Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vancouver Kayak Club Whitewater Festival is almost here!!!

The 6th annual Vancouver Kayak Club Whitewater Festival is THIS coming weekend - May 3-5 on the Chilliwack River.

Photo Courtesy of: Michael Vegh

No matter what your experience, novice to advanced there is something for you.  Boat and gear demos provided by numerous manufacturers like Jackson Kayak and Kokatat Watersports Wear and Seals Sprayskirts.

Demo Kokatat Drysuits from the crew at Western Canoeing and Kayaking and don't forget your booties.  No booties no drysuits!!

World Kayak Hometown Throwdown will also be happening so be sure to check it out - super fun and it's for everyone!!!  I was at one in Tennessee this past fall as a spectator and it was a ton of fun.

The weekend includes:

Friday evening activities
2 nights camping
Breakfast Saturday and Sunday
BBQ on Saturday night
Raffle Prizes
Live & Silent Auction
Saturday night concert featuring Shane Philip

And much more!

Special thanks to Kokatat, Jackson and Seals for sending some prizes!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Kayak Instruction and Kids

Check out this great video from Nikki Rekman Sales team member, JF Marleau of SKILS featuring JF's step-daughter showing how an 11 year old can master some fantastic rolls and braces.

Fantastic job!!!

As a reminder, kid's are the future of our sport and our business so if we don't involve them and show them all that is great about paddling our professional futures are in question.  I know for me it's extremely satisfying getting kid's (young and old) on the water.  It gives me the oppourtunity to experience it through fresh and excited eyes.

The days are getting longer and warmer so let's go paddling!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting to know the new whitewater kayak models at Jackson Part 1

2013 has brought some new whitewater kayak models to the Jackson Kayak line up.

The Karma is our new creek boat and is available in three sizes:  Small/Medium/Large

Small Ideal Weight Range: 80-155 lbs
Medium Ideal Weight Range: 140-215 lbs
Large  Ideal Weight Range: 200-300 lbs

More specs HERE

A couple of things to listen for during the walk-thru that make the Karma stand out are:

- bow rocker - keeps the bow sitting higher in the water, narrow bow which assists with a soft landing
- high parting line - what is it?  The line between the deck and the hull.  Having a high parting line means a large side wall, this prevents water from going over the deck.  The boat won't feel too edgy, it will feel stable
- high volume stern - keeps the stern from burying, it's wider than the bow and this provides great stability
- planing hull - fast
- chines - rounded off early in the bow assists with a soft landing as does the fact that the side walls flare out.

As we prep for the Spring paddling season watch these great walk-thrus and reviews of the Karma and share with us what YOU like about the Karma.

Part 2 will feature the new 2013 Star Series

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Annual Spring Sale at Western Canoeing and Kayaking THIS Saturday April 27th

Western Canoeing and Kayaking is having their annual Spring Sale THIS Saturday, April 27. Canoes, kayaks and SUP's are on sale, up to 40% off. Awesome deals on Werner Paddles, Kokatat Watersports Wear, OUTFIT PFD's and 2012 or older Jackson Kayaks.  All in stock accessories are a minimum of 10% off. 

The sale boat list is up on their website, first come first serve, Saturday morning so get in line early (and bring an umbrella).  Once advertised canoe's, kayaks and SUP will not be sold before sale day.

Doors open at 9 a.m.

See you there!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cowichan River Youth Kayaking (CRYK) Festival Report by Darcy and Avery Wilkins

Event Follow-up by Guest-Bloggers, Darcy and Avery Wilkins (our friends from the Chilliwack Centre of Excellence right here in Chilliwack, BC) on their experience last weekend at the Cowichan River Youth Kayaking (CRYK) Festival. 

Photo by: Rob Fletcher


Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the 1st  annual Cowichan River Youth Kayak Festival(CRYK Fest) on Vancouver Island hosted by Dan Norman and the Brentwood gang just outside of Duncan B.C. In previous years this event used to be a Northwest Cup slalom race but this year they focused on  a youth festival  to help promote new interest in the sport for kids.  I went there with my son Avery and 3 other boys (Austen Atkins, Finley Capstick and Rhys Taylor) from the Chilliwack Centre of Excellence (CCE) along with our coach Jon Allen and some of the parents/club members. We had the typical Van Isle weather of sun/rain combo that lasted both days but was afforded some beautiful scenery when the sun was out. CRYK Fest consisted of a Friday pool session (to assess abilities) and 2 fun filled days of paddling for beginners and advanced youth paddlers. About 35 kids made the trip from all over BC and were treated to some great hospitality from Dan’s Van Isle crew.  The CCE gang got to spend both days surfing at Skutz Falls, paddling the S-bend and the lower canyon run. The whitewater action was well received by the kids as the smiling faces were plenty. The camping was at a great spot called the Horse Shoe Bend Group Site. It had easy access to the river from the site and an upper put-in and lower take-out.  We both had a great time and would recommend to anyone with kids learning or interested in paddling to take them to next years festival. 

