Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A piece of paddling history comes home

Looking a little forlorn and lonely on REI's shipping dock, Steph's Raven waits for a ride home.

When Steph Dutton set off to paddle from British Columbia to Baja California in 1993, he may not have known he was destined for fame in the paddling community. He was simply trying to raise awareness for people with disabilities who wanted to stretch their limits.

Steph's mantra, right where he could see it every day.

In an Eddyline Raven, Steph paddled the US Pacific Coast in 54 days, averaging 30 nautical miles a day. That’s a long way in a short time, even with a land support crew.

For many years since Steph’s adventure, his Raven – still sporting his compass, drogue (sea anchor), and numerous sponsors’ decals – adorned the lobby of the Seattle REI store. Now it’s back home where it started, at Eddyline’s factory in Burlington WA.

Here is Eddyline co-owner Lisa Derrer with a few more thoughts about this well-traveled boat's history.

Steph Dutton and Heidi Tiura now own and operate California’s Trinity River Adventure Inn, as well as Monterey Bay’s Sanctuary Cruises.

Eddyline serial number, clear as a bell after 17 years.

There's a story in that nick in Steph's rudder. Shark? Reef? Angry BCU Coach?

Steph's Raven took its place on the Ruby Creek delivery truck, a symbol of old and new next to two brand new Sambas and two Emotion AdvantEdges on their way to Mountain to Sound Outfitters.

Thick with years of dust, the Raven's journey home was a cleansing one in the Northwest's summer rain.

Excited to welcome an old friend, Richard -- who has worked at Eddyline for over 15 years, told me "I've met her before"... then showed off his shirt.

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