I started to make my own paddles in the early 1990’s because I didn’t like what I saw on the market for Canadian made wood paddles. Word soon caught on that these were fine crafted, exceptional paddles and outside orders started coming in, resulting in the formation of Echo Paddles in 1998.
Over the past ten years the paddles have undergone many changes, introducing new materials like carbon fiber and Dynel, working with tapered laminates for strength and durability as well as aesthetic concerns, and introducing new designs each year. However, the original premise remains the same: a light weight, stiff and well balanced paddle produced in a sustainable manner.
I have two goals with Echo Paddles. The first is to provide high end, well crafted and aesthetically pleasing paddles. The second is to be a company that models environmental sensitivity, keeps its impact low, and supports education around craftsmanship and environmental stewardship.
To this end, I continue to tweak and redesign paddle blades and think about what will make a great paddle. I am also using wood from our own woodlot on 36 acres of land that is managed through the Forest Stewardship Council. I also do some selective cutting to benefit the health of our forest and milling on site with my band saw mill – great fun and a way to achieve some wonderful material for paddle making.
I have had the pleasure of teaching others about paddle making through paddle making workshops and an apprenticeship program as well as working with high school programs to make paddles and use them on trips.
Paddling remains a passion as well, of course, and I continue to support various paddling events along with introducing new paddlers to the joys of the canoe through on water instruction. I hope to see you on the water at one of these events, or just simply on a local lake or river.