Choosing the Right Kayak for You

Kayaking is a great way to get out and enjoy the summer. Whether you’re using it to cast for your favorite catch, get in some exercise or just take in the warm air, there’s a kayak for you!

The most important aspect of your kayak purchase to consider is what you’ll be doing with it. Will you be cruising through calm, open water? Or will you be storing all your fishing gear? Are you planning a short, morning paddle or a day-long adventure? Answering these questions is the key to finding the right boat for you.

If you are going to be towing a lot of gear, fishing or otherwise, look for a kayak that is longer and has several compartments. Fishing kayaks also come with rod holders and offer more stability, so you can even stand up on them.

A wider kayak will offer you more stability, but a narrow model can be easier to paddle and will stay more straight in the water. Longer kayaks will also stay straight, but a short style can be lighter and easier to move.

Choosing the right paddle makes a difference as well. Consider the width of the kayak you’re purchasing when looking for paddles. You need paddles that can reach the water with ease and won’t knock against the sides of your boat. In addition to considering your kayak’s frame, you’ll want to think about your own frame.

“Two people that are 6-feet tall may not use the same length paddle. If it was a SUP [stand up paddleboard] paddle, it would be the same—but since you sit when paddling a kayak, the most important distance is the length of your torso,” said Tracy Lamper of KL Outdoor. “Likewise, a 6-foot person who’s very active and physically fit may be more ready to handle a more aggressive paddle than someone just starting out or not very physically fit.”

Lamper also said that the material a kayak is made from can offer perks. Thermoformed kayaks are a lightweight and cost-effective option. While a rotational molded kayak may be a little bit heavier than thermoformed kayaks, they can often be more impact and abrasion resistant and offer unique color blends. This style is best for rougher waters and longer trips.

You can find kayaks by KL Outdoor, Future Beach, Perception, Pelican, Old Town and other top brands and your local Dunham’s Sports. You’ll also find all the accessories you need and any other gear for summer fun.

 Don’t get stuck up a creek without a paddle. Visit your local Dunham’s to get the kayak and the paddles that fit your needs this summer!

-Paddle Bum

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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 Century of Celebrating America’s Beauty

Enjoy our nation’s wonder by camping at a National Park.
 
This upcoming August 25th marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service, an organization devoted to maintaining our nation’s natural splendor. The idea of conserving and enjoying natural spaces is actually even older. An Act signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 established Yellowstone as our nation’s first national park and the first national park in the world. Last year, over 307 million people visited a national park. From battlefields to recreation areas, scenic waterways and trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And there’s no better way to experience all the splendor that a national park has to offer than camping. So consider pitching a tent at any of the following national parks this summer.
 
Michigan/Ohio/Pennsylvania
 
There’s something for everyone at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park. Camping, historic sites, wildlife watching and kayaking are available at this national park in Monroe, Michigan. The site was the scene of a major battle in the War of 1812. The loss by the United States’ forces here was a major turning point in our eventual victory. The trail provides visitors with an outstanding opportunity to step back in time and experience the marshes and wetlands that the early French settlers first explored.
 
Head north to Upper Michigan and explore Isle Royale National Park. This island park in Lake Superior offers canoeing, kayaking, fishing and scuba diving adventures. Backpacking and camping are especially popular, with 36 campgrounds located across the island. Campsites are accessible only by foot or watercraft. Typically, campers backpack from one campground to another, traveling six to eight miles per day. Several campgrounds on the Lake Superior shoreline have docks for power and sail boaters. Other campgrounds, located inland, are only accessible by non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks. For those who enjoy tranquility, you must check out this park.
 
Illinois/Indiana/Minnesota/Wisconsin
 
Just as rugged and just as awe-inspiring is Voyageurs National Park in International Falls, Minnesota. It was established in 1975 and named after the fur traders, called voyageurs (voyagers or travelers) who paddled the waterways over 200 years ago. Here you can see and touch rocks half as old as the world, experience the life of a voyageur, immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of a boreal forest, view the dark skies right from your campsite, or ply the interconnected water routes. With one-third of the parks 215,000-plus acres consisting of water, be sure to take in one of the two boat tours available June through September.
 
Kentucky/Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia
 
Explore the world’s longest known cave system (over 400 miles of caves have been explored so far) at Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Cave tours have been offered since 1816, which makes Mammoth Cave one of the oldest tour attractions in North America. Mammoth Cave offers a number of tours of various duration and physical ability; be sure to pick one that suits you and all of your family members. Dress accordingly, since even on the hottest August days a sweatshirt or jacket is recommended within the cave. In addition to cave tours, hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing and kayaking are available.
 
North Carolina/Tennessee
 
Situated on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park. It offers an unparalleled diversity of plant and animal life. Part of the Appalachian mountain chain, the “Smokies” get their name from the fog that tends to hang over the mountains in the morning and after rains. In addition to the natural beauty of these ancient mountains, this park offers views of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. One of the most popular destinations within the park is Cades Cove. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible.
In addition to camping, plenty of other activities are available, including biking, hiking, fishing and horse riding. Thanks to its’ ample rainfall and elevation gradient, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an ideal destination for those who want to experience waterfalls. Over 100 prominent ones are featured within the park.
 
Kansas/Nebraska/Oklahoma/South Dakota
 
The rugged beauty of the Badlands National Park in South Dakota draws visitors from around the world. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Take in the 45-minute geology walk, visit the paleontology lab or attend the fossil talk to learn more about the ancient mammals––such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat––that once roamed here. Today, bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets reside within the park’s 244,000 acres. Have your cameras ready to capture their majestic beauty. For those who have never truly experienced the magnificence of the night sky, be sure to take in the Night Sky Program. It offers views of more than 7,500 stars and clear views of our Milky Way.
 
Every state in our nation offers a national treasure, be it a wilderness area, historical monument, trail or recreation area, with many offering onsite camping. The list is much too long to include in any article, so please visit www.nps.gov for more information and discover for yourself why we call it America the Beautiful.
 
-Happy Camper
 
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What’s Up with the SUP?

Enjoying the lake or ocean, until recent years, had been limited to the usual suspects: boats, kayaks, canoes… you know, your typical vessels. However, there’s now a new way to get out on the lake and get you standing up at the same time.
 
The stand-up paddleboard, or SUP for short, it’s like a combination of a kayak and surf board. Paddlers stand up on the board and use a regular paddle to direct around the water. But not every board is the same for every paddler. They range in weight, weight capacity, material and flexibility, just to name a few. But just like purchasing a canoe or kayak, customers first need to decide what they want to use the SUP for.
 
Different Strokes for Different Folks
 
“There are different types of boards on the market, but most paddlers are either using an ‘all-around’ board or a “touring or cruising” board,” explains Nöel Basque of Pelican International. All-around boards are more stable, perform well, but tend to be slower than a touring board. Paddlers should consider, weight, and capacity on the boards, and depending on where they will be using the board, flexible fin or rigid fin.”
 
The width of the board is crucial when selecting an SUP. The wider the board, the more stability is offered, which is important for a new paddler. If you’re new to stand-up paddle boarding, it might be wise to select a wider board until you get the hang of it.
 
“Stability and width go hand and hand,” says Ken Harris of KL Outdoor. “A minimum of 30 inches in width is recommended for anyone up to 200 pounds. The bigger the person, the wider the board. The Seaquest 10 offers 33 inches in width. Generally 10-to-12-foot boards are truly a multi-purpose board from yoga, fun with the kids and exercise.”
 
So once you nail down what you’ll be using the board for, the next step is to make the right selection. But where do you begin? With so many new technological advances and added features, it can be complicated to make the best choice. But thanks to Pelican’s Vibe, Flow and Rush along with KL Outdoor’s Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10, it’s tough to go wrong.
 
With the Pelican line of SUPs, they’re made from HDPE (high density polyethylene extract), which makes them extremely durable. Also, all Vibe models come with a stomp pad, tie-downs for stowing gear and are built for all-around use. With the Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10, you’ll get a non-slip pad, carrying handles, storage compartment with shock cord and even a recessed cooler!
 
If it seems like these boards are getting more and more advanced in terms of both features and construction, it’s because they are. Brands like KL Outdoor and Pelican are constantly innovating their products, making them more fun, safer and more durable.
 
“The technology of stand-up paddle boards has evolved to be more of an all-around board offering maximum stability and width,” explains Harris, “giving all skill levels the confidence they need to experience the trending activity.”
 
Basque of Pelican International adds in that their Twin Sheet Technology adds to Pelican’s product construction.
 
“Technology has enabled manufacturers like Pelican to bring boards to the consumer that perform well, are as tough as nails, and affordable,” says Basque. “Pelican manufactures in TST (twin sheet technology) using the best materials to ensure this.”
 
Safety is Key to Having Fun
 
Safety comes first with stand-up paddleboarding, as it would with any new aquatic activity. Paddlers should also ensure they’re getting the right safety equipment along with the board as well as make note of a few tips to make sure the experience is as fun as it is safe.
 
“New paddlers should always wear a personal flotation device (PFD), start using the board from the kneeling position, and when comfortable, get up on their feet, keep legs bent and back straight,” says Basque. “When paddling, use the whole of the paddle blade in the water and enjoy the ride!”
 
“All you need is a paddle and a life jacket for safety,” explains Harris. “Where you stand affects mobility. Place feet shoulder-width apart in the middle of the board. Keep the paddle straight while paddling.”
 
While paddlers should always be sure to wear a PFD, another accessory that’s a must when getting out on the water is an ankle leash. This will make sure if you’re to fall off the board and into the water, the board stays near you at all times. You can even make your SUP perform as a kayak!
 
“An ankle leash to ensure the board stays with the paddler can be useful in faster moving water, and some boards can also be equipped with a seatback and used as a sit-on-top kayak,” says Basque.
 
Summers are meant to spend outside getting in the water as much as you can. And while the old reliable kayaks and canoes are still great ways to navigate your favorite waterway, the SUP is a fun, innovative way to not only get exercise, but to get the best of what summer has to offer. And thanks to Pelican and KL Outdoor, it’s never been easier.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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Take to the Water in a New Kayak

Looking for something new to do out on the water this Spring? Why not try kayaking! There are just a few things to know before picking one out for yourself.
 
With so many features and models on the market, you can find a kayak for almost every kind of water and condition. You should first determine where you’ll be doing most of your kayaking. Will you be out on a calm lake or traveling down a river? You also have the option of either a sit-in model or a sit-on one.
 
“Beginners would typically start with something wider, more stable,” said Luke LaBree of Old Town Canoe and Kayaks. “More experienced paddlers, with maybe the exception of anglers, tend to veer toward narrower kayaks as they can cut through the water faster.”
 
Dunham’s Sports is currently offering the Old Town Vapor series, which features padded adjustable seats, adjustable foot braces and a cockpit tray.
 
Greg Larson of Perception Kayaks said that the size of the person kayaking should also be considered. A larger person would need a boat with more surface area to hold the boat above water. This can mean getting a longer or wider boat. A small paddler, on the other hand, should opt for a smaller boat. That will ensure that the boat doesn’t sit too high on the water. Both being too low in the water or too high up can make it difficult to operate the kayak.
 
One model offered by Perception is the Swiftwater. The 10.5-foot kayak is made for navigation on both lakes and rivers. It is versatile enough to over rapids but also stay straight on a calm lake.
 
Noël Basque, of Pelican Sport said beginners should look for a kayak that is stable, light and easy to paddle. Experienced kayakers can look for models that will move more swiftly through the water.
 
And you don’t have to kayak alone! Pelican is offering a new sit-in, tandem model this year, the Alliance 136T. All Pelican models at Dunham’s this season will have better ergonomics and new seating systems.
 
When you’re shopping for a kayak, be sure to first sit in it at the store and be sure it feels comfortable.
 
So what’s the best thing you can do to prepare for a day of kayaking? Never forget to wear a personal flotation device, and always stay within your experience level. If you stay safe, you’ll be sure to have a great time!
 
-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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Families Who Kayak Together Have More Fun

 
Thank goodness winter is over. For those of us who aren’t into winter sports, spring couldn’t come fast enough this year, and with it, a return to water activities. Few other watersports for the family are enjoying the growing popularity that kayaking and stand up paddleboards are seeing.
 
“We’re seeing more families buying multiple boats. Typically, it starts off with a parent buying a kayak and before long, other family members want their own,” said Mark Palinsky of Old Town Canoes and Kayaks. He recommends his company’s Vapor and Dirigo models for their stability and all-purpose use.
 
“Kayaks for kids and stand up paddleboards continue to grow in popularity,” said Lisa Senecal, Pelican International. “Prices are coming down, making it more affordable to get the family into the sport.”
 
When buying a kayak for your children, the experts offer the following advice: Make sure you get your child a boat that he or she is going to be comfortable in. A lot of people make the mistake of buying a kayak that’s too big for the child, thinking that the child will grow into it. Both of our experts warn against this approach, as it can lead to unenjoyable and unsafe situations for the child.
 
Sit-On-Top kayaks and SUPs are great options for anyone new to
the sport, as they tend to be very stable. “Our Vibe 80 is great for kids. It’s a stand up paddleboard that is very stable and easy to rectify if it starts tipping,” Senecal added. Her company is also noticing greater interest in specialty boards. She mentioned that women are using them for yoga and core exercising. A chance to get some sun, fresh air and exercise: what a winning combination!
 
No matter which option you choose, safe boating is paramount. Both experts recommend wearing a properly fitting personal floating device and to never paddle alone. “This is a sport that is safer and much more enjoyable when shared with someone,” Palinsky said.
 
“Be aware of the water and weather conditions to make sure they are favorable for boating,” Senecal added. She also recommends a sound device, such as a whistle, to warn other crafts.
 
Dunham’s carries a wide range of kayaks and SUPs in a variety of purposes, configurations and price points. Be sure to consult with a sales representative to help you make an informed decision.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Anywhere You Want!

The variety of boats available for those looking to get out on the water this summer is as vast as the customers looking to pur-chase them. From kayaks, to stand-up paddleboards, to canoes, pedal boats and beyond, it has become incredibly easy to find the right boat based on need, ability, and various features.
 
But with such a wide array of boats and features to choose from, how does one go about finding that perfect boat to enjoy the summer to its fullest? Noel Basque of Pelican attributes a quality boat to its hull design.
 
“Designing a hull requires investment in R&D and industrial design so lower quality kayaks tend to have simple hull designs that allow them to float but not much more,” Basque says. “Hull design involves trade-offs, but a well designed hull will put a premium on one feature while optimizing others so that the paddling experience remains enjoyable.”
 
Another feature to consider in a quality boat or kayak is its construction. For example, Old Town kayaks are Roto Molded, meaning they’re made in an enclosed steel mold containing polyethylene powder. It’s put into an oven and heated until a plastic is formed.
 
“With this process we can make our kayaks thicker on the ends and bottom then thinner on the deck, where we do not need so much material,” said Mark Palinsky of Old Town. “This is all about product durability.”
 
The Swiftwater 10.5, manufactured by Perception Sport, has a versatile design made for handling both lakes and rivers con-taining rapids. It has both a large cockpit, but it curves over the paddler’s legs so that the operator is able to control the boat with his or her body, which is paramount in handling tougher conditions.
 
In fact, all Perception Sport boats are one-piece, meaning there is increased durability.
They’re built with a high-end plastic that has built-in sun protection and are very stiff, resulting in a very high tolerance for abrasion. The stiffness of the kayak also leads to increased performance.
 
“This is one of the biggest differences in quality because it affects how the boat handles abrasion, how easy the boat is to con-trol and how well they perform,” said Greg Larson of Perception Sport.
 
If searching for the perfect fishing kayak for Dad this summer, look no further than the Patriot or Blast, which are both made by Perception Sport. These boats, built exclusively for fishermen, have special features added to ensure that its operator is in complete control of the boat and his tackle.
 
“We have some models like the Patriot and Blast that have fishing rod holders built-in or added, and have a very flat bottom that adds to initial stability for fishing, hunting, bird watching or general recreational use,” said Greg Larson of Perception Sport.
 
The features of boats and kayaks not only differ between brands, but each brand has various features that differ with each line of product. For example, Pelican kayaks have features on their higher-end models that allow for more experienced paddlers to venture out for longer periods of time. They also offer more seating comfort, adjustable foot pegs to suit each and every body type, storage space, and knee pads or thigh braces which allow more comfortable paddling and increased control.
 
The Old Town Trip 10, a Dunham’s exclusive model, carries a weight capacity of between 275 and 300 pounds. The bonus feature of this model that you won’t find on every kayak is the rear hatch system for gear storage.
 
“The rear cover opens into a large compartment that has what is called a bulkhead, or divider that seals that part of the boat off from the rest of the hull,” explains Palinsky. “This helps keep your gear dry, and provides extra flotation to the whole boat.”
 
Pelican also has several choices at Dunham’s this summer, including the Vibe 80 stand-up paddleboard for small paddlers, the Ultimate 100SE kayak, and the Escape 100 kayak, which offers adjustable foot pegs, stern Quicklock storage, a cockpit table with day hatch and bottle holder, and comfortable seating.
 
So whether you’re new to kayaking or a seasoned sailor, Dunham’s has the variety of boats with features perfect for everyone. With summer at its peak, don’t waste it away watching from shore. Get out and paddle!
 
See you in the woods!
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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Paddle Your Way to Adventure

 
Today’s kayaks offer safe, inexpensive fun for the entire family.
 
If you’re a frequent visitor to our lakes and streams, you’ve likely noticed that more people are enjoying the same waterways while paddling a kayak. In fact, according to The Outdoor Foundation, 32 percent more participants took up the sport between 2009 and 2011. That’s not surprising when you consider that it can be enjoyed by young and old, is relatively inexpensive and the equipment requires little maintenance.
 
“Kayaks are friendlier today than they have ever been. They are more stable, more comfortable and easier to use. They’re also safer. The cockpit opening is longer and goes past your knees, making it easier to exit the kayak in an emergency situation,” said Mark Palinsky, of Old Town.
 
If you’ve considered joining this extremely enjoyable and relaxing activity, here are a few options and suggestions.
 
Fishing and River Kayaks
 
As our experts pointed out, we’re seeing two significant kayaking trends in: people are buying them to fish and to paddle along our scenic rivers.
 
“The river kayaks are simply an extension of what people have experienced for years. They have rented kayaks and canoes at liveries and have enjoyed the experience so much that they have decided to purchase the kayak for personal use. Our Swiftwater 10.5 kayak is ideal for this use. The fishing kayaks are great for those who want to get away from fishing from shore and don’t want to use a powerboat. I recommend our Patriot or Blast models. They are designed to carry fishing rod holders and come in camouflage colors,” said Greg Larson of Confluence Water Sports.
 
Another option for anglers is Pelican International’s Castaway 100 sit-on kayak. It offers plenty of speed, capacity and storage space. Mark Palinsky, of Old Town kayaks and canoes, offers yet another approach.
 
“You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy an angler kayak. Kayaks that are serviceable, with a large cockpit and high level of stability, such as our Vapor 10 model, are very good for people who like to fish. What many of our customers have found is that it’s less expensive to buy a base model and customize it to their specific needs,” Palinsky said.
 
Kids’ Kayaks
 
As many parents are discovering, kayaking is an ideal activity that can be enjoyed by the entire family, including children. Before you purchase a kayak for junior, Palinsky offers the following advice:
 
“Like shoes, the kayak has to fit the child. Shoes that are too big make the child clumsy and shoes that are too small are not comfortable. Frequently, parents will buy a 9-foot boat and will have their kids grow into it. It’s not necessarily the best approach,” he said.
 
Palinsky recommends making sure the kayak is designed to accommodate the child’s weight and that the foot pegs can be easily reached, since they help provide stability.
 
Stand Up Paddleboards
 
Also extremely popular nowadays are stand up paddleboards (SUPs). In fact, The Outdoor Foundation reports that nearly 60 percent of stand up paddling participants tried the activity for the first time in 2011.
 
“SUPs are wide surfboards that you stand up and paddle with and are more versatile than kayaks. You can sit, kneel or stand up on them. Women are using them for yoga and core exercising,” said Lisa Senecal, Pelican International.
 
Dunham’s Sports carries three different Pelican International models: Vibe, for smaller paddlers (up to 120 pounds), Flow, for intermediate paddlers and Surge, for more performance-oriented paddlers.
 
“We’re seeing an increase of SUPs in river use, especially in Michigan,” Palinsky added. “What a wonderful way to go down the river; they provide a much better view of what’s in front and around you.”
 
Kayak Care
 
One of the most appealing aspects of this sport is that the equipment requires little maintenance.
 
“Pretty much all of the kayaks that Dunham’s carries are low maintenance – even no maintenance,” Senecal said.
 
“We have sun protection built into the boat, but not on the seats. We recommend using a good UV protectant to prevent sun degradation,” Larson added. All of our experts recommended storing kayaks on their side when not in use.
 
Dunham’s Sports carries a wide range of kayaks and SUPs for a variety of purposes, configurations and price points. Be sure to consult with a sales representative to help you make an informed decision so you too can enjoy our area’s wonderful waterways.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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KAYAK — TO WHERE THE FISH ARE

Fishing from kayaks has exploded in popularity over the past decade, and for good reason. These small personal watercraft offer several advantages to the angler over conventional boats — no need for a boat launch, no noisy motor to scare the fish, and a nimbleness that lets you get into those tight spots where fish like to hide and where typical fishing boats won’t fit.
 
It’s Personal
 
It would be hard to find a more personal outdoor activity than paddling a single-seat kayak (two- and four-seat kayaks are also available). You propel yourself and go exactly where you want to go, which gives you the freedom to escape the crowds and find nature on your own terms.
 
That personal character of a kayak is something to keep in mind when buying one.
 
You will be spending a lot of time in (or on) it, so be sure it fits you and you are completely comfortable. Lucian Gazel runs a kayak fishing guide service on the Great Lakes, and he says you can do that without actually putting a kayak in the water. “In the store, you can sit in the kayak, get a paddle and move your arms and you can tell right away if you’re too restricted or if you have a good fit.”
 
Your individual needs go beyond just how the kayak fits, however. Where you will use the kayak and where you will fish are also important. If you’ll primarily fish in open water — large lakes — then stability may be more important. If you’ll spend most of your time on rivers and smaller lakes, then mobility and nimbleness may be bigger priorities.
 
Accessorizing Your Kayak
 
While kayaks are able to go where conventional fishing boats can’t, their relative smaller size means a whole different strategy on carrying your fishing “stuff.” Space is at a premium, and you have to carefully plan how you’ll carry rods, reels, tackle, bait and all the other gear you can just throw into a fishing boat.
 
So, what do you need and where do you put it? The experts agree that the key is to start slow. “I wouldn’t buy any kind of fishing accessory for a kayak until I’ve had the kayak in the water at least 3 or 4 times,” says Gazel. “The mistake kayak rookies often make is they put their rod holder in a place that interferes with their paddling. The problem is, once you’ve drilled that hole, you’re pretty well stuck with it.”
 
There are numerous accessories for the kayak angler — rod holders, storage for bait and fish, tackle boxes, running lights, anchors, drift chutes, seatbacks, paddle keepers, fish finders — the list goes on and on.
 
Kayak veterans say newcomers should keep things simple, at least at first. All you really need is a rod holder. Then, after a few trips you can adapt your kayak fishing gear to your own experiences. There’s plenty of time to stock up on your “toys.”
 
Catching Fish from a Kayak
 
Kayaks give you a built-in advantage of “stealth” fishing, and the ability to go just about anywhere the fish are. Still, there are different techniques for fishing from a kayak.
 
Trolling — Just as with a conventional boat, but you can troll in tighter areas. You drift with the current or paddle, dragging a lure or bait.
 
Drifting — You can drift in the general direction of a structure. Put away your paddle and use a rudder to steer.
 
Side Saddle — From a sit-on-top kayak, this is an excellent technique in shallow water where you can see bottom. You can control the kayak without a paddle, using your feet to “walk” across the bottom.
 
Poling and Standing — Standing lets you see down in the water for excellent sight-casting. Obviously, this takes a very stable craft in calm waters. You can use a pole to propel yourself.
 
Fly Fishing — Easier in a sit-inside kayak, because you’ve got a perfect place to store a stripped fly line.
 
Wade Fishing — You can anchor the kayak, or you can tie yourself to it with a bowline.
 
Once you’ve fished from a kayak, you may never go back to the “old” way. And you may also find you spend plenty of time in your kayak without a fishing rod, simply enjoying nature.
 
CHOOSING A KAYAK PADDLE
 
Choosing the right paddle is very important — you’re going to be using that paddle virtually every moment you’re in the kayak. Lucian Gazel’s advice is simple: “Buy the most expensive paddle you can afford.”
 
3 Paddle Characteristics
 
Blade Length and Shape
 
A wider blade has more surface area and can provide more acceleration, but will also require more effort. Feathered blades have the blades turned at an angle to one another (rather than parallel). This allows a more efficient stroke as the blade that is not in the water is leading into the wind with its narrow edge instead of the flat side, for less wind resistance. However, additional wrist turning is required, so a compromise for novice paddlers is a collapsible paddle that can be adjusted for feathered or unfeathered use.
 
A spooned paddle has a curled or cupped face that increases the power of a stroke, while a dihedral paddle has a type of tapered nose in the middle of the face that helps direct water around the paddle.
 
Shaft Length and Shape
 
Length is important based on your size, the size of the kayak and the paddle effort desired. While most paddle shafts are straight, there are several bent-shaft models that may increase a paddler’s comfort as well as provide for a stronger, more efficient stroke.
 
Materials
 
The materials used to construct the paddle will determine its weight, durability and flexibility. Paddles may be made of fiberglass, plastic, aluminum, graphite, Kevlar, carbon or good-old-fashioned wood. Each type has its own feel as to weight and flex. Where you kayak is also important. If you primarily use rivers, streams and small lakes, you are more likely to run into rocks, trees and other debris, so durability is more important than if you primarily kayak in open water.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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