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Trump’s trade war impacts paddlers

In response to President Trump’s 10% tariff on Canadian aluminum and 25% tariff on Canadian steel, our federal government has responded with targeted tariffs intended to sway key US politicians. One of Canada’s retaliatory tariffs, starting on July 1st, is a 10% tariff on US-made canoes and kayaks.

A lot of canoes and kayaks sold in Canada are American made. A lot! Expect prices to rise 10% in stores after July 1st. Retailers have little choice but to pass a cost like that onto the consumer.

But, that will not happen at Undercurrents! We buy almost zero US-made boats, so there is nothing to be tariffed. I wish we could say we foresaw this trade war, but we didn’t. When we launched Undercurrents almost 20 years ago, we decided we wanted to carry as much Canadian-sourced product as possible while ensuring we always offer the best quality and value products available. It’s our “Canada First” policy, and it’s as close to “Buy Local” as one can get in the paddling industry.

Here are examples of how our Canada First policy is working out at Undercurrents.

  • Our top 2 canoe brands, representing over 95% of sales are Canadian: Clipper & Esquif
  • Our top 3 kayak brands, representing over 90% of sales are Canadian: Delta, Boreal Designs & Riot
  • Our top 2 SUP brands, representing over 95% of sales are Canada-sourced: BluWave & RedPaddleCo
  • Our largest lifejacket brand, representing over 75% of sales is Canadian (and the only company to still manufacture their lifejackets in Canada): Salus
  • Our #2 paddle brand is Canadian: H2O
  • And the list goes on …

We support Canadian companies because they support all of us; they pay taxes in Canada, employ Canadians, and support other Canadian companies by purchasing supplies and products in Canada. We are normally quiet about our preference for Canadian suppliers (now isn’t that a quintessentially Canadian attitude). But this trade war, and its impact on paddlers, makes us want to shout about our “Canada First” policy as loudly as we can! Just don’t think we are bragging, because that would not be very Canadian of us.

With Canada Day just around the corner, we want to say “thank you to all our amazing customers; we appreciate your support of Undercurrents and our Canadian suppliers!” Happy Canada Day! ?[su_box box_color=”#ffffff”][smartslider3 slider=”10″][/su_box]

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Stay warm on the water!

Even during the shoulder seasons!

Autumn is Awesome! You know how the weather goes at this time of year. Yesterday was crappy, but the forecast for today is sunny and warm? There are more good paddling days ahead, so long as you are dressed for what autumn weather brings. Here are the 5 key things you need to know to be ready to paddle! In almost any weather!

1. Dry suit: Paddling in the shoulder seasons can be as comfortable as summer, so long as you have a decent dry suit. It separates the outside weather from the comfy environment you create next to your body.
A proper paddling dry suit will have built-in socks so you can keep your feet warm with light or heavy Merino socks, as the conditions warrant. And the built-in socks will keep your feet warm and dry when wading or getting in and out of your boat. Warm feet = happy paddler!
A good suit will also have a relief zip (i.e. a “fly”) so you can relieve yourself as needed. Holding onto urine chills you off and is simply not comfortable. “nuff said?
If you are paddling on the lake or the ocean you will really benefit from a built-in hood. I use mine to fine-tune my internal temperature by pulling it on or off, as conditions demand. It also keeps the rain off my head! For paddling on rivers, hoods are not advised. Fortunately, many dry suits with hoods make those hoods removeable.
During October, we have drysuits on sale! Any of us will be happy to help you get the right suit for you!

2. Insulation: Dry suits keep you dry: it’s what you wear under them that keeps you warm. Just like when you dress to do any activity outside, you need to adjust the insulation to suit the conditions. In warm weather with cold water, I wear light layers under my suit. At this time of year, I’ll wear something thicker. In a canoe or kayak, my lower body layers are thicker than my upper body layers, because the torso is doing most of the work – for SUP the layers are the same thickness. When you are ready to brave it, even paddling in winter is comfortable!
Right now, we have IceBreaker Merino clothing up to 40% OFF!

3. Hands: It is important to keep hands warm! Fortunately, neoprene gloves and mitts work great to do exactly that. This time of year, the thick neoprene is called for. Personally, I prefer the neoprene mitts that are pre-curved. They make it easy to hold your paddle and each finger keeps its neighbours warm. When it’s extra cold, or if you expect to be needing occasional dexterity, you can use a pair of liner gloves under the mitts!

4. Head: Your mother was right when she told you to “wear a hat” when it’s cooler. The head is a primary source of heat loss. But that’s easy. Use the same hat you would use if you were walking beside the water that day – just make sure it is wool or synthetic so it stays warm even if you get it wet! Plus, you have your dry suit hood for the fine adjustments.
If you are paddling on the river, use a helmet liner and helmet. The helmet liner should have ear coverage for the colder days.

5. Feet: Your dry suit and your IceBreaker socks are doing most of the job of keeping your toes warm, but beware of wearing the same snug-fitting booties that you wear all summer. With the extra layers in those booties the circulation to your toes becomes restricted and that means cold feet. No one operates well with cold feet, so be sure to use paddling footwear that leaves room for your dry suit and socks!

At Undercurrents, we are here to get you onto the water! Please drop by or call with any questions about dressing for the weather. Our experts have all the answers!

As the boss is fond of saying, “There is no bad weather; there is only bad gear and bad attitudes!” Which he usually follows that with, “If man can walk in space, we can paddle after bikini season!”

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It’s time to WINTERIZE your kayak!


It is true when they say, “If you take care of your kayak, then your kayak will take care of you.” The off-season is the ideal time to spent quality time with your boat, before you put it away for the season. We are often too busy during the paddling season to address the little things on your boat that need attention, but now is the time to get to it. Then when spring comes, you and your kayak can just hit the water!

Here is a checklist of items you want to address when winterizing your kayak.

Continue reading It’s time to WINTERIZE your kayak!

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Greenland or Bust!

What is it with the explosion of interest in Greenland paddling (GP) in recent years? Who even knew that you could make a standard kayak ‘go’ with what is essentially a whittled down 2×4?

For centuries now, the people of Greenland have paddled with “sticks”, and make it look soooo goooood! (You remember the people of Greenland – they inventing kayaking.) It is only more recently that European and subsidiary civilizations have realized the benefits of GP.

The common misbelief is that Greenlanders “made do” with driftwood for paddles because they didn’t have big enough trees to build something that looks like the paddle most of us use today (big round blades). But the truth is even a millennium ago Greenlanders had the technology to laminate pieces of wood together to make euro-style blades. But they knew better. So they built paddles that are easier on the body. Here are just some of the benefits of these ingeniously simple sticks …

  • As you dip the long thin shape of a GP blade into the water the force increases gradually. With a euro-paddle blade full-immersion is more sudden and so is the force felt by your shoulders, arms and wrists. This sudden force is good for racing but puts more strain and shock on joints, muscles and ligaments.
  • The blades on a GP are never feathered, so your wrists stay straight, in their strongest position, throughout the stroke. Wrists are a weaker joint, so care is called for.
  • The loom (shaft) of a GP is rectangular or oval so a strong grip is not necessary, saving your wrists and forearms from fatigue. And, the loom is shaped so the canted GL stroke happens naturally, also avoiding wrist fatigue.
  • The shape of the GP blade allows you to paddle at a higher cadence (# of strokes per minute). A higher cadence uses your body’s power more efficiently – like of using the smaller gear on your bicycle.
  • Your wooden GP will have more flex during a stroke than a fibreglass or carbon paddle. That flex is easier on those joints, muscles and ligaments!
  • At the end of your GP stroke the blade pops to the surface, making the exit nearly effortless. The buoyancy of the wood and shape of the blade cause the easy exit.
  • The narrow blades are sized so you can grasp near the end of the paddle. Some strokes are simply more efficient with such a long lever.
  • The narrow blades cut through the wind easily. Say good-bye to grunting into the wind with your old euro-paddle.

Those Greenland Paddles are decidedly easier on the body, and that’s the key reason for the growing interest in GP paddling. But beware, the tried and true strokes we learned for our euro-paddles are done differently when using a GP! If someone picks up a GP and tries using it like a euro-paddle – it doesn’t work well and they might give up GP right then and there. It would be sad to give up all the benefits! The smart way is to take a lesson where you will learn how to use that ingeniously simple paddle properly and thus receive all its benefits.

The other reason for the sudden growth of GP is its connection to the ancient past of paddling. It is just nice to kayak the same way that our “forekayakers” did, using paddles similar to those used centuries ago. A great way to dive into the deep-end of traditional paddling is to build your own GP! It’s not hard with guidance and the right tools!

At Undercurrents, we have GL experts who can answer your questions and get you on the water. Swing by and chat – we are here to help!

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Welcome to UnderUndercurrents


No, that’s not a typo.

In case you haven’t heard, Undercurrents is undergoing a significant renovation this winter! Our first step was to move the whole store into our basement so we can continue to serve the paddling community, while renovationg the store to even better serve the community starting in the spring. The temporary basement store has picked up the informal name, UnderUndercurrents.

underundercurrents front

underundercurrents side

underundercurrents back

UnderUndercurrents looks better than one would expect from a basement store, or so customers keep telling us.

We are open our usual winter hours (Tue-Sat 10-5. Closed Sun, Mon & holidays). It’s business as usual, except we are in the basement. Drop by for a visit!


Meanwhile, upstairs we are demolishing the walls we don’t need, and preparing for the actual building to begin. We patiently wait for the City to issue the building permit. And wait. And wait.

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New store exterior

exterior sketch600w

exterior sketch600w

Did you hear that Undercurrents is staying in our current location? And doing an extensive renovation?

As part of the reno, we are redoing the exterior of the building. That’s the first portion of the renovation to be nailed down so far. See the sketch above. We will be removing the big blue protrusion above our doors and windows, and also remove the decorative yellow brick. Replacing all that will be stucco and river rock! The rest of the building will be painted to match the stucco.

And, we’ll have a new sign. The background is stained wood in the classic canoe/kayak/paddleboard shape (top view). Our traditional name & wave logo will hover above the wood in white. 

We are also doing extensive renovations to the inside of the store! Our “complete make-over” will include a new floor, more showroom space, brighter & more energy efficient lighting, new racks & displays, as well as a general reorganization. 

It’s going to be a good looking store! 

While we renovate upstairs, we’ll be temporarily set-up in the basement (“Under-Undercurrents”), so we can continue to serve your paddling and IceBreaker needs!

As more details on the inside arise, we’ll fill you in.