It's been out for a couple of years since Birthright was released but I still think that this is one of the most inspiring kayak films out there. If you haven’t seen it before, now is the time.

Vimeo's description:

One man's struggle to transcend.

This humble film is about a friend of mine named Michael and his daily ritual to find his natural self through surfing.

Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:00

A Beginner's Guide to Kayak Fishing

Every once in a while I find a friend to write a guest piece about a topic I know nothing about. For a while now I’ve had an interest in kayak fishing but to honest I’ve never had the time and/or patience to really get into it. I decided to ask Joseph Dowdy from Austin Canoe & Kayak to give us some pointers on how to get into the hugely growing sport of kayak fishing.

 

by: Joseph Dowdy

Kayak fishing is becoming increasingly popular in the kayaking world because it incorporates two popular sports into one: fishing and kayaking. Both of these activities are inexpensive and allow you to set your own leisurely pace. That said, doing both at once can be tricky if you’ve never done it before and don’t have the right equipment on hand. Below are some tips for beginner’s to ease into the world of kayak fishing.

 

1. Consult a local kayak shop

While you are able to fish from a regular sit on top or inflatable kayak, more and more angler kayaks are appearing on the market, making it easier to pack more equipment and fish comfortably. Your local kayak shop will have information on the best deals for fishing kayaks, as well as equipment you can purchase to bring along on your trip. They will also be able to offer insight on kayak fishing techniques and popular fishing spots in the area.

 

2. Practice both sports separately

The key to being a good kayak fisherman is to be a good kayaker, as well as a good fisherman. Both sports take quite a bit of practice. If you’re a novice at one, taking on the other simultaneously could be quite the challenge. Practice fishing off land and practice kayaking in the area you plan on kayak fishing in. Once you’ve mastered the two, doing them concurrently will be much easier.

 

3. Pay attention to water conditions, weather, and seasons

Do research on the environment you plan on kayak fishing in. Fish are attuned to weather patterns. The ideal times for fish are on windy, rainy, cloudy, or front moving days. Wind often brings bait closer to shore, storm fronts make fish feed, cloudy skies make fish cruise for food, and rain helps hide your boat from fish. When you are saltwater fishing, it’s important to pay attention to the tides. Normal running tides are best because they cause bait to move. During colder weather, fish will be closer to the surface, whereas during warmer weather, fish prefer the cooler, deep waters.

 

4. Have the right equipment

Any fisherman knows that there’s no such thing as a “quick” fishing trip. Be sure to prepare a tackle box with everything you may need for your excursion. That includes bait, pliers, scissors, hooks, lines, etc. It is also recommended that you bring along a pair of dry clothes, a first aid kit, a map, and a means of communication. Since you’ll be traveling with more equipment than you would on a normal kayaking trip, bungee lanyards and leashes are needed. A good rule of thumb is that if it isn’t connected to the kayak, tie it down. You never know when a rollover or rough waters can happen. It is also important to buy a rod holder if your kayak does not come with one. This makes transporting your rod while paddling much easier.

About the Author:
Joseph Dowdy is an avid kayaker based out of the central Texas area. He has spent many a weekend and holiday on the Texas coast attending sea kayaking events or just having some fun with a kayak or paddleboard. He’s currently employed at Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK.com) and loves that he gets to spend time working with his favorite toys.

 

Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:00

SPOT Satellite Global Phone Review

When it comes to two-way communication in the wilderness, a satellite phone is one of the better items to have as it allows you to talk directly to the authorities during an emergency. One of the problems with sat phones is that they are expensive to purchase typically costing between $600-2000 for just the unit itself.

SPOT, makers of the very popular satellite GPS messenger, have just introduced the SPOT Satellite Global Phone and with a suggested price of $499, it's one of the first sat phones aimed (and priced) for the recreational outdoor enthusiast.

Buddies and fellow Canadians, James Manke and James Roberts are teaming up to travel and compete in the National Greenland Championships held in Qaqortoq, Greenland in this July and are looking for your support. The project is very cool and you should consider helping them out.

Getting people to wear lifejackets while on the water has always been a tough goal. Over the years we have seen all kinds of campaigns from boring government brochures to funny spoofs of old cop shows. Now things have taken a bit of darker turn with the new drowning simulator called, Sorte En Mer.

You need to try it but be prepared, it's pretty intense.

The simulator starts off with a video of you and a friend out sailing on a calm day then quickly turns into a disaster when you are knocked overboard and left watching your friend sail off into the horizon unable to control the sailboat. To keep your head above water you need to scroll your mouse wheel for as long as you can.

Drowning simulator capture

Are you able to stay afloat long enough until your buddy comes back? I couldn't.

Shock campaigns like this have been around for a long time and I’m sure you’ve seen posters with splashy photos of traffic accidents telling you to slow down, or reminders that you love your dog so don’t kill it by leaving it in a car on a hot day.

