Thursday, December 22, 2011

Savannah Canoe & Kayak Thanks You

Well, that was a hell of a year !
Thank-you very much, paddlers from all over, and especially the people of Savannah for making this a very special year in the life of Savannah Canoe and Kayak.

This was our 9th year in operation as Savannah Canoe and Kayak, but our first season operating from our new HQ and shop. We have long known Savannah needed a dedicated paddle sports store and we knew if we did not, then some other, lesser qualified operation would step up. Of course, we could not let that happen.. so on January 1st we moved into the new digs on 414 Bonaventure Rd.

With hammer and nail, and a community of paddling painters, we opened the doors to the public 75 days later, and it’s been ‘full on’ ever since. Not your average paddle sports store, this shop has a lot of soul…it was all hand made... falling somewhere between an air museum, an auto parts store, a shipping warehouse and a paddler’s speakeasy. We host live music, drink beer, look at charts, talk about birds, plan trips, fix and build boats, go paddling. We do not sell lifestyle here. This is our tool shop and everything we sell has a function and purpose to enhance any paddlers free time. If one needs reminding, the sign on the threshold says ‘a change of priorities ahead’.

When I was a wee lad my parents owned a corner store. In the evenings, after hours, we would go downstairs and choose some sweets from the counter…I thought ‘how great is that?’…if you like candy, own a candy store! So, how is it being a shop keeper ?, you ask. Well, in several ways it really sucks, but it’s also a great channel to connect with a plethora of diverse people and paddlers, their needs, ideas and conceptions. It has been almost as educational as being a guide and has been another great insight into paddlers, customers and manufacturers.

So, at the end of the year, here we stand. The coffers are empty, but the bills are paid. We have a shop full of rad paddling equipment. We have hired and paid wages to 4 other members of the community. We have supported many other small businesses in Savannah, across the States, in Europe and in Asia. We were a financial sponsor for one of the best events of 2011...the Surf Kayak World Championship's in Outer Banks. We have donated over $2000 dollars to local charities and subsidized church and school paddling trips. We feel pretty good considering we are just a couple of small beings who like to goof off in our boats. For your support and dedication, in getting us to where we are now, we say Thank-You.

We are now closed for the duration of the deep of winter. Drop back in February, when the bar will, once again, be taking orders and we can shoot the shit about that next trip, the perfect boat and the best route to the center of the universe.

Merry Christmas ya'll and a happy new year !
Nigel & Kristin

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Georgia Coast - Not Your Classic ‘Classic’.

A couple of weekends ago Bryan Smith came into town to get footage for the OR series ‘The Classics’. These are a compilation of ‘shorts’ depicting certain classic locations for various outdoor activities…climbing, skiing, sea kayaking etc. We were glad to oblige, but why come here? Is the Georgia coast really a classic? And what makes a classic?

I never really thought of the GA coast as a classic place to sea kayak. We came here over 10 years ago because this part of the world was off the beaten track, a little known coastal tapestry of woven marsh creeks, rivers and barrier islands, with no solid coastal path. Moving up from south Florida, Georgia’s warm climate, sub-tropical flora and lack of human development was also a strong pull. It was then, and still partly remains today the east coast’s best kept secret. So what makes this a good choice for ‘The Classics’?

‘Physical challenge, great scenery, good company, and interaction with local flavor’ was my reply, when Bryan asked me ‘what makes a classic kayak trip?’ The GA coast most definitely does have all this. But is it really your classic kayak destination?

Our coastline is very short…only 100 miles long, and very shallow...a mere fathom in many places. There are no headlands protruding out into the sea. There are no rocky outcrops, cliffs, caves, stacks or ledges. In fact, there is not a piece of indigenous rock, or substantial elevation anywhere to be seen. There are no bays or harbors. There is no heaving Atlantic swell pulsing on to our shores and we seldom get fog. This is not the edge of the world. In fact, all the elements you conjure up for a classic sea kayak destination do not befall our shores.

The paddler will leave none the wiser if he thinks of this coast as dull and featureless, but allow yourself to become immersed and you will soon find challenge, hardship, and some great kayak adventure along wild and free beaches with a thick jungle backdrop. Short and shallow with fast currents and shifting shoals the coast is, and many a careless sailor and landlubber alike have been ‘wrecked and washed ashore’. Here you have as much chance of mental rejuvenation as physical exhaustion… as much chance of being shot, as you do drowning. As much chance of being lost, as finding remains of communities from lives past …, and a similar chance of an encounter with a panther as with a president of the United States. The few people on these islands have a simple complexity and a strong bond to the land, the sea and all it provides. They are both the richest and the poorest of peoples, tied together by the roots of nature and the pages of history.

In the 4 days we spent with Bryan, I hope we got some of this across. It’s not easy to capture the essence of the GA coast in so short a time. The GA coast is a raw oyster sliding down your throat, or the noble silence from the breeze stirring the spartina, or receding currents leaving ripples on accreting’s a place of time lapse. The GA coast is not in plain view for all to see. It requires planning, deduction, patience, and skill along with an appreciation of the south and all things southern. So, in this regard, yes, it could be a classic coast upon which to journey …in fact, a ‘classic’ classic.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Savannah Bird Book

This just came in from Diana Churchill, our local birding enthusiast...

Wanted to let you all know that we are planning a Celebration and Book Signing for my new book
- Birder's Eye View: Savannah & the Low Country - on Saturday, Dec. 10th from 7 to 9 pm.
This is simply an informal event at Wild Birds Unlimited with Refreshments, After-hours Shopping, and the opportunity to buy the book and get it autographed by the author - that's me!
If you can't make it on Saturday, I'll also be speaking and selling and signing books at the Ogeechee Audubon Holiday party on Tuesday, Dec. 13th. It's a Potluck at First Presbyterian Church on Washington Ave., starting at 6 pm.
Cheers, Diana

Thursday, December 1, 2011

US Outdoor Participation Report 2011

From a report by the Outdoor Foundation (?) based in Boulder CO.
50% of Americans aged six and over participated in outdoor recreation in 2010..almost the same as in 2009.
Running,including jogging and trail running was the most popular outdoor activity in 2010 with over 50 million participants.
In 2010...
74% of outdoor participants were caucasion.
61% are married.
66% are over 25.
Various forms of racing gained popularity with outdoor participants. 64% growth in Triathlons. Non traditional triathlons grew by 39% and adventure racing grew by 23%
Water sports also saw a lot of growth.
Windsurfing and boardsailing grew by 46%.(?)
Whitewater kayaking grew by 35%
And Sea Kayaking grew by 21%
Scuba diving increased 16% and surfing increased by 15%.
The level of outdoor participation in areas where there are bike and walking trails is higher than areas with out easy access.
(You don't say !)
88% of bikers participate in more than one outdoor activity.
African Americans have the lowest overall outdoor participation rate.

Percentage of First Time Participants in outdoor activities. Stand Up Paddling - nearly 40%
Surfing - nearly 25%
Recreational Kayaking - nearly 23%
Canoeing - 18%
Fishing - 8%

Anyway..that's the situation with outdoor rec.
Half do, half don't.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Party - This Thursday.

Come on down to the shop and celebrate the season of wine and song and all things good and cheerful. Bring whatever you have, but just yourself will do. Zac and the Dudes will be playing live around 7ish

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SOT Paddler Saves Family of Six

Yesterday at the beach.
Fortunately the paddler was an hour early for his class on the front side of Tybee Island.
The tide was mid-flood and a large family group were wading across the outer bar to the flats. 'Bad news' thought the paddler, observing no life guards on duty and a soon to be unfolding scene of 'not good' proportions.
From a distance, it was obvious the young black family were oblivious to their life threatening predicament. By the time the paddler reached the family, they had started to clue into their situation.
"You need to go back the way you came, very quickly." explained the paddler without wishing to alarm the the 4 kids.
By this time the ocean was now spilling rapidly over the flats, no longer just coursing through the channels. Wading would probably no longer be possible, thought the paddler.
"So we put the 5,7 and 8 year old on the SOT". After instructing the the oldest boy (12) and the two parents to hold tightly onto the kayak, the group started to wade and then swim across the now very fast moving, deep channel. The kids started getting scared and it was slow going, but finally, after a fair amount of effort, they were able to touch down again on solid sand of the south end of Tybee.
A beach walker came up and said he was about to call 911.
The paddler thought 'I'm outta here', and went and taught his surf class.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher Here

From Dave Chaffin...
We just received word that a rare vagrant species to coastal Georgia
was found by Sandy Beasley (Ogeechee Audubon’s president) and Brenda Brannen this morning. Diane Churchill is currently there taking photos of the bird, which has been frequenting Tybee.

