Yesterday, I went to a pool and started to learn to roll a kayak. When I decided to quit nursing last fall, I needed it to be replaced with something else – something that provided a group of people to meet, something to do, etc on a regular basis, challenging and slightly stressful, but not too stressful, and I came up with white water kayaking. This was my (borrowed) boat that came with the lesson. The pool seems empty here, but it was not, there were about 20 kayaks in the pool, most of the occupants practicing on their own, but about half of them in lessons. I was in the very beginner lesson for rolling, I’ve never been in a kayak so I needed to learn everything. My teacher, Jennifer, is about 10 years older than me (maybe, I only gauge because her son is 30 to my son’s 20 and her hair is fully grey as opposed to my slightly grey) and she is a class 4+ kayaker and she started learning with her son when he was 15. Class 4+, I assume, though I don’t know – is scary-ass white water kayaking – like there is a real possibility of hurting yourself. I think the scale goes only up to 5. I asked if she was out on Christmas Day – I asked specifically because I knew it was like five degrees F, but people were kayaking the Potomac because the water level was high to a level it gets to only once or twice a year, and various chats I was monitoring about kayaking were debating whether was totally crazy to not miss the great water conditions or if you were going to certainly die from hypothermia. It turns out that she had been out the entire week that it was frigid and the water fast.

I had a good time, I flipped upside down and right side up (with help) at least 30 times. I’ve never been in a boat that flips so easily. Jennifer first taught me how to wet exit – which is basically to abandon the boat if you need to – she explained how to do it and I mimicked the motions while sitting in the boat and then I patiently waited for her to flip me upside down because I thought you’d need more force than I could generate, but then she said – oh no! you flip yourself! and I said, really? and then I gently shifted my center of gravity to the side and whoosh, I was upside down.

So the main thing is that when you are upside down, to not immediately panic and struggle like I was going to drown which I probably did for the first 3/4 of the lesson. The main thing is to relax, get your bearings and then go through the positioning they taught you. So it was fun, I did get dizzy and a bit nauseous from all the flipping, which persisted for a few hours after I got home. Jennifer assured me that women are not disadvantaged in kayaking because it’s more about core strength and flexibility instead of just brute force. It’s hard to explain, but the way you sit in and touch the kayak with your legs, feet and back, it renders it kind of an extension of your body, as you shift your weight and press against the kayak, it’ll move in certain ways that you can control without the paddle.

While I was kayaking, Jeremy and Edda went to an Eagle scout ceremony of Vince’s old troop. These kids (who are now sophomores in college) were part of the group that went to Philmont the year Jeremy organized it in 2019.

One thought on “Kayaking.”

  1. Oh of course, white water kayaking… that’s the first thing that would come to me as a new hobby to pick up. (No worries, I am not mocking you, I am thoroughly impressed!)

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