I’m now a fan of kayaking | NevadaAppeal.com

I’m now a fan of kayaking

Kayaking was never big on my schedule of outdoors events. That is, not until my son Nick came out from Minneapolis for a visit.

With him he brought his backcountry backpack and another large pack. This one was for his folding kayak, a thing of plastic and metal and a preformed bow and stern. No rudder, but it did fold down to about three feet by two feet by one foot. It was small enough to be classed as luggage by Northwest Airlines.

Folded, it fit into the small trunk of my Mustang with space to spare. And with it pack, a large, awkward bag that fit on the front of the body, it could be carried along with a loaded backpack. Total weight was about 70 pounds, a little much for climbing Mt. Tallac.

It came with an oversize air pump, which did the job of inflating the kayak in 10 minutes or so. Chief problem was aligning the bottom section of the plastic so that it didn’t create a bias to one side due to warpage.

How did it handle in the water? At Caples Lake in 10 mph winds, it cut through the small wavelets just fine. Later, on Fallen Leaf Lake in stronger winds, it performed well. In a fixed kayak I had a hard time keeping up with him.

So for those of us no longer having a car with a roof rack, a folding kayak with formed bow and stern is an alternative. And the cost is under $400. Sporting Rage stocks some folding kayaks, but they’re designed for down river use and too soft for open lake paddling.

Anyone for compact kayaking?

•Northstar-at-Tahoe returns as a sponsor of this year’s Tahoe Big Blue Adventure Race, a multi-sport event that combines kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, orienteering and navigation, on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Both teams and individuals are invited to participate in this unique race course that will take racers from a 6,200-foot elevation to a 9,000-foot elevation over steep and challenging terrain spread out over different venues on the North Shore. Generally, racers finish the course with times ranging from 6 to 12 hours.

Northstar-at-Tahoe will host a portion of the adventure race as nearly 500 athletes mountain bike, trail run and navigate their way around Northstar and its surrounding areas. Athletes will endure a four- to six-mile kayak on Lake Tahoe, climb up an 8,600-foot summit on a two- to four-hour mountain bike ride, trail run 5 to 8 miles and spend one to three hours on navigation and orienteering.

The top three- and four-person coed teams will be rewarded with a $20,000 cash purse at the conclusion of the series. Log on to http://www.bigblueadventure.com.

• Northstar-at-Tahoe’s 12th Annual Northsport Tent Sale is coming to Truckee to equip outdoor enthusiasts in the best gear at the lowest prices Friday, Sept. 3 through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sam Bauman is a Nevada Appeal Staff Writer. Contact him at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.