Category Archives: AdventureBlog

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The secret to keeping your boat clean

Check out the video below for a review of the Boat Bling cleaning products and tips on cleaning your boat.  Our Piersend product reviewers have risked life and limb (or maybe just nose hairs and brain cells) to bring you the secret to a clean boat.  If you’re not sure what we mean by that, check out the video below and you’ll see what we mean.

To purchase the best boat cleaning supplies known to man, please click here, here, or on any of the ads below. And, as always, please leave a comment if you like the video.

 

 

 

snowing

Snow Kayaking

The video below was posted a couple of years ago but it hasn’t received a lot of attention.  It should!  Back in 2013, Red Bull sponsored a kayak race in the snow in Estonia.

The contestants start at the top of a snow ski run, start simultaneously and race down the course.  At the end of the course, the contestants glide across a small pool of water.  Well, the successful ones glide, the unsuccessful ones flip over and semi-submerge.

Interestingly, several of the contestants are able to control their kayaks surprisingly well.  Since kayaks don’t have edges like skis or snowboards, the contestants (riders? paddlers? skiers?) use their paddles like levers to change direction.

 

 

Wakesurf Boats

Wakesurf Boats

Wakesurfing is becoming a popular watersport activity.  Google trends indicates wakeboarding popularity (based on google searches) has dropped by nearly 70% from its July 2006 high.  Wakesurfing, on the other hand, has doubled in google searches during that same time frame.  was virtually.  While wakeboarding still has a greater search volume, boat manufacturers have just recently begun to focus significant efforts toward wakesurfing enthusiasts.

Malibu (including Axis), Mastercraft, Skier’s Choice (Moomba and Supra), Centurion and nearly all other inboard manufacturers have incorporated surf wave making devices into the lineup.  And, up until recently, they’ve had a lock on the market.

Since wakesurfing involves riding a small surfboard directly off the stern of the boat, inboard boats seem to be the only practical boat for wakesurfing.  Stern drive boats and outboard boats have large outdrives and propellers hanging beyond the transom.  This places the wakesurfer at significant risk of serious injury or death if they fall.

Bryan Sport Porch  check out www.boattest.com
Bryan Sport Porch
www.boattest.com

Recently, Bryant has attempted to enter the wakesurf market by offering a sport porch on several of their models.  The sport porch is an extended swim platform that fully covers the boat’s out-drive.  While this helps prevent injury, it also adds significant length to the boat (a possible concern for storage), has an unusual appearance and isn’t a comfortable area for lounging.  It’s also an expensive option (a little over $4,000 on the 233X model).

Several sterndrive boat manufacturers including Regal, Cobalt,Four Winns, Monterey and Chaparral have indicated they may begin incorporating Volvo Penta’s new forward facing outdrive (also called a tractor drive) in hopes of capturing some of the wakesurf market.  Unfortunately, while they place the propeller in a more protected location, still leave a large, heavy, metal portion of the outdrive aft of the transom.  While hitting the outdrive portion is certainly better than hitting the propeller, it’s still going to put a dent in your day – not to mention your forehead.

Bryant may be acknowledging that inboards are inherently better suited for wakesurfing by announcing a new sub-brand of boats called: “Wake Tractor”.  While not much has been officially released, scuttlebut has it these will include Crusader engines which have historically been inboards.

If you’re looking to get into wakesurfing or if you’re looking to improve your gear, the next few years may be the perfect time!  For serious wakesurfing enthusiasts, check out the latest offerings from Moomba, Supra, Malibu, Nautique, Mastercraft, Centurion, MB Sports and Bryant.

What do you think?  Would you surf behind a sterndrive boat?

Let's go Kayaking!

Tips for a new kayaker!

We just headed out on a lake vacation with our kayaks!  but, before venturing out on the kayaks,  I looked up a few tips to help a beginner kayaker.  I was hoping to not have an experience like Dorothy Gale!

