River SUP

River SUP
Slocan River, BC

Monday, May 11, 2015

Paddling on the Road: In the East Kootenays

One of the benefits of being a Sales Rep in Western Canada, is the opportunity to paddle in some amazing places and yesterday, Mark and I got to do just that.

Gear prep - Kokatat, Werner Paddles and Esquif Canoes
Our friends, Roger and Allyson, owners of Green Wave Canoeing in Kimberley, BC provide us with a place to park our van while visiting our dealers in the East Kootenays and get us out on the water. We have been spending more time over the last year developing our whitewater canoeing skills, with great help and encouragement from Roger and Allyson.

Yesterday’s run on the St. Mary’s River can be described as a Grade 3 put in, Grade 2 run. We put in at the Rails to Trails Bridge with 5 of us; Mark, Roger and Kristina in solo boats and Jasmine and I in a tandem, Esquif Prospecteur 16.

Kristina, Roger, Mark, Jasmine and me
The run is characterized by minimal grade, hoodoos, pine and sagebrush. Wildlife was minimal on this particular afternoon but we saw bald eagles and a token deer. At this water level, we could fairly easily maneuver around the boulders, or eddy out behind them for some extra fun. 

I will admit that I didn’t push myself on this run as much as I could have, I was without my Kokatat drysuit because I recently sold my Goretex Meridian to a friend and my new custom Kokatat Goretex Women’s Icon is being built as I type this. A drysuit doesn’t only keep you warm & dry; it encourages you to take your paddling skills to the next level and try things without the fear of getting wet and cold. I am okay with that decision to keep the “open side up”, we’ve got more paddling days ahead of us this season.

Mark going solo - he did a fantastic job!!!

Fun times, paddling tandem with Jasmine

Roger, leading us down the St. Mary's (one of his home rivers)

Mark and Kristina in matching boats :)

After paddling we headed to the St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, while I am not particularly interested in golfing or gambling, there is some very interesting history here and great apres eats and drinks at Fisher Peak Lounge. The main building is stunning and was once the St. Eugene Mission, home of Western Canada’s first residential school. Now numerous first nations communities have come together to create a place that people visit from all over North America.

Kristina taking a break in the eddy
We can’t wait to be back in the East Kootenays as there are many more paddling adventures to be had. I’m most excited to get back on the St. Mary’s and paddle it down into the Kootenay River.
Thanks, to Roger for making it happen and Kristina and Jasmine for joining us on the adventure.

Good friends and time on the water always make for awesome memories!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stand Up Paddling Program for Youth in the Fraser Valley!

Fraser Valley Rippers

Pure Life Paddle Boards is stoked to announce the start of our new youth SUP development program, the Fraser Valley Rippers. This program is designed to get more of our young people on the water and enjoying our environment. The focus of the program will be on developing proper paddling skills and techniques, water safety skills and decision making, and environmental awareness. There are two options within the program, each designed to cater to the needs, goals and ages of interested individuals.

Option 1:  -less competitive with a focus on fun paddling and skill/strength development
- 10 sessions, meeting once a week for 1.5 hours (Saturdays)
-ages 8-12
Cost: $200 plus GST includes board, paddle, life jacket, leash rental ($150 plus GST with own gear)

Option 2: -more competitive with a focus on race specific paddling skills and fitness 
-21 sessions, meeting twice a week for 3 hours total (Wednesdays and Saturdays) plus 8 Cultus Lake SUP Series races
-ages 10-16 (flexible based on sign-up)

Cost: $400 plus GST includes board, paddle, life jacket and leash rental, as well as the $10 entrance fees for the 8 Cultus Lake SUP Series races ($300 plus GST with own gear). Sibling 

Special – in an effort to help lower costs for those families with more than one active kid, the first enrolled will be full price, second will be 20% off and third will be 30% off (any more than that and we can chat!).

I am a Paddle Canada SUP instructor for flatwater, river, surf and touring skills, and hold safety certifications in swift water rescue and a wilderness first aid. Ideally, I would like to see this program grow and be able to offer the paddlers involved opportunities to further develop their paddling skills in the river, surf and touring environments.
I also believe paddle boarding is a great way for families to enjoy the outdoors together. Many parents are already involved in paddling and may be looking to improve their own skills and paddling fitness as well. Because of this, parents will be 100% welcome to come and paddle with their kids during the training sessions.
Looking forward to getting your kids (and possibly yourselves) out on the water!

For dates and details, contact Ken Larsen @ Pure Life Paddle Boards Inc. at 604-798-2349 via email

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

River Cleanups - Are You Going to Participate?

Since moving out to the Fraser Valley we have become very involved in our local river cleanup community. Illegal dumping is a huge issue in the Fraser Valley and unfortunately, in many other municipalities. It's difficult to understand "why" people would do this and "how" to fix it so we do our part by helping to cleanup, educate and "bring back more than we go out with". I am a Director with the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society and my husband, Mark maintains their website and data.

