Kootenay River SUP Race - July 2014

Kootenay River SUP Race - July 2014
Nikki Rekman Sales Team Members - Lina, Nikki, Mike and Eli

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jackson Karma RG (Rock Garden) - Review by JF Marleau

A huge thanks to JF Marleau for taking the time to get out in the Karma RG on the West Coast of Vancouver Island near his home in Ucluelet and providing this review.  JF is a kayaking guide, an instructor and a co-owner of SKILS (Sea Kayak Instruction and Leadership Systems).  He is also a member of the Kokatat Regional Team.

The first day I was surfing the Karma RG was with whales around the surf zone. Unfortunately, the photos are not great of the Karma RG and the gray whales.

Coming from a sea kayak surf kayaking background, this kayak is a new paradigm. I had some very fun surf sessions with this ultra maneuverable kayak.


I felt extremely comfortable in the Karma RG. I am 6.1 and 220 pounds. I love the easy and quick adjustments for a tight but comfortable fit provided with the Karma RG. Furthermore, I like how the foot rest absorbs the shock while I am vertical facing downward.

I like a lot the low back deck that makes rolling very easy.

A female friend of mine, 5.5 and 145 pounds tried the Karma RG and it was too big for her despite all the adjustments possible and the addition of extra padding. At this point JK is not planning to offer a smaller version of the Karma RG to cater to smaller people. I have a feeling that this kayak will be successful among kayakers and consequently this could possibly change.

Form and Performance

The shape of the kayak makes it ultra maneuverable. The speed of this kayak is slow when compared to a regular sea kayak but faster than some other whitewater kayaks.

It does track well and hold a line very well in the surf. Sea kayakers surfing long kayaks will need to adapt their wave selection as the Karma RG’s length and capability to catch small waves is different.

The heavy duty Go Pro mount is very reliable and solid. You can rely on them. This is refreshing as I have seen many failures of Go Pro Mounts in rough waters.

The whirlpool handles are so handy in assisted rescues or in case you swim with your kayak. This feature is great. I also have this feature on my sea kayaks. I recommend to anybody with a sea kayak to get whirlpool handles ,it makes rescues easier and save your fingers and hands from possible injuries.

Jackson Kayak has improved the tightness of the hatch cover from their first prototype for the mass production of the Karma RG. Despite having good hatches covers, it is recommended to ensure you have proper floatation in your hatch (s). The Karma RG has only a rear hatch. My experience over the years tells me nothing in kayaking is dry if you challenge rough enough conditions.

Like other whitewater kayaks, it has a drain plug. When I was emptying it in the hard sand, the drain plug hole was buried. This is not a big deal. Ideally for my needs I wish the drain plug was 1 or 2 inches higher.

This kayak has a lot of metal safety brackets. I was impressed to see so many of them. This feature makes it easy to lock your kayak where it's likely to be stolen.

The handles to carry the kayak were comfortable which makes long distance carry much more enjoyable.


I only used the kayak during 3 sessions in the surf due to my busy work schedule. Unfortunately the surf was not great. I wish I had time to use it for rock gardening. This Ocean Play Boat is very versatile for surfing, rock gardening and also for the river or overnight trip. I have to admit the very large stern hatch provides a substantial amount of storage for overnight camping on the ocean or the river. If I was guiding, teaching or acting as safety kayaker, I would love to use this kayak to carry extra safety equipment. Furthermore, the large stern hatch allows for typical sea kayak rescues like the T-Rescue.

Calling it RG (for rock garden) might influence people to think it’s only for rock gardening. Believe me, this ocean play boat is very versatile. I truly enjoyed playing with it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Updates from the Field - Hurricane Kayaks

While I am not in Salt Lake City this year, first time not going since 1997/98 (due to a family commitment), it was still important to me to get you updates from our annual industry trade show, Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

I could not do this without great peeps on the ground so thanks to the following folks who are in Salt Lake City:  Colin Kemp, Johno Foster, Steve Jordan, Doug Ragan and Jameson Redding

First up today, Hurricane Kayaks...we LOVE these boats.  The weight is a game-changer for a lot of people and we have had first hand experience, on the water with people experiencing it and it's awesome.

