Friday, November 13, 2015

Paddling and Doing Good - The Two Go Hand In Hand

Paddling and doing good - the two go hand in hand, at least in the Western Canadian Stand Up Paddling community.

Logo created by First Nations Artist, Roy Henry Vickers
Recently I had the opportunity to visit my friend, Ken Larsen's grade 8 classroom to hear all about the, Take a STAND - Youth For Conservation Program and how it aims to educate and engage youth to protect the environment around them. It also looks strongly at our BC Coast and the Coastal First Nations culture. The program exists because of a small but passionate group of people, Nicholas, Anthony, Norm, Allison and Natascia. I have known Norm (Hann) for a few years now and it was a pleasure to attend the presentation which also included the viewing of 2 of his Stand Up Paddling films, Standup 4 Great Bear and STAND.

You can view Standup 4 Great Bear below and STAND is available on NETFLIX.

As a member of the stand up paddling community here in Western Canada, Norm has been a huge inspiration to many, many people, myself included. My reaction to the films was quite emotional; it evoked in me and others who have watched it, a desire to do better and be better in our communities. The stand up paddling community is very inclusive and members are very engaged; environmentally and socially. It's fantastic. 

A few folks worth mentioning are of course, Norm and Standup 4 Great Bear

Kevin O'Brien from Kalavida Surf Shop and his work with the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake (SPrKL) 

Ken from Pure Life Paddle Boards in his support of many different organizations (SU4GB, Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society, Vancouver to Nanaimo for Youth at Risk)

Trevor Petersen raising awareness about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) through his expedition, Paddling with PTSD.

Harry Saini and his crew with Vancouver to Nanaimo for Youth at Risk 

Chad Guenter raising awareness and funds for mental illness through Keep Calm & Paddle On (KCPO)

Please check out SU4GB below and STAND on Netflix. Get inspired and then take action! If you don't know where or how, contact myself or any of the guys I mentioned above. There is always opportunity to do GOOD.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review of the Gore-Tex Surge Paddling Suit (for SUP)

Thank you to our guest-blogger, Peter Allen of Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Center in Vancouver, BC for his review on the Gore-Tex Surge Paddling Suit.

Photo credit: Ally

I have been trying to come with a comfortable clothing system for cold water SUP for the last few winters, I have traditionally use farmer john suits and was never that comfortable in them.  They are hot, sweaty and you still get wet if you end up on the water. 

When Nikki showed me the Surge Paddling Suit during the summer, I thought this could be what I was looking for and I was keen to give it a try.  At the beginning of October I went over to Tofino for the 1st Annual WestCoast SUP Symposium and I got the chance to give the suit a test.

My initial impression trying it on was that the suit looks and fits great.  It is very easy to get on and off, the switch zip technology allows the suit to zip completely in half at the waist.  The Medium fitted me perfectly at 5’11” and 185lbs.

This suit has Gore-Tex socks and latex gaskets in the wrist but it is not considered a dry suit as it uses a neoprene neck gasket.  The neoprene neck gasket is a lot more comfortable than a latex gasket but is not considered as water tight.  This was definitely something I was keen to test and see how waterproof it actually was.

Photo credit: Ally

On the water the suit felt great.  The fit was awesome, I had full range of motion for SUP paddling and I never felt restricted.   The weather forecast for the weekend for sunshine and warm weather and I was worried about overheating in a Gore-Tex suit while paddling.  These worries proved unfounded as the Gore-Tex breathed exceptionally and kept me comfortable paddling in the unseasonably warm Tofino sunshine.

I ended up in the water more than a few times trying to test the neoprene neck gasket, including a couple of wipe outs while trying surf landings with my touring board.  I did have a little water get through the gasket resulting in a damp patch around the neck of my base layer that I was wearing under the suit.  Though considering how much I was in the water and the fact it is not a dry gasket, I was very happy with this.

After using this suit touring around Tofino I can’t recommend it highly enough.  The fit and the option to layer up or down underneath depending on the conditions make this a really versatile suit for cold water paddling.   I think it is an awesome alternative to wearing neoprene and a Surge Paddling Suit is now on my wish list!


Fabric - Gore-Tex with 330 Cordura, Gore-Tex Pro seat and knees
Entry & Relief - SwitchZip waterproof fully separating entry/relief zipper system
Neck - Neo-Cinch Collar
Wrist - Latex gasket with "hook & loop" cuff
Socks - Evolution 3.21 oz. nylon 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro
Features - Highly breathable and waterproof performance paddling suit featuring SwitchZip technology. Can be worn as a full suit or as a semi-dry paddling top. One zipper for entry and relief. Pant can mate with Passage Anorak w/SwitchZip Technology. Every suit is 100% fill tested; guaranteed to be dry.

Men's colours - Mantis, Electric Blue
Women's colours - Mantis, Electric Blue
Sizes - Men's - S-XXL, Women's - S-L, XLS

$850.00 US MSRP

Pre-order from Ecomarine or your local Kokatat dealer today. These suits will start shipping to shops in January 2016.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin