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Thread: Are poles any good?

  1. #1
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    Default Are poles any good?

    I have often seen poles advertised but have never really found that I have needed them. Are they mainly for using on rivers? Any time I have been traveling up a shallow river and have been "poleing" with my paddle it has not been very satisfactory.

  2. #2

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    In short - yes.

    If you need to pole, say over a stretch of shallow shingle, then you need to pole.

    Like you say poling with a paddle is far from satisfactory and you might damage your paddle.

    The technique isn't hard to master but it does take practise. In suitable conditions I can travel much faster with a pole than I can with a paddle, the power transfer is much more efficient and it is possible to travel upstream against quite a considerable current. If you hit a deep section between shingle banks then you just use the pole like a giant kayak paddle and you will move along quite happily.

    "Snubbing", or using your pole to guide you and slow you downstream in a shallow rapid is much more effective than trying to get a grip on the water with your paddle when it's bouncing off the bottom and much much better than jumping out and wading!

    It all takes practise though - but it just adds to your options when you can't predict the conditions round the next bend.

    George

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    poles are what makes an open boater!!

    Useful on 'deep' water trips too for making headway against the wind along the edge of a loch.

    Useful for tarps/shelters.

    Useful for sailing rigs.

    Useful for rescues......much longer reach than paddles.

    Useful for keeping anglers at bay, or as a fishing pole when they are not looking.

    Useful for rafting, saves chopping down trees.

    If you get a custom one from Lendal you can use it as a bi-blade. (that's a kayak blade for the uninformed)....which is very useful solo against the wind.....and definately not cheating if you are faced with a 20 mile paddle up a big loch solo.



    Poles........far more useful than paddles. Think I'm kidding? Well, I have plans for a multi day trip where I take 2 sets of poles and NO paddles.

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    So what is the best pole to get and what is the best price?

    I am certainly keen on a two part one as I currently believe the most frequent use is likely to be as a sailing rig or with my tarp.

    The best I have found so far is from this place
    http://www.aiguillealpine.co.uk
    Still seems expensive for a piece of pipe.

  5. #5
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    Default Poling

    Have done a wee bit of poling and I was at the workshop at the Canoe Symposium (www.canesymposim.co.uk - pics) this year. This was given by Harry Rock the world champion poler & it was amazing to see him pole casually UP a grade II rapid.
    He advises buying his book (of course), using a one piece pole if possible, aluminium for preference, put spikes in the ends (threaded bolts), and taping the pole with insulating tape plus loads of other stuff. he doesn't use a paddle at all.

    It's great fun, gives the muscles a rest and it's good for your balance - give it a go if you can.

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    I really regret missing Harry Rocks sessions at the symposium, but just couldn't fit it in. It looked like some fun!

    A one piece pole is great when your are using it, but a royal pain at all other times.

  7. #7

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    Yup they are great. Its suprising what you can do with a pole.
    I'd steer clear of the carbo fibre ones as they are just too flexy, so you can't get a decent shove or snub out of them as they spring so much.
    The best i have come across is actually a 2 piece stout Ash pole. Its quite weighty, but gives some serious power and balance seems easier.

    Cheers
    Rich

  8. #8
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    I've added one to my Christmas list so we will see if Santa delivers.

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    I dit a bit of poling on the woodsmoke course. We just used hazel saplings...

    Seemed a trifle lairy to me (on still water!), but I guess it's a question of practice.

    I'll practice in the Summer

    Jim.

  10. #10

    Default Poles are great

    I would recommend an aluminium pole as the carbon fibre ones are too flexible, especially in faster moving water. It is one of those skills that makes open boating unique. Unfortunately I don't think that we have the opportunity to use it enough in the UK as we don't tend to do the journeys that paddlers do, especially in Canada etc. Snubbing can be useful, but lining is normally quicker for the shallows, (and drier because you can't fall out of your boat!).

    Journeying skills are an importnat part of our paddling heritage...and they can be very useful too.

  11. #11
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    I prefer carbon poles (I have alloy ones too). The flex is in fact stored energy, which releases as it straigtens, and the flex is easier on your joints (good point for us old timers). Warmer too. Ultimately not as strong, but I'm unlikely to pole stuff that might break a pole because once it gets as serious as that, poling (for my thin arms) is no longer the most effecient means of travel.

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    Default For the more audacious

    I saw Harry do this - looks good and was fun to try!

    http://outside.away.com/outside/maga...907copter.html

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    Some interesting poling photos, but slow to load

    http://daelarue.com/Poling.html

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    Well I have ordered a two piece pole so will have lots to try when it arrives.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly
    Well I have ordered a two piece pole so will have lots to try when it arrives.
    Did you go for carbon or alloy ?

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    Carbon originally but the price had gone way up (£98 ) so I went for ally instead.

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    Agree with everything said about the joy of poling - the satisfaction of getting the boat up a rapid is great. At the Eastern region weekend at Mepal earlier in the year I got a chance to try tandem poling - twice the fun and twice the thrills takes a lot of communication and trust but trmendous fun when you get going. I have a carbon pole and have been very pleased with it. I like the flex as Tenboats says the stored energy really helps to propel you through the water. Can't say I've really managed to master stubbing yet can't seem to get the trim right - but I'll keep practising

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    From the comments above, I'd say a phonecall or two is in order tomorrow (I'll warn the wallet in case it hears me mention carbon).

    I use the Devon Avon a bit - I say use, rather than paddle, as despite being a big wide river, it's often very hard to paddle as it's never very deep, even on a full tide ... As it's over sand, I tend to get out and walk, lining the boat along behind me, or horror of horrors - polling with my paddle. I think the case for a pole is made on this river alone !

  20. #20
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    Cheap Casoe Pole anyone.


    >> http://www.brockeng.com/AmusingRaven/pole.htm


    MickT

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    Collected my pole today from Stirling Canoes. I have meant to be getting this pole from all sorts of places but with a variety of problems.

    Anyway Dave had it in stock and I went to collect it today. I was going for an aluminum one but as I was walking to the till with it I say the carbon fiber one. Held it for a second and put the ally one back. The ally one is freezing cold to touch and hold so that alone was enough to make me switch.

    Hopefully will get a chance to try it out this weekend coming.

  22. #22
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    Default Pole?

    Hi Magikelly,

    Good luck with the pole.

    Some advice that is too damn late. Use insulating tape over the pole upto approx 12-18'' from the end. This seems normal to me, it is funny watching people getting their hands stuck to a sub-zero pole. Even funnier is seeing them using stainless steel flask cups and getting them stuck to lips. Have you ever seen someone pickup a carabiner that has stuck to their hand and then tried to get it off using there mouth. I am just sad and cruel.

    The tape trick works well and is backed up by Uncle Harry Rock. By the way folks Harry's book is now available.

    all the best,

    Paul B.

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    By the way folks Harry's book is now available
    I'm waiting for the DVD
    Rogue

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Booker
    Hi Magikelly,

    Good luck with the pole.

    Some advice that is too damn late. Use insulating tape over the pole upto approx 12-18'' from the end. This seems normal to me, it is funny watching people getting their hands stuck to a sub-zero pole. Even funnier is seeing them using stainless steel flask cups and getting them stuck to lips. Have you ever seen someone pickup a carabiner that has stuck to their hand and then tried to get it off using there mouth. I am just sad and cruel.

    The tape trick works well and is backed up by Uncle Harry Rock. By the way folks Harry's book is now available.

    all the best,



    Paul B.
    I've been there with the karibiner.

    A neater sloution to taping an alloy pole is to use paddle shaft shrink wrap

  25. #25

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    Good luck with the pole John.

    On a slightly different tack, I used a paddle when I was in Central Sulawesi that had been specially made for the conditions there where the rivers often had long shallow shingle rapids that in the dry season could be several hundred metres long.

    The paddle was around six feet long but the bottom three feet or so had a very long, slim leaf shaped blade that went to a tip that was like the bottom of a pole. If you can imagine it it was like a six foot pole with a leaf shaped blade on the end with six inches or so of the pole coming out the bottom.

    Whenever you came to a shallow you turned the paddle so that the blade sliced through the water edge on and you used it as a pole. Once it deepened again you turned the paddle and carried on paddling as usual. It had a ball shaped grip on the top and was a really useful bit of kit.

    I was given the paddle when I left the area but left it in a garage in Jakarta (long story)

    Has anyone else come across paddles like this?

    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by tenboats1
    I've been there with the karibiner.

    A neater sloution to taping an alloy pole is to use paddle shaft shrink wrap
    That would be a better idea. The tape idea crossed my mind but I would have had to cover the whole pole to be on the safe side.

  27. #27

    Default Poles

    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly
    That would be a better idea. The tape idea crossed my mind but I would have had to cover the whole pole to be on the safe side.
    I am with Harry Rock.....Aluminium pole, as they don't bend, and tape it. I was there when they were filming the DVD, sat on a wall and chatting to James Raffin.....amazing,

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