Ocean Kayak® and Necky® Kayaks, respected leaders in the paddlesports community, are pleased to announce their latest contribution in the fight against breast cancer, a quarterly donation of $8,655 to the Breast Cancer Fund.
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 18:09

Accidents - A Letter from a Survivor

Timothy Gutmann
Brandon Andrusic
I don't know if anybody has noticed but I recently tried to cut down on the number of accident articles posted in the news section of the site. Scanning the news, there are so many and after a while they all start to read the same. If I posted every one, it would look like everybody and their brother is dying out there and the stats show that it just isn't true.

I do however post articles about tragedy if it could be used for learning or teaching. If it just a death article, it's probably going to be a no-go.

On that note, I recently was following a accident that took place a couple weeks ago in Maine where two paddlers went out and only one came home. It was interesting to read because the survivor (Brandon Andrusic) was able to get to an island and spent the night there before being able to summon help. The decision to stay on the island for the night caused some controversy and there was some negative chatter about his decisions.

Brandon recently wrote a letter into the Portland Press Herald telling his version of the story. I posted a copy of it for you to read and learn from it. It gives some interesting analysis into an accident that I know from first hand experience, can go sour in less than three seconds.

Thanks for Leif for the link to the letter.

[Click "Read More" for the letter]
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 17:36

Clyde Coastguard Podcast

Clyde Coastguard If you haven't downloaded and listened yet, jump over to Simon Willis's blog and download his latest podcast. He does an amazing interview with Bill Spear, the watch manager at Clyde Coastguard.

Simon gets down and dirty to figure out what goes on there and how kayakers can make the Coast Guards lives a little easier.


KokatatKokatat athletes Ruth Gordon and Dan Burke are crowned World Champions at the 2007 Freestyle Kayaking Championships, held on the Ottawa River in Canada first week of May. The competition was held at "Bus Eater" wave, which is the biggest wave the World Championships has ever been held on.
Monday, 21 May 2007 18:56

Back safe and sound

Sean during the crossing
Sean during the crossing to Michipicoten Island.
Click to zoom.
Just got back today from our trip on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Over 7 days, we paddled just shy of 220 km from Wawa, ON out to Michipicoten Island and back. I don't have time to get into the details tonight as I'm completely wiped but I will post a more detailed report this week. Probably Thursday if I can get it all together.

Here is it in phrases. Basically it was over the top.
  • 220km
  • 2C water (cold)
  • 35 knot headwinds
  • Almost activated the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Techs...
  • 4 hour night paddle through ink
  • Two 18 km crossings
  • First crossing - 1.5 meter following seas (actually 1.5m)
  • Rainforest
  • Caribou tracks
  • Radio dead zones
  • Very remote location
  • Caves
  • 4 am wake-ups
  • Snow
All right, off to bed
Friday, 11 May 2007 12:57

Woods Solar Powered EZ-Tent

Woods Solar Powered Tent
Woods Solar Powered Tent
Saw this and thought it needed to be posted. I don't know what to think about it yet. Interesting application though...

Here is the description from the Canadian Tire website:
  • EZ-TentTM system for simple set up
  • 7" (18 cm) solar panel is placed on the top of the tent's hub and clicked into place. Fly is then placed on top of solar panel & tent, and sun will charge the panel through the clear PVC window at the top of the fly
  • Solar panel comes with case to be stored safely in tent duffle bag
  • Integrated LED rope lights line the top of the tent on the inside and a centre removable hand-held flashlight can be taken down or left as centre light
  • Automatic function allows lights to be able to come on as the sun sets, if desired
  • Solar panels can be charged in direct or indirect light; will take approx 4-6 hours of direct light to yield 2-4 hours tent light; 8-10 hours of indirect light to yield 2-4 hours tent light
  • Solar panel can also be used independently to charge batteries
Thanks to groovygreen for the link.

