Is Canoeing Harder Than Kayaking?

Over the last thousand years there have been debates battled by mankind:

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
Did aliens help the Egyptians build the pyramids?
Who shot JFK?
Is Canoeing Harder than Kayaking?

So many tough questions! Well, today we are going to tackle one of them… and no, I don’t know if aliens helped build the pyramids. But what I do know is that many people believe canoeing is harder than kayaking. Why? Let’s look at some of the reasons presented by The Institute of Advanced Canoe Learning.

1. Half the Paddle – those kayakers have it so easy with their two sided paddles.
2. Less maneuverability – you can’t turn on a dime with a canoe
3. Bulky – ever try carrying a wooden canoe by yourself?
4. Air born – sit in the back of a canoe by yourself and you might pop a wheelie

We want you to help us answer the age old question. Does someone in a canoe work harder than a kayaker? Your answer might help us validate the new canoe shirt we brought in.

canoe shirts at Adayak

Interview With Telemark Skier and Kayaker Jake Sakson

Jake Sakson

In a previous interview with kayaker Fred Norquist, we talked about this converted ambulance called the Gypsy Mobile. Well today we have a special treat for you – the brains behind the Gypsy Mobile, Jake Sakson.

Jake drives his Gypsy Mobile all over the country looking for the best slopes for his tele skis and untapped creeks for his boat. He’s also been skiing in exotic places like Japan and Alaska. Check out Jake’s interview below. My questions are in bold, followed by his responses.

Can you give our readers a quick introduction… where are you from, what are you up to now, etc.?

I was raised in Carbondale, CO and still reside there, in all my travels I have yet to find a place I would rather live. Currently I work for a Tree Service and am saving up money for next ski season and future adventures. I am also redesigning my on-board vegetable oil filtration system and hopefully putting a turbo on my van this summer.

How did you get started in the outdoor lifestyle? Is it something you grew up with or picked up from friends?

I did not come from a family of adventure enthusiasts but at a young age I met my friend Hayden Kennedy through our ski program and his family took me under there wing – taking my climbing, biking and kayaking in the summers. Basically in debt to them for getting me into these sports.

You’re an avid telemark skier and kayaker – even been featured in some films. Is there one that your are more passionate about than the other?

I couldn’t really say I am passionate about one sport in particular – instead it is the feeling derived from challenge and finding that state of mind where one is on the edge of their comfort level. In that respect, I am more passionate about whichever sport I am doing at any given time. I tend to have a fiend like personality so whatever season it is I do that sport as much as possible. However, at this point I am on the work and kayak in the summer and ski full time in the winter program.

Is there such a thing as ‘too extreme’ for Jake Sakson? Ever been base jumping or sky diving?

Um, I definitely feel it is important to know my personal limits – I don’t want to get weeded out too early in the running. So I have definitely walked away from lines or rapids. Base jumping really appeals to me – I am sure it is an incredible feeling but the death rate of base jumpers and a lack of free time is keeping me away from that right now. But base jumping and or paragliding are things I would like to incorporate into the sports I already participate in.

I’ve seen a video of you filling up your Gypsy Mobile with used vegetable oil from restaurants. Tell me about the inspiration behind the Gypsy Mobile, how long did it take you to build and do you get all that oil for free?

Honestly the inspiration behind the Gypsy Mobile was to do everything I could to lower my expenses. In kayaking and skiing those expenses are fuel and in the winter – lodging. By building a vegetable oil powered van I hope to achieve very low costs in these realms. I also wanted a way to be well outfitted and stay comfortably on the road for long periods of time. The Gypsy-Mobile is 4wd so hopefully it can get me to some interesting places as well. I have spent about 3 months of physical labor on the van but have thought about it for much longer than that. So far I have yet to save money on fuel – due to start up costs and problems but I am determined to make it work. This is hopefully something I can figure out over this summer. The appeal of free fuel and a decreased dependence on fossils fuels is too great. I also want to put a turbo on my diesel engine – the Gypsy Mobile is grossly underpowered and I have heard these actually increase fuel economy on diesel engines. But yes – all oil I have burned I have gotten for free.

Have you ever been in a situation on the mountain or in a creek where you were scared for your life?

There have been a few times where I have missed a line skiing or kayaking but narrowly escaped disaster. When I was 15 years old I put onto Golden Gate section of the North Fork of the American at what turned out to be absurdly high flows. I missed a line and narrowly caught and eddy above a sieve – the group of paddlers I was with were screaming at me to paddle like I had never heard before. That whole run I was pretty much scared for my life though – at normal flows it would have been the hardest run I had ever attempted. It is always scary when things are moving fast and you don’t know what is behind the next corner. Scary situations seem to be inherent in these sports, this is just one of many experiences but they are good wake up calls to the amount of risk we expose ourselves to on a regular basis and are always humbling.

You’re passion for outdoor sports has recently taken you to Alaska and Japan. Do you have plans for any other huge trips? Where your dream destination?

I have so many plans for huge trips its kinda silly, making them happen is the tough part. I am itching to explore the East, South and Central America and Europe in a kayak and on skis. There is still so much exploration to do on this landmass, kayaking in California, the Northwest, Montana. Skiing in Wyoming, interior and Coastal BC.

I imagine someone with your skill level has seen his share of difficulty on the mountain. What’s the toughest run you’ve ever skied? Was it also the highest elevation?

Using the qualifier “toughest” is hard for me, in these sports we are driven to challenge ourselves. Hopefully, what is my toughest today will soon be my everyday. There are so many factors that go into the way I feel about any given run – how I skied it and my state of mind at the top – both which play together. The hardest run I have ever skied may have felt like butter, but I may have hacked my way down another, less intense run – making it “tougher.” As a freeskier difficulty, expression and fluidity are fused in any given line. However, a few years back I skied a run in freesking competition in AK that, much to my surprise and dismay deteriorated into sheer ice as it got steeper finally requiring a ten foot billy-goat stick above 100 foot cliffs, to a 50 foot air. Although I stuck my line I felt like I had narrowly escaped death. This was further reinforced when the next person who tried to ski it fell and broke their back. I probably won’t be skiing that one again…

Do you have any advice out there for younger kids who aspire to live a similar lifestyle as you?

The first step is to dream, the second to believe and then, the most grueling is of course to make it happen. In our current society there are lots of pressures that can prevent us from reaching our highest potential: the appeal of entertainment, comfort and pleasure, social pressures to be “successful” and of course economic pressure as well. The further I get down the gypsy path the more I realize – “if it was easy it wouldn’t be called the gypsy-life.” Currently I work one 40hr per week job, bike taxi two nights a week, am taking an online class in web design, am improving the gypsy vehicle and amidst all this mayhem and trying to stay and shape and get on the river as much as possible. My advice would be, do what feels right – pursue your passion whatever it is – no matter what other people think about it (listen to others input and advice of course), and when the going gets tough, which I think is inevitably will for those of us without trust funds – you just have to get tougher to make this dream a reality. But the first step – stop wishing and start doing. Get out there a lot and work hard.

I just got into watching Dexter… I freaking love it. What’s your favorite movie, TV show and music group?

Ha, your asking the wrong guy this one. I enjoy movies, no favorite though – I haven’t watched enough TV to have a favorite show – I like some music from almost all genre’s, but I would have to say Pink Floyd if I were to have a number one.

Here are a couple of videos with Jake.

Jake in the backcountry

And the world famous Gypsy Mobile

10 Types of People You Meet on The River

A river adventure could be something you’ve been looking forward to all year, something you partake in every weekend, or something you are dreading. Each person has a different take on how they view their time on the river – some of us live for it while others merely view it as a time to party (I’m talking about you frat guy). A river offers a dozen different ways for adventure and fun. There’s kayaking, canoeing, floating, rafting, etc.

I got this idea from a the Hiking Boots blog. In today’s post we’re going to take a look at 10 Types of People You Meet on The River.

Note: The following pictures are from Flickr’s Creative Commons

1. The Cute Couple – These two love birds chose a day on the river as a way of getting out of their at home routine. Spending time with your spouse in nature is a great way to rekindle the relationship – but just because you don’t think anywhere is watching it doesn’t mean you’re alone (think mountain men).
cute kayaking couple

2. The Lazy – Spending a day paddling is not their idea of fun. It’s hot, it’s hard work and the river isn’t flowing fast enough for these lazy paddlers.
lazy sea kayakers

3. The Surfer – Surfs up bro! These kayakers take their boats to the beach or to hot spots on the river where high flow builds up a constant surfable wave. Don’t cut these paddlers off on you’re way downstream.

kayak surfing at the beach

4. Newbs – These kayakers just don’t know what they’re doing. They can’t track and they don’t paddle together. You’ll often see newbs zigzaging their way across the river and bumping into other boats.
newbs that can't paddle

5. The Competitive – There’s always an ultra competitive person (or two) in your group. They always have to be first and be the fastest on all runs. They are more worried about competing with other paddlers that they miss out on the fun.

canoeing is always a race

6. The Drunk – Ever been canoeing and passed by a boat loaded with 2 coolers and a couple cases of Natty Light? That’s the drunk guy on the river. You won’t find him in the whitewater… that requires too much work and mental thought.
getting drunk on the river

7. The Pet Lovers – These paddlers never go anwhere without man’s best friend. The dog is usually sitting in the front enjoying the ride… occassionally barking at passing boats and swimming to cool off.
bringing a dog in a kayak

8. The Tourists – Mom and Dad paid $8,000 for a family trip to Wyoming – you bet a whitewater rafting adventure is on the list of activities. You can spot tourists a mile away. They usually aren’t wearing the right gear, have blobs of sunscreen on their face and are the first to go swimming on a Class I.
whitewater rafting tourists

9. The Extremists – No drop to too high, no rapid is too rough. These paddlers taken all runs to the extreme… never dodging a thing and only paddle at 110%. These paddlers know the river inside and out.
whitewater kayaking dude

10. Loud College Kids – It’s spring break and the fraternity brothers decided to invade your river for 3 days. They are loud, constantly drinking, and may or may not have a boombox.

tubing down the river