Spring Revival

I started to write an article focusing on spring padding when I thought to myself…ya know, what can we say that we haven’t said before? We’ve published hundreds of blogs over the years and sometimes I wonder, how many get lost deep with our blog archives. You can call me lazy but I figured this might be a good time to revive a couple of similar posts that were focused on preparing for spring in 2011 and earlier this year. – Roland @ACK

Prepare for Spring 2012 – 7 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Kayak for the Spring Paddling Season.

Prepare for Spring 2011 – Similar to our 2012 spring article with a few twists.

Too Early to Start Thinking About Spring? We Don’t Think So!

7 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Kayak for the Spring Paddling Season

For some, the idea of the “spring season” may seem a bit silly, because with the ponds and streams still frozen watersports may be the last thing on their mind. On the flipside, others are in the midst of an unseasonably warm winter. Then of course there are those paddlers who don’t believe seasons exist, and paddle all year long! Regardless of your position, now is a good time to take a look at your kayak or canoe to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for what we can refer to as the busy paddling season. We all understand that kayaks are virtually indestructible and part of what makes them appealing is the fact that you really don’t have to do much in terms of maintenance. However, over time and through heavy use, kayaks and canoes like everything else will begin to deteriorate. Here are a few quick tips that will help extend the life your boat for years to come.

1.) Check For Leaks:

Leaks are generally a result of a gash or more often wear on the bottom of your hull. While some leaks are slow and may not be an immediate threat, patching it up as quickly as possible will keep it from spreading into what may eventually become unrepairable or even worse, pose a safety risk. Also, check for thinning plastic on the bottom of your hull. When an area becomes thin with wear, even a small bump into a sharp rock can cause it to rupture. Obtain a plastic patch kit or take your kayak to your local dealer to repair any damage.

2.) Check the Hardware:

You may have experienced this before. You pick up your kayak only to find that the handle unexpectedly pops loose and your kayak goes falling to the ground. It’s always a good idea to tighten all of the hardware and replace any hardware that has rusted or is showing other signs of corrosion.

3.) Make Sure it All Works:

Sure, most kayaks have limited moving parts but if you own one with a rudder or pedal drive system, double check to make sure it’s all in working order before you head out. While you are at it, check all cables and tubing for fraying wires and cracking. Lubricate all moving parts per the manufacturers instructions.

4.) Check For Wear:

The first parts that typically need replacing are your straps, cargo bungee, rope and other fabric based materials. Check them all, these are usually easily replaceable. A seat that doesn’t provide the proper support due to a faulty strap is not fun when you’re miles from your destination.

5.) Check your Gear:

Just like your kayak, check that all of your gear is in good working order. Items such as your PFD, paddle, vehicle rack system (very important), cart, etc. This is also a good time to check to make sure you have all of your safety gear and replenish any consumables in your first aid kits that you may have used last season.

6.) Check Yourself:

Don’t forget, you are the engine of your kayak, without you, it’s not going anywhere. Start thinking about a conditioning program, shed a few pounds, work on those legs and get some cardio exercises integrated into your daily routine. It’s all for the benefit of your health and will lead to a more enjoyable day on the water.

7.) Make it Look Good:

Okay, maybe not necessary but cleaning your kayak with a mild soap/water mixture and conditioning it with some 303 protectant will not only bring it’s sheen back to life, but will help keep your kayak from fading. 303 contains UV inhibitors so it’s not just all about looks — it will also protect it.

Whether you are one of the few lucky ones experiencing this sensational mild winter or have your packed away in the garage, take a moment to look out for your investment and safety.

Roland @ACK

Is It Too Early to Start Preparing for the 2011 Spring Paddling Season?

We think not!

Spring Is Just Around The Corner

Living in Texas, it’s not difficult to convince someone that spring is just around the corner, but for those of you north of the Red River, yeah, not so much. Maybe if we try hard enough, we can at least convince you that it really is time to start preparing yourself and your boat for the spring paddling season. Need some motivation? Play a slideshow of your favorite paddling photographs or cut some pics out of magazines and strategically place them around the area where you plan to prep your gear. These are pleasant reminders as to why you are doing this instead of sitting on the couch.

Always Carry a Backup Paddle

Safety First!
Start with your PFD, they can deteriorate over time. Check for mildew, make sure the shoulder straps are intact, check the fabric for dry rot and make sure that the foam has not been compressed. Next, look over your paddle for cracks in the shaft or blades and other imperfections. Make sure the connection between the shafts is clean and the push-button is operational. Last thing you want is to be left stranded in open water with a damaged paddle. If you don’t already have one, we recommend you carry a back up paddle. And, of course, inspect your boat. Check for cracks in the hull especially around the scupper holes (if you have a sit on top) and along the keel line. If you do find a crack in the hull, we offer a couple of repair kit options or it might be time to get a new one — wink, wink.

Chances are, you’ll begin paddling while the temperatures are still cool, so make sure your survival pack still has everything you need in case of an emergency. While the air temperature can warm up rather quickly, the water will still be very cold and hypothermia is no joke! If you do plan to paddle while it is still cool out there, make sure you are outfitted with the proper apparel (Check out this month’s product review).

It's Like SPF40 For Your Yak

Does it still work?
Take inventory of all the gear you currently have to make sure it is in proper working order. We recommend that you set your kayak at a comfortable working level (try these Talic Seahorses) and tighten all fittings, carefully inspect all bungee, straps and fabrics for wear, make sure your rudder operates smoothly and check to see that the seals around the hatches are in good shape. If you see any rust forming around any of the bolts and other fittings, consider replacing them. Lastly, clean your boat with a mild detergent and when you are done, apply some 303 Aerospace Kayak Protectant ‑ its like SPF40 for your kayak and it will also bring its shine back to life!

Use this time to check any other gear including dry/wet suits, booties, skirts, kayak rack, tie down straps, kayak/canoe cart and anything else you typically use when paddling.

What about You?
It’s easy to focus on the material things but we sometimes forget that our bodies also need to prepare for the paddling season. If you are like me, you’ve probably already fallen off the self-imposed new year exercise routine — get back on it! Focus on exercises that will strengthen your arms and torso but also pay attention to those legs. Cardio is key when it comes to building your stamina when engaging in long paddling trips. Feeling a little rusty or want to learn some new paddling or shall I dare say proper techniques? Take a lesson or two!

Got everything you need?
Been thinking about fishing from your kayak or simply need to upgrade your paddle? How can we not promote the fact we have the largest offering of kayak accessories available anywhere. After you get all your gear in good working order, we invite you to get comfortable with a cup of hot chocolate and browse our extensive online store.

How are you preparing for the spring paddling season? Comment below, we want to know!