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Upper Cherry Creek

This year while planning for our two month cali season one thing that was a disappointment was that we were told "upper cherry is closed this year".  The reason behind the "closure" was the rim fire in the fall of 2013, closing access to the cherry lake and the normal hike in and take out to the famous run.  Lucky for me my brother Jim doesn't take no for an answer and found a legal access to the creek. We hiked in from the normal west cherry hike in at bourland meadows and over into the upper…See More
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Aquabatics Film Fest Trailer HD 1080p

4th anual Aquabatics Film Festival October 30th Schanks Nw, Calgary
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Hospital Rock

V-slide starts things off with a bang for Darin McQuoid…See More
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Adidas Sickline

Photos courtesy of Adidas Sickline. Jens Klatt, M Arnu & E Holzknecht!…

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Posted by Martina Wegman on October 13, 2014 at 3:00am

Upper Cherry Creek

This year while planning for our two month cali season one thing that was a disappointment was that we were told "upper cherry is closed this year".  The reason behind the "closure" was the rim fire in the fall of 2013, closing access to the cherry lake and the normal hike in and take out to the famous run.  Lucky for me my brother Jim doesn't take no for an answer and found a legal access to the creek. 

We hiked in from the normal west cherry hike in at bourland meadows and…

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Posted by Tom Janney on October 10, 2014 at 8:16pm

Hospital Rock

V-slide starts things off with a bang for Darin McQuoid…

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Posted by Darin McQuoid on September 30, 2014 at 11:07pm

Devils Extreme Race edit

Sick edit from the Devils Extreme Race a couple weeks ago! Video by Ciarán…
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Posted by Martina Wegman on September 28, 2014 at 3:00am

Dagger Europe Blog

Martina – episode 4

Photo Jasper Gibson

Martina – episode 4

Here is another quick little edit of my adventures along the road :) Episode 4 shows a bit of touring around Canada and the United States of America.

If you missed Episode 3, the Grand Canyon, Colorado River you can check it out here.

That was Paddle Expo 2014

That was Paddle Expo 2014

At the beginning of autumn each year, manufacturers and retailers from the global paddlesport industry meet in Nuremberg, Germany to unveil what's new in paddling for the upcoming year. Paddle Expo was a great show this year, with lots of exciting new stuff, and we're really proud to have won the 'Coolest Gear of the Show' award for the new Gradient boots. The new products will start arriving in shops from December, through the new year and into spring 2015, so stay posted or subscribe to our newletter at the bottom of the page for product news as they arrive.

Team favourites

Atom – super breathable new whitewater jacket

Peyto – the smooth new touring PFD

Alpha – minimalist racing/freestyle PFD

Folding Knife

Gradient and Camber – tough, grippy new water shoes

New touring jackets

Arun – high performance baselayers 

Show overview – what makes Paddle Expo special?

 

How to: outfit your whitewater kayak ...

How to: outfit your whitewater kayak ...

Three things you should do to every whitewater boat.

1 – Airbags keep your boat afloat

Water is a kilo per litre, so two thirty litre airbags in your boat means about sixty kilos less boat to rescue!

We're all between swims – airbags will help minimise the damage

Airbags provide vital extra buoyancy should your boat end up in the water without you. Airbags should be tied in (to your seat) and fit snugly (we make a whole family of sizes to help with that). If you, like me, have short legs and lots of space in front of your footrest, consider putting airbags up front too. Even with only a small space in front of your footrest you might be able to squeeze in a partially deflated kids plastic football. Every kilo counts and buoyancy in your bow will help.

The Heavy Weight float bag family from Palm

Palm’s range of airbags fit perfectly inside modern whitewater kayaks. The dimensions of our 30 litre float bag have been adjusted to fit snugly in today's larger creek boats like the Mamba 8.6. The 15 litre float bag has been updated to better suit the stern space of modern playboats like the Jitsu. The 25 litre float bag is still our longest float bag, which is great for old school and longer boats like the Green. We've added dump valves to the 30 and 25 litre bags, so that you can deflate and pack away these larger float bags much more easily. 

To prolong the life of your float bags: First, take them out of your boat occassionally to let them dry and to clear any sand, grit and river detritus that has built up in the bilges of your kayak. Second, don't leave them permanently fully inflated. Let a little air out before you put your kayak away, and top them up with a couple of breaths when you're about to go paddling, that way they will not be under constant pressure, and should they warm up in the sun, they won't be over stretched.

2 – Set up your cockpit

First, set your seat position, this usually means having your centre of gravity at the kayak’s mid point (or centre of floatation). Too far forward and your nose will tend to catch and bury itself, too far back and the tail will become catchy and your nose will ride way up in the air when surfing. As a rough guide, when floating on flat water in an upright position, your kayak’s nose and tail should be about the same distance from the water.

Up, down, forward backwards – take take the time to get this right.

The height of your seat also changes things drastically with only a few centimetres difference. Extra height will give you more forward reach and more leverage, but balance will feel a little twitchier. To increase your seat height, insert a layer or two of foam under your seat pad. Dagger's Contour Ergo system also features a leg lifter strap to support your thighs and get that rally driver's bucket seat feel.