Monday, November 7, 2011

When Surf Kayak Demo Goes Awry

With over 15 different Surf Kayak models in stock, we love nothing better than to be able to offer surf kayak demos... after all, the proof is in the pudding. However, over the years, we have seen several surf demos end up in 'tears'.
The latest demo destruction we witnessed was at the 'Worlds', when Valley Surf Kayak's beautiful Nemesis was badly abused to the point of unusable. "You break it. You take it" seems a bit harsh and will not win any goodwill or lasting patronage. Putting down a $250 deposit for any damage may cover repairs, but will not cover loss of value. So yes, we are reluctant to do demos in the surf, unless the client: a/ Already has a composite surf kayak. b/ One's paddling and surfing ability are known to us and c/ The conditions are suitable. Flat water demos are a great indicator to a boat's paddling performance and fit. We can arrange flat water demos to anyone, at anytime in any boat.
After all, the kayaks we sell all surf like demons, and you would not want to end up like the poor No Comment Girl on TV.

Too late, you missed it. We have disabled the video of no comment Girl. We figure she is lucky to be alive and needs to be spared further Internet ridicule and embarrassment.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rock & Rolla.

As Savannah braces for the coming of thousands of marathoners this weekend, we would like to pass on this announcement for the return of the Jerry Jaycox Fort Pulaski Wheelie NEXT weekend, after all the foot-racing hubbub dies down. The Wheelie will begin around 2pm on Sunday, November 13.
The ride, now in its fourth year, is named for founding SBC board member Jerry Jaycox who passed away riding his bicycle. The ride will again take riders of all abilities through the trails and dikes of Fort Pulaski and include a spin out to the McQueen’s Island Rail Trail which parallels the south channel of the Savannah River (The trail runs along the old Savannah-Tybee Railway corridor). The ride will be about an hour (and you’re free to wander around longer, if you’d like), much of it on non-paved surfaces, and so fat-tire bikes are recommended, though it can be successfully negotiated with a hybrid or road bike. Entrance to Fort Pulaski and all national parks that weekend is free in honor of Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

First Thursday Lecture Tonight

... at the shop. 6.30pm
Free and open to all.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Camping Gear at the Store this Winter

It has been said that we do like to go camping. It is true...and we are very interested in new products that make our little adventures more comfortable.
I have been using an Exped tent for several years and love it. We took a bunch of their gear to India last winter and loved it all. In the shop we carry several varieties of their dry bags, the 7.5 air matress and the ever useful, multi functioning Multi Mats.
Also new in the shop is the M-Kettle. Designed and made in great Britain ( who else makes kettles) The M kettle is a water boiling device powered by burning natural raw materials in a seperate lower chamber. We have not field tested it yet, but it looks and sounds good. We have a few overnighters in the works, as well as an extended canoe adventure in January and will put this device to the test. Another product of interest is the Kupilka table wear. Made from natural composite fiber material, this nordic dinner set makes for a pleasing aesthetic once the vitalls come out. The cup is very cool and can be attached to your belt with a tether. Very Norse.
Stop in the shop and have a closer look at these nifty little'll not see them everyday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Win A Body Boat Blade DVD

Prizes for the Jam continue to stack up.
Shawna and Leon of Body Boat Blade have just put together this fine informational documentary on Sea Kayak Rescues. We have copies in the shop for sale at $25, but will be raffling 1 off on Saturday to Surf Jame contestants.
Looks like a cold front will pass through this weekend causing temps to drop and winds to blow on shore. So, we will get some waves for Saturday, but all contestants should be prepared for cooling temps and wind chill, both on water and standing on the beach.
Bring a flask of tea and an anorach., perhaps.

Body Boat Blade Sea Kayak Rescues DVD

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Paddle Surf Jam Top Prize

Up for grabs this year is this classic P&H Kayaks big wave, swallow tailed Gun. 23.5" x 9'4"
Built in the traditional soul surfer style, complete with single fin, ocean cockpit, and backband.
Who will walk away with this impressive piece of British paddling memorabilia?

If you are signed up for the Surf Jam on Saturday, this log could be yours come tea time. It needs a little TLC to surf again, or you could make a mould and re-introduce this classic. It's True ! We like nothing better than to give away a kayak, and this one will surely send you down the road of credibility and freedom.
At last year's Jam, Zac Smith walked away with a super fine Dick Wold Wave Ski. Since then, he has built a SOF surfing sea kayak, recorded and released a CD, and been a "pleasure to be around".
The Awards Ceremony will take place at HucAPoos at approx. 4:00. Hope to see you there!

P&H Surf Kayaks - Tybee Island Paddle Surf Jam Savannah Canoe+Kayak

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Saturday - The Jam is On !

On Tybee Island this Saturday, at 18th St beach access.
Come hang out on the beach and watch the 3rd annual paddle surf jam.
Paddlers from all over Chatham County (and beyond) will face off to find this year's master jammer. Starts at 9am, rain or shine, hell and high water.
The stakes will be high this year as surfers compete for a vintage P&H Surf Mocassin. "That is a great prize and should really 'up' the excitement " said a man standing next to one of the organizers yesterday.
Some hot favorites to watch this year are last years winner Zach 'The Chaco Kid' Smith. Since winning the classic Wold Ski at last year's event, Zach has been out west practicing on heavy point breaks and big swells. " We did a little crabbing between sets" said the ever optimistic Mr Smith.
But that could all be for nothing.
Word is that ex SC&K staff member Nick 'Snake Bite' Scoville will be dropping in with his signature move, the Scoville Slide, perfected to perfection to take back his crown. Two hot newcomers to watch out for this year are Dennis 'Big Boi' Bonner and Tommy Morningstar Thompson from Florida. Both have been spied greasing the their fins with extra dripping and both are hungry young sled shredders . Mountain man, Kevin 'no pseudonym needed' Black is competing for the first time and expectations for a grand performance are high.
More updates are coming soon. Here are some pictures from last year and bare no resemblance to this year's event whatsoever

Arthur rocking the hat !

Infidels and fundamentalists welcome !

Well done, that rasta.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Car Boot Sale in SC+K Car Park

Something for next Sunday.... Come and buy or sell your surplus outdoor gear, arts and crafts.

And something for this weekend....

"Golden Tree" by Martin Brooks from Ninian Doff on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On Bonaventure.

As the evenings close in, this historical tour should be well worth checking out.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The World Champions of Surf Kayaking 2011

Womens HP

Womens IC

Mens HP

Mens IC

Masters HP

Masters IC

Juniors HP

Juniors IC

Grand Masters HP

Grand Masters IC

Friday, October 7, 2011

Worlds Wraps Up

The awards ceremony today will conclude the 2011 World Surf Kayak Championships at Nags Head, North Carolina.. Sponsored by Savannah Canoe and Kayak, this has been an outstanding event for both spectators and competitors alike. Congratulations to all those who took part....give yourself a medal. It's not easy to put yourself out there on show for all to judge you.
Congratulations to Chris Hobson former world junior champion, and now men's world champion.
And Tamsin Green, women's world champion.
Full results coming later today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's been a fantastic week here in the Outer Banks...really an outstanding event. The level of performance and showmanship has been par-none and made for some of the best spectator viewing you could hope to find in paddle sports. Aside for their great athleticism, this small fellowship of paddlers make up some of the coolest, nicest athletes around. The conditions could not have been better. Waves have been barreling in since Sunday morning. The west wind has blown steady, walling up waves making for some great take offs. The team finals start today....US West, England and Basque, and soon after individual world champions will be decided. The only question is the conditions. Swell period looks to be shortening and the winds are clocking around. Nags Head can get pretty gnarly when the wind blows onshore. Whatever it is, it will be well worth watching this fearless band of wave warriors. Currently the East Coast has three paddlers thru to the finals....Lindsey Usher in IC and Tom May and Ted Morris in Grand Masters final. Chris Hobson is in two semi's for both long and short boat.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nigel Law of the US East Team (and Savannah Canoe & Kayak) lays into a barreling left off of Jennette's Pier - Photo: Lynn Usher

Monday, October 3, 2011

Update from Worlds..

The waves keep rolling in, and the World Championships for surf kayaking is cranking out the heats at a relentless pace! Some 22 heats were completed Monday, narrowing the field quite considerably and bringing us up to the semi finals for Tuesday. Team finals will take place some time in the next two days. England and Basque team will shoot it out with US Team West, who slipped into the final by 1 point over US East. World class waves are matched only by the world class rides the competitors are making. After yesterday's impressive hammer fest, a lot more radical moves are being landed. Dave Speller (Jersey) landed two back to back aerials in his heat and Galen Licht (US West) is really charging hard to become world champ. Chris Hobson (NI) pulls it out of nowhere with competitive but casual style. After today's action, these three dudes will be glad that Edu Exterberria (Basque) is no longer in the mix. East coast paddlers Ted Morris is moving on into the semi final for grand masters short tomorrow, as is Tom May. Other East coast team paddlers who made it thru the prelims are Anthony Bell, Spencer Cook, and Joey Hall in men's long, and Lindsey Usher in women's long. Rockin'.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Greenland enthusiasts gather at Delmarva..

Sept 30 - Oct 2 in Lewes, Delaware. The Delmarva Paddler’s Retreat is a traditional paddling event with everything Greenland.. instruction, speakers, demonstrations, and workshops. It's a chance to share traditional skills and check out some cool boat construction. SC&K's staff member, Kelly Dmetruk, is participating and promises to return with even more Greenland Rolls for the Savannah paddling scene.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Congratulations, Nigel, on representing the U.S. Team and taking First Place in today's Masters Heat! Quote from the field: "Small waves are my specialty." Well done!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

News from 'Worlds'

This just in..
The tape measure came out this afternoon at boat inspection when Chris Hobson was found to have non regulation tails. The rules state that all kayaks must be equipped with tails both back and front, that are 20 cm in length, and are at least quarter of an inch thick. A hot favorite to win this year's competition, Mr Hobson was found to be in violation of thickness.! ..Alas, the matter was resolved with thicker rope.
The World Surf Kayak Championships start tomorrow in earnest. Prior to surfing, all the competitors must have their boats checked by officials from the WSKA. As well as the tails, boats are checked for regulation flotation and correct size...HP or IC. Once inspected, competitors are given a sticker of approval. Let the games begin!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Off to Worlds.

Getting some last minute practice lifting the cup.
Boat check and parade in the morning ! Zoom Zoom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

NH to SAV to OBX

The New Hampshire Surf Camp with Ben Lawry and Nigel Law came and went with the flick of a paddle this last weekend.

The camp location was once again Hampton Beach and the HQ was a great New England beach house with it's own boardwalk across the dunes.
It's amazing how much New England resembles Old England in so many ways. They have all the old town names, but have added their own pronunciation! The grocery store looks old and tired, and the beaches closely resemble those back home.
The weather was great and the Atlantic sea state was, although glassy smooth, just a little on the small side this year.
The 1-2 ft waves did provide plenty of opportunity for fine tuning edge control and speeding up reaction time. Surfing is all in the subtleties, and small days can be useful as training days.

The waves did not satisfy those looking to make big moves and sweeping, carving turns in long IC boats. Last year's NH surf camp rounded out at 6-7 ft with a 12 sec period, and spoiled us rotten with our expectations of this great little piece of coastline.
With a variety of boat styles and skill levels we worked though the moves and ironed out the guts of surfing.. position, timing, and trim.
Wednesday we head up to the OBX...Nags Head... where we will keep you up to speed with the latest and greatest in the world of surf kayaking.
Word is the surf will be up for this one.

Word !

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

World Championships Start in 7 Days

In 1 week's time, the competition to find the world's best individual surf paddler and surf paddle team will commence. Coming from England, Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia, over 90 competitors will converge in the OBX for nearly 10 days of extreme coastal paddling.
Savannah Canoe and Kayak are excited to be involved with this prestigious and momentous East Coast event in several ways. First off, we are an official sponsor of the event. Having a paddling event like this take place right on our doorstep... well, how could we not get behind it? "This is totally brilliant for east coast surf paddling." Second, our very own quarter master and guide, Nigel Law, will be competing in the individual event along side the greatest surfers on earth. And, the same Mr. Law will also be paddling and representing for the U.S. East coast in the team event.
So what is does it work, you ask.
Well stay tuned to the blog as we will provide updates and insights into this paddlling symposia unlike any other.
Here is a brief outline of the event..

Sept 28 - Practice/exhibition day for competitors (non-required)
Sept 29 - Morning – Competitor check in and Boat safety check - Evening – Competitor Parade and opening banquet
Sept 30-Oct 8 - Competition
Oct 7 - Evening – Award Ceremony and closing banquet
Oct 9 - Non-mandatory exhibition and free surf
Oct 10 - Optional last surf session. Farewell and travel day.

We'll be keeping you abreast of Nigel's experiences, his trails and tribulations, in real time, over the 10 days of the event.