Laid off and nothing to do but paddle

So after 13 years working for the same outdoors store, I walk into work Monday morning and am told there is no longer money for pay roll. Trying not to stress, or get depressed about loosing part of my identity as well as my job, I’m turning my sites to the water.

As I’m giving my boat a little soapy rub down to mentally prepare myself, I’m noticing multiple spider webs in her gel coat. Her hull is starting to show the abuse of having to launch from rocky put in’s as well. So being that I will now be spending lots of time with her I am wondering if these are just like laugh lines on the face of someone you love, or cancerous spots that need to be cut out and addressed. Is there anything I can do to protect her hull launching in gravel? Oh and besides selling years worth of accumulated gear on ebay any idea of jobs relating to the water?

She is a 10+ year old wilderness systems cape horn in kevlar…if that makes a difference on how I treat her.

laid off and nothing to do . . .
I have no idea what to do with your beautiful friend, although I love the idea of “laugh lines on the face of someone you love.” I am sorry about your new employment status, and wish you and your “friend” many happy hours paddling and walking the next part of your journey.

laugh lines
Very common. Just paddle her. If gelcoat is completely worn through to the fabric, give it a little gelcoat patch in those places.

The stuff isn’t made to stand up to gravel without eventually wearing through. If it’s worth it to you, find a way to get into your kayak already floating (dock, taller boots). If not, just do the occasional necessary patchwork and keep her going.

If you’re heading to Holden Beach to do some paddling, let me know if you want some company. Good luck making the most of your independent time, and I hope you find enjoyable work.

laugh lines
Don’t worry about the gel coat spider cracks, unless the hull feels softer at that spot than anywhere else. That could indicate that the layup was damaged by the impact that caused the scratch (unlikely if the damage is just from regular launching and landing).

Preventing them in the future is simple - float the boat first, then climb in. If you’re not extremely tall, you should be able to put the boat in 6 inches of water, stand over the cockpit with one foot on each side of the boat, then plop your butt all the way down into the seat. Finally, put each foot in the cockpit, one at a time. After you try it a couple times it will feel totally natural and stable. Plus it’s easier to get in and just paddle away, rather than knuckle-walking your boat off the dry beach.

Good luck with the job thing. Happy paddling in the meantime.

Not an issue
My beloved Impex Outer Island is also showing spider cracks in various places. I’m quite careful although not obsessive about how I paddle my kayak. It seems to be mostly cosmetic and I no longer let it get to me. If you start to try and repair each area you’re kayak will look worse than it does now. Unless the damage is beneath the gel coat leave it alone and just enjoy it’s character.

I too am unemployed and taking advantage of the extra time.


Thanks for the feed back guys. I keep my boat hanging from straps in my garage, and of all the toys I’ve owned this has been the one that stuck around and I just love. I would hate to spot her up with a bunch of patches. She isn’t leaking, and most of the spider webbing is right below the seam so not even under the water line. Small crack in the bow, but I’m going to attempt to epoxy that from the inside if I can figure out how to get up there…

I don’t have any boots, but I should find some. I don’t have access to a dock where I do my weekly paddle, and its just gravely bottomed boat ramp. I have a size 12 foot though so I’ve had a hard time finding footwear that fits in there. I have neoprene booties I wear but they are only ankle high. Thanks for the input though. Just got nailed with a sleet strom complete with thunder, so doesn’t look like I’ll be heading out today.

Capefear- would love to catch up sometime. I haven’t been to Holden since last year. My wife and I have a little lot down there and hope to one day move there, so we spend our trips paddling the rivers and ICW, and just learning our way around.

Sorry to hear of your recent job loss!
Small businesses are always running on thin margins, and those in the outdoors industry have been especially hard hit by this economy. Hope you can get back on your feet soon!

A couple of years ago, I wrote this little piece about spending time on the water, and some of the philosophical good it does for the soul. A few months later, I too was laid off from my job of 12 years, and “sink or swim” suddenly became more than a metaphor:

For what it’s worth, I was able to find new work and get back on my feet, but it’s taken a lot of the adaptability and flexibility I learned from paddling. Fortunately, I still find time for that, too!

