Isaac Levinson

Kokatat is proud to announce that professional whitewater kayaker and  2012 Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year, Isaac Levinson, has officially joined its team of elite athletes.

The twenty-three year-old Atlanta native began his paddling career as a whitewater slalom racer.  Levinson’s strong foundation of slalom skills has brought success on the extreme racing circuit, where he has been a fixture on podiums over the last several years.

“Everyday on the river is an adventure for me; I’ve been able to kayak in some amazing places and push my personal limits on challenging whitewater,” Levinson said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Kokatat gear, and I’m excited to be joining their team and representing the company.”

Most recently, Levinson was given the coveted Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year Award at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012.

He was the 2011 Green Race champion and North America’s top finisher in the inaugural AWP Whitewater World Series.  Keeping close to his slalom roots, Levinson competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and finished ninth in the highly competitive K-1 class.

Levinson will be wearing and providing feedback on various Kokatat products including the new Kokatat Maximus Prime.  The Prime is the Type 5 rescue version of Kokatat’s latest and most advance PFD platform.

Levinson joins Kokatat’s distinguished group of paddle sport athlete ambassadors that includes among others such luminaries in the sport as Dane and Eric Jackson, Jesse Coombs, Paul Kuthe, and Adriene Levknecht the Canoe and Kayak Female Paddler of the Year.

For the full roster of Kokatat athletes and ambassador team members visit

If you are an adventurous soul living in the UK or Ireland and thinking of organizing a big adventure in 2013 you should make note and apply for the Kukri Adventure Scholarship.

The Kukri Adventure Scholarship is a brand new program aimed at providing up to £20,000 in funding to help get your trip off the ground. Along with the cash you also get a pile of free gear as well which is fantastic.

Entering into the contest involves first coming up with a fantastic idea then making a short two-minute video to sell the idea to the judges and the public on Facebook.

The cool thing about the scholarship is that your level of expertise or fame isn’t a factor in winning but rather your ability to think up a good adventure, able to carry it out and bring back a good story to tell the world.

More info: Kukri Adventure Scholarship
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Tuesday, 18 September 2012 21:26

Kayak Mainline Episode 6.5 Streaming Now!

kayak mainline logo

Kelly Blades and I are very happy to announce the 6.5th episode of Kayak Mainline. We named it 6.5 because it’s an update to the 6th episode we pushed out the door last week before discovering that the sound quality wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. Sorry about that. This one is much better.

On Kayak Mainline episode 6.5 we learn about monster crocs, monster sturgeons and a crazy beaver attacking kids. KIDS! We also discover that Netherland weather forecasters might get in trouble if they are wrong. Plus your kayaking questions answered.

This one was actually recorded several weeks ago but August was so busy that we haven’t had time to publish this until now.

There are several different ways to get our sweet voices directly into your ears:

You can stream it live in your browser here:

 You can mp3directly download the mp3 (Right click and select, "Save target as..." or "Save link as...".

Subscribe via iTunes Subscribe via Stitcher

iTunes user? Subscribe and get each new episode downloaded directly to your iPhone/iPod as soon as it’s uploaded.


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Not an iTunes fan? We distribute Kayak Mainline also via Stitcher. They offer a free fantastic podcast app for both iPhones and Android and you can search and subscribe there as well.


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Sorry it’s been so quiet over the past couple of weeks. Life has been way to busy to do any writing.

The above image floated across my desk today and I couldn’t help but post it.

If these sleeping bags were available today I would get one right away (for the kids of course. Yes, for the kids).

Photo credit:

Thomas Magnum on the phone.

Outside of Bo and Duke, Thomas Magnum from Magnum PI was the coolest guy and television when I was a kid growing up. I jealous of both his Ferrari and moustache and couldn’t understand why my father didn’t have either of them.

Besides the car chases and bad-guy brawls, I thought it was awesome that he got to spend spent a lot of time out on the ocean in his kayak (or more specifically a surf ski). Throughout the series Magnum got out paddling in nine different episodes which is quite a bit considering he lived in Hawaii and didn’t really surf. Also remember that it was 1980-88 and hardly anybody in North America kayaked in those early years so it’s interesting that the writers kept the character involved in such a local, niche sport.

As far as what he paddled, there isn’t a lot of specific information but throughout the series Thomas Magnum used several different models including a custom designed kayak which was manufactured by Hayden Surf Ski. Most of the other episode stills with his boat don’t show any logos so it’s harder to tell the specific manufacturer.

