Would you love to be able to commute to work by Kayak?
Nice story about the local community coming together to help Sterling Kayaks rebuild after their fire.
The Rockpool Taran 16 looks like a great boat. Quick and shorter it looks fun to paddle. Here’s a review:
Trying out different boats is popular with my kayaking friends. I found a vintage Betsie Bay Manitou for sale in the early fall. The Manitou is one of the first 10 of that model made by Al Anderson from Betsie Bay kayaks. New Manitou’s weight less than 35 lbs. My vintage version is about 45 lbs., heavier than new Betsie Bay’s but lighter than my other boats.
The Manitou is a larger volume greenland style kayak. It’s 22 inches wide and 18 feet long and it built with more depth for larger paddlers which I really appreciate with my size 13 feet. The Manitou has become my favorite kayak to paddle. It’s fast and very maneuverable for an 18 ft kayak. A little lean and it responds quickly. The Manitou is almost an equal in speed to my Current Designs Extreme.
My friend Bob likes to roll. He wanted to put the Betsie Bay to the test of his rolling and bracing skills. The Manitou was a little too roomy for him but he gave the boat high marks for it’s rolling and maneuverability. Check out some of the photos I snapped while Bob was playing.
Rolling and Bracing Slideshow
For another view check out the video of Bob playing in the Betsie Bay.
Bob Kriese testing out my new to me Betsie Bay Manitou with some rolling and bracing at Sunset Park in Kimberly on the Fox River. The underwater shots show that this water doesn’t have the best clarity for filming under water rolls.
The Betsie Bay Manitou is a fantastic kayak to paddle. It has excellent speed, turns and maneuvers quickly and has a simple comfortable fit. The Manitou is a greenland style kayak. Bob is using a carbon fiber greenland paddle made by Superior Kayaks.
Derek talks about kayak design history, his ideas on rolling, training, writing kayaking books and more.
If you are interested in the history of modern sea kayaking watching Derek Hutchinson share his stories is worth viewing.
Do you like paddling the Waupaca Chain of Lakes? Enjoy watching a few rolls. Sean Grafenstein was recently out enjoying another beautiful August day in Wisconsin on the Waupaca Chain of Lakes with his friend Bob.
This video from Sean shows off some of the beauty of the Upper Chain of Lakes. You also get to see what it looks like hanging upside down under the water.
Enjoy this little trip around the Waupaca Chain of Lakes.
The Upper Chain is a fantastic place to enjoy a kayak or canoe trip. The Knight Lane landing is the best place to start your paddle on the Upper Chain O’ Lakes.
More information about paddling and a map the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes
The Waupaca River from Hwy 54 in Waupaca to Harrington Rd. is a beautiful mostly wild stretch of river running right on the edge of town.
Length: 7.5 miles
Start: Kiwanis Park in Waupaca off Hwy 54
Finish: Harrington Rd. bridge
Time: about 3 hours on the river
Shuttle: Hwy 54 to Harrington Road is about 4 miles. Leaving a bike at the end could work well if you don’t have an extra vehicle.
Hazards: deadfalls in the first 2 miles block the river and with the moving water make the first section challenging.
The Waupaca River is one the nicest rivers for a leasurely paddle with changing scenery in central Wisconsin. Bob and I started this paddle at Kiwanis Park on Hwy 54 in Waupaca. The park is a convenient starting place to put in with it’s cleanly mowed river banks.
Right away we had to navigate around a large tree blocking the river. There was just enough room to get through the branches and keep our boats in the water. Trees are a challenge in the first part of this paddle. The river banks are 25 to 40 feet wide in the first 2 miles from Kiwanis Park. The river is also completely tree lined which means blow downs end up in the river. A portage or 3 may be necessary in the beginning. We only had to get out of our boats once on this day but there were many other places we had to pull our boats over logs and through branches. There is enough current in the Waupaca River to make all this maneuvering around trees an extra challenge. If you pay attention and know how to control your boat you should be fine but be prepared to portage in a few spots.
About 2 miles from Kiwanis Park the Crystal River enters the Waupaca River on the right. The Crystal is just a few hundred yards after a private steel and wood bridge. The Crystal adds plenty of extra water to the flow of the Waupaca. From here on the river gets wider and the extra width make it less likely trees will completely block your way. There were still a few spots where we had to get around large trees but less than the sections above.
There is another small private bridge to go under and the concrete remains of an old bridge to pass around before you see the bridge at Hwy 22 / 54 at about the 3 mile point. The Hwy 22/ 54 bridge could be an alternative start or end spot. We didn’t see any signs of this bridge being used by paddlers as we went by but the South side looks like the best access from our position in the river.
Longer, fairly straight sections with broad curves after Hwy 22 / 54 are nice and easy. Some of the broad shallow sandy sections may force you to walk your boat when the water is lower. We had plenty of water in the entire river. The Waupaca River runs just North of the Waupaca Airport. We saw a couple of small planes from the airport but it’s a small airport and we didn’t actually see the airport from the river. After the airport there is another small farm bridge to go under with a very sharp left turn after. The eddies and riffles after the bridge were fun to play in.
The banks of the river vary from small marshy sections to high banked outside curves. Most of the river is tree lined until you get near the end. A couple of farm fields are visible as you near Harrington Rd. The peace and calm of most of the upper sections is interrupted in the last mile with the traffic noise where the river runs near Hwy 10. We did get a view of the highway near the very end of our journey. There are not as many boulder gardens in this section like there are from Hwy Q to Brainerd’s bridge, West of Waupaca.
The Waupaca River from Hwy 54 to Harrington Rd. is highly recommended for a paddle trip as long as you are willing to deal with a few portages around deadfalls. We enjoyed seeing an Osprey circling around the river. We also saw a Blue Heron and turtles.
If you want to lengthen this trip you can extend your take out to the Lake Weyauwega landings. The landings in Weyauwega are an additional hour downstream. As of Summer 2011 Weyauwega lake has been drained to control weeds. The landings will not be very useable until the lake if filled again which will probably be sometime in 2012.
Photo Slideshow of the Waupaca River
Here’s our trip in photos:
Map of the Waupaca River – Hwy 54 to Harrington Rd.
When it’s thundering and lightning and you can’t go paddling you could always go shopping for some paddler art. This art is created for the paddler to enjoy off the water. You can find these spark plug paddle sculptures at Just Act Natural in Downtown Appleton.
Canoe guys – $55 at Just Act Natural in Downtown Appleton.
Kayak guy – $55 at Just Act Natural in Downtown Appleton.
Spark Plug Guys are created by Dick Cooley from West Bend, WI. Dick creates whimsical sculptures from scrap metal. A spark plug is the common component in all of his work.
Sailing and kayaking seem like a nice combination on those days when you want to use the wind to add a few more miles to your paddle or just feel like messing around on a windy day. Here WI Paddle member Norm shares a little review of his new WindPaddle Adventure Sail
Here is a photo of the Wind Paddle sail in action. The visability is great through the large clear window. It has tacking limitations which may improve with a little more practice. I was going approximately 5 mph with a 10 mph wind at my back. It steers very nicely with a rudder, while holding the guy lines. I may add anchor points to attach the guy lines to, so I won’t need to hold them.
I’ll keep you posted with my sailing adventures.