Field Tested: 4 Expedition-Worthy Crossover Kayaks
Words: Joe Jackson Photos: Aaron Schmidt The Wild and Scenic stretch of Oregon’s Lower Rogue could well be defined as a crossover river. Ambling miles of emerald Class II punctuated with whoop-worthy Class III (and the occasional Class IV drop) make it a perfect place for beginner whitewater boaters to cross into the intermediate range. This heavenly protected stretch made famous by the likes of author Zane Grey and Meryl Streep (a la The River Wild) also toes the line between rugged and luxurious. Deep in the canyon, outfitters such as Rogue Wilderness Adventures serve rib-eye steaks to clients reclining on inflatable couches. This dichotomous stretch of river was the perfect testing ground for a quiver of four crossover kayaks. Our group of C&K staffers and regular contributors spent three long summer days on the Rogue, evaluating how each of these boats would serve as a do (almost) everything river craft. Over these 34 low-stress miles we sprinted in flatwater, dropped the crossovers’ retractable skegs to drift, peeled in and out of every eddy, and left no riffle unsurfed. In the evenings, we compared notes over delicious local craft brew from Ninkasi. After we left the Wild and Scenic section, we
How to Read Water
By Colin Kemp Becoming a well-rounded paddler requires learning a mix of hard skills (such as bracing, throw rope practice, strokes) and soft skills (such as reading water). All too often, however, the soft skills get left behind in today’s world of instant gratification. The stability and maneuverability of modern boats may have helped kayakers build hard skills, but the evolution of gear does not let you cheat the progression of the soft skills, which take time and practice. Learning to read water is just like learning to speak a new language. Not only do you need to be able to say the words, but also you need to understand what the other person is saying to have a good conversation. If you make time to develop the three ‘Ps’ of reading water, you will continue to build your vocabulary and be a better boater for it. Practice! You will never learn to read water if you don’t stop, get out of your boat, and scout a rapid. Even if it is a rapid you’ve run dozens of times before but have never scouted, you may be amazed by what you find. Hone the soft skill of anticipating how various currents
5 Can’t-Miss Paddling Day Trips
Day trips are paddling gateways. They mark the transition from casual after work paddles to the soul altering journeys of discovery that make sea kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater lifelong pursuits. The skills you learn from day tripping—gear selection, navigation, group dynamics and more complex paddle strokes to handle your craft in varying conditions—will serve you well in the future, and pave the way to longer overnight and multiday trips. Before you dive into this list of our favorite day trip destinations, heed this warning: You are about to take the first step toward becoming hopelessly addicted to paddling. Tallahassee, Fla. Floating Florida Santa Cruz, Calif. California Wild Asheville, N.C. Easy Eastern Whitewater Hessel, Mich. Sea Kayaking an Inland Sea Algonquin Park, Ontario The Heart of Canoe Country
Canada’s South Nahanni River is to canoeists what the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon is to whitewater boaters: the ultimate bucket-list experience.
How To Rig A Canoe Sail
BY JIM BAIRD After the last portage on the Adlatok, we began our 14-mile ocean paddle to Hopedale, flanked by the rugged, treeless terrain of the Labrador coast. When we felt wind on the back of our necks, we quickly rigged up sails. Ted came up with a sail system earlier in the trip and we’d used it successfully several times. The beauty of this sail rig is that it can be set up and taken down very quickly. No one needs to hold the sail or operate it, meaning both people can paddle or fish. Here’s how it’s done: Paddles Up: Wedge a paddle on either side of the canoe between your carrying yoke and gear. Use rope or carabiner clips to further secure them if need be. You can also place the paddles in the bow in front of the carrying handle. Bag It: Slip a thick grade carpenter’s garbage bag over the two paddles. Sail on, sail on: This setup works best with the wind at your back. The beauty of this sail rig is that it can be set up and taken down very quickly. No one needs to hold the sail or operate it, meaning both
Seattle to San Diego by sea kayak
How do you follow up 2,400 miles of “pure adventure” paddling the length of the Mississippi River? If you’re Denver-based adventurer Rich Brand, you move on to saltwater, and set out to sea kayak the entire west coast of the United States. Brand is the man behind Captured Heartbeats, movement that seeks to “inspire others to adventure while photographing the people, culture and environment.” After traveling and photographing much of North America by Jeep and motorcycle, he made his first kayak journey in 2014—a Mississippi source to sea. With the Ol’ Muddy behind him, Brand launched his sea kayak in Seattle in early May. We caught up with Brand on the Oregon coast, midway through his 1,000-mile journey to San Diego. CanoeKayak.com: What was the impetus for Captured Heartbeats? Rich Brand: It’s more than just traveling. It’s the ability to meet and be part of people’s lives. I have been welcomed by so many different lives and lifestyles. I interpret this as being able to see and experience the heartbeats of their lives. When the opportunity allows, I like to capture those through imagery. When did you get into paddling? I see up until the Mississippi, most of your travels were motorized.
On Sale Now: August 2015
Cliff Jacobson Unfiltered
An interview with canoeing author and north country legend Cliff Jacobson