currently located in Sparta, Tenn., near the Caney Fork River, Jackson Kayak designs, builds, and manufactures a multitude of models. Their products are all made in the USA. Their line of high quality kayaks includes whitewater, creeking, touring, environmental, and fishing. Converting an old Levi’s Jeans factory into their manufacturing headquarters, Jackson Kayak has assisted not only in furthering the kayak industry but also promoting the economy of Sparta.
One of the toughest challenges for canoe or kayak instructors is to teach with another partner. This could be with a stranger that you have just met at a symposium or a fellow staff member at your local paddling school or club.
On the surface it seems to be a simple matter, after all you are only talking half the time but the reality is that more teaching disasters take place as soon as you add in a the second instructor. Like a complex dance routine, you need work together in harmony to ensure that your students are learning effectively.
Here is a very small selection of some of the crazy stories or situations I witnessed over the years:
Here are a bunch of random tips and ideas to help make teaching with another instructor a whole lot more fun:
You have a teaching tip? Share it in the comments below.
There is Olympic pressure then Olympic pressure knowing that your mother is a judge...
Kiwi kayaker Mike Dawson has to contend with mother Kay being one of the judges at his K1 slalom event - and yesterday she pinged him for touching a gate.
He still made it through to the semifinals at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in northeast
London, despite the 2-second penalty, and was able to laugh off his mum's intervention.
“Mum is super into it,"
Dawson, from Tauranga, said. "In fact I don't think she even knows when I'm coming through.
“I hit it [gate 5] and she gave me my touch. I wasn't sure it was a touch, so we'll sort that one out later.
“I am stoked she is here judging, and the sport is set up in a way that it has no impact on the result.”
Photo credit: IAIN McGREGOR/ Fairfax NZ
Face it, nothing is quite as frustrating as getting your boat stolen from the top of your car while you are sleeping at a hotel on your way north to the trip put-in.
To keep your canoe, kayak or surfboard from walking away; invest in a set of Kanulock stainless steel reinforced straps.
For the past couple of months I have been eying them online but since I don’t own a car, I don’t get to experience the joy of tying down boats very often. I finally had the opportunity to play with them this past Spring while teaching a several kayak courses with my good friend Tony Palmer, owner of the paddling shop Undercurrents. Over the 10 days of teaching we hauled boats back and forth to the local lake every day.
The Kanulock straps are exactly what you think they are. They are constructed of tubular nylon webbing with two braided stainless steel cables running the length inside the webbing. The wire reinforcement is designed to keep an opportunistic thief away as the straps can’t be cut with knives or scissors while the synch-down cam has a built in lock to make the system even more secure.
The first time I tied down a boat I thought that straps would be really stiff but I was pleasantly surprised at how pliable they were. You can easily tie the straps in a knot or loop the ends around the racks to eat up the extra strapping.
The Kanulock straps come in three lengths 8 feet, 13 feet and 18 feet and pricing ranges from $79 to $99 so check out your local paddling shop or visit online at kanulock.net.