Sea Kayaking Articles from P&H Staff, Team Paddlers, and Friends

Month: April 2009

Cockpit storeage

After reading kellys post about sticker placement, maybe it could be a good idea to free-up some of that valuable front-deck realestate: 🙂

A pump, a sponge & a paddlefloat, are items carried by many seakayakers, these are used during and after a rescue in many circumstances. Keeping the pump & paddlefloat close at hand is important, many people store them on the frontdeck, or next to the dayhatch behind the cockpit. I do the same if I am teaching self-rescue. The problem with storing these items on the front deck is that it takes space away from the seakayakers all-important chart table…. Over the last few years I have been storing these three items under my frontdeck. I have a system that allows me to quickly retrieve these items if I am in the water beside the kayak, or if I am in my boat and want to use the pump.

Underdeck storeage1

In this image, you can see that I have used epoxy and fiberglass tape to construct a simple system to hold the equipment under the frontdeck. The elastic is passed through plastic tubing that is secured to the sides and the middle of the underside of the cockpit.

Underdeck storeage2

In the second image, you can see the pump, paddlefloat & sponge neatly stored out of the way, but easily at hand.

Of course, kayaks with a cockpit hatch have a built-in storage area for other essentials like VHF radio, flares & snacks 🙂



Logo your boat…

There comes a time in every paddlers life when they feel the need to personalize their watercraft. Being a proud sponsored kayaker of many fine outdoor companies, it is vital that I “funk my colors” in an appropriate fashion to inspire shock and awe while out on the water. This process should not be taken lightly! In order to be effective, one must comprehend the overall look and feel of the end result and create a rich tapestry, both while in and out of the boat. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you consider sticker placement and content;

1) Be sure your sponsors are displayed prominently on the deck without obstruction. Too many people place stickers and logos on the boat only to cover them up with deck bags, spare paddles, camera cases, etc. A rookie move that can be avoided simply by considering your on-water presents prior to stickerage!

2) It’s important not to over logo your gear. Less is more! Make your point without creating visual mayhem.

3) Add the personal touch. Not all stickers need to be sponsors and it’s a nice change of pace to have other, non-paddling related logos on the boat. It gives the viewer a sense of your other interests and detracts from the overwhelming feeling that you are a total kayaking nerd. Many of my fellow Pyrahna/P&H peers are or were avid skate boarders and thus leading to a Vans or an Independent logo. Me? I am an MMA fan and practitioner so I have a Sprawl sticker on my back deck. I can always count on my friend Darren Bush of Rutabaga to get me some really inappropriate, reflective trucker stickers which I display proudly on my bow. I am aware that he does this because he doesn’t feel comfortable with the stickers on his boat but he has a secret desire to display them. I then become his conduit; His darker side so to speak. And because they have a story to it, they don’t come off as tacky but as a slice of my life that other paddlers feel comfort in enjoying. Side note: I have run across people who put political stickers on their boats. This should not be done, as a rule. Fully 96% of all paddler will view you with distain regardless of their political viewpoint. 3% will simply feel awkward and, thus, not want to hang with you. The final 1% will be totally in agreement with you and want to be your new best friend. Consider then that 96% of all paddlers will view that guy with distain and you are most like in that category. In other words, there is a huge chance that you won’t want to be involved with anyone who wants to be involved with you.

4) Don’t put any stickers on that are funny for a few moments. After the joke is over, the joke is suddenly over and you begin the journey down the road of being a tool. This includes writing on the bottom of boats. You want yourself and your boat to be identified as a visual feast, not with being upside down every 4 minutes either for a less than clever sight gag or lack of skill.

5) Everyone has a Mac or an Ipod; leave the Apple sticker in the back of you Element, huh?

6) Treat your sticker placement as you would if you getting a tattoo. Don’t logo under the influence of excessive drugs or alcohol consumption. Don’t logo if you are going into or out of a relationship (Consider how awkward it would be to see on a kayak the saying, “Brenda forever” with the “forever” crossed out and “is a prostitute” scribbled in underneath). Stay away from band names cause I am not paddling with anyone with a ”Yanni” sticker anywhere visible.

7) Motivation is key. If you are logo-ing your gear so it conveys “Look at me! Look at how cool I am and look at all the nifty stuff I own”, maybe you are on the wrong track. Consider that the sticker represents you, not define you or promotes you.

So, I hope this helps you in your kayak decorating endeavors.

The New Team


Spring has finally come to us here in the U.S. of A. and 2009 is looking pretty awesome. Not only are we at P&H rockin’ some of the best boats in the world to date but here on the home front we have assembled an unbelievable team of paddlers hitting the waters and smiling big for the camera’s. In the next few weeks you will be hearing from these folks, getting to know them a bit better, and sharing the excitement they have for the sport of kayaking.

So stay tuned to you computer screens for the latest P&H Team antics from here and abroad!!!

Coach Kelly signing off until next week at this very computer station!


Kayak Coast 2 Coast

This proved to be a challenging 182 mile adventure over 8 days using an historic trading route linking urban life with rural and seafaring culture. Crossing northern England from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, the trip started in mid March at Crosby Beach at the Mouth of the Mersey Estuary. The team were interviewed and filmed for a BBC news programme before setting off into blustery conditions on a very choppy sea.

At Runcorn Jean, Glen, Liz and me, (Jim Krawiecki) spent the night on a narrowboat moored beside the Kayaks North West shop and P&H offices before heading for Manchester through the rolling Cheshire countryside along the picturesque Bridgwater Canal. Over the next few days there were dozens of locks to portage as the route followed the trans-Pennine trading route along the Rochdale Canal and the Calder navigations.

Amongst the hills and dark satanic mills of northern England, spring was springing and wildlife was abundant. The natives were friendly too.

A gang of boisterous lads wielding bottles of WKD became worryingly inquisitive of the kayaks and equipment. But the paddlers were soon released in hearty fashion once a sinful watering of grog was sunk and the continuing voyage duly toasted!

Reaching the Humber Estuary at Goole was a great relief. No more locks! But the next day provided a gut busting a 30 mile paddle dodging ferries at Hull before spending the night in a lighthouse with a shoal of fish, several cats and a mad artist. On the 8th day all that remained was an 18 mile paddle down tide to Spurn Head and a tremendous welcome ashore by the lifeboat crew that lives there.

The Kayak Coast 2 Coast team would like to express their thanks to Kayaks North West, P&H kayaks and Peak UK for their help with equipment for the trip. Thanks also to everyone who helped along the way, and helped to raise over £1600 for the RNLI Lifeboats via We updated the Kayak Coast 2 Coast blog each day so that is worth a read but, there will be a more detailed trip report in a forthcoming issue of Canoe & Kayak UK magazine


Scorpio LV

I am hoping to get out to play in the Scorpio LV again over the next three or four days, and decided to remind myself of my first-impressions of the boat last November:

The LV is very much a LOW Volume version of the Scorpio, looking at them side by side the LV is much lower volume, the back deck is a whole 7cm lower, the front deck 3cm lower, 2cm narrower…. and 7cm shorter. After testing the Scorpio, I really have been looking forward to this LV version.

The conditions I tested in were around force 5 building to a light 6, with confused waves of between 1 – 1.5m of coldish 9c water….. winter is on the way !

Well, the LV is rather a different beast than the standard Scorpio in my opinion. You are still getting a reletivly high initial stability, although as soon as you start to edge the LV you can really feel the difference that the 2cm reduction in width, it is not unstable, just rather more lively. Edging still produces carved turns, it only requires a few sweep strokes to turn a full 360. If anything bow rudders are more effective than the already great Scorpio, cross-bow rudders are extremely quick and aggressive, you just have to be a bit more careful to allow for the little livlier attributes of the narrower hull. Low brace turns are very quick whilst it is possible to lean the boat more or less completly on its side, this produces a radical turn of well over 90 without feeling unduly unstable. In the waves it is very easy to manouver into any position with ease. In short steep waves the bow has a more relaxed feel to it than in the full size boat, a considerable amount of volume has been taken out of the bow area. Windage has been greatly reduced, but then again, so has space to load up for extended trips… After extensive play with the skeg up, I lowered the blade into the sea, not because it was necesary, just to see how the LV would react. it seemed to bring a calming influence to the whole experience, I could now without much discomfort stow the paddle & eat a bannana whilst just watching the horizon disapear only to show-up again a few seconds later.
The only area that did suprise me was that it did not seem any quicker at catching waves, to be fair, trying to surf short steep waves is not easy so….. I will be looking forward to a surf session in the next few weeks.

Well I never did get out for the surf session, and the forecast is for light winds over the next few days, so I will be experimenting with the boats edging & turning performance…… and finally enjoying a little spring sunshine 🙂


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