Our 2014 Fall Kayak Demo Days took place earlier this month and as usual we had a great time putting them on! ACK Demo Days are a company wide favorite not only because it give us the opportunity to interact with customers and manufacturer representatives twice a year, but we also get to do a little paddling of our own!
For those of you who are not familiar with ACK Demo Days, they are a bi-annual event that we have hosted since 2006. We host one in the spring and the other in the fall and are happy to say that every year both events seem to get a little bigger and grow a little stronger! Manufacturer representatives from all over the country come together along with their line-up of kayaks, paddle-boards, camping gear, and other accessories to give our customers a chance to try out their most recent upgrades and products. On top of what the manufactures bring, we include our own gear and kayaks for paddles all over Central Texas to test out completely free of charge. Continue reading Thank You For Another Fantastic Fall Demo Days!
Paddle boarding is not only a fun activity but it can also be a fantastic form of exercise. It is a low impact activity that engages your core while simultaneously giving you a great burn in your arms, legs, and back. Standup paddle boarding is a full body workout that not only tightens your body but also helps improve your overall balance. On top of this, paddle boarding is one of the few workouts that allows you to “walk on top of” any body of water you want! There are a couple of factors that will determine what kind of intensity level your SUP workout will be.
First consider what kind of water you will be paddling on. Flat, calm, and slow current water is a great way for beginners to get their feet wet and build endurance. Water with waves and currents will cause you to exert more energy as it makes it significantly harder to balance on your board. As with most exercise, the more energy you exert the more your body will respond to the body sculpting workout SUP can give you.
Wind speed plays a huge role in how challenging your SUP experience will be. Windy days will ensure that you get a total body workout when facing strong headwinds while low wind days will give you a low-resistance paddle easing up your workout. To ensure you are getting a good workout pick a day with light wind speeds and paddle that headwind with all you’ve got!
One of the simplest way to up your SUP workout game is to increase your stroke intensity. For a heart thumping, body-fat-burning workout pump up your paddling speed. For a leisurely paddle slow down your pace and enjoy the therapeutic effect standup paddle boarding can provide, a slow pace is still a workout!
Want another way to get a SUP workout in? SUP yoga! SUP yoga is one of the latest trends to hit the SUP community and is an amazing full body workout. This form of SUP exercise is perfect for those who are already steady on a paddleboard but can also be good for beginners who are willing to get a little wet while practicing! Interested? Check out the beginners series SUP yoga video we made with Ferny Barcelo from Six Elephants Yoga and then get outside and try it for yourself.
Although, at first glance stand up paddle boards look easy to transport, their long and flat shape actually makes them act like wings.
On top of that you have to be careful not to damage their surface. If you’re driving a pickup a van or vehicle big enough to safely transport the board inside, the only thing I’d recommend is getting a padded board bag that will save both your board and your vehicle some wear and tear.
Most people need to transport their SUP on top of their vehicle and if that’s what you need to do there are few things to consider:
Always transport your SUP flat on the roof with the fins facing up, if the board is on edge it will act like a huge sail when you are driving which could cause you to lose control.
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and if you’re still grasping at straws trying to figure out what to do May 11th (Mother’s Day if you didn’t already know that), look no further. Some of us at ACK came up with a few awesome ideas that will surely have your mother anxiously awaiting work on Monday to partake in the office morning brag fest near the Keurig.
The Camping Trip
Devote your weekend to spending some quality time with your mom under the stars. Camping is a great way to get outside, unplug, and unwind. Pack up your car with all the necessities, a tent, bedding, chairs, a portable grill, s’mores supplies and a Yeti cooler to keep that food safe from bears and sneaky neighbors. Then head out to your nearby camping grounds to enjoy each others company and a fun weekend spent outdoors.
Take A Hike
Being active and outdoors is always a great way to bond with your mom and enjoy some beautiful spring weather. Hiking is another inexpensive option that doesn’t require an army’s worth of effort and delivers great results every time. Check out your local park, pick a trail, pack a lunch, and get outside. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and take the necessary safety precautions
Hit The Water
Take your mom out for a day on the water this Mother’s Day. Whether that entails kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, fishing, or just going for a dip; a day in the water is a good day indeed. ACK is currently offering a great deal on Custom Packages – including kayak and SUP packages. Build her something beautiful and keep her smiling from ear to ear.
