The Paddle In The Park Contest is back for 2015!

Monday, August 29, 2011

5 Reasons To Get Your Own Paddle According to A Passionate Portageur and Paddling Pooch

The following article was written by paddler, "portageur", best friend to Nancy, and blogger; Preston Ciere of the informative website, It is entitled: Get Your Own Paddle... where Preston - and Nancy - walk us thru 5 great reasons to possess and use your own canoe or kayak paddle(s). Thanks to Preston for allowing us to publish the following post, but an especially big thanks to Nancy, the loveable and loyal paddling pooch - who looks as comfortable paddling in her PFD as she does running the portages with Preston. We know this great article was all her idea!

Preston Ciere with his loveable
 and loyal paddling partner, Nancy.
Preston was born in Hamilton, Ontario. As a young child, he would wander off into the woods looking for what was out there, and has never really grown out of that. He spends every chance he can get wandering around the Ontario wilderness. When back in the city, he spends half his time entertaining other. He started his website as an outlet to tell his tales to the right audience. He’s also particularly funny and when not portaging enjoys writing in the third person.

Nancy was born somewhere in Louisiana (probably), and after migrating north into Canada, bulked up to become the ideal portageur. Her job is threefold: reconnaissance, security and ambassadorship. She stays alert to keep her group aware of any present dangers, especially small critters that would otherwise surely steal supplies. She’s always paving the way along and around the perimeter of portages, scouting the route for any dangers and showing the group how to get past obstacles – though she often forgets the lesser skills of her comrades. Of course the greatest asset she brings is her natural ability to greet new friends along the trails and rivers.  As a trade off to these skills, she rarely carries anything, and paddles even less, but all things considered, no one ever minds.

Guest Badger Blogger, Preston (and Nancy) Ciere, (Ontario, Canada)
Preston and Nancy lookin' cool in a canoe that has seen many miles.
Get your own paddle!

5 reasons why having your own
makes for a better paddling experience
After the movie “The Color of Money” came out, thousands of pool halls were filled with people walking in carrying a little case under their arms. They’d look down their mirrored sunglasses, pop it open and screw together their custom cue, peering around at who was watching them - no doubt, with “Werewolves of London” playing in their head. This was an annoying new trend to say the least - especially when once they started to play it became obvious that a custom cue didn’t make them any good. 

Paddling is nothing like pool (for one thing, you don’t want anything to sink). Having your own paddle has nothing to do with showing off, and isn’t just a luxury for professionals. It’s more about comfort and preference - making your paddling trips as enjoyable as possible. Admittedly, like a custom cue, it will make also you feel pretty cool. 

1 - Better than the rentals
Generally, when you rent a canoe it comes with paddles. So why would you want your own? Well, the paddles you get when renting a canoe are not the greatest. More often than not they’re those small bladed plastic and aluminum ones that dig little water, so they’re slow and offer little control. They’re also terribly uncomfortable, without the give of wood, or shaped to fit your hand properly. The odd time you’ll get yourself a nice wooden paddle - or one that may have been nice a few years ago. If you’re lucky it may be in a size and style that suits your needs, but usually rental paddles are pretty generic, not to mention scratched and worn from years of use.

2 - There’s a paddle for that
How do you paddle, and why? Getting yourself the right paddle for your style of paddling makes for a great experience. For example, ask yourself whether you are more of a “Destination” or “Journey” kind of person. If it’s all about just getting somewhere as quickly as possible, you may want a wider bladed paddle. On the other hand, if you plan on spending more time floating around exploring than where you’ll eventually end up, you may want a longer but thinner blade for control. Run a lot of rapids? Travel long distances? Prefer to be in the stern or the bow? There are paddle styles to suit all those needs. Talk to a good paddle maker and they’ll recommend something to suit your style. 

