Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's lurking around,
and I can feel it
(a personal story)

Several years ago, at a fine arts photography workshop, a young girl showed what at first seemed to be an unrelated bunch of poorly shot 8x10 photos. The rest of us had 11x14, well-executed images mounted on museum quality boards. It seemed that she was not going to be up to standards.

Many of her photos were of a girl or a woman lying on a bed, and many were out of focus. As she put these images up, one by one, she came to a particular picture that showed several medication vials. One label was in focus. It showed her name and the name of an antidepressant. The pictorial, as it turned out, was a heroic documentary of a depressive episode she had suffered. When the session broke up for dinner, four of us just kind of hung back and gathered around her. As we all made eye contact, no one had to speak. We knew why we had stayed. We all had, at one time or another, suffered significant depression. We all knew the pain of that dark, unforgiving and hopeless pit, and we knew no one who had never been there could ever understand how horrible a place it is.

The air now is cooler at night, and the sun is setting earlier each day. Intellectually, I know that the serotonin levels in my brain will soon begin to drop along with my levels of vitamin D. I know it is time to get my bright light box out of the basement and to spend as much time as I can before it as I read the morning paper. I know that signs that look like this:

Could easily begin to look like this:

I once had a lumbar disc slip out of place and literally send me to the floor screaming in pain. It felt as if a truck had parked on my leg. It was the the second worst pain I have ever known. Still, I would accept that pain gladly rather than experience again the hopeless blackness which I and my fellow photographers know all too well.

I am a happy guy now and have been blessed with the best of everything in life. And, I need to remember that, repeat it in my head, as a mantra and add it to my arsenal of bright light and exercise as winter approaches.

If you have been to that dark place, you need no further explanations. If you have not, none is possible.

Paddle safe...and be happy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Eye Candy
Memories of Camp

At the QAJAQ USA Training Camp there are, basically, only two rules...and only one of them is a hard and fast rule: no euro paddles. (The other is don't wet exit, it wastes time). Upon arrival, and throughout the weekend, one becomes acutely aware that they are among a unique group of people. Here, after all, are not just paddlers. Here are not just a sub set of paddlers called kayakers. Here are traditional kayakers, men and women interested in the old ways of rolling and paddling and constructing boats.

Lots of paddles and traditional syle boats hanging and sitting around affirm this concept. Even the presence of tuiliks hanging out to dry is an indication that this is not your usual on the water bunch.

Here, one can enjoy the details of traditionally designed craft and some modern adaptations..

And, of course, the best eye candy is the elegant design lines of some of the Greenland style boats. There were some built-to-roll-on-a-whim ones and some copies of ancient designs. All were sleek with narrow beams and low decks, especially in the back. Staring hour after hour at the scene on shore and afloat, I could almost forget which time period I was experiencing, and I realize that a good part of my love of Judo and Traditional Sea Kayaking is due to the rich traditions and history that comes as part of the sport.

Paddle safe


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Eye Candy

From the moment I arrived at the QAJAQ USA Training Camp, I knew I sahould have brought my good SLR camera. There was too much to see, too many waiting-to-be-recorded images; but I was determined to make do with my little waterproof one.

What I didn't expect was to have my back be one of the images.

No matter, there were prettier sights. Right off was the beach where we were to leave our bags (on the dock for the pontoon boat to take over to camp) and launch for the paddle to the site.

Even the wind, which blew until late the next day, provided satisfying imagery:

Once on site, there were endless images of boats and boat parts. I will be showing more of them in the future. Here is a nice Baidarka hull along side one of the wooden boats:

Once things got underway, there were infinite things to see. Often, the activities took on a chaotic look, but don't be fooled. Within each cloister of boats teaching and exhange of information was happening. It just looked chaotic.

More later. Now, I have to ponder whether to try and pad out and rasp down my coaming, or sell my SOF and get another.

Paddle safe...


Monday, August 28, 2006

Bloodied and Unbowed

QAJAQ USA Training Camp for 2006 is over. I returned home at around 2 am after some driving and a ferry ride across Lake Michigan. In the days that follow I will be presenting some images and talking a little about the camp. Enough to say today that it was quite successful, I met more nice folks and learned new stuff. I also tore my sking apart.

Seems the skin on frame kayak I built "to fit me" has too high a combing at the back. By the end of camp I refrained from all rolls that finished on the back deck. When I would miss a roll and had to go to my "go to roll" (which happens to be a basic sweep with a back deck finish), I would grit my teeth and "cheat" near the end with downward force on the paddle to minimize by contact with the combing (I am debating sharing a picture of my back side).