Hang in there, and good luck on your job search, and your paddling!


Thats a really nice looking website. Some nice pictures too, that waterfall at picture rocks is just awesome. Ashame unemployment doesn’t come with travel vouchers… LOL

Important Advice
Never ever ever tell anyone that you are enjoying your time off. They may say good for you but in reality they will be pissed. If you do paddle and they know it, always say the conditions were horrible.

Bugs, noisy jet skis, evil currents, high winds etc. If they find out you saw whales, friendly sea otters and seals or Victorias Secret was doing a photo shoot at the launch site you are doomed. Always have a bad time!

I am honestly laughing out loud. I have a friend that got laid off two years ago. He got a credit card and took off climbing in Switzerland for two months. Came back, and couch surfed for a while. He actually lost some friends because some people where so upset by his “irresponsible actions”. LOL too funny. We all gotta load to carry, but he has two months of priceless memories, and truly made the best out of a bad situation.

This is exactly what I say to my wife.

“Just be glad you couldn’t go. The conditions were horrible”


Some advice …
Get off your ass and go find a job or create your own business

Four years ago I worked for a company where 60% of us were laid off, those who took the route of slacking and sliding till something comes along are still out of work.

I started my own business and I interview lots of people, I hire people who make things happen.


– Last Updated: Jan-27-11 2:06 PM EST –

Hey seadart!

You do not know me and you do not know my situation. Who said anything about slacking? You can't spend 24/7 job searching. That's a fact. How can one be posative and find a decent job if they are sitting home miserable? Getting out and enjoying life makes us better people and therefore better candidates for employment. You know so much I see.

Keep you're comments to yourself if they are not constructive.

Geez, now I remember why I don't post here much anymore.

Thanks for your kind words about my website!

Hope you can find new work that allows paddling time, too!


build a boat!
I got laid off about a year and a half ago and decided to build a pygmy kayak kit in between job searching and rebuilding my web portfolio. I can only stare at the screen and push pixels for so long.

It was a great experience - very therapeutic and I learned a lot about hull design and working with epoxy and fiberglass. Sounds like the later part might come in handy for you.

I’ve been doing freelance design work with a steady set of clients, so I’ve got a decent income and much more relaxed, being out of the mainstream rat race!

Just take it easy and relax for awhile - do some paddling. Then re-evaluate life priorities before diving headlong into the job hunt again…

straps too tight?
You mentioned that the spider cracks are around the hull deck joint. I think that’s often a result of over tightening the straps when car-topping a kayak. It’s still just cosmetic, most likely, but you might want to make sure you’re not over-tightening the straps, as that could be hard on a boat time after time.

Awesome advice about the straps, I always errr on the side of too tight. Thanks.

Seadart I have multiple things in the hopper right now, but when you give everything to someone else who owns a little shop thinking someday they would be so appreciative they would let you take over, its a little overwhelming when they say “never mind”. So I’m ebaying lots of toys to generate some start up capital. In the mean time I already have interviews set up. However I plan on taking a nice 3 to 4 week break from reality to do what I want to do… actually I’m doing what my wife wants me to do till all this snow and ice melts…

The sad lesson which we all learn from time to time is that it’s “just a job”. If the job defines us then we may need to think about that. Be proud of what you did for the small company. They paid you for said services but can no longer do so. Move on, keep it simple and I say follow your passion. Things will turn around as this is just an economic minus tide.

I sometimes see kayaks on the water or atop cars that I designed in my shop. The very MBA’s who tried to keep them from getting to market got bonuses when the kayaks got awards! That used to piss me off, but it aint about the idiots, it’s about the constomer who loves the product and pride. Enjoy some time off, be grateful for your health and work ethic, then get after your next career adventure!

getting in
use boots to get in the water a little deeper and or in good weather get wet and enjoy

retired and nothing to do but paddle!!