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. 

olympic judge mom

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

Kanulock Straps

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

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 16:39

That’s A Serious Fire Ban! [Photography]

Two quick camping tips:

Fire Ban Sign

If you are planning on going camping this weekend only to discover there is a fire ban, remember that some areas are even worse so don’t get too upset. Also, don’t piss off your camping neighbour next door and they might do you a favour when the rangers come by.

Best camping neighbour ever.

Photo credit: and


Last week I had the pleasre of attending the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium which took place in Grand Marais, Michigan. It’s a fantastic sea kayak symposium that attracted 146 students and instructors this year from across the US, Canada and international.

A couple of highlights for me included helping to lead a day-trip to the fabled Picture Rocks on the south shore of Lake Superior . If you haven’t been there before, it’s well worth the journey as the 200 foot tall sandstone cliffs have leached out iron, copper, manganese causing the rock face to be streaked with many different colours. It’s gorgeous.

Erik in the Cave

As a paddler, you would like the pictured rocks due to the numerous sea caves and arches scattered throughout. Some were only big enough for one person while others could handle 30 or more kayaks no problem. The weather was on our side that day and with little wind we were able to get in really close to the rocks.

Friday, Saturday were typical classes that you would find at symposiums and they were all really fun to teach. Friday I got to help out with an all-day rough water kayaking clinic with Danny Mongo from Werner Paddles, Mark Pecot from 41° North Kayak Adventures and Ray Boucher from Naturally Superior Adventures. Even though there was absolutely no wind we decided to make our own fun and with a lot of imagination, the water was really rough...

Two People, One Kayak

Saturday I had the absolute joy to teach with my new found friend, Andrea Knepper who runs an at-risk youth program in the Chicago. We had a great time running several, stability and bracing courses on Saturday. I’m not sure if the students in our classes had fun or not but we sure did so I guess that’s what really matters.

Here is a quick slideshow from Flickr highlighting some of the shenanigans that we got up to this year.

maelstromkayak logo

A couple of months ago we talked about how Boreal Design had gone bankrupt leaving kayak company, Maelströmkayak in the lurch as Boreal Design was building their boats.

It looks like Maelströmkayak is quickly getting back on their feet. I got a note today from company President, Charles-Alexandre Desjardins explaining what’s happening over the next couple of months.

First off they have a new website that is supposed to go live any day now. Though a new website will be great to see, the current photo that is on the site current is awesome and better be part of the new design.

I’m told that when the new site goes live we will learn more details about two new boat designs that should be available for Spring 2013 (or hopefully earlier). The two new boats are going to be 16’6” x 21” and 17’7” x 21.5” beam. The solid design details are sketchy right now so we will need to wait until we see better photos of what the boats look like. Here is a tease drawing of what to expect.

Maelstromkayak new prototype kayak.

Charles-Alexandre had this to say about what’s to come:

The names of the new models will be disclosed on our website, but you can expect a Scandinavian inspiration.  We are pushing the envelope a bit with the new designs, with features quite unique. The decks are not designed for carrying all your stuff on them and in my mind, you should only carry a spare paddle, compass and water pump. All the rest should be in the boat or on you. You'll see what I mean.

So two new boats, for expedition and fun in the surf zone. One for small to medium size paddlers and the other one will be for larger paddlers. Great color combination will be made possible with our unique and distinctive hull's wing.

They are planning to test the prototypes this July and August and if the designs hold up, they will be manufactured at a factory in Quebec which is great to hear.

Time will tell what we will get. I’m just glad to see them getting back on their feet after taking quite an unexpected beating this past spring.

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