Saturday, June 30, 2012

Demo Fleet Items for Sale

Gear for sale - BELUGA (all brand new) 
- email me for pricing                                 
Boreal Design PFD - side zip RED (L/XL)              
Beluga Paddlefloat YELLOW                                  
Beluga Deluxe Paddlefloat RED                              
Beluga Double Chamber Inflatable Paddlefloat YELLOW                         
Beluga JK-0 Sprayskirt BLACK                               
Beluga JK-2 Sprayskirt BLACK                               
Beluga JK-0-Z Sprayskirt BLACK                           
Beluga JK-3 Sprayskirt BLACK/RED                                  
Beluga Float Bag Covers YELLOW  for 48" 3-D solo bags             
Beluga Mesh Cargo Bag BLACK      50L                 
Beluga MC-4 Knee Pads GREY                               
Beluga Knee Cups GREY                             
Beluga Thigh Straps Deluxe Cushion RED                          
Throwbag 70' 5/16"Kernmantle Rope - 1560 lbs. RED                                
Throwbag 70' 1/4" Kernmantle Rope - 1175 lbs. RED/BLACK                              
Beluga Basic Thigh Straps CC-1 BLACK                            
2" double d-ring RED x 2      
Flexible PVC 5 loops anchor RED                            
Modulus Tow System - belt only BLACK/YELLOW                                 
Flexible PVC 1" loop anchor  GREY                        
Towing Bungee Long Version YELLOW                            
Towboat System (SE-4) YELLOW                          
Sea Kayak Towing Bungee PRO RED                                 
3M Reflective Bungee Paddle Leash RED                           
Cobra Tow System - Sea Kayak YELLOW                          
Beckson Bilge Pump   GREY/RED                           
2MM Neoprene Socks BLACK Size Large (10-11)             
Beluga Quick Release Belt (SE-6) BLACK                          
"V-STRAPS SYSTEM (WE-1) includes: Features : Tri-glide buckle at each loose end of the webbing to avoid any flapping during travelling. Storage bag included.

Rope Ratchet System (WE-4)  (tie down w/ratchet for sea kayak) ORANGE PAIR          
Cam Straps      BLACK 16' PAIR                 
Safety Kit in plastic container includes rope, whistle, bailer and waterproof flashlight       
Safety Kit - incl. throwbag, bailer, whistle and waterproof flashlight                                  
Reflective Deckline Covers    SILVER PAIR                      
Economical Bungee Paddle Leash BLACK                         
Cockpit Cover – Nylon BLACK  LARGE x 2  34 1/2 × 20 1/2 in.
Cargo Cockpit Cover  BLACK SMALL  30 × 19 1/2 in.

Boats for Sale

Demo boats plus 12% HST

Ellesmere FG Mango $2428.00
Ellesmere FG Yellow $2428.00
Vaag FG Bllue $2799.00
Vital Kevlar Blue $3465.00
Kasko Poly Red $800 w/rudder and bow/stern bulkhead
Sedna Poly Yellow $989.00
Baffin P1 Red $1199.00
Epsilon P200 multi red/orange $1199.00
Epsilon P100 mango $1199.00

Friday, June 29, 2012

Double Diamond Paddle Review by Tristan Oluper

Welcome, Guest Blogger, Tristan Oluper from Western Canoeing and Kayaking.

