Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Goosetoph - The surfing goose.

Photo by Janet Mader

To the right you can see the latest incarnation of the river kite theme, a surfing goose. Goosetoph, as he has become known, began life as a hunting decoy, destined to float in a pond luring his brethren to buckshot. Now he has a higher calling, surfing on standing waves in the Bow River in Calgary.
You can make your own version by following these steps.

1: Obtain a hunting decoy. My favorite are the large Canada Geese with what they call a water keel. What you are looking for is a large fin of plastic on its bottom end. Make sure the fin is sturdy, some are just too floppy to work. (See the pictures at the bottom of this post)

2: Drill two holes in the keel in the spots indicated. Basically just at the front and back of the fin.

3: Attach a long length of stout cord to the goose by knotting each end to the fin. The cord needs to be fairly thin and strong, parachute cord works, I use spectra kite boarding line, spectra fishing line should also work.

4: Surf your waterfowl. You need a section of the river with fairly high speed water. The toughest part is the launch as eddies form near the shore, a stout stick is usually sufficient to push the goose into the main current. Once there, experiment with pulling on the control lines to steer the goose back and forth, much like a stunt kite. The basic idea is to angle the fin relative to the current in the direction you want the goose to go. See the video in my previous post for what it should look like in action.

Be extremely careful as the current can be quite strong, make sure you are on stable footing and wont be dragged into the river. If you feel like you might fall in, just let go of the rope. I would advise against letting children operate the goose on fast water.

5: Take pictures and send them to me - I would love to see what you come up with and post it on my blog.

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