It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since KayakDave.com was launched! It feels like yesterday when I opened our old WordPress.com account and wrote the first post; a review of the Werner Ikelos paddle. Since then, KayakDave.com has expanded to include 5 authors who have contributed over 240 total posts in categories ranging from kayak and gear reviews to virtual instruction and various other off-beat topics. We’ve attracted dozens of followers, developed relationships with some amazing outdoor gear companies, and expanded our horizons with a self-hosted website, facebook page, and twitter account! Looking back to last December I could have never imagined that we would come so far!
However, many of our successes over the past year pale in comparison to that of our Duct Tape Kayak Project. What started as a sketch in the sand down by the demo docks turned into quite the adventure! It took over a half-mile of duct tape and a healthy dose of determination, ingenuity, and courage on behalf of the team to bring the DT190 from the drawing board to the water. Watching it float cross the finish line of the 7-mile-long Great River Race felt amazing but surpassing our fundraising goal felt even better! All told, the Duct Tape Kayak Project brought in over $1100 this year and every cent was donated to Stand Up 2 Cancer. Charity and community service are and will forever remain the cornerstones of KayakDave.com.
This anniversary provides a great opportunity for me to thank the KayakDave.com staff for their hard work and amazing contributions to the content of the site. It’s been a lot of fun working with Alex, Brett, Darren and Steve over the past year. I’ve learned a lot from you guys and I’m always inspired by your creativity and passion for our sport. Alex has been an incredible partner in this endeavor. His amazing perspective and dedication are reflected throughout the site. To quote Kim Hilcox: “When John Lennon invited Paul McCartney to join his band, he got more than he bargained for.” I’m not saying that we’re the Beatles but we do make an amazing team!
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our many friends and sponsors who have helped us through our first year. A very special thanks goes to Doug Gray at Billington Sea Kayak for is unwavering support and continued mentorship. Doug has been instrumental in the success of the Duct Tape Kayak Project and has provided access to his shops’ vast demo fleet to allow for many of our kayak reviews. I think that I can speak for the entire staff when I say that it’s been a privilege to have been mentored by Doug over the years; he’s one of the best kayakers, small business owners and friends out there!
Special thanks are also in order for the folks at Cascade Designs, Sierra Designs, Seattle Sports, Astral, and Biolite. One of our goals at KayakDave.com is to bring reviews of the most exciting products in paddle sport to our readership. Frankly, many of our gear reviews would not have been possible without the support and generosity of these businesses and their amazing employees! We hope that this year represents the beginning of long and fruitful relationships with these great sponsors!
What’s next for KayakDave.com??? Our second year promises to be more exciting than the first! Plans are in the works for Duct Tape Kayak Version 2.0. Our hope is that a new charity, broader sponsorship, and an expanded schedule will allow us to build on our past successes to provide a more impactful fundraising total! Certainly, you can count on lots of new content especially in the kayak review, gear review, and trip report categories. Personally, I’m looking forward to reading more about Darren’s Alaskan Adventures and hopefully joining him for some paddling in the Last Frontier sooner than later! It’s impossible to know exactly what the future may bring but I promise that we’ll do our best to keep things exciting and I’m sure that we’ll dream up some surprises along the way! Above all, we will remain dedicated to providing the best advice in paddle sport to our readers!
We’re preparing to publish our 1st annual KayakDave.com Gear of the Year Awards in celebration of our anniversary. Check back tomorrow for this much-anticipated review!
Happy paddling and thanks for your support as our readers!
Principal Author and Founder, KayakDave.com