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Kelly Blades and I are very excited to make episode 8 of Kayak Mainline available to you.

This week on Kayak Mainline we learn about:

  • a marriage proposal in a canoe that ends with a call to 911,
  • Michael Jackson karaoke in kayaks,
  • the epic North American Odyssey,
  • enough paddling stats to come out your yin yang.

We also get Bonnie Perry on the phone to talk about her BCU 5* certification. Did you know she is one of only four woman in North America who have it? Amazing.

For those of you keeping track, you will notice there was no announcement of episode 7 here. The story I’m sticking to is that I uploaded it to the server just as I was going out the door last month to the Gales Storm Gathering with the plans to post a note about it when I got back. Yeah, I forgot.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did putting it together.

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Published in Podcasts

Thomas Magnum on the phone.

Outside of Bo and Duke, Thomas Magnum from Magnum PI was the coolest guy and television when I was a kid growing up. I jealous of both his Ferrari and moustache and couldn’t understand why my father didn’t have either of them.

Besides the car chases and bad-guy brawls, I thought it was awesome that he got to spend spent a lot of time out on the ocean in his kayak (or more specifically a surf ski). Throughout the series Magnum got out paddling in nine different episodes which is quite a bit considering he lived in Hawaii and didn’t really surf. Also remember that it was 1980-88 and hardly anybody in North America kayaked in those early years so it’s interesting that the writers kept the character involved in such a local, niche sport.

As far as what he paddled, there isn’t a lot of specific information but throughout the series Thomas Magnum used several different models including a custom designed kayak which was manufactured by Hayden Surf Ski. Most of the other episode stills with his boat don’t show any logos so it’s harder to tell the specific manufacturer.

Thomas Magnum on his surf-ski.

I’m not sure if Tom Selleck gets out paddling today but he did use his surf-ski quite a bit to relax in-between takes during shooting. I found an old news report of him getting in a small bit of trouble one afternoon when he got caught in the surf and almost got washed over a reef. The April 7, 1981 edition of the Weekly World News carried the story of his brush with death at the hands of 6-foot monster waves. That being said, the Weekly World News loved to be a bit over-dramatic as shown by the other headlines in that issue including, “Bee Gee’s visit brings child’s miracle recovery” and “Girls tortured in satanic rites in castle of horror” so I’m sure he just got pushed around a bit in the waves then went back to the set to sign more autographs.

The headline, “Magnum star Tom Selleck beats death in terrifying ocean ordeal” sold a lot of papers at grocery stores across America.

Thomas Magnum kayaking.

Thomas Magnum kayaking.

As the series went on the writers started adding more kayaking to the show peaking with the fourth season opener as an all surf-ski episode called, Home from the Sea. Magnum battles for his life when he falls off his surf-ski far from shore. Here is the description:

“Magnum's tradition of spending the Fourth of July alone at sea turns to a life-and-death battle when his surf ski capsizes from a reckless boater and a strong current takes him further and further from land. Forced to tread water for hours in shark-infested waters, Thomas uses his memories of his mom and dad to keep himself alive while Higgins, T.C., and Rick begin a frantic search for him.”

To be honest, it isn’t really that good of an episode. He just treads water for and hour and has a bunch of flashbacks. No car chases or bad-guy fights.

So this leads me to think about the influence that Magnum PI had on the world of kayaking. While I don’t think that Hollywood’s hairiest chest and sexiest moustache brought surf-skiing specifically to the common man, I do think it showcased kayaking as another form of exercise and excitement while making the sport look awesomely cool. I will say though I do know for a fact that he made a whole generation of 12-year-old boys want to become swim instructors.

magnun teaching swimming

Here is a great compiled clip somebody put together of Magnum paddling along with some other surf-ski racing footage spliced in for good measure. Enjoy!

Published in People

Here is your inspirational story of the day:

Meet the 91-year-old kayaker, Louise Sheldon.

Back in mid-August the staff of Independence Village, a retirement home in Aurora, Ohio decided to organize a day of kayaking for the residents. The plan was to put everybody in the bow of double kayaks and volunteers would paddle them down the river.

Louise Sheldon decided she was going to have none of that and at 91 decided to paddle the five mile stretch by herself, and in her own kayak.

Of course the staff at the retirement home didn’t she could do it but even though she hadn’t been in her kayak for almost a year she has been paddling canoes and kayaks her whole life.

"I wasn't sure how far I'd go, but I went the whole five miles," she said. "We had fun. That's what counts. I just loved it. I wanted to keep going."

Allison Tucker, the facility's activities director said, “Because the river was so low, Louise got stuck a couple of times and worked her way out of it all by herself. She is amazing.

If you were to ask Louise what her best trip was, she would tell you about the time they paddled down the Cuyahoga River (about 85 miles) back in 1959. It wasn’t a crazy mile trip as they broke it up over eight or nine days but back then four woman paddling down the river by themselves was so unheard of that it landed them front page in the local paper.

So here is to Louise Sheldon and her passion to keep exploring. Keep it up for another 10 years and I will write another article about you.

More info: auroraadvocate.com
Photo credit: auroraadvocate.com

Published in General News

A flasher

It looks like kayakers on the Pinnebog River (located in the thumb part of Michigan) have been having so many problems with flashers lately that local police decided to set-up a sting operation and try to catch the perv who has been showing of his wing wang in public.

Well their trap worked and they caught somebody.

NY freelance TV producer William H. Masters III—son of Masters and Johnson sex researcher William Masters—was allegedly caught dangling his ding dong at two undercover cops who were merely posing as kayakers as part of a sting operation.

According to the Post, the incident occurred nearby on the Pinnebog River near Masters' Michigan family vacation cottage on Saturday. The Huron County sheriff’s office said “a 60-year-old New York City-area man yelled for [the] attention” of two women kayaking by. He was on the shore and “was completely nude and making obscene gestures.” But the kayakers were actually “part of a combined law-enforcement-agency sting operation, working out of a two-person kayak on the river.”

Masters was released on a $5,000 bond and faces up to two years in jail on aggravated indecent exposure.

More info: gothamist.com

PS – Yep, I totally stole the headline from the gothamist.com user, Wasseka who posted the idea for the headline on the site.

Photo credit: guardian.co.uk

Published in General News
Thursday, 09 August 2012 21:24

Google’s Kayak Themed Doodle

Just in case you didn’t notice, the Olympic themed Google Doodle for today (Aug 9) is slalom canoeing (or kayaking to us North American kids).

Playing the game I quickly discovered that my virtual paddling performance was better than in real life.

Published in General News

What the heck happened in Chicago this weekend?

Crews rescue 62 kayakers swamped in Chicago River during storm

Chicago police and firefighters had to rescue the novice kayakers on tours along the North Branch of the Chicago River when a severe storm swept through the city.

The city of Chicago has already issued citations against the two kayak companies, Waveriders Kayak Tours and Kayak Chicago for “violating restrictions on operating watercraft in hazardous conditions”.

A couple of questions that somebody could ask:

How many staff were out on the water that day and why could they not get people off the water in time considering the group were novices?

Was somebody back at the tour operators office watching the radar knowing that the conditions were ripe for a sever summer storm (high heat & high humidity)?

I understand that summer storms can come up seemingly out of nowhere but the National Weather Service did issue a severe thunderstorm warning for the west suburbs at 11:25am and then updated it to include Chicago at 12:24pm. The storm hit between 12:45 and 1:00pm. All of those warning should have given the tours enough time to get off the water.

Thank goodness nobody was physically hurt.

What a disaster.

Update: CBS Chicago followed up with one of the tour companies looking for some answers.

Update #2 - July 4, 2012 - Dave Olson, the owner of Kayak Chicago has written a very good report of what happened from his perspective that day.

According to Dave, the incident on the water was much more controlled then the media is reporting and that everything about the incident was blown considerably out of proportion.

I am truly appalled that the Marine unit and the Chicago Fire Department are taking credit for all of the rescues and make it sound as if there were over 30 people capsized and swimming in the river. They made the situation sound 10 times worse than it actually was. They never even made mention of the fact that our guides did the majority of the rescues.

It’s a good read.

For those who are business owners you might want to download and review these tips on how to deal with the media in a crisis. Its part of the large resource repository of free resources for instructors and outdoor professionals.


Video Capture Credit: WGN

Published in General News

I just got an email about a very cool event taking place here in Toronto in a couple of weeks. They are looking for volunteers (or donations) so if you are available, get in touch and help out.

The event:  Nine kayakers with disabilities will be paddling sections (like a relay) of waterfront from Port Credit to Harbourfront, Toronto, a total of 25 kms.

When:  Saturday July 14th, 2012  (raindate 15th).

Why:  We are raising awareness of kayaking for people with disabilities and fundraising so our programs can be developed further in Earl Rowe Provincial Park, Alliston and Harbourfront, Toronto.

We Need:   support kayakers to paddle with our disabled paddlers.  The support paddlers must be competent, able to tow and do rescues.

Who to Contact:  Bert Miller:  905-648-9851 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This event is to raise awareness of what opportunities people with disabilities have, what they can do. It is also a fundraiser so we can develop our programs.

Update: Check out their website at handsacrossthewaterinitiative.com

hands across the water event poster

Published in Events

I know times have been tough on banks and they have branching out their marking to niche audiences but I think this is taking it a step to far.

I’m not sure if I should be insulted or not that they decided to put pillars around the ATM. How much damage can kayaks really do? Come on!

Photo credit: wins.failblog.org

Published in Funny
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 12:55

Hi-N-Dry Rolling Aid

After writing and scrapping a piece about this, I decided you can make your own conclusions if this is worth the $87.50 they are asking or if it would be better spend putting it into a rolling pool clinic. You can find more info about the Hi-N-Dry here.

Thanks to the Bloyd-Peshkin’s at Have Kayaks, Will Travel for the awesome heads-up.

Photo credits: Hi-N-Dry

Published in Gear
Thursday, 29 March 2012 16:43

You Don’t Want to Mess with Swans

Not what you want to see when out in your kayak...

It’s that time of year - when those cute little Swans make their nests and vigorously defend them against all intruders.

With that in mind make sure you give them lots of room the next time you are on the water lest you will feel their wrath as Joe Davies from the UK did when he recently got attacked.

The dramatic scenes were captured this week when Joe dared to venture on to a stretch of water patrolled by a bad-tempered swan aptly nicknamed Tyson.

Joe, a local pub chef, said: “He went for me as soon as I got in the water – it made me wobble in the kayak and I capsized.

“As I was falling in, he went for me again, which made me panic.

“I was terrified. It took my breath away. I’d heard the rumours about Tyson but I’ve never seen him before. You hear about the damage swans can do when they attack.

You can read the full story here.

Thanks to Fiona for the heads-up.

Photo credit: express.co.uk

Published in Environment
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