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Preparing for the Paddling Season

Yakima "RACK and ROLL" trailer

Despite the cold and snow just outside my window as I sit here writing, there is a glimmer of hope that spring will be here soon.  The Canoecopia 2015 show guide arrived in the mail recently.  People will be looking to buy canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) with plans to paddle once the weather and water warm up.  Are you one of those people itching to get a new boat and head out onto some local waterways?

If you are planning to buy, or at least look at, a new kayak at Canoecopia  (or know someone else who is), I have scheduled a program in early March to help you sort through your options and help you better understand the industry lingo that you’ll be wading hip deep through when talking to the sales reps at the show.  “Choosing A Kayak/Understanding Hull Designs” is being offered on Thursday, March 5th, from 6-8pm and on Sunday, March 8th, from 2-4pm in Wind Lake.  The cost is $20/person.  To register, call 262-895-2008 or send me an email.

For those who are completely new to the sport, there’s much more to buying a kayak than color and price.  I will be discussing the different types of kayaks and how to determine which category you should be looking at.  Beyond that, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the differences in design and help you understand all the terminology like displacement vs. planing hulls; initial and secondary stability; fish-form, symmetrical, or swede-form hull shapes and how they affect performance; tracking vs. maneuverability; reading the specs and figuring out what they really mean for a paddler.  I can answer questions you may have as a result of the research you may have already done, and since I’m not selling any kayaks, I can give you objective information about the advantages and disadvantages of some of the materials, features, etc.  We can also discuss the question of whether or not to purchase a tandem, for those who may be considering that option.  I certainly expect people to come loaded with their own set of questions.

Buying a kayak is a big purchase for most people.  Take a couple hours of your time to educate yourself so that you don’t make any rookie mistakes.  If you need some help with your accessory purchases, I’m giving two presentations at Canoecopia dealing with that topic.  You may want to carve 45 minutes out of your visit to Madison to listen in.  “Things Your Mother Never Told You About Kayak Accessories” will be presented on Friday at 5:30pm and Saturday at 12:30pm.

Now for those of you who either have your boat already, or won’t be able to make it to Canoecopia, there are plenty of other classroom seminars that I’m offering this spring for paddlers who want to get ready for the upcoming season.  Check out the SherriKayaks schedule on this website.  There are seminars for “Cold Weather Paddling” (April 2), “Knots for Paddlers” (April 9), “Navigation” (April 23), “Understanding Surf and Waves” (May 7), and a hands-on clinic for “Boat Maintenance and Repair” on May 2nd.  Beyond that, there are lots of classes and trips on the schedule for this summer.  Call 262-895-2008 to register or send me an email.  The sooner you can make your plans, the better chance you’ll have to get the class or trip on the date you want!


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