Six years ago the blades of my first Werner Double Diamond drove me towards “The Brierley’s”, a classic playhole on Alberta’s North Saskatchewan River, see below.
First year of boating at the Brierley’s: Picture by: Dave Hagel
Since then I have not used a kayak paddle more frequently than a 194 cm Werner Double Diamond bent shaft. The DD (double diamond) has accompanied me on a road trip from Quebec to Mexico and brought me down classics like the Ottawa, Gauley and Mexico’s waterfall wonderland, Micos, not to mention many others. I used the DD during guiding stints for two seasons on the Rio Futaleufu in Chile and a season on the Mighty Zambezi in Zambia. The DD even helped me down some exploratory runs in BC last year after a mishap with my creeking paddle. Look around for those stories.
First Impressions
Since my brain long ago defragmented first impressions, what I can tell you now is I still love how the paddle performs. I am always impressed at how efficiently the blade enters and exits the water. I find this helps improve stroke rate, making catching/staying on waves easier. Furthermore, the efficiency of the blade entering and exiting the water makes moves like spinning, cartwheeling and other advanced moves easier/smoother as well. Exactly what I look for in a play-blade.
Bent Shaft
Using a bent shaft is a huge bonus during a day of playboating. I find the ergonomic bend helps maintain strength throughout long play sessions and reduces wrist, elbow and shoulder fatigue. What does this mean? It means more time on the water, and becoming a better paddler of course.
One thing that can take “a getting use to” is not with the DD blade itself, but is hand placement when changing paddle lengths. I prefer a longer paddle for creekboating and I find when moving to a 197 cm bent shaft over my 194 cm, even though it is only 3 cm, my hand placement just doesn’t feel natural. However, there could be a variety of reasons for this. To start, I have used a 194 cm bent shaft for over 500 days on the water and naturally my hands may migrate to an “off” position on the longer paddle. When talking to other paddlers who have switched sizes in bent shaft paddles (who do not use Werner) they share the same thoughts about the hand placement feeling unnatural. Nevertheless, I recommend checking out the Werner fit guide: or heading down to a Werner dealer, grab a few paddles, and find which feels right.
Blade Size
The mid-sized blades of the DD provide enough pull to get you back on the wave but are small enough that they do not feel to grabby during surfs, especially in holes. I find large blades can catch too much water and lead to the paddle getting in the way when doing moves, not with the DD. Another thing I like is if you find yourself survival surfing in an uncomfortably large hole, these blades don’t give feeling that limbs are about to be detached from the body, always a nice bonus.
Final Thoughts
Futaleufu Chile Photo by: Lynn McLachlan
 The double diamond will always have a spot in my repertoire and without a doubt will be the paddle I use most. Whether you need a paddle specifically for playboating or you can only afford one blade that does it all check out the double diamond, you will be happy with it. Happy paddles. –Tristan-

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

VOTE for BC's own - Hurricane Riders

I am super stoked to highlight a fantastic group of paddlers I know from British Columbia.  I met them while they were all actively teaching and guiding with North Vancouver's, Deep Cove Canoe Outdoors.

Speaking with Hurricane Rider, Rowan Gloag this is what he had to say about the Canoe & Kayak Magazine awards.

"THR is honored and humbled to be included in the C & K awards. To be on the list with these other great films is an amazing feeling. We are a group of sea kayakers from BC who love paddling rough water and making short films to share with the rest of the community. Thank you so much for your support!"

Please click on the link below and vote for the HURRICANE RIDERS!!!

Hurricane Rider - Marty Perry

Find the Hurricane Riders on Facebook

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kal Classic RECAP!

We had a fantastic weekend at Kalamalka Lake for the Kal Classic with the crew of Kalavida Surf Shop.  A HUGE, HUGE thank you to event coordinator Heidi Maddess!!!  Thank you too, Kevin, Michelle, Allan and the Kalavida crew - we had a great weekend despite the torrential rain!!!  To all the volunteers particularly you board handlers - wow, you worked hard and it was appreciated by everyone - THANK YOU!!!
Mike Darbyshire beating out SUP legend, Dan Gavere in the Sprint!

The event was also fortunate to host so great names in the SUP community from the USA and Western Canada!  Werner athlete, Nikki Gregg was in attendance, earlier in the week providing clinics and racing over the weekend.  Nikki earned 2nd place in the Women's category, Dan Gavere 2nd in the Men's category and BC's own, Norm Hann claimed for the second year in a row the King of Kalamalka title.  Way to go Norm!!!  Norm was also awarded a Werner Paddles Grand Prix (which he had demo'd from us before :) so we are very excited that Norm will be using a Grand Prix on the water in the very near future.  Congratulations also to Shannon Bell (who also went home with a Werner Paddles Grand Prix), Shelia Sovereign and Vancouver Island's, Stuart Robinson.

Sheila Sovereign, Shannon Bell and Nikki Gregg
Queen of Kalamalka: Shannon Bell
2nd - Nikki Gregg
3rd - Sheila Sovereign

King of Kalamalka (repeat): Norm Hann
2nd - Dan Gavere
3rd - Stuart Robinson
Norm Hann - King of Kalamalka

Mike beat out SUP legend, Dan Gavere in the Sprint Course (Elimination Style) and completed along with fellow Deep Cove Outdoor's paddlers, Karly Cox, Garry Rathbone and Dion Maxwell the Kalamalka Crossing.  

This is the marquee event of the Classic – a 10 mile (18km) trek across the length of Kalamalka Lake.  You guys were fantastic!!!

Deep Cove Crew: Karly, Dion, Garry and Mike

Yannick Michaud from Ocean River Sports our Werner Paddles dealer, in Victoria also competed in the events over the weekend and finished the Kalamalka Lake crossing.  Way to go Yannick!!! (sorry, Yannick no good photos).

Kristian Pearson
Finally a very special mention to our friend and Western Canadian Starboard Rep, Kristian Pearson for his finishes this weekend.  He did the entire rep community and his brands very proud this weekend!!!

For more photos go to Nikki Rekman Sales on Facebook!!!

Photo credits: Mark Klein

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival: June 22-24

Join me and Werner Athlete, Nikki Gregg for the Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival in Vernon BC, THIS weekend, June 22-24.  This event is hosted by the fabulous crew at Kalavida Surf Shop!

The event has something for everyone; beginner to enthusiast, men, women and dogs too.

Friday: SIP and SUP to Bishops Bird Sanctuary / Late Registration

10:00am-8:00pm – Late Registration - Kalavida Surf Shop
6:00–8:00pm - SIP & SUP Sunset paddle (Wine and Music with Manfred Harter)
 – $10 Donation (Board rentals available)

Saturday: Short Courses / Sprint Showdown / Free Demos

9:45am – Opening Ceremony (feat. Mollie Bono – Okanagan Indian Band / SPrKL)
10:00am-3:00pm – Vendor Expo and Board Demos
10:00am – Short Course Race - Competitive (Presented by Starboard)
 - *BC SUP CUP Points race for 12’6
11:00am –Short Course Race – Recreational, Junior - *BC SUP CUP Points race for 12’ & Under
2:00pm – Sprint Races (Competitive & Recreational)
3:00pm - Grom Relay Races (Kids)
6:00pm – Dinner & Entertainment

Sunday: The Kalamalka Crossing - Long Course (Presented by Naish)

8:30am – Pre-Race Meeting at Start line in Oyama (Wood Lake Beach)
9:00am – Start for all 12’ & Under Surfboard style
9:20am – Start for 12’6 & Under Recreational & Competitive & 14’ Recreational
9:30am – Start for 14’ Competitive - BC SUP CUP POINTS

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fundraiser for Young British Columbia Paddlers

Chilliwack Kayakers Looking to Raise Funds for Junior World Championships

Sam Fletcher and Jazmyne Denhollander are making waves on the Canadian Whitewater Kayak Team. 

They’ve both qualified for the Junior World Championships and need your help to get there.

It’s as simple as going out for dinner!

The Chilliwack Centre of Excellence is hosting a Pub Night at the Jolly Miller on June 30th at 6:00pm.  Tickets are $10. There will be a 50/50 draw and Silent (shhhh) Auction.  Call Shonnet for tickets at 604.858.0877.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Review - T3 SuperNova Angler Paddling Suit

Check out this review by Kayak Angler, Stephen Laurie of the Kokatat T3 SuperNova Angler Paddling Suit.

Kayak Angler, Stephen Laurie putting the Kokatat T3 SuperNova Angler Paddling Suit through its paces.

Don't forget to check out the Eastslope Kayak Fishing Classic on June 23rd that Stephen is organizing.  

