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.

Published in General News
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 11:17

Walk on Water: A Kayaking Film

Walk on Water is a very inspirational whitewater kayaking film that you need to watch.

Here is the description on the Youtube:

When a skiing accident left Greg Mallory paralyzed from the waist down, he turned to whitewater kayaking to help him escape his wheelchair. Now he's an accomplished Class V whitewater paddler who finds strength, challenge and meaning in paddling rivers. This is his story.

Walk on Water was directed by Andy Maser who has shot several other whitewater films for both PBS and National Geographic. Check out his website where he has a very good documentary he put together about the largest dam removal project in the US. It’s called Oregon Field Guide Special: The White Salmon River Runs Free. If you are into exploding dams and huge flood water it will be right up your alley.

Thanks for Bryan for the heads-up.

Published in Video

I just got an email about a very cool event taking place here in Toronto in a couple of weeks. They are looking for volunteers (or donations) so if you are available, get in touch and help out.

The event:  Nine kayakers with disabilities will be paddling sections (like a relay) of waterfront from Port Credit to Harbourfront, Toronto, a total of 25 kms.

When:  Saturday July 14th, 2012  (raindate 15th).

Why:  We are raising awareness of kayaking for people with disabilities and fundraising so our programs can be developed further in Earl Rowe Provincial Park, Alliston and Harbourfront, Toronto.

We Need:   support kayakers to paddle with our disabled paddlers.  The support paddlers must be competent, able to tow and do rescues.

Who to Contact:  Bert Miller:  905-648-9851 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This event is to raise awareness of what opportunities people with disabilities have, what they can do. It is also a fundraiser so we can develop our programs.

Update: Check out their website at handsacrossthewaterinitiative.com

hands across the water event poster

Published in Events

Kokatat LogoKokatat, the leading US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports, donated over $20,000 in product to the local Arcata, CA organization Disabled Adventure Outfitters (DAO), for use in its watersports programs for people with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders.

“DAO does amazing work empowering and challenging people with bleeding disorders in and around our community and we’re proud to support a local organization that shares our passion for paddlesports,” said Kit Mann, Kokatat Special Projects Manager. 

DAO will use the personal floatation devices, dry suits, paddle jackets, and additional gear provided by Kokatat for its programs that range from one-day trips to weeklong camps.  DOA’s programs primarily consist of rafting and inflatable kayaking on the Trinity River, with longer camps also including advanced river skill challenges, as well as rock climbing, hiking, gold panning, or ropes course sessions.

“Kokatat’s generosity will ensure that people of all ages with bleeding disorders in our community and beyond will have the opportunity to experience the freedom, excitement, and fun of paddlesports,” said Todd Smith president of DAO.

In addition to using the donated gear for its own programming, DAO will distribute a portion of the product to other non-profit organizations around the country with outdoor programs.  Recently, DAO representatives attended the North American Camping Conference of Hemophilia Organizations, where they identified and distributed some of the Kokatat gear.

DAO was founded in 1996 by Bret Leach and Bill Wing.  Leach, who had hemophilia -- a hereditary disease that prevents normal blood clotting, resulting in sometimes uncontrolled bleeding- personally understood the positive therapeutic effects of being out on the water.  DAO became a nonprofit organization in 1998 and has since grown to provide services to disabled people through out Northern California.

About Kokatat Watersports Wear: 


Celebrating over 40 years of innovation, Kokatat is an independently operated, US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports. Handcrafted in Arcata, California, Kokatat employees are focused on building the finest functional product for people who work and play on water. Our gear is designed for paddlers, by paddlers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water all year long and in all weather conditions. Into the water with Kokatat! Please visit www.kokatat.com and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.

About Disabled Adventure Outfitters:
Disabled Adventure Outfitters (DAO) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that provides empowering, educational, challenging, life-affirming whitewater adventure programs to persons with bleeding disorders.  Learn more at http://www.specialadventures.org.

Published in Press Releases

Siemens Aquaris Hearing Aid

As you know water and electronics don’t mix very well and paddlers who wear hearing aids always have to make the tough choice every time they go out on the water. They can leave the very expensive unit(s) on shore and not hear well on the water or they can take the risk of them getting splashed with water and shorting out. Tough choice indeed.

I remember having a student a couple years ago who came down to the paddling school for a couple of weekend clinics over the summer. Without his hearing aid he couldn’t hear a thing out there so we had to figure out a plan to keep his hearing aid dry. I put him in a super stable boat and made him aware well in advance if we were working on any skills with a medium chance he was going to fall in. I also gave him a dry bag that he could throw the units in while he was working on rescues. It worked out but it was stressful for both of us which killed the fun.

If you are a hearing aid user you will be happy to know that Siemens has just released what they claim is world's first fully waterproof digital hearing aid.

The Siemens Aquaris is IP57 certified which means that you can safely use them three feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. The moisture sealed unit is also shock and dust proof so it will be strong enough to handle the rigors of paddling, rescue practise or even rough water paddling.

To keep the unit behind your ear, it’s got a non-slip soft rubber surface including an attachable sport clip for extra security.

No word on pricing yet but you can learn more about them here.

Image Credit: Siemens

Published in Gear
Adaptive Paddling Fixture for Kayaking

Step-by-step instruction website, instructables.com has just published plans to help people who are unable to hold up their kayak paddle but still want to get out and try kayaking.

 
The "Adaptive Paddling Fixture for Kayaking" is a device designed by that easily attaches to any sit-on-top kayak. It is designed to hold the kayak paddle up and outfront of the user. The fixture has a pivoting head where the paddle attaches making it extremely easy for anybody to use it.

 
The other interesting part of the design is that it is height adjustable so you can raise it for somebody to paddle with their arms or lower it down allowing a participant to paddle their kayak using their feet.

Adaptive Paddling Fixture for Kayaking

The Adaptive Paddling Fixture was designed by Mark Theobald, from Camarillo, CA who is also the owner of the adaptive adventure company, Disabled Adventurers. Disabled Adventures describes itself as "all about bringing the sport of sit-on-top ocean kayaking and scuba diving to people with various levels of disability, through training and development of adaptive fixtures."

 
instructables.com has the whole project laid out in a couple of steps and everything can be made from items found at your local Home Depot.

Photo Credits: Mark Theobald

Published in Adaptive Paddling
ProPel Adaptive Kayak PaddlePaddle Company, ProPel recently unveiled a line of kayak paddles designed to be paddled by somebody with one mobile arm.

Here is the description from the website:
The paddle system is comprised of a grip and adjustable cuff. The cuff and grip are also adjustable along the paddle shaft to adapt to various arm lengths. The paddle can be used with either the right or left hand by easily repositioning the cuff or grip to the appropriate side of the shaft.
Published in Adaptive Paddling

One armed paddle in action. Photo courtesy of Cindy Dillenschneider

Cindy Dillenschneider, Professor of Outdoor Education at Northland College in Ashland, WI was recently awarded a patent for a paddle she designed to allow somebody to paddle a canoe with only one hand. Through the years, I have seen or read about several different types of adaptations for people with disabilities and I have got to say that this is the closest that I have ever seen to performaing like a paddle being used with two hands.
Published in Adaptive Paddling
Bike Tube Grip

Adapting your current paddling program is a lot easier then you think. Here are a couple of small ideas that you can use to help different people with disabilities.






Published in Adaptive Paddling

Every one of us should be adaptive paddlers. Outfit your boat to fit your body. Learn to paddle with good form and technique! Proper posture while kayaking will solve and prevent many physical discomforts. Marna Powell from Kayak Zak's gives some really practical tips for adapting boats and gear for different types of people. A must read for all instructors.

Published in Adaptive Paddling
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