For years I now I've been wondering (and I know you have to) just how many bags of unopened chips would it take to keep me afloat and take me on an adventure.
Well some Korean students decided to tackle that last great life mystery and discovered that if you tape together 160 bags of chips into a kayak, you and your buddy can paddle off into the sunset and international fame.
More info: wsj.com
I love when people bring technology and the outdoors together in unique ways so I knew this project was right up my alley as soon as I stumbled upon it.
What you are looking at here is called the Tide Machine. It's a simple, internet-connected surfboard that reports the current wave height from your favourite weather buoy.
Here is a quick video to see it in action:
Yes, its super silly and my kids made fun of me for watching but I don't care.
This is brought to you by Ylvis, that same guy who wondered a while back what foxes say.
Just read some really good news tonight, the new organization, Paddlesports North America which replaces British Canoe Union North America has just become the official delivery organization for the BCU here in North America.
Alec and Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin explained the impact of this development on their website, Have Kayaks Will Travel:
This is an enormous development, and one that’s been in process for several years. It means that we can now promote, train and support coaches to deliver BCU programming and maintain all achievement records on this continent, and be more responsive to the needs of North American paddlers and coaches.
So congrats to everybody involved in getting this going and I’m really looking forward to watching PNA grow in the coming years.
Looking through the online Google's collection of patents turns up no shortage of weird kayaking related inventions.
Here is a quick round-up:
Like kayaking? Like bow hunting? Why on earth would you ever consider looking at them as two different sports when you can combine them for a way better paddling/hunting experience.
This little invention allows you to clip on a trusty crossbow to the shaft of your kayak paddle allowing you…to…well, let's let the patent description do the talking:
The Paddlebow is a bow which can be easily mounted on the shaft of a paddle and used to shoot arrows. The bow is mounted to a paddle shaft by way of a clamp system.
The Paddlebow allows its users to shift from the action of paddling their kayak to the action of shooting an arrow in a quick and comfortable manor.
All I want to know is how the inventor expects you to comfortably paddle with a giant crossbow on the paddle. Also with the weight all forward of the paddle, it would just keep falling down hitting the deck of your kayak as you paddled.
The patent was issued in 2010 so maybe it just hasn't hit the market yet.
Heated kayak canoe paddle shaft
From the patent description:
Patent Description The heated paddle shaft is a heating device integrated into the shaft of a kayak or canoe paddle. The pads are placed on the shaft to keep the operators hands warm. A rechargeable lithium ionized battery source is the charge for these pads.
Maybe it's just me but I certainly don't paddle enough that I thought, “wow, a heated paddleshaft would come in handy right now.”
In 2010 the US patent office issued this idea.
Kayak deck rack assembly
Here is an idea! Let's add luggage rails to the back deck of your kayak effectively making it impossible that you will ever be able to get up on the back deck if you need to be rescued. Also, let's stack as much junk on top of your boat and make it as top-heavy as possible.
Not sure why it hasn't taken off since the patent was issued back in 1993.
Kayak paddle with safety mirror
So this inventor clearly hated looking behind him and felt that there were huge crowds of people who also only wanted to look at their friends via a mirror and felt there was some sort of market for this.
It's exactly what you think it is. A mirror that attaches to your paddle so you don't need to turn your neck.
The patent description is priceless:
A major problem in kayaking is that the user must normally turn the kayak to some extent in order to view the area behind the user, which turning is difficult and time consuming, and also very dangerous in white water kayaking conditions. Also, a busy kayak user must generally keep both hands on the kayak paddle for control of the craft, which is quite tipsy in the water.
Breakaway kayak cockpit and method
Ok, here is one invention that is an interesting idea but there some real world design flaws with it.
The idea with the breakaway cockpit is that if you are kayaking and get stuck in your boat that you could push up and against the front of the cockpit, the panel would release giving you lots of room to escape.
The problem with it is that the deck of the kayak would lose a lot of structural integrity epically in a small whitewater kayak where having the deck of the kayak implode is a realistic scenario. That's why they put those vertical foam pillars down the length of the boat.
Also, it looks like the breakaway panel and by what I can read in the description, the coaming itself is held in place by rubber gasket. That might keep things together while the kayak is on the shop floor but the stresses on these areas of the boat are considerably greater than what a little gasket can stand up against. I'm pretty sure that the whole system would just fall apart.
Looks like the idea never really panned out as a patent was filed way back in 1985.
Emergency air system for kayaks
This seems like an interesting concept in principle but wow, look at the huge number of parts making the simple idea of a breathing tube for whitewater kayaks overly complicated.
I like how the inventor has added a snorkel mouthpiece to make breathing more comfortable (like you are going to be using it all the time).
The inventor got his patent back in 2004.
I love when cool technology comes together.
Huntsville, Ontario resident, Ben Carlin started up a new company this past Spring called Intrepid360 with the aim to combine 360 degree video and marketing.
