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Kayak ins and outs

New product for easy access

By James Card

A common sight in Waupaca are kayaks tucked into the beds of pickup trucks and strapped down on the ski racks of cars.

Michael Cordio of Recreational Innovations demonstrates getting in and out of his kayak on Sunset Lake. James Card Photo

Miles Paddled (milespaddled.com), a website dedicated to kayaking in Wisconsin, listed the Waupaca, Crystal and Little Wolf Rivers as their favorite river trips in a statewide Top Ten list.

The only problem with kayaking is getting in and out of one. It can be a tipsy affair with a chance of being dunked before the trip begins.

Likewise climbing out of a kayak can be an ignoble streamside scramble.

Local entrepreneur Michael Cordio has a solution for getting in and out of kayaks with ease and grace.

He started Recreational Innovations LLC and his flagship product this year is a kayak launch. He is the first and only YAKport kayak launch dealer serving the Waupaca area. The launch can also handle canoes, paddle boards and other narrow watercraft up to 34 inches wide.

“A lot of people have a hard time launching kayaks off piers without them tipping over. This makes it easy. Going for a dunk has definitely happened a few times for everyone before we got this,” said Cordio.

It can be attached to the side of a boat dock or it can be freestanding and attached to posts pounded into the lakebed or riverbed.

Made of heavy-duty molded plastic, the launch can be floated in place for installation and taken out before winter ice.

“My dad was looking at getting a kayak launch so I started looking around to see what was on the market. A lot of them are really expensive options. This is a more practical solution that’s less expensive than others,” said Cordio.

The launch sits right at the water surface and the bottom has a groove for keels. Over the top of the launch is a grab bar for getting in and out of the kayak from a standing position.

For elderly, physically challenged and not-so-nimble folks, the grab bar could be braced from a seated position on a boat dock and the person can scoot their way in.

To get underway or to dock, there are two gaps on the side rails that serve a purpose.

Cordio demonstrated how it works on Sunset Lake. He held the paddle horizontally and locked the paddle in the gap and pushed himself backwards with a bench press-type motion. He repeated the same movement with the next gap and he was drifting on the water.

Coming back in, he lodged his paddle into the first gap and pulled himself in with a bentover row type-motion and repeated it with the second gap. That left him positioned right below the grab bar to pull himself into his feet and steady himself as he stepped onto the boat dock.

A full package set-up starts at $1,329. Cordio can be contacted through his website at recreationalinnovations.com.

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