SurfEars and the Kayaking Community
When we started our mission of creating the best, high performance earplugs at SurfEars, our vision was focused on surfing, or similar board sports. However, since the release of our first product, we were delighted to see that SurfEars spread quickly through many other water related sports, finding its way into many cool, extreme and unique communities and lifestyles. Whether it’s wakeboarding, free-diving, spearfishing or open ocean swimming, SurfEars has found a home in almost every water related sport and activity. However, undoubtedly one of the biggest communities that SurfEars has permeated outside the surf community is the white water kayaking community.
Kayakers, especially white water kayakers, are very prone to ear problems, due to the amount of water moving around them and being submerged and semi-submerged in fast flowing rivers, that are usually on the colder side of comfort. Many white water kayakers suffer from Surfer’s Ear (exostosis), which is accelerated by cold water, leading to constant ear infections and abnormal bone growth within your ear canal. Today, SurfEars is proud to be part of the team raising awareness about Surfer’s Ear in the white water kayaking community and the need to protect your ears in every session. This awareness is accelerated by our growing group of ambassadors, including Quirin Haslberger, Luke Pomeroy, Anaïs O’Donovan, Nick Pearce and many more.
Eyes on the Prize with Quirin Haslberger
We had a chat with our ambassador Nick Pearce recently to find out about his history in white water kayaking and why he believes in SurfEars. Nick, although originally from the UK, lives and works on the Randalselva river in Norway.
I first came to Norway back in 2007, with no idea how big an effect this country was going to have on me. At the time I was working in Scotland as an outdoors instructor and kayaking every free chance I got, but after that first two week trip exploring what Norway had to offer, I knew I had to come back the following summer. The next May I packed my car and left the UK for the long drive to Norway, to start my first rafting job. What started as a few rafting and kayaking sessions in Norway turned into several more years working in the outdoor industry, to the point in which the Randalselva river in now my home and has a special place in my heart.
The Randalselva flows down from the mountains to the east of Voss. It is one of the longest, free flowing rivers in Norway that has not been dammed and become a victim of one of biggest industries here in hydro power. Voss has a very active community that has campaigned hard over the last 20 years to keep this amazing river flowing, and accessible for the whole community, especially us kayakers. Flowing with beautiful, emerald, blue water, the river has sections for all abilities and several world class sections. In the upper parts of the river, you have highlights like the Nosebraker, a perfect clean 12m waterfall and the Riemegrend section which offers you 7km of perfect class 4 (5) boating. For me though, the crowning glory of this river is the Marin Canyon, one of the final sections before Voss. Starting with a 7m waterfall it leads into a boxed canyon, full of technical clean rapids and a 5m drop at the finish that always leaves you smiling ear to ear.
I have tested several different models of ear plugs over the last 10 years whilst white water kayaking, from custom made plugs to silicon putty and can confidently say that SurfEars provides me with the best all around performance. Below are the 3 key things that SurfEars does well!
- Fit: The plugs come with a great range of interchangeable parts to get that perfect fit for your ears. It’s worth taking some time and testing several different variations with the sizes provided, to make sure you get the correct fit and remove any painful pressure points. A comfortable and secure fit is especially important when white waterkayaking as you are getting knocked around constantly by fast moving water.
- Sound: For me one of the biggest positives is the amount of sound you can hear with the SurfEars. The acoustic mesh that they use in the plugs is a really important element when in a river environment, as being able to hear is an important safety consideration, on top of general communication.
- Dryness: I would say SurfEars are similar to the dryness present in custom moulded plugs. However custom plugs block of all sound, therefore you are constantly taking them in and out of your ears, to be able to communicate with people on the river. So overall for function I have not found another plug out there that is as dry with the ability to hear as SurfEars.
Nick and some friends on the beautiful Randalselva river.
Cover Photo: Nick sending it!