Monday, July 28, 2014

Health Benefits of Kayaking

We've done a little bit of research and it appears that kayaking can be a boost to your health regardless of age. From white water kayaking (which we don't do), to a leisurely paddle on a lake, pond, or harbor, kayaking seems to offer numerous benefits. We are not medical practitioners and do not share this information as medical advice; rather, it is for informational purposes only.  Please consult with your medical care provider for further input on these statements.

Following are excerpts from various sites that talk about the benefits of kayaking:

Canoeing and kayaking are low impact activities that can improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. Specific health benefits include:
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased muscle strength, particularly in the back, arms, shoulders and chest, from moving the paddle
  • Increased torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a canoe or kayak comes mainly from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs
  • Reduced risk of wear-and-tear on joints and tissues, since paddling is a low impact activity.

Back, Chest, Stomach, Arms and Toning through kayak fitness training:
When you are paddling you can expect to do about 500, maybe more, maybe less, strokes per mile!  Placing the paddle in the water and executing a good stroke is going to incorporate every muscle in the upper body and some lower body muscles as well.  This means that in one hour at 3 mph you are going to do about 1500 repetitions of low impact upper body movements, which no matter what your fitness goals are, you are going to tone up almost every muscle in your body.  Hey, you are going to look good!

Overall Health Improvement

Kayaking provides an aerobic workout, which should be a key part of your weekly fitness routine. General benefits of all forms of aerobic exercise include increased endurance, improved heart health, better regulation of cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, lower blood pressure and better lung strength, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Kayaking: Sports to Make a Strong Heart

Cardio Advantages. Kayaking is that rare upper-body-centric cardio exercise. One of the benefits of aerobic work is that it increases the number of capillaries in the muscles worked; paddling shares this perk with your chest, back, shoulders, and arms, and the natural resistance of the water means that you can't just coast along and expect to remain in motion.

The articles all basically agree that there are great benefits to your health from kayaking and boomers would do well to take this up as way to keep the essential juices flowing. Perhaps more important is the stress reducing feature of that quiet lake, the light breeze, the call of a loon, the gentle splash of water from the paddles, and beautiful scenery.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kayak Review for Seven Tree Pond

"Seven Tree Pond stretches across 528 acres from Union to Warren. It’s a natural part of the St. George River, which flows toward saltwater in Thomaston Harbor. The maximum depth of Seven Tree Pond is 45 feet, with a mean depth of 24 feet. The water quality is below average. Round Pond is located entirely in the town of Union. Its 255 acres is accessible via canoe by paddling up the outlet from Seven Tree Pond. With a maximum depth of 34 feet and a mean depth of 17 feet, the principal fisheries are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white perch and chain pickerel." ( )

We like this pond. It has a small beach, decent facilities (port-a-potties, but they're in an actual building, are changed regularly, and don't stink), and picnic/grilling areas. As you can see from the map, Seven Tree also accesses Round Pond; a trip we have yet to take, although we did cross under the bridge today, so I suppose we were technically there.

Seven Tree has a nice energy feel, and there is "stuff" to look at.  Of course, as with most Maine lakes/ponds, there are loons. There is also a public boat launch. For some reason we were mobbed, literally, by mosquitoes during set up. This was really the first time we've ever encountered such a problem; it wasn't an issue last year. Might have been the time of day, since were were there before the sun was really out full bore.  As it got higher, the mosquitoes got fewer!


Kayak Rating for Pemaquid Pond

We were not impressed. There was just something about the place that was creepy. The water was brackish, which, admittedly, could have been due to the recent rain, but it had an odd salt marsh/swampy feel. Deb kept saying she expected a stone hand, dripping seaweed, to emerge and grab her.

The "facility" - read outhouse - was in deplorable condition; we really didn't want to use it.  The toilet seat was thrown on the ground outside, and what was left was covered in ... well, let's just say Deb gagged and refused. The watershed volunteer who was there checking boats for invasive plant life, who was a really nice guy, said it had been that way for a while ... at least since last year.  Yuck.

At a glance, the pond itself looked pretty. There were people fishing, but there was not much to see.

Very little chance we would ever go back.

There is a public boat launch.

Just don't use the outhouse.


 Maybe 2.5

Pemaquid Pond

Bremen, Damariscotta, Nobleboro, Waldoboro, Lincoln, Maine
MIDAS 5704

Area (acres):1537
Perimeter (miles):23.8
Mean Depth (feet):20
Max Depth (feet):61
Delorme Page:7
Fishery Type:Coldwater + Warmwater
Invasive Aquatic Infestation:None known
Water Quality:Average

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lake St. George Kayak Rating

St. George Lake
St. George Lake is the fourth largest lake in Waldo County, Maine. It is in the township of Liberty, on the western side of the county. Lake St. George State Park is on the northwest shore of the lake. Wikipedia
This is another very picturesque state park. There is a very nice swimming area and many places for campers. There's a boat ramp just past the park entrance, if you're heading west, but you can launch kayaks from a small cove just to the right of the beach. It takes a few awkward steps to actually get down into the water but it's certainly doable and convenient.
 It's about a two-foot drop off, so watch your step.    

