My previous two pieces focused on seconds (our unsung heroes) and paddling with children. This time I explore the logical extension of these themes: family time on the water.
Most paddlers would love to share their passion for paddling with their families. This well-intentioned idea can have disastrous results.
I believe that the biggest mistake most paddlers make is to put others (partners, children) in the same kayak – or type of kayak – that they paddle themselves; and usually in similar conditions too.
It is unlikely that the same things that drew you into the sport and lifestyle of paddling will have the same pull on your nearest and dearest. You have acquired skills and experience over a period of time. They are beginners and do not have the competence to enjoy what you are trying to share with them. You need to approach introductions to paddling very differently.
Adjust your expectations
The first, and most important, consideration to keep in mind, before you take your family on the water, is to adjust your expectations. They could feel unstable and hesitant. They may struggle to paddle with good form and may find it challenging to steer the kayak. If everything goes right, they may have an amazing time on the water, but they could also be cold, tired, frustrated and anxious if you get it wrong. Plan introductions to kayaking with them in mind.
Your second objective should be to make it fun. They will only join you for a second paddle if they enjoy the first one. It doesn’t matter…
KEEP READING from page 32 in Issue 6 of 2018: https://issuu.com/thepaddlemag/docs/tpm_6_2018