Kayak Angler Tournament Series (KATS) 2013 Season Wrap-Up

For its second year, ACK hosted KATS (Kayak Angler Tournament Series) in the Austin, Texas area. Competitors from all over Central Texas and beyond gathered at 6 events beginning in January and finishing up Saturday, September 7th at Inks Lake State Park for the Classic Championship.

2013 Saw Growth for the Kayak Angler Tournament Series

The Bastrop event had 77 Anglers in attendance!
The Bastrop event had 77 Anglers in attendance!

The first five tournaments were qualifying events in which contestants could compete in one of three divisions: Pro, Semi-Pro, and Rookie. Those looking for a more serious competition would choose Pro and keep track of their progress over the season for a stake in the Classic Championship and for prestigious titles such as Kayak Angler of the Year and King of the Fish. Those looking to get started in the sport or improve their skills joined in the ranks of the Semi-Pro and Rookie divisions competing for lots of amazing prizes and certificates donated by our generous sponsors!

2013 is the biggest KATS season yet and lured in over 116 different individual competitors with single event participations as high as 77 anglers! New for this year is the www.fishkats.com website, home to all information regarding the series including but not limited to rules, dates and locations, results, photos, registration, and discussion.

Brandon Campbell Wins Angler of the Year & King of the Fish!

2013 was a good year for Brandon!
2013 was a good year for Brandon!

Brandon Campbell earned the Kayak Angler of the Year title in the 5th event of the season at Canyon Lake. His stellar performance won him a fully outfitted Malone Microsport Kayak Trailer courtesy of Patron Sponsor Malone. Brandon also won King of the Fish, a title for the angler who catches the most inches over the entire series, and for this he will be paddling a brand new Amigo kayak courtesy of local Texas Patron Sponsor, Diablo Paddlesports.

Classic Championship Tests Top Anglers

From Left to Right: Mark Nordstrom, Steve Garcia, Ryan Herzog, Chris Coufal and Brandon Campbell.
From Left to Right: Mark Nordstrom, Steve Garcia, Ryan Herzog, Chris Coufal and Brandon Campbell.

The Classic Championship took place on Inks Lake and tested the skills of the Top 20 contestants from the series. A tough day of fishing on a hot September day made for grueling competition allowing long-time KATS veteran Ryan Herzog to win Classic Champion with a 69 inch stringer. Next in line was Steve Garcia (2012 Kayak Angler of the Year and King of the Fish) with 35.5 inches, and taking third place was Mark Nordstrom with 31.5 inches. An informal and fun casting competition took place following the Classic and tested the casting distance and accuracy of several die-hards with Chris Coufal beating out his competition: his prize a fossilized relative of the modern day shad, estimated at 50 million years of age.

When asked, “What’s the best part of running KATS?” tournament director Kristian Kolflat, answered “seeing the camaraderie and fun that the competitors have all the while hosting a fierce competitive battle for cash, prizes, and pride!”

Brothers Dylan (left) and Kristian Kolflat kept things running smoothly. Johanna and Joseph helped too.
Brothers Dylan (left) and Kristian Kolflat kept things running smoothly. Johanna and Joseph helped too.

The KATS Staff wishes to thank all of our sponsors for their continued support and for making this series possible. We’re all looking forward to 2014 and beyond!

2013 KATS Staff:

Kristian Kolflat (Tournament Director)

Joseph Dowdy (Assisstant  Director)

Dylan Kolflat (Event Specialist)

Johanna Kraus–Darden (Event Specialist)

Malone AirFlow Crossrail System

Malone AirFlow Universal Cross Rail System
Malone AirFlow Universal Cross Rail System

The folks at Malone Autoracks are at it again, launching their new AirFlow Crossrail System that fits right on to your vehicle’s factory rack. This unique rack incorporates aerodynamically shaped bars to help reduce the amount of wind noise a typical rack with round or square bars makes while driving down the road. Awesome feature right?

Not only will you not be able to hear your rack whistling as you drive, but no one will be able to steal it while your car is parked. That’s because the AirFlow Crossrails come complete right out of the box with built in locks to help secure your new rack to your vehicle. Even better!

If you are looking for a great rack to haul your toys that is simple to install, has great features, and won’t drain your bank account, check out the new AirFlow Crossrails from Malone. You won’t be sorry that you did.

New Video: How To Properly Secure a Kayak to a Roof Rack

Transporting a kayak can be a little tricky. Trust us. We’ve seen or heard of improperly secured kayaks and canoes tumble to the road from a speeding car more times than we’d like to recount and it breaks our heart every single time. With that in mind, we went ahead and made a new video to help teach you how to properly secure a kayak to your roof rack even without special cradles and saddles. With a simple and inexpensive cam buckle tie down strap system you’ll have a good secure fit for your kayak. There’s plenty of explanation in the video and I’ll let Jerron show you how its done!