She’s Not The Outdoorsy Type?
How about setting up a backyard oasis? A lazy Sunday could be the best gift you could give your mom. Set her up with a hammock, sweet tea, good music and some homemade BBQ then sit back and relax. In the end, it’s not always about the gifts you get her, but the time you spend together.
Stand up paddling (SUP) has been popular for many years now but it’s still a new and exciting concept for many paddlers. One of the greatest things about SUP is that it requires minimal gear and can take on just about any body of water (though having the right board for the job certainly helps).
Another reason for the rise in popularity of SUP is that it delivers a full body workout and in a very unique environment. Wouldn’t your prefer to fill your next cross-training activity with waterway wildlife and unique coastal views?
Keep reading for an overview of basic SUP gear and some other common accessories to get you started.
SUP Gear – The Basics
One of the highlights of SUP is the simplicity. A few pieces of basic gear and you’re all set to enjoy some time on the water.
Stand Up Paddleboard: From inflatables to fiberglass racing boards, SUPs come in all shapes in sizes these days. As you might expect, your board will be the most important (and expensive) investment towards getting started paddle-boarding. At ACK we offer a wide range of boards to choose from and encourage you to begin your selection by reading our Choosing a SUP article.
Personal Flotation Device: In 2012, a survey by the American Canoe Association cited that 35% of stand up paddlers never wear a life jacket on the water. We get it, SUP seems like a harmless activity and sometimes the whole idea of it is to keep things simple. Nevertheless, the best way to be safe is just to wear it. If you want to avoid something bulky, try using an inflatable PFD or a low profile one like the NRS Ninja.
Paddle: SUP paddles are made up of a shaft and blade with an angle to maximize efficiency. When picking out your paddle, go for one that’s rougly 6″ to 8″ taller than you are. To learn more about picking out the best paddle, refer to our How To Choose article.
SUP Gear – Other Accessories
A wide range of SUP accessories exist to help you make the most of your time on the water. Depending on your intended use of your board, some of these items should be considered a necessity.
SUP Specific Apparel: No, In the recent years, manufacturers like Level Six have begun to develop SUP specific apparel to help you maximize your comfort on the water. Like all paddling apparel, you’ll want synthetic clothing (avoid cotton!) that handles water well.
Ankle Leash: Wearing an ankle leash is a good idea in any water conditions as it will keep you connected to your SUP no matter what happens. If you plan on playing in the surf or taking your board onto rough water, a leash should be considered a requirement. If you fall off in rough water without a leash, getting separated from your board is a real possibility.
Protective Bags: These exist to protect your investment from damage minor dings and heat damage. Find a bag sized to fit your board or your paddle and make a long lasting product even longer lasting.
Storage Systems: Whether you have one board or three, storage racks and slings exist to help you store your SUP safely.
Transportation Accessories: One of the best things about SUPs is that they’re lightweight and easy to transport. The best way to do it is by using pads or a specialized SUP carrier.
A wide range of accessories exist for stand up paddling, remember to check out your options and see if there are any that can improve your experience on the water. You can find all of our SUP Accessories here.
We asked our Facebook fans, “What’s the strangest thing you’ve found while out on the water?” As you might imagine, there were some interesting responses. Here were 10 of our favorites on the water finds:
1. A canoe which had been lost in a tornado and floated 30 miles down river. (It was returned to the rightful owner) — Found by James H.
2. A baby deer! It had fallen off an island in a large lake we were paddling. Several live on it and swim across to forage. It must have been born on the island. It’s mom got our attention by grunting at us and kind of lead us to it while we paddled – until we heard it cry. It was probably a few days old. We aren’t sure how long it had been paddling. Hubby got out – (water was only a few feet deep at the shore) picked it up with one hand and put it on the land. It curled up and fell asleep immediately. We’ve seen it since – growing and doing well. — Found by Jan G.
3. Chupacabra — Found by Gabe G.
4. I found an old Nazi belt buckle while fly fishing in Germany. Also a bowling ball in the same stream! — Found by Kevin I.
