Probably not best to start the year off with a rant as the first post, but maybe, just maybe, 2017 will be the year when this kind of thing stops. What do you ask? The silly need of people to comment about how a photo of a canoe or kayak that they saw on social media doesn’t meet their idea of what a canoe or kayak should be or some other silliness like that. To be completely honest (cliched phrase on purpose, because it’s like a cliche that you going to get someone who thinks they are the know-it-all paddler to comment on a photo that they have no knowledge of), I just don’t even have the energy to continue describing this type of stupidity. I’ll just post the screenshot.
Here it is:
If you can’t see the screenshot, it shows a Facebook comment that says,
No painters, bow or stern, and a canoe one small gust of wind away from being blown out into the lake. And WITH the paddle in it. Nice photo I guess, but from a practical standpoint it’s just camera candy.SUBSCRIBE TO PADDLINGLIGHTReceive PaddlingLight updates straight to your inbox every time I publish a new article. Your email address will never be shared
OH. MY. GOD. It’s “WITH” a paddle in it. Holy cow! The Cubs win! The world is coming to an end. An obviously posed picture of a canoe has a freak’n paddle in it. OH. MY. GOD. I just can’t handle it. Without a couple of painters on the bow or stern (using technical language because you know), it’ll blow away from ONE SMALL GUST of wind. Yikes! That’ll happen on this completely calm morning when there wasn’t a gust of wind to be found, but you never know WHEN a GUST of WIND is going to hit. IT COULD HAPPEN RIGHT NOW! Right freaking now. And WITH the paddle in it!
You know, it’s a nice photo and all, but without painters and WITH the paddle in it, it’s just camera candy.
The comment was made on this canoe picture that I took:
On this morning, I decided to head inland and take a sunrise picture with my new Northstar Phoenix (Read the mini-review: Northstar Phoenix Review). It was the perfect late fall morning and the light was amazing. I set my canoe down in the shallows, grounded at the stern so it wouldn’t move during the long exposure and the bow partly on the shore. I had to adjust the angle of the canoe several times to get it just right. The fog drifting across the surface of the water moved like magical powers. And the reflections were perfect. It was one of those one in a thousand mornings. The perfect paddling morning. One shot from the morning even made the cover of Sierra Magazine (it’s a selfie). After the light started to fade away, I went on a long paddle and explored sections of this river that I hadn’t paddled before. Got some great pictures and the entire morning was as calm as can be without a gust of wind.
I’d say it was a pretty practical morning in a pretty practical canoe outfitted exactly how it needed to be outfitted for the chores that it had to preform. It was so practical that I made a shot I love and has sold prints. I scored a magazine cover shot. And, I had a great late fall paddle.
All without painters and WITH a paddle in the canoe.
More related reading:
Seriously, when will paddlers stop the silly?
UPDATE: It gets even better.
The carelessness…. This gets even sillier. Seriously, paddlers just stop.
But I just want to make this perfectly clear to someone reading this: you do not need painters on a canoe. Can they be useful? Yes, in the situation you might need them. They’re great when you’re lining your canoe through rapids or other fast water sections. You can tie your canoe to a tree or something as well. Can they be dangerous? Yes, they pose an entrapment issue during a capsize. You should have a knife ready (I like the Gerber River Shorty with the blunt tip mounted on my vest) to cut yourself out of the painters should something go south. Canoes are used in far less extreme situations than kayaks and kayaks don’t use painters. I used to have them on all my canoes (after reading Cliff Jacobson’s books) when I used them for flat water trips. After 100s of trips into the Boundary Waters, I seldom used them. I think one of the few times I did was on my first trip. Experience taught that they weren’t useful nor necessary for flat water trips. I don’t know many canoe guides who use painters in the BWCA. We didn’t when we guided the BWCA.
The thing is this: you use judgement instead of dogma. Dogma says, you need to have painters all the time. Judgement, gained from experience, says use them when you need them.