Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Good People Can Do Amazing Things

Today's blogpost is about how 'Good People Can Do Amazing Things' with the support of family, friends and an entire SUP community standing with them (pardon the pun).

I am talking about Trevor Petersen. Your first introduction to Trevor may have been here on my blog (check it out to learn more about Trevor). I had the privilege of connecting with Trevor in the Fall of 2013 at the Kal Classic in Vernon, BC and he was talking about spreading awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Jump forward to today and Trevor has almost completed the 2015 Ontario leg of his Paddling With PTSD Expedition, paddling from Toronto to Ottawa to raise awareness about PTSD in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association

Trevor is also an Ambassador for numerous SUP/Paddlesports brands including: Werner Paddles and CJC SUP Fins.

Trevor is expected to arrive in our nation's capitol on July 6th (WOO HOO, Trevor). If you are an experienced SUP paddler, kayaker or canoeist and you are interested in joining Trevor, for the last leg of his journey meet up at 10 am on July 6th at Dow's Lake (1001 Queen Elizabeth Drive) in Ottawa.

Below are a couple of photos of Trevor on his journey.

Safe journey Trev! We are cheering you on from BC!

All about having a compass this particular day.

Joined on the water in Ajax, ON photo: Craig Hood (Craig served in the Cdn Armed Forces along with Trevor)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Non-Paddling Friends and My Love For Paddling

Like you, we have friends that don't paddle. Our friend MO is one of these--more of a landlubber than a paddler--but with the arrival of Hurricane Kayaks in our life, that all changed.

MO in her Santee 116 Sport, Kokatat Aries PFD using a Werner Paddles Premium Performance Camano kayak paddle

Last week we escaped for a few mid-week days to Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park, north of Whistler, BC with MO and the following Hurricane Kayaks: Santee 116 Sport (aka MO's boat), Santee 126 and Sojourn 135.

Over the past few years we have been getting MO out on the water more and more. She's been kayaking up on Otter Lake, Chilliwack Lake, Cultus Lake and even canoed down the Fraser River with us. For her, the Santee 116 Sport has been a perfect fit.

MO has two objectives in mind when it comes to kayaking:     

1) being on the water 1a) not tipping over and 2) getting a tan. 

The Santee 116 Sport is stable, lightweight and easy to get in and out of. MO has even decided that she wants to buy our Santee 116 Sport :). FYI - The Santee 116 Sport is a mere 36.5 lbs. Who knew our land-loving friend would want to buy a kayak, a few short years after us getting her out on the water? Not me and I am not sure she did either.

We love getting on the water with friends like MO and introducing them to what WE love about paddling so they can figure out what THEY love about paddling too.

Get the landlubbers in your life, on the water into a boat that they are comfortable in, that they can handle easily and most importantly, have fun in. It might change their lives and add more enjoyment to yours.

You can find Hurricane Kayaks at Aquabatics in Calgary and Wildways in Christina Lake. Stay tuned for a list of more dealers in Western Canada.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Creek Boat Comparisons by Guest Blogger, Aquabatics Calgary

As many of you know, from time to time we have guest bloggers here sharing their adventures, gear reviews and more.

We found this blogpost about Creek Boat Comparisons, written by our friends at Aquabatics Calgary and thought it was worth a share!

For those of you considering a new Creek boat this season or sometime down the road, check it out HERE.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gear Review: Helio Pressure Shower by Nemo Equipment

During our May travels we were traveling through Revelstoke, BC and paid a visit to Valhalla Pure Outfitters. We have a great relationship with numerous VPO's in Western Canada and have had a few conversations on the phone with owner, Angus Fraser about paddlesports in Revelstoke.

VPO in Revelstoke is not currently selling canoes and kayaks but anything else outdoor adventure related, they've got it. Everything from skis, tents, climbing gear, sleeping bag and outdoor apparel to some of the best camping accessories and backpacking equipment available.

It was my lucky day and I found the best piece of non-paddling gear EVER and some of you know how much I love gear!

Allow me to introduce to you the Helio Pressure Shower by Nemo Equipment

The shower holds 11 L (2.9 gallons) of water and easily stores back into the original packaging. The packaging also has holes it in so everything can dry out.

We filled ours up with glacier-cold Ashnola River water and topped that up with water we heated up on our stove. The top of the bag acts like its own funnel (don't be fooled by the small opening) so it is pretty easy to fill. The designers thought everything through with this product, even ensuring that when the bag is pressurized (as you can see in the photos) the lid does not pop because of the strap across the top.

The pressure from the Helio was impressive and the 7' hose was plenty long
The footpump was easy to use and our advice is to use the pump only when you have lost pressure. The 11L capacity can make for quite a luxurious shower in the great outdoors. We actually got two showers out of one full bag.

The shower pad (separate purchase) was well worth the $20 plus tax we paid. Very comfortable on your feet and since it is made out of silicon it is super easy to clean up. It stows nice and compact as well.

I can't say enough great things about the Helio Pressure Shower and Mat from Nemo Equipment. As a roadwarrior, paddlesports rep and outdoor adventurer this piece of gear will get a TON of use and I LOVED it.

*I was not paid for this review and in fact, I paid full retail for the shower/mat and it was worth every penny*

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Everything SUP

This past weekend we had the pleasure of spending our weekend with the crew from Sun n Sup (Naramata, BC) at the Adventure Addiction Festival in Penticton, BC, representing Werner Paddles. It was a HOT Okanagan Saturday and we had numerous folks come out to demo paddle boards, kayaks and paddles. The folks from True Outdoors - Penticton were there too, with their kayaks and we had the chance to meet up with new manager, Gemma. All you canoeists in Penticton, Gemma and her partner, JR are a wealth of information when it comes to canoeing. Go pay her a visit.

Our Werner SUP Paddles got a ton of use at the event and everyone appreciated the opportunity to try the lightest weight SUP paddles for themselves.

We even made a new friend, Ryan Weese of Kahuna Paddleboards joined us on the beach. Stellar guy, with some nice boards to try out too.

Denise and Ethan from Sun n Sup enjoy some time on Skaha Lake with Kahuna Paddleboards rep, Ryan Weese.

Sunday morning we got up early, after a delightful Saturday evening on the deck at Pete & Eileen's place (Sun n Sup), to go for a SUP paddle on Okanagan Lake with a few of the Sun n Sup crew. Sharon O'Connor of Penticton Pilates also joined us and I am thrilled that she did.  Sharon recently became accredited in the PaddleFit SUP coaching and training system. Sharon had a field day with Mark and I (not SUP paddlers but canoeists and kayakers) and her short amount of coaching made a HUGE difference. Sharon will be working with Pete from Sun n Sup (also trained in the PaddleFit system) to provide PaddleFit coaching in the Penticton area.

Okanagan Lake - Naramata, BC

It was not planned but everyone on the water, including paddlers not with us, were paddling with Werner Paddles. Nice job, Sun n Sup!!!

PaddleFit coach, Sharon O'Connor, striking a pose
Visit the Sun n Sup shop in beautiful Naramata, BC for all your SUP needs this summer. They do everything from sales, rental and instruction and the Naramata Bench is famous for their wines. Head out for a paddle in the morning and do some winery tours in the afternoon. Talk to anyone at the shop and they can help you with lots of information on the area.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Adventures on the road in Western Canada

As you may or may not know, life on the road for a Paddlesports Sale Rep, is not a vacation. It's driving anywhere from 2.5-7 hours per day to get to where you need to be, store visits, clinics (in-store or on-water) and these can be 45 minutes to 3+ hours. If you have the amazing fortune of having your spouse on the road with you, as I do, they can do some driving while you do your "office" work in the passenger seat. You get the picture, it's fast-paced and full-on and just for the record, I am not complaining. Being on the road is my favourite part of being a Paddlesports Sales Rep, it's here where I really get to know my dealers, their staff and their business. This is where and when the most interesting conversations happen and this is when I find out how they really feel about our brands. I love it.

The bonus is my territory is beautiful, in my opinion it doesn't get much better than Western Canada. I travel through 1 territory (Yukon) and 4 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and there is something fabulous about all of them. Admittedly, I do have a favourite - British Columbia - my home province.

I always get excited when we start to see the Rockies, in the far distance, traveling West on our return trip and one of my favourite places to explore is Yoho National Park. 

The photo below was taken at Natural Bridge, the bridge that you can see to the left was created by the massive amounts of water flowing down the Kicking Horse River.

Natural Bridge - YNP

The Kicking Horse River is part of the, Canadian Heritage River System with its source at Wapta Lake. We have driven by it many times and have always admired it as we get close to Field, BC. Here the river flows through a braided gravel valley through the town of Field and West.

We decided to take the day off and explore so we can do some paddling in the area the next time we are through. This is one of many things I LOVE about my job, exploring new places to paddle.

