Canoeing by Reg Blomfield – 1930s open canoe skills

by Ian Tokelove
Canoeing by Reg Blomfield

If you think open canoes are boring – think again. Canoeing by Reg Blomfield is an old black and white film in which Reg Blomfield demonstrates some amazing skills in an open canoe.

Dating from roughly 1934 or 1935, the film quality is rough, but the skills are astonishing.

Alongside traditional, and not so traditional paddle strokes, Reg demonstrates rescues (emptying a canoe with one hand, whilst supporting a non swimmer – no problem!), running rapids and surfing.

His tricks include the flip, the double flip, walking the gunnel and the famous jetty scene. Trying to imitate many of these tricks will probably lead to swims, laughs and light bruising – but you’ll want to give them a go!

Canoeing by Reg Blomfield has been uploaded here as I am unaware of any copyright holder or commercial licensee with rights to this film. The British Film Institute holds no filmographic information on the film and approaches to the National Film Board of Canada and Cinematheque Quebecoise went unanswered. This film has been uploaded for educational purposes only.

Opening credits: 
The British Film Institute presents: Canoeing by Reg Blomfield – a Province of Ontario Picture. Mr Blomfield, holder of International, Canadian and American Championships demonstrates some of the things that can be done in a Canoe.

See also: Path of the Paddle: Solo Whitewater – a canoe film from 1977 by the legendary Bill Mason.

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