Friday, November 13, 2015

Paddling and Doing Good - The Two Go Hand In Hand

Paddling and doing good - the two go hand in hand, at least in the Western Canadian Stand Up Paddling community.

Logo created by First Nations Artist, Roy Henry Vickers
Recently I had the opportunity to visit my friend, Ken Larsen's grade 8 classroom to hear all about the, Take a STAND - Youth For Conservation Program and how it aims to educate and engage youth to protect the environment around them. It also looks strongly at our BC Coast and the Coastal First Nations culture. The program exists because of a small but passionate group of people, Nicholas, Anthony, Norm, Allison and Natascia. I have known Norm (Hann) for a few years now and it was a pleasure to attend the presentation which also included the viewing of 2 of his Stand Up Paddling films, Standup 4 Great Bear and STAND.

You can view Standup 4 Great Bear below and STAND is available on NETFLIX.

As a member of the stand up paddling community here in Western Canada, Norm has been a huge inspiration to many, many people, myself included. My reaction to the films was quite emotional; it evoked in me and others who have watched it, a desire to do better and be better in our communities. The stand up paddling community is very inclusive and members are very engaged; environmentally and socially. It's fantastic. 

A few folks worth mentioning are of course, Norm and Standup 4 Great Bear

Kevin O'Brien from Kalavida Surf Shop and his work with the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake (SPrKL) 

Ken from Pure Life Paddle Boards in his support of many different organizations (SU4GB, Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society, Vancouver to Nanaimo for Youth at Risk)

Trevor Petersen raising awareness about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) through his expedition, Paddling with PTSD.

Harry Saini and his crew with Vancouver to Nanaimo for Youth at Risk 

Chad Guenter raising awareness and funds for mental illness through Keep Calm & Paddle On (KCPO)

Please check out SU4GB below and STAND on Netflix. Get inspired and then take action! If you don't know where or how, contact myself or any of the guys I mentioned above. There is always opportunity to do GOOD.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review of the Gore-Tex Surge Paddling Suit (for SUP)

Thank you to our guest-blogger, Peter Allen of Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Center in Vancouver, BC for his review on the Gore-Tex Surge Paddling Suit.

Photo credit: Ally

I have been trying to come with a comfortable clothing system for cold water SUP for the last few winters, I have traditionally use farmer john suits and was never that comfortable in them.  They are hot, sweaty and you still get wet if you end up on the water. 

When Nikki showed me the Surge Paddling Suit during the summer, I thought this could be what I was looking for and I was keen to give it a try.  At the beginning of October I went over to Tofino for the 1st Annual WestCoast SUP Symposium and I got the chance to give the suit a test.

My initial impression trying it on was that the suit looks and fits great.  It is very easy to get on and off, the switch zip technology allows the suit to zip completely in half at the waist.  The Medium fitted me perfectly at 5’11” and 185lbs.

This suit has Gore-Tex socks and latex gaskets in the wrist but it is not considered a dry suit as it uses a neoprene neck gasket.  The neoprene neck gasket is a lot more comfortable than a latex gasket but is not considered as water tight.  This was definitely something I was keen to test and see how waterproof it actually was.

Photo credit: Ally

On the water the suit felt great.  The fit was awesome, I had full range of motion for SUP paddling and I never felt restricted.   The weather forecast for the weekend for sunshine and warm weather and I was worried about overheating in a Gore-Tex suit while paddling.  These worries proved unfounded as the Gore-Tex breathed exceptionally and kept me comfortable paddling in the unseasonably warm Tofino sunshine.

I ended up in the water more than a few times trying to test the neoprene neck gasket, including a couple of wipe outs while trying surf landings with my touring board.  I did have a little water get through the gasket resulting in a damp patch around the neck of my base layer that I was wearing under the suit.  Though considering how much I was in the water and the fact it is not a dry gasket, I was very happy with this.

After using this suit touring around Tofino I can’t recommend it highly enough.  The fit and the option to layer up or down underneath depending on the conditions make this a really versatile suit for cold water paddling.   I think it is an awesome alternative to wearing neoprene and a Surge Paddling Suit is now on my wish list!