FYI, we used the ACK Vehicle Tie Down Kit and show a set of optional Roof Rack Pads in the video.

As always, thanks for watching and let us know if there’s anything we can do to assist you in outfitting your adventures. Leave a comment here or shoot an e-mail to Customer@AustinKayak.com and we’ll be happy to assist!

Trent @ ACK

Naked Roof? Get a Kayak Rack!

ACK employee, Joseph Dowdy, recently wrote a series of comprehensive guides to lead you in the right direction when shopping for auto racks for your car, suv or truck. We thought it may be a good idea to reference each one of them through one post…here ya go:

Yakima roof rack system.

Maybe you just bought a new kayak because you took advantage of our free kayak shipping offer or feel that it’s time to upgrade your current setup. Either way, we’ve got a variety options regardless of how naked your vehicle’s roof top is. We recently published a series of articles to lead you in the right direction. Pick your setup below:

Bare Naked Roof – No rack, rails or crossbars? Don’t blush, we’ll get you covered with simple and affordable to the best in premium and stylish kayak rack solutions.

Factory Racks – Don’t swear at your factory racks just yet. This article highlights a few options for you regardless of whether you have rails, crossbars or both!

Truck Racks – You thought your truck bed would suffice and now you realize that maybe that’s not the case. We’ve got something for you too!

Kayak Cradles for all Racks – You got one sweet rack, now you need a way to secure your kayak to it? Give your kayak some love too, secure it…protect it.

Solutions for Vehicles with Factory Racks

This blog is a continuation of a series designed to help our customers identify which rack system best fits their needs. In this article, we offer some advice to those who own a vehicle with a factory rack.

You’re ready to get to the water with your new or future boat but are realizing that you might need more than just the basic factory rack that came installed on your car. Why? There are three main problems that can arise with factory racks which include low load capacities, incompatibility with aftermarket accessories and a lack of cross bars.

Common Factory Rack Issues

The problem that many factory racks pose is that they just aren’t designed to hold a lot of weight. In general, factory racks have weight capacities that average half of aftermarket base rack systems. Sometimes this means that carrying more than a single boat can be a problem. Of course, load capacity will vary based on the make and model of your vehicle so you’ll need to look into specifics with your car’s manufacturer. In some situations, it might be possible to remove your factory rack to replace it with an aftermarket system (though sometimes it won’t be) or you might have to look into mounting a trailer to your vehicle.

Another problem is that even well designed factory racks can be incompatible with the wide variety of aftermarket accessories that exist. This makes sense because these accessories were designed to fit their respective rack systems but can pose a problem when you want to customize your loading options. That being said, some accessories will be designed to fit particular kinds of factory systems so checking specifications and fit guides should be your first step. Sometimes you might even be able to replace factory cross bars with aftermarket railing systems outlined below which are compatible with many accessories.

If you are satisfied with the customization and load capacity of your factory cross bars, then there are a few products you might find helpful. Of course, for any rack owner looking to carry a kayak it will be necessary to own a pair of tie down straps but you will also want to look into padding for your rack. We offer a number of pads (find them all here) that will protect your roof rack and kayak from suffering damage when loading the boat, the most common of which is simple scratching where the surfaces meet.

Finally, cars often come outfitted only with railings which won’t be very helpful for loading a canoe or kayak. We wanted to outline options for vehicle owners with factory railings but no cross bars, as we carry several products designed for these situations.

Temporary Pad & Strap Systems

The bottom line: Inexpensive, fast & easy to install system that’s adequate for carrying a single boat.

For those who don’t have a whole lot to haul or money to spend, a foam and strap system is something to consider. These temporary rack systems involve straps that circle through the inside of your car along the roof and over the top, where they are attached to foam padding. These are compatible with factory railings IF the straps have adequate space to slide beneath, over or through the railings – however they are not usually designed with railings in mind. Quick and easy to install and remove, these racks are great at carrying a single boat. However, it is important to keep in mind that the foam pads are usually located around the middle of your roof so this is where weight and pressure will be coming down. If your car’s roof has a sensitive area like a sun roof, you’ll want to see if these can be installed around it, otherwise a foam and strap system might not be a good fit for you.

We currently carry four different pad and strap systems: Malone Canoe CarrierMalone Kayak CarrierMalone Handi Roof Rack, & the Quick Sports Strap Roof Magnum.

Basic Railing Crossbar Systems

The Bottom Line: Your average rack compatible with factory railings, great for hauling heavy loads and compatible with a number of accessories.