Please note that due to the recent oil spill in Alberta, the event location is changing to PHYLLIS LAKE.  Refer to the website for current information or the facebook page.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Your Relationship to Risk

Welcome, Guest Blogger, Michael Pardy*



Your Relationship to Risk


A common definition of risk is the potential for harm or loss.  Loss or harm can be physical (E.g. illness or injury); social (E.g. embarrassment or even ostrasization); financial (E.g. damage to equipment or property); even psychological (E.g. stress, anxiety, psychosis).  As implied in this definition, most of us think of risk as a negative consequence.  Certainly law makers and enforcers spend a great deal of time and money trying to keep us safe from the potential negative risks of daily living.  Mandatory seat belts, bicycle helmets, and health inspections of restaurants are three obvious examples.  This view is particularly useful when the risks are assumed involuntarily, for example, manufacturing standards for cars or trains.  In recreation, however, risk is often assumed voluntarily, and as a result, we need another definition when we talk about recreational risk.  

It is also useful to think of risk as the potential for rewards.  Rewards can be physical (E.g. fitness and relaxation); social (E.g. friendship); financial (E.g. money); even psychological (E.g. stress reduction, confidence).  Indeed in conversation after conversation with kayakers, most cite the potential for rewards as the reason for their ongoing participation in the sport.  In other words, most of us paddle, not in spite of the potential for harm, but because of some tangible benefit. 

A quick survey of some of my paddling friends highlights some common benefits including:
  • Physical challenges and fitness
  • Exploration of the natural world
  • Social interactions with other paddlers

It is worth taking a few minutes to think about what motivates you continue paddling.  These motivations are a guide to the kind of trips and people you should be paddling with. 

In the context of low, medium, and high consequence decision making, the consequences can be negative and positive.  Positive consequences include self confidence, a feeling of accomplishment, meeting personal and professional goals, and making new discoveries.[1]  Defined this way, risk exists along a continuum defined by loss and reward.  How do we reconcile these seemingly opposed visions? 

At the level of the individual, I think the answer rests with a concept call the “Dangerous Edge”, a concept originally articulated by Michael Apter,[2] and modified for this article. The Dangerous Edge exists at the boundary between excitement and anxiety, relaxation and boredom.  Recreation is voluntary; we choose to participate, often seeking the rewards of excitement and/or relaxation.  On trip, and indeed, throughout our lives, we are looking to optimize our level of arousal (in the clinical sense!).  If we are over stimulated, we can easily cross the Dangerous Edge from excitement (reward) to anxiety (loss).  Conversely, if we are under stimulated, we also cross the Dangerous Edge from relaxation (reward) to boredom (loss).  Viewed this way, we modify our exposure to risk according to our needs, seeking an optimally level of arousal that balances rewards and losses.[3] 

This model of risk implies that we actually need some risk in our lives, and recreation is one important source.  When setting goals and laying out expectations for wilderness travel, it is important to understand
  • What end of the continuum you are moving toward (relaxation or excitement); and,
  • Where your Dangerous Edge lies. 

Risk and Kayaking

Kayak touring is a very safe sport.  Canadian and US coast guard statistics, and studies by the American Canoe Association (ACA) support this statement.[4]  By safe we mean, that in comparison to other water based activities, kayak touring has fewer and less severe accidents.  There are at least three important factors that contribute to our collective safety:
  • Kayakers wear PFDs
  • Kayakers don’t drink and paddle
  • Kayakers are male and female, and over the age of 25

As a community, we have embraced the importance of safety.[5]  We wear our PFD’s, avoid alcohol on the water, buy our immersion gear, and practice our rescue skills. [6]  There is no doubt this has contributed to the high level of safety our community has achieved.  This is not to say that kayak touring has no risks. Reviews of incidents and accidents from community publications, safety reviews, SAR personnel, and anecdotal reports highlight some common patterns that have contributed significantly to incidents and accidents.
  • Lack of local knowledge (especially about local hazards). E.g. currents around headlands or gap winds. 
  • Travel into areas of higher risk without increasing safety. E.g. traveling around headlands or through surf without tightening group communication, reviewing safety protocols or donning safety equipment.
  • Many, if not most, incidents happen in or around the campsite. E.g. strains or breaks because of stumbles on logs or rocks or burns and small wounds from the kitchen.
  • The most dangerous part of a trip is driving to and from the launch site.
  • Intragroup conflict

