On paddling

Branches lying underwater at a shoreline.

Every now and then, I kayak. I joined a kayaking club for a couple of years ago, but I’m still a novice. I just haven’t been kayaking that much. This summer I’ve made a new effort to become more skilled and confident at paddling.

I’ve been practicing the basic techniques - how to paddle efficiently and how to maneuver the kayak. Turning a kayak is easy enough when the water is flat, but when there’s wind and waves, it gets more involved.

Just the other day I got in a situation where I was sideways to the wind and hard time getting the kayak to turn to either direction without using stern rudder. It’s weird because usually the kayaks turns into the wind, or if the skeg is down, downwind. I’m sure the situation would have been trivial for an experienced kayaker but for me it was a mystery.

What I like about kayaking is how immediate you are with the sea. It’s right there. The sea is a bit scary! There is always wind and waves, and there are boats and ships. Before midsummer, the water is cold and now it’s just cool. But I also like it - it feels good to learn to deal with the waves and everything.

I’ve come to like paddling alone. Due to my meager skills, I’ve had to limit myself to safe and familiar routes and calm weather. Once I learn more, I can explore more alone. There’s a good reason why every paddling safety guide suggests paddling in a group: capsizes, accidents, and any other problem situations are much easier to deal with whene there are multiple people.

There’s no kayaking photo in this post because, well, I haven’t taken any. At first I took some photos with my phone - I had this handy transparent waterproof floating case for my phone. One day I dropped it in the water and turns out it’s neither waterproof or floating. I managed to catch phone before it sunk, and it survived intact, but putting it a non-transparent actually-waterproof bag prevents photography.


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