Category Archives: Canoe

National Paddling Film Festival Roadshow

Yeah, I realize I haven’t posted in ages. I didn’t follow through on some of my travel plans for fall 2008 and I’ve been busy skiing otherwise. I may start dropping skiing posts here since we’re having such a great winter and so many great days on our local hill.

The other item I want to mention in this post is the National Paddling Film Festival Roadshow. I was checking out the local events calendar and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it will be playing down the street from me this February 5th.

I’m definitely planning on going, and I’d recommend that all avid paddlers check to see if this film festival is coming to their neighborhood!

More info is available here:
National Paddling Film Festival Roadshow in Rochester
National Paddling Film Festival Roadshow

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Paddlefest Day 2: Friday PM

So after the high end boat demo Friday morning at the 2008 Adirondack Paddlefest I decided to wander around the vendor area and see what was on offer.

I wasn’t specifically looking for stuff to buy, but I wound up making some key upgrades to my kayaking gear.

The first item of interest to me was a shorter, more comfortable PFD. I own an NRS Groove, and it has some shortcomings with regard to me and my boat.

The first issue I have with the Groove is how small it runs. I own a Large/XL Groove and I really, really have to let the straps out. If I don’t I feel like my chest is being crushed! Not a fun way to spend a long paddle.

In addition to being cramped on the inside the Groove is bulky in the chest area. I feel like I already have plenty of chest development, and I don’t need more bulk in that area. The Groove adds so much bulk that it nearly interferes with my paddle stroke. Again, not fun on a long paddle.

Finally, the Groove is a fairly lengthy PFD. This means that it extends to the small of my back. This is a problem because my kayak has a high rear deck and seat, and the PFDs extra bulk forces me into a somewhat cramped seating position. Again, not conducive to comfort on a long paddle!

Thankfully, my newfound pal Erica did an excellent job fitting me for my new PFD! She sized me up and immediately knew that the Astral V-Eight would suit my needs.

The Astral V-Eight is a much better fit. I wear a Small/Medium, which is my usual clothing size, and I don’t feel as though my ribs are being crushed. It also doesn’t add bulk to my chest, and this means less interference and a more comfortable paddle stroke for me.

The Astral V-Eight is also much, much shorter so it doesn’t interfere with the rear deck or seat back of my kayak. The V-Eight also has a nice ventilating mesh that covers my lower back and keeps me much, much cooler and more comfortable when I am on a long paddle.

The other key item I picked up that afternoon was a new paddle in a shorter 220 cm length. This paddle was a FoxWorx Vixen handmade in Bainbridge, NY by the Fox family!

The FoxWorx Vixen is a hybrid design that takes advantage of different material types for different portions of the paddle. The blades are fiberglass, so the swing inertia is kept low. The shaft is epoxy-coated basswood cedar, and it feels incredible in the hand! The shaft is also bent to ease the load on the paddler’s wrists. The ferrule is aluminum and allows the user to feather the blades right or left 60 degrees.

My particular paddle has a laminate layer that consists of a fabric print. The print is of Chinese dragons surrounded by red flames. The red flames match the hull color of my boat, and in Chinese mythology the dragon is considered a harbinger of good fortune and wisdom. This is a picture of my paddle’s blade:

Vixen_Blade.jpg

After all the boat and equipment demos I was pretty pooped. I crashed at my hotel for a bit, then I headed back out to Slickers for a late snack of excellent buffalo wings. Thanks to Tracy for getting my order in, even if it took !@$%@#$% forever to leave the kitchen.

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Paddlefest Day 2: Friday AM High-End Boat Demo

On the morning of Friday, May 16th at Adirondack Paddlefest the kayak company reps in attendance offered a high-end boat demo from 9 AM until noon. I scarfed down my excellent complementary continental breakfast from Riley’s Place at the Water’s Edge Inn and headed down to the Old Forge public beach around 10 AM.

I spent about 2 hours paddling some excellent composite boats made by Current Designs and Boréal Design.

I paddled three Current Designs touring kayaks, the Caribou, the Cypress, and the Solstice GTS.

All three of these boats were excellent in different respects. The Solstice GTS was 17’7″ and had a North American style hull design. The Cypress was a British style hull and measured about 16’9″. The Caribou was a Greenland style hull and measured 17’8″. The Caribou was probably the most efficient of the three boats, and it sliced through the water with ease. The Cypress was slightly less efficient that this, and the Solstice GTS was a little less efficient than the Cypress. The Solstice was probably the most stable of the three boats.

I really have to rave about the design of the Current Designs rudder footpegs in the Solstice GTS. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea to make the footpegs tilt to control the rudder. The major reason I tend to shy away from rudders in general is because I’m a huge fan of solid footpegs to maximize my power transfer to the boat. However, rudders are indispensable when facing strong currents and winds. Current Designs’ footpegs give you the best of both worlds with very little compromise! I also like the extra-wide rudder retaining jaw because I am one of those people who can never seem to get their rudder dead center before retracting it.

The Boréal Design boats that I paddled were also excellent. The first Boréal boat that I paddled was the Fjord. The Fjord is a good solid boat that would suit anyone trying to elevate their paddling skills or looking to go on a short overnight or weekend expedition.

The second Boréal boat I paddled was the Ellesmere. You can tell an incredible amount of work has been put into this hull design because it slices through the water in a truly supernatural manner. The secondary stability of this boat is also superb, and it definitely reminded me that I need to be integrating far more balance and core work into my fitness routines!!!

That’s about all for now. Time to go look at the retail area and play with my brand new Sigma wide-angle lens! Some lunch would also be excellent about now!

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Paddlefest: Day 1

I took May 15th and 16th off from work in anticipation of getting into Old Forge, NY early for the 2008 Adirondack Paddlefest.

I got a somewhat late start out of Rochester. I didn’t get on the road till about 5 PM, mainly because I wanted to workout and I am fairly lazy about packing. Haha. Thankfully rush hour to the east was manageable, and I was able to make good time blitzing down the NYS Thruway from Rochester to Utica. I rolled into Old Forge and arrived at The Waters Edge Inn around 8 PM.

So far my extremely nice room has been well worth it! Here is the view from my balcony:

old_forge_view.jpg

I managed to score an excellent burger for a late dinner down the street at Slicker’s Tavern. Nice place, excellent service. I will probably manage to make my way back there at least once more before Paddlefest is over.

Slicker’s was full of factory reps and the owner of Mountainman Outdoors who pulls this whole show together. I managed to make contact with the gents from Boreal Design and a few others. Should be a good start to the weekend!!!

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Paddlefest: Fulton Chain Lake Route I

Hello all! I know it’s been too long since my last posting, but I have returned with yet another planned outing for this fine year of 2008.

A few prior posts have described my plans to attend the annual Adirondack Paddlefest from May 15th to the 18th in Old Forge, NY. Tonight I pulled out my topo maps and decided to begin planning my routes for the portions of Paddlefest when I would be pursuing my own explorations.

My first planned route is an exploration of the first Fulton Chain Lake, shown in the plot below:

fulton_rte1.png

This route is a little over 5 miles long all said and done. It should be a nice, calm exploration on entirely flatwater.

That’s all for now, I know I’ve been away far too long, but grad school is finally over so I should be able to post more frequently in the future!

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Adirondack Paddlefest Update

Hello all!

Sorry about my delinquent update schedule…I’ve been a little busy and I’m also finally over some illnesses.

I am happy to report that I’ve booked a lakeside room at the Water’s Edge Inn in Old Forge, NY for the Adirondack Paddlefest weekend.

Right now my tentative plan is to drive up Thursday afternoon and check in.

Friday morning I plan to attend the high-end boat test paddle. I plan to spend the afternoon exploring the Fulton Chain Lakes in my own folding kayak.

Saturday morning I plan to check out random kayaks and accessories. I’m really hoping that NRS will be in attendance with the items I’m looking to pick up!

Saturday afternoon will once again see me put my own boat in the water.

Sunday morning I’m not quite sure what I will be doing. I plan to head back toward Rochester Sunday afternoon with a stop in Syracuse to visit a good friend.

That’s about all for now.

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Adirondack Paddlefest: Staging

Yes, I know I’ve been delinquent in my posting frequency of late. I’m sorry to say that I’ve been suffering some health and stress issues at the conclusion of grad school. Not a good way to be by any means!

I’ve been searching for inspiration about what to do with all my newly found free time, and an interesting flyer about the Adirondack Paddlefest showed up in my mail the other day!

This looks like it could be a really cool weekend, and it’s already got my mind bursting with ideas on what to do while I’m there!

The first major decision is whether to camp or get a room. Normally I’d camp without a second thought, but the above mentioned issues give me pause about exposing myself to the elements. I’ve also managed to find lodging right on the water, at the Water’s Edge Inn.

There are some decent campgrounds in the area, but I’m having trouble finding one right on the water’s edge. Anyone got recommendations? Pass ’em along!

The other major consideration at this point is whether or not I should take my personal holiday and a vacation day to go to Paddlefest. Friday morning a special session involving high-end composite boats will be held. That might make it worth my while to head up Thursday.

I’m also debating whether I’d drive back Sunday or Monday. It’s hard to say if I will be tired of demoing boats by Sunday or not. On the other hand, it would be nice to spend an extra day away from work and Rochester. I guess I’ll sleep on this for a couple nights before I decide.

Much more to come, I promise!

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Northern Michigan Paddling Resources

This post was prompted by an informative comment left by Kirk up at Hearthside Grove up in Petoskey, MI.

Kirk was able to confirm that yes, there is a significant drop-off near the mouth of the Bear River where it enters Little Traverse Bay.

Getting fished out before this point will be a must!

Kirk was also able to point out a couple local businesses able to assist the intrepid paddler:

  • The Bear River Canoe Livery, just outside Petoskey, is probably able to answer the remainder of my questions about the Bear River. They rent paddling gear and offer a variety of canoe and kayak trips down the Bear River.
  • The Bahnhof, just inside Petoskey also offers a variety of kayaks for rent or sale. They sound like they have a good range of experience on staff, and are probably able to help with all your paddling needs!

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