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 and we’ll be glad to help!

National Hunting and Fishing Day

With the ACK Demo Days just a few days past, I’ve turned my attention to my next event of the month.  Our semi-annual ACK Demo Days are our biggest events of the year, however the National Hunting and Fishing Day event held the week after the Austin Demo Day is just as important to me.

The National Hunting and Fishing Day was set up to introduce kids to the outdoors. This free event has been going nation wide every 4th Saturday of September since 1972.  The event allows citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and it allows kids the opportunity to toss a fishing line out in the water, shoot a BB gun at a paper target, pull back the string of a bow on a fake deer a few yards away, and learn how to kayak for the first time in their young lives.

With the Houston and San Marcos Demo Day both occurring on the same day as the NHFD I knew I would have a lot of work to do being short staffed but I was up for the challenge. For five hours last Saturday I taught kayak basics to between a hundred and two hundred kids, and watched their faces go from being frightened of being on a kayak by themselves for the first time ever, to laughing and smiling asking to go again and again once their turn was over.

Our booth at the event was by far the busiest, keeping a constant line of eager youths and their parents waiting their turn. I would definitely say this kids event was a complete success and I look forward to participating in more events like this in the future.

Justin Fees
ACK Austin Store Manager

Sidelined for Demo Days :-(

DEMO Days are back in Austin! An event that is worth getting excited about has built anticipation throughout a long summer. The cool Friday rain dampened the ground and cooled the air for a great weekend at the Quarries Lake, where over 80 boats line the soggy bank ready to hit the water and tell their story.  In sharing my favorite aspect of this weekend, I must confess that I am sitting on the sidelines due to a recent hip surgery that has left me crutching around (a mode of transport unsuitable to navigating the rocky, boat laden shore line of the Quarries Lake).

What I enjoy the most will be relayed through second-hand accounts, passed on to me by those who witnessed first-hand the unfolding of each match between kayaker and kayak.  I will certainly miss having my hand in the process, but it will suffice to hear how each kayak was chosen.  For some, it’s in the details and takes very meticulous reasoning to find the perfect yak for their particular use. For others, it’s simply a matter of color, or whether or not their 80 lb lab will fit in the stern tankwell.  And some do not care much about anything except that the kayak will take a beating and get them on the water!

That’s what I enjoy. The process of thinning out the choices and finding the right kayak for the right person–something that happens more often at ACK DEMO Days than any place else. That is also what I will miss as a sideline spectator to the Fall 2010 DEMO Days. Can’t wait ’til spring!

Robert Cotten
ACK Austin Store

Kayaking With My Dog

The dusty truck door slams shut as I head home after a long day’s work.  I’ve got my kayak, my paddle, my life jacket, and I’m headed home to grab my dog Cassius (Cash for short).  Cassius is a 94-pound black lab with a taste for river fish and a love for the water comparable to my own.  He’s no stranger to long river kayak rides, and on occasion has passed the four hour mark down the local Texas river systems with me.

Sometimes we’ll put in at a low point and paddle upstream with Cash usually guiding the way some 30 feet ahead of me.  As the trip progresses he understandably could use a break and will swim up next to my right hand side so I can give him a leg up into my kayak.  In some boats, this kind of maneuver would not be practical, or in some cases even possible.  I own a Wilderness Systems Ride 135, a good fishing boat with lots of leg room and stand-up capability. The hull is a pontoon design which distributes the weight more evenly over a broad surface area of the kayak.  This design allows my buddy Cash to jump in and out of the boat without flipping us or rocking it to where I will fall out with him.

It was my dog that I was primarily thinking about when I first purchased my kayak.  I was drawn to a number of boat designs but realized what I needed after renting a few and going down the river with Cash.  He’s a large dog that needs room and on these hot days I need space for my DuraSoft Cooler.  I found that a 12 foot boat or longer works well with a larger dog and gives me the ability to take him with me on our river excursions while still having space for extra gear that I bring.  Recently I invested in a canine life jacket to be safe and make it so Cash and I can go out on the river for 4 hours or more.  That is typically the time I see Cash getting tired and needing some flotation help. The Ruff Wear Big Eddy Float Coat fits him nicely and the Big Tug Fire Hose Bumper Dog Toy is his personal favorite water toy.  Every time I go out on the river with Cash I see the value of my investment sharing all these great experiences with my canine buddy.

Chris S.
San Marcos Store

Clearance / Closeout Kayaks

We have recently added a bunch of new Clearance and Closeout kayaks to our Outlet (you can see the full list here:

When looking at this list it made me think about something we are often asked, “What is the difference between Closeout and Clearance?”

I thought I would take a moment and define these terms as we use them as it can be confusing, as I am sure others use them quite differently.

Closeout: This is a discontinued kayak and/or kayak color.  We are selling off the remaining stock and the manufacturer is not making it either now, or in the future.
Clearance: This is a kayak and/or kayak color that we have chosen to no longer carry as a “stock” item.  It doesn’t mean that the manufacturer isn’t making it, we are just making room for something else.

Now, this brings up a second question we get.  Why don’t you carry product “X”.  I could dedicate an entire blog to this question, but, the short answer is that we have limited space in our stores and in our warehouse, we have to choose models and colors and if we want to pick up a model we may have to eliminate a less popular one.  Of course there are many other reasons that could drive a decision but like I said, that would take up an entire blog.

So, if you want to save quite a bit on some incredible kayaks, check out the outlet and act fast, in some cases we have just one left.