Lesson in paying attention!

I’m fairly new to kayaking and just purchased my first one a few weeks ago. I read these boards and learn a lot about the sport but,nothing is quite like the reality of paddling. I was not paying attention recently as I was paddling towards an empty dock to hold on to to adjust one of my foot pegs. I was on a busy inland lake and did not account for the force of the wake from other craft. My bow got jammed under the dock and the carry handle got stuck - how stupid… I was lucky - even with the water pushing my stern around I could disengage. Guess this is just a reminder to always be alert. Anyone else do anything dumb?

Dumb stuff? Sure.
Like tucking in the sprayskirt loop under the sprayskirt (nearly deadly) or putting my camera case in between my legs only to have it wedge againt my knees firmly enough to entrap me. Knocking the new digital camera into the water was pretty dumb. Bummer was a had a five day trip in the memory. Canoeing down a river with rapids that I knew nothing about was good one. Trying to surf a touring boat in waves that obviously way to big for me to handle was pretty stupid. Fortunately me and boat ended up together on the beach both fully ingested with salt water and sand. Locked my keys in the car once and decided to break my window to get back in. Picked up a rock and threw it only to have it bounce off the window. So I picked up a bigger rock and stepped back a little further and threw the big rock a little harder. Darned thing went through the first window but as it did it bounced of the door frame and it sent itself clear through the window on the other side too. Lots of dumb stuff happening over here. There may be a pattern I suppose. Live and learn.

Sure here’s more
Leaned toward shore in a foot fo water as a six inch wave is coming in (this results in capsizing in one foot of water). forget to bring food an an all day trip (fortunately with a large group of friends). Getting sunburned on the water.

Getting to
the put-in only to realize I forgot my paddle…makes for a low average speed.

Running the bow of my canoe up onto a beach and discovering canoes make lousy bridges. When I stood up the canoe flipped and promptly dumped me into 2 ft. of mucky water.

Getting to the put in and finding out I only brought half my paddle. Kayaks aren’t nearly as much fun to paddle that way.

Pushing the envelope on a fishing trip with an approaching storm front. Then having to spend several hours stuck on an island waiting for the hurricane force winds and monster waves to die down to get back to the put in. The worst part was I could see my truck (good shelter and warmth) through my binoculars the whole time.

Burying the hook of a fly into my front carry toggle. Being too lazy to paddle to shore, I struggled to free it and dropped an expensive rod and reel overboard. Then had to paddle to shore and slowly work the now submerged fishing gear into the shallows without breaking the line!

Another example
Trying to set the hook while bass-fishing and setting it so hard that I flipped over backwards.

longest day turned into
the longest night. Went on a twenty mile float without checking the water level at a good level the trip takes about 5 or 6 hours including a relaxing lunch. 13 hours later we were able to see car lights going across the bridge where we got out. It was my friends first trip in a kayak by herself, next trip we took a canoe. for some idiotic reason you can’t tell a man anything and you still can’t tell me anything

Capsize once a year getting in or out
of the kayak and always with an audience. It hasn’t happened yet this year. I’m waiting for it and dreading it. It’s always good for a laugh though.

One time I pushed off the dock and then realized my paddle was in the paddle rack on the dock.

Yep to Phij and Sedna
Been there done that…far too many times. Even better was forgetting the water shoes and having to choose between bare feet on the pegs or a pair of brand new 60. leather sandles for a 3 hour paddle.


– Last Updated: Aug-01-04 12:45 PM EST –

Inadvertantly seal launching before I was ready, reached for paddle that was set on upstream side as I slid into river. This of course showed an edge to the current, immediately flipping me in about a foot of water, pinned to the back deck with face to the rocks. My helmet picked up a lot of new scratches that day.

Guide got a great laugh. First words out of his mouth after he stopped laughing were "Yeah, I've done that too!"

Putting the paddle on the downstream would have prevented all of that.


taken by current
Another bad experience… I went to what appeared to be a tranquil place. Many go there to wind surf and snorkel. I was in the water for less than 10 minutes when the current had taken me out past where any paddler should be. I paddled aggressively towards the shore for an hour only to find I was going further away. After loofing around the direction I was headed I spotted two men wade fishing and started paddling with the current towards them… I was about one mile away from my vehicle but at least I made it on ground safely. I will never paddle there again! And next time I will make sure someone knows where I am going! - new tx paddler

Trusting someone
My biggest mistake was the first time I tried to whitewater. I was with a friend who was quite an outdoorsman (downhill ski racer, lumberjack, rock-climber). He had been talking to me about whitewater canoeing for some time and convinced me to join him one day.

