Showing posts from 2015

Building the Slug

Based on my wealth of experience in patching two or three cracks in my Element, I decided that I was fully qualified and ready to build my own boat.

The plan was to design a boat from scratch, because it was becoming increasingly difficult to find production boats that fit me. I liked the Element a lot, but it was just impossible to paddle in a hole, and it was also a little tough on highly concave waves. The long bow tends to hit the water if the wave is really curved. The design I decided to make was basically an Element without a long bow. I decided that I would make it a touch wider, like maybe an inch, and also give it a tiny bit more stern rocker, as well as a shorter and wider stern. I was going to keep the aggressive flared rails. That was where a lot of people raised their eyebrows, since it seems crazy. I was thinking back to the Liquidlogic Vision, which had apparently been acceptable in a hole, despite having some pretty aggressive rails. Of course, the sidewalls on the v…

Composite boat repair for the clueless

My actual introduction to working with composites came when I broke my composite Element. Well, actually that's not true. My real introduction to composites came when my parents used to build paddles and boats in a workshop out back when I was a young kid. Well, actually, I would get in trouble if I tried to go play in the workshop, since resin is toxic, and they didn't want me to start having liver issues before turning 10. So I suppose my real introduction to composites was when I built a composite deck plate with the advice of Jeremy Lauks. But that thing was a piece of junk.

Anyway, the point here is that I was paddling a composite Element on the Slave river in 2011, when there was a huge ton of wood coming down the river. I hit a couple stumps, which put a bunch of little cracks in the stern and a few other areas. However, the big one that finally made me get down to business was when I tried an airscrew on a shallow wave, landed upsidedown, and opened the bow up like an…

Introduction to Composite boatbuilding

Do you sometimes feel like a cantankerous old man, shaking his fist at the kayak industry? “I could totally build a better playboat than that!” you might yell from your porch, or perhaps “What I want to paddle is the gliss monkey hull with the edges of a skunk rocker!” Are you fed up enough to finally do something? Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is? Well, in that case, prepare for a mind-blowing introduction to the incredible world of homemade composite kayaks.

Personally I started building custom composite boats because I am too tall to fit in production boats. I fit in the 2010 Monstar, but it wasn’t comfortable. I also fit in the Fluid Element, but that’s… a  very special case. I needed something short but big. I saw a few other pro paddlers building their own boats, and I figured, hey - how hard can it be?

Oh, looking back on those foolish days of my youth, those two or three long years ago.

In a series of articles on this blog, I will try to express and pass…

Making the US Freestyle team

The 2015 World Freestyle championships are to be held on Garberateur wave on the Ottawa. Team trials for the US team were thus scheduled for the only consistent wave that anyone knew of in anything like the right time of the year: the Glenwood wave. I heard about these decisions sometime in late 2014, and instantly thought to myself that this would be an event to train for. I graduated from CSU in May of 2014 and was going to spend the next year or so just focusing on paddling. I primarily paddle the Fluid Element, which is a surfboat/playboat hybrid, and excels on waves like Glenwood which are a little flat and slow. I would be coming to the event in pretty good physical condition, and would have had a lot of time before the event to work on my freestyle moves. I didn't really think that I could make it, but I knew that my chances were better than they had ever been. My goal wasn't necessarily to make the team, but to paddle at my full potential, and maybe make the top…

River list

This is a list of all the rivers that I can remember paddling on. I'm lucky to have been able to go so many places. I hesitate to publish this, because I like to emphasize a boating style that celebrates not a list of accomplishments, but a set of skills. It doesn't take much to go get your boat wet in a whole lot of rivers, and you sometimes encounter really stellar paddlers that have spent their whole career on just a handful of rivers. However, I was a little curious, and compiling the list really brought back a lot of memories, so I figured that I would share it. Of course, if you weren't on the runs, then me listing the names of the rivers won't really evoke any special memories, so this is not a very exciting article for most people, but sometimes I have to do stuff for myself, not my fans. And then post about it on facebook.
I have almost certainly forgotten a couple rivers, and I probably mistakenly listed a couple rivers twice, thinking that different ru…