We messaged a high school classmate of mine, who now lives in Field with her family (thanks, Marla) for some info and also stopped in at the Yoho National Park Visitor Centre and spoke with Jinelle(?!?). Nothing beats local knowledge and we went away with a lot of it, including MAPS!!!

The grade and class changes on the Kicking Horse depending on where you are and the time of year.  The river drops from 800m over 49 kms. We were most interested in the section through Field known as, Field Reach and from the Amiskwi River to Chancellor Peak and Hoodoo Creek Campground (Ottertail Reach and Chancellor Reach)

The put-in for Field Reach is simplest at near the Kicking Horse Campground/Cathedral Mountain Chalets. 

"Beginning at the bridge below the Kicking Horse Campground this reach comprises an impressive, braided out wash known locally as Field Flats. As the rivers current slows, it is unable to carry the larger particles that have washed downstream. This material is deposited, creating an out wash plain. Canoeists and kayakers must take out at least 100m above the Trans Canada Highway bridge at the end of the reach. Below this point, the river becomes very swift and is un-navigable." - The Kicking Horse River Touring Guide

Distance is approx. 7.5km 
Change in Elevation is 48m 
Difficulty is Grade 1, suitable for open canoes

The put-in for Ottertail Reach is not quite as simple as I believe you have to walk-in but speak to the folks at the Yoho National Park Visitor Centre for the most up-to-date information. You want to put-in BELOW the Amiskwi River bridge. The most challenging thing about this put-in, is the fast currents right below it and a very strong eddy on river right as the river turns sharply right. It is recommend that you scout this area before putting in.

"Beyond this point the river slows and becomes braided. As it approaches Ottertail Flats its flow has slowed considerably and is confined to a single meandering channel until the end of the reach at Finn Creek. The valley in this reach is the widest in Yoho National Park and permits views of the spectacular peaks of the President and the Ottertail ranges. To the west the river flows along the flank of Mount King, part of the VanHorne Range. Finn Creek Picnic area is a good place to take out before the rivers current once again picks up. This is also a great break or lunch stop, with pit-toilets." - The Kicking Horse River Touring Guide

Distance is approx. 13.2km
Change in Elevation is 36m
Difficulty is Grade 1, suitable for open canoes

Chancellor Reach is a more challenging, class 2 section.  For a short run you can put in at Finn Creek Picnic Area but most would put in below Amiskwi River bridge (as described above). 

"A rocky ridge on the East side constricts the valley. The river flows southwest for 1 km and then swings to the southeast. As the river rounds the ridge it becomes steeper and faster. There are frequent rapids and larger riffles. At Faeder Lake Picnic Area the valley widens and the channel once again becomes braided. This run is more difficult at low water, when many of the channel bars are exposed, leaving only narrow chutes between them. Canoeists can easily survey this section from the highway."The Kicking Horse River Touring Guide

Distance is approx. 6.7km
Change in Elevation is 135m
Difficulty is Grade 2


It is no longer easy to take out at Chancellor Peak Campground. The bridge was washed out (even before the Alberta Floods). We took our bikes in there and finally discovered why the campground (one of our favourites) had been closed the last couple of years and still is. Here is a photo of how far we got on our bikes, 3.6km from the entrance right off the Trans Canada Highway (32m elevation gain).

Mark checking out the huge changes on the road or lack there of, into Chancellor Peak Campground in YNP.
Looking west as the Kick Horse River flows away from Chancellor Peak Campground.
Speaking to Parks people, we were told that it is best to take out BEFORE the Trans Canada Highway crosses the Kicking Horse,  below Chancellor Peak Campground as Wapta Falls (27m tall), is not far downstream.

More experience paddlers may wish to portage Wapta Falls via a 600m portage trails accessible on river LEFT at Beaverfoot River and continue on towards Golden (Washout Creek Rapids Portage is before Golden).

This blogpost is not a river guide and is only information we gathered from speaking with locals and scouting the river from various locations along the Trans Canada Highway. We have not yet run the river ourselves. Extreme caution, paddling experience and the appropriate gear are required whenever river paddling.

I can't wait to get back to Yoho National Park and here's hoping that Parks Canada will start opening the available campgrounds in the park, sooner than June, for us early-season folks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The BC Coast Explorer Vol. 2: Vancouver Island South

The BC Coast Explorer and Marine Trail Guide by John Kimantas is available now.

Volume 2: Vancouver Island South explores Bamfield to Comox Harbour and can be purchased from your local Wild Coast Publishing Retailer.  Suggested retail is $34.95.

Dealer inquiries can be directed to Nikki Rekman Sales via email or phone.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin