|Dave Mangin has a convoluted history with boats and other silent sports, starting with his love at first float at the age of 5 in an aluminum canoe. While procrastinating for his college classes, he built his first cedar strip canoe in his brother's garage. Five years later he lived on the floor of a boat shop in Ithaca, NY for several months as he started building a rowing wherry for a trip down the Mississippi River (The 1753 mile trip happened in 2007). From 2008-2010, he managed the boat shop and taught a variety of classes at a charter high school in Central Milwaukee, where he christened 6 boats with students: 3 plywood skiffs, a stitch and glue Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) wherry, and two cedar strip canoes.
After settling in Nelsonville, WI with his young family, he rekindled the passion in 2018 with a stitch and glue CLC rowing shell that he built for a client. However, he knew he needed a car-toppable boat that could handle the great lakes. A kayak was in order. His Kayak took 3.5 years of intermittent work to build, a barn to partially renovate into a wood shop, and the process was augmented with educational programming. Then, in the summer of 2022, he was able to christen Endeavor and get on the water to continue a sectional paddle from his current abode on the Tomorrow River to his childhood home in Green Bay and beyond to Lake Michigan.
The measures by which this kayak was built and paddled have been more or less intentional. Dave was testing a model he had dreamed up concerning ways to make an experience or undertaking as rich and rewarding as possible. His take on outdoor activities has been nuanced by many factors and experiences. Growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he spent hours with a rod and reel on the banks of the Fox River pursuing fish too contaminated to eat. His evolving environmental ethic was influenced by writers such as Aldo Leopold, Tom Brown Jr, and Edward Abbey. He spent periods of time in solitude in various living situations that extended from Madison and Ladysmith, Wisconsin to Ithaca, New York, to a Peace Corps stint in Rural Ecuador. Yet, in his youth, he partied as a rugby player while training for running and bicycling events.
Through the course of a wide array of recreational activities, Dave burned considerable mental bandwidth finding ways to enrich personal experiences. This query is a work in progress. In recalling his most authentic and meaningful experiences, however, he has found some consistency in how things unfolded. His presentation at Canoecopia will include some of the stories that touch on his findings, with a focus on this latest vessel. He also blogs his progress and discoveries on his website, https://www.artnrugby.com.
He set about the building and paddling of Endeavor through very intentional means, and the process has paid off in unexpected ways. Dave hopes this story helps to inspire attendees to his chat to follow their outdoor passions and perhaps build community through shared experiences. He believes this to be something that could be healing to our society and our Earth.