Friday, October 21, 2011

Peak UK Dry Suit Review

For 2011 we decided to try some new Dry Suits at the store from a company called Peak UK. Peak has been around for a long time in Europe but has never had a large presence in North America, until now that is.

For the last couple of years we have only sold the highly coveted Kokatat Gore-Tex suits. While these suits are arguably one of, if not the best suits on the market they are sometimes a little out of the price range for many recreation paddlers. At a couple of hundred dollars less than a Gore-Tex suit we thought we would try a few Peak suits and see how they went, and went they did. We sold out of our first Peak suits only a couple days after we got them in.

As soon as we received our first suits from Peak, I was really intrigued by some of the new ideas they have applied to their suits. The most obvious new feature is also the coolest, the leg entry. The leg entry is awesome, it's far and above easier to get in and out of this style than the traditional front or rear entry suits. The Zipper goes from one ankle up the inseam and down to the other ankle. You pull the suit on much like you would a hoodie. Aside from making entry and exit a breeze it's also really comfortable. You don’t notice the zipper at all while sitting in a kayak or canoe, not something that can be said for the other styles of suits. The entry zipper also doubles as a relief zipper (a must have feature on a dry suit) for both men and women. On some front entry suits the zipper creates a spot where water can leak through the tunnel on a spray skirt as it creates a ridge the skirt can't conform to.

The Peak dry suits also come with all the other standard features we have come to expect from dry suits. A double tunnel, built in waterproof socks, breathable material, and reinforced high wear spots all come standard on the Peak. Some extras on the Peak suits that don’t come standard on most other suits are things like armor pockets for whitewater paddlers to add some extra padding when running the steep and manky stuff. Also the Explorer suit (sea kayakers & canoeists) comes with a standard built in hood that hides away in the collar when not in use. The sea kayaking crowd really loves the adjustable neck closure on the Explorer suit. Most sea kayakers don’t have the need for an uncomfortable latex neck gasket. The Explorer suit has a super comfortable Lycra neck closure that can be opened up for ventilation or cinched tight for a dryer ride.

Picture of the 2011 Peak Adventurer Suit. For 2012 there are new colors and more pockets.

Me about to test my Peak UK Creek Suit off a 35 foot falls on St.Leon Creek. Photo by Mikkel St.Jean Duncan.

I have had my Creek suit from Peak for 5 months now and have over 50 days in it, with no complaints.

The Creek suit sells for $749, (optional shoulder, elbow and spine armor sold separately), the Explorer suit will be selling for $769.

Picture of a 2011 Creek Suit, for 2012 the suits are red and have pockets.

Come check out these cool new suits and extend your paddling season this winter, safely and comfortably.

Ryan Bayes

Hobie Pro Angler Review

Last week we received a rather large shipment of Hobie Kayaks, over 65 to be exact. Being only the second season of carrying Hobie kayaks those numbers should tell you something about how popular these boats were last season. Largely Hobie’s popularity is because of two things. The first, kayak fishing. This new phenomenon for the North West is gaining unbelievable momentum. Secondly, Hobie’s patented Mirage Drive pedal system is amazing. This propulsion system is somewhere between 2 and 3 times as efficient as a traditional paddle, and possibly best of all it's hands free. Hands free, and kayak fishing just seems to be no brainer.

Before I go any further I should probably bring you up to speed on my fishing career, or more accurately lack there of. Most of my fishing occurred 10+ years ago while on family canoeing trips. Most of my fishing was done for Rainbow Trout on remote northern rivers using a fly rod. So going out with a spinning rod in the local jet boat infested waters with aspirations of landing a salmon in a kayak were a little overwhelming at first.

Now, back to the boat. The Pro Angler is a fishing masterpiece that even a novice like myself can appreciate. The boat at first glance can be intimidating, it's packed with so many features that every time I get back on it I find something new and useful. With 8+ rod holders, several tackle boxes, a rudder, and several storage compartments this things is laid out with one objective in mind, catching fish.

Aside from the unbelievable efficiency of the Mirage drive the other thing that sets the Pro Angler aside from other fishing kayaks is the amazing stability. Unlike other fishing kayaks, that claim you can stand in them the Pro Angler really delivers on that. On more than one occasion while out on the Harrison River I had jet boaters go out of their way to make a little extra wake for me, even with a 2 foot rolling wave I was able to stay standing, much to the dismay of the red necks piloting the jet boats.

Aside from not actually catching anything yet I have had an amazing time on the water, in fact kayak fishing may have turned me back into a fisherman, all be it a non successful one yet.

If you haven’t yet tried fishing from a kayak I highly recommend you do, even when you don’t catch anything you get a lot more exercise than you do sitting at home watching the fishing channel or sitting shotgun in your buddy's noisy aluminum boat.

Ryan Bayes

Stay tuned for some kayak fishing specific events coming to the Fraser Valley next year. We are planning to host a kayak fishing seminar and possibly even a kayak fishing derby. Sign up for our email news letter to stay in the loop on upcoming events.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Film Premiere: Tracing the Columbia

In July 15, 2011, exactly 200 years after explorer David Thompson arrived, the Columbia Voyageur Brigade arrived in Oregon's Astoria Harbor. On Saturday November 19, 2011 we will be helping to host the premiere of the film Tracing the Columbia which chronicles this six week expedition.

Come to the Premiere of the film Tracing the Columbia-- Saturday, November 19, 2011, in Abbotsford, BC. There will be a reception afterwards

Where:University of the Fraser Valley
33844 King Road, Abbotsford.
Lecture Theatre B101

When: 7pm, Saturday November 19th

Tickets available: In advance at Western Canoeing & Kayaking or at the door.
All tickets $10

The evenings events are hosted by: 2011 David Thompson Columbia River Brigade Society. With assistance from: The University of the Fraser Valley and Western Canoeing & Kayaking