Friday, February 05, 2010

My sense of paddlers, in general, is that they are affiable, of above average intelligence, interested in the world around them and goal oriented. They come from all walks and all sorts of job descriptions and tend to well at what ever they do. Aside from the once in a blue moon recreational paddler, the whitewater and sea kayakers are always working on their skills and trying to improve. Some of this motivation comes  from having goals.

There are more possibilities (read: goals) at the start than at any other time. It is like taking a hike. Every time you take a fork in the path you have eliminated (at least for now) all the forks in the roads of the paths not taken. The first time in a kayak, that first lesson, holds out to the imagination all sorts of possibilities. There is so much to practice and such a great urge to get up to speed.

Jump (or paddle) ahead and we all arrive at a place where we have the basics. Our forward stroke is getting decent, our braces are pretty much working and we hit our rolls the majority of the times. Unless we find something new to work on, the future may appear to only hold out repetitious outings during which we do the same old, same old over and over. This is when those of us really who are really into the paddling game look for new goals.

For some of us it is becoming an instructor and then working on becoming an even better instructor. Some will go on to be instructor trainers while others, eschewing the instructor path, will plan longer and longer trips. For some this may be conquering the shoreline while paddling to the next city 5 miles up the coast. Others eventually paddle around Australia.

So, in addition to planning and looking forward to the spring events, it is time for me to start laying out new goals. Since teaching is my passion, I want to learn more about it and about teaching teachers. At my age, I have no plans to become an instructor trainer, however, I do want to learn those skills as I believe it will make me a better teacher and a better paddler.

Then I need to work on a plan to maintain conditioning. I am going to lose some this winter in spite of getting out there on the lake and frequent visits to the gym and pool. It's just that it's harder as I get older. Finally, I need to sit and contemplate how I can best serve my sport going forward.

I have pretty much eliminated the idea of an Olympic try out, but I will continue to teach. I am on another board here in Milwaukee, and it involves paddling indirectly. I need to do more. Perhaps my next goal is to find my next goal.

Paddle safe...


John said...


Sounds like the replay of yesterday's game winning goal at Manchester vs. Peeps.

I've got a few projects that I'm working on that are kayaking and kayak teaching related. Now I just need the time to spend on them. Hmmmmm. . . you've got some time, I've got some projects, perhaps we should talk.

Silbs said...

I think we should.

gnarlydog said...

you are fortunate to be surrounded by "above average intelligence" paddlers :-)
I categorize people in two groups: drivers and passengers.
It seems that you belong to the drivers group seeking to better your skills/knowledge.
That in not always the case with all paddlers.
Some are just content with the minimal skills and never really improve because they have no desire to.
And like passengers on the bus they are happy to let others drive their life and never get “behind the wheel”
Needless to say that their non paddling life is about the same: bland.

Keep up the good work on the water and on line.


Silbs said...

Nice piece, gnarlydog, and thanks for the kind words.