Vehicle’s outfitted with railings but not crossbars can install these systems designed specifically for this situation. Compared to strap and pad systems these crossbars can carry a much heavier load and are compatible with a number of accessories that allows you to customize your setup, all of which can be found here. These systems involve installing four towers or footpacks that attach to the railings and then connecting a cross bar between each pair. A common misconception is that the installation of these is complicated and permanent when in fact they are fairly easy to install and are considered temporary though they can be left on permanently.

We currently carry three different railing crossbar systems: Thule Load Bars with Thule Crossroad Railing Foot Pack, Yakima Crossbars with Yakima RailGrab Towers & the Malone Universal Cross Rail System.

Premium Railing Crossbar Systems

The Bottom Line: They cost a little extra but are sturdy, look good and make almost no noise compared to the basic cross bar systems.

If you want all the extra features and are willing to spend the money, look no further. These are the newest and most top of the line rack systems, with sleeker, aerodynamic designs meant to reduce driving noise (it is significant) and increase fuel efficiency. Otherwise, these systems are very similar to their less expensive siblings as they are temporary but can be left on permanently, are compatible with most accessories and can hold on average between two and three hundred pounds.

We currently carry two different premium crossbar options: Yakima Rail Whispbar and the Thule Aeroblade with the Thule Rapid Crossroad.

A factory rack is not always something that needs fixing. However, they are limited in what they can offer paddlers when compared to aftermarket rack options. It’s also important to remember that each situation is different and what works for one vehicle might not for another. For those looking into adding aftermarket crossbars, check out the very extensive the fit guides from Thule and Yakima. If you have questions or comments remember to share them below! – Joseph@ACK

If you are interested in finding out more about accessories for your factory rack system, click here. We also have articles for truck owners and vehicles with a ‘naked’ roof.

Rack Cradles to Customize Your Load

Every situation is different when it comes to vehicle racks. While a base or factory rack system gets you started, you can truly begin to customize your vehicle to your lifestyle when you incorporate rack accessories. Whatever your needs may be, there is usually a rack accessory that can create a solution for you.

Rack accessories come in many shapes and sizes and range from general function to very specialized purposes. In this article we outline rack cradles, a type of accessory that offers security for your boat & rack as well as additional customization based on the cradle style. For paddlers looking to maximize their rack space to carry more than just a single kayak, a J-Cradle might be for them. For those who need some help loading one kayak securely and safely, a V-Cradle is more in line with their needs.

J-Cradles

The Bottom Line: Ideal way to decrease space required to load a kayak for those who are looking to carry more on top.

One downside to every vehicle rack is that they can only be so wide. By the time you have a kayak loaded on top, you’ve already used up a majority of the space; forget adding additional cargo up there! As a remedy for those who want to load their boat in conjunction with other gear (like a bike roof rack, cargo box, or even an extra boat), a number of J-Cradles exist.

J-cradles get their name because they are shaped like a ‘J’.  They attach to your bars so that kayaks can fit vertically inside the cradle rather than laying flat, greatly reducing the space required to load a kayak. J-Cradles are often used in tandem so that two boats can be loaded comfortably standing side by side. Keep in mind that these cradles do not increase the load capacity of your rack, so even though you might have the capability to fit more, you still need to consider the weight. Additionally, J-Cradles do require that you load your kayaks at a higher point, so they tend to be more popular on smaller cars.

We have a number of J-Cradles available for purchase that vary by fit and capability. Once you decide that you’re interested in a J-Cradle, you’ll need to decide which one best works for you: Yakima Hullraiser, Malone J Loader Kayak Carrier, Malone J Pro Kayak Carrier, Malone Downloader Folding Kayak Carrier, Yakima Hullraiser Aero, Thule Hull-A-Port 834 Kayak Carrier, Yakima Bowdown Kayak Carrier and the Thule Hull-A-Port Pro 835 Kayak Carrier.

V-Cradles

The Bottom Line: The most stable and secure option for those interested in carrying only a kayak on their roof.

Base rack systems are not designed to have things strapped directly to them. This can often result in damage to the cargo and even the rack itself. Pad’s exist as the most basic form protecting this type of damage but when you want to do more, like increase the security, stability and even the ease of loading your kayak, a number of V-Cradles exist.

V-Cradles get their name from their ‘v’ like shape. Often referred to as saddles, V-Cradles have two pads (on both cross bars) that extend up from the base rack to snugly cradle the bottom of your kayak. These pads can be either part of a single cradle or two separate pieces that adjust to fit the width of your boat. These create sturdy and stable systems perfect for holding a single kayak. Additionally, V-Cradles on the front crossbar can be coupled with gliding or rolling saddles on the back crossbar to make it easier to push your kayak into position.

