Saturday, October 30, 2010

"White" Water Kayaking

Using the term "whitewater" rather literally, these paddling enthusiasts have extended their season considerably.

Thanks to the Saskatoon Whitewater Club for the link.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sea Kayaking TV

There is a great series of videos called Sea Kayaking TV that have been put up on YouTube recently courtesy of the folks over at Heliconia Press.  I'm at home sick today with a cold so have been spending my time watching the videos and from what I've seen thus far, they look pretty good.

There are several playlists to choose from which cover topics including rolling, bracing, launching in surf, a variety of strokes, kayak tripping, and more.  There is also a video which covers the "paddle float reentry".  I highly recommend that the fellow who was the subject of one of my postings from a couple of weeks ago watch that particular video.  And, for those of us that can relate in some small way to the fellow in the water, we should probably watch it too (and take some lessons) even if only as a refresher.

Hey, I just found something else kinda neat. In the "Sea Kayak Navigation and Signaling Devices" video they show a nautical chart, and they just happen to show the exact place we camped and paddled this summer in the Broken Group Islands, BC (trip report still on it's way).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saskatoon Bike Map

The folks over at Saskatoon Cycles have created a bike map which allows Saskatoon cyclists to submit reports of good bike routes, accidents, problem intersections, etc.  Not only does this tool then allow folks like me choose where to cycle and which areas to avoid, it will also hopefully be of use to the bike advocacy people of Saskatoon Cycles and the city planners to see where the current situation is working, and where some improvements are required.

I have submitted a handful of reports, both the good and the bad.  The more people that add their reports, and comments on existing reports, the better.

Check it out at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scary Fast

Today while searching through my email for a friend's cell phone number, I came across something I had written to him last winter regarding a HDPE camping toboggan I had built. In the spirit of getting excited for snow (60% chance of snow tomorrow, but it won't stay) and the coming camping season, I thought I'd share the passage here.

Originally written February 8th, 2010:
I took the new toboggan out to Diefenbaker Hill* last night after Amigo's (the local pub).  It is Scary Fast!  On the hard-packed snow of the hill I was rocketing down and running out into the soft untracked snow at the bottom, well beyond where most of the sleds were stopping.  I tested both sleds, the old & new and the new 'boggan won out by an average of 45' of sliding into the soft stuff.  The new sled was so fast that I'm sure I was younger at the bottom of the hill than I was at the top due to some sort of space-time anomaly.  Unfortunately, the climb back up again more than made up for any gained youth and after about 9 runs I was feeling decidedly elderly.  Even more so this morning as I felt the delayed effect all those jarring bumps on my skeleton.  Too bad pulling a 70 pound load up a hill will still be pulling a 70 pound load up a hill, no matter how slippery the sled is.

Zoe & I about to ride the same sled on a MUCH smaller hill in Stanley Mission while we wait for the others to get the vehicles.

*Here is a video showing how Mark (the aforementioned friend) "sleds" down Diefenbaker Hill:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Badger's Who's Who of Devoted Paddlers Contest

The folks over at Badger Paddles are having another contest.  This time they are making us work a bit for our entry though and there is an exam! Here then is my contest submission and the completed exam.

Badger's Who's Who
Take-home Exam Questions:

  • Real Name: Bryan
  • Entry Name: Pawistik
  • Approximate Age:  Not as old as I might feel, aka late thirties
  • Country: Canada
  • # of Years Paddling: Maybe about 19 years of serious paddling (where I had some clue what I was doing).
  • How many boats in your fleet? Only four - two home-built kayaks, a Swift Yukon canoe plus a Clipper Ranger canoe. Of course I'm always hoping to expand that fleet.
Three of the boats in our fleet on the rail portage into Kingsmere Lake (Prince Albert National Park).

