The paddle of the sexes

Paddling both canoe and kayak has given me insight over the years in comparing the two arts. This year that it galled me that the first paddle I dipped was some sort of high density graphite kayak paddle. Always it has been the ironwood Grey Owl that has broken the surface, the smooth warm feel of wood against the hand, no other substitute for a canoe, I can only hope the great canoe spirits are forgiving.

Thinking of the great Mohawk who used the canoe for hunting, trading, and war and the hardy French voyageurs, it became quite apparent that in the French vernacular, the canoe was masculine, while the lesser kayak is feminine. There is so much evidence supporting such a claim.

Take for example the lower centre of gravity of a kayak like a woman, where the canoe has a higher center of gravity like a man. So what if the kayaks, due to their low profile, are able to cut the wind smoother than a canoe. The avid canoeist enjoys a good wind, straining with every stroke against nature’s force. Canoe heads feel the force of Mother Earth, during paddling and sometimes for a while afterwards.

Now it has puzzled me for many years while the kayakers are faster, and it is always the canoeist that reaches camp first, sets up and has a good cooking fire on the roar before you can scent those fibreglass hull kayaks. And it’s not just when they’re in the water. A most recent trip with Andrea, a local guide, gave me further insight. We had agreed to meet between 8 and 9 a.m. for a day paddle. I just don’t understand kayakers lack of ability to communicate, 0800 to 0900 means around 0700 to a canoe head, while Andrea doesn’t show up until 0900, typically late. Another key artifact pointing towards kayaks being the feminine. Women in my experience are usually late, just like kayakers.

A kayak is much like a purse with all its pretty little coloured bags inside various compartments, sort of like compacts, lipstick, eyeshadow, and various other creatures of convenience. And then there’s the manly canoe with it’s one bag, big and bulky, and heavy, ooh, ooh, much like a wallet, did I mention heavy.

And let’s not forget the obvious, the skirts that all kayakers wear, hey it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Of course a couple of kayakers tried to trip me up saying there are canoe spray skirts. Only a kayaker couldn’t see the obvious, they’re kilts, that manly Scots wear, not skirts.

Of course the kayakers tried to sneak in a final word by stating women live longer than men. Well on that note I grabbed my kayak, and with the haughty masculine prowess of a canoeist heaved that feminine kayak onto the rooftop with out the aid of those girly kayak rollers, that no canoe head would be caught using.

Lawrence Woodall is a longtime naturalist who lives in Port Hardy.

 

Just Posted

Distracted Driver crashes into ditch along Byng Road

Port Hardy public works department confirms the incident was caused by distracted driving.

Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign needs volunteers in Port Hardy

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is starting up on Nov. 29… Continue reading

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

UPDATE: North Island highway crash resulting in serious injuries still under investigation

The two drivers were seriously injured and sent to a hospital in Victoria.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read