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Helle Introduces Its Most Compact Knife Ever

Helle Kletten Knife
Helle Kletten Knife | Photo: Courtesy of Helle

Helle of Norway is proud to announce the Kletten, the smallest knife ever made by the 87 year-old-brand. Debuting at the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver, Colorado this June, the Kletten will be available at retail stores this fall.

Helle Kletten Specifications:
Name: Kletten
Weight: 84 g / 2.96 oz
Blade material: triple laminated stainless steel
Blade thickness: 2.7mm
Blade length: 55mm / 2.16-inches
Handle material: Curly birchwood
Handle length: 80 mm / 3.14-inches
Total length (open): 135 mm / 5.31-inches
Style: Folding, lockback
MSRP: $199

In development for several years, Helle’s smallest folding knife to date weighs less than 3 ounces. Measuring only 3.1-inches long folded, its compact size doesn’t compromise on capability. Tucked inside the 2.1-inch drop point blade, Helle’s renowned triple laminated stainless steel features a razor-sharp Scandinavian flat ground edge.

This heirloom-quality gentleman’s knife takes its name from a small but rugged hill near the Helle factory where locals go to enjoy nature. The knife’s striking curly birchwood scales are handcrafted to match the forests of Norway.

“The outdoors always provides our inspiration, from the natural materials we use to how we create our designs,” explains Jan Steffen Helle, production manager. “Our first everyday carry knife needed to be a small yet functional design, one that stays true to our Nordic heritage and craft.”

For over 80 years, Helle’s production focused on traditional fixed-blade knives. In 2010 Helle introduced the best selling Dokka, the brand’s first folding knife. In 2017, Helle released a second larger folding knife with the Bleja. To address the demand for a smaller Scandinavian style knife, the Kletten is designed as an everyday carry, pocket-sized knife for outdoor enthusiasts.

“Getting outside is often a spontaneous act, a short walk at lunch or a bike commute home, activities that don’t require a fixed blade knife,” says Svein-Erik Helle, Helle’s managing director. “We designed the Kletten as a small knife for small trips, a pocket-sized companion for simple, everyday tasks.”

Kletten tiny 1.jpg

Since 1932 Helle makes knives for international markets from the small village of Holmedal, situated on Norway’s rugged northern coast. Please contact Matt Huff ([email protected]) for retailer inquiries in the U.S., or James Graven for press inquiries ([email protected]). Visit helle.com for distributors outside the USA.

About Helle of Norway

Founded in 1932 by brothers Steinar and Sigmund, Helle is a family-owned, world-renowned brand known for producing aesthetically stunning, highly functional knives. Each Helle knife is handcrafted in Holmedal, Norway using natural materials and strict adherence to the art and tradition of Scandinavian knife making. Skilled hands play a major role in Helle’s knife production, and each knife takes up to 45 manual processes to complete. By finishing each knife individually, craftsmen bring out the best qualities of Helle’s past, place, people, and production. The result is a one-of-a-kind knife, worthy of passing down through generations. Please visit www.helle.com to learn more and follow @helleknives on Instagram and Facebook.

Lighting Innovator’s Newest Creation Counters Common Dissatisfaction with New Products

Camper standing next to tent with hat that has LED lights built into it
Hat with built in LED lights. | Photo: Courtesy of Panther Vision

Campers planning their summer excursions should be aware of a new survey showing that 25 percent of self-described outdoor enthusiasts admit to regretting at least half of the outdoor gear purchases they’ve made within the last 12 months.

The Outdoor Industry Association estimates that every year, the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending; $184.5 billion of that spending is strictly on gear. Based on survey results, if a quarter of those product purchases ended in regret at least half the time, the result is an astonishing $23 billion spent annually on outdoor gear the consumer later regrets buying.

“Overall, the number one reason for regret is that the product did not work as advertised, followed by the product being cheaply constructed, or of limited use,” said Amit Bhatnagar, an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who performed an analysis of the survey results.

To combat this rampant buyer’s remorse, Panther Vision commissioned a nationwide survey to better understand the problem as the company designs and launches the revamped version of its “headlamp-in-a-hat,” the POWERCAP 2.0.

“In our shop, we refer to those regretful purchases as PUIs – Purchasing Under the Influence – which most people call impulse buying,” said Chas Waters, Panther Vision’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “We’re all guilty of it, and as outdoorsmen ourselves who’ve felt let down by products that fail to meet our expectations, our team wanted to know just how common this feeling is among others.”

From its creation, Panther Vision has sought to reimagine the use of LED products. After a lifetime of inventing with more than 25 patents to date, founder Mike Waters has focused his energy on lighting innovation. The POWERCAP is at the core of Waters’ creativity, providing reliable hands-free lighting by embedding LED lights in the front of caps and beanies. Building on the original model, the 2.0 puts out four times as much light, offers three different light settings, and runs on AAA batteries that slide neatly into the hat’s lining, offering a design that seamlessly combines comfort, style, and function.

“From these survey results, we’re able to launch a better product that not only draws on the practical innovations that have made our products successful, but are also at the core of Panther Vision’s design strategy,” said Mike Waters. “At the end of the day, we want to ensure our products never let anyone down, no matter what they’re doing or where they’re doing it.” Because Panther Vision believes it will benefit from an outdoor consumer base that is more
knowledgeable and thoughtful in its purchasing, the company also consulted with Dr. Lars Perner, an Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing at the University of Southern California, to better understand ways consumers can save themselves from these regrettable purchases.

Perner shared these five tips for outdoor enthusiasts to consider before purchasing a piece of new gear:

  • Perception Is Not Reality – Product makers lure you in with catchy marketing or “sweet deals”, so you have to focus on buying items you know you have a use for as opposed to just taking advantage of a perceived “deal.”
  • Deliberate Decision Making – Don’t get sucked into the hype or your impulse to buy!
    Sometimes “sleeping” on a decision, especially if it’s an expensive one; will help you avoid
    purchases that you will regret later.
  • In It For The Long Run – If you determine you “have to have it,” buyers should take a second to consider not just the initial cost of the item, but also the cost of maintenance and operations over time. In the case of lighting, some types need much more maintenance and additional costs to keep them running such as batteries.
  • Spouse Approved Spending – Listen, if you can’t easily explain to your spouse why you need the item and the costs associated with it, then maybe you should reconsider. A good rule of thumb before you throw it on your credit card and get hit with high interest rates is if you cannot pay cash, it may be better to wait until you can do so.
  • Healing The Camping Blues – As the seasons begin to change it’s hard not to start daydreaming about getting outdoors. Going online to browse around and get your “outdoor gear fix” is exactly when outdoor enthusiasts are most vulnerable. Take a breath, take inventory of what you already own, and make sure you are buying items you actually need, when you need them. “If outdoor enthusiasts keep these simple tips in mind, we’re confident it will save them from unwanted purchase regrets as well as lead them to understanding Panther Vision’s commitment to quality, functional design, and our obsession with creating innovative lighting solutions,” said Chas Waters. “We
    want to ensure that anyone who buys the POWERCAP 2.0, or any of our other products, never feels even a hint of PUI symptoms.”

About Panther Vision

Panther Vision is an Illinois-based company that designs, manufactures and distributes advanced engineered LED lighting solutions. Our more than 25 patented designs offer consumers unparalleled performance and provide them with uncommon solutions to common everyday problems. Panther Vision products are sold all over the world, but can be found in the U.S. at Lowes, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gander Outdoors, Fred Meyer, AutoZone, LL Bean, Bass Pro, Cabelas, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Amazon and Big 5 Sporting Goods stores.

White Mountain Swift Water Rescue Team Receives 2019 Higgins and Langley Incident Award

MRS and WMSRT team members training on the rope systems used to establish a Tyrolian Traverse during joint team training in October 2018.
MRS and WMSRT team members training on the rope systems used to establish a Tyrolian Traverse during joint team training in October 2018. - Courtesy Photo

The North Conway based White Mountain Swift Water Rescue Team (WMSRT) and Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) received a 2019 Higgins and Langley Swiftwater Rescue Incident Award at the International Association of Water Rescue Professionals conference in South Bend Indiana.

On December 28th, 2018 the two volunteer teams responded to a request from NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers to assist a hypothermic backpacker on the Kinsman trail, who was cut-off by rapidly rising waters on Cascade Brook. Operating at night by headlamp, members of the WMSRT established river safety coverage and ferried ropes across the Class V river with whitewater kayaks.

Members of MRS set up a Tyrolean traverse rope system and transported the hiker and his gear over the raging stream. The WMSRT and MRS had trained together for this specific type of rescue in October of 2018.

The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards in Swiftwater Rescue honor outstanding achievement in the technical discipline of swiftwater and flood rescue. These awards are not heroism awards, they recognize preparedness, teamwork, and a job performed under extreme conditions, where training is vital to the success of rescue missions, and the safety of rescue personnel. The Swiftwater Rescue Incident Award recognizes actions that clearly demonstrate outstanding skill and preparedness in swiftwater rescue.

The White Mountain Swiftwater Rescue Team offers the specialized technical skills, training, knowledge, and experience of the White Mountain whitewater paddling community to support the search, rescue, and recovery operations of federal, state, and local rescue agencies and organizations primarily on, but not limited to, the rivers of the White Mountain region; and to minimize the number of swiftwater and flood-related incidents in the White Mountain region through education, outreach, and advocacy.

The Mountain Rescue Service provides specialized technical teams comprised of world-class guides and climbers who volunteer their time and expertise in the service of hikers and climbers who need assistance, in and around the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  The team is ‘on call’ 24 hours per day, all seasons, with volunteers being mobilized for a full range of incidents: complicated multi-day and nighttime searches in the depth of winter throughout the White Mountain National Forest; technical rope rescues on the region’s many rock climbing cliffs; swift water rescue assistance; and lift evacuations at area ski resorts.