3 - Get a grip
A truly under-rated element of the paddle is the grip. If you’re going to do a lot of paddling, a nice comfortable grip is what is going to make the experience much more pleasant. Cheap paddles and rentals will have very basic grips designed to just do the job, leaving you with sore hands and blisters. Look for a paddle with a nice contoured shape that feels good in your hands. Pick it up and take some air strokes so you can judge how good the shaft feels as well - too thin or too thick might make for hand cramps. The best part of having your own paddle is that it’ll be free of all those scratches and marks that will cut up your hands after a day’s paddle, because you’re the one taking care of it, and you can even have them fixed - cheaply for you DIY types.

4 - Size matters
Often you may not be able to choose the size of your rented paddle, but even when you have a choice you might find yourself with a bad fit. A poorly fitted paddle can make you bend at the torso during your stroke, making you shift your weight unnecessarily for an unstable and uncomfortable ride. One measuring technique is to check the paddle’s height up to your chin. Unfortunately, this only works for one type (size) of blade. It’s the paddle’s shaft that’s important. The other more common method is to hold the paddle over your head, checking for your arms resting at right angles. This might be a better way to measure, but you still might not be happy with the size of your paddle. The best size will be the one that meets your paddling style. Some like to reach out further, some sit lower or tilted in the canoe. Try out some different sizes and see what makes you more comfortable and stable. 

5 - As special and unique as you are
Recently, when my friends and I were choosing new paddle styles, I took it rather seriously. I spent hours deciding on what size and style I needed. After I finally decided, I asked what made one friend choose his. Turns out, choosing between two similar types, he simply chose the cooler looking one - a completely valid deciding factor. Paddles have all kinds of looks with all kinds of options. You can get paddles in all kinds of colours and stains, in unique woods, with special logos, imprints and even custom paint jobs. 

Bonus - The Connection
There are some that can look at their paddle, show you each and every scratch and tell you a great story about where it happened and why. The first paddle I owned came from a friend who took great care with his, and  insisted I take it, with all the stories attached to it. I was lucky to find it was exactly the right size. Sure, it had been worn in for me, but I soon knew every nook and cranny. It felt perfect in my hand, and it moved the water just right. It was like that old t-shirt you love because it fits you just right. This paddle had been many places, and maybe I was imagining it all, but after all its travels it felt like the paddle was guiding me. 

And that, is why you want your own paddle.

Written by Preston (& Nancy) Ciere [of] for Badger's Blog, August 2011.

Thanks to these two adventurers for
sharing their insights on the benefits
of paddle ownership.
Thanks again to Preston, that guy in the stern, for keeping the canoe so steady so Nancy could look great in so many photos! Plus another big thanks to them both for compiling such a great list of resources and information for paddlers and campers on their website. If you are thinking of doing a wilderness canoe trip, looking for the straight up goods on an Ontario park route, camper's tips and tricks, or how to prepare for your very first real canoe trip, then be sure to add to your list of favourites - 'cause you are going to want to visit this website more then once. You can also follow Preston (portageur_ca) on Twitter, "friend" Nancy, or find on Facebook. And if you happen to meet up with Nancy and Preston on the trail one day, be sure to tell them Badger says "Woof ". (Don't worry - Nancy will know what it means... even if Preston isn't too sure! *wink*)

Note: Comments and opinions of our guest bloggers do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Badger Paddles and are the expressed writings of the "guest" only. All content has been published on Badger's Blog with permission of it's author and is original to the guest writer. All copyright inquiries should be directed to the guest writer/blogger where necessary.

Friday, August 12, 2011

To Badger Or Not To Badger: That Is The Question

Do you know the meaning and origin of the term "to badger"?
image source:
According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the word is broken down like so:

badger |ˈbajər|
nounheavily built omnivorous nocturnal mammal of the weasel familytypically having a gray and blackcoat• Several genera and species in the family Mustelidae, in particular the Eurasian Meles meleswhich has a white head with two black stripes, and the North American Taxidea taxus, with a white stripe on the head.
( Badger) informal native of Wisconsin.verb [ trans. ]ask (someone) repeatedly and annoyingly for something; pester journalists badgered him about the deals |Tom had finally badgered her into going [ trans. his daughter was always badgering him to let her join.ORIGIN early 16th cent.: perhaps from badge , with reference to its distinctive head markings. The verb sense (late 18th cent.) originates from the formerly popular sport of badger baiting.

Thus the term "badgering"is known as pestering and bothering.  But - these traits are not from the animal itself, but rather from the early sport of Badger Baiting whereas hunters would send dogs to harass badgers for entertainment and for blood sport.  Similar to dog fighting, badger baiting was forced combat between the badger and a succession of hounds.  Badger baiting, now thankfully illegal, would typically end with the death of the badger and most likely major injury to the dogs.

So it seems the origin of the verb sense of the word "badger", descending from the formerly popular sport of badger baiting (late 18th century*), and "badgering" actually describes human behaviour towards the badger and not the actual animal's behaviour towards us humans.  Interestingly the term "badgering", thru this retired sport, became a popular term still used widely today - and it's meaning isn't very positive!

But we love when fans "badger" us with questions and comments on our Facebook page, Twitter or by email.  In fact, we love it so much that we are going to giveaway a Badger® Natural Edge Solid Cherry Cutting Board (with a 250 ml tin of our Badger® Wood Oil) to one lucky (some-what) random winner from our Facebook or Twitter followers. And, with the help of Poppa Badger, we will be picking the winner from all of the people who have engaged with us via our Facebook page and Twitter over the months of August & September! Which means the winner will have their natural edge cutting board and oil just in time for the Fall Harvest! UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!!! WINNER IS LAUREN BELL FROM ONTARIO, CANADA.

Win this Natural Edge Cutting Board plus a 250 ml tin of our Badger® Wood Oil
MSRP $50.00* CAD - Carrot not included!
 (Note: prize may not be exactly as shown)
*shipping and/or taxes not included
UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!!! WINNER IS LAUREN BELL FROM ONTARIO, CANADA. So what do you do to win? Just "like", "comment" or "tag" us (or even yourself in any one of our images) via our Facebook Page and/or mention @BadgerPaddles in a Tweet over the months of August & September and we will pick one lucky person (on October 1, 2011) to win a Badger® Natural Edge Solid Cherry Cutting Board (with a 250 ml tin of our Badger® Wood Oil) Retail Value: $50.00. Mention and "badger" us as much as you want - there is no limit! And remember, we will be picking the winner out of those who are the most engaging and creative - and we are looking for quality over quantity.  So become a fan of Badger Paddles... for those who dig the water on Facebook today (or follow Fiona on Twitter) and start 'badgering' us for your chance to win!  Contest closes September 30, 2011 at Midnight (E.S.T.). Can you dig it?

Click here to learn more about our NEW Badger® Rustics series of natural edge paddle racks and cutting boards.

*"ORIGIN The verb sense (late 18th cent.originates from the formerly popular sport of badger baiting." ~ New Oxford American Dictionary

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Quick Contest Rules:
No purchase necessary. Prize(s) will be mailed via Canada Post with postage/shipping costs being covered - up to $20.00 CAD - if the cost of shipping (for example) outside of North America is greater then $20.00 CAD then the extra cost of shipping over and above the $20.00 CAD (to be covered by Badger®) will be paid for by the winner. If the winner does not wish to pay the extra costs incurred by shipping and declines the prize, then another winner will be chosen. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received and our judges' opinion. Prize(s) include one Natural Edge Cherry Cutting Board by Badger® plus one 250 ml tin of Badger® Wood Oil - MSRP of $50.00 CAD value (taxes and shipping extra). Winner will be chosen based on quality of comments, likes and tweet replies. All decisions are final. Contest closes September 30, 2011 midnight (EST) with the winner to be announced shortly there after. Winners may have to answer a skill testing question before receiving their prize. Contest void where prohibited. For full contest rules or details, please email us.

Badger® Rustic & Natural Edge Creations

One thing we like to do around here at Badger® is to keep it natural. Always looking for ways to be respectful of our resources and planet, we also like to find a purpose for everything (with the goal to have the least amount of scrap and waste possible). So while we do appreciate and offer modern smooth edged wood canoe paddle racks and such, we also take great pleasure in expressing our craft in a rustic and more charming style as well.

