Saturday, March 31, 2012

On the road again...

Well it is definitely that time of year and I am loading up the ol' Subee (over 380,000km I will have you know - that's over 236,00 miles for my American friends!) and heading east over the great Canadian Rockies to Calgary.

We will be on the water with the staff of Undercurrents taking them through the paces with Jackson Kayaks and Werner Paddles so be sure to check them out in Bowness.  Currently they are still on winter hours and prepping for a busy 2012 paddling season.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Protecting Fish Habitat in Canada

My apologies for getting political here but because of my strong connection to the outdoors and the outdoor community I felt this was important to share regardless of political persuasion.

Sign here to Keep Protection of Habitat in the Canada Fisheries Act!

Anyone can sign and please do.  The Finance Minister introduces the new budget bill today at 1pm EST so we have to sign and speak up NOW.

Some of  you may recall that in a previous budget bill changes were made to the Navigable Waterways Act here in Canada, this threatens the protection of our navigable waterways ie. rivers.  It's scandalous how these guys hide these very important conservation and environmental issues within these bills.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to Choose a Touring/Sea Kayak Paddle

Selecting the perfect kayak paddle is probably the most important decision you will make as a boater.  That is because the paddle is engine, your tool to transfer energy to the water.  Choosing the proper blade shape will allow you to perform at the highest level for your style of boating and understanding the perfect fit options for you will allow you to be more comfortable, use less energy and spend more time on the water.  

Choose the shape of your blade based on the style of paddling you are doing
Low angle-“more options”.  Most people enjoy the low angle style of paddling as it allows them to use good technique when they choose, torso rotation and focus on core strength, but also spend more time on the water if you are just relaxing and recreating.  With your hands in a lower position, think about your top hand shoulder height as you take your stroke, you put significantly less pressure on your upper body, arms and shoulders.  The longer, more narrow blade shape Werner has designed “fits” in the water better and presents more surface area to the water with low angle paddling.

High angle-“more commitment to technique, but more efficient.”
By focusing on keeping you top hand about forehead height as you take your stroke you will notice how the blade travels closer to the kayak.  With the blade traveling in this path your boat will track significantly better, go straighter.  Werner’s wider, shorter blade shape puts more surface area of the blade into the water in this position.  Now this style does take more emphasis on proper torso rotation since more pressure can be put on your shoulders in this higher angle paddling style.  The commitment is worth it though for those looking to take their paddling to a higher performance level in longer, sleeker light touring and touring kayaks.

Check out a video here giving you a visual of low and high angle paddling.

Fit options
Now that you have the proper blade shape for your paddling style let’s be sure you have the perfect fit.  The perfect fitting paddle will assure comfort and the least amount of energy used on the water.

Low angle
            Here are some easy to follow rules
-6 feet and under use 220cm.
-6’1” and over use 230cm 
-If your kayak is over 28” wide add 10cm to the length of the paddle, after you choose based on your height.
High angle
 Here are some easy to follow rules
-6 feet and under use 210cm.
-6’1” and over use 215cm 
-Kayak width generally does not come into play since most high-angle paddlers are in more narrow light touring and touring kayaks.

For a more in depth look, especially for more uniquely sized paddlers and boat width combinations, check out the Paddle Fit Guide

Shaft options
The benefits of a straight shaft is that it is a familiar feel, we have all used straight shaft at some time and it is what we are used to.  Other benefits are lighter weight and less of an investment.  If good technique is used and a paddler can hold on loosely to the paddle, focusing on grasping the shaft with the “O-Kay” symbol, all day, pain free paddling can be obtained.

For those who have developed some aches and pains in their hands and their wrist, for those who generally hold on to tightly to their paddle (and let’s face it we all do when we get nervous when conditions get wavy and windy,)  neutral bent shaft become an insurance policy for your body.  By always keeping the wrists in an ergonomically correct, straight alignment, less pressure is put on the small tendons and ligaments of the wrist and pain is alleviated.  Although more of an investment it can make all the difference of spending more time on the water.  The concept of neutral bent allows for a smooth transition from your old paddle, as your hand position is familiar and exactly the same as it was on your straight shaft.  The only thing that changes is that your wrists remain straight while paddling.

Check out a video here giving you a visual of straight vs. neutral bent shaft.

Shaft diameter and Blade size
Both of these options are really common sense and easily determined by your body size.  Smaller hands, smaller bodies, would look towards the smaller diameter shaft for a more relaxed grip and a medium or smaller blade surface area to put less stress and strain on the body.  Larger boaters, generally with larger hands, prefer the standard diameter shaft and a medium to full sized blade area depending on their fitness level.  Remember, a bigger blade is not always going to make us more powerful, especially if we are just working too hard to move that extra size through the water.
Spend as much as you can afford on your paddle material
As we stated early on, the paddle is your engine.  You will use less energy on the water, run more drops, surf more waves and perform better if you are less tired.  A paddle that is lighter to move through the stroke path, swing weight, will allow you to feel fresher as the miles and hours wear on.  A paddle with a stiffer material will flex less, causing less water to “escape” from the blade face and for you to use less energy and create more motion.  Higher end materials like Performance Core offer buoyant blade materials which will help you brace with more confidence and for higher performance paddlers, rolling more easily.  With the ease of use and simply design of Werner’s adjustable ferrule system, no matter how many times you take your paddle apart and put it back together it will never wear out.  Your investment is protected for life. Well I think that sums up how to decide what to spend, how much do you value your time on the water, how far do you want to stretch your skills?   

Thank you to Werner's own, Danny Mongno for preparing this blogpost.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

BoardStock and the Vancouver SUP Challenge

Werner Paddles will be participating in TWO more SUP events in the Vancouver area this summer supporting our new SUP dealer Pacific Boarder.

BoardStock - the Stand Up Paddle Social Event
Saturday June 9th, 2012
Demos start at 10 am
Event starts at 12:30pm - 200 meters east of the Jericho Sailing Center
Ends at approximately 4pm at the Yaletown Brew Pub
Sunday August 26, 2012
Demos start at 10 am
Event starts at 12:30pm - west side of Jericho Sailing Center
Ends at approximately 5pm at the Jericho Sailing Center

For more info contact the great folks at
1793 West 4th Ave.
Vancouver, BC.

Phone: 604-734-7245 or 1-888-BOARDER (toll free)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kayak Fishing in the Northwest Territories

If you are just starting in your kayak fishing career or are a seasoned veteran you may have dreams of heading north and I mean waaayy north to Yellowknife, NWT, home to some of the most beautiful fishing spots on earth.  Here you can land 35 kg lake trout and monster northern pike or Arctic grayling and pickerel.

Consider heading out on the water with Jeff Goudreau of Dream North Adventures.  They live by the three P’s with their guiding philosophy: Professionalism, Passion and Productivity. 

The trips they are offering are not just for the hardcore angler. There are thousands of square miles of sheltered bays and beautiful marshlands full of birds and wildlife. In these areas you can catch hundreds of northern pike using any kind of bait from topwater frogs to inline spinners. Topwater action all day long if that is what you enjoy. Jeff will be teaching guests proper catch and release techniques for the fish species here to promote safety for the angler and the fish species. You will learn how to properly use the Boga Grips as well as a soft conservations series landing net for the larger fish. 

Book your northern fishing adventure today!  We are also please to share that you will have the opportunity to paddle and fish comfortably, safely and successfully from the Jackson Kayak Cuda`s if you join Jeff on the water.