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! (http://pawistik.blogspot.com/)
  • 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 http://northstarexped.blogspot.com/).
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!


  1. CONGRATULATIONS PAWISTICK!!! YOUR "EXAM" ENTRY RECEIVED THE TOP HIGHWATER MARK! You truly are one of the most devoted of paddlers!!! You win the grand prize of a Badger Canoe Paddle, a Paddle Sock, and a $50.00 gift card from Algonquin Outfitters! Fantastic!!!

  2. Re-reading my entry - it looks like I overstated the solo paddling the way that I wrote it. The recent trip wasn't a solo trip, there were three of us. I paddled a solo canoe, but I wasn't really solo. I do paddle solo though, once in a while at least. I hope this does not disqualify me!

  3. Congratulations Pwistik. You had an awesome entry into Badger's Highwater Marks contest. Hey anytime you paddle solo it's solo paddling even if you have others along with you. I know several solo paddlers that get together and all paddle solo.

    For me you can thank you dog and kids as I really liked those photos.. just the shear quantity of photos and the quality of the effort put into answering the questions was what pushed you to the top for me.