Throwback Thursday: Canoe Tilting on Lake Virginia

On April 26, 1930, Rollins students competed for the canoe tilting championship title.

(Photo courtesy of Rollins College Archives & Special Collections) (Photo courtesy of Rollins College Archives & Special Collections)

People across the nation were enjoying the thrill of canoe tilting competitions in the early 20th century, and Rollins students were no exception. This photo captures a moment just before pilot Gerard Miller ’30 and tilter Cloyde Russell ’30 (left) upset tilter Robert Pepper ’30 and pilot Harrison Cobb ’30 (right) to retain their title as champions in a canoe tilting championship contest at Rollins College on April 26, 1930.

The object seems to have been simple: knock the opposing tilter in the water without falling in first.

So what where the rules? According to the August 1911 edition of Field and Stream, “almost every sort of foul tactics is allowable in the canoe tilting match except swatting your opponent on the bean with the tilting pole.”

It might have been the perfect recipe for injury, but with no air conditioning and a campus on the shores of Lake Virginia, how could they resist?