The Paddle In The Park Contest is back for 2015!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Why Paddling Is Better Than Chocolate

Recently there has been some media attention given to the benefits of chocolate - some even comparing it to exercise! But we think paddling is better than chocolate... and have listed 10 reasons why.

1. Paddling is free of caffeine, sugar, and trans fats.

The chocolate we tend to consume is full of sugar and trans fats, which we know is really bad for us. But chocolate also contains chemical substances from the same family as caffeine, which is found in coffee and tea. These chemicals are caffeine and theobromine. 

This group of chemical substances is known to cause a number of effects such as imperfect balance, racing heart, insomnia and sleep disturbances, bedwetting, fatigue, obesity, dizziness, irritability, agitation, anxiety, acne, and more!

Where as paddling helps relieve stress and leads to greater physical fitness - it will even help you sleep better. Paddling does't give you pimples either.

2. You can't get fit by eating chocolate.

As a rule, chocolate candy bars tend to have a lot of sugar and fat which leads to weight gain. According to some, moving your boat at about 5 mph is going to use up about 400 calories per hour. Where as eating a chocolate bar can cause you to ingest over 500 calories!

3. You don't have to ingest any insect parts to paddle

For part of the process necessary to produce chocolate, the cocoa beans must be left out to ferment. During this process it is possible for cancer causing agents to form, as well as for insects, rodents, and small animals to contaminate the fermenting cocoa beans. These contaminants remain in the finished product. The FDA allows up to 10 milligrams of animal excrement per pound, or up to 25 insect fragments per tablespoon of cocoa powder. EeeeeEEEEWW!

4. Too much paddling won't make you fat.

Even with all the wonderful antioxidant effects of dark chocolate, recommendations are to only have one or two small squares a day. You can definitely enjoy paddling in your canoe a lot longer than it takes to finish off the recommended serving of dark chocolate. Plus the obvious - paddling burns calories while chocolate increases the amount of calories ingested.

5. Dogs can’t have chocolate but they can go paddling

It turns out that, for dogs, a chemical in chocolate called theobromine is actually toxic when it ingests between 100 and 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. So while you can't share your chocolate with your pooch, you can share all your paddling adventures with your canine friend. Just remember your dog needs a PFD too!

6. Paddling isn't an allergen.

Some people are allergic to cocoa, also known as chocolate, because it is a little too stimulating. The results are severe migraine headaches for those whose nerves are sensitive. So while you may become allergic to the material in your drysuit or the bee that stings you while you are out on the river - you can't be allergic to the actual act of paddling. If you think you are - we have a term for it - we call it LAZY.

7. Chocolate and cacao isn't made in North America but paddling stuff is.

Everyone talks about supporting the local trade and economy. Well, cacao (the raw ingredient in making our chocolate candy) is native to Central and South America and is grown commercially throughout the tropics. About 70% of the world’s cacao is grown in Africa. Where on the other hand, canoes, kayaks, SUPs, paddles and other gear are made in North America. And in the case of Badger Paddles... even resourced here.

8. There are no child slaves in the North American paddle sports industry.

When we first started this fun little project about how paddling is better than chocolate, we were not aware of this information. But apparently, almost half of the world's cocoa beans (the raw material in chocolate) come from small, scattered farms along West Africa's Ivory Coast. And on some of these farms, the hot, hard work of clearing the fields and harvesting the fruit is done by boys who were sold or tricked into slavery. Most of them are between the ages of 12 and 16. Some are as young as 9. A known problem, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, a trade group for American chocolate makers, acknowledges that slaves are harvesting cocoa on some Ivory Coast farms. So while this piece was meant to be in fun, our research has made us aware of this very serious and horrible problem. Hmmm...  It will be hard to find "fair trade" chocolate in Muskoka - we better stick to paddling.

9. Chocolate tastes great, but paddling is more (ful)filling.

Apparently, chocolate is known to release endorphins like anandamide (the chemical that copies the relaxing effects of marijuana). But when the short-lived sugar rush is over, so is the effect of endorphins and you will be left feeling tired and worn out - also known as "crashing". However paddling is exercise and exercise also releases endorphins for longer periods. Releasing fat from within the body, by way of exercise, helps to boost your mood as it is known to help to reduce stress and/or feelings of depression and even help with self-esteem.

10. You are much more likely to share your paddling equipment than chocolate.

Admit it. You are much more likely to lend your gear or share your time paddling with a friend then you are willing to share your chocolate bar! (So obviously paddling makes you a better person.) 

You are more likely to eat your chocolate bar indoors where paddling pretty much guarantees that you will get some fresh air! (Unless you are rolling in a pool somewhere - but us canoeists don't really do that, do we?)

