Childhood Paddling Influences – From Mickey to Snoopy to G.I. Joe

Childhood Paddling Influences – From Mickey to Snoopy to G.I. Joe

There are many influences in our life that help to shape who we become, but none so fondly remembered as our childhood friends – that is to say – our beloved cartoons. And as it turns out, many of our favourite  imaginary personalities happen to paddle too! Check it out and see if your favourite characters are amongst the paddling cartoon elite… starting with the Smurfs.
Canoeing has been a tradition
amongst the Smurfs for centuries.

Somehow the gang at Sesame Street in New York City is able to get out on the water much more then one would expect for an urban crew.

It’s part of our heritage – even Oscar looks happy about that!
“Blue Lake and Rocky Shore” sings a crew of
paddlers from Sesame Street. (Hope they brought
lots of cookies for cookie monster!!)
Looks like Bert from Sesame Street
is waiting for his best friend, Ernie,
to bring him a paddle and his PFD!

The newer cartoon personalities, Dora the Explore and Go Diego Go characters , spend lots of time in the outdoors so getting out in a canoe on the river is practically an everyday activity for them.

Dora and Boots like to explore rivers.
Diego gets out on the water a lot.

Hanna Barbara used to take their popular characters onto the water and into a canoe as well.

Hey, Boo Boo! Yogi likes to paddle too!
Hucklebury Hound enjoys a quiet evening in a canoe.
Even Scooby Doo and Shaggy know how to read a river (we hope!).

The Peanuts got in on some paddling action in their day as well.  Snoopy was not only a dog-house-pilot but was an experienced kayaker too. And Charlie Brown was… well… good grief… he was just Charlie Brown!

Snoopy is a kayaker! I wonder if he calls his kayak “The Red Baron”.
Charlie Brown never makes anything look easy.

Sometimes there were even some paddlers in your mainstream Sunday Newspaper comic strip or cartoon section, usually showing the “lighter side” of canoeing or camping.
For Better Or For Worse detailed a canoeing miss-hap for the Dad.

Marmaduke tried to bring a canoe into the kiddie pool.
Who could forget our old friend, Ziggy?
Calvin and Hobbes, a very popular comic, pokes fun
at canoeing and it’s entertainment value for active young boys.

You also may have fond memories of short children’s stories from your very own bookshelves… or perhaps even a short novella or two (when you got a bit older).

Uncle Wiggly should have brought some life jackets!
The Berenstain Bears love a padding adventure!
(Except for Poppa Bear!)
This old illustration quotes:
Perhaps as you grew older, you read a few novels too. 

Not surprisingly, even some of our favourite video game characters have been known to pick up a paddle now and then.

The Mario Brothers have a long journey ahead on this river.
A kayaking fashionista!
Even Reader Rabbit knows how to
use a canoe to teach reading and math!

Disney has always had a special place in it’s heart for paddling. As you can see, many of our favourite Disney characters have been canoeing and kayaking for years. It is also been a long standing Disney Tradition to hold Canoe Races. And, they even have a couple of Stand Up Paddlers (SUP) by way of Lilo and Stitch!

An antique Donald Duck figurine with a canoe.

Even the original Mickey Mouse enjoyed canoeing.
Pocahontas, a child of the forest, paddles
her dug out in this classic Disney film.
Mickey later switches to a double bladed paddle canoeing experience.
This mouse loves canoeing so much he even
gets his friends in on the paddling action!
Lilo and Stitch can SUP
Why it’s Winnie the Pooh and Tiger too!
With Piglet and the honey in the stern.

You may even have come across some sort of padding adventure in one of the comic books your parents gave you… 

This is Canada’s History Magazine comic
book for kids (from The Beaver).

This one is for the girls… No outdoor girl’s Barbie collection was complete without her very own sit-on-top kayak (in lipstick red) with all the accessories to go with it.

Barbie Kayaking Set – it’s a sit-on-top!

And this one is for the boys… who were all well aware that G.I. Joe had THE BADDEST boat in town –  appropriately named THE STALKER. Oh yeah!!

G.I. Joe, a real American paddling hero.
G.I. Joe’s kayak – “The Stalker”

It would be very naughty to forget our all around childhood favourite guy.  Santa Claus paddles too – everyone knows that, right?!!

And who could forget The Muppets?!! While Kermit, it seems, is more of a rower, he is obviously still a strong supporter of the power of self propulsion. 

“Kermie” and the power of “pig” propulsion.

One of the most famous of watermen ever, Popeye the Sailor Man, always looks comfortable in a boat. A simple man, ’twas old Popeye.

Another rower, Popeye can paddle with the best of ’em.
(Especially when he has eaten his spinach!)

Some prefer the water —- even if they have the ability to fly,  like Casper the friendly rowing ghost.  Regardless if it’s a leaky vessel or not!

Casper is also a fan of the power of self-propulsion.

Finally…. our gallery of the paddling cartoon elite would just NOT be complete without the most famous (or is that infamous) illustrated family of all time… as The Simpsons never back down from an adventure… never… EVER.

Another Simpson’s family vacation comes off without a hitch!

So, who knew this many illustrated characters have picked up a paddle? No doubt this proves how much paddling is part of our culture and is a good example of art imitating life… or maybe… it’s the other way around?!! Who cares… obviously it’s the thing to do, whether you are a real live person or just “drawn this way”.

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  • J. Rosen
    Posted at 12:16h, 06 May

    awesome, great collection, wish I had that gi Joe stalker kayak when I was I kid

  • Mike Ormsby
    Posted at 13:03h, 06 May

    Great article (wish I'd thought of it). But what about "Paddle To the Sea" (both the book and film)???? As well, there were so many books that caught my attention as a youngster (well I was 'young' at one point LOL LOL), that also shaped me as a paddler….these include books by Grey Owl; Cache Lake Country by John Rowlands; and other books like Farley Mowat's Lost In the Barrens or People Of The Deer (and I guess these titles tell my age LOL LOL).

    Thanks for shaking up some great old memories.

  • Fat Paddler
    Posted at 13:30h, 06 May

    Our kids have a Lego canoe too. 🙂

  • Badger Canoe Paddles
    Posted at 14:19h, 06 May

    Thanks Mike O.! Mike and I were just alking about that actually… The National Film Board of Canada Films we would get to watch in school when we were young… Bill Mason's included. Mike's favorite was Paddle To The Sea. We were also remembering the more serious literature like Caesars of the Wildnerness, etc. Maybe the next post… Unless you beat me to it! *wink*

    And boy oh boy, FP! I hope they sell those here in Canada! A Lego canoe for Makobe would be JUST THE THING!!!! Awesome!!!!

  • Badger Canoe Paddles
    Posted at 14:22h, 06 May

    And thanks J. Rosen too! That kayak was some pretty crazy bad a$$ stuff, wasn't it?!!

  • Preston
    Posted at 16:15h, 06 May

    This past Christmas I was given a wrapped box with a card and a little toy wooden carved canoe tied to it. I thought it was a very thoughtful decoration. After inspecting it, asking about where they got it, I thanked them for the nice gift, and sat waiting for the next person to open their gifts. After a few awkward seconds of people just staring at me expectantly, someone finally reminded me to open the box – the actual gift. Oops.

    I can't for the life of me remember what was in the box, but the little canoe is on my nightstand.

  • Badger Canoe Paddles
    Posted at 16:29h, 12 May

    I would be the same as you, Preston. I love miniature paddling pieces! Actually, Mike proposed to me by placing a ring in a little canoe (he had carved himself) that was also floating in a bowl of water! I still have the canoe… but lost the diamond out of the ring. The canoe always had so much more sentimental value then the ring ever did… and always will. It sits on our fireplace mantel in our livingroom to this day. Thanks for sharing, Preston!!! (Fiona)