Here are the 2008 Paddler's Pick Award winners:
Bending Branches, Espresso Plus
The seven-laminate Espresso canoe paddle is designed to make it easier on its users' hands, and you can't argue with the way it looks. It also comes in both bent- and straight-shaft forms.
Specs: Weight: 18 ounces; Blade Size: 8"x20"; Sizes: 52, 54, 58, 60 (Espresso Plus 14: 48, 50, 52, 54); $105; www.bendingbranches.com
The Mission drysuit is made with three-layer eVent fabric, and an adjustable overskirt mates with the sprayskirt to keep paddlers dry. The Mission's new built-in latex socks are repairable, too.
Specs: Small, Medium, Large, XL, and XXL sizes; 50-by-100 denier eVent fabric; Cordura-reinforced wear spots; $850; www.nrsweb.com
Peak UK, Combi Shorty
The Combi Shorty is perhaps the most versatile drytop we've seen. Its titanium-lines sleeves are removable, so essentially you have two drytops in one.
Specs: Sizes: Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL. Colors: gray/light gray; light blue/light gray; red/gray. XS available in light blue only; $195; www.peakukus.com
Sawyer Paddles, Orca V-Lam
The Orca V-Lam two-piece, carbon shaft sea-kayak paddle weighs only 25.6 ounces. The laminated western red cedar blades are designed for greater efficiency. The adjustable ferrule expands the length of the straight-shaft version up to 10 centimeters (5cm for the crank shaft) and allows any degree of feather.
Specs: Sizes: 205cm, 215cm, 225cm; 18.5"x7" blade; 25.6 ounces (not including drip rings); $250; www.paddlesandoars.com
Nova Craft Canoe, Cronje
The Cronje combines early-1900 design with modern material (such as Nova Craft's Blue Steel) to create a fast, lightweight canoe for open-water wilderness trippers. It also has 1,000-pound capacity that allows you to take the kitchen sink.
Specs: Length: 17'; Width: 35"; Depth: 13"; Material: Kevlar, Kevlar/Spectra, Blue Steel, or R-Lite; Weights: 54, 50, 47, 59 lbs; $1,449-2,999; www.novacraft.com
Wenonah Canoe, Wilderness
The solo Wilderness is a solid all-around canoe that gives paddlers maneuverability, stability, and capacity that works well for longer trips. The lightweight boat is also designed with added freeboard and bow height to keep you drier.
Specs: Length: 15'4"; Width: 30.5"; Depth: 14"; Material: Royalex, Tuf-Weave, Kevlar Flex-Core, Kevlar Ultra-Light, and Graphite Ultra-Light; Weight: 47, 44, 43, 34, 31 lbs; $1,099-$2,079; www.wenonah.com
AIRE's re-designed cataraft is very stable in big water and can literally carry more than a ton of freight.
Specs: Length: 18'; Width: 7'6"; 4 chambers; Burden: 2,200 lbs; Material: poly-vinyl-chloride-urethane; $2,399; www.aire.com
Hobie Kayaks, i12S
Hobie's innovative inflatable kayaks-the i12S and i14S-bring hands-free kayaking to the inflatable world.
Specs: Length: 12'; Width: 36"; Weight: 59.6 lbs (w/Mirage Drive); Burden: 500 lbs; $1,799; www.hobiekayaks.com
Delta Kayaks, 17 Expedition
Edge control, storage, and light weight make a good combination. The nine-chine 17 Expedition offers 62 gallons of dry storage, and at 54 pounds, it is also light for a kayak of its size.
Specs: Length: 17 feet; Width: 22.5"; Weight: 54 lbs; Material: Thermoplastic; $2,733; www.deltakayaks.com
Jackson Kayaks, Fun
Jackson has improved the already-innovative Fun series with additional comfort and stability. The boat also features a reshaped bow and stern for increased performance on a wave.
Specs: 2 Fun: Length: 6'2; Width: 24"; Volume: 47 gallons; Paddler's Weight: 100-165 lbs; Fun: Length: 6'6; Width: 25"; Volume: 54 gallons; Paddler's Weight: 125-190 lbs; 4 Fun: Length: 6'9; Width: 26"; Volume: 61 gallons; Paddler's Weight: 160-200 lbs; Super Fun: Length: 6'9; Width: 27"; Volume: 70; Paddler's Weight: 190-315 lbs; $995; Material: XLPE; www.jacksonkayak.com
Emotion Kayaks, Glide
Paddler called the Glide "comfy, safe, inexpensive, and practical for a family guy." The Glide is an affordable, lightweight boat that works well for anglers, kids, or your spouse who wants to feel stable in a kayak.
Specs: Length: 9'7; Width: 28"; Weight: 37 lbs; Capacity: 275 lbs; Material: Linear polyethylene; $429; www.emotionkayaks.com
Liquidlogic Kayaks, Jefe Grande
A great all-around creekboat, the Jefe Grande's 14 inches of bow rocker and 12 inches of stern rocker help you stay on top of holes, and the soft chines provide some secondary stability.
Specs: Length: 8'6; Width: 27"; Volume: 90 gallons; Paddler's Weight: 170-290 lbs; Material: Super-linear-polyethylene; $1,049; www.liquidlogickayaks.com
Necky Kayaks, Eliza (Ultralight)
You know the old saying, "You paddle a canoe, but you wear a kayak." Women can now wear the Eliza, a sea kayak designed for women, more comfortably because of its widened and shortened cockpit.
Specs: Length: 15'3; Width: 21"; Weight: 43 lbs; Material: Fiberglass; $2,599; www.neckykayaks.com
Mad River Canoe, Reflection
This former Dagger canoe model, a hit with recreational canoeists in the past, is likely to be appreciated by the same demographic today. The boat will be manufactured in Royalex material and available in Mad River's IQ2 aluminum, IQ, or wood-gunwale systems.
Specs: Length: 17'4; Width: 35.5"; Weight: 66-70 lbs; Material: Royalex; $1,180-1,580; www.madrivercanoe.com
For additional information contact Glen Bernard at 425-814-4140 or at Paddlesport Publishing, 12040 98th Ave NE #205, Kirkland, WA 98034.
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