Toronto is the proud host of the 2015 Pan-Am games this summer. Fans have been thrilled to watch their favorite athletes with several Canadian gold, silver and bronze medals already tucked away. No matter what your sport there is sure to be some nail-biting competition. For many Ontarians who grew up along the shores of the Great Lakes or spent time camping in Muskoka, some of the most anticipated events are the canoe and kayak racing. There are few Canadians who have not spent at least one afternoon in their life paddling their worries away, so you can be assured these events will be among the best attended. If you are a fan of these sports, the following are a few things you need to know about the events, the equipment, and how to store your new boat.
Canoeing and Kayaking at the Pan-Am Games
There are two events for kayaking and two for canoeing, and both have men and women competing.
- The first is a sprint, a fiercely competitive event where the first one to the finish line wins. This year, the sprint events will be held in Welland at the Flatwater Centre.
- The second is the slalom, which is super exciting. It is much more than just going around flag posts. The slalom courses for both kayak and canoe are done in raging white water. It is literally a thrill a minute as upsets and almost-upsets can change the lead in a heartbeat. The event will be held at the Wild Water Reserve in Minden.
Canada is putting its hopes on one of our premier canoeists / kayakers, Olympic medalist, Mark de Jonge for the sprint. The nation will also have an eye on Jazmyne Denhollander, our Canadian women’s hope in the kayak slalom. Without a doubt, Canadians will be watching their every move, not just for racing, but to also check out the latest and greatest equipment.
The Coolest Kayaks and Canoes
Gone are the days of canvass boats and wooden paddles. Today’s kayaker or canoer is looking for something a little more high-tech. They want sleek, they want light and they want what the top athletes are using. You don’t have to be an Olympic level athlete to enjoy the benefits of top-of-the-line equipment; many recreational boaters are also looking for high-end products.
What to look for in Kayaks
Today’s competitive kayak is a far cry from the plastic model you piloted at summer camp. It is sleek, strong and generally made of polyethylene or carbon-Kevlar (the same material as bulletproof vests). They are more maneuverable and designed to minimize wind resistance. Of course, sprint Kayaks need to be more streamlined and slalom kayaks need to be tougher. Try to determine which type of kayaking interests you and pick your equipment accordingly.
What to look for in Canoes
At first glance, a competitive canoe can be mistaken for a kayak. They are narrower and shorter than those you see on the lake and they have a spray skirt. Again, like the kayaks they are made out of lighter materials such as Kevlar and carbon fiber. In fact, they have gotten so much lighter that the Olympic committee put in minimum weights for these boats to keep the competition fair -10 kg for a single canoe and 15 kg for a double.
Kayak and Canoe Pricing
If you are just looking for a regular touring canoe or kayak, you can easily find one for under $1000 but if you want high-end competitive boats, you are starting at least around the $3000 mark and depending on the make and customization, you can easily spend ten times that amount. A high-end canoe or kayak is an investment so you need to ensure you take care of it properly, and that means storing it safely indoors during our Canadian winters.
Super Solutions to Storing your Kayak or Canoe
If you find yourself hesitating to buy a high-end canoe or kayak because you don’t have the room to store it, then think again. There are a number of convenient and innovative solutions to storing these awesome boats.
You may not have enough room on the floor of your garage to store your kayak but chances are you have plenty of room up top. You can use overhead racks to store one or more boats. They are convenient and they look great. You can also set up a pulley system, which allows you to lower your boat directly into your truck or trailer for easy transport
Wall Mounted Storage
Simple and secure. Padded wall mounts hold the boats in place during the off-season. They are secure, easy to operate and can be used to store more than one boat.
Custom Built Sling
If space is at a premium in the garage, consider using a sling to keep your canoe or kayak up off the floor. Look for heavy-duty stainless steel chain that is wrapped in foam. The sling system also works great for lowering the boat right into a waiting vehicle.
No matter which solution you think might work best for you, the smart idea is to consult with a garage storage specialist. He (or she) can tell help you find the right solutions to keep that high-end competitive boat in the best shape.
Therefore, if you find yourself idling in the stalled traffic this summer, wishing you had a third person for that HOV lane, don’t despair. You can use that time to daydream about the new kayak or canoe you are going to buy at the end of the Pan-Am games. It will be sleek, light and will be safe and accessible thanks to your new garage storage system.