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  The Houston Canoe Club
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P.O. Box 925516
Houston, Texas

The Houston Canoe Club 

is a Paddle America Club

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HomeNL-2014-02 4 Member Profile

Member Profile

Each month we feature a personal profile of one HCC member.  And this month is...

Paul Woodcock

  I was born in an oil field lease house in rural Kansas. It was snowing so the doctor rode in on horseback.  I was premature and weighed less than 2 lb..  There was no incubator so they put me in the oven surrounded by hot water bottles.

Age?  71

Marital status?  I will be married 50 years as of January.
We have a blended family. I adopted a half Filipino and half German boy. My daughter is Hispanic and Irish. I also have a grandson who I have had custody of since he was one month old.  My son is a professional boxing trainer and my daughter is in accounting. My grandson is currently in college majoring in musical theater.

I am a retired counselor. I co-wrote the charter for a school that was listed as one of the 10 best schools in Texas.  I have also worked as a carpenter, oil field roustabout, a light equipment operator, an auto upholsterer, a maintenance worker, an iron worker, in the restaurant industry, and traveled as stage manager for The Southwest Jazz Ballet Company.

What other hobbies do you have?  
Bicycling, horseback riding, carpentry, and reading.

How did you get started canoeing?  
Some co- workers invited me on a canoe trip and I really liked it, so I joined the canoe club.

How many years of paddling experience do you have?  
About 20.

What is your favorite place to paddle?

The most enjoyable trips were the 300-400 mile expedition trips I did  in Manitoba, Canada. I have paddled all the rivers in Texas except the Medina. I think  the Devils river is my favorite in Texas. In Arkansas, I have paddled the Cossatot, Quachita and the Mulberry, but I think my favorite is the Buffalo.  In Missouri, it is the Jack’s Fork.  My all time  favorite river is the next river that I will paddle that I have never been on before.  

Do you prefer a canoe or a kayak?

I like a canoe because you can carry gear and it is easier to get into and portage.

  Sea Kayak
What boats do you own?
I still have the 17 ft aluminum craft that I borrowed 20 years ago.  It has been regulated to the "Hal I Day Man of Kin" (Holiday Manneqin) yard art. I have a Mad River Malachite for day trips and a Mad River Rolex for camping trips.  I own a  Dagger sea kayak.  I claim part ownership in the Mad River Duck Hunter that Mary has converted into a bar because of the thousands of miles I have paddled in the stern, and the damage I have repaired.

Do you prefer a single blade or double blade paddle? 

I use a single blade paddle but I carry a double blade for extreme windy conditions. For the expeditions I like a long 62 fox straight blade, for flat water I use a carbon fiber bent shaft. 

What do you like most about the sport? 
Even in the middle of Houston on Buffalo Bayou you can get close to nature and the great spirit. Also there is a special camaraderie among fellow paddlers. 
What do you like least about the sport? 
Having to be at the take-out at a specific time for a shuttle. 

What is an important safety tip?
In my paddling career I have been in life threatening situations:
- Running big dangerous rapids
- Rescuing pinned boats
- Medical emergencies
- Being lost in the wilderness
- And broken boats. 
The best thing you can do is to learn  everything connected with the sport, navigation skills, first aid, boat repair, and keep learning as things change.
  The riverbank
Why do you paddle?
 The earth is my mother.
 The sky is my father.
 The animals are my brothers.
 The canoe lets me get closer to them all. 
If you could do a fantasy tandem paddle with anyone you wish, with whom would it be?

Because of physical limitations I can no longer portage but the following trips I had planned and can no longer do are:

  • The Seal river in Manitoba. We had planned to run the river and paddle around a portion of Hudson bay and then load our boats on a train to shuttle back to Winnipeg. 
  • I had bought the maps of the North Forest Canoe trail and was going to be one of the first 10 to through paddle the 750 mile river trail.
  • I was asked to  participate in  a canoe trip across of the Atlantic Ocean but the trip was canceled because of the health of the organizer.

I would much rather paddle within my limitations, than fantasize about trips I will never be able to take.

What was your worst moment in a canoe?  

One time in the middle of the Hays river trip I was standing on the shore with a cold damp winds kicking up three foot waves.  Mary was in the tent hoping her 104 fever would break.  The other incident was when I was trapped between the canoe and the river bed in a strong current  my feet digging in the gravel river bed struggling to free myself and watching as my breath was causing bubbles to float to the surface.  

  Asleep at the helm?
What was your best moment ever in a canoe?  

I think when I was taking my grandchildren each one at one time and they fell asleep in the bow of the boat.