Fabric - Gore-Tex with 330 Cordura, Gore-Tex Pro seat and knees
Entry & Relief - SwitchZip waterproof fully separating entry/relief zipper system
Neck - Neo-Cinch Collar
Wrist - Latex gasket with "hook & loop" cuff
Socks - Evolution 3.21 oz. nylon 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro
Features - Highly breathable and waterproof performance paddling suit featuring SwitchZip technology. Can be worn as a full suit or as a semi-dry paddling top. One zipper for entry and relief. Pant can mate with Passage Anorak w/SwitchZip Technology. Every suit is 100% fill tested; guaranteed to be dry.

Men's colours - Mantis, Electric Blue
Women's colours - Mantis, Electric Blue
Sizes - Men's - S-XXL, Women's - S-L, XLS

$850.00 US MSRP

Pre-order from Ecomarine or your local Kokatat dealer today. These suits will start shipping to shops in January 2016.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2nd Annual Tofino Paddle Surf SUP Invitational

We had a great weekend in beautiful Tofino with the crew from Tofino Paddle Surf, thank you Catherine, Zak, your staff and the many volunteers.

Although we did not have our new Werner Paddles Rip Stick available for folks to demo we had ample opportunity to talk about it and the rest of our fantastic 2016 stand up paddle line-up (Check out our past blogposts about the new paddles HERE and HERE) The Rip Stick will be available to purchase from your local Werner Paddles dealer by the end of November. It is the first surf-specific SUP paddle available, with a design inspired by pro SUP surfers, Fiona Wylde and Dave Boehne. Available in both 79 and 89 square inch blades in a 1 pce,  Adjustable (2 pce) and a Travel Adjustable (3 pce).
Cox Bay (just outside of Tofino, BC)

This was our last event of the season and an opportunity to connect with friends new and old. As sponsors of the 2nd Annual Tofino Paddle Surf SUP Invitational we were joined on the beach by two of our Werner Paddles dealers, Kevin from Kalavida Surf Shop (home of the famous, Kal Classic) and Justin from Ocean River Sports.

Kevin from Kalavida Surf Shop and Mark goofing around as we get set up on Day 2 on stunning Cox Bay.

So fun to spend some time with my friend and Werner Paddles team member, Lina Augaitis, her husband Andrew Dye and their babe who will make their debut in late December/early January.

Werner Paddles Team member and friend, Mike Darbyshire

This year's King of Kalamalka, Jason Bennett. Super nice guy!

The beautiful and stylin', Karly Cox 

One of my favourite lady's in the biz - Eileen Meehan from Sun n Sup (Naramata, BC)

Werner Paddles Ambassador and Nikki Rekman Sales team member, Genna Flinkman - looking forward to getting that Rip Stick in her hands!

Home town girl and owner of  T'ashii Paddle School and Tofino SUP, Tsimka Martin
Longtime industry friend and colleague, Andrew Woodford

For a few more photos and for larger sizes that you can download and share check out Mark's Flickr account HERE. If you decide to share, Mark (Klein) would appreciate the photo credit.

A very special thanks to our friends in the BC SUP community who have always welcomed us, despite the fact that we are relatively "green" when it comes to being SUP paddlers. Our friend Kristian and the folks at Starboard have helped us out and we now have our very own boards. Let's get out on the water this winter!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pacific Paddle Games 2015

We once again welcome, guest blogger, team paddler and Werner Paddles
Ambassador, Genna Flinkman. Genna was in California for the Pacific Paddle Games at beautiful, Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California earlier this month. 

Well PPG is over and I have to say, for me it lived up to the hype. The whole event was larger than life. From the moment you walked through the Pacific Paddle Games Entrance you were greeted with an amazing spectacle involving the biggest brands and names in the paddle board world. One thing I noticed right away was the effort put in by the volunteers and organizers to make everything run smoothly, and I think they succeeded. 