More than 300 volunteers provided nearly 5,000 hours of search and rescue services in New Hampshire in 2018. When added up, the actual SAR hours, training, personal gear, travel, and certification-compliance completed by these volunteer rescuers, these volunteers contribute over $250,000 annually in sweat equity to the NH outdoor community.

Sea Kayaking Tragedy at Dungeness Bay

Dungeness Spit from above, with the New Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance.
Dungeness Spit from above, with the New Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance. | Photo: Dennis Caines

Dungeness Spit is a sliver of hard sand barely 100 yards wide and more than five miles long, sheltering a shallow bay on the northern edge of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The wildlife sanctuary teems with birds and sea life, and the spit is home to the historic New Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857 and still operating today. The annual hike to the lighthouse had become a cherished tradition for the Mountain View Church of the Nazarene outing club, and in recent years some members of the group began kayaking to the lighthouse.

“We loved kayaking so much that we begged to add kayaking to the hikes,” says group member Bill Kelley. So on April 11, 2015, the club split into two groups. Some members would hike out along the spit while others would kayak to the lighthouse, a straightforward paddle of less than three miles.

The low-lying spit provides shelter from ocean swells, but little protection from the afternoon winds that often come whipping off the North Pacific. Forecasters had warned of bad weather for more than a week, but when the group arrived the sky was clear and the wind was light.

The group gathered for a prayer and devotional, after which Dennis Caines asked if any of the hikers would like to kayak. Jacob Austin, 52, and Mandi Walkley, 39, raised their hands. Both were frequent participants in club kayak outings. Austin was keen to paddle, and Walkley wanted to hike to the lighthouse and paddle back. She arranged to share one of Caines’s kayaks with her boyfriend Rob Johnson, who would paddle to the lighthouse and walk back.

The kayakers piled into Caines’ van for the short drive to Clines Spit, where they launched by twos and threes. The conditions could hardly have been better, with Fairchild International Airport in nearby Port Angeles reporting winds of 6-8 mph from the west-southwest—a quartering tailwind.

“It was warm and sunny and nice and we were just flying across the water,” recalls Kelley, then 50, who raced ahead with Austin and Johnson. “We were loving it. We were having the best time.”

The lead trio was in 17-plus foot sea kayaks equipped with rudders and sprayskirts. Ken and Esther Corcoran followed in their Wilderness Tsunami rec-touring boats, while Caines and his wife Linda brought up the rear in a 22-foot tandem. All of the kayakers wore lifejackets, but most weren’t dressed for immersion in cold water. Only the Caines had wetsuits; the others wore cotton layers under light jackets.

Dungeness Spit from above, with the New Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance.
Dungeness Spit from above, with the New Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance. | Photo: Dennis Caines

The kayakers soon arrived at the lighthouse, where they lingered for about two hours, eating their lunches and mingling with the hikers. Austin napped in the grass, and some of the others chatted with the volunteer lighthouse keepers.

At about 1:20 p.m., the kayakers started back. As before, they didn’t depart as a group. Austin, Walkley and the Corcorans all left before the Caines, who needed more time to launch their tandem kayak. By the time the double was on its way, Kelley was ready to go and Walkley had already doubled back to the beach to adjust her kayak’s footpegs, which had been set for Johnson’s longer legs.

Dennis Caines was focused on catching up to the others because he had the keys to the van and didn’t want to leave his friends waiting. At the time, he thought all the other paddlers were ahead of him. In fact, both Walkley and Kelley were behind.

Almost immediately, the conditions began to worsen. At 12:53 p.m., a few minutes before they launched, the weather station at Fairchild International recorded winds of 12 mph from the west-northwest, with no gusts. Half an hour after they left the beach the wind was 16 mph with gusts to 24 mph. By 2:41 the wind at Fairchild was 22 mph, gusting to 36 mph. The airport is four miles inland; actual conditions on the bay were likely even more severe.

As the wind and waves continued to build, Caines caught a glimpse of Austin ahead and to the right, paddling in the sheltered water closer to the spit. Caines decided to follow, but discovered he couldn’t turn the 22-foot double kayak into the wind.

“I gave all the right rudder I could and we started paddling and just on the left side of the boat, but I could not bring the bow around more than probably a 45-degree angle to the waves and the wind,” Caines recalls. He couldn’t turn toward the sheltered water or even hold a course to Cline Spit, where the van was waiting. The Caines crabbed sideways across the bay, their kayak pointing southwest but moving almost due south. Kelley and Walkley followed.

Mandi Walkley (left) and Rob Johnson shared a kayak at Dungeness Spit.
Mandi Walkley (left) and Rob Johnson shared a kayak at Dungeness Spit.| Photo: Dennis Caines

“I was right behind Dennis and Linda, trying to keep up with them. I could hear Linda telling Dennis she was afraid,” Kelley recalls. He struggled to catch up, his arms burning, and when he stopped for an instant to rest, the wind spun him sideways. That’s when he saw that Walkley had capsized. She was shouting and waving her paddle.