Thomas Magnum on his surf-ski.

I’m not sure if Tom Selleck gets out paddling today but he did use his surf-ski quite a bit to relax in-between takes during shooting. I found an old news report of him getting in a small bit of trouble one afternoon when he got caught in the surf and almost got washed over a reef. The April 7, 1981 edition of the Weekly World News carried the story of his brush with death at the hands of 6-foot monster waves. That being said, the Weekly World News loved to be a bit over-dramatic as shown by the other headlines in that issue including, “Bee Gee’s visit brings child’s miracle recovery” and “Girls tortured in satanic rites in castle of horror” so I’m sure he just got pushed around a bit in the waves then went back to the set to sign more autographs.

The headline, “Magnum star Tom Selleck beats death in terrifying ocean ordeal” sold a lot of papers at grocery stores across America.

Thomas Magnum kayaking.

Thomas Magnum kayaking.

As the series went on the writers started adding more kayaking to the show peaking with the fourth season opener as an all surf-ski episode called, Home from the Sea. Magnum battles for his life when he falls off his surf-ski far from shore. Here is the description:

“Magnum's tradition of spending the Fourth of July alone at sea turns to a life-and-death battle when his surf ski capsizes from a reckless boater and a strong current takes him further and further from land. Forced to tread water for hours in shark-infested waters, Thomas uses his memories of his mom and dad to keep himself alive while Higgins, T.C., and Rick begin a frantic search for him.”

To be honest, it isn’t really that good of an episode. He just treads water for and hour and has a bunch of flashbacks. No car chases or bad-guy fights.

So this leads me to think about the influence that Magnum PI had on the world of kayaking. While I don’t think that Hollywood’s hairiest chest and sexiest moustache brought surf-skiing specifically to the common man, I do think it showcased kayaking as another form of exercise and excitement while making the sport look awesomely cool. I will say though I do know for a fact that he made a whole generation of 12-year-old boys want to become swim instructors.

magnun teaching swimming

Here is a great compiled clip somebody put together of Magnum paddling along with some other surf-ski racing footage spliced in for good measure. Enjoy!

Thursday, 06 September 2012 21:43

Funny Hurricane Forecast for Trekkies

I don’t care if we find out tomorrow that this is a fake. To me it will always be the greatest hurricane forecast ever.

Apparently this type of thing is popular among weather service staff for storms that have overstayed their welcome and continue to dwindle in the North Atlantic, or for storms that pose no real threat to life.

For example here is a one from Hurricane Epsilon back in 2005:

4 AM EST WED DEC 07 2005


Image credit:

Here is your inspirational story of the day:

Meet the 91-year-old kayaker, Louise Sheldon.

Back in mid-August the staff of Independence Village, a retirement home in Aurora, Ohio decided to organize a day of kayaking for the residents. The plan was to put everybody in the bow of double kayaks and volunteers would paddle them down the river.

Louise Sheldon decided she was going to have none of that and at 91 decided to paddle the five mile stretch by herself, and in her own kayak.

Of course the staff at the retirement home didn’t she could do it but even though she hadn’t been in her kayak for almost a year she has been paddling canoes and kayaks her whole life.

"I wasn't sure how far I'd go, but I went the whole five miles," she said. "We had fun. That's what counts. I just loved it. I wanted to keep going."

Allison Tucker, the facility's activities director said, “Because the river was so low, Louise got stuck a couple of times and worked her way out of it all by herself. She is amazing.

If you were to ask Louise what her best trip was, she would tell you about the time they paddled down the Cuyahoga River (about 85 miles) back in 1959. It wasn’t a crazy mile trip as they broke it up over eight or nine days but back then four woman paddling down the river by themselves was so unheard of that it landed them front page in the local paper.

So here is to Louise Sheldon and her passion to keep exploring. Keep it up for another 10 years and I will write another article about you.

More info:
Photo credit:

A flasher

It looks like kayakers on the Pinnebog River (located in the thumb part of Michigan) have been having so many problems with flashers lately that local police decided to set-up a sting operation and try to catch the perv who has been showing of his wing wang in public.

Well their trap worked and they caught somebody.

NY freelance TV producer William H. Masters III—son of Masters and Johnson sex researcher William Masters—was allegedly caught dangling his ding dong at two undercover cops who were merely posing as kayakers as part of a sting operation.

