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Mad River Canoe is partnering with Dave Cornthwaite, a British adventurer, who is on a mission to complete 25 journeys, 1,000 miles each, by non-motorized means. The total distance of the 25 journeys is equivalent to the length of the circumference of the Earth around the equator. For Dave Cornthwaite’s next Expedition1000 adventure, Swim1000 Missouri, Cornthwaite will swim 1,000 miles on the Missouri River in 50 days starting in Chamberlain, S.D., on August 10, and ending in St. Louis, Mo., in late September 2012.

Mad River Canoe will supply Cornthwaite and his team with a Legend 16 canoe to haul gear and provide a stable platform for filming the expedition. Cheri McKenzie, Chief Marketing Officer for Confluence Watersports, said this: “Mad River Canoe is excited to be supporting Swim1000 and Dave Cornthwaite’s team. The expedition reflects the spirit of exploration that Mad River Canoe embodies, and we are honored that Dave and his team chose to incorporate the MRC tradition into this inspiring wilderness adventure.”

In addition to the canoe and film crew, Cornthwaite will be accompanied by a team of six stand-up paddle boarders and a small carbon fiber raft that he will use to tow and push his personal gear. The team hopes to complete 20 miles a day for 50 days.

All proceeds from the Swim1000 segment will go to CoppaFeel!, a charity that raises money for breast cancer education. By the time the Expedition1000 team is finished with all 25 expeditions, they hope to raise £1,000,000 through donations for charities, including CoppaFeel! To date, the team has raised £500,000 through private donations.

For more information on the Expedition1000 and Swim1000, check out or follow Expedition1000 on Facebook.

To learn more about Mad River Canoe and the Legend 16, visit

About Mad River Canoe:
Some say that a mischievous rabbit founded Mad River Canoe (read about it here). We’re not saying for sure, but when Jim Henry built the first Mad River Malecite in 1971, he was inspired by the Micmac Indian legend of a rabbit whose confidence was a powerful asset when backed up with innate abilities. Confidence, aptitude, innovation and results guided the beginning of Mad River Canoe and they persist in the brand and its boats today. For nearly 40 years, Mad River has devoted itself to the craft of building a better canoe, not for the glory, but for the results. Until you can get on the water to feel the confidence of a Mad River Canoe yourself, check us out online at

Thursday, 09 August 2012 21:24

Google’s Kayak Themed Doodle

Just in case you didn’t notice, the Olympic themed Google Doodle for today (Aug 9) is slalom canoeing (or kayaking to us North American kids).

Playing the game I quickly discovered that my virtual paddling performance was better than in real life.

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 Hammer Sea Kayak

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 new P&H skeg slider was announced at Outdoor Retailer 2012.

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

Adventure Technology Logo

Looks like Adventure Technology Paddles is trying to steal some market share from Werner Paddles by introducing several new models aimed at the high-end market.

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.

Jonathan Berger on a canoe trip on a tributary of the Hayes River in northern Manitoba.

You read that headline right. Jonathan Berger from Philadelphia has been going on canoe trips all over northern Canada for over 50 years and during that time he has spent more then 1825 nights out camping. That’s a serious number of days! Here I was all proud of my upcoming two-night family camping trip to the local Provincial Park.

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 Winnipeg.

Photo credit: Jonathan Berger

keen footwear logo

I’m really excited to finally be able to announce the addition of Keen Footwear as a sponsor of

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If you haven’t heard of Keen before, they are one of the go-to companies for paddler footwear ever since their sandals first showed up in stores back in 2003. Since then they have branched out in several different directions by introducing hiking, cycling and casual shoes that the local hipsters would find ironic wearing.

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.

Keen McKenzie Shoes

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 Allstar

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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The two new kayaks are an addition to Jackson Kayak’s highly successful line of freestyle, river running, creek and all water lines that have kept Jackson Kayak at the lead in market share and units sold. The SUP is a new direction for Jackson.

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.
MSRP: $1199
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.
MSRP: $$1199
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:

  • Verbal arguments in front of students on the proper way to teach something as simple as the forward sweep.
  • Once teaching with two other instructors in a large group, one of the instructors decided to jump out of his boat in the middle of a class to give an impromptu lesson on how to stay cool on the water. All this happened while the other instructor was teaching the draw stroke. Totally derailed the lesson.
  • I heard of an instructor who once decided to arbitrarily change the lesson plan half way through the morning and announced on the spot that it would be more effective for him if he just took half the students and split the group.
  • I once took over my co-instructors boat design lesson because I really, really, really wanted to share some newfound knowledge. He was pissed and I still feel bad about it. Sorry Andrew!

Here are a bunch of random tips and ideas to help make teaching with another instructor a whole lot more fun:

  •  Meet before the class and map out exactly who is responsible for what elements of the lesson. This is critical and I can’t stress this enough. Even if you are one of those types who can teach on the fly, deciding who is teaching what during the actual lesson is not only unprofessional but a guaranteed recipe for disaster.
  • If you are not on stage teaching the stroke, keep you’re your trap shut. Students can only learn from one person at a time so show your co-instructor some respect and let her teach the lesson.
  • Check your ego at the door. Co-teaching is about sharing the spotlight so out of the way and don’t hog the attention.
  • Unless the lesson is sinking out of site or there is a danger to the class, don’t take over the lesson unless invited. Everybody has a bad day on the water or maybe it’s the first time teaching the skill and very nervous. Let them learn from the experience while you look for a place during a break in the conversation to gently help out.
  • When done your teaching segment always provide an opportunity for fellow instructors to add their tips at the end. That’s a good place for them to come in and add last minute tips or show another way to do the skill.
  • Like a car can’t have two drivers, you need to figure out who is going to run the lesson plan. The lesson plan driver takes the roll of dishing out the tasks and keeping everybody on time.
  • Finally, remember to share the teaching love. If you have new assistants out there helping you so make sure you give them a chance to do some teaching and build up their experience.
  • When you are done, a quick debrief about what worked and what didn’t will really help the next time you teach together.


You have a teaching tip? Share it in the comments below. 

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