 

There are many other things to consider when you paddle:  getting into the kayak, stretchingpaddle strokeback support, and safety precautions.  All good things to look into before heading out on your kayaking adventure.  But here are a few additional things I learned:

 

Hold the paddle loosely.  Surprisingly you only need to hold the paddle with a grip of your index finger and thumb. There’s not a need to hold with a really tight grip and holding too tight with tire your hands.  The only exception to holding loosely is if you are kayaking in rapids or rough waters when you need to hold tightly to avoid losing your paddle.   So, just remember to hold on loosely but don’t let go!

 

Paddlers Box.  The paddlers box gives a mental image of how to paddle the kayak and move it forward or backwards without overuse of your shoulder or arms.  The imaginary box is found by holding your arms stretched out in front of you and shoulder width apart.  While holding the paddle, the arms, paddle and your body create the perimeter of the box.  The box shape moves with the paddle and your body to create a moving paddlers box.  This is the shape you want to keep continuously  so that your hand should never extend behind your shoulder and your paddling is efficient.

 

Use your core.  They say that the core body parts actually propel the kayak forward not the arms!  Hard to believe but if the paddling motion is done correctly, the core muscles are the ones that have the power and the rotation.  Using the core muscles-, abs, hips, back, makes your paddling more stable, smooth and efficient.

 

Find the right kayak.  There’s a lot of information about different kayaks to purchase. Check out this great site at REI.  They have information for the beginner kayaker about choosing a kayaking and learning the ins and outs of a kayak. Once you have narrowed down a type of kayak, (recreational, sea kayak, inflatable, sit on top, etc) you’ll be ready to head out and get the one you need.  So, get out on the kayak.  It may be just the thing you need for a good laugh!

 

In the end, if you don’t want your attempt at kayaking to feel ‘like balancing on a rubber ball’, these are a good things to look into before heading out on your kayaking adventure. For a great video presentation of these techniques check out MonkeySee.

 

Happy Paddling!

Ramp locator

Find a boat ramp near you.

Boating season is just around the corner.   Where will you launch your boat on your next fishing trip?  How about your cruising trip or your first wakeboard session of the year?

Maybe you want to try somewhere new for your next boat launch or find a more convenient ramp!  If you’re new to the  area, you’ll want to find launching ramps close by.

Here’s a great locator:   BoatUS Ramp Locator from BoatUS.com.  It’s fast and easy to find a launching ramp  and directions too!  Just put in you city, state and zip and a map will pop up with all the ramps around you.  Click on the screen shot below or click here!

BoatUS Ramp Locator

BoatUS has a list of ramps anywhere in America!  They also offer other information and all sorts of stuff for boaters!

Happy Boating from:

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Scuba Diver

Scuba Diving in the South

Want to go on a scuba trip?  See these Beautiful photographs by Mark Tant and it will get you itching to go.  Southern Skin Divers Supply in Birmingham Alabama will get you hooked up.  Diving is their business!  It’s what they’ve been doing for over 60 years!

We first met  Spencer Phillips with Southern Skin Divers Supply at the Birmingham Boat Show 2014.  He gave us some great information about diving and even pointed out that anyone 10 and up could try out scuba diving in their  heated indoor pool for free!  Yes, free. You can dive down 14 feet in the deep pool at their location in Birmingham 4515 – 5th Avenue South.

Southern Skin Diver Supply has a colorful website:  www.ssdsupply.com.  According to the website Southern Skin Divers Supply opened in 1953 and is the oldest  shop in the South.  Bill Tant, also known as ‘Cap’n Scuba’, started the business and created scuba diving on the Gulf Coast.  He started a diving school named Bill Tant’s School of Scuba.   Bill even had his own certification since his school predated all other certification agencies that now exist.

Unfortunately, Cap’n Scuba (Bill) passed away in 2013 but the business is in good hands with Spencer Phillips, Steve Phillips, Forrest Phillips and Mark Tant.  Check them out in Birmingham and get diving!

Additionally, Southern Skin Divers spear fish and treasure find on their many scuba trips. They’ve found marine life teeth worth more than $2,500!  Below is a photo of Spencer with a great tooth find!

Southern Skin Diver Supply Spencer with Tooth

Southern Skin Divers Supply has a  facebook and  twitter page.  check it out to follow the great things they do.

You can find it all on the webpage at www.ssdsupply.com or call (205)595-3052

 

 

 

Axis T22

Skier’s Marine & The New Axis T22

While at the 2014 Huntsville boat show, one of the most eye-catching display areas was hosted by Skier’s Marine.  All of the boats looked spectacular and the Skier’s Marine sales associates were friendly and helpful and refreshingly, not pushy.

The Supra SA’s looked great as did the Moomba Mojo and Mondo.  However, the three most eye-catching boats to me were the Axis T22, the Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV and the Bryant Callandra.

I’ve always liked the look of Axis boats and I’ve met one of the founders, Adam Mcall (although I doubt he remembers).  Axis boats have always been very specifically targeted towards wakeboarding.  Recently they have included more wakesurfing specific features while still keeping their prices low…well, low is relative in the wakeboat market…lower than most wakeboat companies.

In the past, Axis boats have suffered from a cheap-looking interior.  When we purchased our new 2013 Mobius LSV (love it!) last year, we were debating between three boats: the Axis A22, the Mobius LSV and the MB Sports B52.  While I liked the Axis and it had a great reputation, I didn’t want to spend 50-60K on a boat with a sub-par interior.

This has changed for 2014 and the interior is substantially improved.  Not only does it look better–it feels better.  They now offer colored stitching, the vinyl is sturdier and the boat has a much more solid feel.

Axis T22 2014
Axis T22 2014

 

 

 

 

 

The Malibu Wakesetter is one of the best-selling wakeboats of all time.  Our previous boat was a 1996 Malibu Sunsetter VLX (the same hull as the first Wakesetters).  It ran strong until the day we traded it in on our new Mobius LSV.  So, I have a soft spot for Wakesetters.

Last year I rode behind a friend’s Wakesetter 23 LSV and was very impressed with the wake.  The new Wakesetters improve the already plush interior and awesome styling.  One of the impressive things about the Wakesetter is how clean the wake stays even at lower speeds (great for beginners) and how insensitive it is to weight distribution.  While I haven’t yet ridden behind a 2014 (hint, hint to anyone with a 2014 Wakesetter), I’m sure it’s still one of the best wakes around.

I was very impressed with the prices Skier’s Marine offered on their 2014 Wakesetter 23 LSV.  At the Huntsville boat show, you could purchase a Wakesetter from Skiers Marine for 20% less than a Nautique 230.  If I were purchasing a new boat today, the Wakesetter would definitely be on my short list.

2014 Wakesetter
2014 Wakesetter

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, though I hate to admit it since I’m a wakeboarder at heart, I was impressed with the Bryant Calandra.  You have no idea how much it hurts to write those words.  For one thing, it’s a stern drive.  For another thing…well…it’s a stern-drive.  But, this Bryant was very well-made, offered huge interior space and had some great, innovative features.  One of the best features was the sun-pad with walk-through.  The sun-pad can be split into two lounges and the walk-through allows you to get from the swim platform into the cabin without stepping on the vinyl.

 

Bryant Callandra
Bryant Callandra

 

 

 

 

 

While my personal favorites were the Axis T22 and the Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV, the Bryant was also a very attractive boat.  While Skier’s Marine has carried Axis and Malibu for years, they just picked up the Bryant line.  So, If you’re in the market for a good wakeboard boat or a good runabout and you’ve missed the Huntsville show, make sure you drop by the Skier’s Marine display at the Birmingham boat show.

 

YellowBoat

2014 Huntsville Boat Show

The 2014 Huntsville boat show is a great way for a water-loving family to spend a winter weekend.  While not as big as some of the other Southern boat shows such as the Birmingham boat show, it is well supported by many of the local boat dealers.

Cobalt

MOJO

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Skiers Marine, Rambo Marine and Erwin Marine sales were all present, among others.  Multiple vendors and businesses had booths with free brochures, magazines and swag.

Located in the Von Braun center, in downtown Huntsville and close to Big Spring park, the Huntsville Boat Show makes a great family weekend event.  TroutPond1X1halfThe show included a free fishing pond that excites even the biggest of kids, food and drinks for purchase and of course, all kinds of boats:   weekend cruisers, wake/ski boats, fishing boats, pontoon boats and jet skis.  There’s every brand name in the business including: Moomba, Bryant, Cobalt, Bayliner, MasterCraft, Nautique, Sea Doo to name a few.

 

After you make the rounds at the amazing boat show, make sure you take some time to walk by the pond and canal located across the street from the Von Braun center.  If you’re up for continuing a short walk, follow the canal up to Big Spring Park, where you can sit and enjoy watching the spring water spout out of a rock creating a beautiful rock cliff scene reminiscent of Ireland!

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After walking to Big Spring park, you may  work up an appetite or feel like a sweet treat.  There are many option in this great downtown Huntsville area.  We ventured to Sam & Gregs Pizzeria for delicious pizza and hand-made gelato (whatever you do, don’t miss out on the gelato)!

If you didn’t make it to the boat show this year, put it on your calendar for next January.  It’s fast becoming a tradition for us.

Click here for a more in-depth review on the Skier’s Marine display and Fort Hampton Outfitters,

Fury Dive Knife

Fury 9-inch Dive Knife Review

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year (after the pajamas with the bunny feet) is my Fury 9-inch dive knife.  It’s very well built, with a great snap-in sheath.  But, best of all, it’s got a cool factor (or, as my son says, it’s covered in epic awesome-sauce).  As soon as I strap it on my ankle, I feel like Magnum P.I. or Jason Bourne.

I haven’t had a chance to take it out in the “wild” yet, but I wore it all Christmas day in anticipation.  Yes, I was a a sight to see with a 9-inch dive knife strapped to my bunny pajama legs!  One of the best things about living in the South is the mild winters.  Today is supposed to get up to 54 degrees and, as soon as I get the gutter up on the pergola, I’m hoping to hit the river for a quick paddle.

Several times I’ve needed a knife when paddling (typically to remove fishing line, hooks, etc.) and I’m always a little anxious about carrying a pocket knife as it could easily fall out of my pocket.  Plus, they don’t tend to be very water resistant.  The Fury 9-inch dive knife has a rubberized handle, sheath and straps. Since the knife “clicks” into the sheath and the sheath attaches to my legs with belt-like rubber straps, I don’t have to worry about losing it.

After I get a chance to use it while paddling, I’ll try to write a more thorough review.  Until then, here are a few pictures of the Fury 9-inch dive knife:

 

Fury Dive Knife
Fury Dive Knife

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Fury 9-inch dive knife
Fury 9-inch dive knife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fury Dive Knife
Fury Dive Knife

 

Fury Dive Knife, 9-Inch Rubber Grip with Secure Sheath and Leg Straps

Kayak with Dog

Kayaking Limestone Creek

 

Adventuring up Limestone Creek in mid fall is a beautiful trip.

Creek flowing with foliage around

The leaves are colorful (pictures do not do it justice), the air is cool and the water is calm.  Best of all, we found a great fishing hole.

Fishing from L.L. Bean kayakWaiting for the big bass!

The fish were definitely going after the Broke-Back Rapala this time!

 CJ caught a big bass!

Okay, there is one downside to kayaking this time of year.   Spots of low water on the creek.

Low water, dragging kayak.Blast Kayak in water with fallen leavesLow clearance!

But…it’s all an adventure!  Paddle on!