cataSUP padaCAT supCAT padamaran

September 9, 2018

paddleboard catamaranSometimes, if you do something long enough, you experience these bouts of fanciful imagination in which you picture ‘things’. After a few bouts of imagining and designing in my head while I paddled around on other people’s boats, I decided to make this. Two hulls and a deck. Wisconsin white pine, and a shop making paddles that lost square footage to a boat contrivance that took up way too much space. But this is the result:
cataSUP, padaCAT, supmaran, padaSUPThis is the first one. A prototype. Fourteen feet long, thirty two inches wide at its widest, the hulls are each about ten inches ‘tall’ with ~two inches of deck on top. My biggest curiosity was tracking. The first board, a Kahuna, cuts the water quietly like its kayak-shaped front end allows for, but without a stout skeg on its back four feet, it skitters around on the water like a leaf on a windy day. Difficult to go in a straight line. That was the first ‘irritation’ that got me thinking about the next board I wanted. Since my paddling happens on lakes and slow moving rivers here in flyover country, I wanted to go in a straightish line with less effort relative to the Kahuna. I’m happy to write that my first concern is answered in a good way. This supCAT padamaran cataSUP moves in a straight line more than I hoped for. As I kind of could guess while I was building it, each hull acts like a rudder and moves the craft in a straight line even as it holds me up and keeps my hoofies dry. It paddles in a straight line. Cross that off the check list.
My next concern is/was the distance from deck to water. For this size boat and my size/weight I am happy with that as well. For me, this distance works with the same paddles as I use on the Kahuna. For my lighter daughter and her friend, they need longer paddles, given that they do not displace the same water that I do. For them the deck is farther up out of the water. The obvious answer is a twelve or even an eleven foot board for the smaller person, which is next up on the drawing board. I really like the large deck. The overall look as it sits in the water is just what I hoped for. Best of all, I am enjoying the feel of wood and water.
Happy paddling!
There’s a bit more on the wavetrainSUP website, but most of the pics are on the wavetrainSUP Instagram channel. Just hit IG and search for wavetrainSUP!


Making a Paddle – Twice Warmed

January 18, 2018
Bent shaft cedar SUP paddles

I grew up in a house heated with wood. Usually, in the summer, my brother and I spent beaucoup time out at the wood pile, sweating away, cutting long logs into short sticks and then splitting those sticks and THEN stacking those split pieces. I don’t recall too many late nights during my teenage summers, we were too tired from the advance planning for wood heat. Whenever we did this ‘wood working’, it was the ‘first-warmed’ episode. A crackling wood stove down in our basement during the cold Duluth winters of the 1970-80s was the pleasant ‘second-warmed’. We were truly twice warmed, with one of those times being sweaty and full of mosquitoes.

Making a paddle is like that, minus the Cro-magnon physical labor aspect that wood heat requires. There’s a good bit less mosquitoes involved, too. Spend time in your garage making the paddle. That’s the ‘first warmed’. Getting that piece of wood out on the water becomes the (hopefully) ongoing and repetitive ‘second-warmed’. Hopefully, there’s only a few mosquitoes around for your version of ‘second-warmed’.

I still have the first paddle I made and I still derive a good deal of pleasure whenever I opt to use it. It still works. It still feels good and I am still twice warmed.

My paddles have evolved over the years as I have improved in my craft and explored other materials and styles. The first one was not the only one, rather it was like dipping my toe in the lake and finding it to be a pleasant temperature. My shop is full of paddles now, and full of wood waiting to become kits and custom paddles.

I hope you’ll consider the double pleasures of making a paddle. It’s just like wood heat, but without the hard labor. You’ll be ‘twice-warmed’ in the best of ways !!

Summer 2017 in the books

September 5, 2017

The first few non-green maple leaves are showing up in my yard this week.


It seems like I barely paddled this summer.  The usual suspects popped up and robbed me of my time. However, there was some paddling.  Seems like most often the paddling I do tends to be with people that have never been on a paddle board before, or with people that just haven’t paddle before.

Like Canadians for example. We had a family reunion this summer and somehow our Canadian relatives managed to get across the border. And? We took them paddling.


That’s all in the rear view mirror now, though. Next up?

This fall wavetrainSUP is rolling out double bend paddles, both ready to use paddles and kits.

Later on, as winter rolls around, we’re also going to have a go at paddleboards. Not paddles. The bigger chunks of wood that do the floating not so much of the paddling. 

That’s what took up so much time this summer. 

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that ‘new product development’ is not a time and money sink, although I am hard pressed to find a more pleasant way (other than paddling) to spend summer days.

happy trails! paddling too!

Holiday Classic revised

December 20, 2016

wavetrainsup-holiday-greetingTwas the night before freezeup and all through the land
not a paddler was stirring – not even a kayaker
the paddles were stored in their cases with care
in the hopes that open water soon would be there
the children were nestled all snug behind the counter
while visions of paddling danced in their heads
with ma making dough and I behind the camera
we’d just settled down for a long night of cookie making
when out in the shop there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the kitchen to see what was the matter –
Away to the triple pane I flew like an overprotective father,
Tore open the insulating plastic screen and threw up the sash.
the moon on the edge of the newly cut cedar,
gave some lustre to the varnish on the paddles in the rack
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature paddleboard and eight tiny yoginis,
With a little old instructor so sunburnt and extroverted,
I knew in a moment s/he must be the saint of enjoying the water.
More rapid than downwinders his paddlers they stroked,
And s/he hollered and encouraged and hoped they all knew how to swim
“Now, Grom! now, newbie! now whitewater kitten!
On, rookie! on, funseeker! Wear your cold water mitten!
To the top of the wavetrain! to the top of the drop!
Now jstroke now jstroke now feather it all!”

– and that’s about it for my feeble rhyming abilities. Three daughters are home now. Two of them were the ‘models’ for paddles this summer. The oldest was off playing college soccer. They’re hunting for hidden presents, eating cookies for breakfast, and already getting bored. A true winter time family fest.

I hope each of you are finding joy in its many different forms here at the end of the year!

Sunset paddling in magic light

November 7, 2016

sunset paddling on the yahara river We decided to take advantage of the last night before Daylight Savings Time ends and it starts getting dark after lunch here in northern flyover country 🙂 We loaded and scurried and arrived at the newly redone haunted old Dyreson Bridge with the sun still in the sky. Just barely. For once, there were others on my favorite stretch of the Yahara, in fact there were even kids playing on one of the docks that has stood empty and forlorn for years. I guess we all knew that days are getting short and fun near the water is drawing to a close.

Magic light descended on us within minutes of getting on the water. The marsh grass lit up in a golden hue, my old beat up kaholo even looked good. My wife’s skin and hair glowed just right. The colors in the paddle blade emerged.  Magic evening light is really hard to beat. Every time I am able to immerse in it, good things happen. It’s even better when I throw in my good camera at the last minute.

Best of all though, were the reflections. The wind calmed, leaving glassy water and silence. btw, this stretch of water has enough current that geese tend not to like it, so the quiet was even deeper. Everything offered a perfect reflection, the grass, the trees, the people. It’s a beautiful thing.

Magic light. Quiet water. Perfect paddle.

Wood working. With Your Hands.

October 20, 2016


I enjoy, maybe even have some passion for, wood and paddle making. One of the many beauties of woodworking is the degree to which it absorbs all of your senses. It’s really cool. At least for me it is. The radio is on in the background, the cedar (or redwood and walnut in the picture above) smells awesome and the hand plane is making these neat little sounds. Bit by bit the shaft comes into the shape I want, time passes, and I am absorbed in what goes on in front of me with hand and tool and wood. For me, there’s nothing else like it. Exercise, reading, even paddling, all  come up short in comparison to the sheer multi sense pleasure tickle that hand tools and a piece of wood give me.

So next time the TV is on and yet you’re bored, or your home from work, the lawn does not need mowing and it’s still warm out, have a go with the stack of wood in your garage and the spokeshave that’s calling your name and patiently waiting to tickle. I think you’ll find your brain goes on auto-pilot and you are absorbed in the sheer pleasure of creating something by hand. Your hand.

Taking Time to Enjoy the Water. Simple.

September 20, 2016


Out on the edge of the continent, in that tiny little 100 yard strip of water in the surf zone there’s usually plenty of action with paddles and sup, etc. It’s easy to assume that because we see so much of that little tiny 100 yard strip that everything in SUP must be like that. Young blond women in bikinis, paddling hard to catch the wave while looking good for the front side camera.

It just ain’t so.

Young blond women, like my daughter here, can sit down on a paddleboard and simply look at nature and listen to the birds and sometimes even the silence. No front side camera. No furious paddling to catch the wave. No Beach Boys playing in the background about the eternal party ongoing in the 100 yard strip of trend setting Americana.

Someday I’ll do the math, but I’m sure the number is staggering. Inland water, flyover water, fresh, flat water like this stretch of the Yahara is the staggering majority of paddling water. I’ll bet 99.995% of paddling water is like this and excludes the surf zone. It’s not all about the frenzy of the surf zone. It trends followed the numbers, it would be about flyover water in all its simple and many beauties. Yet somehow, the gnat on the tail of the dog, wags the dog. That silly little surf zone makes the market so to speak, while we here in flyover country happily enjoy the silence and simplicity of good paddling water.

North Americans are blessed with an abundance of beautiful simple water to get out and immerse in. Feel the silence. Listen to the little waves hit the bottom of the board.

Flyover water rocks. I love it.

Summer Day on Flyover Water

September 13, 2016


It’s gorgeous this time of year. At least to my eyes, the light is starting to seem a bit different as we approach the autumnal equinox (9/22 this year btw). Trivia question for the day – what is an equinox? Bonus point for difference between equinox and solstice. I offer no answer, save to write that relief for this burning unanswered trivia is but one easy Google search away.

Anyway, it’s gorgeous out. The geese are just starting to fly overhead and we just had our first ground fog morning. No color yet, but it is coming soon! Our middle daughter and I managed to make it out for a paddle before she left for college. Wish there had been time for more. Oh well. I’m guessing when you want to see your kids more and not less it must mean you are getting old?

It was a perfect day for simple flyover country water – For those of you near Madison, WI., the stretch of the Yahara river between Lake Kegonsa and Mud Lake is superb simple wild water, just a stone’s throw from an urban area. Easy access at multiple points and you hardly ever see other paddlers.

My own youthful years had a fair amount of wild water out on the Salmon and other western rivers. Even with a brain full of those cherished memories, I find myself hugely enjoying the simple act of paddling flyover water like this. Stunning. Gorgeous. Simple.

Canoecopia in rear view mirror

March 14, 2016

Just like so many of the other CC events, this year’s version of Canoecopia hummed with energy and good stuff. For me it’s fun just to see aisles packed with people all revolving around paddling – one way or another. After talking with so many other enthusiasts, now more than ever I really enjoy the neat place that paddlemaking occupies. The combination of making something with your own hands that you then use with your own hands is a great feeling. Lots of good vibes.

CC2016  was wavetrainSUP’s jump into offering complete paddles in addition to the paddle kits that have long been our standard fare. Building paddle from concept through completion was what got me started with wavetrainSUP in the first place after all. Creating Happy Ghosts, Solid Citizens, Knotty Farmhands, and Old School Reds puts me right back in the mindset of making something. It’s all absorbing. I love the place I find myself in when I am making a paddle. There’s nothing quite like shaping a shaft or finishing a blade that offers such an absorbing combination of physical work and mental focus. I love it.

There’s lots of updating to the website. If you came by the booth you saw all the paddles as well as the parts and pieces. Now it’s time to go into camera mode and refresh the website with imagery that matches everything in the booth.

Happy paddling! Jeff

PS – I hope you will sign up for our newsletter!


Free copy of book **

February 16, 2016

A few years back I wrote a book about making bent shaft paddles. It was a version 1 book. A couple years later it is in dire need of refinement and updating. So don’t buy this current version. Wait for the update. It’ll be out shortly after Canoecopia.

If you already purchased the book, I will give you a free copy of the updated book. Sorry about the timing, if you’ve already made a paddle. Hopefully the updated book will inform a bit more for your second paddle.

To get your free copy just take a picture of you and the book or the paddle you made based on the book and email it to paddle(at)