Canoecopia 2013

  • Canoecopia 2013 Canoecopia 2013
  • John Lockwood, Dan Jones & Dave Paskawych - Dave and Dan drove up with three boats all the way from Marietta, Ohio. Dan has built 11 Pygmy boats! John Lockwood, Dan Jones & Dave Paskawych - Dave and Dan drove up with three boats all the way from Marietta, Ohio. Dan has built 11 Pygmy boats!
  • Beautiful artwork on the Arctic Tern 14 that Ann & Jerry Stein loaned for the weekend. Beautiful artwork on the Arctic Tern 14 that Ann & Jerry Stein loaned for the weekend.
  • Theresa Kulczak from Indianapolis, IN built the Arctic Tern 14 with her 90 year old neighbor and was excited to see it on display here.  Her enthusiasm made our day! Theresa Kulczak from Indianapolis, IN built the Arctic Tern 14 with her 90 year old neighbor and was excited to see it on display here. Her enthusiasm made our day!
  • Dry land roll test in the Murrelet 4PD. Dry land roll test in the Murrelet 4PD.
  • A sawyer baptism-- how could we resist? A sawyer baptism-- how could we resist?
  • Barb & Gene Geiger plan to paddle the Mississippi on a 6 month kayak service adventure.  You can follow their trip at paddleforapurpose.net Barb & Gene Geiger plan to paddle the Mississippi on a 6 month kayak service adventure. You can follow their trip at paddleforapurpose.net
  • Jim Fleming (the "tallest man" John has ever seen) is a preacher in Fairmont, MN who organized a father-son boat building project. Jim Fleming (the "tallest man" John has ever seen) is a preacher in Fairmont, MN who organized a father-son boat building project.
  • Jim, at 6'10", is excited about the Borealis.  Jim, at 6'10", is excited about the Borealis.

The nose of the Taiga canoe stuck out about 4 inches from the edge of our booth and passerby’s seemed incapable of resisting petting its smooth glassy finish.  Even though it is 8 years old, it looks brand new and truly beautiful with a fresh coat of varnish.   A few people were led into our booth hand first, mouth agape.  I gave them time to pet the boats before checking to see if they had any questions.   They often did.  “What kind of wood is this?  What gives it the glassy finish?  Do you really paddle it?  It’s beautiful.”

I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect our first year at Canoecopia. We shipped out display racks, but every boat in our Canoecopia display was delivered by a local Pygmy boat owner who generously loaned his/her boat for us to display for the three day weekend. As the boats arrived we were awestruck by how beautiful and lovingly built they were. Every day, four or five local Pygmy kit builders volunteered to help man the display. Canoecopia is held in a huge convention room, and by Saturday morning there were so many people crammed in our display that you could hardly turn around. Our first Canoecopia was a smashing success.

But for us the high point was meeting other local Pygmy kit builders who kept arriving to visit us and to tell us how much they love their boats.  One woman approached the Arctic Tern 14 with tears in her eyes.  “My Tern 14 is my most treasured possession. I have paddled lots of other sea kayaks and this is the sleekest, most sea worthy boat.”  We hugged and I too almost started crying.  It was clear she loves her boat and enjoyed building it with her 90 year old neighbor.

Another favorite moment occurred when one gentleman walked up and said, “These are sure great lookin’ boats but what would mine turn out like?” I explained that the boats on display were actually built by our customers in the Madison area and before I could continue a petite lady sauntered up and answered for me.  “Oh, I built my own Arctic Tern and it is just wonderful. I love it.  Construction is a snap.”  The man seemed to look at her with a shocked expression and then a smile broke across his face.  “Well, I guess that answers that.”

We cannot express how much we were touched by all of the support from our customers.  The boats that people brought were beautiful and we proudly displayed their accomplished construction.  Volunteers were put to work helping to explain the kit construction process to people just learning about stitch and glue boat building and they helped to debunk the common misconception that wood produces a heavier boat.  Passerby’s loved hearing that the boats were made in the area and mentioned that it made the prospect of building a boat seem more attainable.   We couldn’t have done it without the help of our volunteers and we had a lot of fun meeting both veteran and future Pygmy boat owners. So here’s a big THANK YOU to all the people that made this possible.  You know who you are.

In short, Canoecopia isn’t just about selling boats- it’s about meeting the people that paddle them and hearing their paddling stories.   It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm and contagious excitement for a new season that’s generated by convening in one (very large) building and sharing a passion that takes us outside and into beautiful places. There are some great paddle trips on the horizon and we are excited to follow them here on this blog.  One couple (Barb & Gene Geiger) is paddling the entire Mississippi in their Osprey Double to highlight service organizations along the Mississippi that devote their time and energy to helping those in need (to read more about “Paddle for a Purpose”, click here), while another crew of 6 Pygmies plans to paddle and peddle on a 925 mile pilgrimage, “Westward Home“, paralleling the Pioneer passage to raise money for a community center in Marietta, OH.  So stay tuned as we continue to follow the incredibly interesting lives of Pygmy paddlers.

Many Thanks,

John Lockwood & Laura Prendergast

 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

HTML tags are not allowed.