Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Paddling with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Last summer at the Kal Classic SUP Race, I had the pleasure of meeting Trevor Petersen who served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 17 years before being medically released in July of 2010 due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  One of the things that has helped Trevor in his journey with PTSD is Stand Up Paddling.  

Trevor shared with me his plan to raise funds and awareness for Wounded Warriors Canada, and encourage fellow injured soldiers to become active and part of the SUP community. 

I find Trevor's story and plans very inspiring.

Trevor will be paddling with Werner Paddles SUP paddles as he begins his journey on July 1st, leaving Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park  in Edmonton.  He will be utilizing the North Saskatchewan River and lake systems to reach his final destination of The Forks in Winnipeg, MB.  Trevor hopes to arrive in Winnipeg 2 months later.

You can follow Trevor's trip on his website and see his interview with CTV Edmonton HERE

Monday, April 28, 2014

Outfitter Profile - SKILS

1.            Tell me a bit about the history of SKILS?  What sets SKILS apart from other outfitters?
SKILS was founded in 2003 with the goal of providing courses for intermediate and advanced kayakers as well for professional guides and instructors. Despite skepticism that our model would work, we have had 12 successful years and are still going strong. Our efforts have impacted the paddling community across the country, increasing the level of skill and knowledge of Canada’s sea kayaking industry. What sets us apart is that we try to work with, rather than compete with, all the paddling organizations across Canada. We act as a catch all of sorts for upper level training. There are often too few students at each school to effectively run upper level training, so we pull those individuals together into one group, creating opportunities to advance these upper level students. The hope is that these individuals then take that knowledge and skill back with them and raise the level of skill in their community. Eventually this creates more demand for higher training at the individual schools. We also like to travel to our students where possible, rather than have them travel to us. It gives us a chance to meet paddlers across the country, and paddle in a variety of fantastic places.

2.            Tell me something about your staff, anything that makes them stand out?
Our team is composed of many of the premier guide and instructor trainers in Canada. Each of them has exceptional skill, knowledge and talent, as well as a strong desire to keep learning and growing their skills. We put a lot of time and energy into creating unique and interesting opportunities for professional development for each staff member; our goal is to help each of them grow thereby developing the skill set of our team as a whole. It has taken time to grow our team, as we don’t hire through the traditional means of gathering resumes and applications, but rather through approaching exceptional people whenever and wherever they are identified.

3.            What do students have to look forward to in 2014?
We have numerous new sea kayaking courses being developed for the 2014 paddling season. Programs such as an Instructional Tour where you learn while underway on an expedition, and Advanced Expeditions which offers training for the seasoned kayaker who wants to undertake more challenging trips. We are also in the process of developing advanced kayak surfing courses along with an introductory course in Skookumchuck tidal rapids. More information can be found soon on our website.
Our kayak fishing department is getting bigger and bigger and is currently the fastest growing part of our business. In 2014, we will offer more guided kayak fishing day trips and a deluxe 5-day kayak fishing expedition. The 5-day expedition is being run in partnership with our friends at West Coast Expedition on Spring Island in Kyuquot Sound, which is an exceptional location for salmon fishing, especially large Chinook. (An insider tip, the best time for guided kayak fishing day trips is from September 10 to October 20.)
Last but not least, in 2014 we will run a 3-day SUP camp in Clayoquot Sound. The group will travel by water taxi to a remote beach and set up a base camp. Once on site, participants will develop their flatwater SUP skills and SUP surfing skills. When not playing on the water, there will be opportunities to hike and take in the wonders of Clayoquot Sound. Once again, check out or website for more details.

One of the most exciting elements of our business model is that most of our courses are private and custom developed for the groups we are working with. (If the dates of our open enrollment courses are not suitable for you, we encourage you to contact us.) This means that we never really know at the beginning of a season where our programs will take us and who we will end up paddling with.

4.            Can anyone participate in a SKILS course?
Most of our courses target intermediate to advanced paddlers as well as professional guides and instructors, but we do have courses for all skills levels. Be sure to check out the prerequisites of any program that you are interested in joining us on, as most programs do require you to have a little bit of pre training. If you have a gap in your skill set, get in touch with us; there are always options for gaining missing skills. If you have never paddled before don’t fret, we do run programs for absolute beginners as well.

5.            How is SKILS involved in their local community?
One of the fundamental goals of SKILS is to support the community we are so passionate about. To this end, we pursue various avenues including: volunteering at paddling community events, conducting presentations and clinics for paddling clubs, taking part in beach clean ups, playing key roles in provincial and national paddling bodies and through equipment and instructional donations to our local high school outdoor education programs. In addition, since our inception over a decade ago, we have supported the development of Paddle Canada instructors nationally and SKGABC guide trainers provincially. This is a responsibility we have always taken very seriously. As in years past, in 2013 we have had the pleasure of coordinating 10 apprenticeship positions, 5 of which have been filled by non SKILS staff. We invite candidates that would like to explore possible future apprenticeship opportunities to contact us by email.

Friday, April 25, 2014

NEXT Weekend is the Vancouver Kayak Club Whitewater Festival

Jackson Kayak is proud to support the Vancouver Kayak Club Whitewater Festival,May 2 - 4, 2014 on the beautiful Chilliwack River.

In collaboration with the VKC and Western Canoeing and Kayaking, Jackson Kayak is offering two clinics, Introduction to Playboating with Stephen Wright and Introduction to River Stand Up Paddling with Ken “Hobie” Hoeve.

