About Shade Tree Paddles
Growing up whitewater kayaking in southwest Pennsylvania, wooden paddles were always used by the best paddlers. They were stronger and more durable than the fiberglass composite paddles available. The wooden paddles also had a lore to them and anyone who owned one, cherished it as their most prized possession. The region was also home to some of the best and prolific wooden paddle makers in the history of the sport.
When I was 17 I began working on the Youghiogheny river in Pennsylvania, then moved to teach on the James River in Richmond, VA a few seasons later. After graduating college with a BFA in sculpture, I had many skills but was master of none. I wanted to keep my art making practice alive, but I felt I needed to become a master at building one thing that had nothing to do with my other work. By mastering one thing, I believed it would teach me a lot about patience that I needed to learn when I was 22. Now 11 years later, I’ve spent a lot of time practicing this craft while all other aspects of life and work have moved in different directions.