Our Swift Yukon, the Sea Flea, and our old Ranger 17 along the Kingsmere River.
  • Oil verses Varnish? My paddles are varnished, but one of these days I'm going to make (or buy) a paddle with an oiled finish since people seem to swear by it.
  • Where do you paddle? Northern Saskatchewan & beyond. Churchill River, North & South Saskatchewan Rivers, Torch River, and even the Pacific Ocean.
Early spring paddling on the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon. The canoe pictured is the Saskatoon Canoe Club's Swift  Osprey, the paddle is one I built
  • Are you, or have you ever been, part of the paddle sports industry professionally? Moving in that direction - I'm now a Paddle Canada certified kayak instructor (hey, if you want to learn to kayak, give me a call!). Coldspring Paddling Instruction
  • Do you have a blog, facebook or twitter account where you advocate for the power of self-propusion?  Right here, of course! (
  • Favourite wood and paddle shape? Cherry or walnut, Otter Tail.  Although I don't have one, a cherry or walnut Otter Tail paddle is just about the sexiest thing out there.
  • If you were a Badger WaterColours Paddle - what colour would you be?  Dark Blue
  • Have you ever tipped your canoe  & how did that happen? Never of course. Except for a bunch of times. Most recently I was paddling solo and pulling in to the portage above a Class 3 rapid (Trout Rapids) on the Churchill River while doing a lovely hanging draw leaned way out on the paddle and heeling the canoe over very gracefully. It was late afternoon after a long paddle and the water was calm, the weather in that protected spot was calm with sunshine and dark clouds and a bright red canoe. It really was a beautiful sight. Then the unsecured food barrel (positioned lengthwise in the canoe's bow) rolled over and I was suddenly  and unceremoniously dumped in 2 feet of water.
Getting out at the portage a tad early. Photo courtesy of Jay.
  • What is your favourite wilderness tripping meal/paddling snack? Curried lentils with added dried fruit and sunflower seeds is pretty good. Especially when accompanying some nice fried walleye. However, when the lentils are consumed by three gassy men sharing the same tent there can be some unfortunate consequences.
  • Do you solo? I just spent a week on the Churchill River paddling 150 km solo in a custom-built solo expedition canoe. (A trip report is coming soon! Look for it at
Solo on the Churchill River, September 2010. Thanks to Jay for the photo.
  • What’s the best advice you have to give to a beginner paddler? Just get out and paddle and don't be afraid to try a few new things in a controlled environment. And take some lessons.
  • 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?? Fun, relaxing, beautiful.
  • Where does your heart truly lie: Wooden/Canvas, Composite (i.e. Kevlar, Fibreglass etc.), Plastic or Aluminum? Cedar strip.
My daughter takes Mom's kayak out for a paddle.

  • Who took you out for your first time paddling and what was your age when your took your first adventure in a canoe/kayak? Not sure - may have gone out by myself or with my younger brother in a rented canoe at the local lake where my grandparents had a cabin, maybe about 10 years old.
  • Who was your best paddling partner or inspiration? My kids.

Me and the girls. Staircase Rapids, Devil Lake 2009.
  • Do you know of or can you describe a canoe/paddling game? Canoe golf.
Photo courtesy of Rob Kunz & Eclipse Photography. Rod follows through in Canoe Golf. See our NorthStar Expeditions blog for more such shenanigans. Be sure to zoom in for the close-up.
  • How tall are you and what length of paddle do you prefer? 6'2" and I don't know what paddle length I prefer. The voyageur-style paddle I built is really long - best for deep water so something somewhat shorter is what I would build my next paddle. The highly inaccurate "hands over my head with elbows at 90° bends" method indicates a shaft length of about 38".
"Voyageur" paddle built following the plans and instructions from the book by Warren & Gidmark.
  • Have you ever tried Stand Up Paddling? Nope, nor am I very interested (though just a couple of nights ago it figured prominently in a dream I had).
  • Do you have nicknames for your boat(s), paddle(s), and other gear?  If so - what are they? No, I guess I'm not that imaginative. I was going to name the kayak I built Kisiskatchewan or something similar but my wife vetoed that since she couldn't pronounce it.
Well, that's my entry. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 11, 2010

How Not to Use A Paddle Float

This Youtube video is an excellent reason why paddlers should take lessons before heading off on their own. At least this fellow is trying out his skills in a controlled environment with at least two people on the dock that could assist him if necessary. A paddle float reentry is quite easy when you do it right and there are a number of things that this fellow is not doing right. Come join me for a paddle sometime and we can talk about it and practise before you need it for real.

Edit Update:
So now that we've seen how NOT to do the paddle float entry, let's have a look at doing it in a better way:

For more videos like this, see the Sea Kayaking TV channel on YouTube.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photos from September Canoe Trip

I've posted some of my photos from September's NorthStar Expeditions canoe trip on the NSE blog. You can find the posting at

Here's a handful of photos to whet your appetite: