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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Swift's Guelph Lake Canoe & Kayak Demo/Sale

It is the Spring event we all look forward to every year!

Stop by the Guelph Lake Conservation Area for some fantastic deals on new & used canoes, kayaks and of course, new Badger Canoe Paddles.  Check out the latest products like the Badger Paddle Sock, Swift's new Barracuda cloth option,  and more!  You can test paddle the many models right on site to try before you buy with great prices on all PaddleSports accessories as well.   This sale is not only a great place to check out and pick up a great deal on a great boat - but - it is a lot of fun too!

Mike, from Badger Paddles will be there and will be able to answer all your Badger Paddle questions as well as any Swift inquiries with the rest of the Swift Team. For more information on this great canoe and kayak sales event, visit the Swift website or call 1-800-661-1429 for details.

You won't want to miss it!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grady's Gift: Paddle for SickKids Hospital

People choose to paddle for a variety of reasons;  to escape from their stresses, to get some exercise, to be in the fresh air or close to nature. Others enjoy the serenity & quiet seclusion it can bring to their lives. To many it is a tradition and part of one's heritage. But on July 10, 2010, there couldn't be any better reason to go for a paddle then to remember a special little child named Grady and to help to raise money for Grady's Gift.

Grady was a little boy who was lost to his family in May of 2009 when he was only 6 months old.  Little Grady suffered from HLHS* (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) - a rare heart defect that sadly took his life - but not before he touched the hearts of many.  And while Grady's family was truly grateful for all the wonderful SickKids staff and care, it wasn't until Grady was having his first operation that his parents Jen and Kevin, found they didn’t qualify for any of the programs the hospital has in effect to keep the parents of critically ill children near by in case of emergency.

Read more about Grady's precious life and his wonderful family on their website at

Grady's family's vision for Grady’s Gift is two fold. They would like to improve the overnight rooms so parents can use them as a place to centre themselves, to regain the strength necessary to spend another day at the bedside and expand the parent overnight rooms so that more parents can be accommodated each night.

How Can Paddling Help?

On Saturday July 10th, 2010, all paddlers are invited to join Grady's Paddle for SickKids as we canoe or kayak from the town of Burk's Falls, ON, down the flat water of the Magnetawan River and across Lake Ceceebe, to the village of Magnetawan. The route is 32km - there will be a shorter paddle for those who are beginners or time constrained (don’t worry…we’re going with the current!) - and it passes through some beautiful scenery just north of Muskoka.

Grady's Run- Canoe and Kayak down the Magnetewan River
Saturday July 10th, 2010

You too can spend your day enjoying the scenery and wildlife while getting some great exercise for a good cause.  Just like Mike and Fiona of Badger Paddles!  Yes - we will be there!

The event will be supported on the water and along the shore, including free transport from the finish back to the start for paddlers as well as their watercraft. Canoe and kayak rentals are available from local outfitters (many at a deep discount) for those who don't have their own.

There will be food, entertainment and great prizes at the end of the route. The grand prize --a 14' Sanarac Sport Kayak made by Swift Canoe-- will be awarded to the participant who collects the most pledges over $1,000.  It will be a fun filled family day sponsored by local business with great prizes, great food and entertainment.  Some of the other prizes include a Badger Paddle (a Nomad) and more!  Click here for all the details: Grady's Gift - Fundraising Details

Paddlers are asked to register and collect pledges in support of SickKids Hospital Critical Care Unit. Grady's Paddle for SickKids is sanctioned by SickKids Foundation and tax receipts will be issued for donations over $20.

On a personal note:
In 2002, our family also found themselves at SickKids Hospital in Toronto due to the complications our son, Makobe, had suffered at birth.   We too were ineligible for parent accommodations but the hospital staff went above and beyond to make many things possible for our family while we stayed with our baby boy.  And, while it was touch and go for a while - we were lucky enough to come home as a family after a month in Toronto.... Grady's family wasn't so lucky.

Grady passed away in his mother's arms on May 11, 2009.   And while Grady will never be forgotten by his family.... Grady's Gift means he will never be forgotten by us.

Thank you to Grady's parents Jen & Kevin, his grandparents and grandmother Judy, and the rest of his family, for bringing Grady, and his Gift to SickKids, into our hearts and minds.   Your strength and dedication to Grady's memory & legacy is a true testament to the human spirit and we at Badger Paddles are grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a compassionate cause.

Grady's Run - Canoe and Kayak down the Magnetewan River
Saturday July 10th, 2010

Grady’s Paddle for SickKids
c/o Judy Dibben, Co-ordinator
Box 104, Burks’s Falls, On. 

If you would just like to donate:
Sick Kids Foundation - Re: Grady's Gift
By Phone: 1-800-661-1053 and refer to Grady's Gift
By Mail: 525 University Ave., 14th Floor, 
Toronto, ON. Canada. M5G 2L3

By Cheque: Made out to: 'The Sick Kids Foundation' — Re: Grady's Gift

Refer to Grady's Gift in the field titled:
"please assign my gift to the following sick kids foundation fund" in the Survey Section.

For any other inquiries, please contact
Kevin or Jennifer at 905-516-6944

*Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a rare heart defect . The left side of the heart is smaller than the right, often so small that the heart can’t pump blood out to the rest of the body. Sick Kids is one of the few hospitals in the world able to give children born with HLHS a good chance at life. 20 years ago none of these children lived. Today as many as 70% become happy , active children. Click here for more.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Badger in America with Swift & Mountainman!

Finally we Canadian Badgers are going to see our American Badger Cousins.

