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did anyone go.........


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I went to the Paddlesports event on Friday night, mainly to sign up for 2006 at the Maine Island Trail Association booth, and to see Derek Hutchinson’s seminar on paddling the Aleutian Islands. I had never seen Derek Hutchinson in action before. After a brief introduction, he showed a film of his 1975 (I think) expedition to the Aleutians, with some disclaimers. The film, he said, did not capture the essence of the trip at all. Nevertheless, it was interesting , with quaint footage of five paddlers traveling in a truly exotic location. They paddled for 3 weeks, encountered very bad weather (not so evident in the film) without immersion wear and using paddles which look , well , primitive by today’s high end lightweight carbon fiber standards. During the Q & A session , Derek gave a lucid exposition of the racing stroke and wing paddles, and a good explanation of the physiology of paddling.( In pedestrian terms, get in shape for paddling by doing lots of ... paddling, its not a strength thing at all; a better conditioned paddler with arms the diameter of broomsticks can whip a stronger, more musclebound paddler its all in increasing the efficiency of blood transport to & from the arms. ) He has a lot of opinions, and I imagine he has made many friends and a few foes over the years. He thinks very little of the high end, lightweight carbon paddles of today, and thinks a 240cm, paddle that weighs 45-57 ounces is the best choice. Either everything I know is wrong or… well, everything someone knows is wrong. But he’s the one who paddled for 25 days in the Aleutian Islands, so I guess I’ll withhold judgment until I’ve done the same, or something vaguely equivalent …

At the show, there were a few cool toys on display . The Current Design booth had a Rumour (less than 20” wide; paddles under 140 lbs need no longer feel neglected.) I think that was Ben Lawry in the P &H booth, but I didn’t go talk to him, (I felt like the guys in Wayne’s World with back stage passes at an Aerosmith concert : “we’re not worthy!’) On display was a low volume (must be a new model) P &H Quest with a black deck and a red hull. Very sharp!

I talked with the folks at Impex, and the three new Force cruisers were on display, I had paddled the 4 & 5 at CRKC in November, but hadn’t seen the Force 3 yet : 17’ long, 20” wide, another choice for women /under 140lb paddlers. Mark Schoon of Carpe Diem Kayaks /Bar Harbor is taking a Force (4 or 5) on a trip up the Maine coast, (as we speak, I believe) and he would be a good contact for those interested in that new boat.

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>but hadn’t seen the Force 3 yet : 17’

>long, 20” wide, another choice for women /under 140lb


Gail was smitten hard by that boat. The depth to underside of front deck was 10" max. so cockpit fits small folks nice and the hull is just smaller all around too. How it is on the water remains for Gail to find out.

Ed Lawson

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Yeah, I also squeezed into the force 3, very nice fit even for me at 5'11" and 175lbs. Ran into many of the usual suspects there, didn't stay long. I did get some new NRS shoes and socks.

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