We have a number of V-Cradles available for purchase that vary by fit and capability. Once you decide that you’re interested in a V-Cradle, you’ll need to decide which one best works for you: Yakima Land Shark Saddles, Yakima Mako Saddles, Yakima Mako Aero Universal Saddles, Yakima Even Keel, Thule Set To Go Saddle, Malone Saddle Up Pro Kayak Carrier, Thule Roll Model Kayak Carrier, Thule Glide and Set Kayak Rack with Quick Draws, and the Thule Top Deck Kayak Saddle.

J-Cradles and V-Cradles are only the start of the options you have to customize your rack. When coupled with other roof accessories like a cargo box or bike roof rack you can really start to create a rack system that fits your needs. We offer a great deal of rack options all that can be found here. Thanks for reading and as always share any questions or comments below! – Joseph@ACK

If you are interested in finding out more about base rack options for your vehicle click here. We also have articles for truck owners and vehicles with factory racks.

 

 

Base Rack Systems for Naked Roofs

One of the first steps to getting on the water with your new boat is to have a vehicle rack that can transport it. While some SUVs come with factory rails and/or racks, many don’t and as far as cars go, you’ll more than likely have nothing at all. If you have a naked roof waiting to get dressed up, then this article is for you!

The first thing to finding the right rack is to ask yourself how many boats you will be carrying and how much you will be willing to spend. Then you’ll need to find a rack that meets these needs and is compatible with your vehicle. We’ve outlined three different base rack systems below that we hope will get you started on finding the best fitting rack for you.

Temporary Pad & Strap Systems

The bottom line: Inexpensive, fast & easy to install system that’s adequate for carrying a single boat.

For those who don’t have a whole lot to haul or money to spend, a foam and strap system is something to consider. These temporary rack systems involve straps that circle through the inside of your car along the roof and over the top, where they are attached to foam padding. Quick and easy to install and remove, these racks are great at carrying a single boat. However, it is important to keep in mind that the foam pads are usually located around the middle of your roof so this is where weight and pressure will be coming down. If your car’s roof has a sensitive area like a sun roof, you’ll want to see if these can be installed around it, otherwise a foam and strap system might not be a good fit for you.

We offer four different pad and strap systems: Malone Canoe CarrierMalone Kayak CarrierMalone Handi Roof Rack, & the Quick Sports Strap Roof Magnum.

Basic Cross Bar Systems

The bottom line: Your average base rack, great for hauling heavy loads and compatible with a number of accessories.

If you’re looking for something that can hold more than just a single boat and aren’t interested in spending extra on features, than think about some of our basic bar systems. These systems involve installing four foot pads or towers along the roof of your car and then connecting a cross bar between each pair. A common misconception is that the installation of these are complicated and permanent, when in fact they are fairly easy to install and are considered temporary though can be left on permanently if chosen. Because of the tower/footpad system, these racks can hold much more compared to the pad and strap systems and even most factory racks – averaging somewhere between 150 and 300 pound load capacities. Finally, these bars are compatible with a wide range of accessories ranging from load assists to cradles, all of which can be found here.

We currently carry three different crossbar options: Thule Load Bar with Thule Foot PackSeattle Sports Sherpak, Malone Universal Cross Rails & the Yakima Crossbars with Yakima Q Towers.

Premium Cross Bar Systems

The Bottom Line: They cost a little extra but are sturdy, look good and make almost no noise compared to the basic cross bar systems.

If you want all the extra features and are willing to spend the money, look no further. These are the newest and most top of the line base racks, with sleeker, aerodynamic designs meant to reduce driving noise (it is significant) and increase fuel efficiency. Otherwise, these systems are very similar to their less expensive siblings as they are temporary but can be left on permanently, are compatible with most accessories and can hold on average between two and three hundred pounds.

We currently carry two different premium crossbar options: Yakima Whispbar and the Thule Aeroblade w/ Thule Rapid Traverse Footpack.

Each rack is different and fits various makes and models differently. Check Thule’s and Yakima’s fit guides to see how one of their racks might fit your vehicle. Finally, once you’ve chosen and installed your base rack, you might be interested in rack accessories. We offer a number of them here but look for a blog soon that will detail more about each type. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions remember to share them below! – Joseph@ACK

KATS Sponsor Update – Malone Auto Racks

Over the course of the next few weeks we will be featuring our KATS sponsors through our blog. We appreciate all the support they have provided us over the series!

We are proud to have Malone Auto Racks as one of our patron sponsors for KATS. Malone is the fastest growing rack accessory company in North America and has revolutionized the transportation of paddle sport watercraft. Malone has donated a huge number of prizes including quite a few accessories  that have been raffled off at various events as well as the Malone Microsport Trailer that is set to be awarded to the Kayak Angler of the Year. Having Malone on board has really added a level of excitement to event — easier transportation makes for less frustration and leaves more time fishing!

One of several prizes donated by Malone, the MicroSport Kayak Trailer