Right now, I am waiting for the Advil to kick in as I have that pleasant ache from muscles being used for the first time. I worked hard spending a lot of time on the water...and slept like a baby.

So, I am going to spend this day sorting gear, de-stinking base layers, down loading and cropping pictures I took and (depending on whose advise I employ), taking a rasp or chain saw to my boat. I also need a source of either minicell (closed) and/or neoprene to rebuild a back rest.

So much to do, so little time. More tomorrow.
Paddle safe....

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The View from Below
(see Derrick's blog goes well with this one...and a white wine)

Not all my time on Lake Michigan has been in kayaks. I have owned power and sail boats, and the finest was a Han Christian 42-foot cutter with a 6 foot bow sprit. She had the motion of a large ship, pitching up and down into head seas, and I liked to sit out on the bow with my feet hanging over each side and dipping into the water to my knees as she pitched.

The problem with big boats (I also had a wonderful 50-foot pilot house trawler) is that, along with the amenities, they provide you with a high up point of view well off the water which, after a while, left me with the feeling of being in a movie about being on a boat and not really being on the water. From atop the fly bridge (pilot house) it seemed as if I was outside looking in. But not so with a kayak.

Our little crafts, which are as sea worthy as most sail boats and almost all power boats, have few one. The view. Being down on the water (hey, our butts, mathematically speaking, are under the water...but I digress) provides us with a view only known to fishes, gulls and other kayakers.

Gliding along, I can splash some water onto myself to help cool down. I can just hang my hands in the drink to feel the environment. I can, with the help of my polaroid lenses and a calm surface, actually see into another world, the world of water. And, I am acutely aware of what condition we have left the waters in. And, I feel every surge and undulation of the water, and I feel that the lake/sea is truly alive.

The only thing that could come close to such an experience, at least for me, would be floating or swimming without any boat at all. But, then where would I put my camera, paddle float, water bottle and pump?

(I am off to QAJAQ USA camp this evening. Next blog on Monday ds)

Paddle safe

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How low can I
(confessions of a man without an I-pod)
(a rambling)

Just woke, the sun hasn't. I went to Derrick's site ( and was treated to a video of some whitewater yahoos almost buying the farm by being sucked into a hole. For you not of the faith, a hole is a phenomena at the bottom of some waterfalls. Without going into the physics, the hole can repeadedly pull a kayaker (with his boat) under the water... repeadedly...until something happens or the guy drowns. Don't get me digressing.

The point here is that I went from life's most primitive state of being...being this overwhelming (okay, pretty good) demonstration of electronic visual communication. Suddenly, my blank sheet of paper (read: monitor screen) looks bleak and outdated. Sure, I put up a picture now and then, but pictures have been around for ever. Am I, who recently learned how to use the Insert key on my computer, to now learn to upload videos (which I rarely take and of which I own none) to stay in the game and be up to date? I think not.

I will, instead, become the agent, the ten-percenter, the guy who refers you to the guy who can do. Like all those guys on TV and in magazines who, for a hefty fee, will help you make money in stocks and real estate. Never mind that if they knew how to do it they would do it themselves. Fact is (this is the longest I've gone to make a weak point), it is safer to teach something for a sure fee and let the student take the risk of executing the plan.

But not in paddling (he saves this driveling piece, at last). Sure, one could write a book, but to teach the sport you have to be out there doing it and, it would seem to follow, able to do it. Walk the walk, float the float and paddle thepaddle, avoid getting sucked it were.

I believe I've made my point, what ever it was. So, lacking anything worthwhile on my mind, I will go meet other like-minded paddlers for coffee. Go watch Derrick's video and come back when my low-tech head is filled with more worthy ideas.

Paddle safe

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Words can't begin to...

JB, Greg and I had one of those satisfying paddles on Lake Michigan last evening. There was wind, chop and clapotis at the onset but, as the sun dropped behind the horizon, everything got quiet. It was serene, and it felt like I never wanted to leave the water. Words can't begin to...

Paddle safe


Monday, August 21, 2006

One day/stroke at a time
on the big waters

When I sat down to write this morning I felt only sadness. In spite of several consecutive days on the water, dozens of succesful rolls and the arrival of my new tuilik, I cannot focus on kayaking today.

