Here’s a sure sign the West might be getting a break from its long drought: At Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreational area in Utah last week, the water level is a full 50 feet (50 feet!) above last year’s levels.
After huge, relentless winter snowstorms, winter runoff will be filling streams and ponds for months to come. And on the coasts, the weather is warming up enough that beaches from Massachusetts to California have seen their first crowded days. In other words, it’s time for wet-weather technology — gear that can help you have fun in the sun … and in the water that goes with it.
Swimming: Speedo Raceview goggles
The Speedo Raceview is a new swim goggle from the industry leader that allows you a complete view of the pool, even while you maintain a healthy, down-angled head position. In fact, it makes some wonder why nobody thought of it before.
The revolution is simple: If you like to do laps for exercise, you know how hard it is to look up out of your goggles to see where you’re going. And while the goggle lens on a conventional goggle makes the world ahead of you look blurry and distorted, the new Raceview has an angled, divided lens; it looks like space-age bifocals. The benefit: You can keep your head down in proper position and still see up ahead of you, comfortably, while you swim. $19.99; speedousa.com
Sailing: Atlantis Weathergear Microburst Jacket
This jacket, like all Atlantis Weathergear jackets, is designed in Marblehead, Mass., in a former sailmaking loft on the dock above a lobster restaurant. The jackets are waterproof, breathable, but most of all, ultralight. As in, amazingly light. Other than the fact that you stay dry, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing one. All zippers are seam sealed, so no moisture leaks through, and yet perspiration manages to escape, keeping you dry inside, too. $135; atlantisweathergear.com
Canoeing: Sawyer Ellipse SUP For paddle-in longboard surfers and standup canoe fans (who like to fish standing up, with a better viewing angle), the Sawyer Ellipse SUP (for “Standup Paddle”) blends new-tech materials with old-world construction. A carbon shaft sleeve is bonded to a ponderosa pine core, giving you the sensitive water feel of wood and the snap of carbon. The blade’s six graphite ribs reinforce the laminated western red cedar face and allow it to flex, and its edge is protected by Sawyer’s trademarked Dynel “ToughEdge.” Comes in 3 available lengths, $200; paddlesandoars.com
Beachcombing: Reef Fanning Supreme flip-flopsReef flip-flops have become some of the most popular in the world, and not just because of the great, intuitive design, the green materials or their general cool factor. In fact, it’s some of Reef’s hidden pleasures that really differentiate the brand. For example, the Fanning Supreme has a small soda bottle opener built into the flip-flops, so you’ll never be without a cold drink when the temperature rises. $59; reef.com
Paul Hochman is the gear and technology editor for the TODAY Show and a Fast Company magazine contributor. He covered the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Athens and Torino, Italy, for TODAY. He was also a three-year letter winner on the Dartmouth ski team and has a black belt in karate. Paul’s blog can be found at: