Kokatat celebrates a significant birthday.

Our good friends at Kokatat watersports wear in Arcata, CA. are celebrating forty years of business. What first started out as a company that made high end down clothing, sleeping bags, bivy sacks and accessories for the outdoor market under the name of Blue Puma (a rare cat), later found their true calling in the design and manufacture of drysuits, paddle jackets, insulating layers and pfd’s.

Early drysuit prototype on the first descent of the upper Trisuli River, Nepal 1987 ©Phil DeRiemer

Steve O’Meara, c0-founder and  long-time owner, has always made sure that the environment, his community and employees came first.  He set a course of slow, purposeful growth that cultivated the companies reputation for solid designs, quality construction and performance, great customer service and product loyalty, while keeping much of the production at home.  Many companies in paddle sports have come and gone, morphed or been absorbed by larger, less personal corporations. Kokatat’s soul is still intact.

We’re honored to call them friends, a relationship that goes back over thirty years when, as a young college student in Arcata, Phil worked in their production and retail. Since then we’ve been using their products hard for work and play. They really are a company that cares.

Happy birthday Kokatat.

Learn a bit more about Kokatat, meet Steve O. and some of our other friends through this video.

Grand Canyon article in ICF magazine

Planet_Canoe_ICF_magazine_2010_coverIf you want to expose yourself to more than you knew was out there in the world of paddling sports then you’ll want to look over a copy of Planet Canoe, a high-gloss magazine put out once a year by the International Canoe Federation (ICF).  It’s chocked full of articles and high quality photos about slalom, flat water sprint (canoe and kayak), dragon boat racing, freestyle kayak and adventure paddling.  Grand canyon article in ICF Planet Canoe magazine.Phil has an article which he wrote and photographed about the experience of paddling the Grand Canyon.  The magazine is $10.00 (and I’m sure some s&h fees).  For more information contact Joanna Greenfield at the ICF.    joanna.greenfield@canoeicf.com

Ecuador- Good News From The Road(s)

Super hombre doing roadwork the hard way.

We recently got some good news from our friends in Ecuador.  After years of broken promises from the Ecuadorian government, false starts, and a pinch of corruption, the final stretches of road improvements between Quito and Tena, to the east, have been completed.  This ties in nicely with paved stretches from Baeza down along the Quijos river valley, up the Cosanga and over the Guacamayo mountain range.  In theory this means that all of our driving for this upcoming season, with the exception of short put-in and take-out segments, will be on pavement.  Driving times will be greatly reduced leaving us more time to enjoy the rivers and feeling less like a freshly mixed can of paint. Continue reading “Ecuador- Good News From The Road(s)”

Mary Featured in American Whitewater Journal


For the past several years AW has produced a “Women’s issue” of their journal.  Check out the July/August 2009 issue (page 32) featuring a profile on Mary.  Besides seeing the many different ways you can spell our last name, you’ll get to learn a bit about Mary’s beginnings in the sport, wild water racing, exploration and her path toward becoming one of the top instructors in the field.

If you’re not currently a member of AW please consider joining.  AW really does a lot of work toward boater access issues as well as pushing for recreational releases when hydro projects come up for relicensing.

Mary is profiled in the women's issue of AW Journal.
Mary's profile in the women's issue of AW Journal.

Outside Magazine Lists DAK As Top Kayaking School!

Outside mag cover.
Wondering why Phil is covering his face with the February, 2008 issue of Outside Magazine? He’s blushing with pride because Outside lists DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking as THE best place to learn whitewater kayaking. Not bad for a small company! The reason we stay small is to make sure that the quality of your experience with us is of the highest level. When you paddle with DAK, you paddle with one or both of the owners. Whether on or off the water, we want you to have an amazing time while improving your skills, and we’re committed to providing you with the best experience. You can join us for instruction on our home river, the South Fork of the American in California or join one of our multi-day paddling adventures; Oregon’s Rogue River, Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon, Arizona’s Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Ecuador, or Bhutan. We have something for every level of kayaker and we look forward to sharing time on the water with you!

Mary’s trip to the White Water Symposium

Blurred Waves

Mary recently returned from the annual WW symposium where she was invited to present on a number of instructional topics. The idea behind this three-day event is to bring folks together to compare, share, and grow the health of paddle sports. Topics range from on- the-water clinics about technique, progressions, and safety, to presentations and panel discussions about stewardship, industry and gear trends. Attendees include outdoor program directors, manufacturers, kayak schools, media, and the general public. Venues change from year to year so that everyone across the country has a chance to be exposed to all of the great exchanges that take place. Continue reading “Mary’s trip to the White Water Symposium”

On the road again….

It’s a good thing we love to travel, because travel we do. The fact that we get to do it together is a huge bonus. Aside from personal paddling, we do a lot of travel related to our classes and commercial trips. Phil gets pretty excited when it comes time to pull out the “road trip” gear; tent, dry bags, stove, cooler, sleeping bags, kayaks, and the bike. All the toys that mark the beginning of the road season.

This year marked an attempt to go leaner. The first move was to sell the Ford truck and down size to a more fuel efficient Toyota Corolla. Packing was a challenge while finding things in the car during the trip was even more so, “I know my booties are in there somewhere”.

Mary sorting gear near Redfish lake.
Mary figures out how to make it all fit.

Packing tip for small cars: Slide the car seats all the way back before packing the car full, they won’t budge once the car is loaded. Not good if you have long legs.

Our first trip is usually out to Idaho in preparation for our Middle Fork of the Salmon trips we run in late June and early July each year. We always try to schedule in some extra time while there, whether paddling, hiking around the Sawtooths, or visiting friends. Idaho is a beautiful state where it is often times still possible to find some pretty cool, out of the way spots to call home for the night. Many even include a nice view of a river.

Camping along Payette
Camp for the night somewhere along the Payette.

This year we got in some paddling on the Payettes and visited with good friends in Boise and Ketchum. Phil biked in preparation for a big ride he was doing back in California at the end of our trip, and Mary hiked to her heart’s content. Read about the Middle Fork trips in our next update.

Photos and content ©DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking, all rights reserved.