We’re well inside the two-weeks-till Christmas mark. If you need a little last-minute gift-giving inspiration for that paddler on your list, look no further than a few of C&K’s favorite gear goodies in our annual Holiday Gift Guide.
Something bad happened to North American tent design shortly after the first freestanding dome tents became popular in the 1980s. With the exception of those who clung to tired yet trusty A-frames, the camping masses shunned non-freestanding tents as being old and dated.
On this Sunday afternoon in early May, the Petite Bostonnais River is anything but small. As 600 cfs barrels down the narrow granite gauntlet, a cross-section of the world’s top paddlers stare into the crux of the racecourse: a weir-hole entrance to a chaotic and continuous 60-foot slide with serious face-shredding potential—all of it feeding into an enormous re-circulating hole. Avoiding that sucking man-trap meant threading a seemingly impossible line to the right after more than a minute of all-out paddling through a succession of multi-tiered Class V drops.
In March, Tyler Bradt crushed his L1 vertebrae after landing flat off of Oregon’s 100-foot Abiqua Falls. Three days shy of the five-month anniversary of that accident, on Aug. 17, Bradt—the 25-year-old reigning waterfall-drop world record holder, at 189 feet—was back, for a run down a legendary line, “The Box.”
Ed’s note: In the interest of, you know, facilitating dialogue, we’ve decided to start rolling out one of the magazine’s longtime recurring features, “Ask Eddy,” here on the website; below the latest, from the August 2011 issue. We invite readers to submit future questions for Eddy’s consideration here, at our Facebook page or by regular ol’ email: AskEddy@canoekayak.com.)
After battling near-constant headwinds and 20-foot seas on Ireland’s west coast, sea kayakers Jeff Allen and Harry Whelan thought the island’s sheltered east coast would be the easiest part of their attempt to set a new speed record for kayaking around Ireland. At a pub in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, Allen, 49, and Whelan, 42, challenged themselves to knock off the last 225 miles in three days.
Krisztina Zur (Newport Beach, Calif.) won a silver medal Friday in the Women’s K-1, 1000-meter race at the 2011 ICF Sprint World Championships in Szeged, Hungary. The Hungarian-American finished in 4 minutes, 13.47 seconds, 2.08 second behind the first place finisher, Tamara Csipes of Hungary. Zur, who won four 2011 World Cup Series medals, led through the first two splits in the non-Olympic event.
Squatting in the rain on the banks of Washington’s East Fork of the Lewis, MacGyvering a drain-plug from a rotten stick and duct tape, it hit me; creekboating is an odd human behavior. The practice pushes the limits of what’s possible in a small, plastic boat, and challenges manufacturers to make reliable kayaks that paddlers can trust.
This new dog knows all the old tricks, and does them well. Britain’s fastest-growing kayak manufacturer designed this high-volume displacement hull beast with a long waterline for speed and highly controlled, confident paddling. “It’s perfect for tight lines in big, pushy water,” one tester said. “It would be great on the North Fork Payette-anything large and continuous.”
Bombproof. The blow-molded, high-molecular-weight plastic in this new, plus-size downriver tank could likely survive a direct hit from a howitzer. We didn’t actually put a bomb in the German-designed creeker, but our testers did slam it into a rock or two.
After setting the creekboat design bar high in 2006 with the release of the lightning-fast original Burn, Pyranha has managed to make it better. Raised front rocker makes for easier boof strokes without sacrificing speed, and the redesigned Burn’s slightly raised carving rails still provide precise maneuvering for quick eddy turns without getting hung-up on low-volume slides or while skittering over rocks.
Like to bomb the big stuff and play along the way? Imagine a creekboat with a playboat hull: That’s the Detox. Aptly suited for tearing up big green waves and dropping waterfalls, the Detox is the missing link between Fluid’s playful river-running Spice and its creek-specific Solo.
Professional kiteboarder Tonia Farman launched Athletes for Cancer in 2007 in response to her brother’s yearlong battle with leukemia, the disease that ultimately took his life. While her brother was subject to a suite of medical tests and treatments, Farman resolved, “We needed to do something other than just sit and watch.” The result: a fundraising and athletic challenge that’s evolved into the annual summer Tenacity Games.
The late Bill Mason famously said, “Anyone who tells you portaging is fun is either a liar or crazy.” But in the same breath, the iconic canoeist and filmmaker would note that a little suffering goes a long way in escaping crowds of people, making the portage a gateway to wilderness paddling. It’s this element of portability that makes the canoe so perfectly suited to traveling lake-to-lake or descending wild rivers—or for going from the roof rack to the beach.
Once again I find myself at Gloucester (Mass.) High School, home of the Fighting Fishermen, bearing up beneath dark storm clouds and a gale of calendar pages. I’m staring down the barrel of my 56th birthday and Father Time’s itchy finger grows heavy on the trigger.