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about quietwater paddles and Jeff Bach

quietwater paddles started out in a garage in Stoughton, WI., in the summer of 2010. Or maybe it was 2009. Anyway, quietwater was right next to wavetrainSUP. A couple years later we have grown into... a bigger part of the garage. The goal remains to make it easier for people to build their own wooden paddles. The first paddle I (Jeff Bach) made picture of Jeff Bach was back in fifth or sixth grade as a kid growing up outside of Duluth, MN. I used an old drawknife that I found in my grandfather's workbench. Anyway, I made a bunch of canoe paddles and poles and messed around in small ponds and on occasion, lakes, that my parents would take us to on the rare vacation. In college I was lucky enough to fall in to the world of summer camps and lakes up around Ely, Minnesota and the BWCA. Camp House, in a location I no longer remember and Camp duNord, which is still around I believe. It's a YMCA camp on Burntside Lake on the outskirts of Ely. Paddling and guiding in the BWCA were the gateway drugs to whitewater river rafting and guiding out in Oregon and Idaho. I guided on the Rogue, Deschutes, Santiam, and Mackenzie rivers in Oregon, as well as the upper Klamath in northern California. Best of all though, were the years in Idaho on the Main stem and Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Amazing, incredible experiences, from the first trip on the Rogue, up through the last trip on the Main. Other than wife and kids, those years guiding in Idaho are probably the best experiences that ever happened to me! Half my life later, I still miss those rivers.

Back to that first paddle, which my parents saved and I still have. It was all one piece, with way too much wasted wood, as I look back on it. Also, it is nearly as tall as I am. A bit of the voyageur influence I guess. As a kid, I vaguely remember reading books about the voyageurs and their paddles with three-inch wide blades and really long shafts.

Fast forwarding more years than I like to count, and I have long since realized that I do not like wasting wood, especially clear, vertical grain, western red cedar. Wanting to conserve wood and still make paddles is what led me to try working with strips of wood. Even though ripping the wood strip out of a piece of lumber generates sawdust, I think this is less wasteful than doing a one piece paddle and shaving off 60% of it with a drawknife.

With small kids, days on the water were always in a tandem canoe loaded with three little girls and a smallish dog. My wife would come along, but she was always off in a kayak, enjoying some alone time I guess. As the girls grew, the day came when they were big enough to paddle on their own and I wanted to try standup paddleboarding. I built a hollow wood SUP and needed a paddle. At that point I had only canoe paddles. In looking at the fast growing SUP world, I found many paddles, but they were all carbon fiber or plastic. My SUP was wood. I wanted a wood paddle. What I really wanted was to make a wood paddle. And that is how both quietwater and wavetrainSUP arrived in my shop. Today, here in Stoughton, Wisconsin, I am surrounded by flatwater and happily live about ten minutes away from Lake Kegonsa, the Yahara River and multiple boat launches.

Quietwater Media, llc., is the parent of quietwater paddles

When you purchase a kit, the receipt will be from Quietwater Media, llc. Jeff Bach is the link between the companies. Quietwater Films is another part of this picture. The paddlesports instructional DVDs created by Quietwater Films got the whole instructional idea up and going. Initially, the goal was to do some video pieces on building a hollow wood standup paddleboard. This in turn led to making the paddle, which is what led to quietwater paddle making kits.