Category Archives: DIY

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
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Lost GoPro? – Tips and Tricks for Finding Your Lost GoPro Camera

Losing gear to the river, waves, or bottom of the lake is a pretty good way to ruin your day. It’s a bummer, and can get pretty costly, pretty quickly.

Losing your memories is even worse. And that’s exactly what happens when you lose a GoPro that’s full of images and video that may have been once in a lifetime memories. GoPro cameras have changed what’s possible to see and capture through the lens, but that also means using them in some high risk conditions. Mounting them on your helmet, on your SUP, on sticks you cut from the bank, whatever, if you do it enough, eventually something bad will happen. There’s a very distinct sinking feeling in your gut when you helplessly watch one sink to the bottom, or float down the river.

In remote locations, backing up is difficult, and you never know when those magic few seconds will come together. Capturing those moments is elation. Losing them is torture.

But, not all may be lost. In this article I’ll discuss a few best practices that I now do, and may help that lost GoPro show back up on your doorstep. I call it, The Message in a Bottle Technique.

If sticking notes in notes in bottles and throwing them in the ocean worked for shipwrecked sailors, this is the modern day version. The premise is the same, leave a note with the camera to help rescue it. I do it in two ways, with external labels, and with internal data.

1) Mailing Labels

Do you ever receive those sticker address labels in the mail? Usually they are from a non-profit organization seeking support or membership. They are definitely handy for envelopes, but they are also perfectly sized to fit on the bottom side of the camera itself. I slap one on every one of my cameras now. They are completely protected in the waterproof case, and quickly and easily tell the finder, who the the rightful camera owner is. Even if found years later, odds are the label will still be perfectly legible.

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2) Put a Read-Me Letter or Reward On the Memory Card

Along with the external label, I now put a ‘Read Me’ text file on every memory card that goes into the camera.

I have found lost GoPro’s before, and returned them to their owner simply by loading the memory card and seeing whose face was in the images. That’s great when you know the person, but odds are that won’t happen when you’re traveling and lose a camera where nobody knows you.

It’s very easy to create a Read-Me file with your contact information, phone, etc, even offering a reward to the person who finds the camera. For me, the most important thing is the memory card, not the camera itself. Cameras can be replaced, photo and video content cannot.

To do this, simply create a text file, and save it to the base directory on the memory card. It will be the first thing someone sees when they load the memory card of a lost GoPro.

The image below shows where I put mine, and how I title the file.

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This is how my file reads.

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That file is easily seen by the finder, makes it easy for them to contact you, and hopefully puts a surprise package on your doorstep one day. The rest is left to fate and karma.

As more and more GoPro’s travel with us on our adventures, only more and more are being lost. There are now Facebook Lost and Found groups, and a growing web registry where people are sharing where and when they lost their cameras.

Hopefully some of the tips here will make the finders lives easier. Happy GoPro’ing….  -Damon

Original article from Orion Coolers

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How To: Make A Safety Throw Bag (DIY)

A good throw bag is quite expensive and even fairly difficult to find the materials to make. First you have to track down a fabric seller that has Nylon Cordura and Nylon web strapping and then you have to buy all of the other stuff to go with the project as well. Unless you are putting together a dozen or more you may as well buy one.

There is a middle of the road alternative though and that is to make one from a nylon camp chair bag, the fabric is often cordura anyway but is always a close substitute. You can put a good rope bag together this way for under $20.

The first and most important thing you need is fifty feet of 3/8 floating rescue rope. This will cost about $15. You will also need a sewing machine, a seam ripper, some scissors, a couple grommets and setter, and one of those camp chair bags that everyone has in the closet and does not use.

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You begin with the seam ripper and take all of the patches and carry handles off of the camp chair bag. These can be used to put a carry strap on your throw bag later if you want. With all of the nylon webbing off of the bag cut it 16 inches from the bottom. Save the draw string and keeper from the top of the bag to be used later. Once you have done that you will see all of the hard work is already done for you.

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The first thing to is roll a one inch hem on the top end of the newly cut bag and sew that. I used white thread so it would show up good in the photo but you don’t have to. Just be sure it is very strong nylon thread that you cannot break with your hands.

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So with the first hem in you can check the factory stitching on the original bag. If it is good leave it alone but if you suspect it is weak touch it up with a few stitches. Put a small grommet on the new hem be sure to fold the hem to the outside of your bag and put the smooth face of the grommet to the outside as well.

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Next take that old draw string from the camp chair bag, and the keeper in hand. Run the string around the inside of your hem and pull the two ends through the grommet hole and put on the keeper. Tie a knot to keep from loosing your keeper. Carefully sew down the hem to the bag. The hem is now an inch or so wide so the draw string does not bind up. Do this slow as it is about the only hard part. Once you have this test your draw string to make sure it works good and that you didn’t sew through it or something.

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The next thing to do is to take a piece of closed cell foam and cut it the same diameter as your bag. This makes a float. You can use a swimming pool foam board that you can get at the dollar store like I did or camping mat foam, it doesn’t matter. You also need a 3/8 inside diameter washer. You can just make one from some strong plastic if you like. A detergent bottle makes a great washer.

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Once you have those pieces made cut a small hole in the bottom and add another grommet. The best way to do this is to cut a tiny hole with scissors and melt the edges with a lighter so they don’t fray. Add the grommet next. You could reinforce the hole by sewing a bit of nylon web strapping both inside and out and heat up a big metal spike and melt the rope hole if you do not have grommets at hand and have no plan to buy some. This is messy and smelly but it works.

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Feed your rope through the bottom bag hole and tie a bowline knot loop and pull the knot back snug to the bag.

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Punch a hole through your foam and slide the foam and washer onto the rope and into the bottom of your bag. The washer is simply there to keep the foam from working its way up the rope. Seal everything off with a knot tied as close to the washer as you can get it.

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OK; now you’re done. Stuff the rope in and cinch the draw string. You can add nylon carry handles, belts, and plastic clips if you want, but remember whatever you add is just a potential extra to get snagged on a tree or a rock. It is best to just carry it around by the loop. That and it is no good to you strapped to the front of your canoe, keep it close.

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As an option if you want to go all out you can find high visibility and reflective strips at most fabric stores you may want to sew some on to your throw bag for the few extra dollars.

Original article from Canoe Canada East

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DIY technique for those Over/Under water photos.

Ever seen a photo like this and assume its fake?

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Photo Credit: Clark Little Photography (click photo to visit his website)

In a lot of cases it’s not, but it does require a bit of luck, creativity and the right equipment to capture scenes like these. I recently found a great article about how to create these half & half or over/under photographs.

ikelite-1_1.jpg.400x275_q85 Ideally you should buy a waterproof housing for your digital SLR with a dome front to get these type of photos. These waterproof rigs can cost anywhere from $1000 to $2500 and up. The larger the dome you have in front of your lens the less effect choppy and rough water will have on your image. I didn’t have the money to invest in something like this and so I had to find a different solution.

I found a website that had an affordable option to get your camera under the waters surface without putting it in a housing or in the water at all. The idea is simple… place the camera in a small fish tank and shoot through the glass while its held slightly under the waters surface.

The idea was simple enough so I decided to try it. I went to a local pet store and bought a 5.5 gallon clear glass fish tank. I first tested the tank by holding it into the water to make sure there wasn’t a leak. I decided to put a towel down inside the tank before I put in my camera to give it a little padding and keep it from banging around. I plugged my remote trigger into my Canon 7D and placed it in the tank.  Using the widest lens possible gives you the best angle of view and allows you to keep more in the frame.

chassahowitzka river the crack

A Short 30 minute paddle on the Chassahowitzka River in Homosassa Florida brought us to the top of Baird Creek and what locals call “The Crack”. We got off of our SUPs and started enjoying the beautiful clear water of the natural spring. I took out my fish tank and placed my camera setup in it. I started shooting immediately and realized while holding the tank I could angle it up or down to get the desired shot. Holding it lower down in the water and angling it up gave me a cool reflection of the waters surface.

Chass River Manatee Surface Water

This complete underwater effect gives the illusion of having a true underwater camera setup but my camera is still “naked” and without any real watertight housing.

chassahowitzka river the crack fish I then flipped my camera to the vertical position in the tank and wanted to try that Over/Under effect. It took a little practice but after a few test photos I got a few great shots.

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This short Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project didn’t hurt my bank account and it got me experimenting with underwater photography. Thats the basics, so get out there and try this easy and inexpensive solution to getting some great underwater photographs.

Any questions about this article or how to build your own make sure you email us at: VermontSUP@gmail.com or stop by our Facebook page to see the latest.

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Building a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) DIY

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PART 1 – Getting Started

I spent the previous two years living in Eastern Europe. I lived in an area where there was nowhere to paddle and nobody had kayaks. I’m sure nobody knew what a Stand-Up Paddleboard even was. I had been following friends back home and I knew as soon as I returned state-side I would have to try SUPing. In fact, I made it a priority. I first got on a SUP in early May and instantly loved it. It wasn’t long before I wanted my own board. The only problem was that they are incredibly expensive. I didn’t want to spend $1000 or more on a board.

The programs coordinator at Umiak Outdoor Outfitters, Max Post, mentioned the idea of building our own and it got me thinking. Was it possible to build one for less than the retail price of a board? Did I have the skills to properly build a board that would be strong enough to paddle on?

Jeremiah Johnson, a fellow employee at Umiak Outdoor Outfitters in Stowe, VT was also interested in the project. We started researching what it would take to build these huge paddle boards. We started by asking Umiak’s employees about what they knew of building boats & boards with fiberglass. Talking to each person gave us a better understanding of the task that lay ahead. Max Post was helpful with his previous experiences of building his own fiberglass snowboards. Steve Brownlee, the owner of Umiak, provided support throughout the process by recommending materials to use and advice on accessories to include. Joe Henry, the retail manager at Umiak, let us test paddle all of the boards in the retail store as well as share his knowledge of different board shapes. In addition to our helpful coworkers we were able to find a ton of articles on how to build a surfboard online. Although a SUP is much larger, the building process is about the same. With all this information at our fingertips we decided it was doable and it would be a fun learning experience resulting in our own boards. The basic plan was to start with a foam core and then fiberglass around it for strength.

Boards-line-up

Our first step was to decide what shape our boards would be. After testing all the boards in the retail shop, we each picked our favorite boards and tried to mimic their shapes. JJ decided to mimic his board after Riviera’s Voyager because he liked how it paddled and its overall stability. I decided to shape mine after Bic’s 12’6 Wing Ace-Tec due to its suitability for long paddling trips and its easy glide through the water. We each took measurements of our boards and traced out a pattern on a large piece of cardboard. We only did half of the pattern so that when we traced it onto the foam, we could just flip the pattern over and in theory our boards would be symmetrical.

PART 2 – Shaping

Foam for SUP

We purchased our foam from a local company in Waterbury, VT for $40 per sheet (8’x4’x3.75″). We figured it would take 3 sheets to make each board. Once we had our foam, we glued the sheets together to make one large rectangle (12’x4’x7.5”). Wood dowels inlaid into foam SUP At this point Jeremiah inlaid four, 1” wooden dowels, each 4′ long into the foam before he glued them together to give him some needed strength where he would be standing. Once we both had a large rectangle, we used our patterns to trace an outline of our board onto the foam. We then used a hand saw to quickly get rid of the large amount of excess foam from around the edges. As we got closer and closer to our intended shape we used smaller and smaller cutting tools.

Surform SUP FOAM The last tool we used to get our final shapes was a SurForm. This was basically a giant cheese grater that scraped off the foam one very thin layer at a time. We used the SurForm to make our boards as smooth as possible and to shape the edges. Shaping the edges was a challenge. Ideally, you’d like the two sides to be identical, but we weren’t willing to put money into buying measuring tools so we did it all by eye. My best advice is to do a little bit on each side and switch back and forth until you reach your desired shape. If you just work on one side for a long period of time, it could be really difficult to get the other side to look just like it. By alternating sides it’s easier to avoid over-shaping one side.

final shaped foam blank

The shaping of the board is where you want to spend the most time. Once you begin the fiberglassing process your shape is locked in. I made the mistake of thinking the fiberglass would cover up the small imperfections in the foam shape. After the first layer of glassing, I noticed this wasn’t true at all.

PART 3 – Fiberglassing

cloth-resin We tried to source the fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin (supposedly polyester resin will melt your foam) needed for our boards locally with no luck. Some stores didn’t have enough, while others had the wrong type. After some searching we decided to order it online from US Composites. They had the best prices we could find even after the shipping price was included. We bought enough 4oz glass cloth for two boards and the 3-to-1 epoxy resin to hardener set. We also ordered Liquid Colored Pigment to add to the epoxy. Everything came from US Composites in about a week and we started the process of fiberglassing.

first coat of fiberglass

I started with a full top coat of fiberglass that wrapped all the way around the rails to the bottom. You want to start by cutting the cloth to the desired shape and laying it on top of the board exactly where you want it. Once you have your cloth ready, and you are in a well ventilated area you can mix up some epoxy. We used small plastic tubs and added 9 squirts of epoxy and 3 squirts of hardener at a time. We noticed that the more you mixed up in one round, the quicker it hardened. With the two of us working together, one person would ready the epoxy while the other glasses their board in order to keep the epoxy and process moving along. We found that at about 65*F, we had 35-40 minutes of work time before the epoxy started to set-up. We also added a small bit of color to each tub. We should have been more exact with how much we added because my board has several different shades of teal throughout the board, although this is only true with darker colors. Jeremiah used white pigment and you can not see a difference anywhere on the board.

Teal SUP pigment I started at the front of the board and made sure to completely soak the cloth as I went. I used up each tub of epoxy then wrapped the cloth around the edges and squeegeed any excess epoxy away from the board. The first layer I did seemed like it took forever because this was my first fiberglassing experience and I was learning as I went. I did my best, and then let the layer cure for 24 hours. Before starting the next layer I cut off and sanded down any unusually large bumps. The more time you spend making your board smooth in between layers, the smoother your board will be overall. I didn’t take much time and this resulting in having very bumpy seams. I did two layers total on the top and bottom. Each layer was wrapped all the way around the rails, to add extra strength to the most vulnerable area of the board. Looking back, I wish that I had added more layers to the nose as well as the rails.

PART 4 – Finishing Touches

DIY SUP Dremel tool fin box handle Once I had all my layers of fiberglass and they were cured, I still had to add a handle, fin box and vent. We used a Dremel cutting tool to quickly cut out the fiberglass just big enough to fit the accessories. After cutting through the fiberglass, we used a chisel to take out just enough of the foam to slide the pieces into the holes. I accidentally took too much foam out of the handle space, so I had to add some back in before it was ready for installation. The less space there is between the foam and the accessory, the easier it will be to install. We covered the accessories with electrical tape so the epoxy wouldn’t seep into the middle, and then poured some epoxy into the hole and slid the accessories into place. Once the epoxy hardened (24 hours) we added a final layer of epoxy around the accessories to fill in any air bubble that appeared while it was drying.

painted-SUP

As an additional step that only I had time for, I added some graphics to the bottom of my board. I used a huge piece of paper and cut my design out of it to make a stencil. Once I had my stencil I spray painted the board and then peeled the stencil off. I also used an acrylic paint pen to add text to the design. The spray paint stayed on just fine in the water, but the paint pen smudged just a little bit.

The final step was to add a deck pad and rigging to hold our gear on our boards. We bought foam pads which came with a peel and stick layer. All we had to do was cut the foam to our desired shape and stick it on. After several months of paddling our deck pads have not even started to peel off. We also wanted to add bungee to the top without spending at least $5 on each D-ring. Instead we used zip ties and zip tie mounts from Home Depot which totaled less than 50 cents per pair.

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Our boards were finally completed the night before our 5 day river SUP on the Winooski River. Without having tested them we attached our gear an started off down the river. They worked great. The only modification we made was adding a little bit of superglue to the zip tie mounts that had the most stress on them to help hold them in place. We spent less than $500 and made our own boards that have held up on rivers and lakes all over Vermont. They may not be as fast as a professionally made board, but they have a way better story behind them!

SUP The Winooski 2013 014 (1)

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