Channeling My Inner Waterman
Most people who know me find it ironic that I am a driver for our Demo Tour. I myself am somewhat shocked that I have landed in this position. Despite us calling these demos “multi-sport,” in large part kayaks are the focus of the Tour. Our trailer currently contains 23 kayaks representing about three quarters of the space in the trailer. By Eastern Mountain Sports standards, I am a very recreational paddler and much better known as a climber and skier. So it seems strange that I am the person heading this paddling initiative.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family with a summer home located on the beach. My summers were spent on the water, whether it was swimming, sailing, or sea kayaking with my father. I have fond memories of heading to the water after breakfast and not returning home until dinner, and, most of the time, returning was not my choice but rather imposed on me.
As I grew older, my time on the water – and at my parents’ summer house – dwindled. My love for the water faded as I found myself drifting toward the mountains. Sports such as mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing began to replace my water-based pastimes. In retrospect, I see it as a strange form of rebellion from my family as I sought to create my own personality and independence. I found myself choosing a life in the mountains rather than on the sea, the polar opposite of the life my family had shown me.
While my time at EMS has seen me seeking out sports that reflected my love of the mountains, I have not totally ignored the water. I still try to find the time to hit the water with my father at least once each summer. I have also flirted with some other water-based activities over my EMS tenure. A few years ago, I spent a fair amount of time learning how to kayak surf, a sport that I really enjoyed until the wet spring turned to a mild summer. As the mountains dried out, I found myself forgetting about the surf as I heard the mountains’ siren song.
I have also dabbled in the surf sports during my time at EMS. Their promise of low impact and increased core strength attracted the rock climber in me. The problem with the surf sports is that they were not mountain-based sports. Even though I enjoyed the new sports I was being exposed to, I always gravitated toward what I knew.
Something strange is happening to me on this demo tour: I am finding myself truly enjoying my time on the water. When Ashley and I initially wrote our schedule for the tour, we incorporated some time to climb along the way. What I did not account for was that I might rather spend that time paddling. I currently find myself making time for paddling and have been studying the standup catalogs pretty intensely. (What does one do with a standup board if they live on the fourth floor of a one hundred fifty year old building with very narrow stairs?)
While I still have a way to go before being paddling pro, I am currently pretty psyched on paddling – especially standup. Furthermore, I am looking forward to getting better over the course of the next four weeks and spreading the psych to everyone who makes it to a demo. Hope to see you there!