The Aesthetics of Paddling

…tim or o us rumble

resounds within the deep,

so even Luca Brazzi

shall stir from out of sleep.

And though some cry with fear

that kraken’s loosed upon that spot,

t’would be best Luca surfaced near

to find new home for his garrote.

Lovely, Miss M.
When crashing waves

drowned out ahead,

storming intellect calmed,

no words are spoken

to the open heart,

inflows of peaceful balm.

That’s it!
As I mentioned in my Malecite post, yesterday’s trip had me gliding over rippling sand under glassy clear water. Seemingly miles of drifts and dunes of a submerged Sahara passed below me as I floated by on my magic carpet ride.

A standing wave…
is caused by moving water…the energy that creates and maintains waves cannot be seen but is immediately released as the wave reaches land.

Standing waves do not reach land, because they are, well, standing.

At least in “Jim’s Big Book of Physics”.


Oh those waves …
I call those “swimming waves” …

“Standing waves” are those that break on the beach but are so big that I stand there trying screw up the courage to go out …

And, now screwed up with courage,…

– Last Updated: Nov-24-09 4:02 PM EST –

...thus we begin, under standing waves.

(from chapter one of The Not So Rapid Learning of Canoeswithduckheads)

canoe , kayak.
While I gravitate to kayaking and more sea kayaking I enjoy canoeing the odd time.

While a sea kayaker can leave on a guided paddle being a novice they often return looking every bit as competent as the guide, except for the rudder that is firmly planted in the water.

A canoe on the other hand is either awkwardly pried across a water mass or laid on its side, slipping elegantly under absolute control. Such is the scene when watching my wife or some of the senior paddlers here like Austin Anthony.

A canoe well paddled can be elegant and the skill is transparent.

I still prefer kayaking

Asthestics of paddling
Leave it to Glenn to begin another long thread.

My history with paddling goes back to my days as a youngster, spending summers on the upper Delaware. Back then it wasn’t canoes, but heavy wooden rowboats. My cousin and I would paddle upstream from the family compound for hours and what seemed like miles. At noon a mother or aunt would yell “lunch time” from the rear porch and within fifteen minutes we’d be back in the eddy behind the house. After lunch or next breakfast we’d do it all over. The beauty of that river valley hasn’t changed much and I revisit it most summers, only now in a canoe.

Following those early years in rowboats I was the proud owner of a series of canoes from elegant Grummans and Ouichitas to plastic Old Towns. My paddling skills were non existent but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Eventually I met the French brothers who ran an outdoor adventure company called Pack Paddle Ski. Rick and Randy French began my education as a true canoeist. They not only taught me basic skills, they took me on adventures to places I had previously seen only on magazine pages.

Two of my now closest friends and I met on a Pack Paddle Ski Trip many years ago. That friendship continues. The threesome as we’ve become known spent last weekend in the NJ Pine Barrens as we have done almost annually for as long as I care to remember. Twenty plus years ago the three of us saw a photo in Canoe Sport Journal of a couple doing a dramatic tandem axle. That was my intro to freestyle. The two in the photo were none other than Charlie Wilson and Deb Welbes. On many a hot summer afternoon we tried to duplicate that move. I generally paddled bow and inevitably ended up swimming. I had no clue as to the mechanics of the maneuver, but the aesthetics captured my imagination. Years later I met Mark Molina and had my first real introduction to freestyle. The following summer I attended my 1st freestyle symposium and who was to be my 1st instructor, but the to me legendary, Charlie Wilson.

Freestyle is to me the epitome of aesthetic canoeing. The graceful strokes and paddle placement, the grace of the canoe as it carves through the water and the beauty of paddler, paddle and canoe moving as one are unmatched. The harmony of this motion is magnified when in concert with the swift moving current of a meandering stream. Add some fine paddling furniture in the form of a wooden canoe and paddle and I can’t imagine being in a more beautiful place.

Paddling to music (Interpretive Freestyle) might be described as the ultimate form of aesthetic canoeing. I could make that argument but could as easily argue for a graceful trip down the upper Delaware or along the edge of a still pond.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

Great thread!
Over 20 years ago I sat in a sea kayak on a standing wave off the southern tip of Lundy Island, off St Davids in South Wales. All of a sudden, I noticed a dolphin/porpoise riding the wave beside me. I just sat there. That moment was sublime.

Closer to home, I take delight during every outing in the execution of basic strokes: not sure I’m technically perfect by any means… but whether it’s coasting along canadian style or something more complex, there’s a beauty in a clean execution that in that instant more than justifies ANY time invested in improvement.

Love “freestyle”… just not sure putting anything to music adds anything :-/

Yes, g2d, but this is definately worth
archiving, as I’m sure you’d agree :slight_smile: