Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Washburne

I stumbled today across a link to the website of Washburne Marine Products.  Washburne Marine Products was, at one time, the "umbrella" under which Randal Washburne operated his cottage industry activities making and selling kayak carts and other accessories.  The company no longer operating, the website now contains some of the stories of Mr. Washburne, an early author in the early days of North American kayaking, boatbuilder, and someone who prefers to be out of the limelight.  I have only read bits and pieces of the paddling-related articles on the website so far, but what I have read has been very interesting and I look forward to reading more.  The retelling of his experiences from 30 years ago offers an interesting insight into the kayaking world.

One year I was invited to appear at a kayak symposium on Lake Michigan.... Brits Derek Hutchinson and Frank Goodman were the main attractions, and I discovered that due to the powerful influence of the primary kayak entrepreneur and guru, British style sea kayaks and style were the only ones allowed. He and his sycophants quickly discovered that I paddled something non-British and rolled infrequently, and they ignored me for the rest of the weekend. I gave one seminar on kayak navigation at which both attendees listened politely and left quickly. Otherwise I spent the weekend watching Derek teach elaborate recovery scenarios in which everybody’s kayak has sunk.