Sojourn 126 in the new purple - photo: Craig Richter
There is plenty new from Hurricane Kayaks for 2015 and here we introduce the Sojourn Series.  This exciting new day-touring line will surprise and satisfy paddlers of all levels. With moderate rocker, a hard-chined hull and deep-V keel, the Sojourn line will make you feel like a champion the minute you hit the water. High initial stability offers beginners a solid platform for learning, while the Sojourn’s multi-chined hull allows experienced paddlers to carve and edge like a dream. Thanks to their lightweight thermoform construction, not only do the Sojourns outperform polyethylene competitors, they offer beauty and functionality in a highly featured package. Integral deck lines provide stiffness and subtle aesthetics, while comfortable handles, perimeter safety lines, security bar, bow and stern bulkheads, fore and aft storage hatches, adjustable thigh braces, a cool-mesh Airestream seat system, and optional Smarttrack rudder system leave you wanting for nothing. Simply put, the Sojourn kayak line offers superb performance and seaworthiness in a package that’s hard to beat.

3 sizes:

Sojourn 126           Sojourn 135           Sojourn 146
Length: 12’ 6”        Length: 13’ 5”         Length: 14’ 6”
Width: 24 inches     Width: 24 inches     Width: 24 inches
Weight: 43 lbs         Weight: 45 lbs        Weight: 47 pounds

Available: September 2014 --- September 2014 --- November 2014

The Sojourn 126 and Sojourn 135 are en route to us right now!

Sojourn 135 in Mango photo: Craig Richter

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just in from Salt Lake City...Jackson Kayak Fishing 2015

It's great to have awesome folks on the ground at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City so we can give you this awesome Sneak Peek at the 2015 Jackson Kayak Fishing line up.  Huge kudos to Product Manager, Damon Bungard and Jameson Redding.

We are super excited about all the new fishing kayaks but particularly the Kraken designed for offshore kayak fishing, perfect for the coastlines of Canada!

Top overview of the Kraken

What is the difference between the Jackson Kayak Cuda 14 and the Kraken?  Answer by the Kraken's designer, Jim Sammons.

The Cuda is 14'3" 30.5" wide the Kraken 15'6" long 29.5 wide. These dimensions alone will give the Kraken much better glide. In the Prototype the difference was remarkable. It was no effort to keep a pace of over 4mph per the GPS on the Kraken while the Cuda was close to 3 or less when chop present.

The Kraken has more rocker and more flare in the bow for better lift in surf and chop.
There won't be a stand assist strap on the Kraken, I am sure some guys will still be standing in it but that is not what it was made for.

The Kraken comes with the new KKrate which is secured into the tankwell via track. This Kkrate and the new bait pump scupper will make a great live bait solution for those using live bait.

Adjustable trim seat is a game changer for those with a full bait tank at the rear or full fish bag in the bow.
The new hinged and angled center hatch will make interior access much easier for storing fish or your rods.

Closer view of the top of the Kraken

Bow of the Kraken

Bottom of the Kraken -
The transducer scupper is just behind the center hatch so you get very good water contact at all times,. This also makes it easy to run wires though the side of the center hatch area to the battery holder or head unit. You can see the transducer scupper in this bottom shot of the kraken.

More to come over the next few days and weeks.

Werner Paddles 2015 Line Up

I am excited that we get to break the "cone of silence" on what is new with Werner Paddles for 2015!

The focus continues to be on Stand Up Paddling (SUP), Fishing, a combination of the two AND a much anticipated configuration addition to our Canoeing lineup!

Let's start with SUP...and the new SmallFIT.

