Cool Kit #2

Sunday, 14 September 2008 04:10 | Written by 
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We did an article a couple of months ago on cool paddling gear - here's the second of the series.  We'll continue to put together these reviews of Cool Kit...

Manufacturers! Send us cool stuff, we'll review it and post our findings on the site!

Surfski cradles
Home-built cradles - note the bungee cord

Ski Cradles

Surfskis and hard surfaces are not made for each other. At best, each time you put your ski down next to your car, it acquires some scratches on the gelcoat; at worst, if you put it down on a sharp stone, you may put a pinprick hole in your ski - especially if it's a high-tech, expensive carbon model.

Surfski cradles
Cradles, front & back.

Some time ago my paddling buddy David Cade built himself a set of wooden cradles to keep his beloved ski off the ground.  Consumed with jealousy I vowed not just to make some of my own but to improve the design.  Some two years later, I got off my butt, found some scrap wood in my shed and hacked out a pair.  I covered them with hard foam rubber from a hiking mattress. They're pretty rough and ready, but the skis are grateful.

What's cool about them?

  • Note the cunning bungee cords with plastic snap hooks on the ends that can be used to hold the ski down on the cradles.  (Another characteristic of light skis is that wind just loves to blow them around.)  By not making the bungees too tight, I've allowed for the ski to be rolled over in the cradles for rinsing/drying.
  • Where are they available?  C'mon, get down to your hardware store for the wood, screws and contact adhesive; a rope shop for the bungee cord and plastic snap-hooks.  Get the foam rubber from a camping store.  They're not difficult to make and they sure add to the longevity of the good looks of your ski!

Butt-pad by Lincke Kayak Equipment

Lincke Seat Pad
Lincke Seat Pad

Having a bony ass that seems to be rubbed by almost any surfski bucket, I have a deep and abiding interest in butt-pads.  I've tried several over the years ranging from the standard hard rubber (poor for rotation) to a squoosh pad (comfortable but impossible to attach to the ski).

Jack and Mary Jo Lincke sent me one of their "Surfski-Kayak Seat Pads" - and I love it.

Lincke Seat Pad
Velcro fastners
Lincke Seat Pad
The pad in place

What makes it cool?

  • It's made of four pieces of Minicel Foam - so it fits easily into the curved bucket.
  • It has Velcro sewn onto the bottom of the pad - which mates with self adhesive Velcro that sticks to bucket - so it's really easy to remove when necessary.
  • It's covered with 70 Denier waterproof nylon - which is slippery and aids rotation.

The pad goes for US$36.00 and is available off their website:

Paddle Bag by Mocke

This is the be-all and end-all of paddle bags.  Dawid Mocke put a great deal of thought into this bag and it's ideal for both the casual paddler and the professional who travels.

Mocke paddle bag
The be-all and end-all of paddle bags - the Mocke bag

What makes it cool?

  • It takes two split shaft paddles (i.e. 4 blades) in a protective padded compartment.
  • It has "Fragile" markings sewn onto it - great for travelling on the airlines.
  • It has a transparent pocket for your name & address - ditto.
  • It has two waterproof pockets: you can store your dry clothes in one and your wet kit in the other.  (Don't get them mixed up!)

You can get them from The Paddling Centre in Cape Town:

GoPro Hero3 Camera Gear

We're having a lot of fun with our cameras - as you may have seen from the video clips that we've been posting.

GoPro camera gear's camera gear

Here's the kit that I'm using at the moment:

  • A home-made helmet-cam mounting made by Alain Jaques from an old cycling helmet.  Since then, GoPro have started selling a mounting that can be attached to any helmet.
  • A sucker-mounting that can be attached to almost any surface, flat or curved.  I use this to mount a camera on the back or fore-deck of the ski.  It works really well - but I also use a piece of cord as a safety measure - taped to the deck or attached to one of the adhesive mountings that came with a kit also sold by GoPro

The easiest way to see what's available from GoPro is to go to their website:   

To buy the stuff, go onto and search for GoPro.

Video editor - Pinnacle Studio 12 Plus. 

I recommend Studio.  I've been using it for years and although they went through a couple of terrible, buggy versions, the latest - version 12 - works well both on desktop and laptop.  I can edit the GoPro files directly and I can upload from my camcorder via a Firewire cable...

A great resource for hints and tips on using the gear may be found on Rambo's blog site:

Surfski.Blip.TV is a really cool service - and seems to work a lot better (for me at any rate) than youtube.

(Click the image or here to get to 

We're going to continue to post our video clips up there including

  • Interviews - look out for clips with Dawid & Nikki Mocke later today...
  • Our own paddling clips like the storm and downwind paddling videos we put up recently
  • We'll strap the cameras to some elite paddlers in the not-too-distant future - how about watching Dawid or Oscar paddling in a big downwind - with them commentating on technique?  Wouldn't that be cool?
  • Humor - we're looking for humorous paddling clips too.  The first of these is up right now entitled "Clown Around".  This was taken at the beginning of a 46km crossing of False Bay.  The water was freezing and the last thing I wanted was to get wet on the way out.  Fortunately there were massive gaps between the waves so it was easy to avoid them.  But, however... well, you can see what happened next in the video below!


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