Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kayaking: Why I Row…

... and don’t kayak.

This is what I saw at the trailhead as I set out to walk the Campground-Dam route yesterday. The trail starts by the boat ramp (segment 7) and, with the lake level lowered and the park having laid down gravel to the waters edge, this is the only place to conveniently launch boats.

What is a group of kayakers called?

From what I could tell, this was a ‘learn to kayak’ class with a leader (black helmet) and assistants (red). I watched for a little while. They were circled around their leader at first. It wasn’t clear what they were doing at first – probably learning how to use paddles.

I had actually started down the trail and turned back to take some more photos and actually captured the first part of this capsize. But the pictures are clearer at this point.

He had started to swim for the shore…
You can see him; yellow helmet in the lower right. An assistant – red helmet in a yellow kayak – has his orange kayak in tow at the left of the photo). He is now swimming to another kayak.

He is now with an assistant who also has his kayak…

I hear someone tell him to swim to the shore and get back into his kayak there. He starts to swim the shore again.

I suspect it’s difficult – and almost impossible for a newbie – to get back into one of those kayaks out in the water. Especially since the water is still very cold. I hope he got back into his kayak and completed the lesson. He may have been the luckiest student in the class. He probably gained more experience through this capsize than the others who didn’t flip. They still have to learn what it’s like to capsize.

That’s also why I row. It’s too easy to tip a kayak. I could never manage to flip completely over and return upright. I’d just fall out of the kayak into the water. In a shell, I have oars that give the illusion of stability. Even if it doesn’t always work that way.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Related posts:

- Marburg Creek Reservoir: Fort Yargo State Park

- Campground - Dam Loop: To The Dam

- Loose with a Camera …

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