Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Searching for a new kayak or canoe can be fun, yet challenging at the same time. There are so many choices that someone new can become overwhelmed rather quickly. As posted earlier this year, you need to try before you buy. This will give you real life interaction that cannot be obtained from online research.

I have had a lot of people ask me what I use. While I have used numerous brands/styles over the years, there are two in particular that I would recommend.

Tripper 172

For the first 10 years of my life, our family had two canoes. One of the canoes was a 17' aluminum Osagian. This was a good canoe that got the job done with no frills. The downside was that it was heavy and hard to maneuver, especially in  whitewater. When rivers were low, any contact with the bottom of the river would immediately halt the canoe.

The second canoe was a 16'  Mohawk. I preferred this canoe over the aluminum since it was easier to maneuver as a child. I could paddle this canoe solo with much less effort and getting to good fishing spots were easier.

When I was 10, my father purchased a 17' Old Town Tripper. It seemed like a nice canoe when I first saw it, but I knew that looks can sometimes be deceiving. We had to get it on the water to really see how it handled. After the first trip, it was clear that this canoe was by far the best of the three. It tracked very well and could still hold a large amount of cargo. It is perfect for day trips, as well as overnight float trips. It is made out of Royalex, a lightweight, durable material that is perfect for whitewater. I now have my own Old Town Tripper and absolutely love it. 


One of the first things that I knew I needed to do after moving to Florida in 2007 was to buy a kayak. I had experience with a number of different styles, but had never owned my own kayak. I did extensive research online, attended numerous demos, and talked with locals who had experience kayaking Florida. After two months, I purchased a Necky  Rip 10. This kayak is a perfect balance between glide and maneuverability. It also has a larger cockpit, which works out well since I am 6'2". It is perfect for fishing and can get just about anywhere you need it to go.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Day on the Water

I decided to take the kayak out the Sarasota Intercoastal Waterway the other day since I had a few free hours. It ended up being a great afternoon on the water with perfect weather.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding has become one of the fastest growing sports around. Not only is it a great way to spend time on the water, but it is a great way to work out. You can paddle on almost any body of water including ocean,  rivers, and lakes.

If you enjoy being in a canoe or kayak, then you need to give paddle boarding a chance. I have been on a paddle board a few times and would definitely recommend it.

Click here to read more.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

If you are local to Sarasota/Bradenton, you probably have noticed a large body of water along I-75 between University Parkway and Fruitville that seemingly came out of nowhere. This is the home of Nathan Benderson Park, which now has a 400-acre lake that will soon be able to hold international rowing competitions. Many believe that Nathan Benderson Park will be the premier venue for rowing competitions. Check out the video below.

See more at: http://www.worldclassrowing.com/

Friday, February 10, 2012

I've had manatees come this close to my kayak, but nothing nearly this big!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Try Before You Buy

Anyone living in the Sarasota/Bradenton area needs to know about the monthly demo day from Economy Tackle. They are a boating and fishing store located in South Sarasota that gives people the ability to try over 30 kayaks before they purchase.

Click here to learn more about the next scheduled demo day on February 11th.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to Choose the Right Kayak

So you want a kayak, but you don't know where to start. I was in your boat (pun intended) years ago when I purchased my kayak. You need to first decide what you want to do with your kayak, often referred to as your paddler type. Do you want to use it in whitewater, to fish flat water or even take it into the ocean? Once you have an idea of what you truly want out of a kayak, you can then start diving deeper into your decision-making process.

I found a good article on how to determine what type of kayak would be best for you. Click here if you want to take the first steps in owning your own kayak.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

30 Eco-Trips in Florida

When I moved to Florida, I was excited to enjoy 12 months of warmth accompanied by beautiful scenery. I did not know a lot of the specifics about what Florida had to offer, so I ordered a book on Amazon.com called, "30 Eco-Trips in Florida: The Best Nature Excursions (and How You Can Leave Only Your Footprints)" by Holly Ambrose. This book discusses some of the best places to go if you are a Florida nature lover. Ambrose not only writes the facts, she brings personal experience into the book that you can't find in most books. I have completed eight trips to date and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. My goal is to complete all 30 trips over the next few years and recommend this book to anyone that really wants to discover Florida's nature first-hand.

If you want to learn more about this book, click here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Annual Shenandoah River Float Trip

Above: Just one of many pictures that I have taken during my trips on the Shenandoah River.
When the calendar reaches May 1st, I know it is getting close to the biggest trip of the year. May brings the annual Shenandoah River float trip to the forefront and consumes my thoughts for weeks leading up the trip. Between six and eight of my close friends embark on a voyage down the South fork of the Shenandoah River lasting four days and three nights. Each canoe has two people and everything you need must be packed in the canoe because that is all you will have for 30+ miles of river. Throughout this stretch of river, you will encounter some of the most scenic views of any river in the Eastern U.S., challenging whitewater, primitive camping (no campsites), superior fishing, and the ability to go for miles without seeing a single person.
It is definitely something I would recommend, but this trip is not for everybody. If you do not have camping or canoeing experience or have electronic separation anxiety, this is not the trip for you. You have to be able to safely navigate through rapids that could quickly turn your vacation into an episode of, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive”. You must also be prepared for harsh weather conditions. One year, it rained for three straight days. It actually turned out to be one the more enjoyable trips because it truly challenged our canoeing skills, as well as our survival skills.
It is late January and we have already started talking about this year’s trip, which will go from May 23th-26th. I can’t wait for another great float down the Shenandoah!
Here are some links that can get you started on setting up your own trip:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Unlocking the Florida Keys

Seven Mile Bridge - Florida Keys, Florida

A constellation of islands located at the junction of two mighty bodies of water (the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico), the Florida Keys present an idyllic and varied playground for paddlers of all stripes.
Situated at the southern tip of the United States, this archipelago of more than 1700 islands traces an elegant arc from just outside of Miami all the way to Key West, and the short distances between the individual keys make them ideal for day trips and back-country tours.

Click here to read an article from lonely planet on how you can enjoy the Florida Keys by kayak.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome Aboard

Welcome to my blog that will focus on kayaking and canoeing.

Growing up in Central Maryland gave me an opportunity to enjoy the water from a young age. Ample amounts of rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and of course, the Chesapeake Bay made it possible to reach numerous bodies of water in a matter of minutes. The canoe proved to be my favorite water vessel from an early age. When I moved to Florida in 2007, it was clear that a kayak was one of the first things that I would need to purchase. I have become particularly fond of the Intercoastal Waterway, specifically  Venice to North Sarasota.

I look forward to sharing my personal experiences with you and helping you learn more about how to enjoy nature from the a kayak and/or canoe.