Kokatat drysuits on hand for folks to demo too!

The clinic schedule is as follows:

Saturday May 3rd
9am Intro to River SUP Clinic
9am Intro to Play-boating Clinic
2pm Intro to River SUP Clinic
2pm Intro to Play-boating Clinic

Sunday May 4th
9am Intro to River SUP Clinic
9am Intro to Play-boating Clinic
1pm River SUP Clinic
1pm Intro to Play-boating Clinic
2pm World Kayak/SUP Throwdown - This event offers paddlers the chance to Surf a wave, do a trick or just look good falling off and win a prize too!

Instructor: Ken "Hobie" Hoeve will be teaching Introduction River SUP with 5 participants/class. Preregistration: Starts Friday May 2 at 7pm Cost: $20 (payable by cash or cheque only) Equipment Supplied: Jackson SUPerCharger stand up paddle-board and paddle. Other Equipment: Wetsuit or Drysuit, Helmet and PFD (There may be a limited # of extra PFD's and helmets available upon request). Prerequisite: Must have previous river experience and basic paddling skills.

Instructor: Stephen Wright will be teaching Introduction to Play-boating with 5 participants/class. Preregistration: Starts Friday May 2 at 7pm Cost: $20 (payable by cash or cheque only) Equipment Supplied: None. Must use play-boat! There may be demo boats, paddles and other equipment available however it is up to the participant to arrange this in advance. Prerequisite: Must have a roll and be comfortable in class 3

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Jackson Kayak Tripper 12

The Tripper 12 is the evolution of our very popular Day Tripper model which was discontinued in the last
couple of years, here is a great video walk-through.

Contact your local Jackson Kayak dealer today.

For more informative videos on Jackson Kayaks please visit the JK You Tube Channel

Here are a few we suggest you watch that are very valuable for those using or selling our fishing kayaks
- Big Rig Walk Through (kayak fishing)
- Kilroy Walk Through (kayak fishing)
- Big Tuna Walk Through (2013) by Len Zilkowsky (kayak fishing)

This one is particular important for those using or selling our whitewater or ocean play kayaks
- Jackson Kayak Uni Shock Bulkhead (whitewater/ocean play) 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Ride of Your Life

Today, we welcome team paddler and Kokatat Regional Team Paddler, Kate Hives with her thoughts on the Santa Cruz Paddlefest - Kayak Surf, Waveski and SUP Competition in beautiful, sunny California.

            It all happened as any good epic does, with venturing into the unknown, saying 'YES' and jumping in with both feet. I have been a kayaker for over 18 years and have most recently found inspiration in surfing ocean waves and rough water paddling in performance sea kayaks, but never did I expect to fall in love with paddling all over again in the form of 'High Performance' surf kayaking. From the moment I took off down a wave and felt my surf kayak begin to plane and carve, gaining energy and momentum from the ocean's force, I knew that my quiver of boats was about to grow.

            Making the transition from sea kayak surfing to surf kayaking has been one of those both-feet-jumping epics. After surfing in Neah Bay, WA at Hobuck Hoedown and loving the festival vibe from years past, I have surfed my home breaks at Jordan River and Tofino, BC, Canada in a Valley Rush+ and have gotten my my fair share of big wave beat downs and cruzee faces alike. When the opportunity arose for the second year in a row, I decided I should repeat the pilgrimage to Steamer Lane and attend the Santa Cruz Paddle Surf Festival in California.

Kate - Steamer Lane 2014 Middle Peak photo: Mark Boyd

After having been in a surf boat only a handful of times, I knew that I had a lot to learn. Having the ability to transfer style and technique from my sea kayak and white water boats is handy , but there is certainly a learning curve to this small, hard railed boat, that begs both aggression and finesse. So I figured that the most efficient way to get into this sport was to watch and paddle with the best. I knew I needed to see bigger waves, so the decision to return to Santa Cruz was easy.

The event draws competitors from around the world to surf at this famous California point break, this year a solid crew came from Basque Country demonstrating big carves and dynamic moves on the waves! During the 3 day festival surf kayaks, SUP's and wave skis take over the lane and competitors have the opportunity to surf the break with only 3 other wave riders, which is remarkable based on how popular Seamer Lane is. This is the perfect recipe for paddlers to demonstrate their skills, share tricks and expand the envelope of what we, as paddlers, think we can achieve.
Kate - watching the break photo: Mark Boyd
            Remembering back to my first trip down to the competition last year, I truly had no idea what to expect. As I drove down the windy coastal roads through Redwood forests and along the Pacific Ocean, I imagined myself riding the face of a beautiful wave, visualizing the ride. I had seen some footage from surf videos and past kayak festival posts, but nothing ever looks the same on camera as it does when you are paddling along side a double overhead cresting face. So when we pulled into Santa Cruz on a warm afternoon and looked out at The Lane, imagine the butterflies in my stomach when I saw the crisp shoulder of perfect waves, against the steep California bluff. The wave peels off the point with stunning consistency cruising to the right with a beautiful steep shoulder and high potential for deliciously long rides. Perfect!

***Kate's PFD of choice is the Kokatat Maximus Prime  (in Navy) which you can not see under her competition bib in the photo above***

You will be hearing and seeing a lot of Kate this season, watch for her upcoming review of her CUSTOM Kokatat Women's Icon Drysuit.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin