I lost touch with Ron (Novorca) several years ago. He was a paddling companion. His shop was in a word “awesome”. His work pure art. I know my life’s crap shoot has gotten in the way of some dreams I had planned to fulfill, may have happened to Ron too, I hope he is doing well.
David, of Friday Harbor paddles In Washington State, made beautiful solid and laminated GP’s – I had him make my first one, to order per my metrics, back in 2009 . That paddle remains my favorite to this day and it has garnered admiration from other GP lovers who have admired and asked to borrow it at group events. But, sadly, he eventually had to give up the business due to chronic pain and the damage to his hand, wrist and forearm tendons from the strain of carving the paddles.
Health woes seem to have afflicted a number of the master builders of traditional kayaks and paddles. Dawa Lodrup, the American Buddhist monk who built the beautiful “Monkcraft” skin on frame Greenland kayak replicas in the mid 2000’s, suffered from severe facial nerve pain that hampered his building efforts and he had to stop making kayaks to order. I was fortunate to get one of his boats before he gave up the business.
And the brilliant boat designer and builder, Brian Schulz of Cape Falcon Kayaks has struggled with a terrible and intractable metabolic disorder that has thwarted treatment and leaves him drained and frustrated, though he soldiers on and has been developing excellent instructional videos now that it has become difficult for him to maintain the hands-on classes he used to offer.
Hope you’re reading this, Bill Bremer! Recently I put one of your paddles in the hands of a guy who had never used a GP before. It was like he’d been using one all his life. No learning time necessary. Hope you’re doing well.