One man's rush to jump on the kayaking bandwagon

Is everyone's first time in a kayak a miserable experience?

It wasn't fair to the sport of kayaking. I shouldn't have introduced someone to kayaking on a colder than normal day that started with struggling to get the boats on the roof of the car and ended with racing an approaching thunderstorm.
I've know Pat for years. He's hardly an outdoors type, but he's always willing to have me drag him along on some random hike or other outdoor activity. (He no doubt thinks that if I can do it, then it can't be too bad.)
The day started out as most kayaking days do -- Why did I get an Element? Why is this car so damn tall? Why do I always have to load it from the downhill end? He was a good sport and ignored all the four letter words and general frustration from getting the kayaks on the car. When we got to the lake, he was still upbeat and ready to go. He was in Heath's Dirigo and I was in my Tsunami. He didn't have any problems getting in the boat, but wasn't all that excited when I told him he'd have to talk off his tennis shoes and wade in so he wouldn't ground the boat on the rocks. The water was still pretty cold.
As we headed away from the boat ramp and under the bridge, we caught the full force of the approaching thunderstorm head on. I debated turning around, but we had already come this far and it wasn't that bad yet. Pat seemed fairly comfortable in his kayak. He just couldn't seem to get the hang of paddling. It was obvious that he was putting out a lot of unnecessary effort. He asked, "Should I be getting this wet?" We should have turned around then, but I decided to just keep going as we were getting close to a section of the lake that would be shielded from the wind.
When we got there, he admitted that something just wasn't working. I gave him my paddle (I'm not sure how Heath uses hers) and made few suggestions. He said that it felt a lot more comfortable.
The temperature started to drop, the wind picked up, we started hearing thunder. We decided to head back to the boat ramp. We paddled with a strong wind at our backs and made fairly good time.
Back at the house, Pat admitted that he didn't share my new love of kayaking. I don't blame him. Today sucked.
tags: lake

April 07, 2007