Kayaking! Finally!

So I finally got on the water! It was great!

Mat and I went in our borrowed two sit on top ‘leisure kayaks’ and my cousin and his girlfriend paddled their Canadian canoe. Yes, that’s what a basic canoe is called here.

Leisure Kayak – Wide and Stable
Canadian Canoe

I played around with the paddles and technique and really got the hang of making sure I swung the paddle high and dug straight down along-side the boat. This makes such a difference to your ability to direct the boat straight along the course. Wide and low paddling means swinging along in a big zig-zag pattern, which is inefficent and a great waste of time. I also discovered that the straight aluminium bar is not very nice to paddle with, and the one with the light rubber coating for hand grips was really great to work with.

I’m sure that’s fairly common knowledge for those who have kayaked before, but I haven’t! 🙂

We moseyed along at a reasonably leisurly pace. We stopped a few times so my cousin could drop his fishing line in, they could show us a few features, and we could chat. We took about an hour paddling against the current (though it was quite still) to go about 4km. My cousin decided to fish a few minutes, while Mat and I headed about 1km further in about 15 minutes. I decided to see how quick I could head back to the fishing hole. It took me about 8 minutes.

We cruised back, but then the sea breeze came in and it really worked against our efforts, and the last 20 minutes were pretty much like riding a bike uphill and into the wind. It was a real challenge, and made the last kilometer seem an age!

All-in-all we were out for about 3 hours, over the 10km. But there were plenty of rest stops, making our average speed only 3 or 4 kph. Certainly not fast. But I felt pretty strong at the end of it. Yes, the wind challenge sapped me quite a bit, but my back and shoulders felt fine! If I can keep up that 8-10 minute km pace when I was ‘trying’ I reckon I’ll be able to do the paddle in under 1.5 hours. That is really on-par with my objectives, so I’m happy about that.

But what I discovered I *REALLY* want is a sit on top surf ski! It’s a long and narrow kayak, that is easy to get back onto since it won’t fill up with water!

Surf Ski – Add it to the wish list!

I watched a guy cruise past us in one of these. It just slips through the water. Because it’s narrow it’s going to be easy to keep a true course. But it’s also going to be less stable and would require practice. I learned that you can hire these for the Blackwood (if only I had known!) but with only 5 days to go, it’s a little too late now! I would not have enough chance to master the machine before the race and would probably end up losing time climbing in and out of the darn thing! Oh well, next year! hehe

And Mat had SUCH a good time on the water. He could have kept going! He was loving the day the weather, and he was so much quicker than any of us! We definitely have to move to somewhere with hills and trees and WATER! Even if I don’t do the Blackwood again, I think a nice kayak would be a great investment, since it’s something Mat and I can enjoy doing together.

We kayaked Sunday morning, and it’s Monday night, and my shoulders are no tighter than they get from sitting at the computer for too long. I’m pretty stoked about that! That must mean that my paddling in the living room, as odd as it may have seemed, did pay off! I had so many people telling me I would never survive the kayak, but I felt confident in my upper body strength and in my dogged determination.

Oh, in other news, it looks like I don’t have a strapper. So I will take my aunt through the process of dressing and cooling TK, and see if we can talk someone into doing the rundown with him.

More news tomorrow, with only four days to go!

And I feel GREAT!!

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