Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review of the Kokatat Women's Idol Drysuit with SwitchZip Technology

Thanks to Recreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia - RCABC whitewater canoeing instructor, Allyson Phillips for the following review of the Kokatat Women's Idol Drysuit.

"I recently had the opportunity to try out the Kokatat Gore-tex Idol drysuit with switchzip technology.  Lyle Dickieson and I were teaching an advanced open boat course in April on Vancouver Island.  The weather was hot and sunny, and the Nanaimo river was cold – perfect conditions to test out this suit.  First of all, getting dressed was so easy!  Once I learned how the zipper mechanism worked, the suit was so easy to put on and take off, with no awkward physical manoeuvres required.  On the water, it set a new standard for comfort with no zipper underneath the PFD.  The zipper placement is well chosen and allows free, comfortable movement.  At the end of each of our paddling days, we had long, hot portages back to the vehicles.  It was so simple to remove just the pants of the suit, just the jacket, or the whole suit.  Next time I need a new drysuit, I’ll definitely look for these features for superior comfort and versatility. Kokatat has always provided friendly and professional service and the Kokatat rep, Nikki is always wonderful!  Thank you Nikki, for the use of the suit!"

Contact your local Kokatat dealer for demo opportunities or follow us on Facebook and Instagram at Nikki Rekman Sales to find out where we will be next and ask about trying any one of the drysuits in our demo fleet.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Norm Hann Joins Nikki Rekman Sales Team and Kokatat Global Ambassador Team

At Nikki Rekman Sales we have the privilege of meeting and working with some of the industry’s best ambassadors and Norm Hann is one of those people. I can’t remember the first time I met Norm, I think most likely in the early days of the Kal Classic. (Hosted by Werner Paddles FIRST land-locked stand up paddle dealer, Kalavida Surf Shop). He had already started his Standup 4 Great Bear conservation initiative and the documentary, STAND was filmed (you can view it here) and EVERYBODY knew Norm and his red shorts (part of his SUP race attire). 

I have wanted to work with Norm since this time and in early 2016 the stars aligned. Kokatat announced that Norm would be a part of our team as a Global Ambassador. The fit is perfect. Norm is a person of high integrity and loyalty. He also has a desire to paddle safely, comfortably and most importantly stay dry. As an instructor and guide, Norm needs to have the best gear possible whether he is touring up in the Great Bear Rainforest or Belize, introducing folks to river SUP on his home river in Squamish, the Mamquam or making his morning coffee run down Howe Sound.

Norm’s Kokatat gear list is as follows:

PFD – touring – Orbit Tour/river – Maximus Centurion
Insulation - Woolcore
Paddling Suit – Goretex Surge Paddling Suit

*his much loved red shorts have been replaced with the Men’s Destination Surf Trunk

If you are lucky enough to take some instruction from Norm ask him about his gear and why he trusts Kokatat. I could tell you why I do but I’m not as cool as Norm.

Norm, thanks for being a part of the Nikki Rekman Sales team and the Kokatat family. We are thrilled to have you.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Yukon River - Prepping for the Adventure

Anyone that knows us, knows that March is the start of the busy season for us, April is crazy and well after that it's full on and there is never a dull moment until our last event at the end of October. This April has been particularly busy with phone calls, emails, dealer visits, clinics, community river cleanups and a LOT of prep.

In June we will be living, working and playing remotely in the Yukon. We couldn't be more excited but the work that needs to be done before our departure is epic. This is because we have such a variety of things that we will be doing that month, clinics, a 2 week canoe trip and our involvement in the Yukon River Quest as a support team for World Champion, SUP paddler and new Mom, Lina Augaitis and film-maker, conservationist and SUP explorer, Norm Hann.

I thought it would be fun to show you a little bit of the prep for the canoe trip. We will be paddling from Whitehorse to Dawson City, 735 km over 15 days. This is the same route our friends, Lina and Norm will paddle in probably less than 3 days!!!

We have had paddling adventures all of the world, Grand Canyon, Antarctica, South Georgia, Green River, British Columbia's West Coast and more but none have been this long in duration or distance.Out came the dehydrator, the Excalibur (recommended by our late friend, Pat Peacock - the Queen of camp cooking!) and it's been running quite a bit the last couple of weeks.

Purchased on line from Green Health Canada

In the photo below you can see a little of what we have dehydrated.

bananas, apples, red/yellow/orange peppers, jalapenos, cabbage, leeks. The black beans and pinto beans we purchased from a great shop in Victoria called, Lifestyle Market
The menu has been made, a lot of the food has been purchased and now it is time to switch over to gear organization. I will save those details for another blogpost.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thrills and Spills: Cowichan River Youth Kayak Fest 2016

Big thanks to Liam B. Ellis (Class of 2016 at Brentwood College) for this awesome write up on the Cowichan River Youth Kayak Fest (CRYK) held on Vancouver Island recently. (previously posted on the Brentwood College blog)

Spring’s sunny weather heralded the arrival of the annual Crykfest, an unforgettable whitewater kayaking and camping festival at Skutz Falls, Cowichan Lake. Organized by ODP Head Mr. Norman, the event was attended by students from across the province, from Nanaimo to Chilliwack to Mill Bay. Seasoned paddlers and beginners alike, our Outdoor Pursuits team used this opportunity to break through the Brentwood bubble and make connections with fellow BC students and the natural world.

