Kayak Fishing for Salmon - Ucluelet, BC

Kayak Fishing for Salmon - Ucluelet, BC
Kayak Fishing for Salmon - Ucluelet, BC

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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

One Fishing Adventure After Another

If you are dreaming of some kayak fishing in 2015 take a look back at the 2014 fishing season of Nikki Rekman Sales and Kokatat Regional Paddler, Laura Demers.  If you want some kayak fishing advice you can also contact Laura at Western Canoeing and Kayaking in Abbotsford, BC where she is the in-house kayak fishing and SUP expert.
Ross Lake
       In mid July I came across the opportunity to go fly fishing in the backcountry west of Quesnel, BC on the Blackwater River. The special invite from Marlin, my boss along with good company from friends couldn’t be turned down.  This was going to be the first time I ever went fly fishing.

The Cabin
    The trip took a downward turn before we even left home when we found out that there was a forest fire burning fairly close to where we had planned to go.  We decided to make the most of it and go anyways, although not to our original destination.  We came up with some alternative fishing options and set forth on one adventure after another.

          For our first adventure we loaded up our Clipper Tripper and Tripper-S canoes for a trip down the nearby Euchiniko River. I geared up with my Kokatat Orbit Tour PFD, can’t live without it. We bumped, dragged and portaged down the shallow river only to catch a few squawfish.  It did give me a chance to work on my cast while I only snagged a few trees ;)

I'm pretty sure I wore my Kokatat Wool Core for a total of
7 Days and no one even noticed because unbelievably it
smelt great!

      The next adventure was to tackle a section of the Blackwater River where the fishing was supposed to be better.  This time only three of us went and so I spent a decent amount of time soloing the Tripper-S while dragging a fly behind.  Then, bang I caught my first ever trout.  Landed it in the boat...didn’t use a net...I’m sure you know what happened next.  My first ever trout hoped and bounced itself right back to where it came from!

First moose I've ever seen!  She sat there just long enough for
me to get out the SLR camera from my Overboard Dry bag.
  Alas the fish.  We were there for 5 days and on the first day Marlin let us know about a fishing whole on a creek with no name.  My friend Sandra and I ended up going there day after day and being successful after everything else failed.  

And for the final adventure.  As we drove home a couple days early Sandra and I decided we just hadn’t had enough.  We arrived in Abbotsford after nearly 8 hours of driving only to re-pack our gear, load up our kayaks and drive 2.5 hours in the middle of the night back the direction we just came from to Ross Lake and the Skagit river.  With only 3 hours of sleep we awoke early to get to the fishing and the fishing was good!

1st Trout on 

Here’s to the best job ever for letting me enjoy my adventures!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Kayaking the Aleutians DVD is available for PRE-ORDER

We are happy to announce that we will be distributing Justine Curgenven and Sarah Outen's DVD, "Kayaking the Aleutians" in Western Canada.  They are en route to us now, contact us today to pre-order your copy.

Justine and Sarah

"No-one has succeeded in kayaking the length of the remote and stormy Aleutian Islands which stretch from Russia to Alaska. Explorers Justine Curgenven and Sarah Outen set out to paddle 2,500km along the archipelago to the nearest road confronting more than 20 long crossings which separate the tiny unpopulated islands. Sarah faces an even more formidable challenge as this is part of her round-the-world human powered journey and she has limited kayaking experience. Alone for 101 days in one of the windiest, roughest places on earth, these two women are swept away from land by unknown currents, pounded by rough seas and approached by bears. Experiencing an edge-of-your-seat journey, they gain a rare insight into themselves, the rich wildlife and the lives of the few people who live in this harsh yet beautiful landscape." 

Music: Chilled Out Ocean by Videoblocks.com. 

Filmed & Edited by Justine Curgenven. 

ZatzWorks Stabilzed Aerials by Scott Dickerson & Daniel Zatz

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Paddling Adventures Have Begun

I'm not going to lie, I am not a huge fan of our Wet-Coast (aka West Coast) rainy weather; even though its probably been one of the sunniest winters in years. Most folks would escape to  a warmer/drier climate but not me, I headed to the winter wonderland of Northern BC.

After landing in Smithers it was a 2+ hour drive to the small village of Fort Babine and our put-in on the Babine River. As you can see from the photos the weather was stunning but warm it was not.

Paddling in the winter obviously means having the right gear and well Kokatat Watersports Wear delivers, as usual.  My favourite piece, the Goretex Whirlpool Bibs and Mark's the Tempest Pant kept us warm and dry on the bottom.  The Goretex Full Zip and Anorak Jackets kept us dry up top.

Check out this ice-breaker

Winter wonderland!

Temperature was approximately -11 deg. Celsius and the snow depth at the put-in was about 4'.  Water was low this year and snow was deeper than the last time we were up.  This made for more challenges at the put-in and take-out and a few spots where we bottomed out en route.

Photo credit: Melaney C.

Home Sweet Home Photo credit: Melaney C.

So excited for another season of paddling adventures ahead. Looking forward to hearing all about your time on the water too.  #gobecauseyoucan

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Dynamic Duo: Bringing Family and Friends Together on the Water

Today, we welcome again, Guest Blogger, Lori Neufeld.

I knew we had to own a Jackson Dynamic Duo after paddling one for only a few minutes.  While the 12 foot boat may not seem practical for Manitoba rivers, we actually used the Duo a lot this summer.  With only a few mishaps and a lot of laughs, our family and friends got to experience kayaking either for the first time or in ways they had never thought possible.

Being a “Go Big or Stay Home” kind of season, Finley spent most of her time paddling the Duo at the beach.  It was during one of these days that my mom went kayaking for the first time and Finley's friends got to join us, too.  Who knew that a kayak could also serve as a daycare?
Finley and friends, Carter and Landon enjoying the water with "Cool-Mom", Lori.  Photo: Cheryl Falk
The Duo was our go-to boat for after work adventures on the rivers within the city.  The swifts and eddy lines were fun to experiment on and it was good practice for bigger water.  The Duo is stable, fast and very manoeuvrable, and it didn't take long for me to feel in control and confident while paddling it.  There's often a stigma about Winnipeg's rivers that they're dirty and dangerous, so many people stay away from them.  But thanks to the Duo, the proper safety equipment, and an experienced paddler in the stern, a number of people got to see our local rivers from a whole new perspective. 
Lori, Finley and Grandma, Marilyn.  Photo: Cheryl Falk
But it was the days that we took the Duo out to Sturgeon Falls that really stand out for me.  Dan and Finley happily watched from shore as my friends and I punched through giant foam piles and surfed the waves.  While I left the attempted airscrews to the boys, I thoroughly enjoyed carving back and forth.  Communication and feeling your partner's movements were key in getting the Duo to surf smoothly.  I loved those days on the water.

The Dynamic Duo bringing folks together on the water.  Photo: Lori Neufeld

Our Dynamic Duo brought people together this summer.  From experienced and sponsored boaters to newbies and toddlers, everyone who sat in the Duo came out smiling.  It was a fantastic teaching tool and I'm looking forward to introducing Finley to whitewater with this boat.  The Duo is really one of a kind and I glad we invested in one!

The Duo from Dan Neufeld on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Taking Your Retail Business to the Next Level

During my time repping, south of the border, I saw a big difference between the retail market in the Western USA and Western Canada.  We were lagging behind a bit up here but I am happy to report that a few of my larger dealers are investing with their dollars in the on line sales world.  I remember, chatting about online sales with long-time retailer (he's been in business for over 30 years),  Mike Garcia owner of Northern Lights Trading Company (Bozeman, MT).  He told me, "Nikki, if you can't beat them, join them".

The convenience of online shopping is known to all of us, you can do it from the comfort of your own home and have items delivered right to your door.  Perfect timing for retailers as we head into the very busy, Christmas shopping season.

Aquabatics in Calgary, AB and Western Canoeing and Kayaking in Abbotsford, BC are two of retailers who have shared with me over the last while their commitment to on line sales.

Both, retailers have invested significant dollars in re-doing their websites to efficiently and easily handle e-commerce from customers across Canada.  The biggest surprise is both retailers, shipping rates.  Aquabatics FREE for orders over $75.00* and Western FREE for orders of $100.00 or more*

*this does not include canoes and kayaks.  Please check out their websites to review their shipping policies.

I have mentioned to both retailers that I am expecting to see an increase in their overall sales with this commitment they have made.  This is only helped by the fact that the Canadian dollars is low and hopefully, Canadian consumers will have more interest in doing their shopping here in Western Canada.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

T'ashii - meaning path on land or on water

Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining friends on a magical paddle to Meares Island via a dugout  canoe in the First Nations' Nuu-chah-nulth tradition.  We left from Tla-o-qui-aht Territory aka Tofino with T'ashii Paddle School's guide, Tsimka (pronounced Sim-ka) in a canoe her father, Joe Martin carved.

Marina with Meares Island in the background

Tsimka discussing the dugout canoe.
Tsmika's family history goes back 5000 years on this part of the coast and her passion for keeping this history alive for future generations and visitors like us, is very evident.  Her knowledge of the territory and the plants and animals within it, just made us want to know more.