You can see the folded blue WindPaddle on the front of my white kayak. It was a windy day, so it got its first workout. There's an earlier post on that subject, along with video.
 The boat ramp

 Beach area

The park has it's share of wildlife including ducks, geese, and loons.
 There are still many sights to see on Lake St. George, and we'll be happy to revisit.


Monday, July 14, 2014

WindPaddle Sail review Part II

Somewhat cloudy but 'breezy' morning so we went to Lake St. George State Park. A review of the park will be forthcoming. I managed to clip the sail to the ropes that came with the SE 330 and then headed out to the center of the lake where the wind was strongest. Deployed the sail and ... damn, I'd attached it backwards. It's hard to tell when the sail is folded up which side should face front ... and it does make a difference. Went back to the landing and re-positioned the sail and headed back out. Damn ... the sail was too far forward, in front of the spray skirt hump and when the sail went down, it got caught on the nose of the kayak and ended up dragging in the water.

Okay, back to the landing. Managed to dodge a speed boat being launched, and corrected the position of the sail again. Along comes the breeze, I deploy the sail, and, yay, I'm moving under wind power! Probably got to maybe 5-6 mph under sail. It dropped on me a few times when the wind changed direction, but it was no big deal. Used the center tie to adjust the sail right or left and my paddle to steer.

See the white hump at the bottom of the sail? On the 330 you need to keep the bottom of the sail in the position shown. Otherwise, if the wind changes direction, it may collapse over the pointed bow and you'll have to go ashore to adjust it.
 Cruising on Lake St. George under sail!

 Hard to fold

Because there is no hard surface on inflatables, it is hard to fold the sail. Of course, for me it's hard to fold anyway. But it can take all kinds of shapes so short term storage is not a problem.

Here are some short clips sailing.

Deb is taking the videos and you can see that I'm pulling away under sail!


The WindPaddle is fun, lightweight, easy to pack, and appears to be durable. For inflatables you have to do some tweaking and I still haven't mastered packing it down into 3 rings. You need to remember that if you go a long way with the wind, you'll have to paddle back. If you want to play with your kayak and experiment with sailing, I'd recommend the WindPaddle.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review of WindPaddle Sail: PART I

For some reason I really want a small sail for kayaking. The one we got for the SE 330, the QuikSail, is not good (a review of it is on this blog and also on Searching the internet for other options, I came across the WindPaddle sail ( ), particularly, the Scout.

Here's the official description:

WindPaddle Scout Sail
The WindPaddle Scout sail has been re-tooled for this year (in the USA and will be debuting next year internationally). This is our "entry-level" sail intended for the solo kayak paddler. The Scout is the same size sail as our popular Adventure sail, offering a sail intended for 4-18 knot wind conditions.
Built for the casual or recreational paddler in mind, the “Scout” is the lightest, most affordable and easiest to use sail currently on the market.

For an entry level sail that will pull you quickly downwind yet easy enough for kids 8-80 to handle, the “Scout” is the sail to own.

 WindPaddle Scout sail

I called the company to see if they thought the sail would work on inflatable kayaks. The representative was easy to talk to and quite helpful. After the conversation I decided to give it a try. The sail was sent two day delivery, insured. Of course, this was July 3rd so the post office was closed Friday. It came Monday.

Now, if you watch this short video, you'll see that the sail folds into 3 rings for transport.

This is the YouTube link in case the clip doesn't show:

Okay, I'm challenged; I've only managed to get it to 3 rings once, two rings are easy, but then it's too big to fit into the provided strap. I'll have to work on this.

Come Tuesday morning, there's a light breeze and it looks promising to use the sail. I've attached 2 lines, right and left side, from bow to stern to attach the sail.

The water had some nice, albeit small, waves, indicative of a breeze, so out we go. I clipped the sail to the kayak and rested it on the front of the boat. It was not at all in my way. Paddled out a bit, felt a breeze, grabbed the cord at the top of the sail and pulled it up to deploy. The sail did puff open but I wasn't moving.

The breeze was just not strong enough. Every time it would kick up I'd deploy her again, then the wind would stop.

I'm still very optimistic about the WindPaddle. It weighs next to nothing, is easy to attach to the boat (not sure if I really needed to add the lines; the ropes on the boat might work just fine), deploys quickly, and, even if you can't get it folded down while on the water, it's not in the way.

Hopefully when I post Part II I'll be sharing more of a success story. I did find another video on folding the sail, so I'll practice a bit:

P.S. Making progress on the fold.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kayak Rating for Damariscotta State Park

A very pleasant, picturesque, and enjoyable lake with facilities, swimming, and very vocal loons.


Damariscotta Lake State Park is a protected area in Jefferson, Lincoln County in Maine's Mid-coast region. The park encompasses Damariscotta Lake, which is 12 miles long.

KAYAK RATING: 5 KAYAKS                

The park has a clean swimming area, well-maintained "facilities", and lots of picnic tables and grills, making it a great place for a family outing. While there is no actual boat launch in the park, they do allow kayaks to be launched just to the side of the roped-off swimming area. There are public boat ramps on the southern end of the lake, and residents do have their share of motor boats but, overall, the traffic is not too heavy.

 Entrance. Folks 65 and over get in free. Adults $4


 Beach. Launch area just past the trees.

 The swim area is roped off.

 Part of the beach

 Loons abound on the lake
We'll be on this lake a number of times this summer. It's only seven miles away and much more to explore.

Friday, July 4, 2014

SeaEagle 330 Review

Love this ... kayak ... canoe ...canak? Kayoe?
(Note:  One of us "loves" it; the other does not care for it.)

4 to maybe 4.5 KAYAK RATING:

PROS: The SE 330 is a wonderful boat. It's stable, well made, and fun. It tracks well and is fairly lightweight. The seat can be positioned wherever you choose and is not limited by Velcro strips.  Fully inflated, it tucks in nice and tight. The deluxe seat is very comfortable and affords great back support (seat with blue straps). The standard seat is also comfortable and back support is good. The paddle that comes with it is solid, curved blade, and holds together.  The skegs (2) are firmly affixed and there appears to be little likelihood they could ever fall off. The foot pump is quite effective and blows the whole show up in minutes. With all of the valves at one end, deflation is quick and sure, making re-packing easy. There is also a rear drain hole which makes it easier to clear any water as the kayak is folded for storage.

Canoe or kayak? It's a little of both. You sit lower than you would in a canoe, but higher than in a kayak. I personally prefer the open cockpit area as it affords a more spacious feeling and provides room to easily access any items carried on board. Overall, safe, well built, comfortable, and roomy.

There is a picture of a carry bag below. It is not expensive and it does hold the boat, paddle, seat, etc. It's a good buy; just remember when everything is in it, it does get a little hefty.

Given this is it's first season of use, I cannot attest to its durability over the long haul. Will add updates as appropriate.

CONS: Initially I wanted the Deluxe Seat for back support. No problem there. However, the thickness of the seat does throw off your center of gravity. You get used to it, but it does also slightly affect stability. I ordered the Standard Seat to see if that would help. It did. the seat is thinner and you sit somewhat lower in the boat. Back support is good.

While all of the major inflation valves are in the back, which is a plus, they are also very close together, creating a tight situation that could be easily avoided. You can also see from the image that there are no lines running front to back and no D-rings on the side. To me, that makes no sense. I had to run a line so I could clip my water bottle, camera, etc. near me rather than way in back or way in front. The company does not sell D-rings to put on the 330, but there's no explanation of the reason. The pump is good and works fine, but I don't know how long the bellows will hold up.

As far as the company goes, you do get a live, English speaking person when you call. They were very helpful when the order was placed. However, we did have an issue over the QuikSail purchase which is discussed in a specific review of that item (we called 7 days after the customer satisfaction guarantee period had expired and got absolutely no customer consideration at all from the representative).

Review on Amazon:

SE 330 Pro SoloSEC Kayak SeatDeluxe Inflatable Seat

Standard Features:

  • NMMA Certified
  • Self bailing drain valve
  • Five deluxe one-way valves
  • Sun & saltwater resistant hull material
  • Lashed down inflatable spray skirts
  • I-beam construction floor
  • 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking & speed
  • Pressure Gauge, Repair kit & printed instructions
  • Bow & Stern Grab Line


Exterior: 11' 2" x 2' 10"
Weight: 26 lbs.
Capacity: 2 Adults or 500 lbs.
Interior: 9' 6" x 1' 1"
Tube Diameter: 10"
Deflated: 24" x 16" x 7"
Chambers: Three (port, starboard & floor)
Material: 33 mil Polykrylar
Seam: High Frequency Welded
Floor: Inflatable I-beam construction
Air Valves: 5 Deluxe One Way
 Inflation & Assembly time: 6 min.
Whitewater Rating: Up to Class III      

Sevylor K5 Kayak Review

KAYAK RATING:  4 (Maybe higher; will update at the end of the season.)

This is my second inflatable kayak, purchased as an upgrade from a Challenger K1.  It's still in its first season, so I can't address how it will hold up over time.  There are definite pros, and a couple of cons, some of which I consider serious.