He recently partnered up with Algonquin Outfitters to demonstrate the immersive and very powerful form of video by taking us on a family canoe day trip in Algonquin Park. You might recognize blogger, Jennifer Johnson and her family from the site, Backcountry with the Kids.
Watch the video below, move your mouse around and visit Algonquin Park in just over 3 minutes.
I love this old footage from 1949 showing the demonstration of a game of canoe polo at a local boat regatta. To both the untrained and trained eye it looks like total chaos but at the same time a serious boatload of fun.
I got a pleasant surprise in the old email box the other day when I discovered that Jeff's Map has released a brand new map for Temagami region as well as a major update to his Killarney Provincial Park and surrounding area.
If you are an Ontario paddler who hasn't tapped into the amazing resources that Jeff produces and makes available absolutely free on his website you are missing out for sure. They are easily the cleanest and most comprehensive canoe/kayak route maps out there today. Also, in many cases they are more accurate than the official park maps themselves (I'm looking at you Algonquin Park Canoe Map).
The Temagami canoe map is filled with a pile of relevant information for canoeists including:
- thousands of campsites and portages
- hundreds of canoe routes
- crown land
- ice cold springs
- historic ruins
- fire towers
- historic ranger cabins
- other notes of interest
Also, the northern and western extremes of Temagami region are fully documented for the first time.
Sea Kayakers will be happy with the updates to version 2.0 of his Killarney Provincial Park Map which now includes more detailed information for the Georgian Bay area just south of the park.
As I mentioned Jeff makes all his maps available for free to anybody who wants to view or print them off yourself (ahem, the colour printer at work) but he also makes them available for a small charge if you wanted to order it on waterproof paper. One cool thing is that 5% of all sales of the new Temagami map is donated to Friends of Temagami who do a great job lobbying to protect that area.
Map Credits: Jeff's Maps
With summer slowly winding to a close is it time to put your sea kayak away for the season? Heaven's no! In fact, I would argue that early fall is one of the best times of the year to get out kayaking. Sure, the air is cooler (but you can dress for that) but there are less power boaters out on the water and with the fall winds blowing you will find waves and surf (if that’s your thing).
For those who do love getting out in rough water (or those who aspire to) make sure that you get yourself registered for the Gales Storm Gathering taking place October 3-5 taking place in Munising, Michigan.
Now in its 4th year, the Gales Storm Gathering has proven to be one of the premier rough-water paddling events in North America drawing paddlers from all over the country.
Registration is filling fast so get on it pronto. Everything you need to know can be found here.
Sadly I can't attend this year due to a new boss who has decided to follow HR's rules and actually keep track of staff vacation days but it's on my schedule next year for sure. Booo to following work rules...
Photo credit: Gales Storm Gathering
Here is a tip to all you would-be kayak thieves out there. If you steal a hand-made wooden kayak, don't offer to sell it back to the owner when they approach you at your local beach.
The Bellingham Herald has the full story:
The kayak was stolen some time overnight July 7 from the roof of the [Washington state] victim's vehicle. The woman reported it missing July 8 and told police the kayak had wooden inlay all over it [similar to the kayak pictured above].
Then on July 27, the owner was at Howard Amon Park in Richland putting people into kayaks when she saw her own kayak on the water.
The woman reported that Luke paddled up to the beach and offered to let her buy the kayak, court documents said. She identified the kayak as belonging to her, then asked someone to call Richland police.
When officers arrived, she showed them a picture of the stolen kayak which matched the one that Luke was trying to sell, documents said.
He claimed he had seen the kayak earlier on top of a car and wanted it, so he told a man named "Nick" to steal it for him and in exchange Nick would get a bicycle from Luke.
Photo credit: Creative Commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by dwstucke: http://flickr.com/photos/dwstucke/163371145
Check out this super dramatic footage of two kayakers in a double kayak getting lifted up by a whale. You got to see it to believe it.
According to the Youtube title this took place near Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
Last Sunday (July 13) thousands gathered in Newport Beach, CA to pay tribute to Ben Carlson, a lifeguard who gave his life while attempting to rescue a struggling swimmer.
The highly respected 15 year veteran lifeguard got the call and jumped into the water to save the swimmer struggling in the 6-8 foot surf waves. Both men were pulled back into the water by a large wave as they struggled to get back into the rescue boat.
Sadly Ben was pronounced dead after an exhaustive 3-hour search.
If you are unfamiliar with surf culture, when a fellow surfer passes away (either in an accident or non-surfing related cause), the community will organize a memorial service out beyond the surf. Typically they will form a ring, have a moment of silence and throw flowers into the center of the circle. It's been a tradition for years.
