Tag: Paddle

Garment Brilliance

One of my favorite pieces of winter gear deserves recognition.


I’ve paddled multiple times a week year round in southeast Virginia for almost three decades now.  Dressing right for paddling in winter is actually pretty easy.  What to wear after the paddle while standing around the launch enjoying a couple cold ones with the boys (and girls) is the challenge.

With the help of a neighbor who sews, I figured it out!  A robe!  But not a Wal-Mart robe, no, a tricked out badass mult-purpose garment!  From a distance, one  would even mistake me for a Jedi Knight!

But this is no costume, and its not just for looks.  Constructed entirely of wind-stopper fleece this keeps me warm in the worst of the worst.  It has doubled as a sleeping bag before.  And it has enough space for two people!

And notice the volume on the pockets.  With enough for six cans of your favorite beverage, this wearable drink transport system holds a 12-pack!  Of course you could otherwisen carry something useful like your phone, pistol, knife or a dachshund.

Paddlers, preppers, and all you other outdoors folks owe it to yourselves to get one of these in your kit.  You’ll be glad you did!

Don’t get rubbed the wrong way

Don’t get rubbed the wrong way

During a good paddle, many of us surfskiers have found out all of a sudden that the shorts we decided to wear that day were rubbing a hole in our backside.  Actually, it might not be the back side, but the front side!  And since I usually carry a tube of something with me on long paddles, I’ve saved many friends from the rash monster over the years.  Depending on the shorts, the bucket of the boat, and one’s anatomy this can be a recurring issue, so here’s how to fight back.

I have experienced this enough times to become a bit of an expert in the field.  Usually the problem is right above the crack.  Yes, the butt crack.

There are commercial products out there for this, but since like most paddlers I’m a bit on the cheap side, I’ve found some other things that work.  All are pictured above, and described below.

  1.  Vaseline-any petroleum jelly will do.  Does a great job and can be bought almost anywhere.
  2.  Bag Balm-Made for cow udders, this is a great product.  Greasy and antiseptic!  Cost for a tin this size is around $8.  Downside is I only find it online, or at a farm  supply store.  It’s petroleum jelly and lanolin, and for some reason it wipes off the  hands before you paddle much easier than just Vaseline.
  3. Chapstick-Upside, I usually have some in the life jacket pocket, and it works.  Downside, my paddling partners think it’s nasty when I use it on my backside, then my lips.
  4. Butt-Aid-Fantastic stuff, and it’s sold at the Dollar Store!  Wipes off the hands pretty easily, but turns a bit of a funny color after a while.
  5. Diaper Rash Ointment-The king of protection against not only rubbing but any rash you might get.  Also, another Dollar Store product!!  And one day I scored points with some skim boarders by letting them have some after their shorts were rashing them up.  Also wipes off the hands without much effort so it doesn’t interfere with paddle grip.

If you need it, apply liberally and go paddle!

The Imperfect Paddler comes to grips

11807635_904756926229487_6570856213164732811_oI’m a mid-50s guy who has been paddling professionally since 1993, and racing since 1996.  Primarily I race surfskis, but have also raced sea kayaks, marathon canoe, K1, K2, K4, OC1, tandem surf ski, OC6, and even high kneel canoe.  In addition I can frequently be found in a surf kayak or on a SUP.

I have been race director for countless races, have run a couple of paddling businesses, achieved paddling certifications through the ACA (L1 SUP, L3 Surf Kayak, L4 Sea Kayak), been president of the local racing club (MAPA) and run the local paddling meetup.  Currently I run Virginia Beach Paddlesports.   The company sells Stellar surf skis and kayaks, GPower and Orka Paddles, Mocke life jackets and various other paddling accessories.  Instruction for standup paddleboard, surfski, sea kayak, and surf kayak is offered through the store as well.

I train a lot, help other people train, and love paddling.  But I’m only a man.  I drink beer and whiskey, love Snickers, chips, and ice cream, and naps-whenever possible.  I work a day job, run a paddling retail and instruction shop in my spare time, and am chapter coordinator for a national non-profit that takes wounded warriors paddling. My kids are technically adults but require my attention at times, and I try to keep my yard looking halfway decent as well as do the more minor repairs on my fleet of 4 aging vehicles.

This blog will be about paddling everything, racing almost everything one can paddle, the products I use and sell, and other fun stuff along the way.

So I am in the pursuit of balance.  I need to train more, eat better, lose some belly and get faster-all while Father Time is breathing down my neck.