Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Emergency Shelter Igloo - Valley Kayaks

UK based Valley Kayaks make a nylon emergency shelter called the Igloo that fits into a pocket, yet can cover up to four people and drastically cut wind chill. During a surf kayak class with kayaker Nigel Foster years ago, Nigel for fun put us in one of these at lunch on a blistery day. The inside temp increased dramatically and became rather warm. The yellow glow inside was fun too. The Igloo is so small that it could fit in your fanny pack or deck bag while out paddling.

Currently the Valley Kayaks site is down so try these links for retailers that sell Valley Kayaks...
Atlantic Kayak Tours
Adventures Through Kayaking - Port Angeles, WA
Great River Outfitters

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deck Bags for SUPS

Coming from kayaking, I'm used to having stuff on me while paddling - extra water (a must have), an energy bar, maybe a camera, and extra clothes in case the weather turns. This became a problem when I started to rent sups a year ago. I compensated by finding a cheap fanny pack that I could cut holes in the bottom of the pockets to allow water to drain. When winter hit, the fanny pack wasn't big enough for an extra paddling jacket or what have ya. So I attached bungis on my board using NSI attachment loops to strap a dry bag down. This has worked great for smaller stuff.

Other options include using deck bags designed for kayaks. The above bag is made by Sealline (owned by Cascade Designs) in Seattle that makes waterproof bags of various types. These bags have waterproof zippers, bungis, and other options to strap gear down. The bags snap with buckles to your board via your bungis or whatever system you have figured out.

The only downside to bags on your board is the extra weight on the nose that effects carrying the board on land. Even an extra water bottle throws off the balance of my board. Most are putting gear on the nose.

Find this product at Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle.

Wheels for Carrying Your Board

Stand up boards are big and heavy for the most part, and many of us aren't power lifters, so they're not fun to haul that far. In the kayaking world, dollies have been made for hauling around those long boats. Many of those can also be used for sups such as the Ouzel Cart shown above. If you're hauling your board in sand, some products have big wide wheels for sand, while most are for pavement or compacted dirt.

Standupzone had a fun posting the other day on what folks use to haul their boards around:

Author Lloyd Kahn who produces incredible books about US coastal architecture, has a few great vehicles photographed over the years in his books:

Find this product a Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle.

Tips on Night Paddling

I paddle at night a lot often as in the short days of winter, it's another way to get on the water rather than not at all. Sometimes in late summer, night paddles are great to see the bioluminescence (glow in the dark algae, etc). In either case, while night paddling, you have to use your senses more and keep an eye out for boats as not all use lights. Sometimes I'll stop and listen for motors, then proceed ahead. Living in Seattle, I deal with urban waterway paddling daily, so my senses are always on high alert.

In the US, human powered crafts (us) are required to show a white light in case of an encounter with another boat. This can be a waterproof LED or halogen flashlight or headlamp or one of the many waterproof lights available to attach to your PFD or board. I attach a Guardian LED waterproof light to the rear shoulder of my PFD to alert those behind or the side of me without ruining what little night vision I have. I have a wp flashlight on a string in my PFD front pocket, in case I need to show it at an on coming boat. One method to really show yourself off, just in case, is to angle a flashlight onto your board which should light the whole board up. There's a few great lights that can be attached to your board via a suction cup that offer nearly 360 degree coverage. I'd recommend attaching a safety line to a leash cup in case the suction fails.

Use a waterproof laser pointer for immediate emergencies where a boat is coming straight at you and there's no time to move. The best method is to aim the laser at the pilothouse of the boat, which has considerable effects in grabbing their attention. Only use the laser for this purpose, as the light is damaging to your or other folk's eyes. Attach a string to the pointer for storage in your PFD to prevent it from dropping in the water.

I also attach reflective silver tape on my paddle blades on both sides which reflect a boat's lights quite well. On sunny days, the sun will also reflect off your paddle and assist with boaters in seeing you. You can stick strips of the tape on your board if desired.

Check out Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle for these products.