The first community cleanup we attended this year was run by the Fraser Valley Salmon Society (FVSS) and generously supported by Dean (Werk) and his crew at Great River Fishing Adventures. The FVSS is a non-profit society that ensures and advocates for the rights for all anglers in non-tidal waters and works with the Department of Fisheries & Oceans as co-managers in conservation and habitat protection. The FVSS is also heavily involved in the training and education of anglers and the public to sport fishing. Dean is President of FVSS, was born and raised close to the Fraser River and runs his business, Great River Fishing Adventures up and down the river. Please check them out.

Dedicated volunteers braving the miserable weather; collecting garbage on one of the gravels bars of the Fraser River.

The weather was less than ideal but we had approximately 20 like-minded folks come out to pick up garbage on the gravel bars and banks of the Fraser River. I was very fortunate to head out on one of Dean's boats with Aggie and her son, Chris - two, very active anglers and members of the FVSS. With the help of boats provided by Dean and others, we were able to access gravel bars and bring out a lot of garbage. We pick up everything from fast food packaging, clothing to abandoned campsites with tents, cooking gear and more.

View from the boat
While some of us were 'on the water' others headed to a notorious dumping spot at Old Orchard. This area is accessible by car/truck and we know this area well as we have used it as a 'take out' for our paddling trips. It is always a depressing mess and once again, a lot of garbage was collected.

Thanks to Great River Fishing Adventures for sharing their boats and fuel to get volunteers to the remote gravel bars.

If you care about keeping your local waterways clean, get involved with local organizations doing river cleanups or start your own. Here in the Fraser Valley and in Chilliwack specifically, we have a community full of people that are passionate about this issue and plenty of others who provide us with lots of garbage to pick up.
Volunteers enjoying the bbq hosted by Fraser Valley Salmon Society - thanks, Aggie!

Upcoming cleanups are as follows:

Saturday March 28th run by Fraser Riverkeepers and Woodtone - meet at Gill Road in Chilliwack at 10 am. Free BBQ for volunteers at 1pm. Please bring appropriate clothing and footwear - this event will go rain or shine.

Saturday April 18th run by Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society - registration starts at 8:30 am at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve at 5200 Sumas Prairie Rd, Chilliwack, BC. Refreshments generously provided by Tim Hortons and the Chilliwack Water StorePlease bring your refillable water bottles and coffee mugs as we want to discourage single use containers.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

CJC Stand Up Paddle Board Fins

CJC SUP Fins... What's Under Your Board?

Availability April 1st

Pricing $110 retail including an EVA sleeve plus taxes per fin.

Nikki Rekman Sales is excited to be helping Chris of CJC SUP Fins get his fins under the boards of SUP paddlers throughout Western Canada.  Chris and his partner, Dorine are well-known in our local SUP community and are committed to sharing their love of SUP and the outdoors with everyone they meet. 

Contact me today if you are interested in selling CJC SUP Fins in your store.

Buzzsaw 210: [buhz – saw]
The Buzzsaw is designed to cut through in tougher conditions. With a larger surface area this fin provides great tracking and stability giving confidence when things get rough. The Buzzsaw is perfect for recreational paddlers as their everyday fin or for racers requiring a more stable and good tracking fin for long distance races in choppy conditions.

A great everyday fin at home in everyone’s fin quiver.

Cleaver 267: [klee-ver]
The Cleaver cuts through anything… period. This is one big burly fin with only two things in mind, Tracking and Stability, that’s it. Are you loaded with gear and on an epic A to B adventure of a lifetime? This is what you want under your board keeping you stable and on track, especially when things kick up.

Are you an SUP Adventurer?  Why isn’t this fin under your board?

Classic 185: [klas-ik]
The name says it all, a spin on a classic longboard design intended for SUP Surfing. Not only does this fin offers a balance of hold and maneuverability providing a whole bunch of fun in the waves but it is also a great all round SUP fin that falls in-between the Halcyon, BuzzSaw and Tamahaac size wise. If your board has thruster boxes combine the Classic with one of our thruster options to fine tune your ride and shred the break.

Are you a SUP Surfer?  This fin is a must in your fin quiver.

Cutlass 136: [kuht-luh s]
Designed for SUP Surfing and utilizing a 50/50 foil the Cutlass can be used as a small center fin or a large thruster depending on the board, the conditions and your needs. As a center fin it offers great response and maneuverability. As a thruster it offers unparalleled hold and great drive. This fin has a FCS thruster mount so you would also require a Longboard Box Adapter to use as a center fin.
Check it out on a break near you.


Rapier 112: [rey-pee-er]
The Rapier is a mid sized thruster fin. The Rapier has a flat foil for maximum drive. This one offers good hold and drive for those wanting to carve an open face or snap off the top. A GREAT all round thruster fin.

