Back in the latter part of 2009, I started working with Lee’s Adventure Sports in Kalamazoo on their paddle sports program. I had worked in the shop back in 2005 and done lessons before, but I was not a certified instructor. Soon after my ACA certification, I began doing pool lesson’s and outdoor lesson’s and working with Lee’s on their paddle program. I don’t say this about a lot of people, but I view Lee’s like family. Skip and Chris have been really good to me, and to Kalamazoo, so when I started doing lesson’s I wanted it to benefit their shop, and their customers.
The only tricky part is that I am a bit of a boat snob. Without putting too fine a point on it, I paddle a boat that Lee’s doesn’t sell. I really like the brands that they currently carry, but I am pretty serious about what I paddle. When it comes to sea kayaks, I am pretty fussy. I have a lot of specific thoughts about what makes a good kayak. I am big believer in good design. I like small, efficient hulls that handle well in rough water. I think about a kayak as an extension of my body rather than a vessel, so I like a kayak that can be edged, that responds dynamically. I like a kayak that I can roll easily that doesn’t have a lot of excess width and freeboard, and I like something with enough hull speed to catch or outpace fast downwind conditions. I’ve paddled a lot of kayaks and thought well, pretty good, but not good enough to sell my Nigel Foster Silhouette.
I tried all the Tiderace models this summer at Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium, and really fell in love with the Xplore_S. So I plucked up the courage to talk to Dan at Tiderace overseas, who put me in contact with Randy Henriksen the distributor of Tiderace in the US. We began discussing a sponsorship and Lee’s as a dealer of Tiderace.
I am really happy to announce that I am a team paddler for Tiderace Sea Kayaks, and that Lee’s will begin working on bringing in Tiderace Sea Kayaks sometime in the summer of 2011. I hope all of my regular readers who have been curious about Tiderace, but unable to try them will drop me a line, and we can demo my kayak until models start arriving in Southwest Michigan.