Diving for Lobster for Fun

On this hot day in July, a friend of mine asked me to take her 12-year-old son, Joe, free diving.  I had already made plans with Peter, the grumpiest old fisherman in the neighborhood; so after an equipment  upgrade and a pep talk about the ornery captain who we were accompanying, we were on our way. Before we even left the dock, Peter, our 66 year old captain, was griping about the sand on Joe’s fins which were making a mess of his old and worn New England fishing boat.  As we steamed to a fish tank-like dive spot, Joe’s eyes were sparkling with excitement even as the captain continued to find issues with not only Joe, but it seemed every other vessel on the water. It was not long before we dropped anchor and prepared to enter the water.  

We were all kids again, just some with more experience than others.  Peter loved showing Joe tricks he’d learned over the years, like how to spear a fish without ruining the filet or how to pull a New England lobster out of a cave with one breath.  The video below shows Joe swimming in the red suit and Peter diving down and grabbing the lobster with its claws out in full defense mode from a dug out cave.  I know you’re wondering why he released it – well in Massachusetts we release the bugs that are twice the size of the gauge used for measurement so they can reproduce.

One thing I brought back from this trip that is at the core of Zest for Life is that you should share the fun!

How to Repair a Kayak

How to Repair a Kayak

Here is a great solution to how to repair a kayak. I have tried many different ways to repair watersport equipment like kayaks and surfboards, and this by far is the best option. The product is actually not even meant for repairing such things, but it sure gets the job done. The product I am talking about is Finish Perfect. Finish Perfect is a two-part solution that when mixed together creates a very strong bonding epoxy which can successfully fix a crack in plastic. In order to use Finish Perfect effectively, one must prep and treat the kayak before applying it. This preparation, as demonstrated in the video above, will make or break your kayak.

Finish Perfect

As you will see in this video, the kayak’s previous owner attempted to fix the crack with another epoxy which left it a mess and with only a weak bond. Finish Perfect is more flexible when it cures compared to other repair methods like fiberglass. Fiberglass tends to be stiff and will crack over time, and it will also melt the plastic it’s applied to. Finish Perfect is primarily used for arts and crafts to preserve and protect project exteriors, but it also makes a fantastic flexible glue-type hold.

To prep your kayak for the Finish Perfect, use a very rough piece of sandpaper in and around the crack to give the solution something to grab onto. Be sure you wear a mask when sanding plastic. I used Vaseline along the crack on the outside of the kayak and then taped the crack. The Vaseline keeps the tape from sticking too much to the plastic. The tape allows me to V-out the crack a bit so that more Finish Perfect can get in there.

To help strengthen the repair, I also am going to use a small patch of fiberglass cloth on the inside of the kayak where the three-way part of the crack is. The Finish Perfect will adhere and strengthen this part so that it will not break again.

Leave questions or comments below about any projects you might want to use Finish Perfect for, and share your stories with me too. Also, feel free to share your own tips and tricks to repairing seemingly impossible things. Thanks for watching!

What to Wear Mountain Biking

With Mountain Bike riding season quickly approaching, I’d like to take a moment to give you some pointers on what to wear when you go bicycling in the woods.

Mountain Biking image canstockHere in New England, we get a wide range of temperature and weather conditions; so if you’re riding here, you’ll need more than one outfit.  Personally I find it helpful to have apparel for most of my activities in a bag ready to go, so for biking I would have my helmet, clear glasses and my riding sneakers with a good pair of thin socks and full finger gloves.  In the summer and warmer days, shorts are always best, giving you freedom of movement.  Wearing long pants makes resistance with every movement – hardly noticeable, but after a while, you get prematurely fatigued. 

This winter I treated myself to a thermal riding outfit and right away I noticed the ease with which I could move over the rocky, wooded trails, and my endurance also increased, allowing me to enjoy even more of the wildlife, trees, and views from the peak. For years I mocked spandex and biking outfits, but I have to admit here that I was wrong.  Not only is it easier to ride; but the respect I got from hikers, dog walkers, and other cyclists was noticeable.  I used to joke that the only reason people wore those outfits was so that they could distinguish themselves from adults who were on bikes as a result of having lost their driver’s licences due to DUI offenses!  The spandex wearers, I contended, wanted to ensure that people knew they were riding a bicycle by choice NOT by necessity!  

Ken on Mountain Bike Nov2014 sm

For summer riding, I strongly suggest a full shirt with shoulders (because you will rub a branch or the bark of a tree with your shoulder), and a light pair of shorts (make sure they are not so baggy that you will get caught on your seat when going down steep hills, but loose enough to move freely) and sneakers or hiking boots to taste.  A backpack with a water bladder is essential and also a good place for a snack, your cell phone, a spare tube for your tires, a pump, and a minimal amount of tools to do basic repairs.  It’s funny- if you have it you will not need it, but I carry it.

Ken's Mountain Biking Checklist

KEN BURBANK, President & Founder

Zest for Life, Inc.

Wildcat Mountain: Ski the Mount Washington Valley

 Wildcat Mountain is one of the must-ski mountains in New Hampshire.  Positioned directly across from Mount Washington in the Pinkham Notch,  this mountain’s views are spectacular.  Skiers have the use of four lifts and a magic carpet for beginners;  although I’ve never thought of Wildcat as a beginner mountain.  

Being in the shadow of Mt Washington often brings a brisk winter wind, and Wildcat was already colder than some of the other more sheltered ski mountains in the area. But besides Cannon, none of the mountains quite possess the thrill that Wildcat does.

Wildcat GondolaWhen I think of Wildcat, I think of the giant slalom runs of my youth, racing my friends to the bottom, and riding back up in the 2-man gondola. That gondola has since been replaced by a high-speed quad as Wildcat has expanded with a lot more snow making and glade skiing. 

Without any lodging, Wildcat still has that old- fashioned ski area charm – much like Mad River Glen in VT – with a friendly group of skiers and riders who don’t need the elegance and pampering of a full-on resort. I like the low-key nature of this mountain. As a teen, I remember running into local celebrities escaping the crowds. I even raced a local meteorologist who shares my last name! I’m sure he still tells all his friends how he beat me! Ha ha ha! 

Testing the Volkl One Ski in Fresh Snow

Volkl Post Mar4I had the opportunity to test ride the new Volkl One Ski this February at Copper Mountain in Colorado on snow demo.  For the two days of demo, I kept going back to this ski in different lengths and found the ski very playful and perfect for the fresh snow conditions we had both days.  

The Volkl One is a fat 116 underfoot ski with rocker front-to-back, giving the ski a surf-like feel in fresh powder; and the legendary Volkl edges were always there, although I never needed them.  I did go out of my way to ride a short section of groomed snow, and these Volkls just grabbed.  I don’t think these would be a good all-condition ski and in New England.  They, would be fun for the rare soft snow conditions but I would not feel confident in these holding in the wide range of icy conditions that New England is famous for – boilerplate blue to packed ice are not what these are made for.

All skis are wonderful in great conditions but if you want to maximise your smile time in fresh powder up to a foot deep I would recommend The One.  I personally liked the graphics on the Women’s Volkl One skis I demoed with polka dots and zebra stripes.  They made me feel the way they looked: wild, crazy and fun.  I found no difference in the women’s ski besides the graphics.

We want to thank Volkl and their staff for providing us with brand new, finely-tuned ski for us to test.

Surfing the Leftovers…

 coming in from a fun session

coming in from a fun session

On a warm day in December…                      

Most often surfing in New England starts out big with victory at sea conditions, but you go because many times it is flat the next morning, this was the last of three days of waves.
Early in the morning, my neighbor, Mark, saw me loading my board in my truck. He had missed the previous days of swell and was chomping at the bit for some action. We drove to our favorite spot only to find it empty with chest high waves peeling down the coast and perfect glass. As I remember, the water was the same temperature as the air, mid 50’s, and we were both testing the limits of our 3/2 wet suits, but luckily the sun was out making it a very pleasant day. We surfed for 3 hrs, just the 2 of us, often splitting the peak or yelling “Yea, yea!” as the other flew down the line.
As the tide came in, the waves died and the wind came up making it a clear decision that our session was over. Both of us were lucky as we rode a good wave all the way in to the rocky shore. A friend recently sent me this photo and it brought back great memories of that day and the ones before it. Now, I look forward to the ones to come.

Water Slides in Water Country

This weekend we had a last hurrah for summer and decided to go on the water slides in Water Country, New Hampshire. Our favorite water slide, the Black Hole, looked like something out of Star Wars while inside the slide. As you could hear, it was thrilling, scream-worthy, and definitely refreshing. Water Slides in Water Country never cease to excite.
Just another great thing about New Hampshire.

This, by the way, is our web developer Karen!

Diver Down Flag Tapestry Picnic

Last night we had a post-swim feast atop the Diver Down Flag Tapestry. Lobster, corn on the cob, potato chips, and fruit was just what we needed after a rigorous day of diving and beach fun.

Diver Down Flag Tapestry Tablecloth

Our Diver Down Flag Tapestry being used as a tablecloth for last night’s lobster dinner.

This is what I love about the dive flag tapestry. You can fly it on the boat while you’re on the ocean, and then you can throw it on a table as authentically nautical decor.

Diver Down Flag Tapestry Tablecloth

And what’s super great is that it’s machine-washable, so the next time you fly it, it’ll be looking good as new, even after feasting on it.

To top off the evening, the clouds decided to be extra beautiful as the sun was setting. We can’t wait for the next dive day.

Diver Down Flag Tapestry Sunset Dinner

Check out the Diver Down Flag Tapestry right here at Zest for Life.