The race formats consisted of the traditional technical and distance races. In addition, there was also a team battle where each assigned athlete could garnish points for their board sponsor. Because of this, I was lucky enough to have an awesome tent to sit under with the always fun and amped up #infinityspeedfreaks
Genna is just beyond the wave

 The first race of the day, and my first race, was the open technical. The men took off first and for the most part, got out clean. The organizers did a great job of planning the start so that we did not have to go out in the big sets. The technical races was fun with lots of buoy turns and the challenge of going out through the break and coming in with the waves. I had a solid race, I got around the buoys well and managed to get a good wave on the way in to pass a few ladies. With the good fortune of a wave, I was able to move up two positions to snag 1st in my age class and 6th overall women’s open. Everyone did amazing and the level of skill in the open race was fantastic. 

Genna on the right

Of course the highlight of the day was watching the elite groms, and elite women/men. With big sets rolling in, the races had everything a spectator could hope for! There were amazing feats of getting over waves, tight buoy turns, party waves, last minute passes and unexpected winners. However, no matter the intensity of the race, once done everyone had a smile on their face and high fives. 

The second day was comprised of the distance races and finals for the elite technical. Generally distance is not my favourite race but this one was pretty fun. However, it was definitely a challenge as all mens and women’s open took off at the same time. This meant that for roughly a mile and a half, saying that the water was choppy was an understatement. Above that, there was the challenge of big rolling waves, boat wakes, and warm weather conditions to contend with. My favourite part was catching a wave to surf in to the finish line. Again, I was lucky enough to snag 1st in my age class and 9th overall women’s open.

The elite technical finals were extremely exciting. With two of the buoys close to the beach, spectators were in a prime spot to see the athletes catch waves, make amazing buoy turns, party waves, and crashes. It was easily one of the most exciting races to watch all year. It was not uncommon to see the lead change multiple times, especially for the women, so it was a nail biter to the end.

All in all, the weekend was amazing. I could not have asked for better weather, people, vendors, race organization, and support. It was a weekend I’ll never forget! A enormous thank you to my sponsors Werner Paddles, Nikki Rekman Sales, Infinity SUP, Virus Canada, CJC SUP Fins, and Spy Optics. Without the support of these companies, my friends, family and husband I would not have had the chance to attend all of the races that I went to this year. Each company gave me the best equipment possible to put me in a position to do well and I am extremely grateful for that. Also, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, contestants and Infinity Family for making PPG so memorable. I could not have asked for a better event to end the race season on. 

Until next year, cheers and enjoy the snow!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Re-Cap of the Kal-Classic Featuring Guest Blogger, Genna Flinkman

The Kal-Classic was a tough race for us to miss this season and we were bummed not to cheer on our very own, Genna Flinkman but as a Guest Blogger, she gives us a great re-cap of the event and her racing. Thanks, Genna and congratulations.

"Saturday started early, as everyone wanted to set up so we could enjoy the amazing atmosphere and people. Myself and most participants were at the beach by 8 am to snag a parking spot and a prime location on the beach. I have been to many events in Canada but the Kal Classic was brimming with as much excitement and people as many of the bigger races in the US. It was exciting to run into the people that I have became friends with in previous events like Semiahmoo, Hood River and Endless Adventure. The day began with a quick meetings, a pep talk from Lina Auguitis and a group circle where we took a moment to appreciate the amazing community that SUP has created and our connection to each other and the lake we are so lucky to race on. There was a lot activity on the beach with families, racers and vendors out to enjoy the weekend. At any given time you could see people talking to CJC Sup Fins, testing out the new Werner Paddles, chatting up the Starboard rep and cheering on the contestants.

The Saturday races were comprised of the Eagle Dash, Kids sprints, Open Sprints and Elite Sprints. The atmosphere was amazing with everyone cheering each other on and giving it their all. The number of people that showed up to race was huge, their biggest yet! For me, the excitement of the day was during the Elite races. Racing against the likes of Shannon Bell, Avery Bridges, Leanne Stanley and others was both exciting and humbling. The Women’s Elite race took place with three heats each counting for points, the third counting as double points. However, there was a twist this year; the moment the first person crossed the finish line five minutes was put on the clock and after that five minutes was up the next heat started. Therefore, you had to go 100% in each heat so that you had time to recover. The heats were awesome, with buoy turn pile ups, passes and sprints to the finish. In the end I was lucky enough to finish 2nd overall. Shannon Bell took first and Leanne Stanley got third with only one point separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th. It was a close battle each heat. Everyone did amazing and it was probably the most fun I have ever had on a SUP.

The day slowed down for me after that. The Men's Elite race went right after the women's and put on an exciting 4 heats. Again, everyone did amazing and it was awesome to see the competitiveness but camaraderie between the racers. It was a great day of fun, races, demos, family and friends.

The second day the wind picked up for the crossing, shifting in our favour providing a tail wind. It was exciting to see the kids and open go before me and battle the wind and chop. The first 6km were a blast as I spent my energy connecting little bumps to gain glide. Then the wind died down and it was a grind the whole way to the beach.  The 17km was much harder than I anticipated but then, distance was never a friend of mine. It was just a matter of grinding it out and enjoying the breathtaking views along the way. Crossing the finish line made it all worth it when everyone who had finished was there to cheer you on and congratulate you. Probably the best moment of the day was when Jennifer Lawsen came in as the first crosser ever on a prone board. Finished paddlers greeted her with a row of raised paddles and encouragement to congratulate her completing this huge feat. Everyone else trickled in with cheers and smiles as the day slowed down for awards.


All in all, it was an amazing two days. A huge thank you to Kalavida Surf Shop, Kevin, Lina, the volunteers, sponsors and vendors that showed up to spread the stoke.Congrats to everyone that competed and to the winners. I cannot wait for next year but for now I look forward to the PacificPaddle Games and the excitement that it will offer."

Genna Flinkman

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Werner Paddles Whitewater and Canoe/Raft 2016

Last but definitely not least we show you what's new for 2016 in whitewater and canoe/raft.

Werner Paddles continues to have a reputation in the whitewater community for BOMBER RELIABILITY on the river and in 2016 we remain committed to that. We have added some flare with the new HD Graphic, Search:Rave Green and from our research, this colour is going to be a huge hit so add this to your current Premium Performance Powerhouse and Sherpa selection.

New HD Graphic available in the Premium Performance Powerhouse and Sherpa - Search: Rave Green

And the most innovative whitewater paddle on the market is the ODACHI (od-da-chee) named for the long sword used by Japanese Samurai warriors. This paddle has been built for whitewater racers and the most important thing when racing is going forward and going forward, FAST! This paddle falls into our Ultimate Performance category and is lightweight. It's symmetrical tip is perfect for that vertical racing stroke and provides a smooth release. The strong dihedral in the blade provides stability and less flutter. This paddle is available in a straight shaft and a bent shaft. You will notice in the photo below the offset between the blade and shaft, it's approx. 2" 

The Odachi

Obvious blade to shaft offset for Ultimate Racing Performance

Smooth backside of the blade for no disturbance through the water.

Not a ton new in our Canoe/Raft category for 2016 but we are very excited to showcase another HD Graphic, the "Fire On The Water" on our Guide Stick.

Fire In the Water HD GRAPHIC

Check out our other blogposts on 2016 product HERE

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Werner Paddles 2016 Part Deux

So yesterday you got a peak at some of the 2016 Werner Paddles line-up and I hope you are as excited as we are along with the entire Werner team!!!

Let's continue with SUP -

The entire line-up has been redesigned and you will notice this in performance from our Ultimate Performance category all the way to our Standard Performance category.

The Trance 85 & 95 are replacing the Nitro and the Flow 85 & 95 are replacing the, Soul. Check out the backside (non-powerface of the blade on both of these models). It's smooth design will mean no disturbance behind the blade when the paddle is moving through the water. What does this mean? Efficiency and ease on your body, allowing you to stay out on the water longer!

You can also see that our trusted and reliable adjustability is featured on both of these new models. The push-button adjustablility is fast and easy to use, not to mention, field maintainable.

Flow on the left and the Trance on the right

The Prodigy 85 is our kid's performance paddle. It's adjustable 60-67.5", features our SMALL FIT and two colour options: RED and TURQUOISE

Zen 95 Hooked in Catch: Lime Drift will be great for all the anglers but you don't have to be an angler to LOVE this new HD GRAPHIC

Stand Up Paddling Surfing and River Stand Up Paddling continue to be growing markets in the SUP world and Werner Paddles is leading the way.

