Saturday, June 17, 2006

Different Strokes...

I taught a class in recreational kayaking yesterday.
It was simply wonderful to be back in a boat and on the water, and it didn't take long to forget about the back (which is 90+%). Pure joy.

I worked with Tom, a fine guy, who happens to be a white water paddler and was, as one might expect, in one of those little turn-on-a-dime rockets those guys use.

Interesting was the fact that white water people never use an out of the water recovery draw stroke. Makes sense. If you are shooting down a river, chances are you can' spare the time to lift the paddle clear of the water and ritually replace it out to the side.

And they don't do "emergency" stops the way sea kayakers do. If they do, the boat spins like mad with the first placement of the blade. Hey, that's what they're made to do. I guess they like to avoid those annoying big boulders lying midstream along the way.

I've been asked, isn't it boring to teach a group recreational kayaking. The inference is that it isn't real kayaking unless you are rolling, bracing in 5 foot waves or hurling your bod down a torrent of white water while wearing a brain bucket.

Truth be known, it is all kayaking...and all great fun for certain dudes. Yes, I like to take out my sking on frame and play Inuit with a stick paddle (it is 90 degrees and JB is out at Peewaukee Lake, so I have to rap this up. Think I am going to sit here and type all day?). But I also enjoy laying the Romany down on a side brace into a breaking wave on Lake Michigan or just paddling my wooden Arctic Tern at sunrise on an inland lake. I love it all, and the variety keeps the sport fresh for me.

So, no, it is not boring to teach recreational kayakers. Not when I see them enjoying it and wondering which ones will return for the sea kayak classes.

So, why are you still sitting there and reading this? Grab something that floats and get out there.
Paddle safe.

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