Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And then...
...after meeting Richard (yesterday's post), there was Brett. I had just missed his launch as he was paddling south when I arrived. He was in what turned out to be a stitch and glue Pygmy and was clutching a paddle he had made himself. He wore neoprene and a PFD that was closed. Looked to me to be the real deal and, in a very real way, he is.

Turns out he is pretty much self taught, has less than 2 years on the water and is already signed up for our Door County Sea Kayak Symposium in July. In chatting, I learned he was registered for stroke progressions on the first day and rolling classes on Saturday and Sunday. I suggested that he consider taking the one day intro to sea kayaking on Friday to nail down the basics and to fill in the holes of any self taught course. That would leave him Saturday and Sunday to fit in these other lessons. By the way, the paddle he had made was in fine form.

So, that day was quite an experience considering the habits I had observed. I had seen a boy who paddled bare chested and sans PFD in 40(F) degree water in a crude rec boat on one of our great lakes. And, I had met Richard, an affable guy, and Brett in whom I see gobs of potential. At the end of my paddle, Richard, Bret and I had a chance to chat together, and it all seemed so natural. We wee, in our own ways, paddlers with a common love of the water. As I always told my residents and fellow: We are colleagues, and I just happen to be designated the teacher in this group because I am a bit further along in this career. I expect, however, to learn a great deal from you.

This weekend I head to Madison to teach a two day kayak progression course. I hope the weather is kind as it is always problematic to have new students do wet exits in cold water. I will have to scrounge up some appropriate gear for them to wear. I hope I learn a lot.

Paddle safe...

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