Unwrapping New Kayak Colors from Native Watercraft and Liquid Logic

The New Kayak Colors Are Here!

We’ve been anxiously awaiting the new kayak colors from Native Watercraft and Liquid Logic ever since they announced their wacky new names like Lizard Lick, Gator Bait and Road Cone, along with the more normal names like Blue Lagoon, Hidden Oak and Copperhead. Boats featuring the new colors finally arrived at the ACK warehouse today and we were like kids on Christmas morning. We couldn’t wait to get them unwrapped and show off these great new colors! Enjoy the photos.  The new colors are available on the Native Ultimate 12, Manta Ray 12 & 14, Liquid Logic Versa Board, Coupe and Deuce Coupe.

Native Watercraft

Ultimate Kayaks

 

 

Liquid Logic

Versa Boards

 

 

Visit to the Heart of the Paddling World – Part 2 of 5

Chris Hackerd, VP of Store Operations and one of three ACK co-owners, is an avid mountain biker, birder, ‘yak angler and all around outdoors-man. Recently, Chris traveled east to North Carolina to celebrate his grand mother’s 80th birthday and took the opportunity to visit many of the manufacturers based out of the area including Confluence, Legacy, WernerEnoAstralFeel Free/Pyrahna. Below is part two of his trip. See part one here.

Dinner with Werner & A Day At Legacy

I had dinner with Danny Mongo of Werner later that night and he got me up to date on the paddling scene in Asheville. I had no clue when I was spending all my time at my Grandma’s house that I was directly in the heart of what seemed like the paddling center of the universe. Whitewater, Sup, Rec and Fishing all close at hand. The sheer number of kayaks on the roofs of cars was shocking.

My next stop was Legacy paddle sports at their new location as they’ve moved from Greenville, SC to Asheville in the last few months. It certainly had that unfinished look to it but was busting at the seems with potential and innovation. My first stop was RD where I got to take a look at some new color combinations they were working on…pretty sweet looking.

Mike Hooks walked me out onto the floor and it was beautiful! More American workers, sewing, molding and building kayaks and accessories. A couple of dogs were playfully fighting over a chew toy in the corner. Everyone greeted Mike with a smile and seemed happy to be at work which is a great way to keep product quality high in my mind.

The process of molding the kayaks here was very similar to what I saw in Easly, SC. It was fun trying to figure out what mold fit which boat without looking. I got to talk and feel the molds up close and ask questions about how they worked. When I was younger I worked for a plastic injection mold builder for the auto industry. Some of the principals were similar but this was totally different. The injection process has the plastic shot into it while the roto-mold method has carefully measured out tubs of colored resin. This is such a neat experience.

The Legacy team which houses Native and Liquid Logic under one roof has a world of opportunity in front of it and cares deeply about the Whitewater, SUP, Rec and Fishing communities.

Chris@ACK

Next up, Chris spends the day at Eno…

Kayaking 101: Drop the what? The Kayak Skeg Defined

No one likes to fight the elements just to paddle straight. The problem is that once that wind starts blowing even the most experienced paddlers have trouble keeping their bow pointed in the direction they are heading. Sure, there are a number of ways to prep a kayak to lessen the effects of a windy day (like distributing weight along your kayak, packing items below deck, and bringing the right size & shape of boat, etc.) but even after doing all that there’s one feature to consider when shopping for a kayak — the skeg.

To those who aren’t familiar, the skeg is similar to a rudder (more on this here) in a lot of ways. It’s a small blade built in and deployed beneath the rear of the hull (ex. see the Liquid Logic Remix XP below).  Unlike a rudder however, the skeg does not pivot from side to side. In fact many skegs only offer two settings, deployed and not deployed.

So what is it good for?

What it comes down to is tracking. Tracking is a term that refers to keeping your bow in a straight line as you paddle. The skeg helps you track by lessening the effects of wind or rough waters as they push on the hull by connecting it to deeper, more stable water.

So why do some kayaks have them and others not?

Not every kayak has a skeg built in. Skegs are usually found on those that are meant for touring or longer distance paddling and for boats that need the extra assistance. Some kayaks such as the Liquid Logic Remix (pictured below) offer it as on option for boats that may be used for playing around rapids but may also need help for long distance paddling. If you happen to find yourself skegless and in need of one, you aren’t necessarily out of luck. A few of our kayaks do offer optional skegs that can be purchased and installed separately (like the Diablo Chupacabra skeg pictured above). Another, more common optional feature is a rudder, which can offer even more directional control of your kayak.

In the end, whether or not a skeg is right for you can be a personal preference. For first time shoppers, consider the benefits and for long time paddlers who find themselves consistently frustrated and over exerting oneself just to keep straight, a skeg might be something to consider when deciding on your next kayak.

Thanks for reading and happy paddling! – Joseph@ACK

PS. Came across this recent video from Necky Kayaks explaining their unique skeg system. Enjoy!

 

SUP + Kayak = SUPYak?

There is no doubt that Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) are the latest craze in the paddling world but it’s easy to see why — the boards look slick, are easy to lug around and offer both a unique workout and a new perspective on paddling. In fact, SUPs have gained so much popularity over the last few years that they have been turning the heads of some top kayak manufacturers. These brands have responded by “hybridizing” boards with kayaks, creating a unique style of boat that we wanted to discuss in this blog.

So what is the difference between a SUP and a SUP/kayak hybrid? Well, while many people like the idea of a SUP, a common criticism is that they can be limited purpose vessels. If you want to do more than stand up and paddle, you’re pretty much out of luck. SUP/Kayak hybrids are meant to address this issue by combining the stability of a SUP with the customability of a kayak. Each of the hybrid manufacturers, which include Ocean Kayak, Native Watercraft, Liquid Logic and Diablo Paddlesports, have taken it upon themselves to incorporate their brand’s uniqueness with the benefits of a SUP. The different boards are described briefly below.

Versa Board 12-3 by Liquid Logic and Native WatercraftWhat really sets the Versa Board apart from the rest are the seat configuration options. There is a cooler seat, a comfortable wedge or wedge deluxe seat and of course the First Class Swivel seat. Additionally, you’ll find a variety of other unique features including a drop down skeg, built in wheel for transport and a molded in rear handle. And, like all other hybrids, the Versa offers a number of accessory mounting options. Native Watercraft, Liquid Logic’s sister company offers an angler version too! The Versa Board is made of the same materials as your standard plastic kayak which makes it a bit heaver than your traditional composite SUPs but as a result boasts more stability.

Nalu 12.5 by Ocean KayakIntended for entry level, long distance and recreational paddlers, the Nalu is a simple and affordable hybrid that provides both speed and comfort. It comes outfitted with a seat, dry hatch and storage bungee and offers plenty of deck space for mounting accessories. Like the Versa, it can be outfitted for a variety of activities including fishing. It is also made of plastic.

Adios by Diablo Paddlesports The Adios is more kayak than board, that being said, it incorporates SUP stability with a sit-on-top kayak’s maneuverability to create a very unique watercraft. With drink holders, extra space for storage and the optional Larry Chair, the Adios is made for comfort. More so than comfort, the Adios is quite the fishing machine. The mounting options are virtually unlimited and the ability to stand up makes it an ideal platform for sight casting. What really sets this one apart from the rest is the material it’s made of — Thermoformed ABS. For those looking for something a bit smaller, Diablo also offers the Chupacabra, a shorter version of the Adios. To read more about Diablo, click here.

For some, traditional SUPs will provide everything you need. For those intrigued persons who aren’t quite ready to give up everything they love about kayaking, we hope this will expose you to another option that may meet you in between. Thanks for reading and tell us what you think about these so called hybrids by commenting below.

Joseph @ACK

Press Release: Austin Canoe and Kayak Announces Video Contest Winner

Austin, Texas (January 19th, 2012) – Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), today announced the official winner of the “Why I Deserve to Win a Kayak” video contest. The contest was designed to engage participants in convincing the viewing audience, by means of a short 3-minute video, why they deserve to win a kayak by Native Watercraft or Liquid Logic.

Ten participants entered their videos and were at the mercy of the general public’s vote. The videos varied from the short and witty, to those that developed an entire story line using their friends and families as extras. In the end, there was one first place winner, Jason Lee Menard with “Save Jason’s Life”, a well thought out and executed clip about his desperate need to escape from his nosey, and as he claims, possessive girlfriend. Jason was congratulated and awarded a brand new Liquid Logic XP 10 Kayak.

Click to View Video

“I would like to thank all of the other participants, the dudes at Liquid Logic and everyone at Austin Kayak for making this an amazing contest,” said Jason Lee Menard, “It was a stressful and super close battle between Leo and I but luckily I came out with just a few more votes.”

Leo Vasquez came in at a close second with a plea to help him enjoy his retirement with the kayak of his dreams while Bill McClernan secured third place with a dreamy video of his adventures with the hope of winning a smaller kayak than he has now.

All videos can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/AustinKayak.

About Austin Canoe and Kayak

Founded over 20 years ago, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) is an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer based out of Central Texas dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and the widest selection of paddlesports and outdoor equipment. ACK operates three physical retail shops in Austin, San Marcos and Houston, Texas and an online store at www.AustinKayak.com.

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

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A Good Day for a Good Cause

Handing over a donation to TJ Greaney benefiting the Kids Outdoor Zone (Roland, TJ & Kristian)

It was a pleasure meeting up with TJ Greaney, Founder of the Kids Outdoor Zone, a youth ministry that provides mentorship and loving care to children through a variety of outdoor activities, to hand over a donation of just over a $1,000. We collected a portion of the proceeds through entry fees from the  2011 ACK Kayak Fishing Challenge back in October while Legacy Paddlesports, manufacturers of Native Watercraft and Liquid Logic Kayaks matched the donation. We want to thank all tournament participants and Legacy Paddlesports for helping make this a reality and of course the Kids Outdoor Zone for all that they do.

The ACK Team

Press Release: Austin Canoe and Kayak Kicks Off Video Contest For a Chance to Win a Kayak

Austin, Texas (September 28th, 2011) – Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), today announced the launch of the “Why I Deserve to Win a Kayak” video contest. The contest is designed to engage participants into convincing the viewing audience, by means of a short 3-minute video, why they deserve to win a kayak by Native Watercraft or Liquid Logic.

Participation consists of a four-part process that encompasses registration, video creation, video submission and voting. ACK is encouraging participants to keep their videos humorous and entertaining in order to captivate the judges. All video entries must identify which brand and model kayak the participant is attempting to win.

“The contest was designed to help us grow our fan base and ultimately cultivate a richer more interactive experience for our social media network of friends and followers,” said Roland Jimenez, ACK Director of Marketing, “Facebook is the ideal platform for this but at the end of the day, it’s really all about having fun.”

Winners will be chosen through a voting system by Facebook Fans that “Like” the Austin Canoe and Kayak Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/austinkayak. Voting will be launched after the initial submission period ending November 1st, 2011. Interested participants can register and obtain additional information including eligibility requirements, rules and agreements at yakr.us/c7cv.

About Austin Canoe and Kayak

Founded over 20 years ago, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) is an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer based out of Central Texas dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and the widest selection of paddlesports and outdoor equipment. ACK operates three physical retail shops in Austin, San Marcos and Houston, Texas and an online store at www.AustinKayak.com.

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

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2012 Kayak and Canoe Roundup

A look into the latest from Hobie, Ocean Kayak, Necky, Wilderness Systems and more!

For those of us tuned into what’s going on in the paddling industry, August was greeted with much anticipation as manufacturers started rolling out their new kayak and canoe models. Industry professionals and consumers alike became giddy and almost child-like. August pretty much came and went and as always kayak and canoe manufacturers didn’t fail to deliver. With new and innovative features and updates to tried and true designs to shorter and longer versions of already popular models, I’ll just jump right in and sum it all up for you. I could have easily cut and pasted product descriptions but instead I wanted to share with you some of what I know and what I’ve learned over the last few weeks.

 

Wilderness Ride 115 & 135
I was trying to hold back on this one until the end but I can’t help it. The newly designed Wilderness Systems Ride 135 and it’s new sibling the 115 are not to be ignored if you enjoy kayak fishing or simply want a sit-on-top with unbeatable stability, capacity and plenty of cargo space. The most notable new feature is the Freedom Elite seating system, which simply lets you adjust the position of your seat forward and backward — something I have yet to see on any sit-on-top kayak. Another feature familiar to the popular Tarpon series is the SlideTrax accessory system making it easy to install and adjust a variety of accessories. This one gets two thumbs up from this guy! Click for specs, colors and pricing for the Ride 115 and Ride 135.

Dagger Zydeco 9.0 & 11.0
For those of you familiar with the original Zydeco, you already know what a great performer this entry-level gem can be. With it’s new slick design and features, you’d think that these boats were expensive but at less than $450 for the 9.0 and $550 for the 11.0, it’s the perfect boat for just about anyone. I’m big on quality seats and the Zydeco’s adjustable, ultra-comfortable CFS-R Seating System doesn’t disappoint. Compact, lightweight and easy to use, I think it will be hard to find another recreational sit-inside for the buck. Click for specs, colors and pricing for the Zydeco 9.0 and Zydeco 11.0.


