Paddle Articles

Paddler Resources for Checking Conditions (wind, current, tide, storm)

Paddlers like to know ahead of time what they are getting into. Whether they are trying to avoid an opposing tide, really want to line up some winds for an epic downwind sleigh-ride, or are trying to avoid some big surf along local reefs and jettys. Below is a list of helpful apps and websites that paddlers can reference, submitted and used by....paddlers! Check back regularly to see what we have added. And if you know of one missing, please pass it along to us in the comments below, because we know there are many more great resources out there.

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CP Explorations - The Coronado Islands, BAJA California Mexico

Join Cali Paddler as they share a special journey to islands just beyond the border called the Coronado Islands. Close enough to see from the US but far enough to be a full day journey, these four islands were part of a special day on the water.

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Emergency Steering - DIY Rudder Cable Backup System for OCs and Surfskis

Emergency Steering Broken Rudder Cable Solution

Emergency steering device for broken rudder cable

There are times where we are out on our canoes and surf-skis and our rudder cable breaks. It happens. And a perfectly great day can turn bad real quick. There are many creative quick-fixes one can do, and we will discuss several of them at the end of the article. But there is one in particular we'd like to focus on that can really not only help you hold a line, but create the ability to turn in a semi-controlled manner. And the great thing can dial in very quickly and easily, because it is installed and ready to use when the moment comes! Thank you to Cali Paddler Frank who took the time to craft and share this great write-up. Enjoy!

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VHF Radio Demystified – The most important part of your paddle safety kit

Paddle VHF Radio Demystified
Many of us have come to paddling, whether it be kayak, SUP, surf ski, OC1 or OC6, from backgrounds other than traditional boating like power boats or sailing. Because of this you may not be familiar with the venerable marine VHF radio that has been the mainstay of the boating community since 1950. Advances in electronics have shrunk the size and cost of the VHF radio to a small hand held device that can be bought for under $100. For these reasons a handheld marine VHF radio should be in everyone's safety kit.

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Downwinder Best Practices

Downwind Best Practices

Please take a look at these great lessons assembled by some really studly paddlers and ocean enthusiasts.

Remember...conditions are fun...until they aren't.

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CP Review - Nocqua Spectrum P2 Paddle Light System

Nocqua Spectrum P2
Any paddler who played with lite-brite as a kid is about to be pretty excited. Paddling at night is always ethereal. There is heightened awareness, added use of our senses, and it really kind of makes us feel like rebels. So with all of that in play, you figure having lights for safety is key. But also, why not have some lights on for fun? Well the Nocqua Spectrum P2 light system introduces a whole new level of paddle craft lighting. Check out the review that follows to see paddle illumination in a whole new light (yea we just wrote that).

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CP Review - Duk Gear Waterproof Floating Cell Phone Case

Duk Gear Review
Sometimes a product can be simple and do everything it needs to do. Reliably. And so far we feel the Duk Gear Waterproof Floating Cell Phone cases are a perfect example of that. Keep your phone handy, still take pictures, float if it falls in. And of course, keep your phone dry and protected. Oh, and not break the bank too would be nice!

The Duk Gear company, created when they saw way too many paddlers losing cell phones while paddling on a nearby lake, is US Based and a 1% for the Planet aligned company. So you know they care about their role in the environment as much as we do. We recently tested out two their flagship products with our cell-phone on numerous OC1 and SUP paddles. We were pleased with what we experienced.

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CP Explorations - Half Moon Bay, Bolinas and a whole lot of in between

CP Explorations - Half Moon Bay, Bolinas, Santa BarbaraEPIC Adventures for a Cause 2020 - originally was SC2SF but it really ended up being a random collection of crazy fun paddles. Come along for a recap of the fun.

Another year, another stretch of new coastline to explore in my forever quest to explore the entire California state. This year, the plan and finishing route were nothing alike. In fact, for the days and hours leading up to it, we almost didn’t even go. You see Santa Cruz was one of many areas dealing with major fires. Families evacuated, homes and state parks burned, roads closed, and air quality bad enough to cause people to avoid being outside at all. So you can imagine our struggle of going up to the area for what was originally supposed to be a three day paddle from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. Would we take hotels from evacuated families, crowd roads that were needed for emergency vehicles? Impose on folks in a time that people were struggling to keep positive. So for this Epic Adventure for a Cause, I want to direct people to the Red Cross for the cause. Please visit to see how you can help those impacted and even the first-responders.

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CP Review - Garmin GPSMAP 86 Review for Paddlers

Garmin GPSMAP86 ReviewSafety is not something paddlers always equate with technology. We think of PFDs, leashes, and in some cases the all important marine radio. All of these are important for safe paddling, but there are many dangerous situations that can be helped by a little bit of tech.  Introducing the Garmin GPSMAP 86sci and 86i models. A high-end water-ready satellite communication device with GPS tracking, and emergency SOS beacon capabilities. So. Many. Features. We paddled over 90 miles along throughout California across 4 days, day and night, ocean and bay to put it through the test. Enjoy our review.

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OC1 Volare First Impressions and Reviews

Puakea Designs Volare OC1 ReviewGreetings all. Each time a new paddleboard canoe or surfski come out, the paddle world (including us!) can't wait to hear and read about first impressions. So consider this a running log of various paddlers we extremely respect as they test out new craft and share their personal thoughts and feedback. Please note, these are not paid sponsors, just regular folks who love to paddle, like all of us!


Volare OC1 by Puakea Designs

Paddler: Guillaume E. from San Diego
Location: Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay, 8/20/2020
Conditions: 12-18 mph winds, south to north

I got to paddle the Volare in windy conditions yesterday. I did two loops going south straight (Jetty to Pescadero)


  • First loop: Condition: stiff local wind (15 mph) from the south, some white caps, local wind swell, 1 to 2 ft (occasional 3ft), very short period. Some cross groundswell from the South West. Conditions varied from very technical to pretty well aligned.
  • Second loop: wind started easing, wind swell was still present. Conditions were a bit less technical than first run.


  • Canoe does not punch thru waves faces, instead it rides on top of them. So I experienced quite a bit of canoe slapping against the waves. It does not impact speed much (note that I usually ride a v1 that cut thru waves faces like a knife)
  • The characteristic “bouncing effect” from the Kahele is not present. That is a good thing
  • Ama is very stable. I played around going upwind at a 30 degree angle, with wind on the ama side. Ama came up a few times but the canoe was not twitchy (like the Ehukai can be) and fairly stable.


  • Canoe requires a bit more pressure on the blade to get on the wave than the Kahele (and less than the Ehukai), but once you are on the wave, it is a smooth ride.
  • Very stable downwind, I was able to lean right, forward, back, canoe responded well and did not twitch
  • Canoe keeps the speed pretty well, I was able to connect a few waves without killing myself.
  • As for upwind, canoe does not pearl much and stays on top of the wave.
  • On the first downwind,  when I went left on the wave to ride the shoulder, the canoe got away from me a few times and I ended up at 90 degree angle. I do not recall experiencing this on the Kahele on similar conditions.
  • This did not happen on the second run when the wind had eased.
  • Maybe the waves were a bit steeper on the first run, or maybe the stiffer wind pushed the tail sideway due to the higher profile and longer canoe (compared to Kahele)?

On the adjustable foot well:

  • Very spacious foot area and pretty comfortable, The adjustable track (on both side) rests against the side of your foot. It did not cause any discomfort but I am wondering if it can be a problem on very long paddle when the skin is soft.
  • When I lifted my feet (to readjust my position), the bottom flap of the foot plate would stick to my heel a bit. It did not cause the foot well to disengage but this is something that I noticed a few times (it drew my attention away from surfing)
  • On the foot plate, the pedal inflection point is much higher on the foot than on the Kahele: at the toe knuckle’ articulation instead of mid sole (shoe size 11)
  • One advantage is that you can really drive your foot down without risking to turn the canoe
  • One disadvantage is that I was understeering a lot as I am used to steer from my midsole and not from my toe. This is probably an issue that would go away as one becomes accustomed to the steering.
  • I am not sold on the adjustable foot well. Maybe it was my first outing, but my focus kept on getting drawn back to the foot well while paddling. Maybe it is the novelty of it, and eventually, I would ignore it, but on this first outing, it really took my attention away from surfing.

On boat wake riding - I got lucky and got a really nice boat wake to play with in the channel. Canoe picked up the speed well and I got a nice ride.

Additional notes - On the crappy tidal wave at the 5mph buoy. Maybe I am the only one doing this, but at the end practice, when I get around to the 5 mph buoy at the base of the Mission Bay Channel, I always challenge myself to try to surf a very crappy ripple. I noticed that even though I had to put a bit more pressure on the blade initially, it felt as taxing to surf the ripple as the Kahele would, but not more. So that is good thing.

Comfort - . I did not feel much difference from Kahele, except for the wider foot well (which is a plus). I only paddled for a bit more than 1 hour though. Canoes usually become uncomfortable after 2 hrs for me.

Speed - Interesting foot note, I just checked my average speed on the two downwind runs. On my first run, I was average 8.3 mph over .7 miles. This is the same pace as my fastest mile run (<7 mins per mile). Note that the conditions were very good for fast time: besides the stiff wind, there was a strong south to north current.

Overall opinion  - Downwind, it is fun, smooth and stable canoe for surfing that does not have the bouncing effect of the Kahele, nor the twitchiness of the Ehukai. It requires a bit more pressure than the Kahele to get on a wave, but not by a lot.
I am not sold on the adjustable foot plate but it has value if canoe is shared by several people of different heights.

It is a natural next evolution from the Ehukai and Kahele.

[Thank you to Aqua Adventures for the canoe used in this review.]

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