“She wanted to get rescued. She was screaming for me to come help her,” Kelly says. He pauses. “I did everything I could to try to get to Mandi.”

Kelley couldn’t turn his kayak into the wind to reach her. He took deep, hard left strokes, trying to push the bow through the wind, but dug too deep and capsized.

Austin also capsized, though no one knows precisely when or where. None of the other kayakers saw him go over.

In fact, none of the remaining four kayakers realized that three of their friends had capsized. The 911 call came at 2:18 p.m. from a lighthouse volunteer, who watched through binoculars as the disaster unfolded. The initial reports were sketchy, and it’s not clear whether dispatchers immediately recognized the severity of the situation.

The 911 operator transferred the call to the U.S. Coast Guard at 2:26 p.m. The agency dispatched a patrol boat and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Port Angeles, about 14 miles west. The race was on.

The typical survival time for a person immersed in 49-degree water without protective clothing is from one to three hours. It’s not clear precisely when Walkley, Kelley and Austin entered the water, but it’s likely that the group lost time—perhaps a few minutes, perhaps more—because the other kayakers were not aware their friends were in trouble.

The Corcorans reached shore more than a mile east of Clines Point, followed a few minutes later by the Caines. Dennis Caines was still expecting the others would paddle straight to the van at Cline Point, and he was in a rush to get there with the keys. He hitched a ride to the van, where a Clallam County Sheriff’s deputy found him a few minutes later.

“I started walking toward him to get some information,” Caines says. “And he just said, ‘It’s not good.’ And that just sort of ripped the heart out of my chest.”

Moments later the Coast Guard chopper roared overhead.

In the moments after he capsized, Kelley resolved to hold on to his kayak, knowing that it gave him the best chance of being spotted and rescued. As a trained scuba diver, he knew that swimming to shore was impossible in such cold water, with the wind and waves pushing him away from shore. He thought it would take about an hour for rescuers to arrive, so he held fast to his kayak and began to count, breaking the wait into 15-minute segments. Eventually, a wave tore the kayak from his grasp, and it drifted quickly away. It would later be found on Protection Island, 9 miles southeast, along with Walkley’s paddle.

We don’t know whether Walkley or Austin attempted to hold on to their kayaks, or if they abandoned them to swim for shore. However, at some point both became separated from their boats.

The Coast Guard helicopter spotted Kelley first and lowered a rescue swimmer to hoist him aboard. The chopper flew him to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Wash., where he was admitted in critical condition. At 4:11 p.m., county dispatch received word that Kelley had been recovered.

Austin was next, picked up minutes later by the Coast Guard patrol boat. He was unresponsive. Rescuers began CPR as they raced to a local marina, then transferred him to a waiting ambulance. He too was brought to Olympic Medical Center.

Meanwhile, with the Dolphin helicopter running low on fuel, the Coast Guard requested assistance from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, which scrambled an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter. According to the Navy incident report, “the Coast Guard had located two of three individuals and were having difficulty locating the third.”

Mandi Walkley was still missing, somewhere in the bay.

The Navy helicopter arrived on station shortly after 5 p.m. The crew quickly spotted two empty kayaks, but no trace of Walkley. They conducted an expanding square search until the aircraft commander made the call to start over, essentially doubling down on the initial report of Walkley’s position. As the chopper flew to restart the search, a crewmember spotted a flash of orange. It was Walkley’s jacket.

The time was 5:20 p.m. Walkley had been in 49-degree water for more than three hours, perhaps almost four. The Navy rescuers hoisted her aboard the helicopter and flew to Olympic Medical Center, where a vigil was already underway.

As the church group waited for news of their friends— pastor Bill Bowers and some of the hikers had joined the kayakers at the hospital—hospital staff attended to Austin. They performed CPR for more than two hours, and for a brief time detected a heart rhythm. It didn’t last. Shortly before 7:00 p.m., doctors informed pastor Bill Bowers that Jacob Austin had died.

Mandi Walkley died early the next morning. Her death hit the church group particularly hard. She had been a lively presence in the club—warm, positive, and energetic. When the others speak of her their affection is almost palpable, as is their anguish at her loss.

Map showing location of events in the Tragedy at Dungeness Bay
Map showing location of events in the Tragedy at Dungeness Bay

More than three years later, Dennis Caines and Bill Kelley shared the painful memories of that day at Dungeness Spit in a short documentary film, in hopes that their experience will serve as a cautionary tale to others.

The accident could easily have been avoided.

In hindsight, the lessons are obvious. The two most salient are the importance of heeding weather warnings, and the need to dress for immersion when paddling in cold water.

Forecasts had predicted foul weather for a week, and according to Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lyman Moores, an advisory had been issued the previous day. “Nobody should have been on the water that day,” Moores told the Seattle Times.

All of the kayakers were wearing lifejackets, but none of those who capsized was wearing a dry suit or wetsuit designed to prevent hypothermia. In such cold water, Moores said, “the human body can shut down in a matter of minutes.”

