Any elderly kayakers with limitations?

The same
If I have a layoff from activity it’s very hard to play catch up. I just try to keep moving so I can keep moving.

This the first year I’ve felt my age somewhat, 63, and it’s hard to back off… But necessary, and necessary to keep moving… The aches and pains and injuries that used to disappear after abit, don’t go away anymore they just hang about waiting to be annoyed a little more before they crank up. The forty year old kiddies that want you to come along at their rate of travel… well… I hope judgement kicks in.

2 answers
Waterbird, about 5 years ago SeaKayaker magazine ran an accident report about a 70-ish guy who died off the coast of Southern California. He’d been a club stalwart but had let a lot of things go – needed a new wetsuit, a new VHF radio, and a roll if I remember right. Arrived late at a launch site (car trouble as he’d put off doing something it needed), missed his friends, went out anyway, capsized in high winds, couldn’t execute a self-rescue with paddle float. And died. It was a very poignant story. (A lot of am-I-my-brother’s-keeper sentiments among his friends, I think.) So that’s one answer. The guy was losing his skills and his friends noticed but didn’t exactly gang up on him and go with him to get him in a new wetsuit and to buy a new VHF radio. So one thing we should think about is how we as paddling friends might help out our older peers.

The other answer: a woman in my paddle club was no longer able to reenter her touring kayak even with a stirrup. She had a hip replacement. Eventually sold the tourer and bought a nice composite 14-foot SOT. I don’t know whether she’s happy with that boat or not. She’s was learning to use it last summer. But changing your equipment – as others here have already pointed out – is one way to go.

G in NC (old but still doing an easy sweep roll!)

I weighed in above but feel compelled

– Last Updated: Aug-21-11 1:33 PM EST –

to post again.
Age is what you make of it !

If you are lucky enough to not get cancer, or any other illness that is out of your control, and you are eating properly, exercising daily, keeping your weight exactly as it should be, you should see no change at all in your paddling style and habits.
Throw in some good sex every other night, and you will still feel as if you're in your 40's
Oh, and a new knee helps a bit too !
jack L

My concern with your post…

– Last Updated: Aug-18-11 3:50 PM EST –

Your post pre-judges the likelihood of someone being able to learn a roll with a GP based on their age and condition. I would not have responded if it appeared that you had tried it yourself and found that your personal health etc made it not possible, or if it appeared that you were personally familiar with how a GP roll works compared to the traditional one taught with a Euro.

The OP was asking about peoples' personal experience, to my read of the post.

But as far as I can tell you haven't tried this. So I disagree with advising others that they shouldn't due to age etc.

I can agree with the part of your post where you say that older paddlers should be cognizant of their limitations and not allow themselves to be pushed into things that may be a problem for them. There are increasingly days where I observe rather than take one more shot at a standing wave or a ferry across current because some body part has taken all it will without risking injury, for example. I play violin, so my bar for may-hurt-myself is higher than many. But there are assumptions imbedded in the details following that just are not always so.

Interestingly, I know enough about glawson, a poster below, to guess that her experience might make a liar of me here. But there may be other things that were in play there too - and knowing her background, would figure it was experience-based advice. I know that she has spent more time working on her greenland skills than all but a few paddlers I have met.

Every other night! Does Nanci know
about this?

Anticipatory or actual?
It can be hard to draw the line. We tend to pull out the lighter weight boats more often, including when going into conditions that strictly speaking supposed are imperfect for a lighter weight layup. But it is just SO much easier at the end of the paddle to be putting them back on top of the car. We limit back to back days of big paddles more than several years ago and allow for more easy days to recover than before. Etc.

Is this a direct accommodation to age or an early change to head off more serious changes? Hard to tell. But it’s all in the name of getting older.

and don’t forget the best medicine!
A cold beer at the takeout (or at home, if you’re driving). Hmmmmm, good.

G in NC

Any elderly kayakers with limitations?
The guy on the cover of my SUP book is 63 and in that photo is doing a 5 mile open water race. On a somewhat similar note to your question, I have a blog posting about ‘adpative paddling’ for disabled folks. there’s good info in there on how to stay active despite phyical disabilities…

Ah’s settle fer some…
mediocre sex at me age…

“Ah’s still gots wat it takes…”

(“But, nobody’ll take wat ah’ gots…”)


second that
I got the same impression.

one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know

– Last Updated: Aug-17-11 4:49 PM EST –

"Let people decide that for themselves"

People don't always have the knowledge to decide for themselves! Especially novices. They need help.

Yes, as we get older, we need to be mindful of our increased limitations. But I think it's more important to learn to do things the right way so I don't put undue stress on my joints. And rolling is one such example.

I learned to roll C2C back in my 30's. I can still do it but I do get tired after several rolls. And I start to wonder what's going to be like when I'm 10 years older, or 20 years older. Fortunately for me, I ran into others who taught me how to do a screw roll. It's so effortless compare to a C2C and it works a lot better for paddler with less than perfect flexibility. Now I can see much more likely I'll be rolling into my 80's!!!

I've been told by many that I'm "probably ready" for class IV. But I'm not. Not mentally. I wanted to be 100% on class III before stepping it up. That's the concession I made for being older AND WISER.

I know you didn't ask for it. But one best way to deal with limitation is to learn to paddle efficiently. Be that rolling efficiently or rescue efficiently, you need to learn it from those who know. Then you'll be surprised at how much limitation you can paddle with and still stay very safe.

I haven’t backed off in my paddling either and did my first open water race on Lake Michigan this year. I think I was the oldest competitor in the long race (22.5 miles). I want to paddle the entire NFCT and someday I still would like to paddle with JackL.

I would be honored
come on down to South Florida next March, and join “the bride” and I when we attempt to do the 300 mile Everglades challenge in our “BGD” tandem

Notice I said “attempt”. we’ll brag about it if we complete it in the time allotment.

Jack L

That wasn’t my point
"Your post pre-judges the likelihood of someone being able to learn a roll with a GP based on their age and condition."

–Not at all. I’m saying that individuals are aware of their physical status and able to make decisions about what they can or should do. People know when their physical limitations make any activity unwise. No one should have to defend their decision to not do something.

“So I disagree with advising others that they shouldn’t due to age etc.”

–I don’t think you will find that advice anywhere in what I posted. I’m not giving anyone advice at all. My only request is to respect what people decide for themselves, as my title says.

Very good examples, thanks
I think it’s hard to come to the realization that although you can still paddle just fine, if you can’t self-rescue and you paddle alone, something has to change.

Like the woman in your paddling club, I sense with all the sports I do—backpacking, kayaking, biking, hiking, etc.—that they need to be modified as I age. Shorter trips, easier trips, etc. And/or you develop new interests in other activities.

I really think this whole topic is about a psychological dimension of aging, as we move further and further away from our youthful abilities and slide toward the sunset . . . It’s a process of acceptance and adjustment. A bit frightening, actually.

I am 68 with a damaged heart. Once I’m in the kayak (Feathercraft Kahuna) I’m fine. My problem is going down to the ground to load up and carrying the boat to the car.The effort leaves me weak for a minute or two. My 35 pound boat has been sitting on my sofa with me afraid of the energy commitment to move it. And no friends around.

Is this based on your own experience?..

– Last Updated: Aug-18-11 3:54 AM EST –

From your post -
"rolling has a high potential for causing such an injury in an older person when the joints are already compromised."

Is this something that you found to be true for yourself in the process of trying to learn a roll yourself, w/ both GP and Euro? Or is it an assumption based on what you think must be the case?

If it was the first, sorry. If it was the latter, that was my point.

I am not saying that everyone can and needs to run out out to get a roll - most in our local evening paddle group never will, and most don't paddle in situations where it would be crucial. I am also not saying that someone who knows they have an overuse problem in their upper body should take it up, at least while the area is still hot. But I have encountered too many people even in their 50's, relatively healthy, who make no effort to learn to roll because they are under the mistaken impression that it requires strenuous effort and youth. That's not so either, and even trying to learn to roll leaves a few improved skills behind.

"Relatively healthy"
My original post is about long-time paddlers who are not relatively healthy now and who arrive at a point late in life where they have LOST former skills. It is about CHANGE in our lives—changes in our health, abilities, and therefore our paddling habits.

OK - a problem of specificity

– Last Updated: Aug-18-11 9:59 AM EST –

I will just assume that this is a problem of online dialogue tending to be more vague than the way I approach limitations.

Between seven (oops - six, sorry) abdominal operations plus a well-broken wrist with pins and fixator, combined with a high level of physical demands in my choice of activities, I am used to losing capacity in a certain area at least for a time. I have been advised by a raft of doctors over the years about all the things that were no longer going to be part of my life after these procedures. The doctors were smart, talented folks all tops in their field between here and NYC. I have tended to be damned lucky at falling into good doctors.

But thus far they have been wrong, because they operated on assumptions rather than personal experience. The only doc who had it right about my riding (hunter/jumper) after the illeostomy was a doctor who did eventing herself, for example. She knew the strength for riding was distributed through the body, the others didn't.

Rolling a kayak has traditionally produced the same reaction for ostomites, forever a no-no because of impact in the core aera, but I now see doctors who have kayaked themselves and understand that it is not necessarily a big strength move that'll stress things unduly.

These doctors are intelligent guys, whose business is the human body. But I found that it still takes one who has tried what I am doing to make a good judgement.

ask for help have tip money in pocket
Arthritis, very severe in my low back makes loading and unloading, difficult. My kayak is not light, but it is one which works for me.

I am glad to read that I’m not alone in having disabilities while still wishing to kayak. Most people look at me and they say “you do what” because I don’t look or move like someone who would go paddle around the circumference of an inland Michigan or Ohio lake.

I’m staying out of rivers now, the Hocking River ate my confidence.