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!
Every paddle should start with wood –
right? Sadly some do not. Yes, stringy chemicals exist even in pleasant pursuits like paddling.
Cedar is one of my favorite woods to work into a paddle. There’s nothing quite like a slender piece emerging from a tablesaw. It looks good. It smells good and soon enough it’ll be part of a paddle. Vertical grain wood is available in every species. Lumber with a vertical grain is produced from every quarter sawn log. The grain in a vertical grain piece of wood has to be within 30 degrees (if memory serves) of vertical in either direction. The result is a stable piece of lumber that stays true with very little cupping, like plain or flat sawn lumber can do.
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.
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.
I don’t do it. Cross country skiing gets the winter time nod from me. This winter though, is pretty weak here in flyover country. So no skiing this winter. Not yet anyway.
There’s cold air blowing on my neck. In a few minutes I’ll be getting cold unless I hop up and go back to the shop where paddles wait and heat blows away that cold.
Winter paddling, for me anyway, is all about making paddles. This time around I’ve opted in for a booth at Canoecopia, so for the past few weeks and the next month, I’ll be in the shop 10+ hours a day trying to get paddles ready for the biggest show in the US when it comes to paddlesports. Except when I’m in this cold room with that wind on my neck trying to get a newsletter ready and websites updated. At least it keeps the old laptop from overheating. Next house we’re getting better windows for sure…..
There’s nothing like a good handle, at least for me. I think comfort when paddling starts with how your hand feels when gripping the handle. Ergonomics is the official word for this, but it’s really about comfort.
Quietwater paddles are all wood. They’re kits that you put together yourself. No cutting required. Not even electricity is needed, unless you really want to get that sander out (note: the pieces arrive fairly smooth so don’t sand too much).
Two pre-made handles come with each kit. If you’re wondering – yes each kit has enough materials for two complete paddles. There are a couple different styles of handle. The picture above is a batch of new handles I’ve been working on. This style adds a piece of redwood to the front of the handle. Redwood is hard to find these days. I was fortunate to come across some redwood and salvage it.
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.
Janet B hails from Texas. She purchased a kit last summer. This past weekend she sent in pictures of her project paddles, one bent shaft and one straight shaft. Turns out that not only did she make two paddles she also made a pirogue. I can see how the boat would add an extra summer to the schedule.
The only thing better than paddling with paddles you made yourself, is sitting in a canoe (or pirogue) you made yourself and then using your own paddles as well.