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 Post subject: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 14th, 2018, 12:44 pm 
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Joined: November 8th, 2008, 9:41 pm
Posts: 10
I am always looking for another soapbox to promote poling, so here we go....
It is an unfortunate quirk of recreational canoeing history everywhere but the Maritimes that poling has disappeared. There are a couple of reasons but the simple truth is that a skill that was critical to canoe travel by the First Nations, the fur trade and trappers, prospectors, lumbermen and explorers never made it to the skill sets being taught at summer camps and through scouting. Some clown with little experience with canoeing publishing a manual almost 100 years ago that said you shouldn't stand up in a canoe and that is the only piece of information that carried forward to our modern canoe culture. (I do know that the folks here know better but the overall public perception is thus).
Here's the thing. Poling is very easy, of exceptional value as a skill in the canoe tripper's tool box and yet no one knows how to pole. It got lost for no other reason than that there was a disconnect between the professional canoeists that took it for granted as much as paddling and those individuals that set up the original canoe skills programs in summer camps in the early 1900's.
Fluke.
Every year I watch brilliant expedition paddlers in the Reel Paddling Film Festival struggle up currents or line down stretches where poling could have greatly reduced their efforts and time spent. One can descend many difficult rapids that could be unrunnable (sp?) by hugging the shore and in 3" or 4" of water which might not have a lining friendly path (or even if it does, who wants to get out of the canoe?). One can pole rapids at a snail's speed that one might choose not to run because of a big consequence feature farther down. And let us not forget walking. If your canoe is floating in 5" of water you can't paddle it but poling is a piece of cake... and faster!
Against a current?
Nuff said.
So this has become my mission. I want canoe trippers to learn to pole. You don't have to practice to competition level (oh yes, the A.C.A. has held national canoe poling championships annually since 1968. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAIcAuE ... dedeeswift) just practice a bit. Everyone has a summer dry river in their town. Get a stick and get out. Every single person that I have introduced poling to has been stunned is the best word for it, by how simple and useful it is. Paddle Canada has had a canoe poling program for only a few years because of the efforts of three stalwart poling instructors from New Brunswick where it has always been a recognized skill because the historic value in the lumber industry and sport fishing guiding. And poling is a white water discipline (yes, standing up) and the advanced poling standard for Paddle Canada are for up to and into Class III.
I have a whole section of what I call "private river" here in Guelph, Ontario because it shallows out around 3" for most of the year except during the spring flood. It is a challenge to thread your way up and down the shallows to find a route that allows you to not step out, even to the point of edging the boat to make it narrower (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SsLl1Z ... anLefebvre ).
So check out youtube, get a book or look on paddlecanada.com for a course or hire an instructor for yourself or for a group you get together. There aren't many that have their names posted but I know that they are all serious about promoting poling and some are comically cheap.
Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW0sRt_ ... eamChannel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMxURxb ... nwwoodsman


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File comment: This is a book published in the 1960's for kids! The writer was from the New England States where poling is a tradition, so there you go. It isn't just me.
Young Sportsman's Guide to Canoeing.jpg
Young Sportsman's Guide to Canoeing.jpg [ 58.14 KiB | Viewed 1513 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 14th, 2018, 4:07 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
I'm a poler.


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 14th, 2018, 5:57 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Almost everyone who canoes in Maine can wield a pole. Its a skill from logging days and has never been lost here.
My friend Jeff back a few years
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWGRoXhqRgQ


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 15th, 2018, 8:07 am 
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Joined: October 6th, 2005, 8:02 am
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Location: a bit south ofWinnipeg
and here in Manitoba. I'm a (part-time) poler but check out Charles Burchill on Youtube for poling vids from around the province

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 15th, 2018, 3:26 pm 
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Joined: August 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Sunny Wasaga Beach
I went on a trip on the San Juan river led by a guy from Maine. His skills going down rapids were quite impressive. He ran some poling clinics and maybe still does. If maine was a bit closer I would have gone. Looks like a fun skill.

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Old canoeists never die---they just smell that way.



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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 16th, 2018, 7:26 am 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
wotrock wrote:
I went on a trip on the San Juan river led by a guy from Maine. His skills going down rapids were quite impressive. He ran some poling clinics and maybe still does. If maine was a bit closer I would have gone. Looks like a fun skill.

Mike Patterson, Kevin Slater? Chip Cochrane?


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 16th, 2018, 8:02 am 
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Mike P.--- a great trip leader. Went with him on the Rio Grande as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 16th, 2018, 10:14 am 
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Mike is still at it.


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: July 16th, 2018, 2:37 pm 
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I had an e-mail from him that said he was retiring from guiding canoe trips. I assume he did as I din't receive another one saying he'd changed his mind.

I still remember the briefing he gave us before the San Juan---"Democracy ends at the put-in" :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: August 6th, 2018, 11:37 am 
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Yes I spent a week with Mike Patterson in 2012 and Jeff DeHart was with us for a few days. I had been poling for maybe 7 years (self taught) and Mike Patterson did stuff with a pole that I wouldn't have tried sitting down and I will try almost anything with a paddle. Unfortunately in Ontario most built up areas were so far removed from where "professional" canoeist (guides, lumbermen, First Nations, trappers and prospectors) plied their trade that recreational paddlers never even saw poling (unlike Maine).
This ferry above a hole was not at all difficult to pole, but the two tandem boats with actually exceptional paddlers in them went over the ledge that I avoided. Part of this was because I saw it coming way before them (standing) and the power of the braking action of snubbing with a pole. (I haven't even had the opportunity to tease them about this yet). Get some poles folks... really it is easy and opens up creeks and low water adventures everywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe Poling
PostPosted: August 6th, 2018, 11:47 am 
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Mike did some amazing moves going down the San Juan. I have a video somewhere. I'll post it if I can find it.

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