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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Got two Paddles… Where’s the Creek?

Summer is all about getting physical activity while enjoying the beauty and pleasure of the outdoors. One great way to get your exercise and experience the beauty of Mother Nature is to go canoeing.
 
Mark Palinsky, of Old Town Canoe and Kayak Co., said that families should consider what kind of canoe trip they want before they head out. Does your family want a long trip or short one? He said that making a decision about how long the trip will be is probably the most important decision to make. If your family is new to canoeing and not used to camping, start with a day trip and work your way toward weekend adventures.
 
You should also consider how experienced everyone in your family or travel party is when it comes to canoeing. It is important to look for bodies of water that will match up with the skill level of everyone involved. That way, no one gets left out of the fun! Palinsky suggests that beginners and families stay away from rivers that have class-numbered rapids, as the weather and other factors can increase a river’s class at any time. Canoeing a river that is out of your skill level could be very dangerous.
 
One other word of advice from Palinsky—buy an extra paddle. It’s a $20 investment that could save your whole trip!
 
Noel Basque of Pelican International Inc., also said families should consider the skill level of their group. Trips of just a few hours would be more appropriate for beginners. The proper equipment, including life vests, an extra paddle, water, food, and rain gear, is also a must. Camping gear and waterproof bags should be brought as well if you are in for a longer trip.
 
“Paddling is a great family adventure,” Basque said. “Beginners should always do short paddles first to get used to the canoe and to assure that they are comfortable in their abilities.”
 
There are guides you can check out to see what to expect from certain rivers. Check a bookstore or look online for guides related to your travel destination’s canoeing opportunities. You certainly will not have to travel far to find a suitable canoeing spot. There are popular canoe destinations in every corner of the country!
 
“Rivers don’t have to be big or long to be pleasurable for an afternoon,” Palinsky said. “Almost all states have some good water.”
 
Basque suggests www.americancanoe.org to find more information on rivers and lakes in your area. He says there are spots to canoe all over the U.S.A. You just have to go out and find them!
 
You could also go to travel sites such as TripAdvisor to seek out canoeing destinations. Senior Public Relations Specialist at TripAdvisor Julie Cassetina suggests looking at TripAdvisor’s Inspiration page where you can filter your destination with keywords such as “adventure.” Get just what you want out of your canoeing trip.
 
Cassetina also suggests looking for the TripAdvisor Forums. There you can find Destination Experts. These Destination Experts are well versed in the areas they represent and they can help guide you to the best canoeing wherever you are headed.
 
What better way to make the most of a canoe trip this summer than to get some new equipment? Or perhaps you are buying an additional canoe to add to your fleet. Either way, you’re in luck! Old Town and Pelican canoes are available at Dunham’s.
 
The Saranac 146 is one of Old Town’s most popular canoes and made in the United States. It features seats with high backrests, has a center seat that can fit one adult or two small children and offers molded-in rod, drink holders and storage compartments. Molded-in carrying handles are located on the bow and stern of the canoe. To top it all off, the Saranac 146 is available for an affordable price.
 
“The Saranac is a light, affordable and, most importantly, comfortable stable canoe for recreational paddling,” Palinsky said.
 
You can find the Pelican 15.5 at Dunham’s, which features three molded bench seats, vertical rod holders and drink holders. It even offers the convenience of hull and stern carrying handles.
 
Don’t get stuck up a creek without a paddle. Head to your local Dunham’s Sports, and find canoe equipment that works great for you and your entire family!
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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