Check it out on a break near you and be ready for your next duel.


Dirk 90: [durk]
The Dirk is my smallest thruster fin. This fin has a flat foil combined with the signature base offering great drive for a fin this size but is still small enough to keep the board very “loose”. The Dirk is a balance of drive, pivot and hold for those wanting a combination of speed, maneuverability and flow.

Check it out on a break near you.


Weedless 250: [weed  less]
This one is pretty simple, designed to shed weeds, grasses and kelp. With a long leading edge that is laid back a few degrees more than the competition this fin sheds weeds like no other. As with all CJC SUP Fins using the signature base design maintains great tracking yet allows the fin to turn exceptionally well. Extra volume in the tip increases the stability of this otherwise low volume fin.
If you paddle in weedy areas this one is a must for your fin quiver.  

Tamahaac 230: [tom-uh-hawk]
The Tamahaac was designed for long course racing in moderate conditions. With a 230mm draft it finds a nice balance without creating extra drag while maintaining good tracking. The signature cut away base design keeps the surface area at a minimum also allowing the Tamahaac to turn extremely well compared to other similarly sized fins.
If your looking a moderate condition distance fin the Tamahaac needs to find a home in your fin quiver.

 Halcyon 165: [hal-see-uhn]
The Halcyon is designed for short course racing. With a shallow draft of 165mm you are able to get in the water and standing even quicker for those shallow beach starts without the fear of hitting the fin. Also with its minimal height the fin allows the board to accelerate quickly with minimal drag. When it comes to the quick tight pivot turns the large cut away provides a reduced overall surface area that will have you spinning circles around the competition and if there are any weeds out there, fear not, that 47-degree leading edge drops them without hesitation.
You will be pleased to have the Halcyon 165 in your fin quiver.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

This year, all things SUP and Kayak Fishing

Our slower, winter season gives us an oppourtunity to take a little time off for traveling (in this years case, did some work around our house) and plan for the upcoming, busy season.

This year our focus will continue to be Stand Up Paddling (SUP) and Kayak Fishing.  We will do this through the product clinics we provide, the events we attend and the various folks, in the community we support.  Along the way, we will share with you our own SUP and kayak fishing adventures.

For SUP this year, we have a number of great events on the calendar and I am sure there will be one near you in, Calgary, Vernon, Castlegar/Nelson, Vancouver, Deep Cove, Chilliwack and Sechelt. Watch our blog for more details.

On the Slocan River in Mike Darbyshire's River SUP clinic

We are excited to support the Eastslope Kayak Fishing Classic in June and although we will not be there in person, our brands have stepped up, yet again.  Both, Kokatat and Werner Paddles have been supporting this event since the beginning and count kayak fishing as one of their fastest growing categories, in recent years.  Sign up today for the Eastslope Kayak Fishing Classic.  If you are one of the first 10 people to register you will receive a Werner Paddles 50th anniversary prize pack.

If you are an avid kayak angler who has a strong and growing following on line and on-the-water, get in touch with us.  We are always looking for folks to join our team.

Kayak Fishing - Cultus Lake, BC

Monday, March 2, 2015

AdventureSmart Program - Increasing Your Knowledge

Recently, I became aware of a program through the Government of Canada - National Search and Rescue Secretariat.  

The AdventureSmart program has been designed for Canadians and visitors to Canada, to get informed and go outdoors.  The primary goal is that through education, the number of search and rescue incidents is reduced.  The program addresses safety for land-based, water-based and winter activities.

Emphasis is on the three T's:

- Trip Planning - make informed decisions
- Training - reduce the risks
- Taking the Essentials - change your behaviour

For a free download of a trip plan go HERE.  All paddlers know that filing a "float plan" is part of responsible paddling.      

These are great reminders, even for those of us that are more experienced in the outdoors. We do not want to become too complacent with our skill set and forget the basics.

For more information check out the following links

National Search and Rescue Secretariat www.nss-snrs.gc.ca

Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) www.sarvac.ca

Paddle Canada www.paddlingcanada.com

Canadian Avalanche Association www.avalanche.ca

Canadian Red Cross www.redcross.ca

National Trails Coalition www.ntc-canada.ca

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It Takes A (Kayaking) Village

Another blogpost about the adventures of motherhood and kayaking from guest-blogger, Lori Neufeld

Dan and I learnt very early on, even before Finley was born, that paddling as a family would require a lot more hands than just ours.  But we didnt expect to have so much support from our families, friends and the paddling community.

Christine Haylock -My dear friend and the editor of my blog posts!  She's full of wisdom and encouragement.  Kayaking photo taken by Dan on the Kananaskis River.
Finley has some pretty great people to stay with when its an adults only day on the water and were grateful for the many hours that our parents, siblings, and others have spent caring for her.  But its been other kayakers that have surprised me the most by their patience and willingness to help whenever possible.  From rocking an upset newborn at paddling festivals, to unloading my gear while I get Finley out of the car; our paddling friends are always stepping up to the plate.  Theyve blessed us with all sorts of gifts, given up their own paddling time so I could get on the water, and continue to carpool with me, even if that means some extra work or an early curfew.  Theyve lugged strollers and diaper bags through airports, done laps around the pool with a toddler in tow, and one of my friends has even started his own, get young mothers who paddle on the water program;  Im currently the only member.

Sierra Stinson -Auntie Sierra swears she's never having kids of her own, but she adores Finn and is always up for an adventure!  Kayaking photo by Hayley McKee at Pushbutton on the Ottawa River.

So what can you expect when you invite a new mom like me on your next paddling adventure?  Well, first off, THANK YOU!  Yes, my life is in chaos some days and I spend more time washing laundry then wearing it, but I still want to go kayaking!  I wont always say yes, but I really appreciate your invite.  Secondly, when I get into the car and look like Ive been up all night I have been.  But give me an hour or so of peace and quiet and Ill be good as new.  When we get to the put in and you notice that Im taking far longer than everyone else to suit up, dont worry.  My gear just doesnt quite fit the same as it used to and Ive got hip pads to adjust and clothing to work my way in to.  If this is a day that the little one is coming along, youve got a whole new set of challenges to work with.  Between extra clothing, carseats and piles of snacks, youre losing at least 2-3 seats in your shuttle vehicle.  But there will be Goldfish crackers for all!  You might feel more like a Sherpa than a paddler and wonder why I packed so much stuff.  Trust me, its all necessary.  Throughout the day there will be many bouts of crying.  If Im not stressing over it, you dont need to either.  Kids are funny and mine talks about those tearful times with memories of laughter and joy.  And at the end of day, when youre unstrapping my boat and Im chasing my runaway toddler down the sidewalk, know that this might have been the only day this week that Ill get to exercise, socialize, and enjoy my favourite hobby.  Ive got another sleepless night ahead of me, but Im more energized than ever.

Cathy Woods -An art teacher by day, Cathy is great with kids and has a passion for getting them outdoors.  Kayaking photo by Dan on the Kananaskis River.

Continuing to kayak during this stage of parenting has been a lot more work than I anticipated.  But its not impossible, especially with others who are so eager to help us.  So whether youre one of our close paddling friends or support another kayaking mom, Dan and I salute you.  Were beyond grateful for everyone supporting us on this journey.

Andy Hill -Andy was terrified to go near Finn when she was first born.  Now they're buddies!  Kayaking photo taken by Thomas Farren at Bus Eater on the Ottawa River.

Steven Walker -At only 18 years old, Steven paddles hard, he's the kindest and most helpful kid around (we're not sure how his mom got so lucky!) and he babysits for us on weekends!  Kayaking photo by Dan at Sturgeon Falls.

Judy Wilson -A true river mom, Judy's constantly checking in on me and helping out.  I don't know where I'd be without her!  Kayaking photo taken by John Woods at Fort Whyte Alive.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cultus Lake Summer SUP Series

Ken Larsen of Pure Life Paddle Boards in Chilliwack, BC is doing great things in the Fraser Valley programming from a Beginning SUP course, to warm locale tours in Costa Rica to River SUP.
to introduce people of all ages and abilities to Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP).  Pure Life Paddle Boards offers a variety of

We want to help Ken promote SUP and are excited to let  you know about two fantastic programs you want to get involved with:  Cultus Lake SUP Series and the Youth Program, the Fraser Valley Rippers (we will tell you more about Ken's youth program in an upcoming blogpost)

What is the Cultus Lake SUP Series?

A series of 8 fun races hosted by Main Beach Boat Rentals and Pure Life Paddle Boards, intended to continue growing the paddling culture and community at Cultus Lake. The events will follow the same format as last year with each race including shorter and longer course options, followed by a barbeque and numerous draw prizes donated by local businesses.

Who is this series intended for?

These events are truly all-inclusive! Everyone is welcome to come and participate, regardless of paddling experience. Last year saw participants with age differences spanning decades, parents paddling with kids, countless first time paddlers and even dog owners paddling with their four legged companions. Two different course length options will be available for every event.

Where does this series take place?

All events are run out front of Main Beach Boat Rentals at Cultus Lake.

What is the cost to participate in the SUP series?

The cost is only $10 per event and includes race entry, a post-race barbeque, and an entry ticket for the prize draw. If you are in need of equipment, Main Beach Boat Rentals is providing gear for a reduced rate of only $10 more.

When do the events take place?

They start May 13th and continue every second Wednesday right through to August 19th. Registration runs 6-6:45pm and the races start at 7pm with BBQ and prizes afterwards.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin