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Ice Breaker Paddle

Went for a paddle on the North Saskatchewan river last night – what a blast!
The air temp was a balmy +1 C and the water was some where around zero.
I learned a few things about paddling with ice flows – and in case any of you decide to try it out, here they are:

1) You spend a lot of time an energy dodging the big ones. The paddle was a slalom race around moving ice.
2) When going up stream into the ice flows – the current can “close a gap” that you are aiming for very quickly.
3) If you stand really far forward on a Starboard Pin the bow acts as an ice breaker and can split the flow in half.
3 a) If the nose doesn’t split the ice – the board will push the ice down and then it hits the fin and stops you dead – especially going up stream.
3 b) To break the ice once it has gone under the board – rock back and forth with your feet right as the ice gets under your feet.
4) The water splash on the board freezes in to a nice, slick layer of ice – so get comfortable with your stance because you aren’t going to be able to move around much.
5) Do not ever get hit broad side by a flow as you are turning around to go back down stream – they can take the board out from under your feet.
6) Your paddle will collect a nice coating of ice making it several times heavier than it should be.
7) Try it – it was one of the neatest experiences I have had on a Stand Up Board!

p.s. Thanks to Quiksilver for making kick butt wetsuits, booties and gloves!

(click on the photos to view full size)