Saturday, July 18, 2015

Out of the frying pan, into the fire

I remember an evening paddling in St Philips in bigger waves I'd paddled in up to that point.  It was probably in 2008.  That evening I paddled with a group.  I don't remember the whole group but I remember Brian.  Brian paddled nearby and I knew he was keeping an eye on me.  It was my security blanket allowing me to spread my wings so to speak.

That first taste of more challenging conditions got me started on a journey of incremental learning.  Here's an old shot of Stan when we mutually supported each other to practice in waves.

In April 2009 I had my first truly open ocean paddle.  It was a paddle with a bunch of experienced paddlers out of Tors Cove and around Great Island.  I felt like maybe I had at least established some credibility.  This was a shot of me in my Necky Looksha IV by Derrick I believe.

A lasting memory I had from that paddle was being separated from the group by about a kilometer.  Here I was out in 1 to 1.5 meter waves by myself stripped of my security blanket.  I reasoned that I had not gone over in the group so all I had to do was paddle and stay calm.

So, where is this going?  Its about how does one learn to paddle in conditions?  There is only one way - get out and do it.  Today seven of us were out in a bit of wind and 1 meter waves, some close to two.  I believe it was a first for some of the gang and a refresher for others.

It was an opportunity for myself to provide a security blanket along with a couple of the other guys.  It was a chance to repay a debt I owed to the experienced when I first stepped it up past flatwater padding.

At times I was concerned the conditions were too big.  Probably, but everyone did fine whether or not they had butterflies and I think grew a bit as a consequence.

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