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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No Motor, No Problem, Give Kayak Fishing A Try This Season

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to get back on the water. Try adding a new tool to your fishing equipment this year: a kayak! No matter what kind of fisherman you are, Dunham’s Sports has the right kayak and accessories to meet your needs.
 
Matt Yablonowski of Perception said people are using kayaks to fish for a number of reasons. Kayaks are less expensive to own and maintain than a traditional motorboat. And because they use paddles rather than gas, you can get great exercise in a kayak. They are also much quieter than a motorboat and smaller, making getting into shallow water or tight spaces easier.
 
Yablonowski said sales of fishing kayaks have gone up year over year for the past six to seven years. But the rise in popularity of kayaks doesn’t mean anglers are abandoning their old watercraft. Some people are simply adding to their fleet.
 
Kayaks come in two basic varieties: sit-on-top and sit-inside, or sit-in. Yablonowski said the sit-on-top variety is more popular in warmer climates, but it’s increasing in popularity in other regions because the open deck offers the convenience of having gear readily available. The more traditional kayaks are the sit-inside models. These are more popular in northern regions for freshwater fishing.
 
Yablonowski suggests looking for a kayak with comfortable seating in addition to stability, storage and rod holders. A place to put your paddles while you cast and a work tray for tackle are also features to look for. And if you already have a kayak, you can add after-market accessories to your boat to make it fit your needs.
 
Kayaks Have Character
 
You can find both sit-on-top and sit-in fishing kayaks at Dunham’s. See which one feels more comfortable to you. Matthew Ross of Pelican International says that kayaks built for the rider to sit on top are generally more popular with fishermen as they offer more range of motion.
 
“Fishing from a kayak has absolutely exploded over the last couple of years,” says Ross. “More and more fishermen are either also fishing from a kayak or are making the switch to kayak fishing from traditional angling from fishing boats. Kayak fishing allows you to fish in more shallow waters. It doesn’t pollute or use any gas, and the additional paddling exercise is very beneficial.”
 
Ross says fishermen should look for a kayak with plenty of storage for all their gear. It’s also a good idea to look for a boat with rod holders, which can be either flush mount or swivel.
 
“Anglers of all walks are turning to kayaks for their relatively low cost (compared to large bass- or multi-species boats), small footprint, minimal maintenance, health and wellness component, ease of launching, and getting into fish-holding waters that bigger boats cannot reach,” says Jim Edlund of Old Town. When searching for the perfect fishing kayak, Edlund suggests looking for stability, comfort, ease of rigging, ease of transport and maneuverability.
 
Check Out these Kayaks at Dunham’s
 
One of Perception’s models is the Pescador PRO. This sit-on-top kayak comes in two sizes—Pescador PRO 10 and Pescador PRO 12—both of which feature a two-position, stadium-style seat, a tankwell with a bungee, a mold-in cup holder, and rod holders.
 
Perception also offers its sit-in Prodigy 10 Angler exclusively at Dunham’s. Beyond the basic features of its Prodigy 10 base model, the Angler features two flush-mount rod holders, one Scotty rod holder, an anchor and an anchor trolley.
 
Pelican’s sit-in model, the Bounty 100x Angler, is great if you want to keep your legs dry. It has flush-mount rod holders and a swivel rod holder, adjustable footrests and padded backrest, and a cockpit table with a bottle holder and compartments.
 
There’s also the Catch 120 kayak from Pelican, which is great for fishermen who prefer to stand. It offers a 400-pound capacity, a water-resistant hatch and a storage platform. It also has a seat that can be adjusted or completely removed.
 
Old Town offers its Vapor 10 Angler at Dunham’s. This kayak is just 10 feet long and 49 pounds, making it easy to unload, launch and stow on your vehicle’s rooftop or bed—and great for anglers of any age. The boat has an adjustable comfort flex seat, foot braces, an anchor trolley system, and flush-mount rod holders.
 
Try something new this fishing season. Come to Dunham’s and check out our selection of fishing kayaks.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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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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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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Taking on the Great Outdoors

While some outdoor sports are relaxing, others are invigorating. Tramping through the woods, hunting wild game, paddling upstream — they’re all activities that not only entertain but get your heart rate up as well. Let’s take a look at some activities geared toward the more adventurous outdoor types among us, along with some tailor-made gift ideas. 
 
Dashing Through the Snow
 
Snowshoeing is America’s fastest growing winter sport. That’s not surprising, since this odd and ancient footgear, which can resemble an oversized tennis racket, is a great way to venture forth into places where others don’t dare tread. That means getting away from the crowd and enjoying nature at its most pristine.
 
Snowshoes are as old as recorded history itself, going back all the way to about 4000 B.C. or earlier, and first coming to this continent with Asian adventurers who crossed the Bering Strait and settled in Alaska — long before Europeans got the bug to travel.
 
So how difficult is snowshoeing? Can you walk? If the answer is yes, then you can snowshoe. At its most basic, the sport involves nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other with snowshoes on your feet. But in truth, efficient snowshoeing does require a technique that is somewhat different than walking in ordinary shoes. When walking in snowshoes, it’s best to lift each shoe a bit and slide the inner edge over the inner edge of the other shoe. If the shoes don’t overlap a bit when you stride, you’ll be forced to walk with a bowlegged gate that can be taxing.
 
While ancient snowshoes were made from wood and leather, most of today’s snowshoes are made with aluminum, plastic and various synthetic materials. But the idea is the same: the snowshoe gives walkers a big footprint, so they won’t quickly sink into the snow. Because snowshoes distribute body weight over a large area, even soft snow can provide adequate support for walking.
 
The health benefits of snowshoeing are multiple. First, it’s good aerobic exercise that can keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time. What’s more, it improves leg muscle tone, and if trekking poles are used, it can improve upper body fitness as well.
 
Bill LaPierre of Yukon Charlie’s, a major supplier of high quality snowshoe equipment, recommends using poles, since they can help you remain stable and upright on challenging terrain, while reducing the burden on your knees. Dunham’s carries a wide range of Yukon Charlie’s snowshoe gear.
 
Snowshoes are available in a variety of lengths and widths. The larger snowshoes are for bigger people and more difficult conditions. Children’s sizes are also available. In addition to various sizes, snowshoes come in a range of styles, each designed for a particular type of hiking. Aerobic or running snowshoes are small and light and are not meant for wilderness hiking. Recreational snowshoes are larger than the aerobic models, and are great for moderate walks. Mountaineering snowshoes are the largest. They usually have a long tail and are meant for long-distance trips and serious hill climbing.  A Dunham’s sales consultant can help you choose the size and type of snowshoe that’s right for you and every member of your family. 
 
Hoofing It
 
Most winter sports require some heavy-duty foot protection. And while some, such as skiing, call for purpose-built footwear, for many activities a pair of high-quality insulated boots can keep you warm and on the move. In fact, for those whose idea of great winter sport is a hike through the woods on a snowy day, boots and warm clothing are all the equipment that’s necessary. Of course a good boot is essential gear for hunters as well.
 
Winter hikes are an activity that the entire family can enjoy. Because only minimal gear is needed, it won’t break the bank. Hunting has also become more of a family activity in recent years, as parents strive to teach their offspring the value of self-sufficiency, while experiencing the joys of outdoor activity and skill development.
 
While a variety of boots that claim to be waterproof and insulated are available, not all are created equal. Nothing ruins a nice afternoon hike or a winter hunting trip faster than cold feet. Dunham’s carries several types of heavy-duty insulated boots that can keep your tootsies warm in the most severe conditions.
 
For men, the Rocky Jasper Trac Insulated Pac Boot is a superb choice. With a polar-trac outsole for great grip, a removable three-ply liner, 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, and guaranteed waterproof construction, this boot is ready to take on old-man winter.
 
The Itasca Snowbird Boot is a popular choice for the ladies. This heavy-duty insulated boot is great for hunting and other winter activities. Dunham’s also carries boots for the kids. Ask your sales representative to help you find the winter footwear that’s right for your outdoor activities. 
 
Safe, Not Sorry
 
While most hunters think of gear in terms of what they’ll be taking out to the field, a good gun safe is a critical piece of equipment for every hunter.
 
Gun ownership carries with it a measure of responsibility. In the home, the only safe weapon is one that is stored in such a way that it can’t be accessed by an intruder or curious child. And the best way to ensure that your guns are secure is to lock them in a safe. Of course, a good safe has other uses as well, such as the storage of precious metals, jewelry, cash, and important documents.
 
A small safe is okay for cash and handguns, but for long-gun hunting weapons, a fairly large safe is necessary. However, many modern safes are designed to economize space by allowing for alternate rows of barrel up and barrel down storage.
 
Plan carefully before choosing a safe. Consider possible future needs as well as current requirements. Fire and water protection should also enter into your decision. ETL ratings are an assurance of fire protection, but waterproofing can be important as well, particularly if you live in a flood zone. Your Dunham’s representative can help you decide what kind of safe best meets your requirements.
 
Among Dunham’s most popular safes is the Stack-On Elite Gun Convertible Fire Safe. With storage for up to 24 long guns, the safe features reinforced steel doors and five large live-action locking bolts. An additional three solid-steel dead bolts secure the hinge side of the door. It’s a safe that will protect your weapons and provide peace of mind.
 
 Paddle the Day Away
 
Kayaking is a water sport the entire family can enjoy. Few outdoor sports offer as big a return in fun for as small an investment. And because kayaks are light and compact, they’re easy to store and transport.  
 
While kayaks are well suited to hunting and fishing, they’re now used primarily for recreational boating. And in comparison to other watercraft, kayaks are a bargain. For example, KL Industries eight- and ten-foot Water Quest Kayaks are very stable and come with padded seats and storage. And they’re available at Dunham’s.
 
Other very affordable choices are the Pelican Ultimate 100 and Escape 100 kayaks. These boats turn and track with the best of them, yet they’re stable and easy to paddle. Ask your Dunham’s sales representative to help you choose the kayak that’s best matched to your needs.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Paddleboard It Up!

Part surfboard, part kayak: pure challenge

Those who like to play on their feet may want to try stand-up paddleboarding.  While paddleboarding is a close relative of both kayaking and surfing, it offers more of a workout than kayaking but is much easier to master than surfing.

While the origins of paddleboarding can be traced to Hawaii and that state’s surfing culture, the sport’s popularity has increased rapidly in recent years, and it is now a favored activity almost anywhere that water can be found. Thanks to the introduction of flat bottom and touring models, paddleboarding has recently become very popular on calm inland waters.

As with kayaks, wider paddleboards are more stable than narrow boards, while narrow boards are faster. To avoid learning frustration, it’s best to start with a wide board. Most paddleboards have a deck pad on top that provides good traction for your feet. The newest boards from Pelican International also have a dry hatch, bungee cords, carrying handles, and a flexible rubber fin that enhances stability.

Paddle choice will depend on your height. You should choose a paddle that’s six to ten inches taller than you. Most paddles include a central angle or elbow to keep the blade correctly positioned in the water.

Mounting and riding a stand-up paddleboard requires a bit of finesse. The paddle can be used as an outrigger to provide stability while climbing aboard. The novice paddler may want to bring a friend along to help steady the board. When paddling, your feet should be about two feet apart and centered between the rails. Your knees should be slightly bent and your toes should be pointing toward the front of the board.  Your first attempt is best made on calm water, as it will be easier to stabilize the board in mild conditions.

Like other activities that require practice and skill development, stand-up paddleboarding returns dividends for those who master the sport. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of skimming rapidly and quietly across an expanse of open water under your own power and on your feet.

Note: Please make sure you are wearing the proper equipment and consider your safety before particpating.

-Paddle Bum

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