When I started making Echo Paddles back in 1998 I must admit it was a rather modest ambition- to make some high quality paddles in small numbers. I though I would use them myself and perhaps some friends would ask me to make some. That was about it.
Almost 20 years and over 1200 paddles later, I am both shocked and honoured to have the support and commitment shown to me by the paddling community. My latest honour was to make some decorative paddles for the Ottawa Riverkeeper gala to be presented to Sophie Gregoire Trudeau as their 2016 Honourary Riverkeeper and to Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson as the 2016 Water Leader award.
A you can imagine, this was a big deal for a guy who started making a few paddles in his garage for a bunch of dirty paddlers living out of their vehicles. Jess and I managed to gussy up a bit (the kids didn’t recognize me without epoxy and varnish stains on my clothes) and head out to the gala for a beautiful evening on the Ottawa River and our brush with Canada’s royalty.
It was an absolute pleasure and honour to attend and meet the distinguished guests. In my life I have found myself in some incredible places and situations, wondering “what am I doing here!?” and this was certainly amongst them.
A beautiful evening, wonderful people doing great work for one of Canada’s major river systems, and some paddles I am proud to share with the community.