By: Evan Thacker
The Outdoor Recreation Program, or ORP, has been on campus for many years and is well known by most students at Utah State University. However, did you know about the new aquatic gear that the ORP has in for this summer? I went to an ORP event a couple of weeks ago to try out and see the new gear the ORP is offering for the upcoming season.
Inflatable paddleboards are just one of the new pieces of equipment the ORP recently acquired. Paddleboards are large surfboards, where you use a paddle to propel yourself across the water. Paddleboards are extremely fun, as I found out after trying one for the first time. The ORP’s paddleboards are inflatable, meaning they are easier to carry around and travel with than regular paddleboards. After trying the paddleboards out for a while, I was surprised at how well they maneuvered. The paddleboards at the ORP will even take on swift little currents and some small waves. Overall, I had good time on the ORP’s paddleboards and look forward to trying the paddleboards more this summer.
Sea kayaks are also a new piece of equipment offered for the first time this spring and summer at the ORP. Sea kayaks are long, narrow kayaks often used in the ocean, on lakes or for long kayaking trips. The three things that are best about the new sea kayaks are: The speed they able to reach, the easiness of paddling long distances and the amount of watertight cargo space. The speed that can be achieved in the new sea kayaks is much greater than that of regular river kayaks. In sea kayaks, you do have a trade-off in maneuverability, as compared to river kayaks. However, paddling straight across flat water can be easily done, with little to no effort. I was surprised at how little effort I had to put into paddling the sea kayaks to get across the lake at First Dam. The last feature the sea kayaks offer is massive watertight cargo holds in both the front and back of the vessel. The cargo holds are nice for long kayaking trips and have a good amount of space inside of them. I look forward to trying the sea kayaks out more this summer for a long river running trip, or a kayak trip across the lake sometime.
Finally, splash jackets are also new pieces of equipment featured at the ORP for this spring and summer. Splash jackets are specially designed jackets for kayaking, which are breathable but also allow you to stay dry. The splash jackets at the ORP come in many sizes and are quite comfortable. I was surprised at how breathable and maneuverable the material is, for a piece of equipment that keeps you dry. I look forward to testing out the splash jackets further this summer, hopefully with a possible sea kayaking trip.
To sum it all up, the ORP offers many new pieces of equipment that I would urge you to check out this spring and summer. From paddleboards to sea kayaks to splash jackets, the new gear at the ORP is well worth looking into or checking out. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the new gear looked and handled. All this new equipment at the ORP has made me realize, although I’m sad that ski season is ending, I look forward to a wet and adventurous summer.