Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Solar Powered Motorized Kayak

Ok, attaching a trolling motor to power small craft like canoes and kayaks is nothing new. In fact, we have a small bayou canoe fitted with a little Minn Kota for boating on lazy days.

Nonetheless, I was shocked to see this: a solar powered, trolling motor driven outrigger kayak!

The outrigger attachment, including the frame, motor, waterproofed battery in the flotation pod compartment, and solar cells with a 120-volt charger retails for a pricey $1100. Kayak sold separately.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Shopping for Kayakers

I hope everyone is enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday. The family gathered up at our house around Noon yesterday and gluttony ensued. The recent temperature drop has left Dianne and I both a little less than eager to get out on the water. However, I could sure use a little paddling action to burn off the excess calories.

Last week, while the weather was still warm, I was able to slip out onto the Deep Fork River Bayou area just outside of Okmulgee, Oklahoma for a quick sunset paddle. Yakker even stopped by after work to join in the fun. Yakker usually paddles his Advanced Elements hybrid inflatable kayak, but this time we let him borrow Dianne's Heritage Angler. We were surprised to find a Pulling Unit at work on an oil well about 2 yards from the shore. Now THAT is Oklahoma Kayaking!

I owed Yakker a favor for helpng me score some cool kayaking gear from the good folks at AE. I took some pictures of his kayak that they wanted to use on their website. The Advanced Elements folks spotted the photos on my Flickr photostream...and the rest is free t-shirts!

Speaking of kayaking t-shirts...have you stopped by our Paddlers Supply Store yet? It gathers together loads of great bargains on kayaker t-shirts, paddles, kayaks, GPS gear, kayaking books, canoeing DVD's and more! Definately worth a stop if you are looking for Black Friday bargains online.

Kayaking 2008 Wall Calendar2008 kayaking wall calendar

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Upper Salt Creek Trip Report

Eagles in Okmulgee!

This Saturday Greg and I set out to paddle the upper portion of Salt Creek near Okmulgee, Oklahoma. As you may recall, I've been paddling the lower portion of this creek quite a bit lately. The upper portion of Salt Creek feeds Dripping Springs Lake. The creek comes into Dripping Springs Lake from the southeastern corner. The closest way that I know of to reach it is to paddle southeast from the fishing dock at Clovis Point. You have to cross more of the lake than I would prefer to paddle this little tributary, but once you reach the creek there is some lovely, well-sheltered, flatwater paddling.

The fall color is starting to really dress up the area. Also, the reduced lake traffic of this season has resulted more wildlife visibility. Greg and I saw loads of ducks, cranes and turtles, but the highlight of the trip was seeing two mature Bald Eagles!

These were the first Bald Eagles I have ever seen in Okmulgee County and the first time I have ever seen two interacting with one another. They entertained us for about 15 minutes with their awesome and inspiring airborne antics. It was glorious to behold, but sadly I was too dumbfounded to get any pictures worthy of uploading. I hope Greg had better luck. Thankfully, the 12x Zoom on my Panasonic DMC-FZ8K did allow me to capture shots good enough to show Dianne the Eagles we saw.

Greg had his Advanced Elements kayak loaded for bear with: a fish finder, rod holders, tackle box...the works. He caught a nice little bass at the entrance to Upper Salt Creek. As usual, I was too lazy to even attempt fishing. Now that I have spotted both Ospreys and Eagles on this lake, I am even less likley to do any fishing in the area. I'll be too busy hunting with my Panasonic FZ8!

Paddling to the creek can be a little scary, if you have never paddled Dripping Springs Lake before. The lake is a fairly new one, so it is still full of old drowned tree trunks, stumps and stuff. When paddling this water you WILL definitely paddle over some of these stumps unexpectedly. Be warned, but be calm and most importantly be prepared. Paddling this water without a PFD is just plain stupid, so don't do it. Once you get onto Salt Creek the old stumps clear out and the water is much narrower and shallower, but when you are on the big lake water paddle slowly and remember to brace when you become unsteadied by an obstacle.

Lower Salt Creek is much easier to access and safer to paddle, but I have never seen any Eagles on that trip. Another surprise I got on this trip was meeting another kayak photographer. Greg and i met Kevin paddling his big Dagger kayak down Salt Creek after a morning of taking pictures. He said he has paddled both Upper and Lower Salt Creek quite a few times. We only visited briefly, but it looked like he was rocking a cool SLR camera and zoom lens. I should have invited him to join our new Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers group, but it slipped my mind and I didn't water to interrupt his adventure with too much uninvited dialogue.

Afterward paddling, Greg and I met up with Dianne and grabbed some Mexican food con cervezas in Okmulgee. He is still plotting out a short trip through the locks on the Arkansas River near Webbers Falls, so be expecting more news on that later.

More Pictures from Okmulgee's Salt Creek on Flickr.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

2008 Olympic Trials for Sprint Canoe and Kayak

Olympic Canoe & Kayak Events in OKC

USA Canoe/Kayak (www.USACK.org) has announced that the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Sprint Canoe/Kayak will take place April 18 – 20, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Okla..

Nearly 100 elite paddlers from across the U.S. are expected to compete in the three-day Trials competition that will determine the ranking of sprint athletes vying for selection to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and will select paddlers to represent the U.S. at the 2008 Pan American Championships and Continental Qualification event for the Olympic Games this May in Montreal, Canada.

The 2008 Trials, which are to take place on the recently completed Oklahoma River championship course at the state-of-the-art Chesapeake Boathouse, mark the first time that a major national canoe/kayak event will be held in the state of Oklahoma.

Monday, November 05, 2007

New OKC Kayak Venturing Crew Forming

The Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation is sponsoring the formation of a new kayak Venturing Crew for young men and women ages 14-20. Venturing is a coed youth development program affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. The program focuses on giving youth the opportunity to explore special interests while encouraging personal growth and leadership skills.
A kayak Venturing Crew open house will be held Saturday, November 10, 11 am to 1pm, at the Chesapeake Boathouse, 725 S. Lincoln Blvd. The open house will give youth the opportunity to learn about Venturing Crew and meet kayakers who will compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Parents who are interested in volunteering their time for the kayaking Venture Crew are encouraged to attend. Weather permitting, kayaking will be available to the youth; waivers must be signed by parents of those under the age of 18. The Venturing Crew will be lead by the youth with adult advisors. The crew will have the opportunity to learn about recreational, whitewater, and race kayaking. Annual cost for membership in the kayak Venturing Crew is $10.

For more information, contact Matthew Woodson, coordinator, at (405) 370-9543. There are fliers here: OKC Kayak Venturing (PDF), please distribute them.