Performance starts with a great fit and 60% of our SUP customers are women.  The SmallFIT is available in our small (S) and midsize (M) blades only, in everything from our Premium Performance Carve series to the Ultimate Performance Racing Grand Prix series. Uncut, 1 pce STRAIGHT shaft only.  With the SmallFIT, the paddler is getting a smaller blade, smaller shaft and combined you have a paddling experience that has you on the water longer because the ease on your body is significant.

We are also excited to announce that all of our Ultimate Performance Racing Grand Prix paddles will have a shaft logo.  This is a paddle we are super proud of and we want folks to know it!

We are the pioneer in advanced fit options in all categories of paddling and that includes SUP.

The sport of Stand Up Fishing is growing, just ask guys like Ken Hoeve, Werner Paddles and Jackson Kayak team paddler and even our very own, kayak angler, Len Zilkowsky has given it a try.  Carve Hooked in the beautiful grey scales pattern.

Len Zilkowsky - SUP fishing on Cultus Lake, Chilliwack, BC

While it is not, as established in Western Canada as it is south of the border...like many things, prepare yourself because it's coming to the Great White North!  Below is Werner Paddles FIRST SUP fishing paddle, the

As many of you know canoeing is particularly near and dear to our hearts here at Nikki Rekman Sales and we are stoked with this new addition - Werner Paddles has introduced the 3 piece Bandit for 2015!!!  It came about, in very large part, due to the influence of my amazing Eastern Canadian counterparts at Watershed Sales, Johno, Paul and Mark.  Thanks guys.

Like all of our whitewater paddles, you got BOMBER RELIABILITY in all of our Bandit configurations.  These include: a 1 pce and 3 pce (the two piece has been discontinued) and they are available in our Premium Performance Fiberglass and Carbon.
Perfect as your spare or if you are traveling and space is at a premium.

 There is more to share and you will be hearing about it soon.  Dealers, if you did not get a chance to attend the Werner Paddles 2015 webinar earlier today please contact me and we will set something up, one on one.

Friday, August 1, 2014

2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships - Lina Augaitis and Art Aquino

One of my favourite things is to watch and be a part of, people fulfilling their dreams particularly paddling/outdoor adventure dreams.  We have had this opportunity with Werner Paddles and Nikki Rekman Sales team paddler, Lina Augaitis.  Lina's been ALL over the world stand up paddling this year in pursuit of fulfilling a dream.  With the support of her husband Andrew, family, friends and sponsors we are thrilled to share with you another Lina update.  We also welcome, Werner Paddler, Art Aquino with his perspective of the race (thanks, Art!!)

Lina and Art
M2O (Molokai 2 Oahu) Partner Style - Lina

Last year was my first crossing of the channel (Molokai 2 Oahu) SOLO UNL. There were many firsts for me last year when it came to BIG ocean paddling. I kind of threw myself out there for the challenge and adventure. It was all AMAZING and a great learning experience. 

This year, I came into the race a different paddler with different goals and a different history.  Being a truly competitive person, I knew this year I would not have 3 weeks to train on Maui and improve my ocean skills. I did not want to do worse than last year so decided to change it up and find a partner and try it partner style.  It was something new and different and adventurous but I still got to be out there enjoying the amazing atmosphere and ocean. 

I asked Art (Aquino) to be my partner, it seemed like a great fit, we were both from PNW, rode SIC boards, paddled Werner Paddles and he is kind of obsessed with downwinding... I also found out he is one stellar guy.... I felt lucky to have him as my partner and share this awesome experience with him. 

We were on a production 14ft SIC Bullet V2 which really is a perfect board for these conditions. Stable, glides with ease, great for catching waves and has the trademark SIC handle for a great grip in the wind. 

Our boat Captain, Captain Dan had a fab boat and two awesome helpers with him, Shelley helped with getting us back on the boat after our switches and the other mate took a ton of pictures! 

Art and I paddled together for the first time on the Wed before the race.. haha... We met on Maui and shared a Maliko run. We talked strategy and he gave me some downwind pointers. On Thursday we practiced some switches with a leash and on Friday we were off to Molokai. We didn't have much time but we totally made it work!

