Paddle Camp North -bts

Paddle Camp North – Behind the Scenes

Paddle Camp North (Behind the Scenes)

This is Paddle Camp North everyone.  Three crazy gals, a dream, and a lot of just “going for it.” About a year ago I started talking and scheming with the fabulous, Ali Rogers at Prana Lens, about her concept for a short film involving women, paddling, and the best part…Minnesota. It has been a dream in progress and at long last we headed North to start putting our dream into action.

Getting Ready

Anyone who know’s me is keenly aware that I am a incredibly able bodied packer and can organize a trip or event very effectively.  However, when it is primarily me that I am responsible for I tend to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of traveler.  As a result, I started packing up my gear about an hour before the DeeDee and Ali arrived at my house.  This is my shameless brand promotion shot before loading the car.

Shameless Gear Promotion

My favorite gear

I am exceedingly intentional with what gear I bring along. For Paddle Camp North I had a couple of things in mind.  Primarily quality.  I also wanted to use MN gear whenever possible.

Stand Up Paddleboards

I am brining the Red Paddle Co 12’6″ Explorer and 11’3″ Sport for their volume and ability to cut through the water.  People often ask why I like inflatables and my answer is simple.  I don’t just “like” inflatables, I love Red Paddle Co inflatables.  These boards make almost all other inflatables weep with jealousy.  They are the closest thing you can get to a hardboard without all of the hardboard issues such as fragility and lack packability.  These beauties are kind of impossible to destroy.  They also have ridiculous volume so I can really load them up with gear and they still feel incredibly stable.


I love two paddle brands more than anything: Accent Paddles and Bending Branches.  This trip and project is all about Minnesota though so I brought my Minnesota-made Accent paddles along this time.  My favorite paddle is the Indy Tour, but I lent mine out so I brought the Octane and a pretty amazing custom made carbon fiber Bolt that Peter and Stuart at Accent hooked me up with.

Other Cool Gear

Another no brainer is my UgoWear.  Melanie Cole and Vicky DeRouchey, founders of this amazing product are kick ass, from MN, and also geniuses at creating the perfect waterproof carrying case for the most essential items you need with you on the water, i.e. car keys and phone.  I use mine as my full time purse in the summer because I’m constantly on and off the water and I never have to worry about what will happen if I take an accidental dip in the lake.

Some of my other favorite things include the Seattle Sports Downstream Duffle, so easy to pack and with the wide open top it’s even easy to find all your stuff when it’s dark and the bugs are buzzing.  I never leave home without my Riverside Straps.  I have 4-6 of these in my car at all times.  They are the easiest and most dependable straps I’ve found to transport my boards on the roof of my car or strap gear down on my board.  I’m also a big fan of Stohlquist PFD’s. My personal favorite is the Edge.  It’s very comfortable and the front top loading pocket is perfect for holding those last minute essentials or, in my case, holding my G&T in my Yeti Rambler while I’m carrying all my gear down to the water.

(On a side note, I’m not getting paid by anyone to endorse these brands.  These are genuinely my favorites.)

The Crew

Yep…just us three yahoos.

Above is Ali (on the left) me, Sara (center) and DeeDee (right). This is just a little taste of the fun that ensued.

Ali is our videographer.  She owns Prana Lens and is rocking the adventure wedding scene.  She has produced other amazing short films, one of my favorites is Superior Surf.  Ali and I met a couple years ago when she bought her first Red Paddle board.  Turns out we have a lot more in common than enjoying paddleboarding.  She’s instigator of this crazy awesome film concept and I’m so thrilled to be working with her.

I’m in the middle,  Sara.  I kind of accidentally bought this paddleboard company 4 years ago and I’m still trying to figure out what happened.

DeeDee is on the right and, as fate turns out, I bought Silver Creek Paddle from she and her husband.  We also play Vball together and share a profound love of the gin.  She isn’t so sure about coming along on this adventure but as it turns out she is crazy-tough and super trusting of my crazy ideas.  Let’s hope this doesn’t backfire on her…ever.

Day One

Temperance River State Park. Because, as I mentioned earlier, I rarely plan ahead unless I’m getting paid to so we totally lucked out finding a campsite. Getting a campsite at the State Parks in MN is notoriously difficult and most people book a year in advance. We just drove up crossing our fingers.  Praises be, the camping gods are on our side so we got to settling in and making ourselves at home.  Lake Superior is supposed to be calm for a day or two and we can’t want to miss this chance to take in all her glory.

First glimpse of Lake Superior

I do much less camping and adventuring these days compared my 20’s and 30’s. It’s ok, I’ve got other things happening these days.  As a result though, I do find myself longing, almost aching for moments of solace, quite wave watching, and smoke rising silence.  When I find time to sneak these moments in, I remember why.  This short film dream has grown out of a lifetime of looking for and hoping for the set apart, deep breaths, star-gazing, rain drops on nylon, makeup-free, dirty feet and scruffy hair days.

Paddle Camp North-bts

Sunrise on Lake Superior

Well this is a first glimpse of Paddle Camp North – behind the scenes.  There is more to come.  Keep coming back and checking in.  I’ll keep you posted on all that transpires in the days and weeks to come.