If Austin and Walkley had been wearing drysuits, they almost certainly would have survived. One of the biggest barriers to drysuit use is cost. Good ones start at about $800, but they’re not the only option. A $150 neoprene Farmer John wetsuit would likely have allowed both paddlers to survive the ordeal.

Of course, the if the group had chosen not to paddle that day due to the forecasted bad weather, or if they had decided to leave the kayaks and hike back when the weather turned foul, there would have been no emergency at all.

Author: Jeff Moag | Featured Photo: Dennis Caines

Rapid Media Launches New Online Paddling Trip Guide

Rapid Media is making planning and booking paddling trips easier than ever before with its all-new online Paddling Trip Guide. This innovative Paddling Trip Guide offers the world’s widest selection of paddling adventures and professional services. Shop hundreds of multi-day all-inclusive paddling trips, tailor-made experiences, self-guided canoe, kayak, paddleboard and raft packages or find just the help you need with accommodations, shuttles, air services or rentals. The Paddling Trip Guide makes it easier to plan and book epic adventures fitting your style, pace, schedule, budget and experience level – all with the click of a mouse.

On the Paddling Trip Guide, you browse hundreds of trips and services from top adventure paddle tourism operators. Refine your search based on paddlesport, activity, duration, ability level, type of accommodation, destination and special interests like family trips, women’s only, certification programs, photography and wildlife viewing for paddlers. Learn about each trip including background on the operator, detailed itineraries, photo galleries and traveler reviews so you can book your next adventure with confidence.

Paddling Trip Guide Online
The Paddling Trip Guide is an easy-to-use tool helping paddlers discover and book canoe, kayak, paddleboard and raft adventures.

“The Internet has expanded our options for travel booking but had yet to offer a tool making paddlesports adventure planning a breeze. Now the perfect paddling trip is easier to find and book,” says Cristin Plaice, Rapid Media’s director of marketing.

Rapid Media also publishes its annual Paddling Trip Guide. It’s the print and digital wish book, a 150-page special issue of Paddling Magazine complementing to the online tool.

Paddling Trip Guide
The 2019 Paddling Trip Guide is now available on newsstands and on the Paddling Magazine+ App (iOS and Google Play).

“We’ve listened to our readers and fans. We know they want to go on amazing paddling adventures but these days don’t have the time or know-how to plan themselves,” says Scott MacGregor, Rapid Media’s founder and publisher. “For 20 years we’ve been inspiring our audiences to fill their bucket lists with awesome adventures. Now we are connecting paddlers with their dream trips and getting them on the water as seamlessly and easily as possible.”

With so much selection in the Paddling Trip Guide magazine and easy booking on the online trip finder, the only challenge is deciding when and where to go.

“Whether you’re planning a multi-day fly-in adventure up north, a friends get-away this summer, or just looking for somewhere new to paddle, Rapid Media has the online tools and resources to help you plan the trips you’ve always wanted,” says Plaice. “With so many destinations, where should you begin? How about Quetico and the Boundary Waters, Alabama, Great Lakes, Georgian Bay, Canadian North, Algonquin, Bahamas, Chile, Mexico, Iceland, Russia, Norway or Costa Rica?”

Kayak Chicago Tours On Chicago River

If you are ever trying to get into a big city and you want to go paddle around, Kayak Chicago might be the right place for you. Kayak Chicago says that if you want to go kayaking in Chicago, go visit the folks at Kayak Chicago.

Kayak Chicago Tours

They have a list of tours that you guys can go to. One of the most popular tours is the fireworks paddle. Those startup after Memorial Day, every Wednesday and Saturday there’s a firework show that goes off in navy pier. They take a group of people down to Navy Pier in kayaks to watch the fireworks show and then head back.

Other tours include the sunset paddle and the city lights paddle. These are really popular during the summer as well. People who come out will get to see the city lit up at night. They have these little pool noodles that have led lights in them so they can light up everybody’s boat so everyone can be seen at night.

Kayak Chicago River

Kayak Chicago also has architecture tours that run twice per day. One at 10 am in the morning and then another at 3 pm in the afternoon. These are three-hour paddles that start at the northern part of Goose Island on the Chicago River, and make their way down through the downtown core of Chicago. Stops are made around State and Wabash before making their way back home. So essentially you can circumnavigate an island in Chicago without ever having to leave the city.

Other offerings from Kayak Chicago include courses to learn to kayak. These are great for people who have just gotten a boat, they don’t really know how to kayak and they want to gain a little bit more confidence in being in a kayak. So with these learn to kayak classes, they’re perfect for beginners.

Now if you have a little more experience and you want to spend some time in a sea kayak, you want to learn how to outfit a Kayak, how to self rescue yourself or how to roll the kayak there is a four-week progression course that meets on Saturdays and Sundays.

Chicago Kayak Rentals

Kayak Chicago has three locations including two beach locations. They offer paddleboard rentals as well as kayak rentals. For more information about Kayak Chicago, you can visit their website at kayakchicago.com.

Pro Kayakers vs. Whirlpools

Have you ever wondered what happens when you pair up world-class kayakers with some of the most powerful whirlpools on the Ottawa River? Luckily, the Senders crew consisting of Bren Orton and Adrian Mattern have tested these waters.

Check out their video highlight reel that also includes pro kayakers Dane Jackson, Nouria Newman, Alec Voorhees and Rush Sturges.

“I feel you’re going to see some very interesting beat downs today and just know the river doesn’t care who you are. I’m sure everybody is going to get the beat down and I’m looking forward to that” Mattern mentions at the beginning of the video.

Dane Jackson actually gets held underwater for the longest amount of time and the commentary between Orton and Mattern is hilarious.

Bren Orton: “Alright here we go. Dane Jackson, the world’s best kayaker dropping into the whirlpools. Nice 360, oh he surprised himself. He’s going for the 720, look at the look of joy on his face, into the stern end, catching the whirlpool and getting some downtime. This is sick. Swirling around down there, popping back up, and looks like his ride is all over. Oh my God, it’s going to get him again. Oh my God, he’s back down again.”

Adrian Mattern: “Oh no Dane-o!”

Bren Orton: “He is not having the fun that was promised to him. He’s not. Oh my God. Get out of there Dano! Get out of there! DANE-O! Oh my God, dude, he’s going into China. Oh, it’s gonna get him again. Nope. No, he’s out.”

Adrian Mattern: “Nope he is back in”

Bren Orton: “Oh God, I can’t watch it. Oh my God. Yeah. No. Oh my God. Still fighting for it. Pops up. Finally gets a breath.”

Orton mentions, “some important things for viewers back home. We sort of know what we’re doing. Whirlpools are awesome fun. There’s just one golden rule and that is to never exit your Kayak in a whirlpool because things will go much, much worse.”

Paddling Magazine does not recommend trying anything in this video unless you have had proper instruction and have proper safety on the river.

Top 7 Photography Tips For Paddlers

Alex Traynor taking a photo along the side of the river
Do you even know how to photography? | Photo: Michael Hewis

If you are a paddler, there is a good chance you also enjoy taking the odd photo. Even if you aren’t an expert photographer, there are simple tricks you can learn to take better photos. Here is our collection of the best photography tips from paddlers. We figure if you learn to take better paddling photos, Paddling Magazine can start paying you for them.

1. The Best Camera Gear For Wildlife Photography

Moose in the water
The kit that will get you the best wildlife photography. | Photo: Ben Eby

If you are lucky enough, you might just come accross some wildlife while you are on your paddle. Whether that includes moose, deer, birds, fish, beavers, snails or anything else you could think of capturing, you want to make sure you have the right gear. Here is the kit that photographer Ben Eby likes to use [ Ben Eby’s Wildlife Photography Kit ].

2. The Best Drone Kit For Paddlers

A drone kit for paddlers
The ultimate drone kit | Photo: Raphael Boudreault-Simard // Flow Motion Aerials 

Now that drones are coming down in price and more consumers can get their hands on one, why not add one to your gear bag to get some new angles. While this is a great way to get creative, don’t get too carried away with too many drone shots. [ Tips To Elevate Your Drone Kit ].

3. Photographing Sunsets And Using Backlighting

Pink sunset on a camping trip
Who doesn’t love a good photo of a sunset? | Photo: Rick Matthews

Sunset and sunrise provide two of the best times to take photos, but they are also two of the most difficult times to get the right settings on your camera. Cameras are getting better and better these days but knowing a few simple tricks will help you take the best photos possible during these beautiful times. Pro tip: if you get better at shooting sunsets, you spend less time taking photos and more time enjoying them and living in the moment. [ Tips For Photographing Sunsets and Using Backlighting ].

4. How The Best Paddling Photos Are Taken

Kayaker paddles between a bunch of logs
Get creative and think outside the box. | Photo: Kevin Light

Learning from others is a great way to expedite the learning curve. Every photographer has their tips and tricks that they have either learned from lots of practice or from other photographers. Many photographers will share what settings they use and tricks for getting the best shots possible. [ Crazy Paddling Photography And How They Were Taken ].

5. How Action Cameras Have Changed The Game

If a paddler sends it but no one sees it, did it really happen? | Photo: Tegan Owens

The camera market is getting crazy good. There are so many options giving paddlers endless opportunities to get the shot they want. GoPros are waterproof, drones can chase you down a river better than a helicopter ever could and 360° video is opening up a whole new world of possibilities. Time for you to get the best shots yet. [ How Action Cameras Have Changed The Way We Paddle ].

6. Camera Gear You Want To Splurge On

Consumer camera gear is getting good. Real good. | Photo: Paddling Magazine Staff

Camera gear isn’t cheap, so it is important to know what you are looking for. With so many different options out there, how does one decide what is the most important gear to get? Let us get you started here. [ Camera Gear Paddlers Should Splurge On ].

7. Learn To Change The Memory Card Often

Cool shot until you no longer have it… | Photo: Colin Field

Memory cards can be more important than the camera itself. Well, kind of. The size of memory cards keeps climbing and while that can be helpful in some circumstances, it isn’t always ideal to have all your photos on one card. Learn this lesson now before it’s too late. [ A Paddling Photographers Nightmare ].

Justin Barbour And Saku The Dog Cross Newfoundland

Justin Barbour and his dog Saku in Newfoundland
Justin Barbour and his dog Saku in Newfoundland | Photo: Justin Barbour

In 2017, Justin Barbour along with his trusted sidekick Saku set out on a 68-day expedition across Newfoundland. Newfoundland and Labrador have some of the last truly untouched wilderness on the planet. We reached out to Justin to get the inside scoop on his epic Newfoundland crossing.

Tell us about your background?

I’ve been on adventures for as long as I can remember. During my childhood, I lived in a small rural community outside of St.John’s, Newfoundland. I was always outdoors and loved every minute of it. Building cabins, lean-toos, biking, fishing, swimming, I was always at it. And always had dreams.

Hockey was also a huge part of my life and like many other young players, I dreamt of making the NHL. I played competitively for years, moved to New Brunswick for Junior, and took my shot, but as we all know the chances are slim and eventually I came back home to study Physical Education and become a teacher. While still playing senior hockey locally, it was during University when we studied outdoor activities and survival, that I rediscovered that passion from my youth.

For years I hardly went in the woods because hockey was my focus. But I stirred up that feeling of exploring the unknown and freedom that I remembered as a young boy. Now, this life and the endless trips there are to be planned is the new focus.

The physical and mental challenges, the indescribable rewards that await and that feeling of being alive and in the moment that can only be felt by being off the beaten track and traveling by your own power. I love to live it and share it so that others can be encouraged to dream their wildest dreams and live their lives to the maximum. If they get out to appreciate and respect mother nature then that’s a double win.

What made you want to go on this expedition?

I had been doing smaller trips, 3 days-4 days- 7-days-14 days. 99% were solo, including the longer ones because committed partners were difficult to find. And also because I sort of got into this on my own time through books, documentaries and solo practice whenever I could.

I was just so enthralled by being out there. So I was focused early. And one thing I’ll tell you about me is that when I get an idea I need to run with it, I’m locked on.

I wanted to go big and thought that this would be a fine way to see the least explored areas of my provinces wilderness

Early on, most thought it was strange for me to be spending a couple of nights in the bush on my own while there were more important things happening in town, but to me, I was preparing for something bigger, that I did not yet know of and I was fine by that. I needed to be out there and was super content with my own independence and company. I would entertain others when they wanted to join and loved it, but no one seemed to have the same intensity of interest. So most times it was solo and it became an obsession of my own!

I had begun reading books on old Newfoundland and Labrador explorers and trappers. Some early Europeans and others the aboriginal people of our province, Beothuck, Mi’kmaq, Innu and Inuit. There were epic stories of adventure, of struggle, success and fascination in the splendors of nature. I also read and watched trips from more modern outdoorsmen and explorers. Like Dick Proneeke, Lars Monsen and Mike Horn. With that all digested I had the itch to plan an expedition of my own, so looking at the whole of Newfoundland one evening I decided that traveling its width, some 700 kilometers, would be a perfect challenge. I wanted to go big and thought that this would be a fine way to see the least explored areas of my provinces wilderness.

Why did you choose Newfoundland and specifically this route?

Newfoundland and Labrador have so much wilderness, why go any further? It’s some of the last true wilderness left in the planet. Living on the island portion of our province I thought why not go the distance and cross it all. If I started in the west I would get the prevailing winds at my back when I paddled and I would finish near my home on the most easterly portion of the island.

Map of Justin Barbour's Newfoundland Crossing
Justin Barbour and Saku’s Newfoundland Expedition | Photo: Justin Barbour

I planned to first cross 100 kilometers of the Long Range Mountains by foot then paddle and portage the remaining 600 to the end. My boat was a 6-pound Alpacka Raft. In the last days leading up to the expedition start, I added a sled to pull my gear over the mountains on snowshoes because snow levels were still extremely high due to a late winter.

What were the highlights of the expedition?

There were highlights daily on the trail. So much is happening when you’re always moving forward. Some good, some not so good. Walking through the Long Range Mountains (An extension of the Appalachian Chain here in NL) pulling a sled was memorable. We started at sea level and climbed about 1800 feet and then back down the other side.

Tent in snow with a pint sunrise and red sky in Newfoundland

Amazing Sunrise behind Burnt Pond | Photo: Justin Barbour

We were blessed with some warm and sunny late spring days but the albedo effect was strong off the high mountain snow. Unfortunately, I forgot sunscreen and had none until my first resupply at the 100 km mark. I received a bad sunburn to say the least.