                                                                       The canoe was impressive and its performance even more so.  The canoe was stable and fast.  It was very exciting to be in a traditional Nuu-chah-nulth canoe particularly given me experience in modern day canoes made of modern day materials and crafted with the help of computer software.  I liked the quiet of this traditional, truly hand-crafted canoe and knowing the history of it.  It made the experience of being on the water even more special.

View from the bow

The weather was typical, "Wet Coast" weather but we were clad in our Kokatat Gore-Tex Anorak / Kokatat Gore-Tex Full Zip Jacket and Goretex Paclite Shell Boater Pants to keep us dry.  Paddling over to Meares Island in the rain listening to the traditional songs Tsimka sang made for a very beautiful and mystical experience.  Thank you, Tsimka!

Mark on the boardwalk
Stopping to check things out.
Once we arrived on Meares we were greeted by a couple of groups of sea kayakers who were also there to enjoy the beauty of the Big Tree Trail.  The Big Tree Trail takes you through stunning old-growth forest via a cedar boardwalk maintained by the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park.  Learning about the ways the forest has provided and continues to provide for its people was very interesting.  It feeds, clothes, shelters and so much more.

I highly recommend that if your travels take you to Tofino that you get out on the water with Tsimka and the folks at Tashii Paddle School.  Thank you, Emre for the suggestion it was a highlight of our Thanksgiving weekend.

T'ashii Paddle School is First Nation owned and a proud supporter of Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park. 1% of revenue is donated to the Tribal Park to help the grass roots initiative of First Nation lead sustainability in Tla-o-qui-aht Ha'Houlthee.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

4th Annual Aquabatics Film Competition

For all you, aspiring film-makers check out the Aquabatics Film Annual Film Competition.

Entries will be received until Wednesday October 15th.  They would appreciate a "teaser" before that date, if possible.  Email them through there website HERE

The 2 categories of films are:  Paddling Porn and Lifestyle and Adventure

The Paddling Porn category is for those films mainly made up of waterfall descents and boating on hairy rivers.

The Lifestyle and Adventure category is for films showcasing trips, comradery, scenery, and the characters from the paddling community or works of comedic genius!

The winners will be announced at Schanks Sports Grill (NW Calgary) on Thursday October 30th at 7PM

Tickets are $5.00 if purchased in advance at the shop or $10.00 at the door.

Kokatat and Werner Paddles are proud to be involved again!  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mother-Daughter River Trip

As many of you know earlier in September we took some friends on our annual Fraser River Float Trip.  Two of the participants were a Mom and Daughter, who had never done a river adventure before.  Mom, Teresa has had a number of outdoor/camping adventures pre-kids (she's got 3 of them) and her daughter, Kennedy is 7.5 years old and was pretty much game for anything!

I thought it would be fun for them to share their perspectives on the trip, in hopes of encouraging other families to get out of their comfort zones and enjoy some paddling adventures!

Kennedy - I loved it (the Fraser River trip).  I hated waiting to get into the boat while they were packing because I loved being on the water.  I would definitely go again.  I liked the first stop - it was a really sandy island and I liked running and making foot prints in the sand.  I had the only foot print that size.  It was nice having another kid on the trip too.  His name was Owen.  I'm glad I wasn't the only kid.  The water was cold but it was really hot out.  We had campfires outside on the beach.  The moon was really bright the last evening.  It gave us light.  We roasted marshmallows that night.  And Auntie Nikki made chocolate and caramel cake.  Our canoeing buddies caught a sockeye fish.  They had it for supper that night.

Enjoying their first river trip photo:Nikki

Teresa - I was very excited about going on this paddling trip since it had been years since I had done a trip like this - prior to kids.  I was very grateful to be able to go with friends that have all the gear and experience!!  Being able to take my daughter on such a trip was an excellent opportunity that I hope we get again.  I love being outdoors and active and this trip was it!  We had amazing weather and I even got a burnt bottom lip - don't ask me how that happened since my daughter didn't get burnt and I don't remember applying sunscreen to her lips! 

Paddling on the river was very peaceful - especially in the bow - and the views were amazing!!  Taking a try at steering the boat from the stern was a great learning experience.  I can't wait to get another opportunity - though it is definitely more work!  I too, like my daughter, would get impatient while the boats were being loaded - I couldn't really help too much and was eager to get back on the river. 

Seeing Owen, the three year old on the trip, made me excited for bringing my youngest next year.  It was great seeing Kennedy love her time on the water, ask endless questions to all the adults around and enjoy exploring the new campsites each evening.  I hope she will remember this trip as well as I will.  I can't wait to have another experience like this with all of the rest of my family!'

Teresa aka Mom, trying her hand in the stern photo:Nikki

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin