Whether you’re park-and-playing or looking for a playful river runner for your local Class III run, your playboating will soar to the next level in the new Jitsu from Dagger. Designed with a fast, loose hull, it lets you surf, spin and perform aerial moves on waves or in holes, thanks to a unique rocker profile, centralized volume, and slicey ends. A “double-step” carving rail helps the boat grip wave faces for controlled carving and building up speed for acrobatics. Plus, it has what it calls “the loosest hull on the market” for effortless spins and other maneuvers. Available in three sizes (5'6", 29 lbs.; 5'9", 31 lbs.; 6', 34 lbs.)
For touring in the sun, be it in the mangroves off a beach in Florida or tackling the coast of Baja, keep solar rays at bay with the new Solar 50 Rash Guard from Bomber Gear. Made from 11-oz. Lycra and offering a whopping SPF 50 protection, the top offers a performance cut made for paddling motions, flat seam construction to eliminate irritating interior ridges, and a reflective screen-printed logo for safety. Bonus: anti-microbial treatment agent to reduce that post-paddle smell when you’re après-ing afterward.
$44.99 (long sleeve); $39.99 (short sleeve); bombergear.com
Creek Company’s new inflatable stand-up paddleboard, the Osprey Fishing SUP, is designed for fishing, pure and simple, while also letting you unleash your inner Laird Hamilton. With a fast hull, it lets you cover more ground than you ever could on traditional one-person float-fishing craft (i.e. pontoon craft and float tubes), and offers a better casting range and higher line of vision for casting to everything from trout rises to tailing bonefish. At 11’2” long, 35 inches wide and six inches thick, it’s also stable enough to bring a cooler as your kitchen sink, which you can sit on when changing flies. It comes with three fins for tracking, D-rings for gear, and Scotty mount pads for rod holders, anchor drops and fishfinders. Bonus: it rolls up for transport and storage.
Stubbed toes are a thing of the past, as KEEN enhances its lightweight, toe-protecting line-up with the new Clearwater CNX, one of 20 new CNX shoes they're unveiling for 2013. This low-profile hybrid sandal comes with a washable polyester-webbed upper, durable midsole with a four-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, and toe ridge in the footbed for grip. The outsole has multi-directional flex grooves for traction on slick rocks, and a bungee lace system makes them as easy-on-easy-off as putting your boat in the water.
There’s no easier way to get down Class II-III whitewater than in an inflatable kayak. The new NRS Outlaw inflatable kayak makes it easier still thanks to a rigid floor and extra width (37.5”) for stability. PVC-coated polyester repels abrasion and slides over rocks, while the PVC-coated drop-stitch floor inflates rock hard for a Mike Tyson-like punch through hydraulics. Adding to maneuverability is an 18” rocker profile to help it climb over waves, and 10.5" tubes and a 4" self-bailing floor for flotation. D-rings let you secure water bottles and other gear, and bow and stern handles make carrying a breeze.
The idea’s not to swim, but if you do, you want a PFD you can count on. Perfect for recreational paddling, the MTI Journey SE is the company’s lightest PFD, tipping the scales at less than 1 lb., and is contoured to fit like a glove, thanks to front chest panels that wrap around the torso while keeping the sides free for movement. Soft shoulders are trimmed with reflective tape and a stretch mesh pocket includes a built-in signal whistle for additional safety.
Smaller recreational paddlers now have a kayak they can call their own in the new Prodigy XS from Perception. Designed for tooling around on lakes, ponds, bays and other mild waterways, the 10-foot-long, 27-lb. boat carries all the features of the series’ larger sizes without the extra bulk or weight. Comfort-wise, its Zone Outfitting backband, seat pad and knee pads add both cushiness and control, while a lowered deck offers better visibility and handling.
When noggin meets rock, you want the best protection you can get. Find it in the new Standard Halfcut helmet from Shred Ready, featuring an ABS injection-molded shell, multi-impact molded EPP liner, and HOG2 Retention System securing behind the nape of the neck. It also comes with interchangeable foam fitting pads so one size fits all, rust-resistant, stainless steel hardware and a four-point retention system.
With retractable skegs for tracking, hatches for gear storage and a hull for easy whitewater, the new niche of river trekkers is taking the watersports world by storm. Available in two sizes (9'7", 47 lbs; and 10'3", 50 lbs), Wave Sport’s new Ethos offers a stable, forgiving platform and confidence-building introduction to paddling in up to Class III whitewater. In whitewater, the hull stays maneuverable for turning and punching through waves, with progressive chine edges that help beginners learn the feeling of carving; in the flats, it tracks well thanks to a dropdown skeg system. Simply deploy the skeg to stay on course. Comfort-wise, it features a roomy cockpit and adjustable, padded outfitting (including a customizable leg-lift on the seat). For quick overnighters, gear can be stowed in a waterproof hatch in the stern.
LifeProof's durable waterproof case will keep your late-model iPhone dry up to 6.6 feet deep and 30 minutes... but what it you lose your grip while snorkeling, or your river-running action-cam experiment goes awry and your i-companion flies overboard? The LifeProof LifeJacket Float, paired with their case, will keep your phone above water and visible for easy retrieval. With access to buttons, speakers, lens and mic, you don't lose functionality, and you can strap a lanyard or wristband to one of its four eyelets for extra security.
While running difficult whitewater may still be a pursuit for adrenaline junkies, it just got a whole lot easier in the Recon from Wave Sport. Available in three sizes (7'9", 47 lbs; 8'3", 50 lbs; and 8'8", 52 lbs), it’s designed for intermediate and advanced paddlers, with continuous rocker and unique volume distribution for soaring over rocks and drops. An upswept shape helps it resurface and unload water, a domed stern deck minimizes back-ending in holes, and side wall flare helps secondary stability and edge control. Safety-wise, it comes with seven rescue points, as well as arched, soft-grip bow and stern handles for carrying and rescue. You’ll also be charging it in comfort, thanks to an all-new, adjustable outfitting system that lets you focus on what lies ahead.
If you want to capture that underwater encounter with a sea lion, snap the horizon from the inside of a barrel, or grab some POV action while charging down a raging river, GoPro's Hero3 Black Edition has got you covered. A 12MP sensor, aspherical lens and beefed-up processor allow for high resolution at fast speeds: 2.7K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60 fps, 1440p at 48 fps, and 720p at 120 fps. High-definition super slo-mo, here we come. Also, the camera has built-in WiFi. Included dive housing, remote, and mounts give you the freedom to shoot in a wide range of watery circumstances.
It’s not just a marketing ploy that Watermans sponsors surfers and stand up paddlers. Water rats agree that the Face Stick SPF 55 will stick to your skin no matter what. The face stick rolls on like deodorant—or lipstick if you're feeling fancy—and is lightly tinted (they’ve got two shades) so you can see where you’ve covered. It protects against UVA and UVB rays for 8 hours, and won't migrate or degrade with sweat, saltwater, or much of anything short of soap.