Today I saw the first press release for Canoecopia and was excited to discover that Jon Turk is going to be this year’s keynote speaker. Jon Turk is an adventure writer planner of expeditions to the wild corners of the world. This year he will be speaking about his 1,400 mile sea kayak circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island which earned Turk Canoe and Kayak Magazine’s "2012 Expedition of the Year award."

If you haven’t been to Canoecopia you should mark it on your calendar to attend. It’s been described as the world’s largest consumer canoe, kayak and outdoor expo and it all takes place this year March 8th-10th.

I was also invited to speak at Canoecopia as well though I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t mentioned in the press release. I mean, how hard is it to drop in a sentence right at the end along the likes of, "oh yeah, some guy from Toronto is also speaking".

As far as presentations, I’m going to be blabbing on about two different topics. The first one is about the wonders of paddling in Georgian Bay (I’m really going to sell it!). The second topic is about the search and rescue machine and what exactly happens after you put the mayday call out while out on your canoe or kayak trip.

I’m over the rejection of top billing I just hope that I don’t get listed below the official Canoecopia pupper show. That would be embarrassing.

Photo credit: Eric Boomer

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:55

Long Term Review: Adanac Greenland Paddle

About a year ago Jill Ellis from Adanac Paddles contacted me to see if I would be interested in testing a new prototype Greenland paddle design she was working on. I quickly yes so when the paddle was ready I was invited to come and visit her woodworking shop in the booming city of Dover Centre, Ontario (population 11 people).

One of the things that I learned while visiting Adanac Paddles world headquarters was that every single paddle is custom made to order. When an order submitted, Jill contacts the buyer and asks for a variety of measurements including the arm span, elbow to wrist length, elbow to fingertip, as well as the diameter of your first finger and thumb when doing the "OK" symbol.

Adanac Paddles Logo

Though it sounds pretty precise, these follow the traditional measurements that would be taken from a Greenland or Inuit paddler for a new paddle. The advantage to this is that you receive a paddle that is custom built to your size. It also ensures that the overall length isn’t too long and unwieldy, the paddle shaft (or loom) isn’t too thick and the width of the blade at the end is just wide enough for your hands to grip when rolling or paddling with an extended blade. Long sentence short, you get a paddle that just fits.

As mentioned before, the paddle that Jill made for me was a prototype model she had been working on. The overall shape of the paddle itself was similar to other traditional Greenland designs but what made this Western Cedar unique was the bone like material added to the blade tip for protection from rocks and ice. At the time, Jill was testing the material as well as a new way of attaching it to the blade itself.

One of my goals over the past year was to take the paddle out in a wide variety of conditions including large surf, rocks and ice and try to break the tip off. A year later and I’m quite pleased to say I haven’t busted it yet.

How do I like the paddle? The short answer is that I love it. The finish on the wood is a mixture of oil and wax so it’s super smooth on the hands. It will also be easy to sand out and scratches and buff up with more oil down the road.

While the new tip did add a very small amount of extra weight, the trade-off is a very strong paddle for playing in and amongst rocks. Overall I think the addition if it is well worth it considering how rough I am with all my paddling gear. For example, the photo below is one of the rough water tests I put the paddle through here in Toronto.

Welcome to Canada! (We like you already)

The first time I took the paddle out on the water I was also quite pleased to discover that there was very little blade flutter when pulling the paddle through the water. Also, when it comes to rolling, the blade sliced through the water very smoothly and since this particular one is made of Western Cedar it’s super buoyant making rolling that much less work.

When ordering, Adanac offers several different paddle models available in different wood options (from domestic to exotic) so you are going to be able to get exactly what you are looking for. If you choose to "pimp your paddle", Jill will carve a very cool graphic (of your choosing or design) into the tip. My friend Rob got this very nice design carved into his paddle when he ordered it. Did you know that Jill was a champion bird carver? Highly detailed finches were her specialty so you can be confident that the design will come out perfect.

Adanac Paddles - Paddle Pimped

If you already have your own Greenland Paddle and interested into building your collection of Greenland paddling accessories Jill also builds very nice Norsaqs as well as Harpoons. The Harpoons are custom orders so contact Jill and she can give you full pricing and order details.

Adanac Paddles Norsaq's.

Adanac Paddles Harpoon

They really are a work of art.

More info: Adanac Paddles

Rough Water Photo Credit: Andy Barrow
Norsaq Photo Credit: Adanac Paddles
Harpoon Photo Credit: Chris Johnston
All other photos taken by myself.

Congratulations to Dane Jackson for winning the White Water Grand Prix for the second year in a row.

The White Water Grand Prix is a fantastic competition where 30 of the worlds best whitewater kayakers compete in five events over 14 days. Last year the event took place in Quebec, Canada while this year they traveled to the Futaleufu River in Chile.

You can get all the info and full event results here.

Here is a great clip that event sponsor, Tribe Rider put out of the BoaterCross stage.

And who doesn’t like lego animation?

Photo credit: Tait Trautman Photography

Monday, 17 December 2012 21:06

Where Should We Go Camping? [Funny]

Trying to decide where to go camping can be a tough decision...

Image credit:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:20

Skook Classified: The Journey just posted part two of their ongoing series called Skook Classified. Episode 2: The Journey is a great little short film telling the story of The Hurricane Riders putting together Skookfest, an invite-only extreme rough water sea kayaking event in the tidal rapids at Skookumchuck Narrows , B.C which took place this past October.

Speaking of rough water, make sure you take some time and check out which is a really great website filled with the greatest rough water sea kayaking videos on the net. It’s curated by both The Hurricane Riders and Nick Castro from Active Sea Kayaking.

If you have always wanted to paddle Skook but feel you don’t have enough skills or guts, Nick from Active Sea Kayaking is going to be offering training in April and June of 2013. The multi-day course is focusing specifically on sea kayak surfing and paddling in tidal currents. Nick promises that things will start off gently than build up from there. Sounds awesome.

Check out the quick video below:

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 13:01

Sneak Peek: The New and Improved P&H Aries

I recently got sent a couple photos of the updated P&H Aries that is just starting to arrive in North America from the UK factories. The Aries is the fibreglass (or Kevlar) model that is very similar to the rotomolded plastic and highly successful Delphin.

Though the Aries has been out for a couple years, they have made some design adjustments based on feedback from boat owners and P&H team paddlers (which I’m a member of).

Apologizes in advance as a couple of the photos are not the greatest but it will give you an idea of what to expect in the spring when the boats show up at your local paddling shop.

The biggest change is the addition of a day hatch. To make room they changed the existing rear hatch from a large turkey platter to a smaller 8” round cover to match the front. This change totally makes sense since the vast majority of people are not packing this boat for a 10 day expedition and a day hatch is bit more practical.

They are now recessed slots in the bow for a spare paddle. Looks like a nice design feature that will help keep paddleshafts in place in surf.

P&H Aries front deck with new recessed paddle holders.

The security bar has been moved from directly behind the seat to between the day and rear hatch. The gap below the security bar looks slightly deeper as well so it should fit thicker lock cables than older models. The other advantage to this move is that the new location will also make it function better if you set your boat up for a deck mounted tow line.

P&H Aries rear deck.

Check out those new thigh braces! I can see the whitewater outfitting influence here and they should give you more boat control.

P&H Aries cockpit.

A couple of other updates include the new improved skeg slider system as well as improved stainless steel backband ratchets. No more rusting in salt water!

It’s never a good sign when rescue officials refer to you in the local paper paper as, "incredibly under prepared, inexperienced and did everything wrong."

This comment was dished out by Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt after the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter in New Zealand had to go and pick up a father and son duo that planned to paddle down a 60km section of the Tutaekuri River . The pair thought it would taken them 5-7 hours to complete.

"They were located near the Maungatutu end [of the river], having travelled about 5km in 24 hours. The planned trip was about 60km long on the river which has a low water flow at this time of year and is not normally suitable for this type of kayak trip.

"With their speed of travel it would have taken about five days to cover the distance they intended and that would have involved a lot of walking."

The article also made a summary of some of their other mistakes:

  • The pair wore light clothing and were poorly equipped to stay out overnight.
  • They were wearing life jackets but had no means of emergency communication.
  • A cellphone they took with them was "useless" as the area had no coverage.

You can read the full story here.

Photo credit: Martin Cathrae - Creative Commons

Just imagine how envious your camping neighbours will be when you pull this out of your canoe and set-up shop. The only addition I would make is to add in a battery operated light that turns on when opened. People will swear that it’s filled with glowing gold.

Can somebody please rush this to market? Work with me people.

Photo Credit:

There is a new rough-water sea kayaking symposium taking place this coming September in the Maritimes that you should plan to attend. The Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium will be a 3-day paddling event that combines world class coaching with paddlers in one of the most spectacular coastal setting in eastern North America, The Bay of Fundy.

Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium Logo

I just got an email from one of the event organizers, Christopher Lockyer who mentioned that they are looking for coaches for the event. If you are interested in teaching you should apply [pdf link]. The application deadline is February 1, 2013.

Check out their website for more info.

Top photo credit: BOFSKS

Paddling Headquarters Logo

I’m super excited to finally unveil Paddling Headquarters, the next step for Paddling Instructor.

The idea for the rebrand started a couple of months ago when I was looking back through the site archives and I realized that even though there is a lot of teaching resources and “how to teach” articles scattered throughout, the site is much bigger than that. I think the name; Paddling Headquarters is more about what this place really is. A spot for people to come and discover the crazy weird stuff out there related to the outdoor world.

For those who might worry, I don’t have any plans to change the type of content I currently posting. It’s all stuff that interests me so why would I write about anything different? I do have plans to expand the instructor resources available for download over the winter as some of the existing content is getting a little long in the tooth.

So let me know what you think. I’m always interested in your thoughts, story ideas and suggestions.

A very special thanks to goes out to Keith Wikle for the name suggestion, it’s greatly appreciated. You should have heard the duds I was going to name it...

Instagram goodness


Get the newsletter


Strategic partner

Paddle Canada Logo