We took a borrowed canoe and went onto the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You have probably never heard of this river as it is not normally navigable by anything other than an innertube (and is actually only a steep mountain creek). On this day, however, the river was at flood stage and my friend thought it would be perfect to run. I trusted his judgement. After-all, he was the big outdoorsman with all the experience.

We started in the canoe and he gave me quick instructions on oar strokes. As we approached the first boiling rapid, I casually asked my friend “How long have you been canoing” He replied cheerfully “Oh, this is my second time!”

I did not find this to be reassuring and as we tipped in the first rapid I discovered or invented a “technique” that I then practiced frequently for the remainder of the trip. Whenever the canoe would start to tip slighly, I would fling myself as far from the boat as possible and swim away from the now-swamped canoe so as not to get trapped under the canoe or between the canoe and the numerous. This worked well in keeping me alive. We always recovered the canoe in the flats below each rapid. My friend didn’t care for my practice however and never invited me canoing again.

I however have done scant paddling since then although I am about to purchase a tandem inflatable to do some slow river paddling with my kids.

My friend, however, continued to try and kill himself in a canoe. He failed and instead becamed quite a good paddler.

To err is human.

To do really dumb stuff is UTTERLY human.

Just the other day I locked the keys in the car after I’d taken them out of the car… HUH???

As I shut the locked door with keys safely (yeah, right…) in hand, they caught in the door, and then the damn door shut, locked, with only my house key from my key ring sticking out of the crack between door and pillar.

Can yu spel D-U-M…?

Thank goodness, the other folks were getting stuff out of the rear of the Jeep, so I crawled in the back, over the back seat, then over abd around the front seat and unlocked the car. After de-pretzeling myself, I retreived the keys and went back to work…

But that’s just scratching the surface. If you want dumb, see kayakers and canoeists.

But if you want really dumb, see anglers. Boy, are those are ever THTOOPIT DUM DUMBS!

But it does -SOMEtimes -make for a memorable time when you do some of this stuff as you

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

Capsizing in 1 ft water
Amazing how many different ways we manage to capsize in a foot of water!

The most common one, capsizing while landing, happen just yesterday with one of our group. All 10+ people were witnessing one of the “more experienced” memeber of our group landed on her butt on the beach! But I guess we’re pretty used to that so even the victim had to “pretend” to be embarrassed.

I did one without witness, and my non-kayaker friends simply didn’t believe me! I got in the boat. The boat immediately started drifting downstream, SLOWLY. In the mean time, my paddle was resting safely on shore. The water was only a ft deep. So I “step out” of the kayak and immediately slipped on the muddy, slippery riverbed. I landed first on my butt, then on my side, in one slow and smooth move!!! To bad there’s no witness. Now to add insult to injury, I still had my camera in my pocket, which was soaked as a result!

Stumble and a splash
Grand Tetons NP, Oxbow section of the Snake River, while getting out of my kayak took stumble and splash in front of about 10 professional photographers and the part that upsets me is none of them got a picture of my gracefulness.


Too many to list!!
but a friend of mine was launching at lake Joccassee and left his keys on deck about the time he noticed them Sploch!!! lucky it was in about 14 to 16’ of water and I was able to dive in after them.

I’m nominating this for the “Best Line of the Year”:

“The worst part was I could see my truck (good shelter and warmth) through my binoculars the whole time.”


My dumbness is demonstrated by the fact that the only time I have ever inadvertantly kapsized my kayak was when I was still on land. I was launching off a grassy shore with about a 2ft ledge between the ground and the water level. I thought I could point the bow into the water, get in and then scoot/slide into the water. The scoot worked fine but the slide wasn’t quite long enough. I ended up with the bow sitting on the creek bed and the stern still on the grassy ledge. Of course it was impossible to balance the boat on the two sharpest parts of the keel so I very quickly became inverted and actually sat there suspended underneath my kayak for awhile. Finally I just popped the skirt and unceremoniously flopped down in the inches deep water. I’m lucky I didn’t break my neck.