Obviously, we should continue with our rescue practices and training with our rescue equipment.  In addition, we should learn from the hard lessons of others.  It is easy to feel safe inside a dry suit with a high float PFD, flares, and a VHF radio strapped to our body.  The reality is, though, that this equipment doesn’t keep us out of trouble.  Proper planning, local knowledge, communication, leadership, and good judgement (based on thoughtful reflection of previous experiences) do.  Peer groups planning trips should not only review basic skills and check and practice with safety equipment but also ensure these other, less tangible skills and resources are in place. 

In the messy reality of an incident this planning and practice will prove invaluable. 

One simple model that I use divides decisions into three groups based on their potential consequences. 
  1. Low consequence;
  2. Medium consequence; and,
  3. High consequence.
I use these groupings to set priorities in planning and to anticipate potential sources of conflict during the trip.  Many of the medium and high consequence decisions can be anticipated during the planning of a trip.  Some of these decisions can be made during this phase of planning. Others will have to wait for the trip, but at least the group can have an initial discussion. In some cases, especially for high consequence decisions, it may be worthwhile laying out strategies for making these decisions in advance.  In fact, the bulk of this article is about strategies for making decisions about fundamental structures, which fall within the medium and high consequence groupings.
Low Consequence Problems
The vast majority of problems that groups face have very little potential for harm or reward.  The choice between pasta and rice for dinner is an example of a low consequence problem.  Other examples include many of the daily problems we face as paddlers, often giving them little time or thought, which is entirely appropriate because of their limited consequences.  If group members experience conflict over LCDs, it is often symptomatic of deeper and more important conflicts. 
Medium Consequence Problems
Other problems have the potential to affect the safety and enjoyment of the group.  The potential consequences of this level of problem solving may not be immediately evident.  For example, the problem of deciding whether or not to wear immersion clothing can have moderately serious consequences in the event of a capsize. 
High Consequence Problems
The decision to travel around a large headland or paddle in strong winds, on the other hand, has a high potential consequence both for harm and reward.  These types of decision are definitely worth thinking about. 

Rational Model(s)
When it comes to solving problems, it helps to have some tools to hand.  Most of us have been exposed to some version of the analytical problem solving model where we are told that problems can be broken down into 5 (at least) discrete stages:
  1. Identify the problem
  2. Gather information about the problem
  3. Process the information
  4. Act
  5. Reflect
This model works well if you have lots of time to make a decision, away from environmental (wind, rain, cold, heat, swell, current, surf)  and social stresses (relationships, gender, age), and other distractions.

The reality is that we do not often go through this kind of detailed process to make (m)any decisions in our lives.  I will leave the question of whether or not this is a good thing to others.  Instead, I will highlight the fact that despite seeming irrationality, we often manage to make good decisions.[7]  We rely on other problem solving tools such as heuristics and categorical frames to guide us in complex situations. 

Heuristics simply refers to the use of short cuts (common sense rules) in decision-making.  Its main advantage is that we can rely on it for quick, satisfactory and sufficient answers. Unfortunately, heuristics also have pitfalls.  We can overlook critical information, or simply have no previous experience from which to draw answers.  The snap decision is often good enough, but not always.

For example, my dog will run after a ball, whether or not I actually throw one.  He uses the heuristic rule of my arm moving back as if I am throwing a ball to guide his decision to run.  In this case, the heuristic often works but occasionally it does not.  His “common sense” does not always work. 

