Where does the name Norquay come from? Norquay is the name of a tiny island in
Algonquin Park. I went to summer camp
on Lake Huron and my first solo camping trip was on Norquay Island. When I was
14 the camp dropped me off on the island and I had to survive with nothing more
than matches, granola and a tarp.
Can you describe the process of making a paddle?
I start sketching my ideas and then I go to the computer to work out my designs. It’s an exhausting design process where
I create about 200 different designs and colour combinations. I layout all of the
different designs and start to make the really hard choices about what the collection is going to look like.
When I’m finally happy with the collection as a whole, I go into the studio and start masking off the designs on blank paddles.
I test each design to make sure it suits the lines of the paddle. And then we paint, stain, and varnish.
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Where are your paddles from?
The cherry wood is sourced directly from woodcutters in New Liskeard, Ontario. I’m originally from Northern Ontario and I wanted to support job opportunities there. I wanted to stay true to my roots. I found incredible paddle makers; a sweet older couple that have been making paddles for years. We are not into mass production; my business will never be about that. We worked together to create a unique shape. I didn’t want a blade that was too wide – I wanted my designs to translate well.