The Paddle In The Park Contest is back for 2015!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week - Wax Your Cheese

Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week includes information on paddling, camping, portaging, boat transport, and maintenance tips, as well as any other information that we may find to be useful around our sett.

I don't know about you, but we like to bring cheese with us on our canoe trips. (Quite frankly I can't live without it!) And when Mike and I were just starting out together, he surprised me with a technique* for waxing and preserving cheese that can really make the difference on a long or even short trip into the bush.

Waxing your cheese stops the cheese from sweating and getting that "white stuff" all over it.  And I love cheese so much - it's probably one of the reasons why I married him!

Preserving Cheese for Canoe Trips:
  1. Cut chilled cheese** into meal size blocks. 
  2. Wet cheese cloth (Mike used J-cloths!) with vinegar (enough to saturate the cloth but not soaking wet).
  3. Wrap cheese blocks individually with the cloth wet with the white vinegar.
  4. Dip into melted paraffin wax to seal. Repeat.
  5. Coat the cheese blocks with the wax enough to have a thick layer when it hardens.
  6. Note: Do not have the wax too hot as it will be harder to get a good coat of the paraffin on the cheese, noting that if you don't want to use paraffin - you can substitute cheese wax or even make your own using non-toxic crayon wax.
See the original here: CCR- Gear
Then, when you are out on your wilderness trip, you just have to open up one of the waxed blocks of cheese for your meal. It is like having a fresh block of cheese right out of the package every time - a great way to add some flavour to a meal (or snack) on a long canoe trip. And don't be worried about how the vinegar will affect the taste of the cheese. Mike has a real aversion to vinegar (it really bothers him). But he swears by this technique, even reports he isn't bothered by any vinegar taste or by any overpowering smell at all. That's saying something- believe me!

As a side note, I entered this very tip to the Canadian Canoe Routes website not long after the first time I tried it on a trip with Mike - you can still see it here: Tips And Tricks-Preserving Cheese. There was also a photo submitted (see picture above), by a canoe manufacturer in Temiskaming, of my father and I for the Canadian Canoe Routes' website's gear section.

*Mike had learned this technique, among other things, from his professor, Clair Magee.
**This technique is not recommended for really soft cheeses and is best utilized for hard cheeses like cheddar, etc.

Do you have any tips to share? Send us your tips and paddling advice - and if your tip is featured here - we will send you a free Badger Paddles sticker!!! All you have to do is email us your suggestions.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kirk Wipper - The Man And The Canoe

His is a household name amongst many Canadian canoeists and kayakers, alike. So it is no surprise to learn of the number of people touched by his very sudden and recent passing. They are saying Kirk Wipper has paddled on... a fitting statement for this man and his soul. There is no doubt that he truly has paddled on and away, but not before touching and inspiring multiple generations to love the wilderness, themselves, this planet and their place in it. For those of us lucky enough to have played or worked with him in the past, to have gotten to know him a little or a lot, we were given a very rare gift.

A man like Kirk is unparalleled. His gentlemanly character, outgoing personality, his drive and passion, his giving spirit, his wisdom, and the humorous twinkle in his eye, made a huge impression on me when we first met over ten years ago. And, what else would Kirk say to me upon meeting me for the first time other then "Can you guess how old I am?" He laughed when I guessed way too young... but could you blame me? He was so full of energy and vitality it was too hard tell his actual number of years!

An actual Bill Mason
stamp was incorporated
into the paddle Fiona
designed and painted
for Kirk after meeting
him in Merrickville.
At the time, when we first met, we were at the Canoe Symposium in Merrickville. I was painting wilderness scenes on paddles. It was also the year that the Bill Mason stamp was launched. Mr. Wipper bought a paddle from me and took my business card. It wasn't long after that I heard from Mr. Wipper ("call me Kirk") as he wanted to commission a paddle in honour of Bill Mason, the stamp that was created in Bill's likeness, and in celebration of canoeing.  This included a personal invitation to his house. You can imagine my excitement in receiving such a worthy task from such a great man!