As someone who’s paddling his SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) every chance I get, I’m here to tell you folks that investing in the best paddle you can afford is super important. Every stand up paddler is unique, but we all share a common goal – paddling as efficiently as possible so we can spend more time on the water. Nicer paddles mean lighter swing weights and stiffer blades. These features lead to longer, better paddling sessions. Depending on your paddling style, that could mean more exercise, more fishing, more shoreline exploring, more wave surfing or more rapid running.
Try this simple test and you’ll see what I mean. Grab your household broom and a metal yard shovel. Now, stand on a chair and paddle with the broom. Use good technique, top hand directly over your bottom hand so that the shaft is totally vertical. Reach way out toward the bow of your imaginary board with the “blade,” then finish the stroke at your feet. Paddle five times on each side and then switch to the shovel. Feel the difference? Now imagine fighting that extra weight over the course of an hour-long paddle, or maybe a three-hour paddle. Not fun!
Okay, we’re not paddling our SUPs with broom bristles or shovel blades. But when you upgrade from low-performance plastic blades and aluminum shafts to fiberglass or carbon fiber, you’ll feel the difference. Sure, lightweight materials cost more, but you’re in luck; since a SUP paddle has only one blade, it costs less! You can get a really nice fiberglass paddle for around $200.00, whereas a comparable kayak paddle is more like $275.00.
In addition to being lighter, higher-end blades are also stiffer. The inherent flexibility of most lower-quality blades diminishes the force in your stroke, whereas a stiffer high-quality blade transfers more of your paddling energy to the water. For the casual paddler, this means fewer strokes, less fatigue, and more time on the water. For the performance-minded paddler, it means more BOOM every time your blade digs in.
Fiberglass and carbon fiber are the lightest, stiffest materials available for constructing SUP paddle blades. But which is best for you? Well, that depends on what kind of paddling you like most. For whitewater paddling, consider a rugged fiberglass blade. For longer distances and deep water paddling, lightweight carbon sure feels good after a long day.
Blade size and shape is also important. The early SUP paddle designs were derived from the wider, tear drop shaped outrigger canoe paddle. Although this shape has a place with the very recreational paddler, the more slender, rectangular blade shape is where the sport is heading, like the one on the Werner Tonga SUP Paddle. This shape is much easier on the body, for a shorter or all day paddle and allows room to go in performance as skills grow. Different blade sizes, from small to full help fit every paddler’s body size and strength.
Once you’ve found the right blade for your paddling style, you’ll need to consider paddle length. SUP paddles are sold in varying lengths to accommodate paddlers of different heights and with different styles. For touring, fishing or fitness paddling, look for a paddle that’s about 10” longer than you are tall. If you do plan to head to the coast to play in the waves, a slightly shorter paddle works best – approximately 8” longer than your height. A longer paddle provides a longer, stronger stroke for flatwater, while a shorter paddle enables the quicker, shorter strokes needed to navigate more challenging water. ACK offers several adjustable-length paddles that quickly adapt to fit multiple paddlers. They even stock the three-piece Fiji adjustable for easy breakdown and storage – perfect for travelling with inflatable boards.
With lots of paddles to choose from and lots of details to consider, finding the right SUP paddle can seem like a daunting task – but it’s not! By following these easy tips and investing in a lighter, stiffer, better-performing paddle, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your SUP experience. And the experts at ACK are always there to help. SUP on!
Whatever kind of paddling you like to do, it’s important to always wear your life jacket (or PFD) while you’re out on the water. Think of it like wearing a seat belt in your car – you probably won’t find yourself in a situation where you need it, but it’s a precaution that can be live saving should the worst happen. I came across some great life jacket facts from the Safe Boating Campaign about why you should actually put it on one while you’re out paddling and wanted to share them here:
U.S. Coast Guard’s 2010 statistics stated that approximately 88 percent of boaters who drowned were reported as not wearing life jackets.
This means that over 400 boaters died unexpectedly because they were uninformed or simply not in the habit of taking this significant safety precaution.
It is human nature to think it can’t happen to me–but it can.
The majority of people who drown in boating accidents know how to swim, but become incapacitated in the water.
