Saturday, February 27, 2010

Outdoor Adventure Show Paddles

Had a chance last night to check out the Toronto version of the Outdoor Adventure Show. While not exclusively a paddling expo, there were plenty of canoe related booths interspersed amongst the camping shops, travel booths, and other sections. Unfortunately forgot the camera so no pics for you, but hopefully the links below will provide some nice internet browsing & distraction.

Commercial brands such as the new Badger Paddles were well displayed, especially their funky water colour stained paddles. Canadian Outdoor Equipment had a selection of Lolk paddles for viewing. First time I got a chance to check out these paddles since the company has no internet presence and few distributors but a nice reputation for quality. Great stuff, but without taking away from either company, I personally found the pear grips to be too small and standardized for my enjoyment.

Also on display were the new 2010 Canvas Woods Packs for sale at the steep price of $235 CDN. Better quality than some of the others I've seen recently, but I'm still glad I ended up salvaging/renewing my pack for around $50 for the pack and leather components.

What really caught my eye was a noticeable interest in paddle making as there were 3 different booths with handmade paddles were being carved at the show. After finally meeting Mike, a fellow Toronto canoeing blogger, we had a nice chat about paddles designs over at the booth of Sticks & Stones Wilderness School. The booth was being manned by founder Skeet Sutherland who was working on a sweet looking paddle with a modified grip. Mike mentioned the style was very much like the design of W. Bruce Smith who seems to be another local paddle maker with some beautiful designs.

The Canadian Canoe Museum had their fantastic booth with a shaving horse setup and some paddle blanks being worked on. Had a chance to talk to Workshop coordinator Beth Stanley about pack baskets and Curator Jeremy Ward about his fantastic 36 foot bark canoe featured in the Ray Mears Northern Wilderness series. Seeing this behemoth being poled upstream was a real highlight of the show. Posted the YouTube clip about it below (footage at around 1:20 mark).

If anyone in the GTA is interested in attending, the show runs until tomorrow Sunday, February 28, 2010, from 10am - 5pm.

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