Hitting some real productive fishing holes that were deep in the country was also a treat. Wetting a line is a big joy for me on these trips. A learning experience and a not so good highlight came when I flipped the raft in white water and lost plenty of gear. It was scary stuff. Amazingly I have footage of this on the YouTube series. Luckily Saku and I were okay. Lessons were learned every day out there.

What were your biggest challenges on the trip?

Challenges are what make trips interesting. Managing yourself is one of the biggest. On this trip, my body held up pretty well and in my mind, I just kept breaking the trip down in small chunks to minimize the feeling of distance. One actual situation was when the snow was melting and I was still pulling a sled. I had to break camp in the at first light to get hard crusty conditions because by afternoon you would sink to your chest even with snowshoes on. I battled that for a few days.

To make matters worse, on this trip I had to wait unexpectedly for over a week for lake ice to thaw and during that time all food had to be rationed down even further

Another big and interesting challenge on this expedition was trying not to eat all my food. I’m serious. You get really hungry out there grinding solo through the conditions and only have limited rations. Every bite is savored and appreciated. Many evenings I stare at the food bag wanting more but know I am only eating into the next days’ rations. Over time your body adapts and you can run on less, but some evenings you still you get that craving to eat more once supper is finished. Then again on other nights, I’m that tired I can’t even cook and just end up eating a few handfuls of trail mix and diving into the sleeping bag.

To make matters worse, on this trip I had to wait unexpectedly for over a week for lake ice to thaw and during that time all food had to be rationed down even further. Drinking tea and coffee helped curb my hunger and I relied on fish to fill the void, which I did well with. Ultimately your three biggest challenges on any expedition are managing your food, getting from point A to B and staying safe while doing it.

What was it like to do the trip with Saku your dog?

Doing a trip with Saku was everything I could have asked for. I find it hard now to think of doing an expedition without him though I know it is a reality. Especially if I want to get into longer winter treks which is a strong desire I have. But Saku is always the silver lining out there. When things get rough and the daily grind and distance are wearing me down, I look to Saku for motivation from the jump in his step. It’s contagious energy to see him so excited. The security around camp and his scent is good for marking your territory and decreases the chances of any unwanted animal visitors. He is also entertaining and has become my best friend and wilderness traveling companion.

Justin Barbour holds large trout with his dog Saku in the background

Time to eat | Photo: Justin Barbour

If there was one disadvantage it would be dealing with his food weight, though it can be managed. During certain points of this trip, which were longer sections in between resupplies, I would have to carry some of his extra food and of course, his first aid because he only has limited room in his pack. But that’s okay because it’s worth having him there and I’m pretty hardened to it now. Just means a better workout!

Overall there are really no negatives to taking a dog on any wilderness adventure if they are suited for it, well trained and obey your commands.

What were the trip stats?

Started the trip in Robinson’s Newfoundland April 19th, 2017 and ended in Cape Broyle Newfoundland June 25th, 2017. A total of 68 days and 700 kilometers.

What is on the horizon for Justin Barbour?

Last summer I paddled 1000 kilometers across Labrador and into Northern Quebec with Saku so that was a big step. I had hopes of going 1700km’s and reaching Hudson Bay. Nature had other plans though and we were cut short by an unusually early October winter. So now I am leaning towards a winter expedition to maybe finish that. But nothing’s in stone and ideas are always rolling so all I can say is that more adventures are to come.

On the creation side of my expeditions, I am about to begin my first speaking tour here in Newfoundland presenting the 1000km Labrador trip. Last year I visited 30 venues and schools presenting the 700 km Newfoundland journey.

I also have a book coming out in September on the Newfoundland expedition and Saku has a children’s book being released by a local author at the same time. Then in the Fall, I plan to release a new documentary series on the Labrador-Quebec trip. So it’s exciting times and I am looking forward to moving forward.

Learning To Wear A PFD The Hard Way

Speaker 1: This is going to be the best camping trip ever.

Speaker 2: I just went to the big box store and I got 2000 rolls of toilet paper, 50 pounds of tri-tip, and these great recreational sit inside kayaks.

Speaker 1: Don’t people usually use life jackets with these things?

Salty Jefferson: I learned that lesson the hard way.

Speaker 2: Paddling legend, Salty Jefferson?

Salty Jefferson: My buddy Shaggy Brad and I were out with the old two man cruising for babes. We saw a few on a cigarette boat with some dudes. Shaggy didn’t have a life jacket cause he liked to show off his guns. I had mine on, got a couple extra nipples I like to keep protected from the UV. But the boyfriends weren’t impressed. they hit the throttle and we hit the water and I never saw Shaggy again. That’s why I always wear my life jacket, because safety first, but also the nipples.

As a United Stated Coast Guard nonprofit grant recipient, the Water Sports Sports Foundation produces paddling safety outreach materials and distributes them through boating and paddling media providers.

Paddle sports currently has an inordinately high rate of accidents and deaths that for the past five years has been increasing, while power boating stats have been decreasing during the same period.

The goal is to create heightened public awareness of safer paddling making paddle sports safer and to ultimately reduce the total number of paddle sports-related deaths annually.