Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Monday, February 18, 2008

CanoeXpo 2008

Last weekend I visited the CanoeXpo Canoe and Kayak show in Coventry. I did not know what to expect. A few years ago I visited the Outdoors Show at the NEC in Birmingham. That was a huge show, where unfortunately only the big guys in the industry could afford a stand, thus only a handful kayak companies were represented there. How different the CanoeXpo is!
Organized for the first time (by Brookbank Canoe and Kayaks) I am really looking forward on how the paddling magazines will review this show and what the feedback is from the participants and visitors.

For starters it was a BIG 'kayak and canoe only' show; the biggest I have visited. A whole range of manufacturers and companies that have something to do with canoeing and kayaking were represented. From the very 'big guys' to the 'small-is-beautiful' outfitters and guiding companies. I have seen almost every brand of sea kayak that is available on the UK market. There was a strong USA presence with representatives that came over from the USA.

Another 'first' was the way the sales where 'coordinated'. Copied from Canoecopia, there was a central check-out. Again, I hope to read reviews from visitors what they think about that approach. The best thing of this first CanoeXpo, and that in my opinion outweighs anything else that can be said about it, is that anyone in the 'industry' (profit or non-profit) could afford being there and thus should be there next year! This is THE kayak & canoe show to visit! I hope the organizers get good feedback on this one. If you visited, let the organizers hear your comments and ideas! This can even be done on-line on the CanoeXpo website.

In another post I will write down some of my personal highlights of the show.

Thank you Mike Webb of Rockpool Kayaks for being their guest and Ann and Jeff Turner from Kari-Tek for arranging a place for me to stay. I had a great weekend.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Navigation and Direction

My new navigational direction finding gadget has 'put me to the test' in ways I did not foresee. It's build-in GPS receiver homes-in on it's programmed destination, no question about that. That part is working flawlessly! But how blindly should I follow it's directions? What if I programmed the wrong destination?

Straying away from the advised route won't confuse it. It will try to have me turn around again and again to go back onto the planned route. Only until another route is shorter it will change it's advice accordingly. But the destination is 'sacred' to it's advised route. When is it best to give-up on a destination?

But sometimes one just knows by gut feeling that an advised route is not the best one. At what point should I override? When to (mis-)trust 'gut-feeling'?

Other times road-signs clearly state to take the turn, while the navigator boldly advises differently. Then the road signs disappear and through narrow country lanes and residential areas one is guided on the main road again. When to (mis-)trust posted signs?

I am confused, I am at a loss...

In navigational terms one is considered 'lost' when one does not know where one is. Well I know exactly where I am, but I am not sure where I am going. A cliché is that it is not the destination that is important, but the road that takes you there. Unsure about my destination with a maze of roads at my disposal. On a roundabout one can go in any direction, once one is chosen. Staying on the roundabout I am going nowhere, going dizzy.
A short-cut being described by a friend as the longest distance between two points. Another very good friend described to me how the parents followed signs to a town named 'Umleitung'. How I hate one-way roads; roads of no return.

Red lights, green lights, yellows. Most lights are green now, lucky me. Should I run the odd yellow? Or should I wait for the one light that just turned red on me? Gut feeling tells me that I should wait for just that red to turn green again. The other lights, I know, will be alternating red/yellow/green frequently. This light might only turn green once in a very long time. It could be THE road, where the concept of destination becomes irrelevant.

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven
Ooh, it makes me wonder

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on
Ooh, it makes me wonder

Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven