Thursday, October 31, 2013

1934 - Reg Blomfield - Traditional Canoeing Skills Video

Many thanks to YellowCanoe over on the forums for posting a fantastic video find! It is dated to roughly 1934-1935 and features Reg. Blomfield, holder of International, Canadian and American Championships demonstrating some amazing paddling skills.

It was shot in Stoney Lake, Ontario just north of the historic canoe building centre of Peterborough. Reg. seems to be paddling a classic Peterborough / Lakefield style all wooden cedar strip canoe with its distinctive 1/2" oak ribs. These were the canoes in Ontario's cottage county and north before Chestnut cedar canvas canoes took over.

Unfortunately the audio is a little difficult but there are some great clips of traditional paddling techniques and demonstrations of his paddling and balanced virtuosity. Lots of crazy gimmicks too like launching and landing on a dock (a testament to the strength of the all wood canoes in those days) as well as some great footage of effortlessly surfing some waves.

At 4:35 he talks about the "Indian - Temagami Stroke" which features a particular short stroke with body bobbing to power the movement. I tend to favour this style in my own paddling technique instead of the modern, more rigid stroke advocated by experts today.

Check out the canoe over canoe stunt at the 10:00 mark. Hilarious - maybe something to try with "indestructable" royalex boats of today.

Water levels too low leaving your dock high and dry? Check out the dock exit and entry at 10:21!

Hope you enjoy the clip and it gets you excited for next year's paddling season.


Bryan Sarauer said...

Hey Murat, funny when I saw this video I was goign to sen you a note about it, but I see you already found it! I posted the same video on my blog today, too.

Murat said...

Thanks Bryan. Just checked out your post too...wasn't that just an amazing vid?

JohnF said...

Amazing footage. Thanks for sharing.

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