Rides: Real People and the Boats They Love

The boats we love best aren’t the always the newest or most high-tech. They’re the ones that have been with us the longest, the ones that carried us on adventures great and small. They’re the boats that have shaped our lives and touched our souls. In Rides, C&K shares the stories of real paddlers and the boats they love.

Dennis Mihalka’s

Strip-Built Night Heron Designed by Guillemot

A beautiful touring kayak handcrafted from redwood, cedar and purpleheart wood

Anne Brewer’s

Hurricane Sojourn 146 LV

A durable, lightweight touring kayak

Anders Thygesen’s

Aleut-style Iqyax

A handmade, traditional-style kayak

Denise Hurt’s

14.5-foot Lincoln Chebeague

White kayak, answers to Fluffy

Mike Robertson’s

Eddyline Denali

Florida paddler seeks clear water

Dave Birren’s

Blackhawk Ariel

A Wisconsin canoe instructor’s solo cruiser

Mark Vore’s

Floating Works of Art

Idaho craftsman-artist-paddler’s artistic cedar-strip kayaks

Alan Gage’s

16.5′ Custom Bloodvein Canoe

Gage designed (and built) this beautiful, custom canoe for a 30-day wilderness trip with his dog, Sadie

Kenya Leonard’s

Perception Pescador 12.0

A biologist-turned-guide who’s on a mission to help people connect with wild Florida

Bryan Whitehead’s

16.5-foot Cedar Strip Solo

An elegant, handcrafted cedar-strip canoe

Michael Teach’s

Wenonah Spirit II

“I love my 21-year-old canoe like an old pickup.”

Carol Petrich Kalapus’s

Delta 14.5 Sport

An 86-year-old kayaker who began paddling at 75

Pete Swiggum’s

Kevlar Mad River Lamoille 184

A Quetico machine that wooed his wife

Erich Bell’s

Bellyak Play 45

Real people (and Chihuahuas) and the boats they love

David Bixby’s

Cape Falcon F-1

A beautiful, hand-crafted skin-on-frame kayak

David Bahnson’s

Pygmy Coho Triple

A kit kayak custom built for three

Michael “Smiley” King’s

Jackson Kayak Journey 14

From family paddling trips to rapids, this boat is ready for the water

Missy Campau’s

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125

Stable, comfortable, versatile

James Scarrow’s

Souped up Seaward Quantum

A cheap, easy to build, battery-powered bilge pump solution

Justin Staker’s

Kevlar Current Designs Nomad

“It fits me like a pair of jeans. It’s that comfortable.”

John Sullivan’s

Wenonah Solo Plus

A stable canoe Sullivan prefers to pole

Don Buckingham’s

Old Town Tripper

Stable, commodious and tough as they come

Christopher Audet’s

Jackson Karma RG

A crossover ocean kayak with Italian-grade responsiveness and cork-like buoyancy

Monica and Frank McManus’s

Current Designs Extreme

A couple that sea kayaked to their wedding

Clay Shepherd’s

Island Falls Wilderness Guide

An old school wooden canvas canoe that turns heads

Samantha Christen’s

Jackson Kayak Journey 13.5

A light touring kayak that doubles as a terrier carrier

Kevin Brady’s

17′ Alumacraft

Despite freezing temperatures and learning to paddle on the fly, this boat took Brady down the entire Mississippi

Bob Bonnen’s

Pygmy Arctic Tern 17

A beautiful, home-assembled kayak that’s seen Florida’s best paddling

Mary Mangiapia’s

Epic 18X Sport

Meet the shark-bitten boat that took Mangiapia around Florida

John Stookey’s

Souris River Quetico

‘Elderly Canoeist Ahead’: A lifelong paddler who hitchhikes his own shuttles

Marcia Seaman’s

Hornbeck Ten

A pack canoe ideal for the small lakes and long portages of the Adirondacks

Mike Whitlock’s

Mystery Canoe

A restored garage sale salvage with unknown origins.

A. Roy Curtis’s

Current Designs Gulfstream

British designed, Maine deployed.

Jerry Nowak’s

Necky Manitou 14

A light touring kayak ready to take on big challenges.

Herbert Howe’s

Alumacraft 18.6

Big Al was like your parents’ Buick. It turned well, was stable, took a bruising and just kept cruising.

Sarah Meier’s

Hobie Revolution 13

I have paddled and fished out of a lot of different kayaks, but the Hobie Revolution 13 has been my favorite.

Lynn O’Kane’s

Wenonah Minnesota II

A Boundary Waters outfitter tells us why the Wenonah Minnesota II is her favorite canoe.

Harold Murphy’s

Innova Safari

Harold Murphy is living proof of the amazing places that a sense of adventure and an inflatable kayak can take you.

Alvah Maloney’s

Necky Looksha 17

Meet Maine Guide Alvah Maloney and his favorite sea kayak.

Joe Pikul’s

Cedar Strip Prospector

Building this gorgeous Chestnut Prospecter Ranger 15 was a dream come true for South Dakota paddler Joe Pikul.

Gordon Homme’s

Old Town Tripper

Meet Gordon Homme and Sundog, the canoe that has carried him north for 29 years, and counting.

Alan Gage’s

Mark Vore’s Floating Works of Art

Vore builds beautiful cedar strip kayaks that are sold through an art gallery.

The article was originally published on Canoe & Kayak

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!