Watching the video of the memorial for Ben Carlson above, it makes me wish that the sea kayaking community had a traditional way of mourning those who have passed away as well. I guess we tend to keep things more internal and that's ok but there really is something very powerful about getting the kayak family together and going paddling in someone's honor.
I remember attending a memorial at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium three years ago for a fellow Great Lakes paddler (and former student of mine) who died doing what he loved. Rev. Bonnie Perry led the short service and spoke about the impact he had inspiring others to get out and live your dreams. I got to admit it was pretty tough one to get through but even while standing on the beach, I remember thinking that this should have taken place out on the water. Bob would have thought that would have been even cooler.
It might be a weird but maybe it's time to brainstorm our own method of mourning the loss of a fellow community member. Any ideas?
Photo credit: Associated Press
Typically kayaking can be viewed as a relaxing experience, washing away the stress of the day including your boss (or kids) yelling at you.
Sadly it looks like it might have had the opposite effect on a gentleman from Westfield, Massachusetts who, according to court records pleaded not guilty to a host of charges (including attempted murder) after he allegedly attacked another man with a kayak paddle and held his head underwater. All while out kayak fishing one evening.
The other night on "The Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon" Jimmy challenged Cameron Diaz to a kayak race. Though it didn't actually take place on water it was clearly just as dangerous as they had to run a through a waterfall, dodge a cranky old fisherman and salmon swimming upstream as well as two super dangerous obstacles that consisted of an Elton John impersonator singing the most annoying part of "Crocodile Rock" and another on a jet ski singing the worst part of "Bennie and the Jets".
You will need to watch the race to find out who was victorious and who sunk...
Found this in the Guardian today:
An artist in Japan, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – which roughly translates as "good-for-nothing girl" – was arrested after emailing the data to 30 people who had answered a crowd-funding request for her recent artistic venture: a kayak inspired on her own genitalia she calls "pussy boat", according to Brian Ashcraft at the gaming website Kotaku.
Kokatat has always been known as an innovative company especially when it comes to dry suits. While they didn't invent them back in 1971 when they first started stitching, there is little doubt that they should get the credit for making them appealing to the masses.
Starting next year Kokatat will be taking a giant leap forward with the roll-out of the Idol drysuit with what they are calling SwitchZip technology. Gone will be the giant brass zipper across the chest in favour of a 360 degree waterproof zipper located around the waist.
To me this is going to be a huge game changer. The new zipper will still be a 100% waterproof but will allow you to completely separate the pants from the top allowing you to mix and match depending on the conditions and/or water temperature. If you only need a paddling jacket than leave the pants behind or zip them together as a regular drysuit. I will file this whole thing under the why-didn't-this-come-out-10-years-ago-idea.
I haven't tried it on yet but I suspect that this is also going to make the fit and comfort of the suit a whole lot better as it should be considerably less bulky upstairs without that stiff brass zipper jammed under your lifejacket. Also ladies, you won't need to order the drop zipper any longer. You know that drop zipper that makes butts look twice as wide? I kid! I kid.
As far as the placement of the new zipper, I've been told that when seated, it will sit inside the kayak cockpit between the backband and the seat. Designed into the suit is a simple Cordura cover so it won't get hung up in kayak rigging or PFD's.
So when will it be showing up at paddling shops? Kokatat says to watch for the new Idol sometime in January, 2015.
If you have a weekend free this summer and looking for kayak training in a very relaxed environment, make your way to the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, located 2.5h north of Toronto in Parry Sound.
For the first time they are offering a series of theme weekends covering a wide variety of topics including Greenland Paddle building and rolling.
Paddle building and rolling is fine and all but I want to highlight two other programs also going on. The first is that I'm teaching a navigation and weather themed weekend coming up in just a couple of days. We will be covering stuff like trip planning, on-water navigation and the basics of weather forecasting as well as getting out and checking out the sights and sounds of Georgian Bay’s 40,000 islands. In the past have you gotten lost listening to a friend trying to explain the wonders of navigation? I will try to sort it out for you. It will be practical, nerdy but certainly not boring.
Another weekend that looks amazing and you should for sure think about attending is the leadership and risk management weekend hosted by Alec and Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin of Have Kayaks, Will Travel Paddlesport Coaching in Chicago.
Over the weekend they will be covering the latest and greatest kayak rescue techniques as well as how to manage incidents on the water. Of course it won’t be all rescues all the time and they will also be working with students to improve strokes and paddling technique. With a small class there will be lots of one on one time. I know these guys love having fun on the water so I know you are going to have a great time.
Looks interesting? You can find more info about the training weekends here.
As a freshwater kid who rarely gets to the ocean, I think that tides are just awesome. That's why I was excited last week when I stumbled upon this very cool collection of low and high tide comparison photos from around the world.
I'm always amazed at how much of a difference there is between low and high tide.
If you are this guy, I've got a pile of resources that will help explain how tides work so that even a 6 year old will understand. Download your free teaching resources here.