Tag Archives: kayaking

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!

Water shoes

How to find long lasting, good quality water shoes.

Your choices for water shoes are limitless so deciding what your needs are should be your first criteria.

Are you going to need a water shoe that can outlast a Navy SEAL? We got them!

Or, casual, light weight water shoes that allow you to participate in your favorite sport? We have them too.

But if you want the best fit….

Water shoes for boating, surfing
Water shoes for kayaking
Water shoes for fishing
Water shoes for heavy duty jobs (Navy SEALs quality!)
And here’s how to keep them clean and dry

Water shoes for boating and surfing:



Water shoes for kayaking:

Astral Men’s Brewer Watershoe

Water shoes for Fishing:

NRS Felt Sole Kicker Wetshoe

(These are actually waterPROOF)

NRS Boundary Shoe

Hard working watershoes: (US Navy SEALs quality)

NRS Workboot Wetshoe

OTB Abyss II Boot

30% off SALE on NRS Water Shoes!! Limited supplies!! NRS.com! Click Here for Details.

Water proof bag- how to close

How to close a waterproof bag!

Waterproof bags (or dry bags) are a must for keeping your stuff dry while enjoying any water sport! We use these bags for boating, kayaking, fishing and at the beach!


Our pick:  Outdoor Products waterproof bags

We have several of these and use them all the time.  Amazon rates them at 4 stars.  I think they’d be 5 stars if users knew how to close them properly.

Here’s how to close your waterproof bag:

Step 1: Put your stuff in the bag! Be sure to get the right size bag for your stuff. You’ll want to fill the bag 2/3 full.  You can put more than I have here.

Waterproof bag full of stuff
Step 1

Step 2: Put the tops sides together pulling tight and try to get most of the air out of the bag.


Waterproof bag - how to close
Step 2


Step 3: Begin folding down the two sides together making sure the air is out as you go.  Fold it several times.

Waterproof bag - how to close
Step 3a


Waterproof bag - how to close
Step 3b


Waterproof bag - how to close
Step 3c








Step 4: Finally  grab both sides of the back tops and clip the clasp together so it will stay closed.

Waterproof bag - how to close
Step 4a


Waterproof bag - how to close
Step 4b


Waterproof bag - how to close
Step 4c








That’s it.  May you always have dry stuff!

For other waterproof bags check out West Marine.
And, NRS Tuff Sack Dry Bag at nrs.com



Snow in the South

Hey Y’all, Snow in the South!

Snow in the South!  Alabama declared a state of emergency  Feb 10 due to anticipation of a winter storm. North Alabama woke to a blanket of snow and treacherous roads Feb 11.

It’s a snow day!  No school, many businesses closed and everyone is encouraged to stay off the roads!

Instead of taking your car for a spin like the winter olympians in an ice skating rink,  we suggest…build a snowman, a snowcat or have a snowball fight!

Snowman in Alabama 1/11/14
Cat made out of Snow 1/11/14

Snow ball fight 1/11/14


Shop online for great winter deals:


Hot deals – before it’s hot outside!

Thinking ahead to warm weather and summer?  I can’t wait to try out my new Connelly Cruzer triple rider tube.  Just got it.  And, here’s the best part………………. half price!

Connelly Cruzer tube
Connelly Cruzer


Read on…great deals await.

Many marine and boat shops sell products like tubes, ropes, wakeboards, skiis, boots and jackets but this inventory usually doesn’t make up a large portion of their profits.  Generally it’s service and large purchases.  Hence, when it comes to inventory of the ‘fun’ stuff, they are likely to just move it out and make room for a fresh new look in the shop.

This change of inventory often happens at the end of a season or a year.  So, that’s the time to take advantage and stock up on the things you want for the coming water season.

I purchased this Connelly tube half price from Skiers Marine in Alabama.  They, like most boat shops, move through their inventory every year.  You can find deals like this everywhere you go – if you are looking at the right time!

Check out clearance items at our affiliate shops.


Stand up paddling — Fort Hampton Outfitters

It’s been a cold winter but warmer weather is just around the corner (we hope).  It’s none to early to line up your upcoming adventures for 2014 and there’s no better way then trying something new.  How about stand up paddling (SUP) to top the list?

According to wikipedia.com, the Outdoor Foundation’s 2013 Report stated that stand up paddling was listed as the most popular outdoor activity among first-time participants in 2013.  The report also cited the median age for stand up paddling was 28.

Stand up paddling (often miscalled paddleboarding) originates from Hawaii.  It became a popular sport in 2005 and has grown ever since.  To get paddling you will need a properly sized paddle and board.   A common rule of thumb for the correct size of paddle is a “shaka” length, or 5 to 7 inches, over your head. To use a SUP, hold the paddle with one hand on the handle and the other hand approximately 1/3 of the way down the shaft and “row” the board forward.

Looking for a great place to get training and rent SUP boards in North Alabama?  Check in with:

Don and Tonyia Bowling

  Fort Hampton Outfitters.

