Hiking and Your Feet

Written by Dr. Jeffery W. LaMour at Family Foot & Ankle Clinichiking

Hiking is one of the easiest ways to engage in regular physical activity. Unlike many other athletic pursuits, hiking requires minimal equipment and can be done in almost any type of weather. Plus, there’s the added benefit of exploring the great outdoors while clearing your mind from everyday life. Since hiking typically involves walking on uneven terrain, it can help to develop and strengthen the lower body, but can also expose it to injury. We contacted the experts at Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) to give us some tips on how to keep feet and ankles injury-free while hiking. Continue reading Hiking and Your Feet

SUP 101: Fitness

Surftech_AnnelieseBrosch-yoga2_REQUIREDphotocredit_JodiCaplanPaddle boarding is not only a fun activity but it can also be a fantastic form of exercise. It is a low impact activity that engages your core while simultaneously giving you a great burn in your arms, legs, and back. Standup paddle boarding is  a full body workout that not only tightens your body but also helps improve your overall balance.  On top of this, paddle boarding is one of the few workouts that allows you to “walk on top of” any body of water you want! There are a couple of factors that will determine what kind of intensity level your SUP workout will be.


First consider what kind of water you will be paddling on. Flat, calm, and slow current water is a great way for beginners to get their feet wet and build endurance. Water with waves and currents will cause you to exert more energy as it makes it significantly harder to balance on your board. As with most exercise, the more energy you exert the more your body will respond to the body sculpting workout SUP can give you.


Wind speed plays a huge role in how challenging your SUP experience will be. Windy days will ensure that you get a total body workout when facing strong headwinds while low wind days will give you a low-resistance paddle easing up your workout.   To ensure you are getting a good workout pick a day with light wind speeds and paddle that headwind with all you’ve got!

Stroke Intensity

One of the simplest way to up your SUP workout game is to increase your stroke intensity. For a heart thumping, body-fat-burning workout pump up your paddling speed. For a leisurely paddle slow down your pace and enjoy the therapeutic effect standup paddle boarding can provide, a slow pace is still a workout!

SUP Yoga

Want another way to get a SUP workout in? SUP yoga! SUP yoga is one of the latest trends to hit the SUP community and is an amazing full body workout. This form of SUP exercise is perfect for those who are already steady on a paddleboard but can also be good for beginners who are willing to get a little wet while practicing! Interested? Check out the beginners series SUP yoga video we made with Ferny Barcelo from Six Elephants Yoga and then get outside and try it for yourself.


-Dayvee @ ACK 


Inks Lake Trip Report – Texas

About 2 months ago one of my closest friends, Ben, and I decided to encourage each other to lose weight and get in shape. Ben had already been at it for 4 or 5 months and I was just starting. A few weeks later we decided to sit down weekly to discuss our experiences and release the discussion in the form of an oddly named podcast called “Bacon Tastes Good“. During our discussions Ben mentioned that he would be spending the summer in our native state of Michigan at his in-laws cottage on Intermediate Lake and he was interested in getting a kayak. I suggest he come down to ACK’s San Marcos Demo Days as the Austin Demo Days had already passed, but he was unable to make it down. I then suggested we could rent a couple of kayaks from ACK and take a day off to go paddling and with that the plan was set in motion.

Our mutual friend, Daniel, ( Who also works at ACK. ) has been telling me for years how awesome Inks Lake is so I decided that we’d head there to check it out for ourselves. Ben decided that he wanted to try the Wilderness Systems Ride 115 and I really wanted to try a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. Since it was Ben’s first time kayak I took it upon myself to over plan/prepare for the trip. Inks Lake is about an hour from Cedar Park, Texas where Ben and I both live so there would be no running home for anything we forgot. When all was said and done we ended up having everything we needed for a comfortable day of paddling.

After days of torrential rain in Central Texas the sun rose on a cool clear day. Around 7:30am we loaded the kayaks and packed the car with the final bits of our gear. We got on the road shortly after 8am and arrived at Inks Lake State Park a little over an hour later. After paying our entrance fee’s ($6 a person) we made our way to the boat launch and unloaded the kayaks. Ben scouted out the General Store and the bathroom situation while I unloaded the rest of the gear.

Around 9:45am we started on our first trip of the day to Devils Watering Hole. Not really knowing anything about Inks Lake we were pleasantly surprised to find a small waterfall once we reached the end of Devils Watering Hole. There’s no wonder why that part of Inks Lake is a popular swimming spot. The route to Devils Water Hole is littered with submerged boulders and rock formations. They are tough to see when they are right in front of your kayak. I ran up on one and almost tipped my boat but I was able to keep my balance and stay dry. The nice thing about the paddle from the boat launch to Devils Water Hole is it’s all inside a no wake area so there’s no boat wakes to contend with although I’m sure on the weekends there are a lot more swimmers back in that area.

