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The 2014 Reel Paddling Film Festival is touring 25 films in more than 100 venues around the world. Watch this year’s winning canoe category film, Have Kids, Will Paddle, at www. rapidmedia.com/0240.


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iving on a quiet British Columbia highway, 25 kilometers south of Golden, Columbia Wetlands Adventures owner Mark Teasedale wanted to do something unique to help advertise his business and draw attention to the wetlands he loves. He does not recall exactly when the idea of building the world’s largest paddle took root, but once Teasedale gets an idea, it usually takes off in a big way. “I started wondering how big the world’s biggest canoe paddle was,” he explains, “so I started doing some research. I found nothing, so I decided to set the bar pretty high and try to build it as big as possible.” With a 60-foot cedar pole shaft and blade composed of over 800 laminated veneers, the nearly six-ton paddle prompted the Guinness Book of World Records to create a whole new category. Teasedale is waiting for final confirmation on the record, expected soon after Guinness staffers scour the globe for competition. DAVE QUINN


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After traversing 3,362 kilometers over 158 days in the Amazon rainforest, Aaron Chervenak and Gareth Jones of the multi-year Brazil 9000 expedition said goodbye to their trusty folding canoe. They’re continuing their world-first, human-powered, north-to- south foot and bike journey through Brazil for another 5,500 kilometers (www. brazil9000.com).


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Crowdsourcing is chang- ing the way expeditions and innovations get funded, allowing today’s explorers to take their passion directly to the people. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns have contributed to recent paddling expeditions such as Nobody’s River (an


50 | Canoeroots


all-women, source-to-sea journey on Russia’s Amur River—$32,295) and this year’s Labrador Passage (his- toric route retracing—$5,890). In January, startup Torch Paddles received the $35,000 needed to fund their dream of creating SUP and canoe paddles that self-illuminate— expect to see them lighting up shelves later this year (www. torchpaddles.com).


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Production is still in the works, but the Canoeroots team is already excited about Canoe: Icon Of The North. This beautifully filmed documentary explores the canoe’s significance in modern culture, with cameos from the who’s-who of the canoeing world, including Kevin Callan, Becky Mason and Ted Moores (www. canoemovie.com).


This year’s Wooden Canoe Heritage Association’s annual assembly showcased wood canoes from more than 20 modern-day builders, instead of the usual 100-year- old classics.


“Just as we all get excited today about the old B.N. Morris, J.H. Rushton or Dan Herald, some day, canoe enthusiasts will get equally excited about the canoes our builders are making now,” said association president Ken Kelly (www.wcha.org).


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Why should you care about the Peel River Watershed? Not only is it one of North America’s last remaining intact ecosystems, it’s also a canoeist’s paradise, home of the Wind, Peel and Snake rivers. In February it was opened to mining, gas and oil exploration, putting its delicate environment at risk. Learn about the fight to protect it at www.rapidmedia. com/0241.


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The textile and tannery industry is responsible for 20 percent of industrial freshwater waste,


according to shocking new documentary RiverBlue. “It’s way more than we were expecting and it’s flown pretty much under the radar and been underreported,” says Mark Angelo. The avid paddler and conservationist has traveled to 1,000 rivers in 100 countries and is the founder of World Rivers Day (September 28), recognized in 70 countries around the world. “Paddlers understand how everything


is interconnected,” Angelo adds; “I’m fearful of what lies ahead.” Watch a trailer for the new doc at www.rapidmedia. com/0242.


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Thanks to trailblazers like Team River Runner and Heroes on the Water, rehabilitation for wounded veterans is increasingly involving nature retreats and paddling. Last fall Navy vet, Lonnie Bedwell, made history by becoming the first completely blind solo kayaker to paddle the entire length of the Grand Canyon (www. teamriverrunner.org).


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A skilled crew of navigators set out in May to sail 47,000 miles of open ocean in a pair of Poly- nesian voyaging canoes using ancient way-finding tech- niques, including observing stars, wind and birds. Sailing in the wake of their ances- tors, they’ll visit 26 countries over the next three years on a mission to create a sustainable future (www.hokulea.com).


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The Canadian Canoe Museum may be relocating to the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site. The new site would provide water access, solidifying the museum, as well as the town of Peterborough, as a national shrine for canoes.


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The phrase home away from home gets new meaning with First Ascent’s Katabatic expedition tent, a tent that charges your devices. This yet-to-be-released dream-come-true for power- hungry outdoor nerds comes courtesy of an Eddie Bauer and Goal Zero team-up for a price upwards of $800.


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Expedition racing’s newest annual slogfest is also the toughest—the Muskoka


PHOTO: DAVE QUINN


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