Monday, March 31, 2008
I Canoe, Can U? And Then There's Kayaking Too
Though I will probably never have that little place on the lake that I dream of, I seem to be putting together a little flotilla of water toys. We have a 20 yo little boat with just enough oomph to pull me on skis, a sailboat that I ought to turtle one day soon just to get over the fear of it, and now I'm thinking of a kayak (or two, so the whole family can go). My parents have a pontoon boat and a jetski and a canoe. I love them all.
I was a canoe instructor at summer camp ages ago. Any of you who were camp counselors in that era probably know that my qualifications for the post were that I could swim and hold a paddle. In today's climate I doubt you can call yourself an instructor without having 40 hours of class time under your pfd. In fact, the canoe that my folks have is a leftover from the same summer camp. I often wonder if it's the same one that girl peed in because she couldn't wait to get to shore, or the one I, close to drowning from exhaustion, made the most rapid and acrobatic water entry into after a really large fish touched my foot. (A good story for another day).
Those canoes are awful. I'm amazed we never lost a camper because if you lift a cheek to fart you've nearly swamped. Ben hates that canoe and so does the 4 yo. Me and the 7 yo are good paddling partners. That's why we are thinking it might be fun to have kayaks. She could go out under her own power. How cool would that be? A solo trip for me might be more fun in a kayak than a canoe. It's no fun in left-over-camp-canoe.
Fortunately, there's a great canoe and kayak store in Madison. We stopped there yesterday for some advice and I've begun asking people that I know for their thoughts. I can take a class when the weather gets warmer to see if I actually like the sport. (It dawned on me last night that I haven't got the first idea of what kayaking is like. Ben's aunt, who canoes the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota told me she doesn't like to kayak at all. The reason? Kayaking is paddling left-right-left-right-left-right. Canoeing is left, left, left, left then switch with your partner. You are afforded a little rest on your weak side). 7yo can take a class too, as long as we lie and say she's eight. She's as tall as a 9 yo so no problems there.
Here's what I know: a 10 foot kayak should be okay for my daughter. There are kids' kayaks, but do I want that? I should not get anything less than a 12' kayak. Would I want an inflatable? Are certain materials worth the extra price tag if I'll only be a casual user? (Something called duralite comes to mind. Sounds like a condom.)
Any one have any ideas?