Thanks to Swift Canoe & Kayak, for the first time Badger Paddles are going to available in the USA in the state of New York!

Thru the Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company for one weekend only!*

Mountainman is New York's largest Canoe & Kayak dealer and they are going on the road to the Adirondack Sports & Fitness Summer Expo at the Saratoga Springs City Center... and, they are taking Swift with them.

And... Swift is taking Badger!
This is an event you don't want to miss with great pre-season deals on boats and a chance to check out the BadgerPaws and Slivers as well as a few Cub WaterColours.  Not to mention - the very new and very versatile Badger Paddle Sock will also be available!  It'll fit just about any canoe paddle - from a thin solo blade to a bent shaft style so try one on (your paddle) and see what you think!  (Will work for 2 pc kayak paddles too - just buy 2 and cinch them together.)

Make sure to look for Swift and Bill (see photo on right) at the show.  You can even tell him "Badger says Hi!" or "Fiona sent me".  Let us know what he does!

The Adirondack Sports & Fitness Summer Expo takes place April 24th and 25th (Saturday and Sunday).  If you are going to be in the area - be sure to stop in and enjoy this fantastic show!  We just know you will "dig" it!

*If there is enough interest for Badger at this show there is a better chance you will be seeing Badger available thru Mountainman in the future so don't wait to adopt a Badger into your paddling home!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How to Maintain Oiled Gunnels and Wood Paddles

Many of you will be anticipating the warm temperatures so the paddling season can begin - while some of us have already been "moved" by a Spring paddle.

For those who are still getting ready for the season - this is the perfect time for ensuring your gear and equipment is in good condition or in need of some quick maintenance/serious repair before the paddling season really gets going.  Especially when the weather is good.  These maintenance steps, as seen below, can also be done as needed through out the paddling season as well - using a mask, protective eyewear and gloves where (or if) needed.

Maintaining an Oiled Paddle:
If you are preparing to oil your canoe paddle - be sure to check out our maintenance page and past posts on this blog.   Here and here.  And, while you are perusing the notes on maintaining an oiled and/or varnished paddle on a rainy Spring day - make sure you pick a sunny weekend to actually get to work.  Working outside provides the best ventilation and allows you to dig out your canoe for some maintenance too.  We also hear vitamin D is good for you!

Maintaining Oiled Gunnels on a Canoe:
If your gunnels typically get a lot of wear and tear from paddles, transport, portages or other heavy use, then it is best to go with an oiled finish.  Keep your eye on the weather reports and when you have a good couple days of sunshine and warmth - bring out your canoe - flip it so the gunnels are up and let it air dry in the sun for one of those days.  Even a garage may be musty and having a dry surface is important for the best results.  After that - you can take care of both your paddle and gunnels together.

To re-oil the gunnels/decks of your boat - just sand, using 220 grit paper, to remove any mold, mildew stains or to smooth out any roughened areas.  You can later sand with an even finer paper to make it really smooth for finishing - but it isn't really necessary.  After the sanding stage is finished - just wipe off the dust with a clean, dry cloth - you are ready to oil!

You can use your own mixture - or - as we tell our customers - Behr's Scandinavian Tung Oil* (found at Home Depot in Canada - see above photo) or a similar product will do.  A fine marine grade/outdoor quality product is recommended as these products usually offer UV protection.  After the sanding and dusting, wet a clean rag with the oil and apply liberally to the wooden gunnels, etc. on your canoe.  But try to keep it neat and not slop it on your boat shell or the gelcoat, if you can.  (We usually put the oil in a large open container only adding more oil as we need it.  Then we just dip our oil rag/cloth into the oil as we go for ease.)  Let the oil soak in and penetrate while you work your way around the rest of the canoe - oiling as you go.  You can even leave it for 10 minutes or so to allow more penetration while you take a break or oil your paddles - but don't leave it for too long or it will be thick and tacky when you return.

When you get back to where you started and feel the oil has time to penetrate the wood - take some fine sandpaper (320 grit will do) and "wet sand" the entire area that was oiled using the oil on the sand paper only. When you are back again to the starting point - take a clean, dry cloth and wipe off the excess oil.  The gunnels will still feel oily to the touch but if you allow that to dry for a few to several hours, you will return to find a dry oil finish.  Repeat this whole process a second or third time - depending on how many coats the wood needs - or how "thirsty" it is....  

If it the first time that the gunnels have been treated - we would recommend that you repeat the process at least 3 to 5 times to ensure enough finish has been built up to protect the wood.

From Varnished to Oiled:
If you are wanting to apply an oil finish to your gunnels that are varnished then you MUST REMOVE THE VARNISH FINISH FIRST or the oil will NOT penetrate the wood.   This can be done by hand sanding using coarse grit sand paper or - even quicker - with a machine or hand-held power sander.  Be sure to wear a dust mask to ensure you don't breath in any of the varnish dust.  When the wood is bare again - begin the oiling process as described above making sure that the first time you are oiling your gunnels that you use multiple coats of oil.  Once the gunnels are oiled - maintenance will be more simple needing less oiling during the maintenance process then the first time you apply the oil to just bare wood.

Cleaning Up:
It is extremely important to note that oil and the rags used in the oiling process are highly combustible.  Make sure to read all the instructions regarding application and disposal located on your product's label before you begin.  It is significant that you dispose of garbage and rags properly as these are are prone to spontaneous combustion (for example: if left in a heap on the floor).  Soak your rags in a bucket of water and/or lay flat to dry before disposal and be sure to use all necessary safety equipment.

*UPDATE: Behr's has recently been discontinued. Try Watco Teak oil instead or our Badger Wood Oil.