The pros:
Product DetailsPerfect size.  I'm 5'7", and this kayak gives me more than enough leg room.  I haven't used the spray skirt, since I'm a bit uncomfortable with being closed in, so can't speak to that.  The seat is surprisingly comfortable, given that it's actually the backpack.  The width of the kayak seems perfect; not too wide, but not too narrow.  Stability seems very, very good, at least on rough lake water and with significant motor boat wakes.  Inflates quickly, deflates reasonable well.  I love the fact that there's canvas on the outside.  The skeg is permanently affixed, which is, overall, a pro.  Having had removable skegs fall off other boats, it's nice not to have to drill a hole and run a line to keep from losing it.

The cons:

Why, oh why, use a flimsy little valve like that for the floor?  Set it back a bit and use a valve like the other two.  Using the backpack as the seat is a clever idea; however, now I see why people have had issues with tears in the floor:  one side of the zipper of the backpack/seat is exposed and touches the floor.  You sit on it, in fact.  So it only makes sense that it could abrade the floor.  The problem was easily solved with a couple strips of Velcro, but it shouldn't have to be tweaked by the consumer.
Don't know if it'll ever fit back into the backpack.  It hasn't been worth the time/effort to find out yet, but I don't have really high hopes.  Nor do I think I'd long-term store it that way (over the winter, for example) anyway. There's the slight con, in my mind, of the affixed skeg.
Other than that, and the canvas covering being on a little crooked (yes, I'm very nit picky about things like that, although it does seem to be adjusting itself with use), and the valve on the side sitting right where it can scrape my knee if I'm not careful, it's really a great kayak.

The pros (at least so far; we'll see how that valve holds up) far, far outweigh the cons. It's definitely a purchase I'm glad I made.

REVIEW on Amazon:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review of QuikSail from SeaEagle


This is the hype:

QuikSail- Universal Kayak Sail

  • 14 Sq ft Neil Pryde Sail
  • Strong aluminum frame
  • Nylon carry bag
  • Hands-Free
  • Self-Standing
  • Measures 43"x6"
  • Extends to 81"
  • Weights 3 lbs.
  • Sails up to 7 knots
Universal Kayak Sail, converts any kayak into a sailing vessel. Easy deployment in under one minute, breaks down to just 43" for convenient storage in the bow or stern. This "down wind" sail can move a kayak up to 7 knots and can be steered using your paddle as a rudder. Works with all Sea Eagle Kayaks and almost any other kayak out there.
Note: Deluxe Inflatable Seats required when using with the Sport Kayaks.

This is the reality: 

RATING: Less than 1

Got my SE 330 Kayak for Christmas 2013. Love the boat and will do a review of it in another post. I also got the QuikSail which I used for the first time on 6/28. Keep in mind that in Maine, unless you have wet suits, it's difficult to get on the water much before mid-June. To say the very, very least, I was disappointed. The exterior length of the 330 is: 11' 2" x 2' 10". Front and rear spay skirts are about 18" each. The deluxe seat is 21" inches deep, and we all have legs that are generally 3+ feet long when sitting. So, cockpit space is 11-3-2=6 plus divided by 2 (front/back) and you have 3 feet of open cockpit front and back. yes, there is also space under the spray skirts. Enter the almost 4' folded, and 7 foot open, QuikSail.

So we're on the water and a breeze kicks up. I've put the folded sail aft of the seat and it's protruding into my paddle space. Not fun. I then put the four poles together to make two and find that part of the sail has slipped off. The breeze is pushing me in the wrong direction. I get the sail, all 7 feet of it, together and brace it with my feet, according to directions. The wind shifts a bit and the sail topples on my head. I had clipped one end of the provided rope (clip not provided) to the right side of the ring on the seat. I wrap it around the ever falling sail and try to clip it on the left ring. Not going to happen.  The seat is pretty well jammed into the side of the boat (it's what keeps the seat in). Fortunately, I had strung a line from bow to stern on the left side to attach my water bottle, camera, etc. I clip the sail rope to that ... the wind shifts and it falls on my head again. I gave up; it was not easy nor fun. It was just too awkward, too long, and unwieldy.

I called SeaEagle. On the plus side you do get a live person and they speak English! I told them that the sail was a Christmas gift and that I just got to try it out. Nope, past the 6 month return policy. I tried to explain that you can't even get on the water until mid to late June. Nope, past the six months.  And while, as a business owner, I respect policy, the "right" thing, in my opinion, to have done would have been something.  Offer to take it back and sell it used (once).  Give me half my money back (this sucka ain't cheap).  Do something.

While the sail may do better on larger boats with D-rings on the side and not the seat, I would not recommend this item for those who have a 330.

SE 330 Pro Solo