Nashwaak is your source for flatwater canoeing resources: information, inspiration, and hard-to-find products to make the most of your time on the water… or dreaming about the water!
Each item in our catalog is hand picked and personally reviewed by canoeist and paddlemaker, Jeff Solway. We’re sure you’ll love our paddling collection!
You can order directly from us through our Ordering page.
Solostrap. The Seat for Solo Paddlers.
Ingenious and inexpensive, Nashwaak’s SOLOSTRAP was rated an “Editors’ Pick” by Canoe & Kayak magazine in the July 1999 issue. The SOLOSTRAP is a simple, adjustable seat that greatly improves comfort and control when canoeing solo.
Omer Stringer would always entreat solo paddlers to “get down low!” But Omer sat on his feet, and who over ten years old can do that for long? Kneeling is an option, resting your butt against a thwart, or in symmetrical canoes, against the back of the bowseat facing astern. But kneeling in either of those positions really isn’t close enough to the center thwart or yoke, and you can’t adjust trim by moving forward or back. And who can even kneel comfortably for long anyway?
The SOLOSTRAP (patent pending) is a revolution. It keeps the solo paddler low and rock stable, and is supremely comfortable. It installs in seconds, fits all gunwales, stows in its own bag. You’ll never go solo paddling without it.
INSTALLING YOUR SOLOSTRAP…………………..
With your hands on the gunwales, step into the canoe. Hook the rugged, non-marring hangers over the outside gunwales, setting them about 8″ away from the center thwart or yoke. Adjust the webbing at the buckle so the seat is not quite taut.
USING YOUR SOLOSTRAP
With your hands on the gunwales, step in front of the SOLOSTRAP and sit down to try it out. Slip onto your knees in front of the SOLOSTRAP and lower the seat until you have just enough room to comfortably tuck your paddle-side foot under you. Now stretch out your other leg, ahead and away from the paddle side. Then, flex your thigh up against the bottom of the center thwart or yoke.
You’ll be amazed — it feels like you are wearing your canoe! If necessary, slip off the SOLOSTRAP again and slide the hangers forward or back until your thigh is comfortably positioned under the center thwart. Slide the hangers fore or aft to adjust your trim (fore/aft balance) to compensate for load or wind. Move forward when going upwind, as even a few inches will make upwind paddling vastly easier. In a really heavy wind you might try moving forward of center!
THE SOLOSTRAP III ……
The latest version of our Solostrap comes with an adjustable hip stop to help you maintain an extreme angle of heeled for fancy paddling on flatwater (also known as Canadian “style” paddling, Omering, and Classic Solo). Heeled with the gunwale close to the water, you are running on the canoe’s mid-section with both ends right out of the water. This makes spins and extreme turns much easier. The new hip stop keeps you from sliding downhill toward the center of the canoe. Just place your butt where you want it, and slide the stop up against yourself. When you lean against it, it jambs securely.
Carved Canoe Yokes
Carry your canoe in comfort and style! These solid ash or solid cherry yokes are the best yokes in all of Canada, in our opinion. (They are also gorgeous pieces of wood sculpture.) To install a yoke you just remove the center thwart, cut the yoke the same length, drill to match, and bolt in.
A great yoke is much more than comfortable, it’s a lifesaver. And believe it or not, a great yoke can provide a good massage. (No kidding. Sometimes I flip up my canoe just for that.) The big trick is getting it up there.
The secret is technique not brawn. In the thirties, Omer Stringer developed a brilliant body of technique for doing pretty much anything with canoes and the northwoods. One of his gems was how to gracefully roll a canoe up on your back without actually lifting its full weight at any time.
With your yoke we’ll send a copy of Jeff Solway’s 2002 article in Canoe Journal, “Taking it Easy in Portage Country”. In addition to portage tips and anecdotes, the article reveals Omer’s roll-up secrets by description and step-by- step photos of Omer himself demonstrating.
The Canoeist’s Manual — by Omer Stringer
Omer Stringer passed on in 1988 and, in addition to memories, lessons learned, and one short film, he left this pocket-sized archive of carefully distilled wisdom. Since the late 1930’s, Omer has been the acknowledged expert on flatwater paddling. His unbending commitment to his own techniques was sometimes infuriating, but indeed he was always right. So forgive Omer’s characteristic bluntness, and dip into this treasure trove of basic canoe practice.
Flatwater Zen: The complete collection of paddling articles by Jeff Solway
These articles have been written for Canoe Journal, Canoe and Kayak Magazine, and Paddler Magazine. Each piece is the author’s complete submission, so you’ll find more images and sidebars than you would in the magazine versions. In color and bound. Enjoy!
1. Flatwater Zen: Paddling Just to be There
2. Omer Stringer: The Father of Modern Canoeing
3. Upwind in a Blow, Solo!
4. Zenful Experience: The Art of Paddling a Canoe Solo
5. Secrets of a Paddlemaker
6. The Canoe-Over-Canoe Rescue: You need to know this!
7. Taking it Easy in Portage Country (including Omer Stringer’s canoe roll-up technique)
8. Is that a Piano I see on your Canoe? Multihulling!
These are first-rate shirts that reflect the quality we insist in all our products.
- L, XL, XXL
- Olive print on natural
Canadian Paddling in the Omer Stringer Tradition
By David Stringer and Jeff Solway, for Nashwaak Paddles
This 30 minute video combines an entertaining and detailed video version of Omer’s Canoeist’s Manual, with professional footage of Omer himself paddling in his trademark style, some with his own commentary.
We haven’t yet found a decent color still shot of Omer, but rest assured the video Omer’s Legacy is all top quality professional color — including the rare footage of Omer himself. He is truly a pleasure to watch, and interesting to listen to as well.
Classic Solo Canoeing by Becky Mason
Rebecca Mason, daughter of Bill Mason, carries on the family tradition. This extremely well-produced video is entrancing, thoughtful and full of detailed paddling information.
Becky is a well known instructor, specializing in her own form of Canadian “style” paddling, which she calls “classic solo”.
She teaches primarily on the water near her house, outside Ottawa. See our links page for her teaching schedule.
Traditional Flatwater Canoeing by Caleb Davis
This video is a complete picture of traditional, Canadian-style paddling in the Omer Stringer tradition. It begins with the basics, works through the basic strokes and their use, and ultimately covers just about stroke I’ve ever heard of and a few I haven’t — for both tandem and solo.
It’s apparent that Caleb has taught a great many adults and children: he know how to make paddling accessible. But he doesn’t shy away from the details. For example, important observations on: tempo and rhythm; getting along with your tandem partner; and how the ultimate goal not to learn discrete strokes, but to let them flow together and evolve into your own variations.
See our links page for Caleb’s teaching schedule.
Summary: accessible and complete
Skill level: beginner to intermediate
Making Traditionally Shaped Canoe and Greenland Kayak Paddles by Caleb Davis
Another warm, thorough video by Canadian-trained, New Hampshire paddler, paddlemaker and teacher, Caleb Davis.
Caleb Davis is one of my favorite teachers. He has a wonderful, folksy, relaxed presence, and he is very thorough without being boring.
In the first part of this video, Caleb demonstrates how to design and make your own narrow-bladed (traditional) canoe paddle. In the second part, he teaches how to design and make a Greenland-style kayak paddle. Included is an introduction to the appropriate woodworking hand tools.
Tucked in here and there are lots of interesting remarks. For example: on blade width, torque and neck/shoulder strain; on blade flex and lower back fatigue; on creating complex curves with guide lines; how you need to listen to your tool work to deal with grain direction effectively; and how to use planes and scrapers so that you hardly have to do any sanding.
See our links page for a schedule of Caleb’s paddlemaking workshops.
Summary: warm and useful.
Skill level: basic
Solo FreeStyle Canoeing by Tom MacKenzie
Our central mission at Nashwaak Paddles is to spread the word about the Canadian approach to paddling, particularly as developed by that genius of modern canoeing, Omer Stringer. Among other things, Omer developed a beguiling solo style, known under many names including Canadian “style” paddling, Omering, and (courtesy of Becky Mason), Classic Solo.
Well, there’s another approach to solo paddling, American Freestyle. Though less related to practical canoeing, American Freestyle offers another take on artful paddling, whether for personal pleasure or performance. Tom MacKenzie has been a leader in American Freestyle’s development and instruction, and his video provides an excellent introduction to this, the “other” approach to solo paddling. Freestyle is almost completely unknown to Canadians, but among those who’ve seen it done, it’s fascinating.
Omer-style paddlers will be interested to see and hear about a range of unfamiliar techniques, strokes and maneuvers (sequences of strokes), presented by many of Freestyle’s key instructors — including long-time Freestyle champion Mark Molina, shown above. For example, among notions new to me, a student of Omer, are torso rotation, the hip snap, and reverse (or “offside”) heeling. Fascinating indeed.