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Taking the plunge...

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on July 21, 2009 at 10:09 AM Comments comments (0)

   Well things are certainly getting exciting here. I took the plunge today and have left my "Day Job" and am now concentrating full time on building my Greenland kayak paddles and my line of bent shaft and straight shaft canoe paddles. I am also adding more sea kayak courses to my schedule including rolling clinics 1 on 1 in our backyard inground pool.

   Come fall, I'll be hosting a series of rolling clinics and a Greenland Rolling demo by 2008 Greenland Champion Helen Wilson. Dates to be announced later on. Helen's first O'Blenis paddle ships out to California this Thursday and I'm excited about getting ger input and having her use my paddles when she travels to symposiums around the world.

  Having more free time now and a flexible schedule, I'm now hoping to get my long distance training back up to speed again and hopefully I can get ready in time to take back the Vancouver Island Circumnavigation Speed Record that I lost to Sean Morley. Will keep you posted on the progress.

More coming soon....(to those reading this Paddlingplanet, not sure why the text gets all messed up on the website? Sorry 'bout dat. ;)

Cheers...Joe O'

Joe O'Blenis Paddles and Helen Wilson Teaming Up

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on July 11, 2009 at 5:06 PM Comments comments (0)

As I type up this latest Blog Entry, I am sitting in the woodshop with the laptop in front of me. Surrounded by Greenland Paddles in various stages of construction, i am happy to announce that I will be supplying Helen Wilson (the 2008 Greenland Rolling Champion) with some of my handbuilt paddles.

The new sposorship has just come together over the past few days and I am pretty excited  about getting my paddles into the hands of somebody like Helen. When it comes to rolling a sea kayak, she is the BEST!

In 2008 Helen took First pllce in the solo rolling competition. First place in Group Rolling. First place in Harpon Throwing for Distance. Based in Arcata California, she travels North Americ and the world teaching kayaking skills. To learn more about Helen, visit her WEBSITE and check it out.


Quetico Symposium

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on July 9, 2009 at 11:01 AM Comments comments (0)

Last weekend the Superior Kayak and Canoe Club co hosted the one day Paddle Your Neighbours Canoe or Kayak Symposium in beautiful Quetico Provincial Park in northwestern Ontario. 

The symposium follwed 4 days of marathon canoe racing including the Ontario Marathon Canoe Racing Provincial Championships in which I raced in the men's solo C1 class and came home with 2nd place.

On Sunday at the symposium, there was a large variety of canoes and kayaks on hand from a variety of paddlers as well as a great display by Souris River Canoes in Atitokan Ontario and a load of demo boats from Ostrom Outdoors in Thunder Bay. Myself, I had a number of my handbuilt greenland kayak paddles available for demo and some bent shaft canoe paddles. The day went well, everyone was trying out a wide variety of boats and we all had a great time!

Late rtoday I will post some photos on my website in the photo gallery section.


Vancouver Island Speed Record Attempt JUNE '09

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on June 18, 2009 at 8:18 AM Comments comments (0)

A few days ago, Victoria BC resident Nick Castro launched his attempt to set a new record for sea kayaking around Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, as of yesterday, Nick has withdrawn due to a severe case of tendinitus in his left arm.

Apparaently the injury flaired up on day 2 and quickly worsened, forcing Nick off the water early on day 3 after about 25 kilometers. He had paddled roughly 65 kilometers on Day 1 and about 45 on Day 2.

The goal was around 80 kilometers per day  in his attempt to break the existing record which was set last fall by Sean Morley who broke my record circumnavigation from the previous year. My own attempt to reclaim the record is still set for this September.

You can view a thread on the Vancouver Island Record at www.wavelengthmagazine.com on their Forums Page.

That being said, it is time for me to have a heary breakfast and then get ready to hit the water on Lake Superior for another training session.

Expedition Planning

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on June 7, 2009 at 8:53 PM Comments comments (0)

Well we are now well into June and there is roughly 3 months to go before I launch the kayak on Vancouver Island BC once again in an effort to reclaim the speed record for circumnavigation the island. In 2007 I made my way around the island in 23 days 10 hours, enough to easily take about 5 days off the old record.

This time around however, I will have to be a little more serious and focused on the task at hand if I want a shot and getting the record back once more. Sean Morley's blistering time of 17 days 4 hours and 49 minutes in the new mark to beat. A big task? Yes. Can it be done? I believe it can. 