Way to go Avery!!! 
Photo by: Rob Fletcher

When we got to camp we had to unload Dad’s truck. Suddenly it started to rain, luckily we set the tent up before it rained. Then people started to show up. Most of the kids came in a short, white school bus; after all the kids arrived we went to the pool where we were going to show Dan Norman if we could roll, wet exit, etc (Dan Norman started the Chilliwack Centre of Excellence/CCE). After the pool we went to Boston Pizza for dinner and I went to bed at 11:00pm. The next morning I got up and had breakfast with Dan Norman’s kayak club. After breakfast we went freestyle kayaking and I had lots of fun. And in the afternoon we did a river run, not down the canyon but farther up. Then we had dinner and I did some carving on a stick with my favourite pocket knife. The next morning we had breakfast, then I and the other kids went kayaking down the canyon (the river is in a canyon). Then at the upper part of the river myself and other kids showed off our skills to the parents.  I had a lot of fun at the Cowichan River.


We can’t thank Dan and his volunteers enough for such a great time and we can’t wait to go back next year!

P.S. check out Avery rocking his Werner paddle and Jackson2Fun, both of which performed flawlessly in the white stuff!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jackson SUPerCharger Review by Laura Demers

For myself, whitewater stand up paddling began long after I started whitewater kayaking.  My kayaking experience and river knowledge was a huge help in learning this crazy new sport.  It’s been 3 years now and I’ve had the opportunity to try 3 different boards.  Most recently I tried the Jackson SUPerCharger and compared to the other 2 boards this one works best for me. 

The first point I’d like to make is that this review is all relevant to paddling the local Chilliwack River which is fairly low volume and not the first river in British Columbia that anyone would think to SUP on.  In other words there are lots of rocks!  As with everything there are Pro’s and Con’s depending on the conditions of the river you are paddling.

Myself, Karly Cox and Mike Darbyshire about to challange the Chilliwack River

I could tell right away that the SUPerCharger was designed with more volume and rocker in the nose than the other inflatable and plastic boards I’ve tried.  The displacement deck allowed for quick water shedding when punching through waves, holes and eddy-lines.  Similar to a a whitewater kayak, the rocker on the nose came in handy for “boofing” rocks on the Chilliwack and also helps for surfing steeper waves.  

Paddling the SUPerCharger as with most things took some getting used to.  This board actually responds to edge leaning and yet is still very stable.  I found when carving into an eddy-line I really had to focus on where my body weight was both front to back and side to side.  

I figured out really quick why an inflatable SUP board is not a good idea on low volume rivers.  Unlike the SUPerChargers hard plastic hull the PVC coated material of an inflatable does not slide over rocks easily.  I actually found that on the NRS inflatable I tried that it stuck to rocks. If you can imagine the board loosing all forward momentum while the paddler did not!  I’ve also witnessed an inflatable that folded around a rock and was not retrievable at the time where a SUPerChargers plastic hull may have managed to float off one side of the rock or another.  It’s stiff hull with all its ridges and scuppers gives it immaculate structural integrity.

The outfitting on the new Jackson SUPerCharger has to be one of my favorite parts.  From the 3 super flexible rubber fins on the hull to the storage straps and grab handles on the deck.  I can say from my other experience on a plastic board that three fins are better than one and any deck storage is a good thing as all SUPer’s should be carrying a throw bag.  The grab handles on the deck make re-mounting and flipping the board easy.  By far the best part of the outfitting is the foam deck pad.  No more bruised knees for me!

Karly Cox punching through that wave!

Thanks to the team at Jackson Kayak for creating a wicked awesome SUP for whitewater!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Great Turnout for the 1st River Clean Up of 2013

We had a great turn out this past Saturday for the 1st Chilliwack Vedder River Clean Up Society of 2013.

Record attendance AND record garbage collection!
CVRCS Directors, Nikki and Dave with some awesome volunteers.  The young adults are from the Eco-Maniacs club at Sardis Secondary

We had over 225 people registered and this also included some folks worth mentioning, Ms. Toth and her group of Eco-Maniacs from Sardis Secondary, Chilliwack Mayor, Sharon Gaetz and local politicians Gwen O'Mahoney representing the NDP and Laurie Throness representing the Liberals.

CVRCS Directors, Lew and Dave assigning an area to Chilliwack Mayor, Sharon Gaetz
Our next river clean up is on Saturday July 20th at the Great Blue Heron Reserve.

Here are a few photos from the morning.

Gwen O'Mahoney spending some time with the young people in attendance

CVRCS Directors, Nikki and Don at registration

Future generations caring about our environment!

p.s. a very special thanks to my friend Janyne who comes out and volunteers her time with the Board of Directors all the way from Vancouver!!!  (we had a photo of her too but she would have killed me had I posted it)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Advanced SUP Courses by team paddler, Mike Darbyshire

We are happy to promote the following Advanced SUP Courses by team paddler, Mike Darbyshire & Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre.

Advanced Flatwater Paddling Skills Clinic - $95 per person
This 3 hour course introduces novice SUP Paddlers to the skills needed to progress into more dynamic water conditions. Learn the proper technique for pivot turns, bracing, catching waves and downwind paddling. This course is also the pre-requisite for becoming a Flatwater SUP Instructor. 

Saturdays May 18, June 8, July 13

Stroke Efficiency Clinic: Racing or Touring - $200 per person
Proper technique in your forward stroke will allow you to become a faster and more efficient paddler. With 1 on 1 coaching and video analysis we can improve your stroke and efficiency on the water.
3 hour sessions available upon request

Paddle Canada Flatwater SUP Instructor Course - $350 per person
Learn the tips and tricks of the trade in this 2.5 day course. Becoming an instructor will give you a greater understanding of all of the basic and intermediate flatwater skills. Become certified to teach lessons under the Paddle Canada Instructor program.  

May 4,5,11 & June 14-16 in Deep Cove

Ocean Navigation for Stand Up Paddlers - $95 per person
Learn the skills needed to safely navigate and paddle in the ocean. This course will provide paddlers with the knowledge needed to read marine charts and understand marine weather forecasts. These skills will make you a safer paddler and allow you to have more fun out on the water.
May 15 & June 19

Intro to River SUP - $110 per person
River paddling is a great way to challenge yourself in a new and exciting environment. In this course we will learn the basic skills needed to choose appropriate rivers to paddle and how to stay safe on the water. This half day course will take place in the lower mainland depending on water levels and conditions.
Dates to be confirmed: Late May/Early June

Skookumchuck Rapids: SUP Surf Course - $350 per person
Have you ever wanted to surf a wave for 5 minutes? The standing wave at Skookumchuck gives you that opportunity. Learn the basics of understanding tidal currents and how to safely paddle in this environment. This multi-day course includes flatwater training and a multi-day trip to the Sunshine Coast to experience stand up surfing at Skook!
Dates to be confirmed: August 2013

 If you have any questions or would like to register for any of these courses please contact Mike directly at: 604-897-7608 or school@deepcovekayak.com

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seals Sprayskirts Partners with the Nikki Rekman Sales Team

A huge thanks to Seals Sprayskirts, one of the many great manufacturers we represent, for helping out members of the Nikki Rekman Sales team (JF, Luke and Laura) who are paddling whitewater and/or touring boats!!

Please check out Seals Sprayskirts and Accessories on their website and give them a LIKE on their Facebook Page before May 1!!!

We will be posting some reviews of Seals Sprayskirts over the coming months here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm a whitewater kayaking virgin (sort of...)

My whitewater kayaking history starts way, way back in 1996, on the Cowichan River on Vancouver Island with a really great crew from my days at Ocean River Sports in Victoria.  I still remember scouting the main rapid with Michael Pardy, my eyes may have been a bit wet ;) with fear but he just said, "you can do it, just follow my line!".  I did it and got on the river a few more times with Michael and others, even made it out to Jordan River (good times BAM :) before heading to the Mainland.  Once on the mainland I bought my very own boat from Marlin Bayes, owner of Western Canoeing and Kayaking, the Perception Corsica.  I got out paddling on the lower section of the Chilliwack River with friends from Western and again with Michael.  I also recall one of my first introductions to "Necky Dave" aka. Dave Vanderveen when I flipped on an eddy line.  Michael did not see me go over but Dave came to my rescue and I didn't come out of my boat - hurray!  You made a fantastic first impression Dave.

