Whitewater canoeing does not attract the large and consolidated following of its stepchild, kayaking. Since the advent of plastic kayaks more than 30 years ago canoes have been consigned to permanent minority status, with the noteworthy exception of 10 days each March on the whitewater that flows off the Cumberland Plateau around Lenoir City, Tennessee. For those glorious few days in the wet Appalachian spring, open-boaters reclaim their place atop the paddling hierarchy, and if any kayaker feels bold enough to question this old-world order, Michael “Louie” Lewis will happily, and emphatically, set him or her straight.
Kirk Albert Walter Wipper: 1923-2011. For Kirk Wipper, a canoe was a piece of living history. It spoke of aboriginal and European builders, of designs inspired by geography and building materials, and of the movement of people across North American waterways, and, ultimately, the preservation of wild canoe country. A canoe was meant to be paddled—as a means of discovering history firsthand.
By Conor Mihell Published: February 8, 2011 Canadian canoeist, filmmaker, photographer and author Rolf Kraiker’s latest project is a blast from the past. Kraiker is currently at work on an instructional video illustrating the art of traditional solo canoeing, the graceful, ballet-style of paddling that’s been practiced for generations on the crystalline lakes of Northern […]
Canoe & Kayak managing editor Dave Shively and art director Robert Zaleski paddled over 100 miles down the Mississippi River’s wildest lower-river reaches with Quapaw Canoe Company owner-guide John Ruskey in his handcrafted 30-foot voyager-style canoe.
Just out from Rolf Kraiker… Part one of a video series—from a forthcoming DVD—detailing some of the mechanics behind obtaining complete control of a canoe using the traditional “Canadian” style of paddling that has been handed down from aboriginal paddlers through generations of summer camp adaptations in the Canoe Country region of Ontario, Canada.
By Conor Mihell Published: January 19, 2011 A series of frustrating pitfalls have hampered the getaway plans of British expedition kayakers Justine Curgenven and Barry Shaw in their attempt to circumnavigate Isla Grande Tierra Del Fuego. The island, the largest in South America and located at its very southern tip, has never been circumnavigated. Originally […]
Nestled in the southwest corner of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s eastern-most province, is the tiny fishing village of Burgeo. Home to some spectacular sea kayaking, this picture postcard of a town is blessed with everything on the wish list: Miles of sandy beaches, deep fjords and 300-plus islands to explore. Also, there are no crowds—which should come as no surprise given Burgeo’s isolation.
(Ed’s note: This is the first piece in a series.) “The canoe is the simplest, most functional, yet aesthetically pleasing object ever created.” —Bill Mason, Path of the Paddle By Conor Mihell Published: January 14, 2011 The late Canadian canoeing legend Bill Mason was fond of extolling the virtues of wood and canvas canoes in […]
Our canoes can be spotted in some unusual places these days.
Photo by Jovan Matic David Johnston’s motivation as a sea kayak instructor changed when he no longer had to make a living at it. “Now I tell the students, ‘This better be fun because I’m on vacation,’” says the Toronto-based civil servant and Web designer. It’s not that Johnston didn’t know how to have a […]
Conor Mihell paddles out in historic surf on Lake Superior last week near Wawa, Ontario. Photo: Megan Gamble/naturallysuperior.com The National Weather Service’s Great Lakes coastal forecast website ranks high on the list of bookmarks for rough-water paddlers in the heart of the continent. When the lakes glow red and purple on the forecast, indicating waves […]
In the early 1900s, an Englishman named Archie Belaney came to North America in search of adventure and became one of the first to romanticize the notion of canoe-tripping in the Canadian wilderness. Belaney quickly fell in with the Teme-Augama Anishnabe, the “Deep Water People”, a native Ojibwa tribe whose traditional lands encompass present-day Temagami, […]
By Conor Mihell Peter Coates uses unorthodox methods to market the grueling 1,000-mile paddling race he organizes on the Yukon River. Streaming in bold letters across the top of the website for the Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race is the question, “Do you really want to do this?” Last summer, 17 teams of paddlers […]