With the fun and frivolity of Christmas and New Years finished once more, new diets in full swing and the annual week of morning runs most likely finished for another twelve months, we thought we’d write a little blog on the new and exciting things that are on the way this year.
New Pyranha 9R II
It’s probably fair to say that over the past few years the 9R has become one of Pyranha’s flagship boats, bringing back the idea that a longer boat isn’t just for racing and can be used for nearly all your padding needs. Running big drops, coaching within your club or racing the Hurley Classic, people have been loving the notion of #fastisfun. Apparently it did pretty well at some other race in Austria a couple years back as well?
So what do you do when you’ve found something that people seem to enjoy? You make it again, but a bit better! One of our problems with the 9R was always its size. Now while we like to think we’re relatively in shape, paddling as many days in the week as possible, there is no denying the fact that we love biscuits and sausage rolls a bit too much (if your reading this and heading our way soon let that be a hint) and as such found the 9R to be a tad on the small side, yet the 9R Large to be quite the opposite. We would have needed to eat even more meat and pastry snacks to make that relationship work. The 9R Large was a cracking boat for multi-days, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work for us as a general boat.
Fortunately that’s where the new 9R II slots into things; its going to be just that little bit bigger courtesy of a slight change in volume distribution and a wider stern. That paired with a few other changes look to make this boat a hoot to paddle: a more rounded top deck for quicker resurfacing off drops and rear wave deflectors are just a few changes that hope to push the 9R II ahead of the curve.
The 9R II would appear to be set for an early 2019 release (hopefully we’ll be seeing these before February?) so if your looking to update your boat for the coming season or nail some races abroad this is definitely a boat to consider.
Now I know what your thinking, “why so excited about shoes?”. Having lived and grown up on the Thames I spent many a year not giving a monkeys what was covering my tootsies. Yet over the years spending much more time walking over sketchy rocks with a boat on my shoulder and watching quite a few friends emerge from the river after a swim with only one, and sometimes no, shoe left, it has become apparent that good footwear is crucial to a happy time paddling.
While there is a good range available already from the likes of Palm, Astral and NRS, we’re particularly excited to be stocking Adidas’ Terrex range of watersports shoes. Namely the Adidas Terrex Hydro Lace Water Sports Shoe and the Adidas Terrex CC Boat Water Sports Shoe.
Designed to be as rugged as the terrain your walking on, and a direct replacement of the previous Five Ten Canyoneers, the Adidas Terrex Hydro Lace Water Sports Shoe was designed with canyoneering in mind, making it the ideal shoe for anything you might be doing in your creek boat. The heavy duty stealth rubber sole is designed to grip in all directions which should make dodgy portages less, well, dodgy. As soles go, these are pretty darn good. Neoprene lining also means they stay comfortable and warm during a long day on the water and the high ankle provides a bit more support and, crucially, means they aren’t going to slip off during an out of boat experience. Adidas have done away with the ratchet fastening system previously used on the Five Ten Canyoneers, opting for a simpler and easier elasticated hook and loop adjustment with a retaining clip (much less to go wrong).
As for all you slightly more fashion conscious paddlers or those of you looking for a shoe to do it all when packing light for your next trip abroad the Adidas Terrex CC Boat Water Sports Shoe could be the one for you. Quick draining, comfortable and stylish, these make for a brilliant “lifestyle” shoe.
Peak Marathon Wind
With the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race starting to peek its head over the horizon and training (hopefull ) well underway Peak have extended their range of Marathon kit with the ideal garment to keep that winter chill at bay. Made from Pertex the Peak Marathon Wind is a fantastic lightweight spray and windproof garment that works brilliantly both on and off the water. It also packs down really small too so you can squeeze it quite happily in your Marathon Racer PFD pocket.
I have to say that personally I’ve been loving mine for both after work laps of Desborough Island and also for running with the dog! It makes an excellent lightweight summer and spring touring jacket and is perfect for when your putting in the effort in the middle of winter.
Islander Paradise and Paradise II Odyssey
I think its safe to say that the sheer quantity of rubbish and litter in our oceans and water ways is becoming a more and more visable and concerning issue. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went paddling and didn’t come across any litter. In fact it is estimated that two million tonnes of plastic waste reaches the oceans from rivers alone. That’s why we are beyond stoked that Islander have found a way to recycle marine plastic waste, waste that was previously being buried or burned. So what are they making with this recycled plastic? The Islander Paradise Odyssey and the Islander Paradise II Odyssey.
Using the Paradise as the flagship boat to be made from recycled marine waste really did make sense. Not only are sit-on-tops one of the quickest and easiest ways to get yourself out on the water and seeing the glorious British coastline for yourself, but they are also one of the easiest boats to collect rubbish on, meaning you too can do your bit to help save the environment too! There also really good fun and a great way to spend time with friends and family.
This isn’t the first time Islander have pushed to reduce waste, having been making some of their Fiesta’s out of recycled off cuts from their own manufacturing process.
NRS Oso and Nora Buoyancy Aids
New to Europe for 2019 is the unisex NRS Oso and its female specific counterpart the NRS Nora. NRS pitch the Oso and Nora as a “basic”, medium profile PFD. While this may be the case when you compare the two against the likes of a Palm Kaikoura or Astral Blue Jacket, both the Oso and Nora are riddled with features that make life afloat more comfortable and practical.
One of the key features that we really like and think will make a big difference to peoples comfort, especially on those increasingly warm summer days, is the vented back channels. Most “basic” BA’s on the market currently do have a tendency to leave you feeling a little damp at the end of a summers paddle, and not because of any splash. These vents combined with the five panel design makes for a very comfortable fit.
On the front of the Oso and Nora you will find two very generous pockets to stow away all your snacks and utilities. Combined with a knife holder this makes the BA ideal for those looking to get out fishing too. We reckon this BA is going to be very popular, its super comfy and exceptionally practical!
Kokatat Odyssey Dry Suit
What do you do when you already make the best expedition suit on the market? You only go and make it better! Years of input and feedback from numerous expeditions went into the creation of the Kokatat GORE-TEX Expedition Suit and now Kokatat have upped the benchmark once more, producing the Kokatat GORE-TEX Odyssey , available in both Men’s and Women’s fittings.
So what are the key changes that makes the Odyssey trump the legendary Expedition suit? Well the big difference is that Kokatat have moved away from the brass zip used in the Odyssey’s predecessor, now opting for a nylon zip as they have with nearly all of there other suits. Nylon (pastic) zips are now just as dry as brass zips and when used in the way a surface immersion dry suit is used, you won’t notice any difference in terms of water coming in through the zip; for the purposes of kayaking and swimming a brass zip has no real performance benefit any more, the benefit arises when used in deeper water as the pressure required for a brass zip to fail is higher than the pressure needed for a nylon zip to fail.
Not only are Nylon zips as dry now, they are far lighter and, crucially, more flexible, resulting in suits that provide far more in the way of freedom of movement. The general theme of the Odyssey is that it is a lighter-weight suit than the Expedition. The main body of the suit is made using the same GORE-TEX Pro however instead of a Cordura overlay to reinforce the knees and bum the Odyssey uses GORE-TEX Pro with integrated 330 Cordura. By using only a single layer of fabric as opposed to two, Kokatat have managed to reduce the overall weight of the garment, as well as increase the breath-ability of the suit in these areas.
One last super useful feature that the Odyssey has available to it is the GORE-TEX Paclite hood which is now not only stow-able but also removable. This makes the suit a bit more versatile, making it easier to get that hood well out the way when rock hopping.
Is it wrong to want to start sea kayaking properly simply to justify buying one?
So while not the biggest, dearest or most elaborate bit of new kit we’ve covered in this little blog we are still pretty exited about the introduction of the Kraken into the Whetman Equipment range. Designed specifically with sea kayaking in mind and thus made using marine grade Stainless Steel, the Kraken slips easily under and onto deck lines, with nothing on the nose to snag and make an awkward situation awkwarder. One of the glaring differences between the Kraken and other karabiners on the market is the shape of the spine. This unique shape not only makes the Kraken easy to hold and use with cold, wet hands, but more importantly follows the contours of your sea kayak, resulting in less grating along those composite seams.
The Kraken is now replacing the metal clips previously use on all Whetman Equipment tow devices.
So there you have it, 7 things to be excited for in 2019. Now time to get fit and get on the water as much as possible! See you out there.
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