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Rutabaga’s Canoecopia 2013

March 28, 2013

iphone pix 3 16 13 065The world’s largest paddlesports show lived up to it’s larger than life reputation again this year.  The Madison Wisconsin based Rutabaga Paddlesports shop puts on a FANTASTIC show.  With 10 speaker rooms plus the pool area, there are plenty of choices of topic.  I love to go to the presentations that highlight an adventurous trip or an exotic location.

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The author with filmmaker and adventurer Justine Curgenven

My favorite speaker this year was Justine Curgenven. I had never met her before, but having watched so many of her films over the years, I felt like I knew her. She was launching her new DVD “This is the Sea 5” at the show. She gave a great talk about her recent circumnavigation of Tierra del Fuego punctuated with video clips from the DVD.  She was so kind and down to earth. Her films are so well done and when you’re watching them you feel like you are on the adventure with her.

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The author with Jon Turk

Author and adventurer Jon Turk gave a presentation of his recent circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island. Jon was named one of the top ten “Adventurers of the Year” by National Geographic. He is certainly passionate and entertaining!

Other highlights of the show were: Kevin “Happy Camper” Callan‘s talk on the Woodland Caribou Provincial park in northwest Ontario,  Cliff Jacobson‘s talk on “Camping’s Top Secrets,” Rapid Media‘s Scott MacGregor’s presentation on “Trip Stories That (Don’t) Suck: The Art of Great Adventure Writing.

The exhibits were great. The folks at Chesapeake Light Craft set about building a wooden kayak during the show. I wish I had gone back to see if they finished it! All the major manufacturers were there: Werner Paddles, Kokatat, MSR, Yakima, NRS, Jackson Kayaks, GoPro, Teva, Keen,  Wilderness Systems and many, many, many more.


The very best part of the show for me this year was that I had the opportunity to present a talk on “Understanding Cold Water Immersion for Paddlers” After months of preparation and research, it was fun to get up and share what I had learned with the audience. Attendance was good and the attendees were enthusiastic and curious. It was so great to have my wife and daughter there to support me.

The end of the day Saturday featured the Annual Aluminum Chef Competition. This is a cooking contest where the contestants use only the tools and ingredients they might have at a camp site.  Kevin Callan and Marty Koch were very entertaining, as were the folks from MSR, who sponsored the event.

Saturday night there was a party featuring Madison’s own “Mad Polecats” and some more of the films from Justine’s new DVD.

A great show again Darren, Nancy and all the staff and volunteers of Rutabaga.

Can’t wait until next year!



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