After an hour of paddling we returned to the boat launch area and pulled the kayaks up on the beach area next to the launch. We ate lunch at a picnic table behind the General Store and recorded a quick 30 min episode of “Bacon Tastes Good”. Before heading out toward Inks Dam we refilled our water bottles and applied more sunscreen to defend against the Texas sun. The trip to Inks Dam would take us outside the no wake area but it wasn’t a real issue as we had the lake pretty much to ourselves except for one ski boat and a couple of fishing boats.

The trip along Inks Lake’s Southern shores to Inks Dam has several inlets that would be tough for motor boats to navigate as they are either littered with submerged trees and rock formations. The coolest being an inlet where there’s part of a forest that is mostly submerged under Inks Lake. At the end of the inlet there’s a small “beach” area where we saw a few fisherman, but except that it would seem that the submerged trees limit access to this area of the water only to human powered boats. Even in our kayaks we couldn’t avoid hitting the tree trunks just below the surface. Our journey into the “forest” proved worth the effort when, from a few feet away we saw a bird, which we were later told was a blue heron, snatch a fish from the water and eat it.

Another inlet led to a neat hidden cove where we found a small motorboat had anchored up. The driver of that boat must of had nerves of steel as there is only a narrow channel between rock outcroppings leading into the the cove. Once we reached Inks Dam we crossed over to the other side of the lake that is lined with houses and Camp Longhorn which made me wish I was a kid again so I could go there for summer camp. From what we could tell it seemed that many of the “cabins” are floating on the water with cool “obstacles” strung between them like a zipline and a wire “bridge”. Once we neared the boat launch we crossed back over to the other side of the lake and once again pulled the kayaks up on the beach.

After a short rest we switched kayaks and did one more paddle to Devils Watering Hole. Then we packed up and headed back to Austin to drop of the kayaks at ACK. Then it was back to Cedar Park in rush hour traffic for food and much needed naps. We had paddled for a total of 4 hours and had a great time. We decided that we needed to come back in the fall to camp at Inks Lake State Park and do some more paddling. Ben decided we will be buying a Wilderness Systems Ride 115 to keep at the cottage in Michigan and in the spirit of building healthier lifestyles we are talking about doing some kayak races in 2013 with the goal of competing in the Colorado River 100 in September.


Fitness Paddling Tips

I wanted to follow up on my previous post about fitness paddling to discuss some tips for making kayaking part of your daily routine. I feel that the biggest reason kayaking isn’t integrated into regular workouts is because the time it takes prep for a paddling outing but by streamlining the storage and launch processes, you can hopefully cut down the time it takes to get on the water.

Keep your kayak secure with kayak cable lock such as this one by Lasso Kong

Kayak or canoe storage can be the biggest hassle of paddling. After a long day of paddling I sometimes find myself dreading the take down of the boats when I get back home — I was just paddling all day, I’m ready to kick back and relax! Well, if you feel comfortable in your neighborhood, it can actually really speed things along if you leave your boat mounted on your car. We DO NOT recommend this for everyone but depending on your comfort level and the type of rack system that you have, leaving your boat on your car overnight for periods of time is something some people choose to do. If you do choose to do this, you should take great care. We offer a number of locks and tie downs that could come in handy which you can find here. If this is not an option for you, consider a quick load/unload hoist or garage rack system.

Make it easy to load and unload with a hoist system such as this Harken 60 lbs Kayak Lift System

Once you’ve decided how to store your kayak or canoe, you should familiarize yourself with loading it on and off your car. After a couple of outings, you’ll do this naturally but it doesn’t hurt to practice. Mastering a quick loading technique can really speed up the time it takes before and after a paddling workout. Keep an eye out for our in-store seminar “Loading and Unloading a Kayak” for tips from our expert staff on how to do this quickly and properly. The seminars take place in Houston, Austin and San Marcos.

Finally, finding the perfect launch point for your paddling workouts is a must. Our Kayak Launch Points App should help you find what you are looking for. Ideally, you will be able to find a point that doesn’t require a long drive time but also allows you to back right up to the water so that you don’t have to lug your kayak very far before paddling. Boat ramps and designated kayak/canoe launch points are a great place for quick unloads.

These are just a few tips I could think of when it comes to fitness paddling, but if you have any pointers yourself, we would love to hear them! Just comment below. – Joseph @ACK