Wood paddles tend to start with the…..wood. Call me Captain Obvious, but in some segments of the population that tends to mean only a few things – because…….why? tradition? habit? assumptions?
The more paddles I build and kits I sell, the more I realize that simple things are what make a paddle work. For me and my experience, those simple things are fiberglass/epoxy on both sides of the paddle blade and a laminated paddle shaft.
Do paddle blades, shaft or handles need to be a certain shape? No.
Is cedar the only wood that you should use in a paddle? No. As much as I like it, other woods work just fine. It’s those simple things, i.e. fiberglass and lamination, that allow for a huge range of options.
And so enters barn board. Let your inner creative out. Tradition is fine. Cedar is fine, but there are many other things that are just as good.
But what about weight?
I think paddle weight is kind of like horsepower ratings for a car engine. It’s a nice sizzle factor used in marketing but…..when was the last time you were on a death march paddle, with life or death stakes, in a race against time?
How about never? Kind of like the last time you floored your car for an extended period of time and miles and really exercised all those horses.
I see paddling as a leisure pursuit, one that I think should be devoid of competitive factors and work place metrics. Like weight.
Build your own paddle. Have fun doing so. Be creative. Feel free to use a design and materials you have not considered before.
Get out on the water and use it.
Odds are it’ll be just fine.
Site cleaning time! We are now using an SSL certificate. So the ‘new’ URL is https://quietwaterpaddles.com! ‘www’ is no longer part of the URL and there is an ‘s’ in https.
While Rutabaga Nancy has retired, that does not mean that Canoecopia has gone by the wayside. Nancy’s replacement, Amelia, seems like a great replacement, although she remains in the ‘mysterious’ category, as I have not met her yet. Her trial by fire grows daily, I’m sure, as Canoecopia 2019 approaches.
Rutabaga is the host/owner of Canoecopia. Rutabaga is one of the few full time paddlesports shops in the country that remains open year round, tempting paddlers every day to come in and look at the various gizmos as well as boats that fill the store. A great place. Owned and capably run by the ‘one of a kind’ Darren Bush.
And from that springs Canoecopia, an annual event that kicks off the start of the paddling season each year. Darren and his staff have carefully cultivated and nurtured this show, and the result has been a stellar production, a well run show offering a perfect oasis for paddlers tired of frozen water and ready for something warmer and easier to paddle than snow.
I’ll be up in the Atrium on Saturday from 1-3 (I think) talking about wood paddles and how to make them. Stop by and visit!
A few weeks back a university student called me up. He was here in the state, in an industrial engineering class (I think) in which the class assignment was to design and build a paddle. What a cool class and an even cooler lab project. He was calling in search of information and fiberglass. I gave him the fiberglass (he had to pay for shipping) and wished him well. A nice guy.
The other day he sent me the above pics of his class creation. Looks like they turned out well! Not sure of the angles, but he tried, he built and he’ll learn one way or the other. I think he is better for having done it! As are most people that undertake the many pleasures and problem solving efforts found in hand crafting their own paddles!
I’m also quite impressed with the professor who’s doing this class. None of the professors I had, ever came close to this much practical learning.
A beautiful day on the Yahara. Local water, middle child, and some sunshine are all that’s needed.
Finally. An afternoon to get out on the water. Not so much an escape to someplace, as much as simply enjoying what’s around us. Big vacations happen sometimes. Little afternoon paddles trips like this happen quite a bit. Although with my daughters away at their summer jobs, not so much this year as in others. But they came home for a few weeks and away we went one afternoon.
I love paddling like this. The wind blew us around. The ducks paddled around us and we drifted silently quite a bit listening for the water talk. It only whispered this time around, but that was enough.
This little stretch of the Yahara above the newly redone Dyreson bridge is historic water, although you’d never know it, much like so most of flyover country. There’s a sweet little put-in at this bridge and directly out from it are the remants of an old pioneer log bridge. If memory serves, I’m thinking pre-Civil war – late 1850s? It amazes me that these little old pointy logs still survive after so long in the water. Just up from those remnants are some large stones in the water. They look like stones should look in water. Some of them though, are doing double duty. Those hard working stones are the remnants of a Native American fish weir, approaching 12000 years old (again if memory serves me correctly).
This little stretch of beautiful quiet flyover river speaks volumes about years gone by and people long gone, but you have to be still and listen to that water talk. So when your chance comes along, enjoy a simple float on local water and soak up all those that have gone before you.
It was a great day for Floatzilla ! This is an annual event put on by River Action. It happens at Potter Park, a sweet watery spot just off the Mississippi in the Quad Cities. I think Rock Island is the closest of the cities. Tons of canoes and kayaks all in one spot for an attempt on a Guinness Book of World Records for most canoes and kayaks in a single floating raft.