With you seat positioned, it's time to set up your hip pads, thigh grips, and backrest. Good points of contact with your kayak will help you to control your boat at extreme angles and should hold you firmly in place whether upside down, on your side, or bouncing between the two. Hip pads, thigh grips, and backrest should be supportive, but you'll know it's too tight if you start to get pins and needles. In my opinion, the Dagger hip pad kit is the best there is, with two retaining straps and velcro backing, it's an easy addition to improve any make or model of kayak.

Small changes to your backrest setup can also have a marked effect, especially for longer days out. Your backband should be supportive and stiff, without causing discomfort. It should promote your upright, slightly forward, active paddling position, and sit low on your back so it doesn't immobilise your spine (can you still lean against the back deck or rotate your torso fully?). Loosening the upper cockpit rim straps and tightening the lower strap that holds the backband to the seat will help keep your backband low and also prevent that unfortunate ass-pinch! Most modern backrests come with adjustable ratchet systems, but if not you can often retrofit one. The Dagger Freestyle Backband is simple, strong and another simple upgrade to any make or model of kayak.

A lovely comfy cockpit...

Hips, back and bum – padded, but still firmly supported.

3 – Pad your footrest

For effective forward paddling, a good footrest is vital. Creek boats should have a full plate footrest which ensures there are no gaps for your feet to slip through, and plenty of foam padding to cushion you from full-on frontal crashes. Our playboats come with stackable foam blocks, which are really easy to adjust.

A full plate footrest should leave no gaps for your feet to slip through

Ideally your footrest should be angled to support your heels as well as the ball of your foot. It's a good idea to add small foam wedges for your heels to rest on. Even if you have big feet, very little room in the bow, or inflexible ankles, adding heel blocks can help to reposition your feet to make paddling a whole lot more comfortable.

Dagger's Creek and River spec expanding foot cups make adjusting your foot plate a breeze

Take some time to get these three things right and your time on the water will be safer, comfier, and much more fun. Now  I'm all set for some winter paddling, let's hope for a rainy one. See you on the water!

PS Don't expect any help rescuing your boat if it doesn't have airbags.

PPS This is all much more effective if you don't cut big holes in your kayak beforehand.

My Palm PFDs of choice

My brother Jurij on his first Callaghan descent. I made him wear the Extrem since, well, I worry about him.

My Palm PFDs of choice

I have been avoiding writing about Palm products on the Palm website, since I was afraid it would seem like I was only saying good things about the products because Palm sponsor me. The fact is though that I asked Palm to support me because it really is that good and I couldn’t have been happier to have gotten a positive reply. And using so many Palm products enables me to really get a feel of what is best for what use. Hopefully by writing about it I might be able to help anyone who might be undecided and unsure make a right choice.

I decided to start by writing about Palm's PFDs, the Extrem and FXr. I have gone through a lot of different PFDs over the years, good and bad, so I am confident about writing a review.

The Extrem is a flagship extreme whitewater/rescue PFD, next to the Amp vest. I have been using it most of 2013. It has many pockets, karbiner clip, 70N of floatation and lots of interesting and useful small details. One thing that doesn’t fit my preferences is that it doesn’t have an outside knife dock. I like to wear a one-pull-knife on the outside of the PFD and it takes a bit of ingenuity to make it work on the Extrem. But when it comes to storage and safety it is hard to beat. One of the most important things is that it offers an outstanding rib protection (because of area it covers and its thickness). I have only the Extrem PFD to thank that I didn’t have a catastrophic injury last year when I hit a rock with my torso, while creek boating on the Callaghan. I did break a rib but I can’t even imagine what it would be like if I wore a thinner vest that day.

There is a tradition in Palm of play PFDs having an ability of being upgraded to a rescue PFD. The FXr is an already upgraded version of FX freestyle PFD. Before I started using it I thought I was only going to use it for easier runs, races and playboating. But I just went back to the good old Extrem after I first used the FXr. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Extreme PFD and the protection that it offers but one of the only negative things that I have heard from others regarding the FXr is what won me over. That is its lack of side torso protection, which at the same time gives it a feel of freedom unmatched by PFDs of similar capabilities.

The Extrem is the vest that I would recommend to kayakers looking to drop hard and steep creeks. For most others, above all those who prefer a vest that offers maximum freedom of movement, I would recommend the FXr – even to rafting guides (though here it comes to personal preference). The FXr also doesn’t have an outside knife dock (which I would like) but it does instead have a very convenient and quickly accessible pocket for a fold knife (of the kind most people use anyway). Its main pocket is huge and I normally fit four karabiners, two pulleys, a couple of prussiks and a flip line in it and it still leaves some space for an energy bar. It has a clip and a mesh pocket inside a pocket.

For a broad range of use and I would recommend the FXr to most kayakers, from complete beginners to playboaters and even big water chargers, since my M/L sized FXr still has 70N of buoyancy. Even though I use it for this reason, it is less appropriate for steep creeking and maybe even expedition kayaking. But that is where the Extrem vest steps in with its side torso protection, many small pockets, and even a capability of holding a camel back water container.

So those are my two cents in regarding my favourite Palm PFDs. If you have a question or a review you would like to read please just write a comment and I’ll do my best to reply. I have tested most of Palm whitewater line. Also keep in mind all above is my personal opinion. Make sure you go out with the gear yourself and see if it suits you before you buy it, whatever it may be.

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