For Canadian paddler Mikkel St-Jean Duncan, the Elk River in British Columbia holds a special significance. Not only is it one of his favorite rivers to kayak, but it’s also where he got to know, and later married, the love of his life. Continue reading →
Having recently returned from a winter spent paddling in Central and South America, our hometown hero, Kyle “Smitty” Smith, runs down the risks and benefits of purchasing a shuttle vehicle for your foreign paddling travels and shares tips for keeping your rig on the road and the man off your back.
I kick the tires. Richard pushes on the bumper. Rubber tread falls onto the ground and shocks squeak under the light pressure, visibly oozing fluid. Circling around the vehicle, we pretend like we know what we’re looking for. Apparently we think we’ll ascertain some unknown man-knowledge from kicking, pushing and grunting in this hot New Zealand driveway.
I can barely change my own oil.
The owner, in the most stereotypical kiwi accent possible, tries to convince us of the reliability of the car. “Oh brew! The toires are as sticky az bro!” Said “toires” resemble the head of Captain Jean Luc Piccard, BALD. He assures us that if we just switch the tires to opposing sides and degrease the leaky shocks, we’ll definitely be able to fool the trained specialists at the NZ Warrant of Fitness Department, whose job it is to keep vehicles just like this one off the road.
Fun was the point of expedition rafter Lacey Anderson’s trip to Guatemala, but enlightenment was the result. Find out how a scary hostage situation and other tense encounters led Lacey and members of her team to organize aid for indigenous Guatemalans.
When the angry mob in the highlands of Guatemala got out ropes and gasoline, and then made neck-slicing gestures with their hands, I didn’t have to speak Mayan to understand what they had in mind for us. I came to the shocking realization that this could truly be my last day alive (see the two C&K articles Access Denied, Rio Copon Update). My thirst for adventure and expedition-style boating had taken me deep into the Guatemalan highlands in an attempt to run the secretive Rio Copon, rumored to be the best multiday river trip in all of Central America. This is where our group of would-be river-liberating boaters and documentary filmmakers was mistaken for corporate meddlers associated with dams and mining, and, as a result, held hostage by four separate villages, each of which threatened live burning as punishment. Heroic negotiations and a selfless offer of one person’s freedom in exchange for the lives of our group (by one of our Guatemalan companions) eventually won our release. Only then did I realize it wasn’t my last day, after all.
When we started NRS Films a few years back, our goal was to bring high-quality short films to the paddling world that not only showcased amazing feats and spectacular scenery, but that told meaningful stories that could make us think, laugh, gasp and aspire. In the process of creating and sharing our Of Souls + Water series, Cascada and other NRS films, we discovered a community of adventurers and creatives dedicated to revealing the natural world in all its splendor while inspiring viewers to go outside and experience it—and hopefully to help preserve it for future generations to appreciate. Each April, this community gathers at the 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale, Colorado to share their work, tell their stories and hatch new plans while delighting and informing an impassioned audience.
What happens when you take pro kayakers Erik Boomer and Tyler Bradt, both just back from major expeditions, and turn them and their girlfriends loose in California with a pile of NRS gear, a cherry Volkswagen camper and a dream catcher from a gas station in Nevada? Parking tickets, for one. They also had a lot of fun and put a lot of miles on the latest NRS apparel, as well as the Westfalia. Continue reading →
The Wizard’s Eye—a 44-foot steel-hulled sailboat that carried Captain Tyler Bradt and his crew across the Pacific last year—currently resides in dry dock in Fiji waiting to start the second leg of its around-the-world journey. When we spoke with Tyler last week, he had just returned from a stint running waterfalls for a television shoot in Chile, and now he was keeping a wary eye on a tropical depression that looked like it could hit Fiji as a full-fledged cyclone. If the storm hit, he said, he’d have to go fly out right away to check on the boat; even in dry dock, a powerful storm could wreak havoc. Such is the life of a professional kayaker turned global expedition leader.
NRS catalogs have always been a little bit different. We build them all in-house, and for many years the photos you saw alongside our products were taken on our own vacations. But our product line has grown and our catalog designs have evolved, making it harder to capture all the right products in the all the right ways while also manning boats, cooking meals, running shuttles and trying to enjoy our “time off.” So, by necessity, our photo operation has gotten a little more sophisticated. We have a staff photographer, the indefatigable Jacob Boling, and today’s shoots aren’t vacations, they’re work.
After a year of planning, fundraising and hand-building traditional skin-on-frame kayaks, Expedition Q set out on its historic journey across Baffin Island. The team consisted of two couples. Team NRS kayaker Erik Boomer was joined by his girlfriend Sarah McNair-Landry, an accomplished explorer who grew up in a family of arctic guides. Sarah’s brother Eric, also a veteran arctic explorer, and Eric’s girlfriend Katherine Breen, a physician, rounded out the team. What follows are excerpts from a collaborative journal describing their day-to-day life on the expedition. The crew released many of these dispatches straight to their Facebook page via satellite; these posts are marked with the team’s geographic coordinates.
All photos copyright Erik Boomer unless otherwise noted.
The team poses with their hand-built kayak frames. From left to right: Eric McNair-Landry, Katherine Breen, Sarah McNair-Landry, Erik Boomer.
1 Jul, 13
After month of building our traditional Inuit style sea kayaks, and two weeks spent crossing the Penny Ice Cap and Auyuittuq Park, we will depart on the next stage or our expedition tomorrow, a two month crossing of southern Baffin Island, using the kayaks we made ourselves. Continue reading →
February in our part of Idaho means slightly warmer temps accompanied by violent mood swings from rain to snow to hail to sun. Spring still seems a long way off, but almost every day there’s a brief window when the sun emerges and you can imagine tulip shoots discovering daylight and rivers swelling with runoff. Think of this Spring 2014 apparel sneak peek as one of those welcome sun breaks.