We are very excited to add to our River specific lineup featuring the popular Session and Stinger with the addition of the Ultimate Performance, Legend 99. This is a mid-size blade at 97 sq inches. This paddle has been reinforced for bomber whitewater reliability but with an amazingly light swing-weight. The edging has been reinforced with dynel (the same material you see on our Ultimate Performance Whitewater Kayaking Paddle Blades). 

The Legend 99 is available in 1 pce, Performance Adjustable and Travel Adjustable.

Stay tuned for more information on our SUP Surf specific paddle called the, Rip Stick.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Werner Paddles 2016 - Raising the Bar

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my Werner Paddles Summer Sales Meeting in WA to see all that was new and exciting for 2016 and once again our R & D team (Tammy Ritchey and Ben Kinsella), Production (lead by Keith Kruger) and Sales & Marketing (Doug Ragan and Danny Mongno) teams did not disappoint! They knocked it outta the park!

Here is a holiday Monday teaser....

Kayaking Fish and SUP continue to be our main focus but touring and whitewater have not been left behind in 2016.

For Kayak Fishing check out our NEW HD GRAPHICS. Brighter, sharper and wicked shelf appeal and still the best Kayak Fishing Paddle is the Best Kayak Paddling Paddle! We also gave you a NEW HOOKED LOGO.

Camano/Shuna Hooked is now available in the following colours - Trophy: Charcoal ABOVE and Catch: Lime Drift BELOW

New colour for our Hooked series - Catch: Lime Drift

The Skagit Hooked in the Hi-Vis Orange will be an addition to the brown

Stand Up Paddling continues to be a strong category for Werner Paddles and in 2016 we will not only be the number one brand for paddles but also for SUP PADDLES!

- NEW FAMILY and TRAVEL Adjustables with LeverLock
- NEW BLADE & LOGO colours


Our new Vibe and Thrive 95 are family and travel adjustables with the Leverlock, Starting at $139.00 USD. The Vibe is stiff and has a well-designed progressive rectangular shape, best paddling paddle in this class

The Thrive with its FG blade performance and family adjustable and travel leverlock has incredible value and performance at $199.00 USD.

NEW LEVERLOCK - quick and easy to use with a "guide" to ensure you have your grip in the right spot. Convenient 16" of adjust-ability for the entire family (4'10" to 6'2"). Available on all sub $200.00 USD models.
Our touring line-up also so the addition of HD graphics. Check out Swellz Blue that will be available in our Premium Performance Camano, Little Dipper, Shuna and Corryvrecken.

Swellz Blue in our very popular, Premium Performance, Camano

Check back tomorrow for more info on what is new!!!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Kayak Fishing on the Fraser River

What a day on the Fraser River yesterday with Kokatat Western Canadian Regional and Nikki Rekman Sales Team Paddler, Laura Demers and her fishing-partner, Sandra Ramsey. Laura and Sandra work for Kokatat and Werner Paddles dealer, Western Canoeing and Kayaking in Abbotsford, BC and these women know how to fish and they are passionate about it. 


Who better for me to head out on the water with to make a serious go, at claiming the Werner Paddles Sales Rep Fishing Contest title (stay tuned, I won't know till our sales meeting on the weekend :).

It was a hot, hot Fraser Valley day but the fish did not disappoint me. I learned so much from Laura and Sandra and they were extremely patient as it took me a little bit to get comfortable with the gear. Those lead weights are heavy!

Werner Paddles HOOKED Camano and Cyprus

Laura and Sandra are in the process of teaming up with Fred's Custom Tackle in Chilliwack and Abbotsford to do some guided sturgeon kayak fishing trips on the Fraser River so you can have this amazing experience too. Stay tuned to my blog for more info about their new venture as it becomes available.

Not gonna lie, he was a little unruly!!! LOL. #where'sNikki

What a thrill - 4' and about 50 lbs.
Thank you again, to Laura and Sandra for giving me one of my best days on the water all year! Thanks to, Kevin Henderson for the use of the Wilderness Systems Ride 115 and the rod/reel. A day I won't soon forget!!!!

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin