2009 New Whitewater Kayak Gear Preview

So, you’ve got your new boat picked out. You’re stoked. You’re ready.
Admit it, you’ve got all your gear on, your boat set up in the living room and it’s February. COUCH BOOF!

But amidst your living room gnar awesomeness, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the hallway mirror on your way down your Class VII forged steel spiral staircase and realize that all that old gear just isn’t quite sexy enough for that shiny new boat. What’s the “hot” girl that you met at Orio’s last night gonna think when she’s walking the river trail and sees you flailing around in your beatered old gear? Welfare checks, Ramen noodles and Lost Lake that’s what. And despite what Johnny Love might say, such things are far from sexy.

And that’s why we’re bringing you the 2009 Whitewater Kayak New Gear Preview; packed with stuff that’s sure to make that river betty stare and ole’ Tony M. green with envy. So sit back, grab whatever credit card you haven’t maxed out and keep on reading.

First up is the much anticipated, long awaited Astral Greenjacket. Mmmmm…the hotness. The Greenjacket is the latest offering in Type V rescue PFDs, and it doesn’t fail to deliver. With Astral’s Tectonic front panel, internal backband, adjustable torso height, integrated back and shoulder protection, this is quite possibly the most flexible and versatile rescue PFD ever created. Add to that pockets galore, a full line of related accessories, and a true uni-sex design that fits female paddlers properly, you’ve got the makings of a classic Type V workhorse. And if that hottie from Orio’s happens to be the greenie, granola crunching type, you can woo her with the fact that it’s made from environmentally friendly, PVC-free Gaia foam. SCORE!
This sure-to-be-a-hit design is also available in the Type III Willis and Bella models.

New from AT Paddles this year is the AT2 Superlight. AT took their extremely popular AT2 and gave it a full braided carbon fiber makeover. Inside, it has the same closed cell foam core blades and bent shaft indexing as it’s non-carbon brethren. AT attributes their unique layup process to the surprising flexibility of this all carbon paddle, while retaining the inherent strength of the material itself, all in a package that weighs in at 36 ounces. This is one stick that will make your lady friend wide eyed AND impressed.

New to 4Corners this year are the ultimate in brain buckets: Sweet Protection Helmets. Coming in with 4 different offerings, there’s sure to be a Sweet helmet to satisfy your needs. The Strutter is the stylie, low profile fiberglass cap-cut helmet, perfect for play-boaters and river runners that want to keep the sun out of their face in style without sacrificing impact protection.

For those who want a little more coverage without breaking the bank, the Wanderer, a brand new offering from Sweet for ’09, is it. Retro skate-style inspired, the Wanderer has a high impact ABS shell with carbon fiber composite reinforcements in key impact spots for added protection.

If that’s not enough, the Rocker FC is sure to impress. With a carbon fiber reinforced main shell, Sweet’s occi-grip fit system and removable earpads and visor, the Rocker FC is the most protection available without going to a fullface.

If it is a full face you’re after, then go for the best: the Rocker FF. Built on the Rocker FC frame, the Rocker FF is the ultimate in safety with a carbon reinforced jaw protector in addition to all the specs of the Rocker FC. As Sweet claims, “This helmet will make your dentist proud”, and we figure that unless your “girlie” is a convict named Buford, we’re pretty sure she’ll appreciate those pearly whites of yours being in their rightful place.

2009 will also see the return of Bomber Gear to the 4Corners lineup. Impress your woman with the wavy graphics on your new KBomb skirt. She’ll also appreciate it when you come home dry thanks to the Kevlar deck and comb-fitting rubber rand. Add to that a Flash Burn shorty and Bombanation Neo-Surf shorts and you’re set for those after work Smelter throw downs.

Aside from a whole lot of new colors, such as the new plaid Flux Drytop, NRS brings us the Co-Pilot Knife. The little brother to the Pilot, the Co-Pilot is perfect for people with smaller hands or less space on their PFD. It utilizes NRS unique lateral release design that locks the blade in tight yet releases with a quick pinch. It also includes a built-in, handy little bottle opener and an oxygen tank valve wrench, perfect for those days you and granny want to slam tall boys on the Animas.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is quite possibly the most exciting product of the year: West Systems G/Flex epoxy. This is the first adhesive we’ve seen that has been capable of bonding Hypalon D-rings to our Coyote Groovers. It’s also one of the first epoxies that can bond to HDPE plastic, i.e. – kayaks. Check it out here and here. No more bituthene, no more cockpit rim shavings. Finally. Now you won’t miss that date with hot girl because you cracked your boat on the Piedra and had to hike out. You can thank us, and West Systems, later.

And for all you rafter types out there, be sure to check back in, or better yet subscribe to the 4Corners Kayak blog for the latest and greatest of rafting and river-running gear for 2009.