By Johna Till Johnson
Note: What follows gets a bit “kayak geeky”. I’ve tried to keep things straightforward and ensure the story appeals to non-paddlers as well. But just in case I didn’t entirely succeed, consider yourselves warned!
If I’d truly understood the nature of kayaking in the beginning, I doubt I’d ever have taken up the sport.
When I first started paddling, I assumed, like most people do, that the primary requirement was upper-body strength. And like most people, I was afraid of falling in. Not of actually being in the water (I’m a strong swimmer), but the falling-in part. Or more accurately, the loss of control and panic that hits when your boat tips over and begins to dump you into the drink.
So I figured the two main reasons for taking kayak lessons would be to build up my upper-body strength, and to learn how to keep the boat from ever tipping over.
Anyone who’s paddled for a while is already chuckling, because I couldn’t have been more wrong on those two points.