[Photos] : ACK’s 2013 Austin Demo Days

We had an absolute blast at this past weekend’s Austin Demo Days at the Hyde Park Quarry and hope you did too. If you missed out, don’t fret! Not only can you check out the photo recap in this blog but you still have the chance to participate in Demo Days this coming weekend in San Marcos, Houston and Spring. For now, enjoy the photos and let us know your favorite kayak, canoe or SUP you were able to try out or what you have been dying to paddle!

Announcing the 2013 Spring Kayak Demo Days!

It’s that time again! The 2013 Spring Demo Days are almost here and we hope you are as excited as us to experience one of the most sought after events in the paddling community.

This year, we will offer two days of full out on the water action for all three demos! Expect to see and demo a wide selection of kayaks, standup paddleboards (SUPs) and canoes. Expect raffles, lots of vendor representation and clinics all day long on a wide range of topics. We’re particularly excited about some new clinic topics this year, like Kayak Fly Fishing with Diablo Paddlesports.

Here are the dates and information but for complete details and maps, click here.

Austin, Texas:
Date: April 6 & 7 (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: Hyde Park Quarries
Sat 10am-4pm & Sun 12pm-4pm (rain or shine)

San Marcos, Texas:
Date: April 13 & 14 (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: Texas Ski Ranch
Sat 10am-4pm & Sun 12pm-4pm (rain or shine)

Houston Demo Days:
**There will be two locations this year to better serve Houston area residents!**
Date: April 13 (Saturday)
Location: Independence Park
Time: 10am-4pm (rain or shine)

Date: April 14 (Sunday)
Location: Elizabeth Kaiser Meyer Park Pond
Time: 10am-4pm (rain or shine)

As always, these events are FREE to attend! Check back in for the latest details including clinic times and topics! 

For more information, directions and maps, visit http://www.austinkayak.com/demo

New Video: Kayaks 101 – Differences Between Kayak Designs

Are you looking for a kayak but overwhelmed by all the different choices? Well you’ve come to the right place! In our continuing “101” video series, ACK’s Roland Jimenez walks you through the basics of choosing the right kayak by identifying the differences between sit-inside, sit-on-top, whitewater, touring and the canoe/kayak hybrid design types.

Still have questions? You can leave a comment here or shoot us an e-mail to Customer@AustinKayak.com and we’ll be glad to help!

Set Sail for the 2013 Winter Boat Shows

The holidays are over, but for many that means it’s soon to be the best time of the year. That’s right, it’s nearly time for the 2013 Winter Boat Shows! Each year several Texas cities host these events and display the widest variety of boats on the market. For the most part the shows revolve around powerboats but we at ACK have taken it upon ourselves to remind event goers that you don’t have to break the bank just to have fun on the water. Our booth always offers an amazing display of kayaks to see, touch and learn about from our expert staff as well as the manufacturer representatives themselves who will also be on hand.

Below you can find the full 2013 Winter Boat Show Schedule. We hope to see you there and just like last year we’ll have some great offers!

Houston Boat Show: Jan. 4th – 13th at the Reliant Center
Info: http://houstonboatshows.com

Austin Boat Show: Jan. 17th – 20th at the Austin Convention Center
Info: http://www.austinboatshow.com

San Antonio Boat Show: Jan. 24th – 27th at the Alamodome
Info: http://www.sanantonioboatshow.com


Boat Pinned? Learn the Z-Drag

Boat pinned in fast moving water? Learn the Z-Drag System. With a length of rope, a few carabiners, and a couple of slings you can quickly set up a simple system to free a pinned canoe, kayak or raft.

Tie a loop in the end of your throw bag and attach this to a central point on the boat with a carabiner if possible. There will be significant force so make sure the attachment point is sturdy and that the carabiner is load rated. Throw the bag of rope to shore. Loop a sling around a tree, pole, rock or some other secure object (this will be your fixed anchor) and secure the sling to itself with another carabiner.  Pass the rope from your throw bag through this carabiner. Using another sling make a Prusik knot on the rope as close to the pinned boat as possible and attach a carabiner here and pass the rope through this carabiner. To ensure that you don’t lose ground once you begin pulling, add another Prusik knot to the rope between the fixed anchor and the boat, attaching this to the anchor sling with a carabiner. This will act as a brake should you lose your grip.


Holiday Shipping Schedule

If you’re planning on gifting a kayak this year (whether for friend, family member or…ahem, yourself), and you want it to arrive by the 24th, time is running out! Take a look at our Holiday Shipping Schedule and you’ll see that Friday, December 14th, is the last day to order to ensure your kayak gets delivered on time. The schedule also shows shipping cutoffs for non-boat orders as well. Happy Holidays everyone!

Top 10 Kayaks For Cold Weather Paddling

A few months back, I wrote a short piece that caused a bit of a stir. Apparently “storing your kayak for the winter” didn’t resound well with many, especially those residing in more temperate regions (tongue in cheek of course). But the reality for many is that the idea of putting a kayak out of commission for a few months is unheard of because of either mild winters or the utilization paddling gear designed for cold weather paddling. I recouped some of the fury through a visual presentation highlighting cold weather paddling apparel and now, in an effort to continue this positive momentum, I’d like to offer some recommendations on kayaks that are ideal for paddling during the coldest months of the year.

The concept actually, is simple — get a kayak with a combination of a higher freeboard (hull that remains out of the water while paddling) and elevated seat that will stay dry or a kayak with a cockpit that can be fully or partially covered by a skirt. Continue reading Top 10 Kayaks For Cold Weather Paddling

Kayaking Family Takes to the Road

There’s nothing like some quality family bonding time spent on the water, and this one will be getting plenty of it. The soon to be 14 member Kellogg Family (11 kids, one on the way), are packing up their kayaks and family into a 35 ft RV, selling their house and taking to the road to explore new places and rivers. “Everything we have done comes from wanting to be free,” says Susie Kellogg. We have to applaud this family for their sense of adventure and wish them luck in their endeavors. To read the full story at the Denver Post, click here.

Enter for a Chance to Win a $50 ACK Gift Certificate!

Dear faithful ACK blog readers, we wanted to extend a quick invitation for you to participate in a survey one of our valued partners (Paddling Fan) is hosting. The information we are collecting is to simply understand what you, as a paddler, are looking for in terms of online resources. The survey can be completed in less than 3 minutes and you’ll also get entered into a contest for a chance to win a $50 Gift Certificate you can use at ACK.com. So, help us out, click here to access the survey. Thanks and good luck! – Roland @ACK

Event Recap: Colorado River Ramble

Jenell Vollmer wins the SurfTech Softop 11-6 donated by ACK

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 Colorado River Ramble here in Austin, Texas. It was A LOT of fun! For those that don’t know, the Ramble is a series of watercraft races for all ages and experience levels. They had races ranging from a 1.5 mile SUP race to a 10 mile tandem kayak race. I’d estimate that they had at least as many racers this year as last (about 150), if not more. Racers put in beneath the Mopac Bridge and paddled as far as Red Bud Isle before returning to the finish line.

Neil, Jonathan and Joseph

Afterwards, racers were invited to the Family Water Festival at the Redbud Center for food, music, activities and prizes. A number of educational tents were set up with kid friendly activities all relating to the outdoor lifestyle. It all fit into the theme of educating the community about the importance of waterways like the Colorado River, which just happens to be the mission of the Colorado River Foundation who put on the event.

ACK had three associates participate in the race, including Neil Parrish from Internet Operations, Kristian Kolflat from the Austin Store, and Office Manager Amy’s son, Jonathan Leggett. Neil and Jonathan both placed third in their respective division.

ACK was honored to be a sponsor of the race donating a Surftech Softop 11-6 which was raffled off to Jenell Vollmer at the festival. Congrats Jenell!

Looking forward to next year’s race!

Joseph @ACK