Thursday, 10 May 2007 17:48

Off to Lake Superior

Michipicoten Island Michipicoten Island, Lake Superior
Photo by Dave Wells
Things are going to be slow around here for the next week and a bit. On Saturday I'm heading off with Sean from our little city of Toronto and driving north 12 hours to Wawa, Ontario. Where the heck is Wawa you ask? Good question. It is 12 hours north of Toronto.

Ok, ok. Wawa is a small town along the north shore of Lake Superior.

We are going to be putting in at Dave Well's shop/guiding company/paddling school, Naturally Superior Adventures. The plan is to paddle west along the shoreline, then out and around Michipicoten Island. Here is the route for Google Earth if you want to follow along. I added a couple points of interest so I you could follow along. I will update it later when I get back with more details.

The total trip is around 220km and the crossing out to the island is just a speck under 25km. We are hoping to do the whole thing in 7 days. We budgeted a wind day and with the size of Lake Superior, we will probably need it.

Sean and I have been working over the winter on lightening our load and trying to implement some of the ideas from lightweight backpacking. We will see how it goes. It if was warmer we would be cutting things out like drysuits, but with 2c water, they will be worn the whole time.

We good some inside information of a sauna location out there so we are going to try to get the beast fired up.

I will report back when we cruise back to Toronto.

Jackson KayakEric "EJ" Jackson earned a record fourth world title at the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships May 2 - 4 on the world-renowned Bus Eater wave on Canada's Ottawa River. Jackson's prevailed over a field of nearly 70 of the best 20-something boaters from around the globe. His win also marks the first time anyone has ever won two World Championships back to back.
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 18:46

Conference and Festival Wrap-up

Eastern Canadian Sea Kayak Instructors Conference
Eastern Canadian Sea Kayak Instructors Conference.
Click to zoom.
It has been a busy couple of days. This past weekend was two huge events for me. Friday was the 1st Eastern Canadian Sea Kayak Instructor Conference that I organized. It took place at White Squall in Parry Sound, Ontario.

It was very successful with over 30 participants in the one-day event. Add that to the 12 instructors who were also there to help out, and that adds up to a really fun group of people who love getting out there and teaching.

We spent all day talking about various teaching topics including risk management, strokes, rescues and adaptive paddling from the perspective of how to actually teach it.

Special thanks to all the presenters listed below for their hard work.

Scott MacGregor - Rapid Media
Richard Alexander - Newfoundland Kayak Company
Matt Cruchet - Direct Bearing Incorporated
Tim Dyer - White Squall Paddling Center
Pauline Halstead - Paddles and Boots
Marlene Hume
Graham Ketcheson - White Squall Paddling Center
Conor Mihell - Naturally Superior Adventures
Erik Ogaard - Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Center
Serge Savard
Rick Wise - Horizons
Ken Whiting - Heliconia Press

Cardboard Canoe Race
cardbCardboard Canoe Race
Cardboard Canoe Race
The second big event took place on the Saturday and Sunday and that was the Georgian Bay Canoe & Kayak Festival. White Squall always hosts a fantastic event and this year was no exception.

For the first time in several years, it didn't rain or lose power leaving some of the diehards disappointed. Oh well, can't please everybody...

There were a ton of sessions including many of the speakers listed above presenting on land clinics as well as skill development sessions out on the water.

There were two highlights for me over the weekend. The first was the annual cardboard kayak race. I think at the end, only two boats surived. Basically, if your boat stays afloat for the first 0.5 seconds of the race, you have a good change of actually finishing. I paddled in the race 5 years ago and lost to an 8 year old girl. I haven't been back since. I have my pride...

The second big highlight was seeing Fred Eaglesmith. He always puts on a fantastic show. If you don't know who I'm talking about, you really need to spend some time getting to know his music. I know you won't be disappointed.
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 18:16

Running the Numbers Project

2.5 Million Plastic Bottles
2.5 Million Plastic Bottles.
Click to zoom.
Artist Chris Jordon is interested in statistics. The only problem with numbers is that they are hard to relate to. What does it mean to you when you read, "2.5 million plastic bottles, the number used in the US every hour?" Not much.

Chris decided to try to put that number into a really cool visual demonstration that puts the whole thing in perspective.



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