They rent SUPs at Joe Wheeler State park (Elkmont,  AL) and are a BOTE authorized dealer.  We talked with Don Bowling at the Huntsville boat show and found Fort Hampton Outfitters to be an impressive and family friendly company.  They see the great benefit of outdoor play and pleasure and hope to get others to get out and enjoy it too.  They know first hand how being outdoors and getting exercise is life natural way to boost your energy.

Fort Hampton Outfitters open for public rentals/sales in May and throughout the summer.  Get in touch with them through email at forthamptonoutfitters@gmail.com or at their website at www.forthamptonoutfitters.com.  They’ll get you hooked up and answer all your questions.

Not interested in stand up paddling?  Fort Hampton Outfitters rent kayaks too!

Try it out!  SUP is certain to be a great adventure tradition!

Like fly fishing?  Check out the potential of SUP boards and fishing!  It’s very popular in Montana!

yellow hammer lure

Yellow Hammer Lure Review

As we entered the Birmingham Alabama boat show, we were greeted by a huge, really cool fish tank displayed by Yellow Hammer lures.  A large, relatively slender tank full of bass fish was set up with rows of chairs on either side.  At certain times throughout the boat show they would show their famous lure and let everyone see how it worked.  They removed the hooks(so they didn’t actually hurt or catch the fish) and cast the lure into the tank where you could see the lure and the fish in action through the glass walls.

Yellow Hammer Fish Tank
Tank by Yellow Hammer Lures

The fish were definitely interested in the lures.  Every cast resulted in a strike.  Now, I was born on a Sunday, but it wasn’t last Sunday.  I’m sure the fish  were very hungry and would go after almost anything…but, that doesn’t really matter.  The demonstration gave you an excellent idea of how the lure moved in the water and how fish would attack it (especially when hungry).   Their slogan, ‘the best rig in town’ really seems true.  To be honest, the demonstration also showed me how accurately some people (read: not me) can cast.

Yellow Hammer CEOAfter the demonstration, we spoke with the Yellow Hammer representative, who also happens to be the Yellow Hammer C.E.O. (and, I suspect, the Yellow Hammer marketing director, chief financial officer, I.T. guy, …).  But, you don’t need a large company to make a good lure.   And the Yellow Hammer 5-wire is a very well-made lure.

With a shad-like lure in the middle and five wires arranged in a spoke-like configuration moving backwards from the center bait, it simulates a school of bait fish.  At the end of each wire is a spinner and a swivel where you can attach your preferred swim-bait.  Furthermore, it’s made in Alabama and no-one knows fish better than the South.

We were so impressed that my son bought one right there for my birthday.  Neither of us could wait to rig it up and catch some bass.

Yellow Hammer Lure

Even though it was January, the following day was warmer than usual and even a bad day bass fishing is better than a good day at work!  We loaded up the kayaks, put on warm clothes and hit the local creek.  Unfortunately the local creek hit back and we lost the lure before getting much of a chance to test it out.

After several casts, and a few bites, we snagged a rock and broke the line.  While this is a sad ending to an otherwise awesome day, I am still impressed with the Yellow Hammer 5-wire lure.  It is immediately obvious that it’s construction is top-notch.  Just make sure you have a strong line!

So, if you’re looking for a bass-catching lure that’s well-made and decently priced, check out the Yellow Hammer lures website at: http://www.theyellowhammerrig.com/, email:  BigBass@TheYellowHammerRig.com.   Or, you can give Todd (205) 527-7980 or Kyle (208) 368-7596 a call.

Yellow Hammer Sign


Check out our follow up review:  The lucky replacement – Yellow Hammer Rig!



Two Kayaks

Kayaking activity up this year!

Kayaking (including recreational, fishing, sea/touring and white water) involves almost 12 million of us! And, last year according to the Outdoor Recreation Participation Report of 2013  that number of kayakers includes an increase of 10-13%


Sounds good! As a whole, we are getting outdoors more.  The increase has been consistent when comparing the past three years.  That’s good for our health and mind.

Unfortunately if we go further back to compare overall outdoor activity from 2006 to current we find that we are just only slightly more outgoing now. From 49.1% participation rate in 2006 to 49.4%! Not as impressive.

So it looks like we should keep pushing to get outside and kayak or enjoy any of a number of activities. The Outdoor Foundation is trying to inspire and improve the trend of getting outdoors! The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) established by Outdoor Industry Association to inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Its vision is to be a driving force behind an increase in active outdoor recreation in America.

So, take those empty kayaks and get them in the water.  Feel the fresh air and reap the health benefits!  Bring your kids along too. Especially since  recent studies say getting outdoors is not only good for your health and mind it good for your kids health and minds!

The National Wildlife Federation states that kids are becoming more obese from lack of exercise and outdoor play and there are more and more ADHD drugs being used.  To top that, a sharp rise in antidepressants are being administered to pediatric patients.  Click here for article.

Let’s get out and play…how about kayaking!

Do you have ideas for getting our kids and ourselves outdoors?  Leave us a comment.

For more insights on kayaking activity increase, check out: http://www.paddlinglight.com/articles/kayaking-and-canoeing-participation-rates/

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


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