The Great Outdoor  Under construction !


My first interest was trekking. From there all the other interests evolved.

I started with archery in 1986 with a Jennings Lightening

1988 we tripped South America for 4 months. Canoeing and fishing in the rainforest, hiking in the Andes und snorkeling in the emerald waters of the Carribean Coast.

From 1988 to 1991 we lived in Sardinia. I was part of a local speleo group dedicated mainly to the exploration of the local “Monte Tuttavista” and visited many of the huge caves in the Supramonte. During that time I started also to mess around with boomerangs.

1991 to 1996 I focused in rock climbing. Visiting most famous climbing “mekka’s” like Fontainbleau, Arco, Finale, etc. In Sardinia we opened a few new routes on the said Monte Tuttavista in Orosei. In wintertime, snowshoeing became a favorite.

I started Canoeing with a family canoe from Ally in the early nineties. Soon I bought a Dagger Impulse to collect first experiences with white water solo paddling. The Canoe-school in Versam was a great help, specially the teaching by one of the best „unknown“ C1 playboaters in Europe, Peter Meyer. During that time I did most of Switzerland’s rivers with colleagues from The SOC, the Swiss Open Canoe (Club)

Back in Sardinia during the exceptional high water levels in 1998 we attempted a first descent of the upper Cedrino with open boats which we had to call of due because of dangerous wood “sievers”

Sitting the first time in an Ocoee in class III water on the Vorderrhein I spent more initial time in the water than in the boat. But suddenly I got the feeling  for this boat. After the trip it was clear for me, I must have one. I bought a hull and made my own ash gunwhales.

After witnessing the world rodeo championships on the Rheuss in 1995  and later on a surf orgy with the Swiss Open Boat champ Claude Stahel it became clear for me that I need a more radical, customized boat. I cut down my Impulse to an ultrashort playboat with which I attended the National White water rodeo Championship in Thun in 1998. I was the only open boater who dared to go into the wave.

With the years I more and more cherished the advantages of a closed boat. I bought a converted Dagger Redline from the former rodeo World Champ Uwe Fischer.

When I started my part time PhD studies in 1998 little time was left for canoeing despite a probable first decent with a C1 on the Ticinetto in 2000. Even after completing it, in 2002,  my activities as a leader of an industrial research group and private engagements took a lot of time. In 2006 I decided to spent again more time in nature.

When I browsed the net I was struck by a shock. Instead of development in the meantime I see a dramatic decay of activities !?!

Dagger and Mad River Canoes don’t exist anymore. Mohawk is selling out. Other producers have shrunk down their range of canoes. Open Canoe Rodeo seems to be dead. Can hardly find any freestyle canoes for sale in Europe. What the heck happened?

Changes are going on ......... Thanks God the niche is filled by other producers, small start-ups and more traditional canoe makers expanding their range of models.

Rivers in Switzerland  Under construction !

My favorites for open canoes up to class III in Switzerland are:

All of the year:

  • Gotthard-Reuss from Amsteg down (to the lake, if you like)
  • Vorderrhein: From Ilanz down to the Reichenau

In Springtime:

  • The Thur with its tributary
  • the Sitter,
  • the Muota.

 In Summer:

  • The Moesa (my favourite),
  • the upper Ticino between the hydo-plant above Ambri-Biotta and Rodi-Fesso.  Don't forget the flotation bags.

Great for canoe tripping are:

  • the Reuss all below Bremgarten; some nice playspots !
  • The Aare from Thun to Bern with a class II-III rapid close to Uttigen.
  • The Doubs fromGoumois to St. Ursanne (may have not enough water in summer) and the
  • Ticino bellow Bellinzona.
  • Forget the Limmat, my home river, except a class 0- I run from Zürich Tüffenwies to Dietikon. Otherwise countless weirs and dams
  • The Aare above Brugg (not the channel) has some nice runns too, but at least 3 weirs to portage.
  • The old Aare between Olten and Schönenwerd (I-II) is beautiful too, but check for enough water.


Freestyle Canoeing , Bootstanz, Kanuballet   Under construction !

Freestyle canoeing although present for more than 10 years is still vastly unknown either for paddlers nor a larger audience. Probably this is also because the tiny presence on the web. I discovered this discipline a couple of years ago but only recently I decided to get involved, visiting a course with Jörg Wagner and aquisiting the needed equipment.

Mit meinem Entschluss wieder mehr in einem Boot zu sitzen wuchs mein Interessen an einer Kanudisziplin, bei der es keine langen Fahrten zum nächsten Wildwasser braucht, kein mühsames Umparkieren von Fahrzeugen, keine Abhängigkeit von Begleitern. 500 m von meinem Haus fliesst gemächlich die Limmat, rückgestaut vom Damm in Baden.

Siesta Oppi, einer der führenden Kanushops in der Schweiz hat Ende Juli 2006 zum Internationalen Freestyle Treffen am Schiffenensee eingeladen. Mit Freestyle Guru Jörg Wagner konnten Einsteiger sowie Fortgeschrittene Technik und Moves erlernen resp. verfeinern.

Beim Freestylen geht es um das Perfektionieren von Manövern auf stehendem Wasser mit Schwerpunkt auf Eleganz und Effizienz. Das Ganze kann zu einer Choreografie mit Musik gestaltet werden. Deshalb auch die Bezeichnungen Kanuballet oder Kanutanz. Der praktische Nutzen für den Paddler ist eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit Hydrodynamik, Hebelgesetz, Gleichgewicht und motorischer Koordination die zu einem neuen Level von Bootsbeherrschung führt. Ein kurzes Video sagt mehr als tausend Worte, deshalb hier einer der wenigen Freestyle Canoe Clips auf dem weiten Web:

Mark Maier zeigt eine kurze Canoe Freestyle Sequenz auf dem Schiffenensee in einem Carbon-Twister. Der Clip ist nachvertont, d.h. Mark fährt nicht zu der Musik

(Ausschnitt aus meinem Kurzfilm: "Der mit dem Boot tanzt" )         

Der Twister ist ein reinrassiges Freestyle Kanu, konzipiert von Jörg Wagner, gezeichnet von Th. Lasch und gebaut von American Traders. Es gibt ihn in Holz, der traditionellen Wood-Canvas Bauweise, in Carbon und in GFK. Für Kanu- Anfänger ist er nicht zu empfehlen, man würde ihn als sehr kippelig empfinden. Der Fortgeschrittene wird schnell feststellen dass das Boot dafür eine sehr hohe Endstabilität hat. Auch wenn man ihn so stark lehnt dass Wasser schon hineinläuft, kann er problemlos wieder aufgerichtet werden. Wichtig ist nur dass der Schwerpunkt des Paddlers im Boot bleibt.



Der Twister, ein Traum von einem Freestyle-Kanu

Den Twister gibts bei Siesta Oppi in der Schweiz und in Deutschland bei:




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