Path of the Paddle

by Ian Tokelove
Path of the Paddle: Solo Whitewater by Bill Mason.

Path of the Paddle: Solo Whitewater is a classic canoe film from 1977 by the legendary Bill Mason.

Bill Mason is regarded by many as ‘the patron saint of canoeing’. He developed and refined canoeing strokes and river-running techniques and produced a hugely influential series of instructional canoeing films.

In Path of the Paddle: Solo Whitewater, Mason explains how to locate deep water channels by reading the rapids and how to apply paddling strokes and manoeuvres to steer your canoe where you want it to go. The film also depicts what happens if you capsize in turbulent rapids.

The film is still highly relevant today and is well worth watching if you enjoy canoeing. It makes for a great instructional video, covering a wide range of paddle strokes and techniques and explaining how white water river features form, and what to watch out for.

There is also some great footage filmed from inside the boat, and from inside the river when things go wrong – which is impressive when you consider the cost and size of cameras back in the 70s.

Grab a cup of your favourite beverage and enjoy this half hour slice of beautiful wilderness canoeing, all set to a classic 70’s soundtrack.

Canoe London stumbled across this copy on the National Film Board of Canada’s website whilst seeking out copyright information for an even older film, 1935’s Canoeing by Reg Blomfield – which we hope to link to shortly.

With thanks to the National Film Board of CanadaPath of the Paddle: Solo Whitewater by Bill Mason,


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