According to the Post, the incident occurred nearby on the Pinnebog River near Masters' Michigan family vacation cottage on Saturday. The Huron County sheriff’s office said “a 60-year-old New York City-area man yelled for [the] attention” of two women kayaking by. He was on the shore and “was completely nude and making obscene gestures.” But the kayakers were actually “part of a combined law-enforcement-agency sting operation, working out of a two-person kayak on the river.”

Masters was released on a $5,000 bond and faces up to two years in jail on aggravated indecent exposure.

More info:

PS – Yep, I totally stole the headline from the user, Wasseka who posted the idea for the headline on the site.

Photo credit:

A whole pile of kayak paddle related news come across my desk in the past week that it’s time for a paddle round-up.

Werner Paddles

New Werner Wave Pattern

Werner is adding colour options to their Camano and Shuna blades. Along with the current red, orange and amber colours, you can now order it in Azul and Jade patterns. The good news that the new patterns are the same price as if you ordered solid colours.

More info:


H2O Performance Paddles

H2O Performance Paddles Eco-Rec Paddle

H2O is introducing a new lightweight ECO-REC paddle which is unique in that it’s made of 100% recycled nylon. It’s pretty stinkin’ light at only 950 grams.

According to the press release it has, “an advanced dihedral blade design for flutter free strokes combined with H2O’s Fast Ferrule (patent pending) system, this paddle is sure to set the benchmark in the $119 - $139 price point”.

More info:


Novorca Paddles

Novorca Paddles

Finally, Novorca Paddles has just announced a design collaboration with Cheri Perry & Turner Wilson from Kayak Ways who will be helping to design several solid and three-piece models.

There is more information in the press release below:

For those traditional paddlers who are seeking either carbon blades that reflect the design principles we have used in our wooden blades, for several seasons now, or for those of you looking for multi-section blades that are designed for air travel, overcoming the increasingly stringent size restrictions of most airlines. Articulated yet comfortable loom sections to encourage canted indexing, lenticular-sectioned blades, with sharp edges and tips that slice at entry without a sound, thus virtually eliminating cavitation.

The design has evolved from testing, and building, then testing, and building again, a series of Alaskan Yellow Cedar paddles that are affectionately called 'Razors'. We will of course continue to offer these custom paddles to folks that enjoy these very lively and resonant paddles for those of you that love solid wood paddles as much as we do.

In the last two years we have taken comments and orders from paddlers all over the world, and we have spun off the design and tested protoypes most of the summer to bring this paddle into being as a foam core carbon sectional with Ron Steinwall of Novorca fame.

In the course of our travels we have had an opportunity to test some of our students' Novorca paddles first hand. We have always been impressed with the build quality of these carbon paddles. We have been encouraging Ron to build a sectional sticks for several years now, and he has really delivered on this idea in these paddles. We think you will agree with us that these are the finest sectional GPs available.

These three piece-paddles are available for order through either Novorca or Kayak Ways, now! The carbon Kayak Ways Razor will also be available as a one-piece paddle. The inherent design principles of these paddles easily morph into other lengths and widths. More details to follow!

More info:

kayak mainline logo

Kelly Blades and I are really excited to finally release Kayak Mainline episode #5. Things have been so busy over the past four or five weeks since we actually recorded this episode that we just got time to push it out the door today. Sorry it took so long. Sadly we have been to busy actually paddling.

With that in mind, we have episodes six and seven already complete so we should be releasing them closer together over the next couple of weeks to get ourselves caught up.

Here is what we learned about in this episode:

  • NOAA officially comes clean about mermaids
  • Another shark on kayak attack
  • Don’t go swimming in Lake Michigan if you are a man
  • We discover Google’s plans to map England’s waterways for Google Maps

 We also have a great interview with Keith Wikle, one of the organizers of the Gales Storm Gathering coming up this October.

There are several different ways to get our sweet voices directly into your ears:

You can stream it live in your browser here:

 You can mp3directly download the mp3.

Subscribe via iTunes Subscribe via Stitcher

iTunes user? Subscribe and get each new episode downloaded directly to your iPhone/iPod as soon as it’s uploaded.


itunes podcast icon

Not an iTunes fan? We distribute Kayak Mainline also via Stitcher. They offer a free fantastic podcast app for both iPhones and Android and you can search and subscribe there as well.


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