Soon it was back to the Island for some kayak surfing at Tofino.  This time we rented Dagger RPMs and boy did I do a lot of swimming.  I was inspired to learn how to roll but alas this did not come easy for me but eventually I got it (most of the time).  With a roll under my belt it was time for a new-to-me boat - the Necky Jive (a boat I still regret selling).  This boat took me many exciting places locally and then on February 7, 1999 my short and timid whitewater career came to a very abrupt end.

I experienced the loss of a friend on the river and it changed me.

My friend Lynn Clark has been gone for over 14 years and I think of her often but no more so than when I am at the river.

I've always been a "nervous boater" but was inspired last season when Jackson Kayak introduced the Zen.  A boat designed by the industry's leading whitewater kayak manufacturer and a company I represent.  Well, it's April 2013 and my Zen 75 (designed as a classic downriver boat in 3 sizes) is in the garage just waiting for me to pull the trigger.  I got my "engine" in the form of my Werner Paddles Sherpa WW paddle (it's perfect for me) and well I got a load of Kokatat gear to keep me warm and dry so it's happening THIS season.

I've got some wonderful friends and colleagues who know my story and now you do too, if you see me on the river shout some encouraging words okay, and I will do my best to keep the open-side up.

Stay tuned for my first whitewater trip report.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Norm Hann's interview re: his upcoming film, Stand

Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us Norm, as a conservationist, expedition paddler
and athlete.

AM/BC: Norm Hann | Global News Video

You can attend the world premier of Stand in Vancouver May 3rd and in these additional cities during the month of May:

May 4, 2013 - Victoria, BC
May 5, 2013 - Tofino, BC
May 18, 2013 - Roberts Creek, BC
May 19, 2013 - Roberts Creek, BC

More information is available here

Friday, April 12, 2013

New demo canoes arrived AND we get to introduce Kitturiaq - Frank Wolf's upcoming film

The timing is perfect as today we received some demo boats from Esquif Canoes and want you to check out Esquif sponsored paddler, Frank Wolf's new film, Kitturiaq's trailer!  

We are excited to have the following boats available in demo so let us know if you are interested in trying them out particularly if you are in the lower mainland.  Boats in the fleet:  Mistral 17.5, Prospecteur 17, Prospecteur, Pocket Canyon and the Presage.

Frank is a hard-core expedition paddler and we have been very pleased to be a part of many of his adventures!

Watch the trailer and we hope it inspires you to get out and paddle your own canoe!

'Kitturiaq' film trailer from Frank Wolf on Vimeo.

p.s. kitturiaq translates to mosquito - this should be very telling about Frank's adventure!!! Let us know how you like the trailer.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

1st River Clean Up of 2013

Save the date Saturday April 20th and join us along with the Chilliwack Vedder River Clean Up Society for the 1st river clean up of 2013.

Meet at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack at 5200 Sumas Prairie Road 9 am - noon

It is Earth Day on the 20th so there will be lots of family friendly activities at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve all day.  After the clean up check them out:

12:30  to 4 pm

Drop by for a special Earth Day craft and exploratory activities 

2 pm  Guided walk to see the herons

Wildlife Art Class -  Drawing and painting birds (TBA) 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Behind the Scenes of Kokatat Watersports Wear

I have had the pleasure of knowing Kokatat owner Steve O'Meara since he told me, "Welcome to the Kokatat Family" as the first Canadian Sales Rep, in the buffet line of then Kokatat Sales Manager, Michael Duffy's wedding reception over 8 years ago.

I could say a lot about Steve as a "boss" (it's all good) but I wanted to talk to him about the Kokatat that many of you don't know, so I put together a few questions and gave him a call.