I also remember getting a personal tour of the Canadian Canoe Museum when it was just a warehouse full of boats... and dreams. Kirk was truly beside himself with the excitement of it all. Things were just starting to come together for the museum. And the class of paddling students, who were taking a break from their Basic Instructor course that day, myself included, were in absolute awe of the collection and history of it all.  Kirk had the ability to make us see past the dust and poor lighting and tarp covered canoes and kayaks to the beauty of our past and the possibilities of a great future. That day, Kirk, as co-founder, made us all very aware, that paddling was more then just getting into a boat and moving water with your paddle blade. Kayaking and canoeing was a large piece of our noble history, part of our culture and in our blood. It was a way of life that needed to be respected and honoured. And, this museum was going to ensure the Canoe was destined to be part of our future.
Mike and Fiona with Kirk at a Canoe Symposium
I would continue to see Kirk at various events until I dropped out of the paddle sports industry for a while after having our son, Makobe, but he was not really ever far from my mind (as my past online posts on various forums would tell*). When you meet someone like Kirk, their positive influence on how you see yourself, your life, and especially your impact on this world and others, is never far from thought. Kirk was a motivator and encourager, he was animated, full of passion and had a strikingly bright spark for life. He had an extraordinary respect for our planet, for Native culture and his fellow man/woman. Unfortunately, his last lesson to me was never put off 'till tomorrow what you can do today.... as I was planning on contacting him this summer to catch up and tell him all about Makobe and Badger Paddles and me calling him "Sir" Kirk Wipper. I know he would have gotten a good chuckle over that. But now he is gone from this earth.

And I will never forget him.

The Man And The Canoe
There once was a man, a keeper, of the wilderness.
There once was a Canoe, also a keeper of the wilderness.
There once was a meeting of these spirits.
The man and the Canoe became brothers.
This man revered his brother and the Canoe made many friends.
The man and his friends made a special home for the Canoe.
They found him shelter.
They made him a museum.
They honoured the Canoe.
The Canoe was grateful to his brother.
The Canoe's friends were grateful to his brother.
For without the man, who shared his View From The Stern,
The Canoe would be lost.
Forgotten by the masses.
And without the Canoe, by which we lived,
Our heritage would be lost.
Our wilderness, forgotten.
Without the Canoe, we would not be Canada.
And without this man, we would not be who we are... still... today.
Canadian. Canoeists.

My heart, and deepest of sympathies, are with his very beautiful wife, Ann, his family and his friends. My thoughts also go out to the paddling community as we are all mourning the loss of this very special man who meant so much to so many of us. May he rest in peace.

Written by Fiona Westner-Ramsay

Please take the time to visit and share your thoughts and memories of Kirk.  The Canadian Canoe Museum is also honouring their co-founder with a gathering as well. Perhaps we will see you there, as Mike and I are hoping to be able to attend to honour Kirk's memory and celebrate his amazing life.


*From the Canoeroots Online Forum in 2009:

Mike Ormsby wrote:
What did you find to be the Top Events or News on Canoeing or Paddling in the last decade???? Everybody seems to be making their Top Ten Lists for 2000 to 2010....especially now the decade is coming to an end. So what are your suggestions?????

Fiona Westner-Ramsay wrote:
There is someone/something who stands out in my mind over the past decade and that is the work, life and reputation of Kirk Wipper, his founding of the Canadian Canoe Museum, and the respect and recognition he has brought to canoeing and it's deep history.
I believe he was knighted in recognition of his distinctive contributions to his country (and passion), around the beginning of this decade, by Canada's Governor General.
To me, Kirk Wipper is one of the great nobleman of canoeing and his continued legacy is a gift to all paddlers; young or old; Canadian or not. His impassioned efforts have allowed all of us to take pride in our heritage and ensure future generations continue the knowledge and tradition of paddling.

Sir Kirk Wipper has bestowed a great gift to all of us, in the selfless manner he has come to be known for. And... even though he is considered elderly now, he still continues to travel and speak about his passion (and ours). What an inspiration!!!!!! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week - Best Way to Store a Canoe Paddle

Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week include information on paddling, camping, portaging, boat transport, and maintenance tips, as well as any other information that we may find to be useful around our sett.

Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week - Best Way to Store a Canoe Paddle

This example, of a cherry wood rack,
is designed to hang 2 canoe paddles.
If you haven't already invested in a paddle rack, then now is the time to do it. Solid wood paddles are susceptible to warpage, over time, if stored improperly - especially if left standing or leaning against any wall or surface. Even to lay a paddle flat can cause damage when other items are invariably thrown on top causing scratches, dents or even a bad twist. The best way to store a paddle is to hang it (vertically) in a paddle rack. A Google search (for images) quickly proves paddle racks come in all shapes and sizes, and are made from different materials. And don't forget, all paddles should be stored indoors, to protect them from the elements and sun damage as well as any temperature fluctuations, in order to prolong the life of the paddle.

This example shows a 5 paddle rack in use.
An example of a more modern rack from Oak Orchard.
Do you have any tips to share? Send us your tips and paddling advice - and if your tip is featured here - we will send you a free Badger Paddles sticker!!! All you have to do is email us your suggestions.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week - Novice Paddlers

This Spring, we are starting a new series on this Blog we will be referring to as Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week.  Badger's weekly tips will include information on paddling, camping, portaging, boat transport and maintenance tips, as well as any other information that we may find to be useful around our sett.

Badger Paddles' Tip of the Week - Novice Paddlers

One of the most dreaded experiences for novice paddlers, or beginning canoeists, is the fear of tipping. Depending on a boat's initial stability, a beginner may feel and fear almost every movement in a canoe - to start. To help combat that jerky reaction to any movement in a boat, try having the newbie sit facing the stern - instead of the bow. This way, they will be able to see any movement you (or others) create and the instability they fear will not be so scary if they can "see it coming".  Once they feel more comfortable and get used to the feel of the canoe, they will feel more confident when facing forward in the future.

Do you have any tips to share? Send us your tips and paddling advice - and if your tip is featured here - we will send you a free Badger Paddles sticker!!! All you have to do is email us your suggestions.

Who's Who of Devoted Paddlers-Liz Clingman

There truly are a great many of us who are devoted to our passion for paddling - and while some get recognized for it, others never really do.

Badger held a contest for people who love to paddle and who also enjoy expressing their devotion to paddling in writing.  We called it Badger's HighWater Marks - A Who's Who of Devoted Paddlers Contest.  There was an "exam" given and the results were.. well.. remarkably high!

And we found many people who aren't famous or known for their paddling adventures or exploits but who are just as devoted as those who are.....

Here is one of the winning entries* with a significantly HighWater Mark by Liz Clingman:

Note:  Liz's entry was originally published on her Facebook profile via her "Notes" and is our second "FEATURED PADDLER".  You can see that original entry here: Badger Paddles' High Water Marks Honour Roll. Liz is one of the few woman entries that we received yet there is no doubt that she is as devoted as it gets!!!

Badger's Who's Who Exam
Real Name: Liz Clingman
Approximate Age: Over the speed limit
Country: USA

1. # of Years Paddling: 17 years - got good in a short amount of time!

2. How many boats in your fleet? Current fleet 1 - a Swift Mattawa - saving for a Swift Mattawa in Kevlar Fusion

3. Oil verses Varnish? Do you have a preference? Why? Oil it looks so much better and I think holds up better

4. Where do you paddle? Anywhere I can - my favorites so far are Algonquin, French River, Boundry Waters

5. Are you, or have you ever been, part of the paddle sports industry professionally? Volunteer for Cleveland Metro Parks Institute of the Great Outdoors (IGO)

"Odd mad out solos."
6. Do you have a blog, facebook or twitter account where you advocate for the power of self-propusion? What is it? (link to your blog or website and it's title if public) I am on Facebook and often advocate for IGO's canoe programs.

7. Favourite wood and paddle shape? Walnut Badger Tail (your's look really good)

8. If you were a Badger WaterColours Paddle - what colour would you be? Anything goes here! Purple to match my shoulders after portaging 9 miles (in a week). That is why I am dreamin' of the Kevlar Fusion!

9. Have you ever tipped your canoe & how did that happen? Was getting in one chilly October morning. I stepped in and sat down and the next thing I knew I was under water. My partner that trip was one of the leaders and of course she had gotten in first. She was behind me when I got in so I don't know what she did to tip us?!? :)
"Part of that 9 miles!"

10. What is your favorite wilderness tripping meal/paddling snack? Quesadilla's (a Clarion River favorite) Snack = have to say pretzel to keep my canoe partner happy.

11. Do you solo? Definitely even tried my hand at Freestyle. I am always the solo paddler when the paddler numbers are odd.

12. What’s the best advice you have to give to a beginner paddler? Keep doing it

13. What 3 words best describes the way you feel about paddling or that inspire you the most to get out on the water, year after year?? Not at work

14. Where does your heart truly lie: Wooden/Canvas, Composite (i.e. Kevlar, Fibreglass etc.), Plastic or Aluminum? Kevlar Fusion with Carbon Fusion gunwales!

15. Who took you out for your first time paddling and what was your age when your took your first adventure in a canoe/kayak? My husband and I was 43.

16. Who was your best paddling partner or inspiration? Paddling partner - Coleen (she told me I had to put her). Inspiration - Jeremy (although he tried to turn me to the dark side by putting me in a kayak).
"What keeps me coming back to the water."
17. Do you know of or can you describe a canoe/paddling game? Grab the duct tape - you try to yank the duct tape off the front of someone else's canoe while still protecting yours.

18. How tall are you and what length of paddle do you prefer? 5'7" (67") tall and 56" paddle

19. Have you ever tried Stand Up Paddling? (SUP) Not yet

20. Do you have nicknames for your boat(s), paddle(s), and other gear? If so - what are they? No, but have some for people I have paddled with.

*To see all the winners and more, please visit: Badger's Who's Who of Devoted Paddlers on the official Badger Paddles website. And don't forget to watch our Facebook page or Twitter feed for more contests and great giveaways from Badger...