Tag Archives: Canoe

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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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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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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