Tuesday, April 24, 2007
On Thursday members of our kayak club, SKOAC, will be acting as safety boats at the annual Midwest Mountaineering boat demo at Lake Calhoun. A post by Silbs the other day got me thinking about rookie paddlers. I took the two yahoos in the picture (the one on the left being a very close relative) on a Stockton Island trip up in the Apostles a couple years back and it was obvious 100 yards into the paddle that we would be good to go. Some people just seem to be naturals at balancing and moving their boat. With some you look at the tension in the neck, stiffness of the back, and the fixed forward gaze and ask, "So how ya doin'?" Without turning their head to look at you they answer, "Fine". Chances are they will be executing a perfect "half roll" before the paddle is over.
It gives me satisfaction introducing people to the sport and watching them improve their skills. On the other hand, when I call the NPS in Bayfield and am told that exactly none of the island sites I want are available it makes me question my laissez faire philosophy. So as I prowl the outer perimeter of the demo area on Thursday night, trying to predict the folks that will go home wet, I will wonder which one of them I may encounter this summer, occupying my favorite site on York Island some Friday night.