All posts by Erin Egbert

GEAR SPOTLIGHT: Onean Electric Jet Board

GEAR SPOTLIGHT: Onean Electric Jet Board

Love that feeling of gliding through the water, but lack the energy to go paddling at the end of a long work day? Ocean Electric Jet Board may be your solution! All the fun, none of the effort!

Onean presents an electric jet board to enjoy high speed over water. From cruising over the water surface for the most adventurous ones to the most extreme performances for adrenaline fans. We have designed several boards and propulsion systems so you can choose the best for you. Lightweight and fast. Its powerful electric jet is environmentally friendly and really intuitive to use.

Cruising on the Onean Mante

Pre-ordering NOW for delivery in June!

The Carver jet-board is the ideal go-to option for users and to enjoy the feeling of gliding above flat waters. With the Carver you will immerse yourself into a completely new and unbelievable sense of freedom. Tides and wind conditions dependencies remain to the past, now you have nothing to depend on but yourself. 4400 Watts of Power, Max Speed still TBD.
Onean Carver Jet Board

The Manta is a board with great buoyancy and very stable. Designed for those wanting to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of taking long tours or excursions at low speed. 450 Watts of Power, Max speed 7km/h.

Onean Carver Jet Board

Choose your favorite Jet Board option and cruise your favorite waterways at minimum effort. If you still want that work out, paddle out and cruise your way back! This motorized option is quiet, efficient and fun! We can’t wait to get our feet on one here at Vermont SUP.  It looks like it would be a lot of fun! Just don’t give up your traditional paddle board quite yet. There’s still nothing that can beat being out in the middle of nowhere and gliding through the water under your own power.

TRIP PREVIEW: Everglades Florida Jan 2016

Just a Taste of the Everglades

We’ve been toying around the idea of paddling in the everglades for about a year now. We were too busy with work to go last year, but we finally got 3 days off to go explore. Without much more planning than loading the paddle boards, camping equipment and food, we made plans to meet our fellow paddlers in Chokoloskee and we headed south.

Erin checking in at the Visitors Center in Everglade City.
Erin checking in at the Visitors Center in Everglade City.

The first night we camped at the Chokoloskee Island Park. We must have had the last campsite in the place, because we just barely squeezed our two cars and tent onto the site. First thing the next morning, we headed over to the Visitor Center in Everglades City to find out what kind of back country permit we could get for just a couple nights. There was nothing within close range available for that night, so we secured a permit for the next night at Pearl Bay Chickee and spent the day meandering down to Flamingo.

Campsite in Flamingo Florida
Campsites at Flamingos campground.

We camped at Flamingo and woke up to pouring down rain. The radar was showing that the rain would stop around noon, so we waited it out. Good thing we didn’t pick a chickee any farther than 3.5 miles. Our original idea was to get out there, make camp and paddle some more. Instead, we played cards in the tent until it stopped raining and then headed straight to the chickee for the night.

everglades florida Hells Bay Canoe Trail Launch
JJ, Erin, Al & Donna at the Hells Bay Canoe Trail Launch

Upon arrival at the Hells Bay Canoe Trail Launch, we unloaded all our gear and set off into the mangrove tunnels. The tunnels were tight and narrow with lots of turns. As we progressed further, it felt like we were just twisting in circles through the maze of mangroves. Some of the turns were so tight, the 16 foot canoe that was with us almost looked pinned amongst the mangroves, and several times the stern person was left dragging through the spider webs that lined the mangrove branches.

Al & Donna maneuvering thru the tight and windy Mangroves.
Al & Donna maneuvering thru the tight and windy Mangroves.

Even though there were many turns, the trail was very well marked with white PVC pipes. A PVC pipe was located at every turn or just about the time you were feeling lost one appeared.

JJ's BIC SUP leading the way thru the well marked paddling trail Florida everglades
JJ’s BIC SUP leading the way thru the well marked paddling trail

As we rounded every corner we anticipated running into a gator, croc, snake or anything, but the cool temperatures kept the critters at bay, in fact all we saw on our paddle was an osprey. Even the bugs thought it was just too cold… so those stories of swallowing mosquitoes while paddling didn’t hold true for us, at least not until dusk.

JJ's BIC SUP leading the way thru the well marked paddling trail
Our first view of Pearl Bay Chickee

After just a few hours of paddling, we spotted our chickee and started unloading. We had reserved just half of the double chickee, but were lucky enough that we were the only ones out that night. The chickee was awesome, it had counters to cook on, a ladder on one side and stairs on the other as well as a handicap sized porta-potty. It was luxurious. Later on, I did read that this was the cadillac of chickees, and the only handicap accessible chickee in the everglades, so i suppose we can’t expect this in the future from the other chickees.

Pearl Bay Chickee everglades florida
SUPs tied up & Hammocks Setup.

We cooked up our dinner of summer sausage, beans and rice. Minutes after our stoves kicked on, a soft-shell turtle appeared out of nowhere. He circled our chickee for hours while trying to coax us to give him our scraps. He clearly had been fed by others in the past. He was fun to watch and as the sun sank down below the water, the mosquitoes came out of hiding. We quickly retreated into the safety of our tents and hammocks. We slept well as the bugs buzzed about and the water lapped at the chickee posts. There is truly nothing better than sleeping out in the middle of nowhere!

Pearl Bay Chickee Sunrise Clouds
Clouds loom as the sun rises over the Everglades

We awoke to some threatening clouds to the west, but decided it was probably just rain. We had a leisurely breakfast of eggs and bagels before packing up and heading back to our vehicles. We slowly made our way back through the mess of mangroves from the day before.

Hells Bay Paddling Trail everglades florida
Car’s packed up after our Everglades paddling trip.

Shortly after loading up our gear, the rain hit and we headed north and back to work. It was a short trip and it felt like we only got a small taste of the everglades. So, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want more. And guess what, we want more! Stay tuned for the upcoming Everglades, top to bottom expedition, which will include a whole bag of cookies!

DIY SUP Deck Rigging

Don’t have enough bungee on your board to hold gear down? There are two easy DIY fixes to add deck rigging on your board.

The first option is cheap (about $5), but doesn’t look great. At your local hardware store buy a pack of zip ties, a pack of zip tie mounts and a couple tubes of super glue.

Position the mounts where you would like to attach the bungee. Before glueing the mounts onto your board, lightly sand below them for better adhesion. Once attached, loop a zip tie through each mount; and then string your bungee through! I used this method on my homemade board and they held great!

DIY SUP Deck Rigging
DIY SUP Deck Rigging

The second option for adding deck rigging to your SUP is a little more pricey, but looks much better overall. Buy the Surfco EZ-Plug 2-6 PC Deck Rigging Kit for about $15-$45. They come in either white or black. You can also buy just the mounts if you’d prefer. The procedure for attaching the mounts is the same, they just look classier.

deck rig kit

If you have deck pad where you’d like the mounts to go, you can easily cut away a small piece of the deck pad with a utility knife and scrape away the extra adhesive. Just make sure the spots you are attaching the mounts to are as flat as possible.

EZ Plug mount
Cut Away Deck Pad with EZ-Plug Mounts

Reflections on the Withlacoochee River

Just another day in Florida. We started out with dark grey clouds and a big rain blob on the radar headed our way. But, it was one of our few days off, so we were determined to paddle. We loaded up and headed for the Withlacoochee River.  We left a car at the city boat ramp in Nobleton, FL before heading up river to our put in at Silver Lake Recreation Area.

Withlacoochee Put in Map
Withlacoochee Put in Map

We spent the next couple hours floating through cypress forests that seemed to surround us up and down as they reflected on the glassy dark waters. The river was filled with wildlife from baby gators to Limpkins.

After several miles and just a few houses we made it back to the take out as the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds. Somehow while on the peaceful Withlacoochee the ominous rain blob on the radar dissapated and we were left with a typical Florida day!

After our very peaceful paddle, we headed to the local cafe, River Ratz, for some beer and sandwiches on their outside deck. Another wonderful paddling adventure in Florida.

Location Hot Spot: Rainbow River – Dunnellon, FL

This is one of those rivers that you can not miss. The Rainbow River bubbles up from its headsprings at Rainbow River State Park and winds 5.7 miles downstream before it flows into the Withlacoochee River. The crystal clear river is loaded with oversized fish and other wildlife that call this river their home. This is the fourth largest spring system in Florida producing 400-600 million gallons of water everyday.

Rainbow River KP Hole Put-In

There are three put-ins along this river. The first is at the Rainbow River State Park and costs $2 per person. This put-in has the longest walk to the water, requiring you to walk all the way through the park.

The second put-in is at KP Hole Park, which has bathrooms, changing rooms, a swimming area and a snack bar. The fee to put in here is $5 per person, but you can drive your SUP right up to the waters edge. From here you can paddle 1 mile upstream to the head springs and 1 mile back to KP Hole. From here, if you’re feeling adventurous you can paddle 4 more miles downstream to the Public Boat Ramp in Dunnellon.

The Public boat ramp requires no fee and is just a parking lot with a ramp. This is located on FL 484 dirctly across the river from Swampy’s Bar and Grille.

Over Under SUP Rainbow River

This is a beautiful river that a lot of people enjoy. It’s recommended to avoid the area of weekends and hot days because their is limited parking at all put in locations. On busy days the state park can reach capacity by noon. Go early, or go on slower days.

What’s under YOUR board?

Since we’ve moved to Florida, we have found many new things underneath our boards. My favorite by far are the manatees. These gentle giants just love the warm water pumping out of the King’s Bay basin. Now that we’ve had our first frost of the year, they will be congregating and resting in our favorite paddling places.

BIC Wing Manatee

As a stand up paddleboarding, we have an advantage over kayakers when it comes to spotting these slow moving giants. We can see down into the water much easier and change our course accordingly.   Florida Manatees are an endangered species and are highly protected by state and federal law. Fines for harming and/or harassing these animals are hefty. Follow the guidelines below to stay out of trouble and help protect these slow moving mammals.

1. Practice Passive Observation. Do not initiate contact with manatees. They are curious animals, but the interaction must be their idea.

2. Do not disturb resting manatees. Reduce splashing and noise.

3. Keep an active watch. Wear polarized sunglasses to improve sight.  Look for snouts and footprints (swirling water).

5. If you see a manatee stop or slow down, do not chase or paddle over the manatee.

6. Paddle gently and on the surface while watching where you place your paddle.

For more information watch the US Fish & Wildlife Manatee Manners video for paddlers. Click here to watch.

Don’t be the guy below. It’s dangerous and could be considered harassing these protected animals. For more information contact us Here.

Leashes and Lifejackets 101

The American Canoe Association(ACA) has published a great video tutorial about when to wear what types of leashes and lifejackets while SUPing. It is worth 5 minutes of your time to know when to use these key pieces of safety equipment.

The ACA recommends the following for calm water with no risk of entanglement:
~ coiled leash
~ inflatable belt pack

The ACA recommends the following for ocean surf:
~ straight leash
~ no lifejacket

The ACA recommends the following for moving water or whitewater:
~ coiled leash attached at the waist with a quick release
~ inherently buoyant type III or type V lifejacket

SUPing with Alligators!

We don’t have any gators in Vermont. In fact, we don’t have anything you have to worry about besides poison ivy; and that’s just a nuisance. Your first time out in gator habitat can be a bit scary. That fear is always in the back of your mind as you paddle through their territory. Here are a few tips to ease that fear and keep you safe.

  • We are higher on the food chain than gators. As you get closer, they will act defensively and slide into the water where they are the most comfortable.
  • Gators that have had less human interaction will slip under the water faster than gators that have seen a lot of humans.
  • Gators that have been fed may approach you looking for food. Be aware of these , they are the most dangerous. Never feed a gator, it adds to the problem. Ask locals if gators in the area have been fed.
  • Once you see a gator, observe from a distance. Never corner them and block off their escape route.
  • Never get in between a mother and her baby’s. She will attack just like any other wild animal.
  • Gators are more territorial during mating season, which begins in April.
  • Dogs can be a tasty treat for gators, so leave them at home; especially if your dog likes to swim in the water.

Don’t let the presence of alligators keep you away from the water. If you keep your distance, so will they!

Florida Gator

New! Bounce SUP boards

I saw this company at Surf Expo in September. This is the company that built my Surftech B-1 Flowmaster as a private label board. I love the construction of my board with Bounce’s very own patented Bounce Technology. It looks great as well as performing well too.

Super Cruiser

I was finally able to jump on one of their boards at Charles River Canoe & Kayak in Newton, MA. Their 11’4 Super Cruiser behaved just as I had hoped, wonderful. They offer this board in two models. The original model made with their Thermal Composite Technology (TCT). TCT has basically replaced the epoxy in a standard fiberglass board with plastic. This allows the board to give a little (or bounce) when you run into something instead of cracking and destroying your board. The newest model has the same great shape and technology but is made without the foam core. Since the board is hollow, its lighter but just as durable.

Multi-Purpose
Multi-Purpose

If the displacement hull of the Super Cruiser isn’t your style, check out their new Multi-Purpose. It comes with the same TCT construction as the Super cruiser but is more versatile. It comes in a 11′ and 10’6″ model and is great for surfing, yoga, whitewater and everything else.

If the TCT technology isn’t enough to make you want one, the fact that their boards are designed and made in the USA is a huge selling point.  Way to go Bounce SUP for bringing SUP construction to the next level, in our own backyard.

Bounce SUP

Wheelchair Paddleboarding

California surfer Kawika Watts created the “on-it” ability board, which allows those in wheelchairs the freedom to stand-up paddleboard, even offering free lessons for the board to anyone who wants them. NBC’s Hallie Jackson reports. 

Check out their site here: http://www.onitabilityboards.org/

Standup Journal

This brings an exciting new opportunity for wheelchair bound sports enthusiasts. Everyone should have the chance to get out on the water and enjoy the sport that we all love so much!