Hobie Mirage Revolution 11
Perhaps one of the most notable launches is the new Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 offering all of the same great features as it’s bigger brother in a more compact and lighter configuration. Recently named “Best Boat” at the iCast Sportfishing Trade Show, the Revo 11 deserves it, with the same quality and features you’d come to expect from Hobie. This one is surely to be a hit amongst paddlers and kayak anglers as it lends itself to being more maneuverable making it perfect for rivers and smaller bodies of water. According to several reports, this boat has been described as one that “cuts through water like knives through butter” — sounds about right! Click for specs, colors and pricing.


Hobie Quest Deluxe 11
Why stop at the Revolution? For those who prefer to paddle over the pedal, Hobie has applied their magical shrinking potion to another popular model, the Hobie Quest. Why so magical? Because it’s pretty much an exact replica of it’s bigger brother. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, they took an already awesome boat and simply reduced it’s size and weight making it ideal for smaller paddlers. Don’t be fooled though, it’s still packed will all the great features that you’ll find on the 13ft version such as the mesh-covered stowage pockets, molded in rod holders, high back seat, large covered bow hatch and of course a Hobie paddle. Click for specs, colors and pricing.


Necky Vector 14
Instead of a younger sibling, Necky has taken a step forward with the launch of a larger version of its only sit-on-top model the Vector 13. I haven’t paddled the Vector 13 for several months but I was left with the lasting impression of a fast boat with bullet like tracking — I can only imagine how the 14 paddles. Sleek, slender yet stable enough for any paddler, the Vector 14 is a great boat for those looking for sit inside performance in a sit on top kayak. And how can you not appreciate its good looks! Click for specs, colors and pricing.


Necky Rip 12
The Popular Rip 10 has also joined a new generation of kayaks with siblings with the introduction of the Rip 12. The Rip is known for being an easy to use and playful boat for beginner to intermediate paddlers. The Rip 12 offers many of the sought after features and performance of the 10 but with two extra feet, you can expect enhanced tracking, speed and glide. Click for specs, colors and pricing.


Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 & 12
Probably one of the most talked about launches was the introduction of Ocean Kayak’s new family of kayaks, the Tetra 10 and 12. This is another boat I look forward to paddling soon with reports of better tracking and speed than its cousin, the Trident series. Ocean Kayak labels them as cross-over boats for paddlers who might want to dabble in several different activities. I have to agree as the Trident series was designed with the angler in mind, the Tetra is a made for everyone. You can purchase the base model or the angler version, which come with the Rod Pod II, and two flush mounted rod holders. Click for specs, colors and pricing for the 10 and 12.


Mad River Serenade 13
Just like the Native Watercraft Ultimate and Wilderness Commander, the Serenade 13 can be labeled a kayak/canoe hybrid but edges more towards a canoe in my personal opinion — which is what I love about it. This is the perfect boat for anyone looking for a comfortable kayak-like paddle with all the great features of a canoe. Steve Messana, ACK President and co-owner, had the privilege of  paddling this beautifully designed fiberglass boat and was surprised at how quick it moved and described the paddling experience as a “slick” one — lucky Steve! I haven’t tried this one myself but you can count on me being first in line.


Liquid Logic Marvel 14.5
Okay, so maybe not “new” but once a child of Native Watercraft, the Marvel series has been re-launched under the Liquid Logic brand. Why the mention? Because we are happy to announce that we are now carrying this model so I guess that makes it new to us! Our buyers were “sold” when they had the opportunity to demo this boat and were quick to offer it as part of our product line-up. I’ve personally had a lot of experience with this boat and can only describe it as one of the easiest to use and most comfortable sit-inside tandem kayaks. Complete with the ever-popular First Class seating system, which you can find on the Native Watercraft Ultimate, this one also gets my vote! Click for specs, colors and pricing.


Ocean Kayak Ultra 4.3
Although unavailable at this time, I must, at the minimum, make a quick mention of the shorter version of what many consider to be the “ultimate” kayak-fishing machine, the Ultra 4.7. At 14’ it’s still considered to be a long boat providing the performance you need when you are serious about kayak fishing — stay tuned, we expect availability before the end of the year.

So there you have it. A quick summary but do expect more in depth reviews over the next few months. If you are local to any of our stores, don’t miss out on our Demo Days where you’ll be able to demo all of these models and more.

Have you had the privilege of paddling any of these boats yet? We want to know, share your experiences with us by commenting below.

Roland
ACK HQ