This past weekend I had the immense pleasure to be invited to teach at the 6th annual Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in San Francisco.

Organized by Matt Palmariello and Sean Morley, GGSKS is aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate paddlers who want to push the envelope and paddle in rougher waters in a welcoming and controlled environment.

Published in Events
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 14:24

New Rescue Technique: The Dump

Holy crap! Why haven't been using The Dump all along?

Just watch it and be prepared to be amazed with its simplicity.

Published in Teaching

Hey all you paddling dames,

Looks like it could be the last year for the infamous (it's not just famous, it's IN-famous) Ladies of the Lake symposium. A note was posted on the organizers website (Down Wind Sports) that due to dwindling participation and rising costs, it's proving to be a difficult event to run.

Gladly they announced that they are going to give it another kick at the can for its 10th anniversary but for it to run it's going to need 100 registrants for their deadline of June 1.

This year the Ladies of the Lake Symposium will be taking place in Munising, Michigan on August 14-17.

If you have never attended before (and you are a lady) you really need to add it to your calendar. Over the weekend they offer a huge boat-load of kayak instructional clinics for beginners to experts in a super low-pressure environment. Ladies of the Lake is perfect if you are the type of person who gets intimidated by the macho-man image that sometimes comes along with the sport or even these types of events.

The pirates of the ladies of the lake.

This year they are doing some sort of cowboy theme and they should have more details shortly on their website. I know last year it was all about pirates and I have a foggy memory of seeing photos of some sort of 1930's flapper dinner party a couple of years ago.

Though it is titled, "Ladies of the Lake", you are welcome to drag your man along. To keep him from getting bored, there is a separate Man Camp program taking place on Saturday. The website describes it as, "Man Camp gives those without the proper gender specific equipment needed to attend Ladies of the Lake a way to have some fun on the water and fine-tune their own paddling skills."

Ladies of the Lake is one of the very few woman-specific kayak symposiums taking place in North America so if you have considered it in the past, show your support and get yourself registered early. Remember, the deadline is June 1.

More info: downwindsports.com/lol/

Flickr photo credits: bill_yumi

Published in Events

Sometimes things don't work out the way you picture it but if you keep at it you will eventually be successful.

I read that in a fortune cookie at a Chinese buffet once.

Image capture and video from sixknots.net.

Published in General News
Monday, 02 September 2013 17:03

P&H Hammer Surfing Test

Simon Osborne from Sea Kayaking Cornwall in the UK got a hold of the P&H's new Hammer sea kayak and took put it through the wringer recently out in the surf.

The new P&H Hammer is a new rough water play boat that takes heavy inspiration from the P&H Delphin and the Pyranha Fusion with a dash of white-water kayak design thrown in for good measure. What you end up (as you can see in the video) is a boat that is extremely comfortable in both surf and rough water.

It looks like a whole lot of fun. Click through for the full video below:

Published in Gear

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.

Kayak Deck Slate - Left side. Photo Credit: Bryan Hansel

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

Published in Gear

In an effort to help those who are researching a future kayak purchase the website, findthebest.com recently rolled out a new section specifically for kayaks. Their system makes it really easy to filter the results by category, price, weight or even suggested type of paddler.

With each boat they also provide links to stores online where you can purchase the boat online. That being said, don’t forget to also visit to your local paddling shop check out what they offer as well. Buying a boat online isn’t quite the same as purchasing the latest Dan Brown novel. Making sure the boat fits and experimenting how it handles on the water can’t be overstated.

To help keep things simple, I embedded the tool directly into the page below. Just click the "Filter" button in the upper right to narrow down the choices.

Published in Gear

If your looking for a unique gift to give to a paddling buddy or yourself, check out this sea kayak keychain cleverly named the Keyak.

Manufactured in Europe and made of PVC, they come in 5 colours, blue, green, orange, red and yellow. The great thing is that the MSRP is only $5.99 so it won’t break the bank.

Along with being a pretty nifty key chain, I think they would also make a great compact teaching aid for topics like navigation, surfing, currents or really time you would naturally look for a small stick to illustrate your lesson.

Keyak Keychain on a Nautical Chart

My buddy, Alan Drummond is just in the process of setting up distribution so if you own a paddling shop, you should drop him a note and bring them in.

If you are interested in buying one you can also buy direct from Alan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Keyak Facebook page for more info.

Published in Gadgets
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 13:01

Sneak Peek: The New and Improved P&H Aries

I recently got sent a couple photos of the updated P&H Aries that is just starting to arrive in North America from the UK factories. The Aries is the fibreglass (or Kevlar) model that is very similar to the rotomolded plastic and highly successful Delphin.

Though the Aries has been out for a couple years, they have made some design adjustments based on feedback from boat owners and P&H team paddlers (which I’m a member of).

Apologizes in advance as a couple of the photos are not the greatest but it will give you an idea of what to expect in the spring when the boats show up at your local paddling shop.

The biggest change is the addition of a day hatch. To make room they changed the existing rear hatch from a large turkey platter to a smaller 8” round cover to match the front. This change totally makes sense since the vast majority of people are not packing this boat for a 10 day expedition and a day hatch is bit more practical.

They are now recessed slots in the bow for a spare paddle. Looks like a nice design feature that will help keep paddleshafts in place in surf.

P&H Aries front deck with new recessed paddle holders.

The security bar has been moved from directly behind the seat to between the day and rear hatch. The gap below the security bar looks slightly deeper as well so it should fit thicker lock cables than older models. The other advantage to this move is that the new location will also make it function better if you set your boat up for a deck mounted tow line.

P&H Aries rear deck.

Check out those new thigh braces! I can see the whitewater outfitting influence here and they should give you more boat control.

P&H Aries cockpit.

A couple of other updates include the new improved skeg slider system as well as improved stainless steel backband ratchets. No more rusting in salt water!

Published in General News

Sad to hear that Harlan Taney was forced to abort his attempt to break the speed record for paddling down the 277 mile Colorado River. His goal was to catch a scheduled flood release to help push him down the length in just over 24h. The current record is 36 hours.

Things went wrong at mile 82 when his Epic 18X touring kayak got pinned on some rocks at Grapevile Rapids and he broke his elbow (ouch).

Harlan is ok but he had to swim another three miles before he could hike back out of the canyon.

Here is the press release announcing the record attempt while local Arizona public radio covered the sad news of the accident.

Published in General News
Page 1 of 3

Strategic partner

Paddle Canada Logo