Essential Paddling: There’s a Virtual Race Near You

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Hala Rado, paddlexaminer

2020 has been an unpredictable year full of surprises, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic which brought much of the paddling world to a standstill in one way or another. Two things have proliferated like wildfire in the paddling world thus far: podcasts and virtual races. Both have a low barrier to entry and allow all participants to, well, participate, as a socially responsible distance at the place and time of their choosing. Chances are, if you were planning to attend a paddling event this summer, it has almost certainly gone virtual. Some event organizers are even going the extra step to send out SWAG to participants!

New Boats Have Arrived

Our friends at Nelo USA – West Coast received a container (or two?) of surfskis, kayaks, and other watercraft in mid-June. If you placed an order with them it has likely arrived. Word is their stock is limited so act quickly if you’re in the market to buy and have not already pre-ordered a boat. From the looks of things on social media there is a full spectrum of colors in the new range!

Vaikobi – Michael Booth Collaboration

Our favorite Australian paddling apparel company Vaikobi has partnered with Michael Booth to develop a signature range of Booth apparel. From jackets and paddling tops to pants and hats, there is a little bit of everything in the range. Vaikobi’s gear is second to none and Booth is a heck of an athlete, so it sounds like a fantastic match. You can check out the range here.

Group Paddles are Popping Up

With most formal paddling events cancelled for the foreseeable future, non-event group paddles are popping up along the coast throughout Southern California. Ocean paddling has a way of naturally allowing for social distancing and it is always fun to workout in a group setting. The next group paddle is this weekend in Marina del Rey – read all about it here!

Whitewater Paddling in Colorado

Vail hosted a limited run of their popular summer whitewater paddling series in June. Entrants were limited at each event, but our CFO and resident whitewater SUP paddler managed to snag a slot. Curious? Here’s a quick recap.

ICYMI: Gear Reviews are Still Flowing

Despite the frequent closures and cancellations, PaddleXaminer has managed to produce a few new gear reviews this spring and has more on tap for the coming months. Here’s a quick look at a couple of our favorites:

  • Vaikobi VXP Race PFD: Packed full of fantastic features to enhance performance and elevate the style of safety gear, the Vaikobi VXP is well positioned to have a long-lasting impact on the paddling industry. As a former Naval Aircrewman and long time paddler I’ve worn my fair share of safety gear. The new Vaikobi VXP is far and away the most comfortable life vest I’ve laid hands on. Imagine a combination of the comfort of your favorite t-shirt and the performance and style of the latest hi-tech gear designed by NASA. This PFD looks sharp! 
  • Ferg Sunglasses from Costa: PaddleXaminer tested the Ferg with Sunrise Silver lens for a morning paddle on the Upper Colorado back in April. I noticed right away how the hydrolite grips the side of my head when I put them on. I played with the adjustable nose pads to get the right fit and the large frame’s of the Ferg keep the light out. The Sunrise Silver lens gives everything a light yellow pop to enhance your vision.
Matt Chebatoris
Matt is a former national security professional and lifelong adventurer. He has published material on a variety of topics in the foreign policy arena and created PaddleXaminer™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. When not on the water, Matt can be found hiking along rugged mountain trails in the California wilderness. Matt resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California.

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