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Posts Tagged ‘gear review’

Osceola, WI: A Thirteen Hour Detour for a New Paddle

Mark Vlaskamp | Canoe Vibes | BEnding Branches Canoe Paddles

She was always there for me.

She had patience during our humble beginnings learning a J-Stroke with Dad in the brown Houston bayous. Those weren’t quick lessons; I was a stubborn learner. She had toughness getting recklessly slammed into the gunnel of a loaded down Penobscot 17.4 for eight-days and just short of one hundred miles. I never heard a peep sitting for hours catching fish off the coast of Carolina as I jammed her off of the unforgiving oyster beds to push myself closer to the action – only to leave her alone on the porch all night after.

I’m a terrible person. She would never make me sleep on the porch.

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Roanoke, VA: Pushing the Limits of Hybrid Acceptability

Canoe Outriggers | Wingman Canoe Stabilizers | Canoe Outriggers for Fishing

“Do we need to scout this one?” I asked as we quickly approached the meaty part of a comfortable class II on a section of Roanoke’s James River. “Where I come from, we scout these things.”

We didn’t scout it.

From the bow, I flew in blind and limited in my ability to steer while my sternman, Wingman Outfitter co-founder Drew Arney, laughed. “Don’t worry” he comforted me – a confident paddler unused to running rapids blind and thus coming off as an uncomfortable noob – as he effortlessly shot us down the hay barrels with a couple wet, halfway committed, halfway not-so-much hero sidekick-ish draw strokes.

Shooting comfortably out of the rapid, I sat there impressed at the stability and handling of their design.

But I wasn’t surprised.

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Predators and Prey: The Forum Watering Hole

Lightweight Kayak Fishing PFD | Canoe Vibes | Wingman Life Jacket

I sit back and watch a certain scene play out over and over. The names, people, and outlets are interchangeable; the scene remains the same. One person is thrilled beyond containment, maybe a little naïve, and doing everything humanly possible to feign a reputable level of courage as they open up to a group of strangers, a group of slightly more experienced keyboard warriors ready to attack at the first sign of weakness.

Check out my new kayak I just purchased!
Awesome day ‘yak fishing in the local creek! Pics above.
Watch my new Go Pro video reelin’ in a personal best smallie!

I read, watch, and nod my head along with the worn out choruses that immediately follow.

LOL! You won’t catch me paddling that cheap thing.
I’ve caught fish that make your fish look like bait!
Dude, ever heard of ‘video editing software?’

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Visibility vs Conspicuity: Improving Visibility on the Water

Visibility vs Conspicuity - Kayak Lighting for Kayak Fishing

Promotional piece reposted from the Yak Gear blog on February 4, 2014.

Visibility is the basic word that the paddlesports industry uses to promote the products that make you visible. We have all heard horror stories similar to the Lost Pearl (Virginia Beach), Norwich Lake (Massachusetts), or Lake George (New York) story where kayakers go unseen by oncoming power boats and are knocked from their kayak, injured, or even killed.


The Products:

With innovations and product development in the industry, kayakers and kayak anglers have many different options to help improve their visibility. For example, the new Railblaza Visibility Package provides the safety conscious paddler with everything you need to paddle safer while on your next adventure. The kit is centered on one Railblaza StarPort Base and one Railblaza TelePole that have an attached orange safety flag – for daytime visibility – and the new NaviLux 360 Degree Light – for 360 degrees of nighttime visibility.

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The Space Between A & B: Old Town NEXT Review

Old Town Next | Canoe Vibes | Canoeing and Kayaking Hybrid Boat Review

In society today, we’re dealing with a problem of epic proportions.

Well, not really. I’ve just always wanted to say that because of the irony involved in epic proportions being a huge problem in society. You see, when you read that the first time, you probably thought I was going to announce the proportionally enormous problem in the next sentence when instead I went and slipped in the back door with the normal-sized problem related to actual proportions.

Poor syntax comedy aside, I’ll scale back the enormity of the giant cheeseburger of an issue in question and get to the real beef I’ve got with society.

Beef: Why does everything have to be so damn mutually exclusive?

As I get older, wiser-ish, and continually more out of shape, I’ve started to realize that as society flushes me through life like a load of laundry on the super cycle, everything I do and every decision I make labels me into one of society’s mutually exclusive categories. It’s simple and seemingly well defined; you’re either A or you’re B. Once you’ve been labeled A or B, we will go from there and see if you’re either X or Y. However, there’s no AB combo and definitely no switching to Y once you sign on with X.

This labeling-people-into-mutually-exclusive-classifications thing as a way to identify people doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Why can’t I be in the middle of the clearly defined A and B labels?

Socially, you may catch me (A) swimming in neon lights and closing down the bar like the lead singer of my own Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque band on Saturday night and then (B) reading Malcolm Gladwell books on Sunday morning. Financially, I (A) listen to Dave Ramsey’s conservative debt free finance podcasts five times a week then I’ll (B) go and put $250 worth of accessories on my $400 cooler. Politically, I (A) believe that free markets and individual achievement are the primary factors behind economic prosperity. However, you better believe I’ll (B) vote against an open carry gun proponent and move to Canada when downtown Houston turns into the OK Corral.

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