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My quest for the best custom made ottertail paddle in the world

Joined
Nov 25, 2021
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Location
Florida
That should be a looker!!! There were some maple paddles in stock that looked very nice, but I’m still on a good cherry kick.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2021
Messages
469
Reaction score
228
Location
Florida
I finally got a chance to try out my ottertail today. As the “boater safety instructor” I get to paddle for work! Some days my job straight up rocks. Well, I’m a geologist so it always rocks 😁. I took 2 staff out on the Wacissa today. They happened to be a married couple, in the Old Town 164 with plastic seats we have at work. Naturally I paddled my Polaris. I told them tandems are divorce boats.

The wind was whipping straight north, and I don’t mind saying the Polaris is a handful with just lil ol me in it. I did kneel for a bit, barefoot. I liked the position quite a lot from the waist up. I quickly lost feeling in my ankles and had to abandon the position. Even with a high seat, sitting in the Polaris feels stable. Apparently I need to practice kneeling at home to build up some tolerance. Or I need to lower the seat and install a foot brace…

The paddle is fantastic! The river was low, and the eel grass and hydrilla tall, so there were large portions of the river where I couldn’t use it. But I played in the spring pool at Big Blue. Correction strokes are so much easier with a straight paddle. I also quickly determined that the slender shaft is superior to fat ones. This explains why one of my 3 Gray Owl bent shafts is my favorite- it is a touch more slender, and the grip is smaller. My longest bent shaft is more burly all over. So kudos Bruce, this thing feels amazing. I enjoy working on underwater recoveries, and palm rolls to put a little draw in the beginning of the stroke. I want to try the running bow pry, but not today!

My students had to demonstrate proficiency with sweep, forward, reverse, draw, and J strokes. Then they had to practice recoveries. We did a boat over boat recovery. That danged OT is HEAVY before it’s full of water. They were able to scramble back into the boat. I was impressed. My gunwales have new scratches from launching the now empty OT. It was the first time I tried to empty a boat this way and it worked well.

The wife told me I changed her mind about canoes. The couple own kayaks, but now that she can control the boat and feels comfortable in it, she sees the utility in gear carrying ability and etc.

The lone 6’ gator snoozing at the edge in the weeds was unmoved by our shenanigans.
 
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