A young neighbor boy/man was recently released after doing 6 months in a jail-drug program. I have never saw him looking so good. He had cleaned up, done exercises and worked the program. His demeanor had changed, and he even indicated that he wanted to talk to me about the men's work I do and some of the programs in which I am involved.

Having had someone in my family with a similar problem (and, thank you, doing extemely well), I took heart in his metamorphosis. I needed to because I needed to believe that my loved one is also safe.

Yesterday, my young friend went to the Packer game in Green Bay. Since part of his probation is the loss of his driver's license, he rode with a buddy. At the game, his friend had several beers and my reborn neighbor had one or two. No big deal, except that he is expected to be 100% sobber. No drugs, no alcohol. Shortly after starting their drive home, his friend decided that he was too drunk to drive, so my young neighbor drove instead. You can guess the rest. They were stopped, the police ran his name, and he was jailed somewhere near Sheboygan for parole violation. There is a good chance that he will have to finish his 7 months doing hard time.

As I sit here, I am not clear whether I feel worse for him or his mother (father long ago out of the picture). Certainly, I ache for him. After all, that could be my own loved one. Yet, having worked my own program, I know that no one, save for the person them self, can control any of this. So, I ache--and fear--as if I were the mother.

It is a bit like the post traumatic stress syndrome in which the ringing of the phone causes a reflex knot in the gut. Is this the call with the bad news? Well, yesteday it was...for a family near by.

If I am to release the sadness of this event--and even tie it into paddling--I can only point out that we are each responsible for ourselves, that, in a very real way, we are at the mercy of a higher power out there and, finally, that I can care about you and try to rescue you, but in the end I cannot control your bad decisions...for which you must pay the consequences...along with all those who care about you. It's a big world out there...the waters are deep and vast.

Paddle safe


Sunday, August 20, 2006

There's more than one way
to skin anything
(or, how I met Tim)

Yesterday, after a nice paddle with one of the gals from the Milwaukee group, we headed into South Shore launch area for lunch. I wasn't sure at first, but I thought I saw a guy landing a Kleper (folding) kayak. I think it was the color that made me think that because, as I got closer it became evident that this was no ordinary kayak and most certainly not a contemporary design.

As he stepped out of his boat, we glided up, and I asked him what it was that he was paddling. He told me he had built what was, in essence, a skin on frame boat. At first it wouldn't stay upright, he explained, until he flattened the bottom. He had worked with no plans.

He'd used canvas but not oil paint. The stringers were on the thin side, and he had broken some when he first used the boat. That problems was solved with some foam blocks in the cockpit.

It immediately occured to me that he had an intringing vessels and that he was a very nice guy. I asked if I could paddle it. I could. I had a ball. It made those racing sit-on-top-thong-things seem stable. I made one half forward-half bracing stroke after another before finally tipping over. It was hard to empty since it held about 4 tons of water when full. I loved it. Pure fun. And I admired a young man who wanted to be on water enough to make such a contraption.

This man, I thought, should be a sea kayaker. He already had met Sheri, so he knew what kayaks were. We explained the first and second stability thing to him and, then, put him in Diane's boat. I wish you all could have seen the look of pleasure and discovery on his face as he paddled around just off the beach. And, he looked like a natural.

I hope he gets a regular boat. I hope he visits us on Sundays when we paddle. I hope he gets to meet Greg who, I am guessing, will turn out to be a Rube-Goldberg soul mate. I hope he paddles safely.

Paddle safe


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Club "Fighters"

I began my Judo career in Milwaukee when it was a huge center for the game. Yes, game. You see, Judo is a sport with rules and a scoring system. Some things are allowed, some not. The sport of Judo was derived from a collection of fighting techniques called Juijitsu which literaly meant, the gentle technique. Gentle?

Well, it does lose something in the translation. Gentle is used the way we use the word yielding. In any event, it consisted of choking, throwing, pinning and joint lock techniques. It was, pure and simple, meant for combat.

When the fuedal period came to an end in Japan and the law of the sword was passed, a period of low morale and depression followed. Jigarro Kano decided that the country needed a national sport to encourage physical fitness. He also forsaw the establishments of Dojos (gyms) which, by providing showers, would benefit the hygiene of the people (he knew nothing of neoprene and its smells). From Juijisu he extracted only the safe elements and limited joint techniques to the elbow, and then only under very controlled conditions. Finally, he developed a method of falling so participants were not hurt each time they were thrown down onto the katame mat.

