Anything that's 3D printed is just awesome in my books. Doesn't matter if it's this thing or that thing, it's awesome.
Leave it up to Jim Smith over at Grass Roots Engineering to take things to the next level with his latest project, a 3D printed sea kayak.
If you are one of those paddlers who have looked in envy at UK sea kayakers with those funny white stickers on their boat covered in chicken scratch writing then you will be pleased to know the Bryan Hansel from paddlinglight.com has developed his own set of kayak deck slates and is now selling them. If you have no idea what I’m talking about that's ok.
Kayak deck slates are basically two vinyl stickers that are positioned just ahead of your cockpit which provide a good writing surface for notes to yourself using a grease pencil. Paddlers on tidal waters can keep track of daily highs/lows or current on the left slate while the right one blank making a perfect location to keep track navigation, weather observations or if you are teaching, student names, notes or a rough lesson plan.
The deck slate is printed on 3.5 millimetre vinyl so you know it’s durable. It has also been coated for UV resistance so it shouldn’t fade for some time.
Bryan is offering the slates with a Listo grease marking pencil for $24.99 or $19.99 without. Take my advice and get the pencil version. It's one of the good plastic barrel versions and not the paper wrapped ones you see at your local Home Depot. I proved a couple of years ago that the paper wrapped grease pencils last about 1 hour into a typical rescue lesson on the water.
More info: paddlinglight.com
Photo credits: Bryan Hansel
Congratulations to friend of the site, Bryan Hansel from paddlinglight.com who got his photo in the latest issue of Sea Kayaker magazine.
The photo is of Andrea Knepper (and fellow instructor) from
The buried kayaks were part of a boathenge sculpture I was happy to have a small hand in assembling at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium this past summer.
Update: It wasn’t me. I had no part in it and don’t know who did it so don’t ask.
Here is a photo of everything from another angle.
Top Photo credit: Down Wind Sports
Top Photo within photo credit: Bryan Hansel
Bottom photo credit: Down Wind Sports
Bryan Hansel is a busy guy working in the outdoor industry. He is a professional photographer and kayak guide living in the small, quirky tourist town of Grand Marais, Minnesota which is on the northshore of Lake Superior. He tells the world about his adventures by writing for several outdoor magazines and through his blog, paddlinglight.com.
After guiding for several years, this year he decided to start North Shore Expeditions which offers both day tours and multi-day kayak trips on Lake Superior.
1) How long have you been in business and what got you started?
I've been working as a pro photog for about eight years now. I learned photography in high school in the late 80s and decided that it would be worthwhile to turn a hobby into a job when I moved to Grand Marais.
North Shore Expeditions is a new company that grows out of the private guiding and instruction that I do. I decided that I wanted a fleet of kayaks to get more people on the water, so I turned it into its own company. I've been guiding and instructing kayaking since 2006. Back then I was looking for a fun summer job to get out and meet a bunch of people. I loved it so much that I decided that I wanted to make it a career choice.
Basically, I live in a typical, small, tourist town with limited opportunities for meaningful employment and most of the available jobs have low wages. In order to make anything close to what I made in the corporate sporting goods world, I have to piece together income by wearing a bunch of different hats. Plus I moved here, so I could do what I love doing.
2) What’s the best part of your job?
I love teaching photography workshops and kayaking, and introducing people to the outdoors. Seeing a smile on someone's face after they realize that they just made a great photo or after they learn their first rescue makes it all worth it. I remember one student who struggled with a self rescue. She almost gave up, but with a little gentle encouragement, she pulled through, got the rescue and when we got onshore gave me a big hug and told me how happy and strong she felt that she could do the rescue. I still get warm and fuzzy inside when I think about it.
Plus, I get to be in the outdoors, doing what I'm passionate about. It's "living the dream."
3) What’s the most difficult aspect of the job?
People think that being a photographer or a guide is a glamorous job, but when you're running a small business all the business stuff consumes more time that the photography or guiding. I personally spend more time on marketing than anything else. I wouldn't call it difficult, but it's definitely work.
4) What are two tips you can give to somebody looking to start their own guiding/photography company?
Think twice about it. If you're turning a hobby into a business, you may find that you ruin your hobby. For example, I love to write as a hobby and I went to college to learn how to write at one of the best writing schools in the U.S., and even though I freelance to various magazines the entire process of submitting drags me down and subtracts from my enjoyment, so I usually channel that creative energy into my blogs where it's more enjoyable for me. I wouldn't want to make all my income from writing because it'd wear me out quickly. It's better for me as a hobby. I have friends that have tried to make it as photographers and guides and many of them burn out after a year. It's more work than you think, and you need to approach it with a business sense instead of as a hobby.
The other tip is to build a strong business background either through classes or experience before jumping in. You need to know how to build a business plan, act on the plan to achieve goals and revise it when it's not working. If you're going to be successful, you can't just wing it and hope things turn out. That can work, but you usually end up wasting a bunch of money and time in the process.
5) What about your job do you think would most surprise people?
The cost of gear and the training you have to get. To calculate the cost to take one fine art landscape shot, I have to add up the cost of all my gear to make it: a $3000 camera, $2000 lens, memory cards, batteries, hard drives, computer system, computer programs, classes I've taken, etc.
After adding up everything, the print that I sell for $50, cost me $10,000 to make. For guiding, I have spent over $1,500 to get and update my Wilderness First Responder cert and ACA kayaking certs.
6) If you could tell something to your 18 year-old self, what would it be?
I was 18 in 1989, so I'd tell myself, "Don't wear a white tux and pink cummerbund to your senior prom and cut the mullet!"
Photo Credits: bryanhansel.com
Congratulations are in order for lightweight paddler and friend of the site, Bryan Hansel for completing his 800-mile, 99% solo, 45-day expedition covering two of the Great Lakes.
The massive trip started in
View Port Huron to Home in a larger map
As many people know
The actual reason for the location blackout was because he had to be incognito while paddling along the West
I’m glad that
I’m sure he is feeling much better coming home from this trip then the last big one.
Photo credits: Bryan Hansel
Here is a quick round-up of paddling news on the internet today:
Change of Plans in Tierra Del Fuego
Sadly, Justine Curgenven and Barry Shaw had to call off their Tierra Del Fuego expedition yesterday due to ongoing problems with Barry's wrist. It's a real shame considering they waited for several weeks for the injury to heal but at the end Barry was worried it would flare up again when they were the more remote parts of their trip. Tendon injury is a slow injury to recover for sure.
Help LiquidLogic Better Outfit Their Boats
LiquidLogic is taking part in some knowledge crowd sourcing by going directly to their customers for better outfitting ideas. They set-up a Facebook page and want to hear from you. I think this is a great idea for companies who want to engage and build a loyal community of customers
Power Paddle Camp
Ben Lawry has just announced the schedule for his traveling Power Paddle Camp. Taking place over the month of May there are courses set-up in Rhode Island, Virginia Beach and Charleston, NC.
Ben is easily one of the best instructors that I have ever had the pleasure of teaching with and I'm quite confident that I learned as much as the students did when we worked together at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium. If you are looking to build your skills and learn under somebody who has put a tremendous amount of thought into efficiency and technique then this is the program for you.