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.

The new Kokatat Idol drysuit with Switchzip technology.

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.

Published in Gear
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 14:35

You Can Now Design Your Own Kokatat Dry Suit

Kokatat has unveiled a brand new system to design your own custom dry suit so you no longer need to look like everybody else on the beach. I remember hearing rumours of this about a year ago so I’m glad to see it is finally available.

The process is pretty simple. After choosing the base model you want, you are presented with a wide variety of options where you can adjust everything from the fabric colours (both top and bottom) to gasket size to the ability to add (or remove) a hood. Of course different options will add to the overall cost of the suit but if you need to have it your way, now you can.

If you are a dreamer jump in and design away to year hearts content. Just don’t copy the gorgeous set-up I designed above or else I will total call you out next time I see you.

More info: Kokatat.com

Published in Industry Stuff
Saturday, 27 October 2012 16:03

The Kokatat Drysuit Option We Really Need

Kokatat dry suit with an epaulette option.

I want to know is why Kokatat isn't getting on board the fashion train and offering an epaulette option for all their dry suits.

It’s time to bring the classy back to the paddling high seas. Who is with me?

Published in Funny

Isaac Levinson

Kokatat is proud to announce that professional whitewater kayaker and  2012 Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year, Isaac Levinson, has officially joined its team of elite athletes.

The twenty-three year-old Atlanta native began his paddling career as a whitewater slalom racer.  Levinson’s strong foundation of slalom skills has brought success on the extreme racing circuit, where he has been a fixture on podiums over the last several years.

“Everyday on the river is an adventure for me; I’ve been able to kayak in some amazing places and push my personal limits on challenging whitewater,” Levinson said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Kokatat gear, and I’m excited to be joining their team and representing the company.”

Most recently, Levinson was given the coveted Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year Award at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012.

He was the 2011 Green Race champion and North America’s top finisher in the inaugural AWP Whitewater World Series.  Keeping close to his slalom roots, Levinson competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and finished ninth in the highly competitive K-1 class.

Levinson will be wearing and providing feedback on various Kokatat products including the new Kokatat Maximus Prime.  The Prime is the Type 5 rescue version of Kokatat’s latest and most advance PFD platform.

Levinson joins Kokatat’s distinguished group of paddle sport athlete ambassadors that includes among others such luminaries in the sport as Dane and Eric Jackson, Jesse Coombs, Paul Kuthe, and Adriene Levknecht the Canoe and Kayak Female Paddler of the Year.

For the full roster of Kokatat athletes and ambassador team members visit http://www.kokatat.com/team.

Published in Press Releases

Kokatat has just announced the fruits of their labour with the recently announced partnership with Eric “E.J.” Jackson and his son Dane.

Starting January, 2013, you will be able to purchase the Kokatat Jackson Collection which will include specially designed dry suit, dry-top and shorty dry-top.

Everything will be unveiled at Outdoor Retailer in a couple of weeks but they released a couple of sneak peek photos below.

As you can see, everything is designed from a whitewater kayaking perspective so most of the bells and whistles (like pockets) that come on their touring gear have been left behind with a focus on sleekness, function and flexibility. 

GORE-TEX Icon Dry Suit

kokatat icon dry suit

The new Icon Dry Suit is a tangerine coloured suit with nice graphics on the arm. The most obvious design change (compared to their other suits) is that they moved the entry zipper from across the front of the chest to the back of your shoulder. I don’t know all the reasons for the change but my guess is that it allows the front of the suit to be more flexible and move more comfortably during whitewater tricks.

 

GORE-TEX Legend Dry Top

kokatat legend dry top

The new Legend Dry Top has many of the same features and colour pattern as the Icon Dry Suit (minus the pants of course). If you have a tighter budget, the dry-top will also be available in their new Hudrus 3-Layer fabric. More on that below.

 

Hydrus 3L Mythic Shorty Dry Top

kokatat hydrus mythis shorty dry top

The new Mythic Shorty is going to be available in a new material called Hydrus 3L.

I don’t know a whole lot of information about Hydrus 3L but it looks like somebody has finally figured out how to make a waterproof breathable nylon material.

Here is the description I found:

The Mythic shorty, part of the Kokatat Jackson Collection, features Kokatat’s new Hydrus 3L, a three-layer fabric that is exceptionally waterproof and breathable thanks to its super tough Nylon outer layer with a DWR finish, a proprietary polyurethane micro-porous coating, and a soft polyester inner layer to manage moisture.

I wrote to Kokatat to get more info about the pros and cons of the new material and will update when I hear back.

Update: Kokatat said they will be relasing more information about Hydreus 3L in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

 

Maximus Prime PFD

kokatat maximus prime pfd

Not specifically part of the Kokatat Jackson Collection but still new on the market, the Maximus Prime PFD looks like a very cool design. I’m keen to see better photos and video showing off the features. It’s a low volume PFD called the Maximus Prime (awesome name) which features a quick release safety harness and O-ring, a tether/ tow system, and an electronics pocket.

The biggest new feature of the Maximus Prime which is hinting at a whole new line of PFD's for next year is what they are calling the “Dynamic Suspension System (DSS)”. According to the info I received, “the DSS features wide, contoured shoulder straps that allow an independently suspended front flotation panel to move with the paddler.”

So there you have it, the Kokatat Jackson Collection. What do you think? Is it time to start saving up for Sping? All signs point to yes.

No word on pricing for anything yet but look for it in your local paddling shop sometime in early 2013.

Published in Gear

kokatat logoThe fate of the early sea otter and Aleut populations are intrinsically linked. Before contact with Europeans it is estimated that there were 25,000 Aleuts, today there are about 2,000. Similarly the sea otter population is believed to have undergone a decline exceeding 50% over the past 30 years.

Kokatat ambassador Keirron Tastagh, and his long-term student and paddling partner George Shaw have embarked on a 1,500 mile expedition through the Aleutian Islands to investigate the current status of the sea otter population in the area.

“Our expedition is inspired by the Aleutians rich culture and kayaking heritage,” said Tastagh. “The journey will not only paint a picture of the current sea otter population, but will also provide a better understanding of ‘The Aleut Story’.”

Working with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Tastagh and Shaw will be recording the presence or absence of sea otters in bays, and noting killer whale position as well as taking photographs for identification for marine biologists’ live projects. Killer whale attacks are suspected to be leading cause for the decline of the Northern Sea Otter in the Aleutians, which is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Setting out from Unalaska, Tastagh and Shaw, who both train and live on the Isle of Man, UK, will paddle unsupported. They will carry all their kit and freeze dried meals on-board and will supplement their diet with fresh fish. Along the way they will encounter challenges such as katabatic winds, large tidal ranges, open crossings, sea fog, landing zones and the unpredictable and stormy Bering Sea.

Tastagh and Shaw plan to “explore as far as necessary to reach the conclusions we require” which could be as far as the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula.

Kokatat has supplied both paddlers with various gear for their Expedition Kit:

  • GORE-TEX® Expedition Dry Suit
  • Ronin Pro PFD plus Tributary Hydration System
  • TROPOS Light Storm Cag
  • GORE-TEX® Anorak

For additional information on the Sea Otter project visit their website and follow the expedition on their blog.

For more information on this and other Kokatat sponsored expeditions visit kokatat.com/expeditions.

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”.

Published in Press Releases

Kokatat LogoKokatat announces that Charlie “C-Mac” MacArthur has joined its group of elite paddlesports ambassadors. MacArthur, founder of the Aspen Kayak and SUP Academy, pioneered stand up paddleboarding (SUP) on rivers and spearheads the Whitewater SUP Championships. MacArthur will exclusively wear Kokatat PFD’s and technical apparel and promote the brand at various events.

“It’s amazing what Charlie can do on a SUP in raging rapids,” said Lisa Kincaid, Kokatat Promotional Marketing Manager. “SUP is one of the fastest growing segments in the paddlesports market, and Charlie’s easy going demeanor paired with his SUP skills makes him an ideal ambassador for us as we look to increase our visibility in the sport.”

Watersports has always been a part of MacArthur’s life. He grew up surfing in Hawaii and Southern California before moving to Colorado in 1978 where he became one of the regions best known whitewater kayakers. In 2003 MacArthur tried SUP for the first time while vacationing in Fiji. The sport quickly took hold and within the next year MacArthur was paddleboarding on rivers and making numerous SUP first descents.

“I’ve been in paddlesports for a long time and have always had the upmost respect and appreciation for Kokatat as a company and for the quality of its gear,” said MacArthur. “I’m excited to help with their SUP specific gear and spread the Kokatat word.”

Along with running one of the top SUP and kayak schools in the country, MacArthur is credited with co-designing the world’s first whitewater specific standup paddleboard, the CMAC ATB made by the foremost SUP manufacturer C-4 Waterman.

Since the sport’s inception, standup paddleboarders have relied on Kokatat gear to keep them dry, comfortable and safe on the water. Kokatat’s low profile Orbit Tour PFD and GORE-TEX® Lightweight Paddling Suit have been adopted by numerous SUP paddlers as their go to pieces as they both provide freedom of motion for optimal paddle strokes and superior breathability for the aerobic nature of the sport.

MacArthur will be wearing and providing feedback on various Kokatat products including the new NeoCore shorts and tops. NeoCore, with its paddler specific designs and lightweight fabric, is great for SUP paddlers who often fend off splash, but do not need a heavy insulation. NeoCore is a wet insulation layer in a lightweight 0.5mm neoprene fabric with a plush polyester inner lining that is comfortable against the skin while retaining little water. Additionally, its permanent Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating on the outer surface helps NeoCore regulate body temperature by reducing the effect of evaporative heat loss.

MacArthur joins Kokatat’s distinguished group of paddlesport athletes and ambassadors that includes such luminaries in the sport as Dane and Eric Jackson, Jon Bowermaster, Jesse Coombs, Anna Levesque, and Bryan Smith among others. For the full roster of Kokatat athletes visithttp://www.kokatat.com/team.

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”.

Published in Press Releases

Kokatat LogoIn 1895, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen abandoned his plan to reach the North Pole by ship and headed for the pole by dog sled.  Nansen didn’t make it to the pole, but his journey and safe return became one of the poles most epic tales.

Nansen’s plan had he reached the North Pole was to head for Spitsbergen, the only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway.  Arctic adventures Audun Tholfsen and Timo Palo just embarked on attempting this return route using Kokatat GORE-TEX® Expedition dry suits while navigating sections of open water and treacherous ice flows.

After being air dropped at the geographical North Pole, Tholfsen and Palo will use skis and kayaks to cross the drifting ice floes and open water on their way to Spitsbergen. They will then continue across the fjords and mountains towards the south of the island until they reach Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in Spitsbergen.  The expedition team hopes to complete the expedition, unsupported and without resupplies, in 50 to 60 days.

Throughout the way the team will take in-situ measurements and will carry out scientific observations.  With a light set of instruments they will regularly measure the snow and ice thickness and surface layer air temperature data and drift speed of local ice floes.

In 1893, Nansen embarked on a daring plan of sailing his ship, the Fram, into the Arctic icepack and using the natural drift of the polar ice to reach the North Pole.  After several months in the icepack, Nansen calculated that it might take over five years for the Fram to reach the Pole and Nansen devised a new plan.

Kokatat supplied expedition.

On the 14th of March 1895, Nansen and dog sled expert and ship stoker Hjalmar Johansen left the icebound Fram and set out on skis and sleds with kayaks and 28 dogs for the North Pole.  After reaching a record mark of latitude 86°14 ′ North on April 7th, they abandoned the attempt and retreated southwards, eventually reaching the island Franz Josef Land later that year.

With some good fortune in June of 1896 they met up with an English expedition team and were reunited with the Fram that had emerged from the ice pack north-west of Spitsbergen, as Nansen had predicted.  However, the ship never made it beyond 85° 57' North.

Norwegian Tholfsen and Estonian Palo have skied across Greenland and completed several mountain ski expeditions in Svalbard and Norway.  The team spent ten months as crewmembers on Tara, a French sailing vessel that, similar to the Fram, froze into the Arctic pack ice and drifted across the entire Arctic Ocean.  Currently, Tholfsen works to provide logistic solutions and field support in Arctic regions.  Palo has been working in Spitsbergen providing logistics and field support, and currently works as a PhD student and field technician at the University of Tartu, studying polar meteorology.

To learn more about Tholfsen and Palo and their expedition visit www.arcticreturntour.com.

