First day in my kayak...three lessons: jeans are not proper paddling attire..do not step in kayak like a speedboat....may water is cold. =0)
Every time I paddle with someone new it's one of the first questions that usually come up; in camp that night or during a lunch break. And a interesting topic it is; heck it's one of the things that connects us all. People who have such differing views on the world, from political party preferences, religion, income, and cultural background.
Heck one paddle I went on during this summer I ended up going with a guy who was born in Bermuda and raised in South America and another who was born in L.A with quite a impressive pedigree. And there's me from the far east...of Canada. Here's how I started paddling.
I was really big into running. Plus 100km per week...even on a bad week. And due to my working environment I broke my fibula and fractured my tibula. In the mess I tore all the tendons in my ankle.It was june 2006. (later broke it again in a unrelated case in 2009 =0) )
Running now a distant thing and living in Fredericton NB I spent a lot of time doing circuit training and slowly putting weight on. My caloric engine slowed down and the lbs packed on.
Elliptical training was boring and multiple attempts at running ended in re injury. Land bound NB kayaking wasnt really a big thing in freddytown and it hadn't dawned on me.
My work sent me back to Ottawa Ontario in September and I slowly improved and got back to running. However it was painful and I stopped due to being sore 24/7.
I was sitting around May 07 trying to think of a exercise I could do that would get me back outside in solitude and be low impact on my lower body. One of my friends suggested just using the concept rower at my gym. Lightbulb. Instead of rowing in place looking at myself in a mirror, I was gonna buy a kayak.
So that's how I got into kayaking. A debilitating injury.
I have improved so much these past few years. Honestly the first year I wasn't too "hooked". I began to get hooked by exploring. Then I fell in love with all things kayak. Safety wasn't too much of a concern when I started either, once I fell in love with it I began searching the internet for kayak stuff and learned all the things I was doing totally wrong. And then improved, learned all the rescues I could and started a tool box of rescues I could use. From hand rolls down to the paddle float.
I am a self taught paddler, from rolling to all my skills. And the above pic is just how I started off... and learned by trial and error...and a bit of luck. Just a guy in a kayak messing about.
And now I am hooked on everything kayak.From their history to building them and Greenland paddles, and striving to become a better kayaker every day. In 10 more years when I am retired in Newfoundland this is gonna be my next career. Building kayaks and paddles to sell to supplement my retirement...and doing a lot of kayak tripping.
I've come a long way in a few years! So have patience with the new kayakers you encounter! Offer suggestions but don't be like the dick I met who wanted to sound like my mother. I didn't listen to a word he said and fucked him off real quick. He was also the reason I didn't seek clubs those first two years...who wants to hang out with assholes! Although the guy was totally right on all the safety aspects...he had the personal skills of a plank. Starting a sentence with "Hi I'm a member of club X and I gotta stop you." Aint a great way to approach someone on safety matters who is as bullheaded as myself. He was taken back when I used vulgar language at him as I kept on paddling.
So basically due to my injury I came from the PDF-less, skirtless, un safe paddler to a uber addicted safety orientated paddler who is constantly trying to learn more.
The injury which took away one of my addictions (I'm started back again into running!) gave me the largest addiction,hobby,lifestyle I have ever discovered or ever will. Kayaking is a huge part of my life.
I'm glad I broke my leg!
(Love to hear how you guys got into kayaking. Feel free to leave your story in the comments below. )