Me:  What is something about the company that folks do not
Steve:  It's not like this is a secret because some people know, the idea of Kokatat began as a retail store.
Me:  What makes us unique apart from the great gear we build?
Steve:  Maybe not totally unique but we have always put employees and customers
first.  What that means is when we make
decisions especially on the employee side of our business it may not be what is best for the company.  For example, if employees need time off to attend events at their child's school or deal with a family matter, it's a no pressure situation.  It's simple - family comes first.
Me:  Do we as a corporation support a local charity (Humboldt Country)?
Steve:  We support many, many charities everything from small local, employee chosen events
to the larger Breast Cancer Project here in Humboldt County.  We also support numerous water related charities including Friends of Trinity River locally.  We support charities in the form of cash and products and it's probably over 100 charities in total Kokatat supports.
Me:  Do we bring people into the business within a special
employment program?
Steve:  Kokatat has participated in various programs that enable people with disabilities the opportunity to be employed and/or receive on the job training.  We have also worked with the local Seniors Centre and had some of them work with us too.  As a bit of an aside, there is no trained workforce here in Humboldt County particularly on the manufacturing side so we do all our own on the job training here at Kokatat.

Me:  What do you do to keep yourself balanced when directing
a successful business?
Steve:  I have never been someone who works all the time.  I strongly believe in our company's "family first" philosophy and I apply it to myself too.  I also have great people working here so I can be away from
Kokatat and it works just fine.
Me:  Where is your favourite paddling destination and why?
Steve:  Locally it would be Humboldt Bay due to accessibility, it's close by and  I love the Northeastern US.  The Adirondacks are a favourite spot when I visit friends and former
Kokatat reps Nick and Lisa Dyslin.
Me:  What is your favourite piece of Kokatat gear?
Steve:  Probably, the piece I use the
most on the water is a piece we don’t make anymore the Windstopper Pullover.  For current in-line products, the Goretex Full Zip Jacket for everyday use and the Goretex TecTOUR Anorak for on the water.

Location:Cliffe Ave,Courtenay,Canada

Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 Cowichan Youth Kayak Festival

If you have young people in your household or you are a youth aged 10 – 18 and are interested in the sport of whitewater kayaking in a safe and fun environment check out the 2013 Cowichan Youth Kayak Festival in Duncan, BC.

Image Courtesy of Fort Smith Paddling Club
For more information click HERE or contact Dan Norman via email or phone at 250 743-9860
Dates April 19 - 21.

 Thanks to Vancouver Island Paddler, Dave Prothero for letting us know about this great event.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Do not underestimate the Jackson Kayak Journeys!

Last summer I received an email from James McBeath, the marketing director at Jackson Kayaks about 2 Spaniards coming to Western Canada who had some paddling plans.  They needed boats - Jackson Kayak Journeys to be exact.  Could I help them out?  Thanks to our Calgary, AB dealer, Undercurrents we were able to hook paddlers, Carlos Ares & Carlos Rodríguez up with 2 Journeys.

"In September 2012 we paddled more than 600 kms of rivers, lakes as well as the Pacific Ocean. It was a fantastic Journey into the Canadian Rockies wilderness! Pure freedom with Jackson kayaks in the wild. A journey like never before with Jackson Kayaks!"

Check out their video below.  Thanks guys and congratulations.

INTO THE WIDE from Carlos Rodriguez (BICHO Prods) on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Paddling from the Amazon River to Florida - An Update from the Henry Brothers

Here is an update from the Henry Brother's, Graham and Russell.

We are super stoked for these guys.  What an adventure they will be on!!!

It's starting to warm up outside and the snow is melting making room for more paddling and paddling thoughts. I have 3 weeks of work left on Patrol up here at Mount Washington and Graham has 3 or 4 weeks till his exams are done at UBCO. We're really pumped to meet up and get down to business at the end of the month, all throughout May, and right up till we fly. We've booked our flights for June 10th out of Seattle, so pretty much eleven weeks till go time. 

We're excited to let you know that we're set up to get some great media exposure. I think you were already aware of Canoe and Kayak Magazine being on board with guaranteed coverage on their website and hopefully print post trip. We have also now added Coast Mountain Culture Magazine to the team. They're a West Coast magazine based out of BC's Lower Mainland that brings incredible stories, spectacular photos, appeal and coastal/mountain vibes to the majority of BC and the Pacific Northwest. They're really cool guys. In fact, a graphic media designer has already come up with a sort of 'Good Luck from CMC' quarter page piece that also lists our sponsors(including Kokatat, Werner, and Nikki Rekman Sales) for their next issue that comes out in May.

In other news, we received all our gear from Kokatat, and our paddles from Werner and love it all. I went for a paddle out to Hornby Island the other day with my new Kalliste and felt phenomenal. Thanks so much.

Right on, just thought I'd give you the lowdown on what's going on!



Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin