Wetlands for Water Features!

So last week we were talking about planning now for future projects (read last week’s blog here), and this week World Wetland Day is here – coincidence? I think not! Wetlands, natural or engineered, have a place at the edge of EVERY body of water, man-made or otherwise. Why? Because Mother Nature has put millions of years of trial and error into creating the most efficient and beneficial filters on the planet, and we ignore Her at our peril.

Wetlands make coastal life possible. They keep sediments from burying coastal seashores in mud, absorb wave and storm energy to eliminate erosion, absorb and sequester heavy metals and toxins, turn excess nutrients into food for millions of organisms – per square foot! (Yes, I’m counting bacteria, the most important organisms on the planet. Who? Us? We’re just bags hosting untold BILLIONS of microorganisms.)

Arguably, the most important function of wetlands is their ability to clean and clear water. This attribute is easily harnessed for our own devices in engineered wetlands, often affectionately referred to as ‘veggie filters’. Originally just shallow gravel beds with plants whose roots helped pull out nitrates, these have evolved into highly efficient bioconverters with sediment traps that are incredibly efficient with little maintenance.

Completely scalable, these mini wetlands punch far above their weight. This little planted bowl filter designed by the ever-innovating Nelson Water Gardens will keep a preformed or small liner pond clear and free of algae, and it’s beautiful to boot.

On the other end of the scale, this gravel bed in Culiacan has managed to remove literally all of the suspended solids from the 80,000 gallons of opaque river water that was pumped into the Victoria Pool a couple of weeks ago – and that’s before planting!

The way these both work is remarkably similar. Sediment laden water from the bottom is pumped into a grid or chamber at the bottom of the gravel bed. The water velocity slows on its way up and out through the gravel. As any moving liquid carrying dissolved solids slows, its sediment carrying capacity drops. In the bowl, the sediments drop out and are trapped in the gravel, where roots metabolize the organics along with any dissolved nitrates, starving out any algae that would green up the water if nitrates were present.

The larger application requires a little more infrastructure, but the results are impressive. In the Victoria Pool there are two settling chambers filled with Eco-Blox water matrix blocks, one at each end, each capped by a 12” layer of gravel. Skimmers fitted with twin TT9000 pumps push about 15000 gallons of sediment-laden river water into each of the Eco-Blox chambers. As the water spreads out and slows in the chambers it drops most of its sediments; whatever remains never makes it through the gravel that caps the blocks. A 4” bottom drain in each chamber will allow the accumulated solids to be flushed out to a shallow gravel pit whenever cleaning, or collection of organics for the garden, is required or desired.

The photos show the opacity of the river water on Day One and the clarity on Day Ten.

This video taken yesterday reveals the bottom a meter below water level perfectly clearly.

Bear in mind, this wetland isn’t even operating properly yet, because there are no plants or fish. It’s just working as a sediment trap until the crew at the Botanical Garden plant it up next month, when it will really come on line and shine, just in time for the balmy 120 degree days of summer in Sinaloa. I promise to keep you posted.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Atlantic-OASE SandBox – Indoor Training Facility

The time is finally here! The SandBox reveal you’ve all been waiting for. While we finished the SandBox back in October 2020, we wanted to wait until the 2020 Virtual Conference in December to show off all of our hard work for the first time. (And it gave us more time to play and build with our new toys.) Come take the journey with us of the creation of the SandBox and watch the progress!

Prequel – It was January 2019 on a snowy day in Muenster, Germany. The OASE regional managers from a dozen European countries met in the greenhouse where the training would be held, using products from the US that they had never seen before. Max Colditz, our organizer, had me explain what the Basins and FastFalls and Eco-Blox were used for, and how they were installed in the States, then let the crew loose with shovels. They went to town, delving into the sugar sand and silt clay that made the special soil mix a delight to dig in, not a single grain larger than a coffee ground. We had a blast installing Atlantic product in ways I had never imagined possible. I was delighted with the training, impressed with the space, but awed by the soil. Being able to build water features year round in a designated space? We needed this at home!

The Space – August 2019, touring the new warehouse in Aurora OH, we opened a door and there it was. Dirty, dark, and PERFECT! The room was vast, almost 4,000 feet with 30-foot ceilings. As we entered from the factory side, four feet above the floor below, I immediately noticed the solid poured concrete walls on three sides, with a high-pressure water line and center drain. There were entrances at both levels, rollups and traditional doors, and the room had its own heat. We were so excited we actually debuted the plan in the 2020 Catalog introduction.

The Design – The name was obvious from the start: The SandBox. We had a giant walled pit right in the warehouse where we could teach year-round, regardless of Northeastern Ohio’s notoriously fickle weather. We started on the plans even as we were moving in. Would this be a simple dirt-filled pit, like Randy Stewart’s brilliant Training Center in Shawnee? Or, as Kendahl our Director of Marketing proposed, could this also be a beautiful backdrop for videos and product shoots in the off-season? A recreation of a planted back yard where the sod could be rolled up, contractors could build and the next day we could shoot new products for the Catalog – brilliant! We worked on the designs for almost a year.

The Materials – After the final approval in July 2020, Brandon synthesized all the ideas into the working plan above, and we got to work on the materials. First, the walls. Belgard REALLY stepped up. We’ve had a great relationship with them for years, working together at trade shows (remember when those were a thing?), on videos and various other projects. We told them we really wanted to work with their products – and boy did they come through, with wall stone, steps, pavers, even concrete block! Next, the soil. After months of searching for just the right stuff (many thanks to Max for the formula from Germany and Peter for the legwork!) we found an old quarry nearby that had the perfect sand/silt mix. Finally, the plantings. Kendahl found a great supplier of artificial plants, we chose a top-quality artificial turf that didn’t need ballast and– we were ready to put it all together.

The Execution – We had to finish before our fiscal year ended on October 1, so it took quite the concerted effort, but things went smoothly. The lights went in first, next we set up the drainage and electric, then the walls, both stone and the stud framing for the façade. Before we knew it, we were backfilling, and the siding and trim were going in. The finishing touches, the sod, plantings and pallets of stone, were done just in time for the end of the fiscal year.

Epilogue – The SandBox was scheduled to be unveiled during our Virtual Conference December 3rd, but it has already proven invaluable. We’ve shot three install videos already, along with a nifty Friction & Flow demonstration, with different areas in the background. We are really looking forward to our first builds in the coming year.

We’re looking forward to seeing you here in the near future to get your hands dirty and installing some water features!

Watch the progress of our Sandbox construction here!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

10 Water Features You’ll Fall in Love with This Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate the holiday of love than by showing our love for water features! See some of our favorites that we’d love to have in our backyards!

1. This pool and spa combo that would go on anyone’s dream house Pinterest board

Whitaker Waterscapes LLC (Franklinville, NC)

2. A calming koi fish pond that sits right outside your front porch

The Pond Monster (Winter Haven, FL)

3. A Pond-free waterfall that gives you the beauty of a waterfall without a pond taking up extra space in your yard

TLC Landscaping INC. (Solon, OH)

4. Gorgeous glowing copper bowls to give your backyard a cool nighttime entertaining space

Atlantic-OASE (Aurora, OH)

5. This modern spillway and patio setup that gives you the excuse to spend every Sunday afternoon outside

Green Ace Landscaping Inc. (Oakville, Ontario)

6. Custom waterfalls that will make all of your neighbors jealous

LCM Landscaping & Design (Peyton, CO)

7. A complete backyard oasis that you could spend all day exploring

Water Features by Gerard (Easton, PA)

8. A stunning waterfall blending into the landscape of your backyard

Premium Aquascapes (Bergenfield, New Jersey)

9. An architectural pond and patio masterpiece that has every art enthusiast drooling

Art of the Yard (Littleton, CO)

10. This beautiful natural looking waterfall that looks like you’re stepping right into the forest

Bulone Brothers Landscaping (Twinsburg, OH)

Want to see more amazing water features you’ll fall in love with instantly? Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration for your next backyard addition!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

2019 Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference

The Third Annual Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference held last week in Cleveland Ohio was an event not to be missed.

Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water and Jeff Weemhoff, President of Atlantic-OASE

New this year, early arrivers attended 3 hands-on business workshops focusing on Business Strategy, Social Media and Water Feature Maintenance, hosted by experts Yolanda Ortiz of Corazon Business Coaching, Melanie Downes of The Grapevine Pro and our own Sean Bell.

Hands-on business workshops hosted by Yolanda Ortiz, Melanie Downes and Sean Bell

Yolanda Ortiz returned for her second conference, presenting her new workshop Culture, Hiring and Your Bottom Line to an appreciative audience. Melanie brought her 25+ years of experience as an entrepreneur in the family landscape and water feature business to fire up attendees with exciting new takes on Marketing and Social Media. Sean Bell educated attendees on Adding Maintenance Plans to your Business, offering lucrative insights into that bread-and-butter aspect of water gardening.

Welcome dinner at Pine Lake Trout Club
Welcome dinner at Pine Lake Trout Club

Wednesday evening, after rallying at the Hilton Garden Inn Twinsburg, our base of operations this year, we set off for the always beloved Pine Lake Trout Club. Jeff Weemhoff warmly welcomed attendees of the ever growing Conference, sharing his plans for the continued and accelerating expansion of Atlantic and OASE and insights into the coming year. Then we partied into the night at the beautiful timbered fishing lodge surrounded by the many streams and waterfalls, good food and drink enhancing the great networking and camaraderie.

Jeff Weemhoff and Thorsten Muck present the future of Atlantic-OASE

Thursday began early with a message from Jeff and Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water, on the bright future of Atlantic and OASE. Presentations on social media, advanced bog construction, product development, water feature estimating and distributor meeting preceded lunch, then we boarded buses and headed over to AWG headquarters.

Demi Fortuna and Brandon Dwyer at the Fountain Nozzles 101 Station

There we split into rotating groups visiting seven Demonstration Stations, showcasing the power of PondoVacs; the new Atlantic InfiColor Lighting System; automatic ScreenMatic2 filtration; tips on multiple Fountain Nozzle installation; the ease of adding FiltoClear Pressure Filters to existing ponds; programming the Easy Garden Control Cloud-based control system and a workshop on Photographing Water Features by last year’s APC of the Year Shane Hemphill.

Frayne McAtee at the Connecting to Your Water Feature Station

With heads still buzzing with all they had seen and heard, attendees were treated to a surprise stop on the ride back to the hotel. The buses pulled up and then into the huge new 170,000 sq. ft. facility, where a champagne toast accompanied the reveal of the new building. What better place to announce the 2019 Atlantic Professional Contractors of the Year?

Jeff Weemhoff welcomes conference attendees to the NEW Atlantic-OASE headquarters

Congratulations to TRAVIS WHITAKER – APC OF THE YEAR! With strong business growth over the past 15 years combined with excellence and creativity in water feature construction and design, Travis and Shannon Whitaker and their team are at the top of their game. A key contractor in his market, Travis has landed multiple large, high profile projects, but has continued to be a team player, helping fellow contractors when called upon in the best spirit of caring and generosity.

Whitaker Waterscapes, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor of the Year recipients Travis & Shannon Whitaker

Atlantic created a whole new award for another standout member of the Community, Matt Boring! Matt earned the Presidential Award in recognition of his constructive and helpful attitude to all in the industry, as well as the excellence of his work. His positive outlook and advice on the APC Facebook page have greatly increased the value of the group for all, while his sharing of his body of work and innovative construction projects has inspired and promoted both the industry and Atlantic. Congratulations Matt!

Texas Ponds and Water Features, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Presidential Award recipients
Matt Boring and Carlos Ordaz

Finally, in recognition of his long-standing dedication to the Water Gardening Industry and his unique standing amongst (and usually a head above) his peers, Atlantic was proud to present the Monster Award to our beloved Lloyd Lightsey. Always there to lend a helping hand, always smiling, Lloyd has always loved to make all around him smile, but he and Karrie have also dedicated their time and energy (even his beard) to the very serious challenge of raising money for cancer research. Lloyd, our Pond Monster, we salute you and Karrie for your good works and your unique standing in the industry! The award, named The Monster Award, will be given out annually moving forward.     

The Pond Monster, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Monster Award recipients Lloyd & Karrie Lightsey

After the surprise visit to the new building concluded, we spent the final evening of our wonderful time together playing and partying at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland. We thank all our attendees for another rewarding and informative Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference, and look forward to seeing you next year!

Dinner and games at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland
Dinner and games at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland

Tools That Don’t Suck – The Wobble Wedge

June 7, 2019

TOOLS THAT DON’T SUCK

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty, sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls. We also value anything that helps make the work easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

The Wobble Wedge

Sometimes the best stuff comes in the smallest packages. That’s the way I think of this next doohickey. This deceptively simple device that’s so well engineered that I now take them for granted. But that’s only because I keep a jar full of them in every truck. I’m talking about the modest, overachieving Wobble Wedge.

Photo from WobbleWedges.com

The manufacturer calls them “a modular system of securely-stackable interlocking plastic shims”. Like any good system, there are a number of models to choose from. There are flexible and rigid wedges, white, black or clear in color. Three different sizes, all interlocking and cross-nesting, accommodate all sorts of leveling, shimming, tightening and locking tasks in and out of doors. All feature tiny ribs that lock wedge-to-wedge, regardless of the size of the wedge.

Wobble Wedge, Basalt Column
Can be adjusted in tiny increments and lock where you leave them.

For our purposes, we like the rigid standard black wedges for shimming columns and overflowing vases that need small adjustments, while the Big Gap wedges handle really uneven situations. Regardless of the size, all Wobble Wedges can be adjusted in tiny increments and lock where you leave them, no slipping or shifting.

Are they worthy of the status “Tools That Don’t Suck?”

Heck yes! These guys thought of everything that I could want on the job, and they have a couple of patents to prove it. The standard black Wobble Wedges are small and easily concealed. The hard plastic is pretty much indestructible. I say that after shimming over a thousand pounds with them, driving them home with a mallet to get a granite sphere dead level. They’re even forgiving! If you push them too far under a really big fountain or stone column, they have an inset Grab Bar at the back of the wedge that lets you pull them back out with a needlenose plier.

Wobble Wedge, Basalt Column
Grab Bar at the back of the wedge that lets you pull them back out.

Did I mention that they are 100% Made in the USA? And they’re inexpensive to boot, around $20 for a bucket of 75! When I showed one to my friends at a distributorship I was visiting, they brought them in the next day, no further convincing necessary. Love at first sight. 

If you haven’t already, try Wobble Wedges. I think you’ll like them.

Also check out or blog on the Atlantic Eco-Rise System to create reservoirs of practically any size, shape and volume supporting any number of decorative items with complete adjustability.

Building and calculating an upflow bog with EcoBlox

We recently received a question on a previous blog: BOG FILTRATION, THE PERFECT COMPLEMENT TO BIOLOGICAL FILTERS. The question was:

Do you have any additional information about building and calculating an upflow bog with EcoBlox, like shown in the graphic at the end of this blog post? You already talked a bit about the surface area of the bog compared to the pond but what about the depth and the number of blocks stacked on each other for example? 
I want to build a 15′ x 13′ pond with 3000 gallons and 9′ stream. Pond will be filled with stones and gravel, some plants and 20 goldfish (around 8″). How many blocks do I need and how do I arrange them for a fitting surface area of the filter? Do you have any recommended product to be used as tube under the blocks? Or do I have to build one myself? If so, do you have any instructions to do this?

Great question O Noble Ponderer!

Bogs are sized by surface area. 10% of the area of the pond in bog area is sufficient to consume all the nitrates a goldfish pond is likely to produce. At the other end of the scale are Koi, which need three times as much area, 30%, planted to bogs.

With 205 square feet of pond, 20 square feet of planted gravel will be sufficient. You have a 9’ stream, which simplifies matters greatly. What I would do is set one or two Eco-Blox at the top of the stream, on the existing grade on top of the stream liner. I would install two 2” or 3” flanges or bulkhead fittings on either side of the chamber thus created, down low so water enters and exits the Eco-Blox near the bottom of the block. On one side I’d attach the pipe from the pump, on the other a drain valve. Take a look at the sketch.

Water comes from the skimmer into the Eco-Blox on one side, flows up and out through a 4-6” layer of ¾-1” gravel on top planted to various low grasses or other aquatic plants, which are also planted in the gravel of the stream. The Eco-Blox under the gravel acts as a settling chamber. The outlet on the side opposite the inlet is valved. The valve is buried near the flange or bulkhead fitting, attached to a piece of pipe out to daylight somewhere.

I usually just set an 18” length of 4” pipe vertically over the valve so the handle can be accessed periodically to drain out the muck which will accumulate in the chamber. If I can’t reach the valve with my hand, I’ll slot the end of a pipe to create a wrench to turn the handle. This is necessary usually only once or twice a year.

You’ll have a great little active bog filter that uses the top of Eco-Blox chamber plus the stream to provide the necessary area for plantings. Plus a built-in settling chamber that will remove much of the suspended organic debris constantly and automatically. You may also consider adding a bottom drain to the skimmer, to pick up the rest of the debris. But that’s the subject of another post.

Atlantic Cord Seal Fitting

A great new way to hide power cords!

Even the nicest water feature installation can be ruined if the cord for a pump or a light is visible, as they often are. Power cords should be removable, so that lights or pumps can be serviced or eventually replaced. They can’t just be buried away in concrete. With open reservoir water features, like ceramic vases or copper basins, a hole in the reservoir that’s big enough to pass a plug is hard to seal, and cutting the plug off voids the warranty on pumps and lights.

Wouldn’t it be great if a power cord could pass through the same bulkhead fitting that the water feeds through? Without leaking? That way, a light could be set inside the reservoir without a cord draping over the edge, or a pump cord inside a basin could pass through a plumbing fitting, virtually invisible. But, even if you ran a cord inside a pipe from inside the reservoir, how would you get it back outside of the pipe, outside of the reservoir?

Atlantic Cord Seal Fitting

Enter the CSF. The Cord Seal Fitting is a nifty gadget that addresses that particular need, to pass a cord through the wall of a reservoir inside the fitting or pipe that is the reservoir’s only perforation. It works much like a plumbing pressure test plug. A rubber gasket squeezed between two plates expands outwards and seals off a 1-1/2″ female socket. But, unlike a test plug, the rubber doughnut is slit to its center to accept a standard light or pump cord. The plates on either side of the gasket are also split, to assemble around the cord and gasket like the cookies around the creme of an Oreo. When tightened, the rubber expands tightly around the cord and into the fitting, creating a waterproof seal.

As is often the case, the Cord Seal Fitting is far easier to use than to describe. Install a tee in the 1-1/2″ waterline feeding the reservoir and pass the cord through the tee and into the reservoir. Loosen the plates on the CSF, slide the cord into the gasket, reattach the plates and tighten the CSF in the opening of the tee. The gasket will expand and seal against the cord and the inner walls of the tee.

The CSF will also allow the cord to pass in and out of a sealed section of pipe, with the addition of a second tee. This is useful where a pump may be hard piped from the inside of a reservoir, out through a bulkhead fitting and up to a spillway. The illustration to the right shows the pump cord passing out of the reservoir through tees through a tee installed on either side of the bulkhead fitting and sealed with Cord Seal Fittings inside and out.

Another great solution from the folks at Atlantic!

The Atlantic Eco-Rise System

Bubbling Basalt Columns and overflowing vases set on buried Fountain Basins are attractive, easy and profitable add-ons for the irrigator, landscaper or hardscaper. These water features are especially popular with contractors who only occasionally venture into water (so to speak) because they are simple to build, easy to maintain and rarely require call-backs. As a bonus, the successful completion of one project usually leads to another, as friends, visitors and neighbors ask about the fountain and decide to put one in for their own enjoyment. But what happens when the next job requires a boulder too big for the basin? A vase too vast? A mountain of a fountain?

The “Old” Way

In the old days, BA (Before Atlantic), installing a one-ton fountain piece, like a 36″ granite sphere, was a month-long project. The contractor would design a concrete basin large enough to catch splash and strong enough to handle the load. Waterproofing would depend on climate. In the north, the design would have to deal with freeze/thaw cycles and excavating below the frost line. After digging to the proper depth and tamping the bottom, the plumbing would need to be set, with no room for error, as it would literally be set in stone. Then the concrete trucks would arrive. After the four-week curing period (ouch!), the sphere could be carefully lifted by machine, plumbed in the air, then lowered into place, hopefully without crushing the plumbing.

The “New” Way

The Atlantic Eco-Rise System allows two men with two wheelbarrows to complete a two-thousand-pound granite sphere fountain install – in two days. Like most good systems, it’s simple, with only three structural components, plus liner, pump and plumbing. Instead of formed and poured concrete down to the frost line, the reservoir is just a rubber-lined hole a single layer of Eco-Blox deep. The Eco-Blox may look like milk crates, but the similarity ends there. Our Blox come disassembled, lock solidly together and support 7 tons of distributed load without crushing.

The Eco-Rise is a load distributor that supports the sphere, and much more. Rated at three thousand pounds, the Eco-Rise spreads the weight of the stone across the tops of the Eco-Box while protecting the plumbing. Install the pipe into the sphere, roll it onto the Eco-Rise on the Eco-Blox. With the flex pipe in place, the sphere can easily be moved and adjusted by hand, without a machine!

The third component, the PV1700 Pump Vault, houses and protects the pump. Hook the pipe to the pump in the Vault, and you can adjust the sphere, by hand, even while running. Then, cover  the Eco-Blox with two wheelbarrows of gravel and go home early.

Atlantic. We’ve got you covered.

Tools That Don’t Suck – The Perfect Hat

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty, sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls, but we also value anything that helps make the work easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

You Can Leave Your Hat On…

I certainly hope that phrase evokes a pleasant visual for all of you out there. It certainly does for me. The first time I saw it I thought, nice – wow that looks good…. The second time I thought it looked even better. The third time I really wanted to get up close and personal. I just had to.

So I asked my buddies about the Hat. You’ve probably seen somebody wearing it. You may know the one – looks like a solid suede brim, with a vented crown, jaunty little leather braid and a chinstrap. Sharp looking hat. But the Kakdu Soaka hat isn’t suede at all, it’s made of an absorbent microfiber. Just dunk it, shake it off and wear it. Water trapped in the microfiber slowly evaporates as air circulates through the vented crown, lowering the temperature of both the hat and the head under it. Sort of a wearable swamp cooler.

Kakadu Soaka Breeze

Lloyd Lightsey of The Pond Monster

Down in sunny Lake Wales my buddy Lloyd swears by his fully vented Soaka Breeze. He says it keeps him going when the temps soar into the 90’s. Another buddy, Sean, up Boston way, thinks so highly of the hat he mail-ordered a bunch of them when they were hard to get a couple of years ago. Nobody had them in stock for quite a while, so he’d order them from another company just to find out they were backordered there too, and so on. Waited almost a year, then everybody shipped at once. Now he’s got’em in every color. Wears’em constantly.

The Kakadu Soaka Breeze is just one of twenty plus styles of Soaka hats, some with more venting, some with solid microfiber crowns, but all share the same cool feature. The one I got the best picture of was Sean’s, a relatively fresh one that hadn’t yet really broken in. (Lloyd’s, on the other hand, was a little too, ah, personalized by wear, shall we say? for close inspection.) I got mine direct from Kakadu’s Washington State distribution center by mail order, but you can find them in plenty of other places too. If you work outside where your brain boils in the sun (and who doesn’t?), these hats are really worth trying. And at around $40 most places, you can cool the burn without frying your wallet.