picture of the quietwaterpaddles logo


about quietwater paddles and Jeff Bach

First of all, this page holds my new logo. The kid in the graphic design program created it for me. Olive green is the hot trendy color. I'm a bit torn about being trendy, but change does need to happen every once in awhile, right? Probably should go to the old classic white page background, too. oh well.....

quietwater paddles started out in a garage in Stoughton, WI., in the summer of 2010. Or maybe it was 2009. Anyway, quietwater was (and is) right next to wavetrainSUP. Years later, we are still in the garage, with global developments and ‘uncertainties’ having slowed down a much desired goal of opening a shop on Main Street.

Regardless of that, the goal remains to make it easier for people to build their own wooden paddles.

The first paddle Jeff built picture of Jeff Bach was back in fifth or sixth grade as a kid growing up outside Duluth, MN. He used an old drawknife that he found in his grandfather's workbench. He built a bunch of canoe paddles and poles and messed around in small ponds and on occasion, lakes, that his parents would take the family to on the rare vacation. In college, he 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 no longer remembered and Camp duNord, (which is still open for campers) on the shores of 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. He 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 and small dogs, those years guiding in Idaho were the best experiences that ever happened to him! Half a life later, he still misses those rivers.

With small kids, days on the water were in a tandem canoe loaded with three little girls and a smallish dog. Carolyn, his wife would come along, but she was always off in a kayak, enjoying some alone time and a bit more speed on the water.

Back to that first paddle, which his parents saved and he still has. All one piece, with way too much wasted wood. Also, it is nearly as six feet tall!. As a kid, he vaguely remembers reading books about the voyageurs and their paddles with three-inch wide blades and really long shafts. Today, the closest thing would be an ottertail style of paddle.

Fast forwarding a bunch of years, and Jeff has long since realized he does not like wasting wood, especially clear, vertical grain, western red cedar. Wanting to conserve wood and still build paddles is what led him to try working with strips of wood. Even though ripping the wood strip out of a piece of lumber generates sawdust, that is far less wasteful than doing a one piece paddle and shaving off 60% of it with a drawknife.

And that is how quietwater paddles started. Today, here in Stoughton, Wisconsin, Jeff is surrounded by lots of quietwater and happily lives about ten minutes away from a boat landing on Lake Kegonsa, and another one of the Yahara River. Wood is good!