Get Out on the Water

Find the right kayak for you this summer.

Summer is the perfect time to get out on the water. But this year, instead of boarding a friend’s boat or renting one for the day, consider getting a watercraft of your own. You just need to decide what kind is right for you.

One of the most accessible kinds of boats for everyone is a kayak. Whether you’re an angler or just looking for a relaxing day on the water, there are kayaks out there for you. You can choose a model that you sit on or one that you sit inside. There are also kayaks made for two people and pedal-drive kayaks for hands-free movement.

“Kayaking is a great activity for almost anyone. You don’t need to be extremely athletic or have previous experience to go enjoy a paddle on a nice calm body of water,” said Matt Yablonowski of Perception Kayaks.

Your most important consideration should be where you’ll do the majority of your kayaking. Yablonowski suggests that new paddlers start off slow to get themselves acquainted not only with kayaking in the water but also with handling a new boat.

“Practice getting your boat on and off your vehicle. Practice entering and exiting your boat, launching your boat, etc.—all in a protected environment, potentially with friends to help—so you can learn what it feels like and what it takes to get paddling,” he said.

Mark Palinsky of Old Town Canoe and Kayak Company said that many people find they eventually need more than one kayak as their interests grow, so don’t limit yourself based on your first kayak.

“You never outgrow your first kayak purchase; you only outgrow where you choose to paddle it,” said Palinsky. “This sounds peculiar but is highly true in that you may have wanted your first kayak to work well on small ponds, lakes and creeks that you want to explore. The 10-foot kayak that you bought is ideally suited to these environments and is a great choice. But then the adventurer in you sets in, and you now want to do bigger waters, go out onto the Great Lakes and cover more miles of shoreline in a day.”

Maybe you’re already an experienced kayaker or you’re interested in longer-distance paddling. In that case, kayaks that are 12 feet or longer might be best for you as they track better and develop a better glide per stroke.

“If you end up loving this sport as much as we do, you will own more than one kayak suited to what you are doing and where you are going that day,” Palinsky said, “and relative to the cost, kayaking is quite inexpensive.”

When you’re thinking about your first (or second, or third) kayak, comfort should be one of the top features you are concerned with. Many Old Town kayaks are made with the Comfort Flex Seat System, which moves with you as you paddle. And its large size offers plenty of support.

“When you grab the seat, you may be left with the first impression that it seems awfully flimsy. That is not the case at all,” Palinsky said. “We developed this flex to make the kayak perform better for you when you are in it. If you were to sit on a park bench with your kayak paddle and go through the motions of paddling, you would easily see that a rigid, solid seat is not what you want at all!”

Comfort is key with Perception Kayaks as well. All of their kayaks are outfitted with padded, adjustable seating systems that allow the paddler to customize the fit for better connection, control and have an overall more enjoyable boating experience.

If you’re a fisherman, there are features for you, too! Yablonowski suggests that shoppers think about features such as storage capacity and mounting options for your accessories. There are even a large variety of color options available.

“Both the Perception Pescador Pilot Pedal Drive kayak and Pescador PRO 10 and 12 come with large stadium-style seats for all-day comfort as well as gear tracks for mounting accessories without having to drill holes in your brand-new boat,” said Yablonowski. “Both models also have mounting and storage solutions for electronics, including a large scupper and pre-set mounting inserts for a fish-finder transducer.”

Once you have your boat, you can start exploring accessories, such as the perfect paddle. You can also look into other accessories, like a boat sponge, dry box, paddle leash or rack to transport the kayak on your vehicle. And as always, don’t forget your safety gear! A Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is a must when you’re out on the water. There are PFDs that are designed specially for kayaking. They’re shorter in length than general boating PFDs to accommodate sitting in or on a kayak and some feature a high or mesh back so they don’t interfere as much with the seatback. In any case, make sure they’re properly fitted.

Stay safe, and have fun in your new boat this summer!

-Paddle Bum

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A Reader Asks, “Why is Zero Called Love in Tennis?”

Answer: Many Point to Game’s French Root for Answer
 
This spring we asked you, our readers, to submit sport-related questions you wanted answered. Out of the many responses, we chose one from Christopher Agnew of Erdenheim, Penn. He wanted to know why zero is called love in tennis. With his mom a devout tennis fan, this question has befuddled him for years.
 
If it’s any consolation, Christopher, tennis scoring has perplexed many, including some of the game’s leading players. When Billie Jean King first learned that the first two points are 15 and 30, she (like most of us), figured the next point would be 45. When told that it was actually 40, she is reported to have asked, “What is this sport?”
 
Another tennis great, Andre Agassi once said that the points’ names were “Invented to cause frustration to those who chose to play.” Still, you have to like a sport where the word “love” is bandied about so frequently.
 
Love = A Goose Egg
 
While there is no definitive source on the subject, it is believed that “love” may be derived from the French word l’oeuf, or the egg. Before you think this a silly way to note score, remember that in American English, we frequently use the term “goose egg” to denote zero. Why “l’ouef,” rather than “goose egg?” Because many believe the game originated in France, perhaps as early as the 12th century. When the game was adopted by the English, “l’ouef” was assimilated into “love” because the pronunciation for the two terms are close. “Love” has stuck ever since.
 
Clock Face Explains Scoring
 
To understand the rest of the points, you have to picture a clock face and the minute hand. Four points are needed to win a match and a clock is dived into quadrants: 15, 30, 45 and 60 and these might have been the points except for the fact that a game must be won by two points. Therefore, the first three points advance the hand to 15, 30 and 40. If both players are at 40 points, that’s called deuce, meaning two points are needed to win the match. The next two consecutive points advance the hand by 10 minutes each, first to 50, then to 60, which would still have the game finish at the 60 mark.
 
One more bit of trivia, Christopher: It is believed “tennis” evolved from “tenez,” or take heed. Think of the “fore” in golf, used to warn those ahead (and sometimes beside) us.
 
If you want to experience a little “love” on the court, be sure to speak with one of our knowledgeable tennis experts at your local Dunham’s Sports store. As with nearly every other sport, tennis equipment and apparel have advanced a great deal in the last few years. With the right equipment, you could learn to love tennis and the cardiovascular workout it provides.
 
-Tennis is My Racquet
 
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The Gear on Your Back

You’ve packed your rod and reel for that fishing trip, but do you have apparel engineered for a day on the water?
 
Fishing is a great way to get outdoors and spend quality time with the family. But if you’re brand new to the sport, where do you begin? What kind of rod or reel is best for me? What kind of lures should I look for? What kind of safety concerns should I be aware of?
 
To make things a little easier, let’s start with the basics: the rod and reel. As the sport of fishing progresses, so do the advances in equipment, and that means a plethora of choices. To make things easy, fishing tackle companies make combo kits, which include a rod and reel sold together. This means you can match your child’s age with a set instead of having to match separate pieces.
 
“Combos take the guesswork out and pair the correct rod and reel for you,” explained Ken Staudinger of Pure Fishing. “For example, Shakespeare Crusader combo comes with a rod, reel and line, making it less stressful to get the family geared up and enjoy more time fishing.”
 
With the rod and reel out of the way, next it might be a good idea to find the right lures and hooks. Are you fishing off a dock or pier in shallower water? Then keep your eyes peeled for some floating or shallow-water lures. The package will tell you what type of water it’s best for. Fishing on Lake Michigan in some deeper water? Then a diver might be best for you.
 
For the little ones who might not make it a full day of fishing but still want to pull some lunkers out of the water, artificial bait products can be incredibly effective. While they don’t quite replace live baits, they’re another option that kids like.
 
“Artificial bait alternatives such as Berkley Gulp! Alive small jars can be intriguing to kids,” Staudinger explained. “However, live bait like worms, minnows and crickets might be the most exciting thing to a child until they can reel in their first fish.”
 
The most important consideration when getting the family out on the lake is safety. Fishing requires a lot of sharp objects, so mom or dad needs to be extra careful when their children are handling hooks and lures.
 
“It is very easy to hook someone during a cast if you are not paying attention,” Staudinger said. “The Shakespeare Hide-A-Hook system is an excellent and safe setup for children as it hides the hook point in the bobber when casting.”
 
Having the right essentials is key in making sure you and your family make the most of what the lake has to offer. With combo kit options and lures from Pure Fishing, it’s never been easier to get outdoors with the entire family.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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