I’m excited to proudly announce that I’m now a TRAK Kayaks Sponsored Paddler! “But hey Dax, you got no mad-kayaking skills.” Well this isn’t a normal ambassadorship because TRAK is taking me from Beginner to ‘Pro’!
I first became fascinated with kayaking about 3 years ago and had no idea where it would – or could lead. I picked up a standard hard-shell sea kayak, mounted it on my roof and began exploring lakes in Alberta and British Columbia. I was heavily inspired by the photographic work and sea kayaking adventures of Tomasz Furmanek, an adventure photographer in Western Norway who has photos that will drop your jaw. See them on his Instagram here →
After I began exploring these places by kayak I fell in love. There was something different about exploration by water, especially in a kayak: You’re CONNECTED. You are one with the water and you become part of the kayak. There’s a symbiotic energy here that felt so zen to me; as if I belonged in the water. That I felt instantly.
It turns out I ran into a few immediate issues… First of all I wasn’t that good in a kayak. I didn’t know any proper kayaking technique or types of paddle strokes, and my confidence level wasn’t all that high. And how the hell was I going to store a huge sea kayak when I wasn’t using it? I knew I’d require something that could store into smaller places.
Then I got in touch with TRAK Kayaks.
I found a local, Alberta-based company who makes a “collapsible” kayak that stores into a portable bag, that wasn’t a “blow up” boat. Thank you, Universe! At the time, there was only one other kayak on the market that could “fold up” into smaller locations, but I had not found something as tough as the military-grade canvas skin on the TRAK Kayak. I reached out to TRAK and told them my story, and it wasn’t long before we began what would be a long-term relationship that has now become official. Does it come in black? 🙂 Since then my friends at TRAK are still blowing my mind on their recent developments in creating the ultimate touring kayak. It’s the first and only one of it’s kind – and they’ve now successfully crowdfunded the TRAK 2.0: The ULTIMATE Touring Kayak across Kickstarter & Indiegogo. (and yes, it comes in black!)
The Back-Story: I have a slight(ish) fear of capsizing.
I made a huge mistake one day in 2016 and I capsized my kayak in glacial-cold water in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. There was still snow on the ground and ice surrounded the surface of the water. It was my first time in a kayak that season and I was super excited to get into the water! I got into my kayak and tried to nudge myself through the snow to “glide” into the water. GLIDE, DAX!? I slid through the snow into the water and immediately bailed to my left, tipping the kayak completely over! TYPICAL: I put myself into an immediate state of panic. I had my Canon DSLR camera around my neck and phone with me, which both went for a swim (and were compromised) as I tried to pull myself up onto a thick sheet of ice. When you tip into the water with full gear and Winter boots you end up weighing yourself down – you feel 100 times heavier and your body is panicking because the water is literally freezing. Luckly a good friend of mine was at the same location on a photo shoot, so he made me a trusty cup of coffee from the back of his Jeep and I began to warm up, and did have the proper dry gear for back-up. Though my camera equipment was no longer usable, I still had my GoPro’s, and didn’t yet have the shot I was looking for… I warmed up, strapped on the GoPro’s and went back into the water and got the shot. Our past mistakes are meant to guide us, not define us. That being said, I still have a healthy fear of “going under” and I need to get out of my comfort zone to get past this…
Phase One of my kayak skill training began in February of this year, as I began to learn kayaking techniques in the tank at SAIT in Calgary. In both February and March I learned the fundamentals of paddling and the various strokes. But there’s only so much I can learn in a pool. Through April and May I’ve been taking my skills and applying them in Ghost Lake, about 45 minutes from Calgary. Without the help of the internal TRAK Team, TRAK Pilots and my Lead Instructor/Coach, Keith Braun, I wouldn’t be able to learn at such an accelerated rate. Phase One is now complete and on Wednesday, May 22 I head out to Tofino, British Columbia to the TRAK Surf Skills Progression Camp to kick off Phase Two of my kayak training.
TRAK Surf Skills Camp: Tofino, British Columbia
One thing I couldn’t be more excited about is that I’ll be participating in a TRAK Progression Camp to advance my skills in the ocean! I will be heading out with a few members of the TRAK Team to beautiful Tofino, BC, Canada for a blend of sea kayak surf skills development, hands on risk management, teaching and coaching this May 17th-21st, 2018.
“Couched in a base camp setting in the west coast forest, this TRAK Tour is designed to help you upgrade your surf kayaking skills (no matter what your skill level is now) in one of the world’s best locations for surf and waves. Your facilitators include life long paddlers with extensive knowledge of the industry, kayak skills, vessel design, education and risk management.”
At this point, I’ve never kayaked in the ocean and this will be my first time in Tofino as well! About the Surf Skills Camp →
About TRAK Kayaks: TRAK Kayaks has been making revolutionary portable, performance kayaks since 2006. These 16ft touring kayaks have gained a reputation as the kayaker’s portable kayak. Created and designed at its head office in Canada and manufactured at a world renowned outdoor gear facility in the Philippines, TRAK Kayaks are sold in more than 30 countries and paddled on oceans, lakes and rivers the world over. In 2017, TRAK launched its cutting-edge TRAK 2.0, Ultimate Touring Kayak through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Made of military-grade polyurethane and a rugged carbon fibre and aluminum frame, TRAKs are virtually indestructible, fast and (thanks to an adjustable hull), suitable for any water and any level of paddler. With its state of the art travel bag system and newest lightweight components, they can go anywhere. For more information visit www.trakkayaks.com.
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Toll Free: +1 403.723.0077