The big day came when 18 students of Kano's Kodokan contested against 18 Tokyo police Juijitsu players. A victory was declared when a participant could no longer continue. The outcome: 1 tie, 17 wins for the Kodokan, 0 for the coppers. Oh, the police got in some throws alright, but without a method of falling the cops could not get back up when they were thrown.

Today, Judo (the gentle way) is practiced world wide and is an olympic sport. Always conducted in Japanesse, language is not a barrier for plalyers. Competitions are frequently held in every major city and held frequently. If you aren't in the sport, you will probably never hear about them.

Thing is (and this is true in my club), many Judoka (players) are not interested in competition. They work just as hard and become just as skilled as their colleagues who enter contests, they just don't care to enter themselves. There are three levels of play in Judo.

There is the practice in which we take turns throwing, pinning, choking (to the point of surrender or unconsciousness by compressing the carotids...but I digress) or carefully applying an elbow lock. We help each other with details and never resist durning this type of practice. This is equivalent to a pool session or going onto calm water to practice sweep and draw stroke.

Then we have randorii (RAN-DOOR-EEE), or free play. This is a mini-contest in which we lightly spar and try to "get" our partner, but we never go full out or try to force an imperfect technique. The atmosphere is playful. Again, this could be a pool session where we try new rolls or maybe try to out do one another. Some one spots us and offers a bow when we don't come up easily. There is here, too, a playful atmosphere.

Then there is Shiai, (SHE-I) or contest, and Katy bar the door. This is petal to the metal, pull out the tricks, study the opponent, scream and go for it. If an opponent tries to avoid being thrown by say klinging to your back, you throw yourself over so that you land on top of him. It is rough stuff, but significant injuries are rare. This is where you go out into that breaking surf or huge swell that causes your gut to tighten a bit and where a bow rescue may not be so easy to come by.

Those judoka who limit themselves to the first two practices are called club players. They love the sport, respect the traditions and often become highly skilled. Perhaps, they are the recreational paddlers.

Those who compete have a different fire in their belly. Sure, they want to win but, much more than that, they want to be in the game. Nothing, and I tell you this from experience, can produce the rich rewarding feeling of executing (bad word) a perfect UchiMata on the center mat at the Lawson YMCA in Chigao and win the semi finals before a crowd of over 100. It isn't (wasn't) about beating the other fellow, it was about pride in having reached a certain level of skill in a traditional art and feeling part of that great tradition. Call me a sea kayaker.

Paddle safe...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Burying Nuts for Winter

We have a community of orthodox furry-tailed rodents living around us. They are on the job evry day, scurrying about and gathering stuff in preparation for winter. One is a master at getting onto the bird feeder. I have told him to get off many a time, however I now have come to admire his dexterity and persistence so much that I generally just smile at him. He looks back with that you're-a-good-guy-Dick look. It's okay, I know he has to feed himself and stoe away goodies if he is to make it through the perils of a Wisconsin winter. We get along. We understand one another. I know he has a job to do. So do I (Whoa, what's this, is Dick actually going to get to the point?)

I noticed that as we've gotten into August and have had some cool nights that I've been paddling almost daily. Not just paddling, but paddling with more intensitiy, doing aerobic work outs, working on braces and sculls and rolling my skin on frame (and, yes, I can wet exit it, but I have to remember to first remove the closed cell masik I about digressing).

(yours truly forward bracking after coming up from a sweep roll)

I was out yesterday rolling a bunch and teaching someone else to roll. I will be doing the same today and, weather permitting, will probably be out Saturday and Sunday with the local bunch (not to be confused with Bucnh with a capital B which is my exclusive name for my eldest daughter...that's 2 digressiums in one blog...and it isn't even over ...that's 3).

Thing is, I feel it in my bones, just the way my furry neighbor does...winter is coming. More over, I am away (far away) for two weeks in December and will not be paddling during those precious fall days. I probably, because of this schedule, have taught my last lesson up in least for this year. The cycle is coming around again and, as always, it seems to do so faster and faster. I hown a quite desperation to store up nuts to help me survive the coming winter months.

So I try ferverently to stow up skills, experiences and memories (Man plans, G-d laughs). I try to hold on to the simply joy of being in warm water and not having to wear that damn dry suit. I relish the sun that warms me when I emerge soaking wet from the lake. And, most of all, I cheerish these days while my aging body and mind still hold together enough to allow me to get out there and even remember that I was.

Wait, there still will be the traditional gathering in Fish Creek in October. Maybe I can store up a few nuts then. Maybe it will be a mild winter.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Eye Candy
The Handsome Transom
First, Old Business: I left myself (and, possibly some of you) in a bummed out state of mind yesterday. So let's start today on a happy note. Here's the puppy picture that wouldn't upload yesterday:

Now for today's nonsense:

I am a life member of the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee and have served as their Fleet Surgeon. I've spent 3+ decades sailing all size sail boats on Lake Michigan. One of the "things" we sailors do is to name our boats and display the nomenclature on the transom (actually, it is required, along with your port of registration if the boat is coast guard documented...but I digress).

The origin of these names can be derived from a member of the family (CarTam, my power boat was named for my daughters) or, as in this case, a play on the fact that this boat is a Tartan Ten and competes in races. Pretty heavy, don't you think?

Some times, a bit of art is thrown in and color coordination becomes involved in making a transom unique.

Sometimes the skipper will share his personal medical history with the world. Either that or he can't get this boat to move.

Finally, many go for the philosophical effect:

My question here is why something like this isn't done with kayaks. Now, don't cover your eyes and shut me out, not yet anyway. I paddle a Romany, a good old NDK boat, and they all have the Welsch dragon and British decals on them. I have added an American flag and a QAJAQ decal. I have seen kayaks with the names of their source on them, but I have not seen a named-kayak. More over, with all the Innuit art out there, why don't I see more decorative pieces on some boats?

I know that one of the glass manufacturers has a little scrolling thingy on the bow, but what about a real and significant drawing or outline? Right now, I am looking for a rendition of a turtle and will probably ask my oldest to put it on my SOF (the Turtle is my totem animal). It will be small and tasteful and, just maybe, start a new tradition.

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I feel Less than I do now
than I did before when
I felt more than I did then
than I had before

Mornings like this bum me out or, more accurately, I start mornings like this already bummed out. I just awake and immediately know that the spark isn't there. It might ignite in a minute, an hour or not at all this day. It is beautiful out. The sun is up and the air is still cool...and I have no plans.

I might end up paddling one of my boats on one of the bodies of waters around here just to do something and to avoid going raving mad. There was a time that I would always have a book that I was reading and would take these times to sit with it. Lately, however, I have started and abandoned a bunch of novels because they didn't capture and/or hold my interest (exception: Koontz"s Odd Thomas). Actually, they seemed frivilous and contrived. Maybe I've seen too much and find it hard to be impressed or amazed by some fictional character's contrived plot.

I finally slept well, and I know I am dreaming (that's healthy). I am not depressed, although I do have a thing or two weighing on my mind.

Another thing I would sometimes do on days such as this is photography...and I do have some things I want to shoot. Problem is that the sun is out, and bright sunlight is the worst light for the way I shoot.

A niced gloomy day is great for impersonal shots like a train axel that lives in a dirty place and does a thankless job, yet its very image speaks of power.

Or making the rapids down river a little abstract and moody and remembering the Zen book, You can't step into the same river twice.

Or the gnarly banya tree that lives in the shallow sandy land of Florida, looks strong but, like all life, gets blown over easily.

I remember, too, of writing here once about how I sometimes know things, like when someone is going to die. So it was the day I took this picture of my friend Ben. I had gone to his little home on the point to do some kayaking. I don't know why I had my camera along. I looked at him and knew. I asked to photograph him. In the next several months he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died not long afterwards. He was a good man.

Oddly enough, I feel better for having written this and having shared some of these images with you. Perhaps it is just getting the juices flowing. Maybe it is getting back in touch with something outside myself. Maybe it is playing the pity card only to be trumped by the you-know-you-love-life card. No matter, I feel okay now and am ready to get into whatever it is I am getting into today.

In case I've ended up bumming you out, I will leave you with the classical feel-good puppy picture (belongs to the girl next door).

(Sorry...and too freakin' bad. Old blogspot won't upload a Gif image. Now I feel bummed again).

Oh well,

Paddle safe


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Future
(a pictureless blog brought to you by the ever malfunctioning

According to the sages, getting there is half the fun. Assuming they are correct, I must be having a ball right now because I am always going somewhere or looking ahead. Those same old guys seemed to think it was the journey and not the destination that was so fulfilling. Again, I must be full of it (using the same reasoning).

I haven't journaled since my service years and then only to leave behind some info in case I wasn't around to tell the stories. I still read that journal once in a while. I wish I had continued it all these years, but my hand writing got worse as I became a better doctor. But, now, I really digress.

What I do keep is a calendar. It is on my computer, so penmanship isn't an issue. I usually only look a day ahead so as not to go into overload, and this gives me something to look forward to, a reason to go on. But once, just once--and that once is now--I am going to go crazy and be really out there and look way ahead. But I will start slowly.

Like today: I am headed to a church in my old neighborhood to meet some men about taking part in a mentor program. Cool, no?

I have paddling dates on Thursday and Friday. Tomorrow, Wednesday, I take my Perception Shadow down to Lake Geneva for the big yard sale...unless my phone rings in the next 24 hours and someone snaps it up (are you starting to feel the excitement?).

The 25th is a biggie. I join up with Alex for the car ferry ride across Lake Michigan and then up to QAJAQ camp for 48 hours of rolling and rolling and rolling in skin on frame boats. Now we're having fun.

Next week there is a board meeting for the Regie White Sleep Foundation (yawn...ironic that I, with insomnia, am president of this board). And September it is off to Pasta-land. I refer, of course, not to a Michael Jackson theme park but to the boot-shaped country of Italy. It will be Lady Linda's and mine's (Tammy, when she first learned to talk and could not comprehend the possessive always said "mine's". And there you have another digression) 30th anniversary (I finally get the boot...see referrence at the beginning of this already too long sentence) and we wish to celebrate our consistancy of stagnation and not knowing when enough is enough :).

I do, in all seriousness, keep a paddling log (on the computer) and have documented every paddle I've gone on, every lesson I've taken and every class I've taught. I make brief entries and believe I have over 20 pages. This too makes for interesting and educational reading.

This all brings up my old saw about how we/I often "waste" life by living in the past and the future while missing the now. All I know is that now, right now, I finally got another blog out of the way.
Paddle safe... (see Derrick's dessent of Niagra Falls on how not to paddle
(a future blog will be on the many questions you have all sent to me. If you have more, send them along)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Just imagine what it would be like if it turned out that all terrorists were kayakers and (apologies to the ACLU) we had to profile folks at the airport. How, should that happen, would we identify our enemy? I submit to you that it might just be impossible.
Amongst the folks who paddle just around here, some of which are pictured here, are a variety of human beings. Getting a handle on any common denominators is problematic, although I will share one with you at the end.
Among us are Christians and Jews and I don't know what other belief systems since we rarely discuss them.
Judging by the cars (and some trailers with numerous boats on them), we are a financially diverse group as well. There are plastic boats and Kevlar boats in our flotilla. There is even a wooden boat with a gorgeous racing green paint job done by a BMW dealer.
Clearly, there are men and women...and of all ages.
We are of various skill levels and share knowledge with one another. As far as I know, only one of us smokes.
The temperaments vary like the colors of the rainbow. Some in the bunch laugh easily while others have never been accused of smiling. Some want to cruise slowly and take in the sights while others go off racing. Some use Euro paddles and others Greenland style sticks. We even have skin on frames and at least one beautiful strip wooden boat.
I don't know what most of us do for a living, but I do know that we have a retired lawyer, a practicing lawyer, an echocardiographer, a gal in retail (kayak store), a guy who works for a data service and is an EMT for an ambulance service and a certified kayak instructor (as are several others in the group). There is a retired doctor and a man who is a supervisor at Sprechers (they make beer and root beer and he never brings samples...but I digress). One of the ladies runs a day care center and one is a teacher and an artist. Another gal works at NML insurance (along with her husband) and she is an instructor. A couple work together in their own PR business.
We have paddlers with bad backs, shoulder injuries, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other ailments. some are in recovery programs (which I can only tell because they have offered the info).
Some of us are musicians and some play the accordian (no threatening letters, please). There is a black belt in Judo (teaches it), someone in akido and one in jujitsu. Many in the group camp and several are climbers. One fellow makes traditional paddles and is an excellent wild life photographer.
So, how can you profile us? Well, and this only works if we arrive at the airport in our paddling cloths (which, in it self, would be a give away), you can smell us coming a mile away. I would think that it would be easy to train a dog (or someone with a stuffed nose) to pick up the aroma of damp base layers inundated with body sweat. Thus, the skies would be safe again, and we would continue to
Paddle safe...