Top Paddling Gear Picks for Summer

first_imgPaddlesports are seeing a worldwide revival, due to increasingly lightweight material innovations, new boat designs, better water-friendly fabrics, and more access to waterways. An improving economy is also driving innovation as manufacturers are able to invest more back into R & D. Nowhere is this revival more apparent than in the Southeast. With the Freestyle World Championships taking place on the Nantahala last year, things are really on a roll – pun intended. Here’s a look at few Blue Ridge Outdoors picks for your summer paddling adventures.Gerber River ShortyImproving on a classic is tough to do, but Gerber took the chance with the re-introduction of their traditional stub-nose waterman’s blade, the River Shorty, built specifically for paddlers, sailors and divers. This blunt-tip river knife features a serrated 3-inch, polished 420HC stainless steel blade wrapped in a durable, slip-resistant nylon handle. The hard plastic sheath attaches easily to belt, boot or PFD and will accept the blade edge right or left. Made in Gerber’s Portland, Oregon, factory, the River Shorty carries the brand’s lifetime warranty and is now available in high visibility green (shown) as well as classic black. (MSRP $33) gerbergear.comNemo Helio Pressure ShowerRinsing off out of the back of your Subaru after a day on the river is one of the small pleasures in life, and Nemo has provided an extremely convenient and effective way to get this backcountry cleanse. The Helio Pressure Shower comes in a tidy nested kit and provides up to seven minutes of steady water pressure. Unlike gravity-fed, hanging shower systems, the Helio sits on the ground and uses an 11-liter welded-fabric water container, pressurized by a foot durable pump. Let the water tank warm in the sun while you are out paddling. It can also be used to rinse off doggie paws, bike tires, or to wash dishes. (MSRP $99.95) nemoequipment.comAstral Ronny Fisher Kayak Fishing PFD Southeastern favorite Astral has a number of new offerings for Spring, not the least among them the Ronny Fisher – Astral’s first kayak-fishing specific PFD, created with feedback from the North Carolina Kayak Fishing Association. The technical vest features Astral’s Thin-Vent proprietary foam-vent technology, a 500d Cordura wrap, and is decked out with a plethora of storage solutions all the way down to a beverage holder and cell phone pocket. Reflective hits and a stowable hood complete the picture in this departure piece for Astral. (MSRP $159.95) astraldesigns.comBluesmiths KanahaUsing some of the most advanced technical fabrics in the world from Switzerland –NanoSphere – the Bluesmiths Kanaha LS Ocean Shirt is a hydrophobic must-have for stand-up paddlers and other watersports enthusiasts. As you might expect, it’s got 40 UPF sun protection as well, and it’s quickly gaining notoriety for breathability, quick-dry and lightweight comfort. Bluesmiths manufactures in Canada with an eye for style, an environmental sensibility and real life paddlers and seamen developing product. (MSRP $90) bluesmiths.comNikwax Sandal Wash and Footwear Cleaning GelYour favorite Chacos, Tevas and Cudas can quickly become stinkified after many days on the river and around the campfire over the course of a season. But you love those sandals. Consider the environment and your pocketbook and treat them with Nikwax Sandal Wash or Footwear Cleaning Gel to give them new life. Sandal Wash works to clean synthetics, leather and fabrics and removes bacteria (typically responsible for rot and stink); while Footwear Cleaning Gel not only cleans but also revives water repellency and can revitalize breathability. Nikwax products are typically gentle on your goods and on the environment (VOC/FC-free, water based and biodegradable). The company’s apparel cleaning products work great too. Consider it a small investment in your gear. ($7.25 sandal wash / $8.50 cleaning gel) nikwax.comJulbo WaveMountaineers among you will quickly recognize this iconic French sunglass brand for their fit, protection and quality. Now paddlers have access to the company’s photochromic, polarized (eliminates glare), and hydrophobic (won’t streak when wet) lenses as well – and they float too. A removable frame skirt helps keep spray out of the eyes while air flows around to prevent fogging. A supple rubber adheres to the nose. Available in Black/Yellow, White/Black, Black/Sky Blue, and Blue/Black; the photochromic Octopus gets darker and lighter with light intensity and is the pricier of two lens options. (MSRP $120 Polarized 3+/$190 Octopus) julbousa.comKokatat Whitewater and off-shore hardcores will be interested to know that Kokatat’s new Icon Gore-Tex (in both 3-layer Pro Shell and Cordura) rear-entry dry suit (previously only available in the Jackson Collection) is now out in two new colors for men and women. It features full latex gaskets, integrated Gore-Tex socks, dual-adjustable overskirt, and, for men, front relief zipper. Ahhhhh. And when you’re not shredding waves, check out the new Kokatat Destination line, featuring caps, paddling pants and shirts, and other pieces that crossover well for lifestyle and travel. (MSRP $1090) kokatat.comGoal Zero Lighthouse250 Lantern and Power HubThe GZ Lighthouse 250 is a great tool to keep in your shuttle vehicle – it provides light for when you take-out after dusk and it can recharge your other devices. You can adjust brightness levels and direction to save on power for a 48-hour max run time. It’s rechargeable from Goal Zero solar panels, from any USB port, and it features a hand-crank for emergency charges. It can recharge a smartphone twice or give a 40-percent boost to a tablet. (MSRP $79.99) goalzero.comThule SUP ShuttleTo make use of your current Thule rack system with the new stand-up paddleboard you got for Christmas, consider spending the rest of your extra bread on some sweet rack attachments. The SUP Shuttle (MSRP $149.95) features telescoping-width (fits boards up to 34″ wide) with built-in board protection and universal FlipFit Bracket rack compatibility. Dual loading design and weather resistant base padding allows for safe transport of two boards. Adjustable wrap-around padding on straps protects boards from strap abrasion. Of course, if single-blade is your thing, there’s always the new Portage Canoe Carrier (MSRP $119.95), now Thule’s easiest loading canoe carrier with universal roof rack compatibility. Durable gunwales with ramped sides and cushioned base pads protect the canoe during transit to the put-in. thule.comlast_img read more

FC Cincinnati 2019 season preview: Roster, projected lineup, schedule, national TV and more

first_img Projecting Cincinnati’s lineup is tricky for a variety of reasons. For starters, there are injuries heading into the season, with Greg Garza sidelined and Kendall Waston having battled injury. Then you have late arrivals, such as the looming addition of Kenny Saief. Then you have Alan Koch’s affinity for trying different systems, both 3-4-3 and 4-4-2 are possible options.The position battles to watch for are in defensive midfield and at right back. The Deplagne-Powell battle could be resolved by shifting Deplagne into a centerback role, but if Cincinnati  trots out a four-man defense then one of them must sit. Anyone who watched FC Cincinnati play in USL, where the team drew crowds larger than many MLS teams, knew that the move to MLS would be an exciting one.Getting the team’s quality to catch up to the strength of FC Cincinnati’s support is the real challenge, and it won’t be easy in year one. Central midfield has a wealth of options for Koch, from MLS veterans like Ulloa and Eric Alexander, to a sturdy newcomer in Caleb Stanko, and the dynamic Allan Cruz, who can play in a deeper role or box-to-box role.The pressure will be on Adi to produce, because if he doesn’t then Mattocks could give Koch a decision to make. Koch can also play Adi and Mattocks together in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2.FC Cincinnati national TV coverage FC Cincinnati has already reached the 20,000 season ticket mark, ensuring the kinds of passionate crowds that supported the team during its USL days. That fan base will need to be patient, because their team won’t be ready-made to compete right away like 2017 Atlanta United, but Cincinnati has added enough quality to potentially avoid a rough debut season like 2017 Minnesota United.The emphasis on building a strong defense was clear early on and the result is a potential back-line that can keep Cincinnati in matches. Landing Kendall Waston and Greg Garza, as well as a defensive midfield options like Allan Cruz,  Victor Ulloa and Caleb Stanko should help give head coach Alan Koch the pieces to put together  either a four-man defense, or five-man unit.The attack is where there are questions, and the lack of a true playmaker is a lingering question. Cincinnati is closing on U.S. national team midfielder Kenny Saief, who would help address that need for a playmaker.If Saief is signed and delivers, and if Fanendo Adi, Roland Lamah and Kekuta Manneh can give Cincinnati the kind of attacking threat to give Saief good passing options, then Cincinnati could wind up being much more competitive than first thought. The pressure will be on Koch to get the formula right, both defensive and in midfield, and even though expectations shouldn’t be overly high in Cincinnati, a terrible first half of the season could pile the pressure on.FC Cincinnati’s key offseason additions Goalkeepers: Jimmy Hague, Ben Lundt, Spencer Richey, Przemysław TytońDefenders: Mathieu Deplagne, Greg Garza, Logan Gdula, Nick Hagglund, Justin Hoyte, Forrest Lasso, Hassan Ndam, Alvas Powell, Blake Smith, Kendall WastonMidfielders: Fatai Alashe, Nazmi, Albadawi, Eric Alexander, Frankie Amaya, Leonardo Bertone, Corben Bone, Allan Cruz, Roland Lamah, Tommy McCabe, Jimmy McLaughlin, Caleb Stanko, Victor Ulloa, Forwards: Fanendo Adi, Rashawn Dally, Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, Emery WelshmanFC Cincinnati projected starting lineup Seattle Sounders vs. FC Cincinnati, March 2, at 10 p.m. ET on FS1Atlanta United vs. FC Cincinnati, March 10, at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNFC Cincinnati vs. Portland Timbers, March 17, at 5 p.m. ET on FS1FC Cincinnati vs. Sporting Kansas City, April 7, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPNMinnesota United vs. FC Cincinnati, June 29, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNFC Cincinnati vs. D.C. United, July 18, at 8 p.m. E.T. on ESPNFC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew, August 25, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1 Securing the services of Kendall Waston was a big step, with the towering Costa Rican defender giving Cincinnati the perfect anchor to build around. Cincinnati paid a hefty price to bring in hometown product Nick Hagglund, who will be expected to start. He had a rough 2018 in Toronto, but could be motivated to regain his top form by playing at home.Costa Rican midfielder Allan Cruz was added as a designated player and brings quality to the Cincinnati midfield, though he is more a box-to-box presence. If Cincinnati adds Kenny Saief, the USMNT midfielder will be a good fit in the attacking midfield role, and can also work on the wings.Cincinnati added some considerable speed with the trio of Roland Lamah, Kekuta Manneh and Darren Mattocks, which along with USL holdover Emmanuel Ledesma, should allow FCC to play with wide forwards in a 3-4-3, or traditional wingers in a 4-4-2.Another player to watch is MLS number one overall draft pick Frankie Amaya. The USMNT Under-20 midfielder should see some minutes as a rookie, but Cincinnati won’t rush him, not with all the veteran midfield options on the roster.Atlanta’s fullback options are also solid, with Greg Garza and Alvas Powell bringing MLS Cup-winning experience, and French veteran Mathieu Deplagne pushing Powell for the right back spot, if he isn’t deployed as a central defender.Full FC Cincinnati roster entering 2019 seasonlast_img read more