For details on this and additional expeditions Kokatat supports visit http://www.kokatat.com/expeditions.

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”. 

Published in Press Releases

kokatat logoThe GB360 Midlifekayak expedition sets off to circumnavigate mainland Britain by kayak on April 29th from the Cornwall coast in the South West of England.  English paddlers Andy Mullins, Geoff Cater and Mike Greenslade will be equipped with Kokatat GORE-TEX® dry suits, PFDs (personal flotation devices) and accessories to help keep them dry, safe and comfortable on their 2,500-mile journey.

The team is aiming to complete the trip in approximately one hundred days by covering rougly twenty-five miles each day.   A total of 23 people have previously completed the route with the first successful attempt in 1980.

The paddlers of GB360 Midlifekayak met on the Isles of Scilly in April 2010 and found that they all harboured ambitions for a large scale kayaking expedition.  Along with a goal of completing the expedition, GB360 Midlifekayak hopes to raise $15,000 USD for their favorite causes including:

  • Help for Heroes - a national charity supporting those wounded in the service of our country since 9/11. (www.helpforheroes.org.uk)
  • Over The Wall - a national children’s charity who provide life-changing activity camps for children and young people aged 8-17 who are affected by serious and life limiting illnesses. (www.otw.org.uk)
  • The Christian Adventure Centre – offering amazing residential, camping adventure activity experience for schools, youth groups, church or family groups. (www.vineyhilladventure.org)
  • The West of England MS Therapy Centre – providing support and relief of symptoms to people with Multiple Sclerosis and their supporters. (www.mstherapybristol.org.uk)
  • The Ideas Partnership – an NGO stimulating and supporting educational, cultural and sustainability projects in Kosovo. (www.theideaspartnership.org)
  • To learn more about the expedition, donate to their causes, and follow the progress of their journey visit www.midlifekayak.co.uk.  For additional information visit them on Facebook ("Midlifekayak") and follow them on Twitter (@Midlifekayak).

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 GB360 Midlifekayak:
GB360 Midlifekayak consists of English kayakers Geoff Cater, Mike Greenslade and Andy Mullins.  The paddlers, with an average age of 46, plan to circumnavigate Britain in April 2012 as a personal challenge and to raise money for their favorite organizations.  Learn more at www.midlifekayak.co.uk.

 

Published in Press Releases
Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:29

Kokatat Sets Sail with Triak for Orkila

Kokatat LogoOn April 8th Matthew White and Skye Marchesi will depart on a sail assisted kayak expedition from Olympia, WA, to Glacier Bay, Alaska through the Inside Passage, with hopes to raise $100,000 for the Seattle area YMCA Camp Orkila.

“Summer camps are where many children have their first paddlesports experience,” said Lisa Kincaid, Kokatat Promotional Marketing Manager. “We wish Matthew and Skye the best of luck on their trip and hope that their expedition will give many more Orkila campers the opportunity to fall in love with paddlesports.”

White, a former Orkila camper and counselor, has long wanted to give back to the camp and provide more children with the opportunity to attend the camp where one in six campers receive scholarship assistance. After discussing the topic with Marchesi, his girlfriend and a successful fundraiser, they spawned the idea of an expedition that fused their love of the outdoors with the mission to raise a substantial endowment for the camp.

“Orkila has a special place in my heart and it’s from my experiences there that lead to my love for the outdoors and paddlesports,” said White.

YMCA Camp Orkila, founded in 1906, is located on the north side of Orcas Island in the Washington San Juan Islands. YMCA Camp Orkila provides summer camp opportunities including day and overnight camping for boys and girls where they can explore nature, learn new skills, make new friends and gain respect for the environment.

Triak for Orkila Logo

White and Marchesi will be relying on a full kit of Kokatat paddling gear to keep them dry, safe, and comfortable. Included in the kit are Kokatat’s GORE-TEX® TecTour anoraks, GORE-TEX® Whirlpool bibs, personal floatation devices (PFDs), Nomad Boots, and additional accessories. To assist White and Marchesi on their trip they will be using Triak trimaran sailing kayaks.

To learn more about the expedition and follow their progress at http://triakfororkila.com.

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”.

Published in Press Releases
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