Another example is crossing an eddy line.  The set of variables necessary to make a detailed and calculated crossing are too complex to gather and process.  Instead, most paddlers rely on a more intuitive approach that restricts the number of variables to some combination of current speed, forward momentum and angle of approach.   This heuristic works well enough in most circumstances.  Micro adjustments in forward momentum and angle of approach can be made as we approach the current. 
Categorical Frames
Ultimately we are able to discern patterns between decisions; this can lead to the development of categorical problem solving, which recognizes that many problems are related and share characteristics and therefore share solutions.  This principle-based model informs much of the risk and safety training in paddle sports.  Categorical statements such as “New paddlers should avoid wind speeds over 15 knots and currents over 3 knots” are examples of categorical frames for problem solving. 

These generalized solutions come from “experts” with large bodies of experience, knowledge, and skills.  These experts know there are exceptions, and offer these categorical solutions as guidelines.  Newer paddlers should be encouraged initially to follow these rules, and as they also gain experience, knowledge, and skill to challenge and test their validity and discover the exceptions for themselves. 

[1] The push and pull of rewards and losses is particularly evident in many of the narratives of exploration and adventure that line many of our bookselves.  Certainly, if folks like Magellan, Terry Fox, and others only considered the potential for loss our lives, our cultures, would be that much poorer. 
[2] Michael Apter The Dangerous Edge: The Psychology of Excitement
[3] At the societal level, this model of risk as a balancing of loss and reward is best articulated by Gerald Wilde in his two books Target Risk and  Target Risk II
[4] ACA Boating Safety Report, Conversations
[5] Many outsiders actually joke about the intense devotion to safety of many sea kayakers; this devotion, it is argued, is out of proportion to the real risks, and as a result borders or obsessive. 
[6] The five ‘T’s” are present in most accidents, in urban or wilderness environments: tequila, twenties, trailer, testosterone, tattoo, toothless.  Dr. Mel Otten(?)
[7] Sometimes called satisficing, these decisions are satisfactory and sufficient to address our needs.  

* Michael is the past president of the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC. He is also a Lead Guide, Guide Trainer, and Examiner with the SKGABC. He is a Senior Instructor Trainer with Paddle Canada. Guiding and instructing paddlesports for over 24 years, Michael also has extensive retail and business experience in paddle sports. He coauthored the 2002 Handbook of Sea Kayak Safety and Rescue, published by Ragged Mountain Press. When is not kayaking, Michael teaches at Royal Roads University.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NW Cup Canada Day Race hosted by Chilliwack Centre of Excellence

All boat types wanted and welcome - test yourself on a Whitewater Slalom course July 1.

9 am racers meeting, 10 am race!

Prizes available from Nikki Rekman Sales and Western Canoeing and Kayaking

(On June 30th there are clinics and practice on water,  in preparation for race day.  All types of boaters are encouraged to participate - C-1, K-1, Creekers, Playboaters, Canoeists!!!)

 Please contact CCE to register.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review - Kokatat Gore-Tex Full-Zip Jacket

 Outside Magazine recently reviewed the Kokatat Gore-Tex Full-Zip Jacket.

Give it a read and find out why this versatile piece should be a part of your gear closet.

Thanks to  for the review.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nikki Rekman Sales Clinic Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the Nikki Rekman Sales Clinic Raffle Winners for 2012!!

Peter Lerch - Kokatat Nomad Boots
Scott Benton - Kokatat GUIDE PFD
Sandra Ramsey - Wildcoast Publishing Book and Map Package

Thank you to all of our clinic participants.  We hope you learned tons and sold lots of product already this season.

If you have any ideas of how to change it up for the 2013 season let me know.  We have been holding the clinic raffle now for the last 3 years.  The goal is to give floor staff some incentive for expanding their knowledge base of the product AFTER the clinic. 

Don't forget about the awesome resources provided by all of our manufacturers:  websites, Werner TV, Jackson Kayak University on You Tube, catalogues and customer service!!  Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Vancouver Island SUP Series Kickoff this Weekend

The kick off for the 2012 Vancouver Island SUP Series will be held at Cadboro Bay in Victoria THIS weekend!!!

Join the crew from Ocean River Sports at this event catering to all ages and abilities and if you are not planning to race be part of the crowd cheering the racers on.

