On the Lake

This short video shows how beautiful it was on Lake MacBride Saturday. Enjoy!

Team Kayak on the Water


Lake MacBride

Team Kayak travelled to Lake MacBride in Johnson County, IA, on Saturday, May 30. We were fortunate to have a beautiful day for our first time on a lake. We went down to the south side, by the primitive campground, and put in at the very nice boat ramp there. We enjoyed the afternoon, and explored that section of the lake. There was enough wind that it was bumpy out in the middle. We had never experienced that, since we have spent our time on small sheltered rivers. The lake was busy, with many small fishing boats and other kayaks moving in and out constantly. It was a great day, capped off with barbeque and a campfire at Ducker’s. Go Team!

lake-macbride-012 Team Kayak


Greenland Paddle

I am a newbie in the paddling world. When I started this spring, I bought a 2-piece European-style paddle with an aluminum shaft. It did move a lot of water with each stroke, but was hard work -for me, at least. It almost immediately failed in the center joint, and developed a real wiggle. I began looking around for a one-piece shaft, and decided on wood for the material. I became intrigued as I read about the narrow blades and different paddling style of the Greenland paddle. The blades are narrow and long – the entire paddle can be moved back and forth to give you long strokes on one side of the kayak, if needed.

The paddling motion is different, with a faster tempo, but keeping the paddle no higher than the shoulders. There is less resistance in the water and a smooth circular motion is easier on the arms and shoulders. By sliding the upper hand out to grasp the end of the blade, and moving the other hand to the end of the loom, a long paddle stroke can easily be used to turn the kayak.

I had some reservations about whether this design would actually move my kayak as well as my companions and their big blades, but I have had no problem keeping up or maneuvering my boat. I really enjoy using this paddle and I plan to have it for a long time!

The picture below shows me with my paddle – contrast it with Amber’s.

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Great Day on the River

Back on the river!

Team Kayak took advantage of the great weather on Saturday afternoon. We hit the Maquoketa River in NE Iowa as the last raindrops were falling. Conditions rapidly improved and we paddled out. Upstream lay the little rapids we enjoy shooting. They looked very active, but with the river level falling, they weren’t as powerful as usual.  We turned around and headed downstream to Bailey’s Ford, just 3 or 4 miles away. This was a fun float, bumping over the little step dam, and only having to deal with one boat wake along the way. Energy was still high, so we quickly reloaded and drove back to our starting point at Pin Oak park for one more launch and some more water time. We capped off the day with barbeque and family time together. Welcome summer!

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Ditch rides the current

Kyle does a nice job of riding these little rapids on the Maquoketa River in NE Iowa.


Lessons Learned

We made our downstream paddle on Sunday, May 10, on the Maquoketa River. Pretty smooth sailing for Team Kayak, except for an incident with a low-head dam that was moving more water than usual. This is due to recent rains that have raised the flow rate and level of the river. One boat didn’t hit the dam with enough speed, and was stopped and pulled back against the dam, capsizing it and filling it completely with water. Team help was at hand, and all was well.

We also encountered power boats and their wakes for the first time. A fishing boat and a decent-sized pontoon boat gave only enough wake to let us ride the up and down elevator for about three waves. But a powerboat that gunned his engine just as he got past us threw a big wake. We were well clear, and I turned my bow into the wake, but it pushed me back broadside. I would have capsized, but I instinctively put my arm into the water to steady my boat, and I found bottom. A quick brace and push, and I was upright again – still quite dry. Lesson learned – stay well clear when possible, and keep that paddle moving to stay into the wake!


Like a Ducker on the water

Go Ducker!

Here are some photos from the day…


Hello Paddlers!

Kayaking is a wet sport! That’s the first thing I learned about this wonderful outdoor activity.

Welcome to my building, kayaking, learning, sharing blog. I have been kayaking for about a month now. Come with me as I continue to explore the rivers and lakes of Iowa, and hopefully, build my own Pygmy Pinguino Sport wooden kayak.

Come on in – the water’s fine!

Pops the Paddler!

Pops the Paddler!