For a while now researchers have been looking into shock campaigns to see how effective they are. While there is an emotional reaction to seeing bloody car wreck photos, a study back in 2008 in the Netherlands showed that they had the opposite effect. In the study, some male subjects who saw the commercials judged driving fast to be less dangerous or trivialized the message that driving fast is dangerous.

I remember as a teenager our local high school used to arrange for a local wrecker to come and drop off a crashed up car to remind students not to drink and drive. Who knows how many students got the message but all I know is that a large group of us used to stand trying to figure out how to get in the crushed car so we could get photos of ourselves.

Another interesting study out of Belgium showed that campaigns based on fear tended have a short-lived effect on attitudes and opinions and that the public get used to the element of fear faster than a message based on a positive emotion.

So does that mean that this campaign won’t be effective in the long term? I don’t know. I’m not a behavioural scientist.

What does make this video unique (and thus possibility more effective) is that you need to interact with the video to keep the character alive. After my little index finger got tired of scrolling the mouse wheel and I drowned, the first thing I thought was, "wow, if I could only last 3 minutes and my finger was worn out, how could I swim longer than 5 in those waves?"

To me, it was a very different response compared to seeing a poster below put out by Life Saving Victoria.

Where's your child poster

Maybe that interaction element could be just the thing to drive home the message of Lifejacket usage while on the water.

Big news in the outdoor industry today with the announcement that Confluence Watersports has been bought up by private equity firm, J.H. Whitney Capital Partners.

Though you likely haven’t heard of J.H. Whitney Capital Partners you have likely heard of some of their other privately owned companies including, Eastern Mountain Sports, Pure Fishing (who make Berkley and Trilene fishing line and Igloo Products (makers of coolers).

So what does this mean for Confluence Watersports? Mainly a major cash injection into the company so they can move to the next level of their business plan which includes a planned name change to Confluence Outdoor.

"We are very pleased to be brought into the J.H. Whitney family," said Sue Rechner, who will continue in her role as President & CEO of the newly formed Confluence Outdoor. "Confluence has always been an active and invested member of the outdoor industry, and we are fortunate that our new partnership with J.H. Whitney will enable us to build upon our success in paddlesports as a platform for future expansion."

Terms of the deal were not announced as both Confluence and J.H Whitney are privately owned.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

Who Says Only Boys Can Portage?

Fiona from Badger Paddles recently released a limited run of their Girls Portage Too poster and I absolutely love it.

Inspired by the portage signs scattered all over Ontario parks like Algonquin, this reminds us that anybody can portage a canoe (with the correct technique).

Fiona sent me this sample which my youngest daughter was happy to take charge of. It's getting framed and going up in the landing at the top of the stairs.

Cait and her Girls Can Portage Too sign.

The 11" x 17" poster is available for a limited time and are $9.95 and any additional posters are only $5 (max 5). You can order yours here.

 

Each year the Colorado School of Mines hosts their annual Engineers’ Days which is a celebration all the things nerdy university engineering students are into. The day involves a whole pile of stuff like soap box races, gold panning, mattress races and what I can only imagine as super awesome, a Tesla coil demonstration.

One of the great traditions of the event is the annual cardboard boat race down the local Clear Creek. The only rules are that the contestant teams must build their boat with a set amount of cardboard and tape and it must carry the while team down the raging class I moving water. Extra points are awarded for creativity, floatability and keeping upright at least until the finish line.

This year, two students decided that floating down a river was so last year and decided walking was the way to go. Just wait until they need to negotiate a very small waterfall

Go team AT-AT!

If you are like me and you sometimes find it tricky explaining to your students the complex interactions between Low and High pressure systems or weather forecasting you need to pick up the amazing resource, The Weather Cycler.

The Weather Cycler is essentially an 8.5"x11" cardboard slide chart and guide for interpreting and forecasting weather. What makes it very cool is that when you slide the inner card out, it creates a simple animation of a low pressure system moving into your area. While the animation is happening, there are other cut outs on the page that demonstrate expected weather, pressure and cloud formations at any given point throughout the weather system. It’s a fantastic resource.

If you are looking to pick one up check with your local science shop to see if they have it though you will likely do better ordering it online. I recently picked up mine from the gang at Body Boat Blade and it was $12.50 plus shipping.

From the YouTube description:

Maritime New Zealand's (MNZ's) new advertising campaign harks back to the glory days of 1980s cop shows to show that, like bulletproof vests, lifejackets don't save people's lives unless they're worn. Police officers Brandon Reynolds & Joe Lyons head to the docks for a bust. Things don't go as planned...

The campaign draws on MNZ's latest research, which shows that men aged 40 plus are the least likely to zip up on the water. Black humour and '80s TV show nostalgia are used to deliver the deadly message that having a lifejacket on board won't save boaties or their mates if things go wrong. Being close to your lifejacket is like being close to your bulletproof vest -- it's just not close enough. People think if they have an accident, they'll have time to put their lifejacket on, but boating tragedies tell a different story....

For more information about summer boating safety, visit maritimenz.govt.nz/lifejackets

And for good measure here is the Starsky and Hutch opening that made me want to be a cop so bad…

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