It’s that time of the year again, we analyze our past year to acknowledge our accomplishments, attempt to forget our regrets and contemplate the year to come. For some of us that means getting into shape and practicing better eating habits for others scratching a few items of their bucket list. Regardless, I hope I can inspire you to join me in embracing paddlesports as a means to improving oneself both mentally and physically in 2023.

It’s about your body – one of the most common new year resolutions is getting physically fit but alternatively is also one of the most failed resolutions. No surprises here, I mean we can all agree that 30 minutes on a treadmill is somewhat dreadful right? The good news is that staying fit doesn’t have to be boring. Take to the waves by utilizing your kayak (pedal or paddle) for fitness. No need for a structured workout, just go the extra mile when kayak fishing or exploring and keep your kayak accessible on your vehicle for a quick stop on your way home for work.

All this new to you? Here's a contributing article I wrote for a local fitness magazine on how to get started. Don't have a kayak? Consider the Moken 12.5 or the Flash PD if you are under 250lbs.

And your mind too – Not only is kayaking great for the body but it does wonders for the mind as well. It’s not just popular opinion but proven that spending more time outside can not only improve your mental health but help repair it too. Studies found that people who had spent at least two recreational hours in nature during the previous week reported significantly greater health and well-being. Click here to read this article published by the American Psychological Association to learn more about how research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition. Reset and rest, the way we were meant to do it.

Reconnect with family and friends – The COVID years have really put a dent in many people’s social lives. While some embraced the isolation, many longed for the companionship of friends and family they once enjoyed. There’s no better way to reconnect with those you miss than outdoors and even better, kayaking. Make a day of it, paddle to a remote cove at your local lake, setup a makeshift lunch camp and enjoy sharing the sights and sounds of nature with friends and family. You'll once again remember how good it feels to have companionship, after all, humans are innately social creatures.

Be an inspiration – Go ahead, take that selfie showing yourself surrounding by nature's wonders. It's not about being an influencer or a "show-off", it's about sharing the experience with an intent to inspire someone else to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. 

Care for your kayak too – If you already own a kayak, the new year is always a great time to fine tune it. Here’s a quick 5 point checklist I often share with my fellow paddlers:

  1. Give your kayak a good wash with mild soapy water and dry thoroughly both inside and out
  2. Inspect the hull for any deep gouge scratches, straps and fabrics for integrity, bungees for strength and accessories too
  3. Go through and tighten all screws, bolts and knobs on your kayak, seat and accessories
  4. If you have a pedal and/or rudder system be sure to test, grease and adjust all moving parts
  5. Finally, give it a nice coat of 303 Protectant which you can find through your kayak dealer
On behalf of Feelfree US and our family of brands, we want to wish you and yours a happy new year and thank you for being a part of our family.

By Roland Jimenez
Director of Marketing, Feelfree US, LLC