Example of an (unfinished) modern
smooth edged cherry 2-paddle rack.
(MSRP $30.00* CAD)
See below for photo examples of our
Badger® Rustics Paddle Racks.
*shipping and/or taxes not included
When making paddles there are a lot of cut-offs and discarded wood, pieces with really pretty knots, and we felt that "scrap" could be put to better use then just used for burning in the wood stove during the winter for warmth. Many of these end pieces and even sometimes whole entire boards cannot be used for our paddle production, yet are distinctively beautiful and workable just the same. And this by-product of paddle production shouldn't be wasted or discarded by any means, so we usually turn our cast offs from the possibility of becoming firewood into one-of-a-kind treasures.

Having made some natural edge cutting boards and other charming items for friends and family over the years, we have just now decided (due to the urging of others who had received these rustic pieces as gifts) to make these works available to all. Thus, the Badger® Rustics series of distinctive products are born!

Sometimes looking at rough wood, it is hard to see what a finished piece could turn out to be. Other times, you can see the idea and finished form clearly and are inspired right from the very beginning. That is what our natural edge products are all about for us at Badger® - paying tribute to the tree's natural inspiration and design while enhancing it's function.

When selecting the wood for a rustic and natural edge creation, we look for the unique features that will really bring out the original aesthetics of a finished piece. Because each Badger® solid wood natural edge cutting board or rustic paddle rack is so unusual, each piece of wood so distinct, none can be duplicated. Which means you are giving (or getting) a real one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, Canadian-made treasure to add to your home or cottage.

Out of the Rough, From Scrap To Special:
Made of cherry, these wood off-cuts were made into paddle racks and natural edge cutting boards (because naturally, we all dig food!) while later hand finished with our all natural and food safe Badger® Wood Oil/Paddle & Gunnel Oil. Because no two creations are alike, all pieces are priced individually dependent on size and other characteristics.
The beginnings of a rustic 3-paddle rack.
A single rack gets a final hand-sanding before oiling.
Some Badger® items waiting for Badger® Wood Oil.
A fresh coat of Badger® Wood Oil is absorbed quickly on this unfinished wood.
This finished 3-paddle rack is rustic and ready for hanging!
MSRP only $75.00* CAD (paddles not included)
*shipping and/or taxes not included
This single Badger® paddle rack is truly one of a kind.
 MSRP only $40.00* CAD
*shipping and/or taxes not included
These "natural edge" cutting boards are made from thick
solid cherry wood and will last for many years.
The MSRP on these Badger® Cutting Boards is only $50.00*each CAD
and includes a 250 mL tin of Badger® Wood Oil
*shipping and/or taxes not included
Each board is two-sided, with one side left unmarked while
the other side is branded with our trademark Badger® "paw".
Big or small, we work with all sorts of sizes!
So if you are looking for a great piece for your home or cottage, or are looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for that special person or event, our BADGER® Rustics & Natural Edge Cutting Boards are uniquely perfect for you! Where our rustic paddle racks are ideal for canoeists, our BADGER® Natural Edge Cutting Boards are perfect for just about anyone and for any occasion - including weddings, anniversaries (especially 5th year wedding anniversaries where the traditional gift is wood!), also Christmas', birthdays, retirements, housewarmings, hostess gifts, and more. Plus an added benefit to our Natural Edge Cutting Boards is each one comes with a 250 ml tin of our Badger® Wood Oil so you can maintain it's appearance and durability over it's lifetime.
Each Natural Edge Cutting Board we make comes with
a 250 ml tin of our Badger® Wood Oil
The MSRP on this Badger® Cutting Board/Oil is only $50.00* CAD
(carrot not included!) (Oil Tin may not be exactly as shown)
*shipping and/or taxes not included
As well, because our Badger® Wood Oil is FOOD SAFE, you can also use it on your wooden handled utensils, solid wood salad bowls, chopping blocks, furniture, as well as your paddles and more... a really great added value in today's costly world. And to celebrate the launch of Badger® Rustics, we will be giving away one natural edge cutting board (with a 250 ml tin of our Badger® Wood Oil) at the beginning of October! UPDATE: this contest is now closed!!! Click here for details or email us.
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