Kahuna Big Stick

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The Kahuna Big Stick is a lightweight wooden shaft with fixed rubber wheels that allows a skater to push and pull while keeping balanced with both feet as opposed to pumping with one foot. On the level, it is way superior to foot-pumping. Even on uphills, I’ve found if I do a few foot pumps, then follow with a few paddles, it’s faster and smoother. On slight downslopes, I can now get a lot more speed by not having to foot pump. It’s got me skating a two-block section in town that used to be too slow. Plus, it adds an upper body workout to a sport that, traditionally, challenges your legs mostly. Surfers see me with it and invariably break into a grin; they instantly get it and are charmed. It really is incredible. The day I got my 5′ 6″ Big Stick, I tried it out in a parking lot while getting gas. Boy! After about five tentative strokes, I started reaching out as far as I could, zooming around. Later that night I decided to skate in the streets (no cars). I got in a bunch of half-mile downhills in an hour. It is insane fun. One disadvantage: You’re carrying this stick rather than free skating down hills.

-- Lloyd Kahn  

Kahuna Big Stick
$ 99+ (5′ – 6′)
Available from Kahuna Creations

image via Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine



Splitboards

Snowboarders who like to make their turns in the backcountry used to have to strap on snowshoes or short skis for the approach and climb with their board on their back, then put the approach gear on their back for the ride down. Snowshoers were likely to get left behind by their ski buddies on the way up, while snowboarders with skis and boots on their backs were ungainly and slow on the descent. In the last couple years, however, technology and demand have coincided to bring to market an affordable, reliable alternative that is both faster and lighter than either snowshoes or skis.

Split snowboards (splitboards) look and feel like regular snowboards, but split apart lengthwise into two skis for plowing through backcountry terrain cross-country style. When you split the board apart, you remove the bindings and reposition them on the splitboard skis as cross-country toe-hinge bindings, then strap or click in as normal with your regular snowboard boots. This plus a pair of three-section collapsible ski poles is all you need for the approach, and you can stow the poles easily in your pack for the ride down.

While the splitboard itself is a bit heavier than a regular snowboard setup, using the same gear for both ascending and descending saves an incredible amount of weight. And since you’re skiing the approach, you can cover terrain much faster than anyone on snowshoes or short skis.

Burton and Voile are the main contenders in the splitboard arena. The conventional wisdom is that Burton’s splitboards are heavier, but ride better on the way down, while Voile’s simple and light conversion system makes up for its only-OK ride quality. As a third option, Voile offers a split kit to convert your regular snowboard into a splitboard at home. I own a Burton SPLT 66 model and love it. The board feels strong and solid, transition time from board to skis and back is quick-although it does take some practice-and best of all, the ride is stiff and the edges hold firm, just like a regular snowboard.

Both companies make extra-wide climbing skins and crampons for the ascent, and many backcountry gear manufacturers make collapsible ski poles short enough to fit in a daypack. Standard backcountry rules apply to all splitboarding excursions, which means be avalanche-aware, always carry an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel, and know how to use the tools you bring.

– Chris Coldewey

Voile Split Decision Splitboards
$895+
Voile

Burton Splitboards
$600+
Burton

Or, take an old snowboard and do-it-yourself.
Voile Split Kit
$160
Back Country Store

Or from Amazon

-- Chris Coldewey  



Squirt Boating and Beyond

Think skateboarding on white water. A squirt is a very small kayak, almost a hollowed out surfboard, that skips, spins, jumps, and yes, squirts out of rivers. It is dangerous fun, with a similar underground culture as other x-treme board sports. The funky illustrations tell all.

-- KK  

Squirt Boating and Beyond
James E. Snyder
2001, 235 pages
$20
Menasha Ridge Press
Box 43673
Birmingham, Al 35243

Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:

“Attaining” is the term I coined in the late 1970s for paddling upstream. This is quite a fine form of fun. There are even attaining races, which are great entertainment. If you want to perfect your attaining skills, for whatever reason, remember a few basic tips. Timing and accuracy are much more important here than in downstream negotiations: plan your lines well in advance and let the river dictate the timing; and pace your energy expenditure so you will have the fierce energy necessary for the tough attainments. Learn to feel the force around you, and you will be able to attain up paper-thin eddies that are hundreds of feet long.




The Surfer’s Journal

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The Surfer’s Journal is pure surfing. For about 10 years now, Steve and Debbee Pezman have been sharing their love of the ocean and waves with other like-minded water people. A unique feature is the absence of advertising except for 2-3 pages from companies that surfers respect, like Patagopnia and Billabong. (By contrast a recent Collector’s Edition of Surfing mag, in listing what it called “The 25 Most Powerful People in Surfing” had almost half its list composed of CEO’s of surfboard or surf apparel companies.) The photography is stunning (a lot of credit going to photo editor Jeff Devine), the articles are in-depth, and there are a lot more longboard shots than the more typical punching-through-the-lip shortboard aerials that dominate the other surf mags. There’s also a lot of wonderful stuff from the past; it’s amazing that after all this time they still come up with unique shots from the 50s and 60s and sometimes earlier, when life was simpler and waves were uncrowded. The soul of surfing, 5 times a year. It’s the only magazine where I’ve saved every copy.

-- Lloyd Kahn  

The Surfer’s Journal
published 6 times a year.
$63