After a good series of training sessions lately, in both my sea kayak and my C1 solo marathon canoe from Clipper Canoes, i took an extra day off today from paddling, allowing the muscles to recover before hitting the water again tomorrow through Thursday before taking next Friday off. Today was spent buidling more kayak paddles and then pouring over my charts and looking at Google Earth as I plot a shorter, faster route around the island. A few more crossings of the long variety, earlier starts and shorter breaks. That is the recipe for this falls 16 day trip 'round the island.

I will be redoing the expedition pages on the website this coming week so check back often for news and progress. For the kayak, I think it fitting that I will be paddling a Canadian built sea kayak this time. The Vancouver Island Record is gaining attention internetionally and I think it would be ideal for myself, A Canadian lad, to set the new record, on this Canadian island, in a Canadain built kayak. Built in Canada by Canadians. Got to keep it local this time ;)

In the theme of "Keeping it local" I'll also be exclusively paddling with my own hand built Greenland Paddles. Care to help support this expedition? Great...if you need a new paddle, order up a new Grenlnd stick from me and know that your purchase is going towards funding the expedition this fall.  Anyone who orders a paddle over the next couple months from me, either a Greenland Paddle or one of my lightweight bent shaft canoe paddles, if you mention the expedition around Vancouver Island, I'll list you as a supporter on the website. 

Check back soon for more news as things are starting to happen faster and faster.

In ending, I will just ad this..... Vancouver Island 2009... 16 days start to finish. "Bring On The Pain"!!  :D


June has arrived!

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on June 1, 2009 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Well we are getting better and better weather lately, seems as though summer may be finally showing up. The paddling scene has been picking up locally with 13 kayaks on the water last Thursday night at Chippewa Park and another 16 out for the Sunday Morning with Dave Clements. 

The Tuesday Night Race is set to go tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM on the MacIntyre River. This race series is modelled after the legendary Tuesday Night Race Series out of Deep Cove in British Columbia, the largest weekly paddlesports race series in all of North America....way to go to Bob Putnam and the crew at Deep Cove Outdoors for thier efforts. They routinely attract between 65 and 130 boats per week!

Things are getting busy for me these days as Greenland Paddle sales keep rolling right along. Also, my first bent shaft canoe paddle shipped out to Winnipeg Manitoba just a few days ago. Not bad for the first one to hit the market, weighing in at just 16 ounces. I built it from western red cedar with a layer of 4 ounce S-glass covering the blade. 

The next two will be heading to Vancouver Island to "Hukigirl", best known for her surfski exploits throughout the west coasts of Canada and the United States. She will be using my paddles as she gets into the canoeing side of paddlesports. She is also a great friend so i hope she likes them!

Also keeping me busy will be sea kayaking courses in the Thunder Bay area. My courses for 2009 are starting up right away with Basic Strokes courses and an Advanced Forward Stroke clinic. Rescue courses and Rolling will start soon as well.

On top of all this, I'm trying to increase my training time and get more hours in on the water. Barely three months to go before I'll launch a sea kayak on Vancouver Island and set about reclaiming my speed record for circumnavigating Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia! 16 days at 70+ kilometers per day....sounds like fun 'eh?

Cheers...Joe O'

Race Series and Paddles

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on May 25, 2009 at 7:49 AM Comments comments (0)

Well it is now July 25th and the Thunder Bay Tuesday Night Race Series starts up again tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM on the MacIntrye River. Entering the second season, this series is suitable for all kayaks and canoes, it is low key, informal but good fun! Perfect training for the bigger races coming up later in the season.

I'm now finishing up the first few of my bent shaft canoe paddles. Built of laminated western red cedar with the blades clearcoated in a 4 ounce S-Glass with Epoxy resin, I'm aiming for paddles both strong and lightweight, aiming to come in around 15-17 ounces. The first few will be going at lower prices before I start charging a little more after getting a few out there into peoples hands. So far, twoare going to Vancouver Island, one to Winnipeg Manitiba and one more to New York State. I'll get some photos posted late this week after putting on the finishing touches.

Best of luck today to my friends who are in New York racing the 1-day 70 Mile General Clinton Canoe Marathon, one of the "Triple Crown" of marathon canoe racing. Debbie Bennet & Murray Marchment are teaming up in a tandem and Steve MacAleer from New Brusiwck is contesting the Pro C1 solo race and will likely finish high.


New Race Boat arrives!

Posted by Joe O' Woodshop and Joe O' Paddles on May 7, 2009 at 9:37 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, it is early May and finally, my new marathon C1 racing canoe arrived a couple of days ago.

I was extremely happy to get it here and get it out on the water within 2 hours of it coming off the trailer from Clipper Canoes in Abbotsford British Columbia. 

It paddles great, has good speed and a lot of glide. 18'6" long and weight is about 25 lbs. I can hardly wait to start racing it later this month when I start up my Tuesday Night Race Series for 2009 here in Thunder Bay.

Looks like I'll be splitting my time this season between paddling the new race canoe and gertting out in my sea kayak to train for my trip back to Vancouver Island to regain my speed record for the circumnavigation.

Going to be a busy summer for sure!

Greenland paddle sales are picking up, sold another last night, 2 more going later this week. Bent shaft canoe paddles are almost ready to go as well.

Club paddling has started up recently and regualr Thuresday Night paddles will start in likely 2 weeks. There is a group paddling to Pie Island for an overnighter Saturday and if interested, Dave Clements is the guy leading this one.

More info. and pics coming soon!

Local news/ Thunder Bay, Lake Superior and beyond to Vancouver Island

Posted by Joe O Paddles on April 26, 2009 at 6:51 PM Comments comments (0)

Well it is nearly the ned of April and Lake Superior is just starting to break up. Couple more weeks and the tripping seaon should be upon us. Had fun today paddling my Nigel Dennis Greenlander Pro down the river and out onto the lake, playing around a bit in the pack ice and such.

Won't be long at all now beofre the overnight trips start up as well as my long training days as I prepare to go back to British Columbia in September to take back my speed record for circumnavigating Vancouver Island. Going to be a tough trip that one is! 70+ kilometers per day for 16+ days...much in big, exposed west coast conditions.

Found out yesterday that my new C1 marathon racing canoe from Clipper has been delayed again. Same goes for the WW II and the V1 Pro Boat race canoes.  Originally they should have been here in February. Then March. Then April. Then this coming week....now hopefully in a week and a half? Oh well, not much I can but wait. 

With Spring rolling in, I'm really looking forward to getting the backyard pool up and running again...bring on the private 1 on 1 rolling clinics! Did a little maintenance on the pool today after paddling and also finished up another Greenland Paddle, built of western red cedar. This one came in at 217 cm and weight was a good 26 ounces. The Nova Scotia order ships out this week so I'm trying to get some extras built up before sending out the batch to the east coast. Also have some bent shaft canoe paddles coming along nicely right now too. Will post photos soon.

Watch for the next issue of Superior Outdoors in May and my ad for the Greenland Paddles, check it out!

Cheers...Joe O'

Paddling Symposium

Posted by Joe O Paddles on April 20, 2009 at 9:39 PM Comments comments (2)

    Lots of news on the local paddling scene here in Thunder Bay Ontario. Teaming up with the good folks at Quetico Provincial Park, the Superior Kayak & Canoe Club is co-hosting the "Paddle Your Friends Canoe or Kayak Symposium" on July 5th. 

    Preceeding this event is 4 days of marathon canoe racing in Quetico Provincial Park. More details will be psoted online with in the next few days, both on my Blog and on my Club Pages for the paddling club.

    My new Greenland Paddle Bags are now in stock and going fast. I currently have Black; Black & Blue; and Burgundy to choose from. Nicely paddled, these are awesome bags for protecting your Greenland Paddle. See the webstore for more information.

    Regular club paddles start up in May. Tuesday Night Race series is also set to resume in late May (I'm anxiously awaiting arrival of my new 18'6" kevalr marathon C1 solo race canoe to arrive. 26 lbs of speed and fun).

    Also, rumour has it that several new Nigel Foster designed sea kayaks are set to arrive in Thunder Bay next month. The all new Whiskey 16 and the Whiskey 18...designed by Nigel Foster, built by Point 65 North of Sweden. I'm happy and excited to be bringing in these fine sea kayaks to the waters of Lake Superior.

    Lots more news coming soon, check back often!

Cheers...Joe O'