Reflecting back on my paddling journey this morning, I notice that in many ways, I’ve gone backwards from my point of origin. When I began, I only wanted big water, ocean conditions, and intense boat play.
I live inland, so I mostly had to make do with the local lakes, rivers, and creeks with the occasional trips to the coast to get my “salt on”.
I practiced my rolls, my boat english, looked for winds to churn up the water for play days and tackled light whitewater on occasion.
Eventually, I started to get a little bored. I enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors, but I started going less and less. There was only so much I could take in once the initial novelty wore off. I didn’t really have anything driving me.
Later, I switched to the surfski, began doing some racing and graduated to somewhat bigger conditions. Thoughts of downwinding were the order of the day and I started to get back on the water up to five days a week to train and play. I felt reinvigorated.
Now I find myself on an uber tippy, low-volume K1 boat. The same water that once seemed too tame now packs all the excitement I can handle. K1 boats are very interesting; they transmit every perturbation from the water back to the paddler. Anything you do wrong with your technique is also immediately fed back to you. Likewise, anything you do properly is mainlined back in the most beautiful way. The boat responds like you’ve hit the sweet spot with a tennis racket, or hit that perfectly timed fastball for an out-of-the-park home run.
I find myself paddling along for hours on end in an almost “Zen like” trance; a moving meditation of sorts where I’m keenly aware of all my surroundings but simultaneously manifesting a razor-honed focus on my technique and the interface with my kayak shell.
It’s really quite blissful.
Just wanted to share as I thought it seemed a little bacwards. Many of my friends are instead, pushing the envelope towards bigger and more imposing conditions and I’m moving towards placidity.
Anyway, wonder if anyone else out there has devolved as well?