The race: 

I started us off. I had a pretty good start but everything always gets a little crazy when boats start finding their paddlers.. HAHA. At least I managed to stay on top on the board:) Art and I decided to switch off every half hour which was great, we got a little bit of time to relax and then just enough time to push hard and get into a rhythm. I would definitely recommend this timing for teams thinking of partnering up for M2O.  So once the first half hour was up it was time to jump in the water. I was the most nervous about the switches, hanging out in the water treading water until the boat came around and picked me up in the middle of the ocean was very nerve racking, who knows what is lurking down there under me. I later found out that some paddlers actually had encounters with sharks... AH.. Funny enough once we started racing I didn't think about sharks and scary ocean creatures too much and rather enjoyed the feeling of being out there in the middle of the ocean treading water... hmmm.. 

Anyways, Art rocked it once it was his turn and we were right in there in the mix of boats and other paddlers. We ended up heading slightly more north than the main pack but that was fine.... I felt great out there, having fun catching bumps and then chillin on the boat. It was nice to be able to eat and refuel while resting on the boat and then push hard while on the water.  We ended up finishing the race with Art crossing the line on the board and I was swimming out to the finish line. FUN! 

We managed a 2nd place in the mixed team division with a time of 5hours 24sec. Not too shabby if I say so myself. Thanks Art for being a stellar partner out there! 

I was on a SIC 14ft Bullet V2, a beauty of a board and ideal for the conditions at hand. I was paddling with a Werner S1000 grand Prix paddle. It was the perfect paddle. I used electrolytes (Nuun and scratch lab), Vitargo, Vfuel gels, ClifBlocks, clifbars, and some fruit as my nutrition. Thanks to Feed the Machine and CLifBar. 

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

M20 2014 with partner Lina Augaitis - Art

M20 was an outstanding and very memorable event for me as it was my first Ka’iwi channel crossing. I am so grateful that Lina had asked me to partner up with her on this journey, M20 was on my bucket list but didn’t think it was going to happen for me this year seeing how it sold out soo fast, I thank her so much for the opportunity and was honored to be considered.

I believe we really complimented each other out there; I have to admit I am pretty much a downwind junkie and she is such an all around strong paddler and truly a great person to be around, we just made perfect team!

So as to be expected, the ocean conditions were very different from the Pailolo Channel/M2M race I took in last April. However the wind waves and ground swells were very similar in size… but shape and direction for the M20?? …not so much :)

Lina had an extremely solid start in the slightly bumpy water generated by boat wakes and other paddlers, she did a great job getting us out into the front portion of the pack. Our first switch came in at 30 minutes at which point I literally jumped off the boat for the on-water switch (very interesting feeling lemme tell ya…) and by this time a large percentage of the swells started coming from the north or on the right side of the board, so we were constantly dropping left into ocean swells some as big as head high or more and riding them right… we did this over and over as much as we could until the 20 to 25 mile mark at which point we slowly started to turn south and were able ride the swells similar to a typical downwinder but with much more chop than say a Maliko run. Then nearing the end of the race we hit the infamous China Wall section of the run, that’s where ground and wind swell oppose each other and push up against a cliff that drops straight into the ocean creating junkie swells that were pretty challenging to ride. Then we finally got around the point near the Spitting Caves and the waves started to flatten out… but we weren’t out of the woods just yet…  the wind direction changed to offshore and then once again powerhouse Lina Augaitis took charge as if it was truly no big deal and got us pretty close to the finish line until our last switch.

The race was over but the memories will pretty much last a lifetime. It felt soo good to be done but left me wondering about next year and the possibility of doing it solo. Hmm…  ;)

Special thanks to Bluesmiths, WernerPaddles,  Urban Surf, Paddle With Riggs & Captain Dan. 
Also, thank you SIC for lending us the board we couldn’t have done it without you.

After party, podium photo!

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin