Comparing Hobie’s Tandem and Adventure Islands by Daniel Pham

I had the pleasure of testing out the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island (TI) during the ACK demo days back in September. While I was testing the TI out on the lake, I could not help but compare it to the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island (AI) which I had paddled/sailed before. I have to say that operating the TI on the water was very similar to the AI. The TI sail mast area is 90 sq. ft. compared to the AI sail area, which is 57.5 sq. Continue reading Comparing Hobie’s Tandem and Adventure Islands by Daniel Pham

Press Release: Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) Announces the Opening of New Store in Spring, Texas

Austin, Texas (October 11th, 2012) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces plans to open a fourth location in Spring, Texas just north of Houston and south of the bustling communities of The Woodlands and Conroe. This new store is in addition to the current Austin, San Marcos and Houston locations.

The store will consist of 5100 square feet conveniently located at 23310 North I-45 near the Hardy toll road. It is approximately 45 miles from the current Houston location and will offer an expansive selection of paddlesport, camping and other outdoor adventure gear along with associated services and events.

“We are thrilled to be serving an area with loyal customers that have driven up to two hours to visit our current Houston location whether shopping for a new kayak or looking for a small hard to find repair part” said Chris Hackerd, MSP Holdings VP of Store Operations, “This store will be closer to home and will expand our reach farther north and into east Texas and western Louisiana targeting those who appreciate the region’s unlimited outdoor recreational activities.”

“Austin Canoe & Kayak’s newest store strategically places them in the heart of north Houston. They will be able to provide the same incredible selection and unparalleled service to outdoor enthusiasts in Spring, The Woodlands, Conroe, Kingwood, Atascocita, Cypress and surrounding areas that their existing customers have been accustomed to” according to Barry Sandler of Sandler Realty, “this location places ACK in the perfect place to expand its thriving business.”

The location was selected after careful consideration and in-depth market research. The results clearly identified a healthy and active lifestyle community interested in the great outdoors. The store is slated to officially open its doors December 1st of 2012.

This store will also house the fourth “Store-in-a-Store” concept with dedicated floor space for Rack Boys, providing a full assortment of vehicle racks, trailers and accessories and installation services.

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.ACK.com and www.RackBoys.com and within four physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring and Houston, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please call Roland Jimenez at 512-687-3010, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

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Houston Summer Boat Show on the Horizon!

Houston 2011 Boat Show

ACK’s 2012 Boat Show Season will be coming to a close this June marked by the Summer Houston Boat Show. We encourage everyone to come out and visit us on at the Reliant Center! We are going to be out there in full force with all of our latest kayaks, paddleboards as well as some accessories. Oh, and of course there will be deals to be had. Here are all the details:

June 20-24 – Houston Boat Show
Location: Reliant Center
Times: June 20-23, 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm; June 24, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Admission: $8 Adult, $4 Children 6-12, Free for Children 5 and under

Did you miss the season and still don’t know what these boat shows are about? Every year ACK participates in a series of Texas shows all centered around the boating industry. These events are a lot of fun and we are always excited to participate! So come on out, this is your last chance before the 2012 season ends!

Joseph@ACK

When a weather window presents itself…

…it is best to take full advantage of it.  This was the case last week with light winds and clear blue skies.  A customer of mine and I set out on his Hobie Tandem Island to do some offshore fishing off the coast of Freeport and boy did we score big!

Jerron Holding a Beautiful King Fish (Photo by Daniel Pham)

First let me take a moment to describe to you just how awesome the Hobie Tandem Island is for offshore fishing.  Never have I been in such a stable platform (kayak that is) while fishing out past the breakers. The rigs that seem to be so far away while standing on the beach are easily within reach with the ability to sail out to them. No more are you limited to just what distance you can paddle.  Let the sail out full, angle your boat properly in the wind, and you are off to the races! We had a southeast wind pushing anywhere from 10-15 miles per hour that afternoon and we set our sights on the rig that sat 6.5 miles off the coast. In what would have taken 2 hours to paddle to, we arrived in just a little over 30 minutes. Not to mention the fact we trolled Rapala diving lures the entire way out and scored a couple of King Mackerel. We even lost a monster cobia to a short rig that we passed on our way out. That was the heart breaker that day. Once at the rig we were able to easily reach our 2 Kingfish per person limit, as well as hanging several sharks.  The ride back in was easy, and an added bonus was that even though the air temps were up that day, we stayed nice and cool with the wind in our face due to sailing at a high speed.

Here is a link to our full report: http://www.texaskayakfisherman.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=179719

Also, Daniel (the guy who I was fishing with) and his friend Efren have developed a site dedicated to anyone who currently owns a Hobie Adventure Island or Hobie Tandem Island or is looking at owning either of the two.  The site is packed with helpful hints on rigging, sailing tips, and other juicy tidbits about the boats.  Check them out and join the site, it’s free! Here is a link to their site: http://www.adventureislanders.com/

Jerron @ACK Houston

Just Out of Reach…

If there is a will…we’ll find a way.

We get to do a lot of installs and repairs here at the ACK Houston Store and we have never been faced with an install that we have not been able to do. We recently had a customer bring in his Ocean Kayak Big Game for some rod holder installs and a rudder. The rudder was a breeze but then came the rod holders. Where the customer wanted them was just out of my arms reach in order to put the stainless steel nuts on the back side of the bolt. I really did not want to do a well nut install and was bound and determined to make this work. Before I could go any farther, the phone rang and I ran off to answer it. When I returned to my project I noticed our newest store employee, Vanson Nguyen, was upside down and inside the front hatch of the boat putting the stainless nuts on the boat! Now take into consideration that Van is 5 foot tall and 110 pounds. There is no way I could do it at my size, but he fit perfectly! We coordinated the attack plan for the rest of the install and got it knocked out quick. The customer was very pleased with the install. This experience left us thinking to ourselves, what other boat will Van fit into…..anybody have some requests?

Jerron @ACK Houston

Not Just a Business…

Photo by Tom McDonald

I was just about to sit down for dinner with my wife when I got a phone call concerning some trouble at the Houston ACK Store. At first, it was brought to my attention that the alarm was going off so I got on the horn and got the situation handled accordingly…until my phone went off again and I got some incredibly disturbing news. Indeed the alarm had gone off, but it had done so for an entirely different reason. It turned out that the store had caught fire and the entire back half was engulfed in flames. My wife and I quickly left the restaurant and flew down the highway as fast as possible.

Upon arriving at my “home away from home”, I could not believe what I was seeing. Over a dozen fire trucks, police squad cars and arson police were on site handling the task at hand and saving what was left of the Houston ACK location. Lauren, my wife, said it best when she stated that it resembled a “war zone”.  To be perfectly honest the feeling I first felt was nausea. Over the course of the next 2-3 hours we waited until we were granted entry into the store. The stench was overwhelming of burnt mulch and molten polyethylene. The fire had started in the business behind ours and spread to our back wall. The damage was severe, but we would not fully grasp the surreal nature of the damage until first light of the next day.

The makeshift sales floor, come on by and see us!

The next morning myself and Andrew began to assess the situation and begin the reclamation process. Even with all of our employees, the task was daunting and we quickly knew we would need more hands. Right then a call for help was put out and the response was awe inspiring. I used to see this store as a business with a devoted customer base but this really redefined the word “devoted”. It really got me thinking when I got a chance to step back and soak in what was taking place. Sure ACK is a business, but more importantly we are a family and are part of a kayaking community. The amount of people that showed up to help get us back on our feet was amazing. Be it either helping wash boats that were not damaged, removing destroyed product or any other task that presented itself, we had help in every aspect of the word. Without their selfless sacrifice of time and energy, we would not be where we are today at this point in time.

That is why this blog is a tribute to them. We will always be thankful for your efforts over those crucial days following the fire.  Our customers and friends are the reason we even exist and now more than ever that rings true. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you guys and gals did. There aren’t enough words to describe what you guys have done for us.

Jerron @ACK Houston