Sometimes they are injured or unconscious.
Others develop hypothermia or become exhausted.
Some are weighed down by clothing.
An accident usually happens without warning.Other reasons why people don’t wear a life jacket are that it is too hot, or it will mess up their tan line, or they are simply not comfortable.
Usually after the accident, the life jackets are not within reach–in cabinets, trapped under the vessel, floating far away in the water.
Many people don’t realize the variety of new life jackets that are on the market–belt packs and other inflatable styles that are low profile and light weight.
It is important to wear a life jacket at all times while boating.
Stay Hydrated on the Water with the CamelBak Paddle Collection
It’s important to bring water with you on any outdoor adventure and paddling is no exception. That’s why we were thrilled when the Camelbak Paddle Collection was released in 2013 with an assortment of hydration packs designed specifically for paddlers. After spending the year receiving feedback and making improvements, they’ve just released the updated Camelbak Paddle Collection for 2014, a total of three packs designed specifically for a paddler’s needs.
CamelBak Paddle Collection Lineup for 2014
1. Cortez Deck Mounted Hydration System. Completely new for 2014, the Cortez is an insulated hydration bladder that easily clips to the deck of your SUP or kayak using snap clips and a grip strip on the back that prevents sliding. For kayakers, this would fit great on the bow of your ‘yak!
2. Molokai Hydration Backpack. The Molokai is a backpack designed specifically for stand-up paddlers. It’s made from quick drying materials, offers hands free hydration and includes a 70 oz. reservoir so it’s great for long treks with your board. It’s also designed to carry waterproof electronics cases, sunscreen and snacks (not pictured) and is compatible with inflatable PFDs.
3. Tahoe LR Hydration Backpack. For stand-up paddlers hoping to avoid anything going over the shoulders and encumbering upper body movement, the Tahoe LR is for you! This waist-mounted paddle pack includes a 50 oz. reservoir and will hold gear ranging from an inflatable PFD, waterproof electronics case, sunscreen and snacks. Compared to the Molokai, the Tahoe is great for lighter SUP outings.
So how do you stay hydrated on the water? Let us know by commenting below!
With 2013 behind us, many paddlers are looking back at their paddling accomplishments from 2013 and feeling good about what they were able to do with their kayak, canoe or paddleboard. I wanted to get a sense for exactly what people had accomplished over the past year so I started asking around. Here were the most common 10 that I heard:
Buying a first kayak, canoe or paddleboard. No wonder we had to ship so many kayaks out last year! 2013 was a year that many paddlers made their first big purchase and they were certainly proud of it.
Going kayaking more than in 2012. For many paddlers, just getting out more than they did in 2012 was their biggest accomplishment. I can attest, making time for paddling can sometimes be hard but always worth it!
Not flipping over, falling out of the kayak, or losing anything over board. Add a couple of gear leashes and you’ll be a shoe-in for this accomplishment in 2014.
Taking on a particularly long or strenuous paddling trip. Going on a long kayak camping trip or taking on a difficult whitewater river is a big accomplishment and in 2013 many paddlers were able to do just that!
Visiting a certain paddling spot. Many paddlers were able to take a long trip to visit a special paddling destination in 2013, which is great! This also happened to be one of the 5 most common paddling goals for 2014 as well.
Rolling for the first time. It’s an awesome feeling when you finally perform your first successful roll and something many paddlers learned to do in 2013!
Going to the Boondoggle. The kayak fishing Boondoggle was a chance for kayak anglers from across the country to come together and have a good time in 2013. We were very glad to be a part of it!
Taking a paddling class or getting a paddling certification. Whether it was becoming a certified guide or instructor or just taking a couple classes with the ACA, 2013 was a year many paddlers learned new skills!
Winning a paddling competition like a fishing tournament or race. As if participating in an paddling event wasn’t enough, we heard from many paddlers who caught the biggest fish or paddled the fastest. Keep it up!
Insert joke about paddling in the classroom or the bedroom. Ya..when you start asking people what their biggest paddling accomplishment was in 2013, you’re bound to hear a few bad jokes.
So what was your biggest accomplishment? Leave a comment below and let us know!