By Jim Marsh
Last weekends' Jersey Paddlesports Show saw a large mixed crowd of paddlers swarm in to check out the latest and greatest gear. Out east, the rage seems to be kayak fishing and standup paddling. When you add those to the canoe, kayak and whitewater gear, there was a lot of awesome stuff to see and lots of cool people on site to talk with. Here are the 9 good things that happened:
1. Surfskis just got affordable. Oscar Chalupsky takes us behind the rotomolded 17 foot, Epic V7. At $1495, owning your own surfski just got a little easier. It weighs 46 lbs.
2. Oscar also showed me this mind-blowing new technology from Motionize. It has sensors that measure your stroke and allows you to improve efficiency as you watch it in real-time. Everybody was talking about this thing. It works on the water, giving real-time feedback while you paddle and it's fully submersible. CEO and co-founder Guy Aharon told us the product will be available by summer. After giving it a try it's clear my stroke needs some work. Oscar let me know I scored 70th out of 76 people who had tried. "At least you didn't get last" he chuckled. Oscar's confidence in this product has some thinking it could be a game changer on the race circuit. A standup version is in the works as well.
3. PFDs fit better. Stohlquist is now offering graded sizing. They are cutting foam floatation pieces specific to each size jacket. This is good news for smaller paddlers, whom for years have been forced into wearing bulky, standard size foam blocks. Ryan Lightbody was on hand to explain the idea:
4. Kayak fishing is going big. One of the most popular new kayaks this year is the Hobie Pro Angler. Building on that, Hobie is releasing a double Pro Angler 17T ($5299). At 230 lbs., that's a whole lotta boat. Enter the sleek new custom Trailex Pro Angler Trailer ($1489). It fits the boat perfectly and a pre-attached Wheeleez kayak cart helps it roll across the beach and to the water. Hobie's Jeffrey Fortuna explained:
5. Some SUPs are actually made in the USA. Kelly Fischer from Glide SUP explains why the brand manufactures its boards in Salt Lake City when it could easily import them cheaper from overseas.
6. And of course there's always standup fishing. Live Watersports' Beau Thebault showed us the American-made L2Fish ($2299). Its tunnel hull gives it speed and stability for fishing while standing up; its massive fishing platform allows you to move around freely while casting. Live Watersports currently has ambassadors on the road who plan on taking traditional kayak fishermen for a test drive.
7. You don't have to decide between a skeg and a rudder anymore. Venture kayaks is offering the Skudder. It drops down like a skeg, but steers with your feet like a rudder. Mike Paterson gave us the rundown:
8. You don't have to stay home just because it's windy. Nick Wiltz of Wind Paddle Sails explained exactly how to use it to your advantage.
9. There's lay down paddling too! Adam Masters, son of kayak industry pioneer and Perception founder Bill Masters, provided some late show entertainment when he strapped his laydown Bellyak riverboard to an electric skateboard and took out theAstral booth. The show got a little slow in that last hour, and this was pretty funny way to wrap things up. Thanks Adam.
If you're in the area, don't miss the 2016 Jersey Paddlesports Show. It's a diverse paddling show with a ton of outfitters, trip ideas, clubs and of course innovative products. We'll see you there next year!
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