On Friday, we were bused to Horseshoe Bend campsite to set up our tents before heading to the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, where we launched our kayaks into the swimming pool to get accustomed to rolling upright from a capsized position. Saturday was the first day our kayaks were moistened by the mighty Cowichan River. We set off from Duck Pond, a relatively calm stretch of the river, and worked on “eddying out” and proper paddling technique. Our muscles grew weary as our bipedal bodies adapted to incorporate large plastic vessels onto our torsos, but the idyllic wild beauty of the river inspired us. That night we ate supper around a campfire, swapping riddles and singing loud, repetitive campfire songs as we sipped our hot chocolates. 

We got our first taste of whitewater (both figuratively and literally) on Sunday, as we paddled through a more daunting section of the river. I found myself inverted and careening downstream on more than one occasion. Our wet suits proved their worth as we battled rollicking rapids and feisty back-currents. Finally, all of our small groups joined forces for a final run as we barreled down the Cowichan as one unit. At the end of an adrenaline-fueled day, we packed up our tents and cooking gear to head back to the mundane realities of overdue homework and sinusoidal wave calculations.

Mr. (Dan) Norman talking to the crew!

Our friend and local Chilliwack paddler, Darcy Wilkins

Thanks to Joe K. Whittal for the photo

Happy winner of the Kokatat Maximus PFD! THANKS KOKATAT!

Crykfest is a fantastic way to flee the glow of computer screens and the pressures of humdrum everyday existence. For a moment, nothing matters but you, the river, and your battle against nature in a tiny plastic boat.

Liam B, Ellis ‘16

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2016 Werner Grand Prix Review

Welcome to our guest blogger, Werner Team Paddler, Mike Darbyshire.

After hearing about the changes to Werner Paddles SUP linefor 2016 I was eager to get the paddles into my hands and into the water.  I placed my pre-order at the end of last year for 3 new paddles to replace my current paddles and so far I have not been disappointed!

Werner has always staked their reputation on making the highest quality paddles that perform at a high level. 

Hand-crafted in Sultan Washington, their paddles have for a long time been the standard in kayak paddle quality and performance.  This quality and performance is maintained through their SUP line and my favourite part is the design that goes into making specific paddles for specific uses.  

A wise man once told me that the word ‘compromise’ when it comes to outdoor gear usually means you are going to get the worst of all worlds.  While this isn’t always true, a paddle that ‘does it all’ will likely ‘do it all’ poorly rather than provide excellent performance in a particular area. 

As a gear junkie and somebody who loves products designed for specific purposes I have always appreciated Werner’s dedication to putting a lot of thought, design and testing into specific shapes, materials and sizes that would provide the best performance in the specific discipline.

I get a lot of questions asking what paddle I use? What size is the blade? What length are you using? And my answer varies depending on which area of SUP I am being asked about.  Here is a breakdown of the 4 paddles I am using now. (I am about 5’11”)

a.    Dedicated racing paddle
b.    Length: 78”
c.    Blade Size: 86
d.    Weight 413 grams

a.    Surf Paddle
b.    Length: 74”
c.    Blade Size: 79
d.    Weight 454 grams

a.    Whitewater Paddle
b.    Length: 76”
c.    Blade Size:
d.    Weight: 535g

4.    Werner Soul S (for 2016 check out the Flow 85)
a.    Teaching Paddle
b.    Length: 78”
c.    Blade Size:

For this post I am going to focus on the Grand Prix.  This paddle will be in my hands for the majority of the season. I log a lot of hours training and racing through the season and the paddle is the one constant throughout the season. 

Since I started racing 5 years ago my race paddles have gradually been getting smaller and smaller. My first race paddle was a Kialoa Shaka Puu which was 82” in length and had a blade.  As you can see from above, my paddle this year is 4” shorter and smaller in the blade.  This change is fairly common through the SUP racing world and seems to be driven by a couple of factors.

The first reason I moved to a shorter paddle with a smaller blade was to take some stress off my shoulders.  I found myself getting a sore right shoulder after racing and even had a couple close calls in the surf where I felt like my shoulder was close to dislocating.  The smaller blade and shorter shaft has reduced a lot of this stress.

The second reason I moved to a smaller paddle was to focus on my strengths.  I love how inclusive SUP racing is and by that I mean that it lends itself to all sorts of body types, weights, heights etc.  It’s all about how you move your own body across the water.  I found that the best way for me to move quickly and efficiently was with a higher turnover and quicker strokes rather than focusing on longer stronger strokes, I seemed to be better suited for a higher cadence with a bit less power.

This is where the Grand Prix fits in so nicely. It has a generally narrow blade which allows for a quicker turnover and a cleaner entry and exit from the water.  The smallest blade size has been reduced from a blade in 2015 to an which results in a little less stress on the joints and a quicker stroke turnover. The Grand Prix also has what I would consider a ‘softer’ flex in the paddle shaft which can also help in keeping some stress off the body.

So far I’ve logged about 60km on the new Grand Prix and it feels great.  The feel of the paddle remains much the same as it has the past couple of years but the smaller blade is definitely noticeable, especially this early in the season. Werner has also maintained the relatively high 12 degree offset angle in the blade which results in a cleaner exit and a more vertical blade throughout the stroke. This off-set is an excellent efficiency feature but can feel a bit different for paddlers who are used to a more tradition 8-10 degrees. The Grand Prix continues to be one of the lightest race paddles on the market while still maintaining the high level of durability you can find with all Werner Paddles. The Grand Prix comes in a straight shaft or a benth shaft and can be purchased in 3 different blade sizes:, 93, and

If you are in Deep Cove you are more than welcome to give my paddle a try or use one of our many Werner demos!  Or stop by our retail store Deep Cove Outdoors to chat with one of our staff who can help you pick the right paddle for yourself.

Keep checking back in for more product reviews!

Mike on the Slocan River with Werner Paddles, Western Canadian Sales Rep, Nikki Rekman photo: Mark Klein

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin