Sunday, June 13, 2010

MEC Paddle Fest

This weekend was the annual MEC Paddlefest held at Sunnyside Park, a quaint little part of the western beaches in Toronto. I swung by to help out a bit with the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association booth and hopefully see some other creative paddles. My little man accompanied me for a bit with his Mini Maliseet paddle in hand

Checking out the paddlefest

The weather didn't cooperate and the threat of thunderstorms and grey skies seemed to have limited the public turnout. It also didn't help that the supposed booth that the WCHA booked never materialized. In the end, their display was next to the Canadian Canoe Museum booth nestled rustically under a large tree.

Got a chance to meet other local members including Alex G & Rob S of Hamilton. Rob makes great Wannigans, had a packbasket on display, and is the distributor of traditional canoe gear like fire irons and reflector ovens - really fantastic stuff. Leaning against the tree was a hearty voyageur paddle made from walnut with a thick, beefy oval shaft.

Rob's Walnut Paddle with decorative sash

On Saturday, John Summers, the GM of the Canadian Canoe Museum was on hand doing some paddle carving and was kind enough to share some sharpening tips for the Stanley contractor spokeshaves that he was using. When I was able to swing by late the next day (after helping my cousins move on Sunday morning), Hal Bowen was taking over the reins on the shaving horse. Hal was one of the original instructors at the CCM paddle carving course that started this whole hobby of mine. Very nice to catch up with him again.

Paddle Carving on the beach

Rob's W/C boat and John's 1937 Old Town Sailing Canoe (apparently with orginal canvas) were there as demo boats. Wanted to bring my own canoe down, but logistics limited my ability to transport it down.

Some W/C boats on display

Badger paddles had their colourful display as part of the Swift Canoe booth and every time I tried to get a shot, there was always another customer in the frame checking out the designs. Got a chance to quickly meet Mike Ramsay and thank him for the Badger Paddle Sock he sent my way a while back. Really dig their orange paddle for extreme visibility. Might be appropriate for late season paddling during hunting season.

Badger's Paddle Racks

While the bulk of the show was devoted to plastic kayaks and new trends (including Stand Up Paddle Surfing), there was an intriguing booth showing off traditional greenland kayaks and paddles. Unfortunately lost the business card with name and details, but here's the pic...

Greenland Kayak & Paddles

The next paddling event I'm hoping to attend is the National Canoe Day celebration in Peterborough on June 26th.


Lee said...

Beautiful yak! with parents like us how can our children NOT get into this stuff!!! Great post.

BADGER® Paddles said...

Ha Ha! Improving visibility for paddlers during hunting season - we hadn't thought about that market before! LOL Perhaps there is some merit there.... but we were thinking more along the lines of paddling instructors (when showing students underwater recovery strokes during lessons). However - anything to improve safety for paddlers and portagers during hunting season sounds good to us!
BTW - Mike told me about your visit to the booth and how impressed he was with your paddle. He loved your grip - by the way. I myself would love to see a decorated one in person. They really are breathtaking. The very least they deserve is a sock seeing as they are incredible works of art and many museum worthy (in my opinion). And, I love how your little one runs around with his little Maliseet paddle. So cute! You may have to get him a colourful paddle soon - you could let him decorate it!!!
Happy paddling to you and yours, Murat!

Murat said...

Thanks Fiona! Whenever I think of orange, I guess I just think of hunting gear. Your idea of using coloured paddles for instructors to demonstrate strokes sounds a lot more practical.

The spoon style grip on the solo paddle I showed Mike was an experiment that I thought would work for solo paddling where often the grip hand has to subtly change positions for a variety of strokes. Lately though, I've been leaning more towards elongated guide style grips for their versatility and comfort. I'd love to meet up with you and Mike again and talk paddle designs. Will be in touch. Unfortunately not going to be able to go to our place on Pen Lake until the whole G8 thing is over.

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