Want to know why canoeing is better than sex? Click here: Why Canoeing Is Better Than Sex

Note: Fiona really digs chocolate so this is not an attack on chocolate but an attempt at advocating for the power of self-propulsion in a humorous manner.

Sources of information:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tying A Bowline - In Memory Of Peter Lasch Sr.

Today is Remembrance Day. And it is a little different for my family this year than previous years. This is the first Remembrance Day that we will be without a very special man, Peter J. Lasch Sr.

Peter  J. "Pops" Lasch Sr.
Peter, my Grandfather - also known as Pops - was a true gentleman, a devoted husband, loving father, and proud grandpa. He was a master machinist and passionate paddler. He was also a veteran of World War II. Although we just lost him this past summer, Peter lives on in our hearts and memories, and even the knots we tie.

Thus, this blog posting is dedicated to the honour of my Grandpa Lasch on behalf of my mother, Mhairi, and my father Mike (a.k.a. Poppa Badger), as well as my Grandmother and the rest of the Lasch clan. It is also in honour of all Veterans of the past, present, and future - including my Grandpa Harry Westner - and any or all who served and sacrificed for our freedom. We will never forget.....

Pops & Sue look over the map while on trip.
Pops & Poppa Badger - On How To Tie A Bowline:

"I was taught the bowline knot by my father-in-law Peter (a.k.a. Pops), an old navy boy who was a master at knots, monkey fists, turk's head, the bowline, etc.  Fiona (of Badger Paddles), my daughter, mastered the knot the same way and the same crazy test. {Tying a bowline with both hands behind your back, standing on one foot, all with your eyes closed!} Once you learn it that way, you never forget it. Pops use to tell me you had to learn that knot and how to tie it with one a handed wrist action as a life saving tool in the event you ever fell over board in the navy. This knot could be done around your waist and will not slip allowing you to be pulled to safety and of course the knot can be released very easy." ~ Mike Westner (a.k.a. Poppa Badger).

Sue and Pops with an Algonquin moose.

The following video, dedicated to the memory of Pops, shows how to tie a bowline using Grandpa's (Pops') method:

The following text was written by Poppa Badger upon the passing of his father-in-law, and Fiona's grandfather, Peter (Pops) Lasch - the man who tied a bowline around our hearts. It was read at Pops' funeral service by Poppa Badger to many tears and smiles.

Hello. For those who do not know me, I'm Mike. Pops' son-in-law. I would like to take a few moments to talk about a father-in-law who was really so much more.

Arriving on the scene as an eighteen year old, I was made to feel welcome in their house. and as Pops used to put it "It's just another plate to wash!". Soon after I was invited along on their camping trips into Opeongo Lake in  Algonquin Park. I thought "Wow! Algonquin AND my girlfriend?!!" After a few of these trips I thought "I'd better cement this deal. After all, this was ALGONQUIN!".

Pops and Sue (my mother-in-law) shared the desire with their daughter and I to see all of Algonquin by canoe and this led to aour annual two week camping and canoeing trips that ended up spanning over 35 years - with the last few years trips to Quetico Wilderness Park.

Peter (Pops) Lasch Sr.
It's on these trips where I grew to admire  Pops' many talents, especially his skill with rope and knot tying. Pops was a wizard with knots. Pops and Sue were not fancy paddlers, but together they were strong canoeists who could handle whatever Nature brought their way. Now if there happened to be a mishap, like someone falling in the rapids, or getting their sleeping bags wet - Pops was the culprit.

A couple of more serious occasions come to mind, like very early one morning while camping at the top of Opeongo Lake, Pops was splitting kindling with a hatchet when he quietly said "I think I chopped my finger off.". Well, he had! And Sue bandaged him enough for a boat ride to the Ranger's Station, then a car ride to the Doctor's in Whitby. I thought "That's the end of this trip!". But much later that day Pops and Sue were back and the next day we were all swimming. I remember: There's Pops standing in the lake up to his chest with his newly shortened finger high above his head so it didn't get wet!

On another occasion we arrived to pick up Pops and Sue for a canoe trip and there was Pops sitting at the kitchen table with a broken jaw; courtesy of an errant puck from an amateur hockey game the night before. Again I thought : That's the end of this trip!". But after seeing three disappointed faces, Pops insisted we all go. That night, three of us ate steak, potatoes, and corn; and poor Pops had whatever he could get through a straw. He would do anything to make us happy!

I find it odd and strange how we remember someone who touched our lives is not always because of some great deed. With Pops, for me, it could be whenever I pick up a piece of rope, or whenever I see those grey lumberhack socks with the two red bands, or maybe a white Sailor's hat. Simple things, yes, but this is how he lived his life. Always taking his joy from loving his family.

Rest in Peace, Pops. And know that we take great joy from loving you too.