Werner Paddles in collaboration with Ocean River Sports has very generously donated one of their NEW for 2012, Grand Prix SUP Racing Paddles and hopefully YOU are the winner!!!

Schedule of Events

Saturday June 9 - 11 am - demos and clinics
Sunday June 10 - 11 am - sprints and relays
                                   3 pm - awards and BBQ

This is the fourth year of Vancouver Island’s first Stand Up Paddle Board Race Series, participate in events around Vancouver Island, British Columbia: Victoria, Tofino, Comox and Parksville. There will be off-the beach sprint races, fun relays and long distance courses. The beach culture side of each event includes a BBQ, music, MC judging booth, demos for the public and information on new water sports products. 

The Surf SUP event team provides a fun and safe environment for all levels from first time SUPers to advanced riders. Come join us and make the Island Series part of your vacation plans!

Future dates are as follows:

July 14-15 
Tofino, BC @ Tin Wis Resort

August 18-19
Comox, BC @ Waterman Festival

September 29-30
Parksville, BC @ Beach Club Resort

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jackson Kayak Fun REVIEW

Thanks Dave Prothero Photography for the photos of Laurel
Welcome, Guest Blogger, Laurel Archer.

The first time I sit in the Jackson Kayak Fun is in a back alley in Vancouver. I rip off the plastic and jump in. Right away I am psyched by how comfy it is. The standard outfitting is easy and fast to adjust, even on a cold January morning in my jeans and puffy jacket. The boat is not too wide and the braces are in the perfect spot for lifting my knees. The back band is solid and my legs aren’t awkwardly splayed, a problem with some other kayaks I’ve tried. And there is lots of room for the feet.

I finally get the boat to the river on a whitewater kayaking course with the COLT -  students from Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor, and the boat shows its true greatness immediately – the outfitting supports a powerful stance and the slightly softer chine together make for absolutely fantastic edging. The Fun rolls like a dream for the same reasons. I can sit in it for long periods while teaching and its also great for rescuing/ towing paddlers because it is so fast for its length.

Most of all, I realize after some surfs, spins and squirts here and there on the sly while the students are getting themselves together throughout the day that the name is perfect. It is FUN to paddle. The stern is alive. There is a little too much volume for a 145 lb, 5’7” paddler like me to do flatwater moves (for teaching and river running this is a good trade off) but any current line brings out the playboat in it for me. It’s slippery on a wave and light to carry. No drain plug, but holes in the cockpit work to aid draining water from the hull and a sponge is supplied. The happy face cut into it sums up this boat in all ways.

Thank you Nikki Rekman of Nikki Rekman Sales for helping make it mine!   

Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Make Friends At Paddling Festivals

Welcome, Guest Blogger, Mitch Suliak of Aquabatics in Calgary, AB
Paddler: Leela Samuels

All paddlers know that kayaking festivals are a great way to meet new people, run into old paddling buddies and have a good time whether its on the river or around a fire at night. 

Each year the May long weekend marks the start to festival season in the Canadian Rockies with the Pincher Creek Three Rivers Rendezvous in southern Alberta.  Despite the name this festival is a meeting spot for all sorts of paddling in Southern Alberta and has everything from beginner courses to some of my all time favorite creek runs and a 35-foot park and huck ten minutes down the road. What more could you ask for.  

I’ve been going to this gem for 5 years now and it is here I discovered the one piece of gear that guarantees you new friends every year and more than the occasional free drink:  the Kokatat Gasket Repair Kit. Its one tool that follows me to every festival I go to but it never gets more use than down in Pincher Creek with paddlers dusting off their gear after a long winter.   

Kokatat Neck Gasket Repair Kit

The water is still freezing and there is nothing worse than getting wet when you paddle, so you can imagine how stoked people are when a fire side gasket replacement gets them back on the water warm and cozy by the next afternoon.  The kit is ridiculously easy to use and is a life saver when your gasket goes while your taking off your top after your favorite runs with old friends and new paddling partners.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin