Ocean Rodeo Go Joe

29 07 2010

Ocean Rodeo Go Joe...

The Ocean Rodeo Go Joe is an inflatable board recovery aid for kiteboarding.  It’s not hard to lose your board when kiteboarding, especially when first learning. The normal thing to do when you are separated from your board is to body drag back to it.  That’s cool and you should know how to body drag, but as a beginner you can lose your board a lot and spending most of your session drinking water as you get pulled back to your board gets old fast.

The Go Joe does three things to help out:

  1. turns your board right side up [this allows it to go downwind towards you faster]
  2. makes the boards more visible in waves and chop
  3. acts like a sail to catch the wind and push the board towards you

All this means you’ll be back up and riding a lot faster.

When I was learning I got a board leash to attach the board to me so I couldn’t lose it.  It works great except that it has a nasty habit of loading up like a bungee and firing the board straight at you – ouch!  Not ideal.  =-(  The Go Joe won’t do this so you can use it without fear of your own equipment hurting you.  I don’t recommend using a leash – not worth it!

I got a Go Joe from Bellingham Kiteboarding [best prices and service for OR gear that I’ve found] for Sharon to help her make the most of her time on the water as she learns to kiteboard and to reduce the frustration of board recovery.  The best part about the Go Joe is that it allows you to use your body dragging skills to get back to your board.  Eventually you’ll get good enough at riding that you won’t lose your board often and your body dragging skills will get good enough that recovering your board is painless.

Go Joe in action...

Installation is a snap. The top video goes through all the steps.  Basically you attach the Go Joe via the two bolts holding your board’s grab handle to the board.  The Go Joe is made of very strong material similar to the leading edge of a high quality kite and has an inflatable bladder inside with a one way valve you attach a kite pump to.  I liked the fact the one way valve kept the air in while I inserted the valve plug.  I wish my kites had valves like that!  The Go Joe is durable enough to withstand a lot of abuse and you don’t have to baby it.

Go Joe deflated on Sharon's board...

The Go Joe stays attached your board between sessions and you simply deflate at the end of the day to store/transport the board.  Installation is so easy you can move it between boards in 2-4 mins.

One way valve accepts a standard kite pump...

The Go Joe is generally considered a product targeted at beginner riders.  And while it’s certainly useful for new kiteboarders there are times when even experienced riders can use help getting their boards back.  If conditions are extreme and even seeing your board is tough in the waves and chop the Go Joe’s added visibility can be very handy to help you spot your board and make recovery easier.  Some kiteboarding sites have difficult currents to deal with that can move a board away from you faster than you can body drag upwind.  With the Go Joe the board will resist the currents and let you get it back.

You want the Go Joe nice and firm to make sure it pops the board over...

Although I bough this Go Joe for Sharon I’m sure I’ll be using it from time to time when circumstances warrant.  I won’t risk losing an $700 – $800 board because I was too lazy or proud to use every tool at my disposal!  Of course we did get the black Go Joe which is much easier to see than a board upside down in the waves, but at the same time it doesn’t scream newbie!  A decent compromise…=-)  It’s easy enough to wrap some neon flagging tape around the top of the Go Joe when we need max visibility.

Go Joe doesn't interefere with your board's grab handle...

So far at Nihtnat this summer I’ve heard of several boards that have gone missing and have been too hard to spot in the large lake.  So their owners had to give up riding or borrow a board until they could find a new one to buy.  At $700 – $800 a new kite board is not cheap.

Go Joe stays out of your way until needed...

Even on Sharon’s relatively small [130cm] board the Go Joe doesn’t interfere with riding.  It’s flexible enough that if your leg touches it the Go Joe can bend out of the way so it doesn’t inhibit your freedom of movement.  This black Go Joe is also largely invisible with all the spray and speed involved with riding around on the water.  You can pretty much forget about it until you need it.

Hour glass profile...

You’ll notice that the Go Joe has a tapered bottom and wide top. The tapered bottom is designed so it doesn’t catch spray from the board when riding and slow you down.  The wide top is what pops the board upright and acts like a sail to push the board downwind to you.

Anyways that’s all for now – I’ll post a detailed review next spring once Sharon has had time to put the Go Joe to a long term test.

The system is down…!

29 07 2010

I forgot to renew my URLs [www.thelazyrando.com & http://www.thelazyrandonneur.com] which direct you to this blog.  So if you’ve had trouble finding this blog for the last few days that’s why….my bad…=-(  I’ve paid my bills so the should be working again shortly.

Radish Sale…

28 07 2010

Xtracycle Radish...

Ken at Power in Motion has a few Radish longtail cargo bikes he wants to get rid of to make room for 2011 stock.  These bikes started at $1750cdn and he’s selling them for $1099cdn. As a reference I saw just the Xtracycle longtail kit for $799cdn at a LBS in town and you’d still need to add a bike to the mix to get rolling.  So this is a pretty nice deal.

Having an integrated longtail solution means you save some $$$ buying everything separately, you know it will all work well together and you don’t have to be a skilled bike mechanic to get the bike rolling.  I’m sure he’ll be happy to ship anywhere in North America.

Please contact Ken directly via his website as I have no information about these bikes beyond what’s posted here and I have no commercial interest in this sale.  Note that Power in Motion is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in case you were wondering about the possibility of a local pick up.

PS – Ken is an electric bike guru so if you wanted to add e-assist to your Radish he could make that happen for you and have it all setup so you don’t have to deal with any fiddly installation issues.

Tarp Surfing…

26 07 2010

Ocean Rodeo Predator Drysuit…

25 07 2010

Ocean Rodeo Predator Drysuit

Update: here are some Predator drysuit kiteboarding action shots. I got my Predator from Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham.

Even though Victoria BC has Canada’s mildest climate the fact is the Pacific Ocean is darn cold!  In the summer the air temperatures make wearing a 3mm to 5mm wetsuit comfortable.  In some lakes/inlets you can even skip the wetsuit entirely.  However the rest of the year you need some serious insulation to play in the water for any length of time.  Staying warm is important for having fun and can even be a matter of life and death when you find yourself in the cold water longer than you had planned.

Your choices for staying warm are either a crazy thick wetsuit 6mm-7mm+ or a dry suit.  A really thick wetsuit is stiff and cuts down on your mobility quite a lot.  A drysuit is a waterproof shell you can add layers of insulation underneath to match the temperatures you need to deal with.  Although some drysuits are bulky Ocean Rodeo makes a special drysuit [The Predator] that combines the warmth of a typical drysuit with the flexibility of a light wetsuit…the best of both worlds.

The way the Predator drysuit works is using a 3 layer system:

  1. fleece insulation layer [matched to water/air temperatures]
  2. waterproof breathable layer [keeps you dry]
  3. stretchy neoprene skin [keeps the whole package sleek]

See this web page to understand how you put the Predator on.

The insulation layer is the same as any other drysuit, but the typically there is a baggy waterproof skin on top of it.  By using a thinner waterproof membrane and then a stretchy neoprene out skin the suit gets pulled tight against your body and looks just like a wetsuit.  This is critical for any sports in the waves…like surfing, SUP and kite surfing.  If a wave hits you in a baggy suit it will take you with it and give you no ability to control what happens.  The force may even rip your suit and if it fills with water you are dead.  In a skin tight suit the wave has nothing to push against other than your body which allows you to swim through a wave and get some control back.  As a result prior to the OR Predator you would never see anyone wear a drysuit in the waves…now you can.

Main Predator benefits:

  • flexibility of a 2mm wetsuit
  • buoyancy of a 3mm wetsuit
  • warmth of a 7mm wetsuit
  • easy to swap in dry insulation layers for each session
  • breathable to expel moisture from sweat

Check out this set of detailed photos of the suit.

Putting on a cold wetsuit is pretty horrible..especially when you are freezing to begin with. Using a drysuit you can replace the insulation layer that gets a bit damp from sweat, even in a breathable suit, with a fresh dry one and head out for another session nice and warm!…awesome…=-)

I’ll be ordering up one of these suits so I can keep my watersports going into the winter.  Although Ocean Rodeo is headquartered in Victoria BC the best OR dealer I’ve found is Bellingham Kiteboarding.  I got my OR Mako 140 board from them and was happy with the killer price and the great service.  I’ll be calling them up once it gets chilly up here.

Check out this video of a Predator drysuit in the surf.

I’ll be using this drysuit for a bunch of different sports:

  • kiteboarding
  • SUPing [flat water and surf]
  • sea kayaking

Ocean Rodeo Pyro-Pro drysuit

Ocean Rodeo also makes a more conventional drysuit called the Pyro [pro version shown above].  If you are not going into the waves this suit is cheaper and a bit easier to get on as there is only one layer to put on over your insulation layer.

Bike Friday Tikit Touring Rack Review…

25 07 2010

Tikit Touring Rack extended...

I’ve been testing a prototype full size pannier rack for the Tikit for a few months and wanted to share my thoughts.  I should offer the standard prototype disclaimer…the rack in these photos is a prototype so the production models may be slightly different.  I know Bike Friday was keenly working to make the rack better and better so any changes will be good things!

I was really excited to be able to carry a standard touring pannier on the rear of my Tikit.  The front racks already offered by Bike Friday allow for full sized panniers on the front of the bike so it’s nice to get that functionality on the back end of this bike.  Of course the big question is will the new rack hinder the famously fast and effortless Tikit fold?

Tikit Touring Rack folded down...

The short answer is no – you’ll be able to fold the bike just as fast if you don’t have panniers on the rear and if you do it only takes a second to push the rack down into its folded position.  The Touring Rack uses a clever hinged design to allow it to pop up and fold down without tools.  In the folded position the rack has about the same profile as the standard Tikit rear rack.

View from the top rear...

I’ve used this rack with my Ortlieb panniers and an Arkel shopping pannier.  Both fit and worked great.   Other than folding the rack works just like a standard rear touring rack.

View from the rear...

I didn’t weigh the rack before I installed it…sorry I got carried away!…=-)  Obviously it will weigh more than the standard Tikit rear rack, but I certainly haven’t noticed the difference when riding, rolling or carrying my Tikit.  I also think the versatility of being able to carry a full sized pannier and fold my Tikit makes it well worth adding a few ounces to my bike.

Going shopping?

I have size 11.5US men’s feet and didn’t experience any heel strike on my large Tikit.

Rear view with pannier...

With the height of the extended rack you get sufficient ground clearance for large panniers.  I don’t have a maximum weight capacity for this rack.  I carried all sort of loads up to about 30lbs without difficulty.  I tend to carry my bulkier lighter items in the rear and the more compact heavier items in front. I’m sure I could carry more weight if needed.

The folded Tikit with folded Touring Rack...

Things I didn’t like:

  1. the folded touring rack looks a bit busy compared to the simple standard Tikit rear rack.
  2. the silver arms vibrate against the rest of the rack frame.  I’m going add a bit of electrical tape to pad the rack and solve this issue.
  3. the top of the rack gets abraded against the ground when the folded bike is put down.  I need to add some padding in key spots.

Note issues 2 & 3 may well have been resolved on the production rack.  I’m using a prototype.

Front of the folded Tikit...

Overall I’m really pleased to have this rack on my Tikit.  I don’t always need to carry 4 panniers, but I like being able to when the need does arise.  If the Tikit is your only bike and/or you tour on your Tikit this rack is a no-brainer.  It really transforms the bike into a hauling machine with very little downside.

This rack should be available from Bike Friday shortly and will sell for ~$189.00.

I’ll keep hauling with this rack and report back when I’ve had it in service for 12 months or so.

NZ Highspeed Longboarding…

25 07 2010