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Topics - robon

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I decided to post this as a new topic here and in General Discussion so it doesn't get buried. Cheers.

Karl Kruger is the first and only stand up paddler to complete the 1200 kilometre Race to Alaska, and he is preparing to do a 3,000 km journey through the Northwest Passage. This individual has quite the story and these articles cover some of his life story and paddling exploits. Good stuff.

Page 39 on the paddling mag buyers guide. Several other articles on stand up in there as well.

Karl Kruger is the first and only stand up paddler to complete the 1200 kilometre Race to Alaska, and he is preparing to do a 3,000 km journey through the Northwest Passage. This individual has quite the story and these articles cover some of his life story and paddling exploits. Good stuff.

Page 39 on the paddling mag buyers guide. Several other articles on stand up in there as well.

Luc Benac and I were talking back and forth last year on trading my Sunova Expedition for his 2015-Ace GT, for a trial period. So, I packed up, headed to Luc's place near Vancouver BC to try the Ace. However, after lifting my board and taking it out for a paddle, Luc thought my Expedition was too fat, too heavy, and just not sporty enough for Howe Sound ;), and I ended up going back inland with two boards instead of one, and it's not a trade lol.

I have had the Ace GT out multiple times over the winter and here are my thoughts, and I also wanted to hear from those who own an unlimited, and get some tips if I ever go the custom route. Photofr and Luc and a few others commented on the forums regarding the Ace, so I will try not to go too overboard.

What I like:

The 2015-ish Ace GT is listed at 17'4" x 28" is light (about 31 pounds) for an unlimited, and after adding a carry handle, it's easy to carry to the water, and get on and off the truck. This board needs at least two handles. On the water it's also quite responsive for it's length and relatively easy to maneuver. The rocker on the Ace is not extreme, it has better glide than my previous 14' boards, and is a bit faster on flatwater. The Ace also seems faster straight upwind than my previous boards. There is not a ton of volume up front, but it goes over and through waves well, and carries decent glide upwind. Of course the Ace is good downwind, and it picks up glides on very small waves, and just takes off when you catch bigger stuff. I do a lot of exploring and the Ace has a lot of tie down options up front, and you can add extra tie downs in the standing area as well. With probably 95% of my paddling or more being solo, I always look for a board that does well in all conditions, and even though the Ace is billed as a DW board, it can actually be a go to, every day board also.

What I don't like:

The extra length doesn't necessarily translate into added stability. This vintage of the Ace isn't what I would call unstable, but takes some getting used to, and you have to trust the secondary stability. For comparison, my Sunova Expedition has more primary and secondary stability at 14 x 28.5". As noted in years past, this Ace isn't actually 28" wide, and it is only 27.5" wide at the widest point at the outside of the rails. Water squirts through the scuppers continuously and you are always standing in a couple millimetres of water up front and this is somewhat annoying.

I find the Ace to be noticeably more work to keep a bearing in cross chop and quartering than other 14' boards I have owned and tested. Going to a smaller fin helps with this, but it's more work regardless of the fin. At this length, there seems to be more surface area to get pushed around, even though the board has a fairly low profile. I don't think the flared out pin tail helps either in quartering and cross chop, although I have heard in other comments that it might help, but I don't believe it.

Overall, I really like this board for every day paddling, and it has got me thinking what I would want to change if went the custom route. First, I would keep the same shape and width, but would want the width to continue a little further back, and I would seriously consider going to a thumbnail over a pintail to reduce the surface area facing waves from the side, and this may add a bit of stability as well. Given that I paddle almost exclusively solo, I can give up a touch of flat water speed, and DW release for more stability in quartering and cross chop conditions. There would be a few litres in volume increase with a bit more width, which would help in packing gear.  I would want venturi scuppers if I stuck with a recess this deep to reduce the amount of water on the deck.

That went longer than I wanted, but any thoughts are appreciated.

I had been wanting a pair of higher cut neoprene paddling boots, and ordered a pair of the updated NRS Boundary boots through Western Canoe and Kayaking, which arrived early March. These are the updated version of the Boundary boot, and other than the height of the boot at 15", the 5mm upper, and 7mm neoprene insole, everything else has changed. Check out the link below for full details.

The Boundary boot has beefed up the protection with a full toe wrap, extra rubber on high wear areas, and improved traction and sole. I have tried the boots on a couple of extended paddling trips with a wide swing in temperatures, and these are warmer than my 6.5mm neoprene booties, and are also warmer than my insulated, winter rubber boots, which was a bit surprising. These boots seem quite comfortable and I definitely recommend for winter and shoulder season paddling.

The only potential downside of these boots is the sizing, and I may have to sell mine or return because the jump from size 10 to 11 is really big in these boots. I have a pair of NRS neoprene kickers in size 11 and NRS vibe water sneakers also in size 11, which fit well, and the Boundary boots are noticeably bigger. More like an 11.5 or 12". I normally wear a size 10 and ordered up a size with my other NRS shoes, but the Boundaries are much larger, and keep in mind there are no half sizes in these boots, so do your research if you have to order with out trying them on. With my thick woolies, and drysuit booties, there is still at least a half inch of room to the end of the toe box, and a bit of movement in the boots, so I would not call the 11s "true to size" for traditional NRS sizing. I am thinking about getting a pair of insoles for these, which could help snug up the fit, and extend the use to shoulder season paddling as well.

I have a fairly new board (two months) that has a wood top sheet, and I have noticed concave impressions where I stand have formed. At first I thought it was just the deck pad compressing, but over time the compression has definitely deepened where I stand and I can see the concave foot prints now. Hard to take a picture because the deck pad is black and I would have to angle the board, but the compression is there for sure.

I realize this is more common with surfboards as the foam compresses and the top sheet sinks a bit, but this has never happened with a touring board that I have owned. I have put a lot of hours with years of ownership on the same models of previous boards, and this has never happened, so I'm wondering if some compression is somewhat normal with a wooden board, or should I be worried. Peeling back the deck pad is an ugly job, but I suppose it may be necessary here to check things out.

The board is a Sunova, and any feedback from anyone who this has happened to would be greatly appreciated.

Gear Talk / Blue Planet Bumprider 14 x 28 and 14 x 30 questions.
« on: May 13, 2019, 09:39:24 AM »
The Bumprider recently came on my radar for a dedicated rough cruiser and downwind board, and I have found a couple for sale in Canada.

I noticed on the blue planet website that the 14 x 28" is no longer listed, but the options I have found are the 28" and 30" wide. I'm weighing between 210-215 pounds right now, and wondering if anyone in this weight range has some feedback on these boards?


Whitewater and River SUP / Castlegar to Trail 40 kilometres downriver.
« on: March 29, 2019, 05:47:41 PM »
Almost forgot this forum exists. The Columbia River is really low right now, but this is still a fun trip with several sections of class 1-2 rapids. My friend and I put in at Robson/Castlegar and paddled through the town of Trail to a spot known as Rock Island that has a popular surfing wave that is in decent shape right now. My friend is using a Starboard Astro Stream 9'6" x 36" for the river and I'm using a Hala Hoss 11" X 34". I put my camera/phone away for the rapids and will try to get some better pics when the river is running at a higher volume and do the trip again. This trip is a blast with a lot of different areas to explore and play in when the river is running high. At low water, it's pretty much a straight run through, but still a good time.

Flatwater and Touring / Taghum upstream to Nelson Loop.
« on: March 27, 2019, 09:36:00 AM »
Not to distract from the NELO thread  ;) but I wanted to share one of the paddle routes from Taghum to Nelson that I do year round. This last trip was a good one because the sun was out and the wind was calm, which makes the upriver portion much easier. I got blown off the water going upriver a few weeks ago when I was further downstream, and had to wait it out. 

This trip is between 18 and 19 kilometres typically, depending on how much meandering I do along the way. I usually start downriver to get the hardest upriver grind done first. Parts of the year this route becomes impassable when the water becomes too shallow, and the eddy lines almost disappear, and it becomes much more challenging at full run off. It's a fun paddle because there is always a challenge present to get past the current, and you have to adjust your trip accordingly by linking eddys and ferrying across the river to get to the slack water to make your way upstream.

The interior of BC has been ravaged by wildfires again this summer, with more smoke filled days than not this August. So much so that the air quality here is among the worst in the world right now. Multiple days of 10+ on the air quality index in Castlegar, which is very high risk. This morning it was a 10 on the air quality index, but the smoke cleared a fair bit in the afternoon and the sun made an appearance, with the air quality getting to a 5 on the index, so a welcome relief and hoping we get a continued break from this shit.  A couple of days ago the street lights were on at 6pm and I was driving with my headlights on at 5pm coming back from a paddle.

Worst year for smoke since I moved to the West Koots. I was starting to get into a groove getting out  quite a bit over the past week paddling, but the smoke got to be too much, and I had to just chill today because my lungs are really feeling it now.

The last really clear paddling trip I went on was right at the end of July before the smoke really started to roll in to the West Kootenays. I was a tour guide for a friend who had never paddled the south end of Kootenay Lake, and we also explored a tributary of the Kootenay river, which is part of a wildlife sanctuary and really protected from the wind, so a great place to take a novice paddler.

Looking forward to clear skies and easy breathing once again. I included a couple of pics of our smokiest days, followed by a paddling trip at the end of July.

Downwind and Racing / Kahuna Mako Molokai Downwind board
« on: July 23, 2018, 10:45:27 PM »
I took out the Kahuna brand, Mako Molokai for an hour or so today. Conditions were not favourable for downwinding, but I got a general idea for how it paddles in the chop and on the flats. For comparison, I paddle a Naish Glide V3 14 x 29.25 and a One SUP Evo 14 x 26". I'm not an advanced Downwind paddler in the least, but have been wanting to get this board out on the water for over a month now.

Dimensions for the MM are 14 x 27.5 with a slight drop deck in the standing area, that becomes more pronounced in the rear of the board. The Molokai has a weight limit on the website listed at 275 pounds. Not sure what the actual volume is. The rails are thick at 6" and rounded at the standing area and taper in front and rear with a more squared off edge in the rear. There is no mention of a double concave on the website, but starting approximately 4 feet from the tail, there is a noticeable ridge and concave on either side.  The deck pad is quite comfy but could stand to be .25" wider on both sides. The actual standing area is considerably less than 27.5" with the width also coming from the bulbous rails at the widest point. The carry handle is a ledge style and it was easy to carry this board, and it was centered well.

The weight is listed at 30 pounds +/- 10% and I would say the board I paddled was no more than 26 pounds. My Evo is 29-30 pounds, and the MM is noticeably lighter.

There is pronounced nose rocker with a pointed planing hull, and a healthy amount of tail rocker as well. The stock fin is huge at 11 inches deep, and I noticed the pull when turning in the chop. Most would change the fin right away, but the depth helped the board track straight, so for lined up conditions it would probably work ok.

I'm not totally sure where the board is produced, but it is designed in Canada. Kahuna inflatables are produced in China, so I would guess the composite boards are produced in China as well, which would help explain the price point, but it seems to be well constructed. At well under 30 pounds, I would rail tape this board and be very careful with it.

I never got this board out into DW conditions but was hit by some motor boat swell and cross chop, and it was stable. The nose slaps into incoming swell and it would need to be 2 feet or more higher before the nose would pierce going upwind, and for short period lake swell, I think the rocker would work well. I couldn't really tell coming back how it goes DW from chop that was only one foot high, but the board did seem to catch glides quite easily, and it moved out under power well on the flats. The MM felt fairly stiff going up wind in the chop, with a bit of resonation when it slapped, but it wasn't disconcerting.

I would say this board is more suited to a heavier paddler with the thick rails, and seemingly high volume but with the slight drop deck, a lighter paddler might like it.

Flatwater and Touring / Creeking!
« on: May 24, 2018, 07:32:50 AM »
Some pics from the Columbia and Slocan River. Paddling with the Sturgeon right before the high water, and high water paddling from the weekend on a slow stretch of the Slocan River that opens up more paddling routes right now.

Many parts of southern BC are experiencing bad flooding right now, with areas such as Grand Forks in the southern Kootenay/Boundary region shattering the previous high water record from 1948. The flooding is being described as one in a hundred year event and senior residents are describing the flooded watershed as unprecedented in the region. Many people have had to be rescued and fortunately no one has been seriously hurt as far as I know.

A friend and I made the short drive to Christina Lake from Castlegar (Christina Lake is a neighbouring community of Grand Forks). I had heard that some homes were flooded in low lying areas along the lake, but didn't realize it was this severe, with dozens of seasonal as well as permanent residences being badly damaged and still partially submerged. We came across local police on their boat who were making the rounds to make sure there was no looting and everyone was safe. It was an interesting day and we had some good conversations with friendly locals who are working together to repair and prepare for the possibility of another surge of high water, as the snow pack melts in the hot weather.

Some pics from our visit. The first two pics are screen shots from news pictures in Grand Forks.

SUP General / Imagination short ski video: Tom Wallisch. Amazing.
« on: November 14, 2017, 06:55:04 PM »
If you like the Danny MacAskill mtb videos, then you will probably like this even if you aren't into skiing.

Flatwater and Touring / Vancouver paddling.
« on: October 29, 2017, 12:03:34 AM »
I went to Vancouver for some work training and hooked up with fellow zoner Luc B for a couple of outings. Luc was my tour guide for Howe Sound in Squamish and Indian Arm out of Deep Cove-Vancouver. I have always wanted to go paddling in Vancouver and area and it was cool to meet a fellow zoner and get out there, so thanks Luc. Beautiful area with many paddling options.

SUP General / 2017 SUP goals revisited (summer). How did it go?
« on: September 29, 2017, 08:37:31 PM »
I dug up this thread and thought it would be interesting to check out how it went for everyone this summer.,31172.0.html

I did the shortest trips on my list, but never went on a multi day expedition this year. I still want to get to the coast and do some island hopping expeditions and paddle all of Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint. Maybe next summer. I never had it listed, but wanted to get into really good paddle shape this summer.  Lost about 12 pounds, and got into better shape, but a ways off from where I was before. I blame it on a stressful job, commuting and craft beer.

I went from Robson just outside of Castlegar to Trail on the Columbia river using my new ISUP, and it was a quick 32km+ downriver trip that was a blast. Beautiful and lots to explore along the way while testing my skills on the rapids. I managed to paddle Trout Lake and it was an easy and relaxing two days.

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