Archive for the ‘Canoecopia’ Category

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 !!

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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!

SUP in a lake, simple paddleboarding

January 18, 2016


It’s been awhile since I surveyed the “industry” that wavetrainSUP seems to be in. In this case, I searched Twitter for the keyword “paddleboard”. Wow. Either wavetrainSUP is an outlier or…I don’t know.

I found nothing about the simple pleasure of paddleboarding. It’s not all surfing and racing after all. There’s plenty of space for getting out on a nice summer day. Of course it’s winter now, so the above shot reminds me of what is coming in just a few months I hope.

So here’s the thing – my background is all freshwater and simple pleasures, like paddling one of the many lakes here in Wisconsin. Usually that paddling includes a paddleboard I built myself and a paddle I made myself as well. Some fishing, lots of picture taking, sometimes I even take our little dog along on the paddle.

I almost always have the water to myself. It’s quiet, there’s lots of birds, and looking down into the water is kind of mesmerizing.

Skis are in storage and the paddles are back out

March 16, 2015

Spring must be here. Canoecopia is the proof. Or at least we’re close to spring. Part of me thinks a big March snowstorm is lurking, but even with that there still is not enough snow time left to get in skiing shape, so let’s bring on spring. This past weekend was a busy one with Canoecopia taking place. The aisles looked as crowded as always.

I spent the morning at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center booth volunteering for them and the afternoon up in the Atrium talking about paddles and part and pieces and this that and the other. Three hours went by in the blink of an eye and then it was over for me. I realized what I need to invent is a paddle carrier. Getting stuff into the show and then back out of the show is the hardest part of the whole drill. Lots of people stopped by. Good questions. Hope I gave good answers!

Happy trails!