Sunday, February 27, 2005

Paul vs. The Boat

As a quick refresher, I'm a 32 year old RA at the University of Wyoming and sleep underneath my kayak, which I jimmy-rigged to hang from my dorm room wall. I got into kayaking a while back and invested in a used whitewater boat after I moved here. The intent was to go kayaking in my spare time. The reality is I have no spare time.

A few months ago the university allowed one of the pools here to hold an "open pool session" for kayakers. You pay two bucks, bring your boat, and flail around in warm water for two hours. Studs use this time to practice crazy maneuvers or even launch themselves from the high dive (I'm not kidding), while rank beginners like myself do their damnedest to snap off a clean roll or two and not drown in the process.

Well, the boat I bought almost a year ago is a Pyranha Inazone 230, designed for "playboating" but capable of being an all-purpose whitewater boat. She has a wide, flat hull, which is great for not tipping over (since it tends to plane or slide off waves), but when she does go over, rolling her back up is – what's the phrase I'm looking for here – a total bitch. So, knowing how to roll my boat seems like a good skill to acquire.

Like dancing, skiing, and wearing leather pants, kayaking is best done by skinny people. Alas, my body shape falls somewhere between a pear and E.T. Sure, I have powerful legs, but a short, stocky frame doesn't always translate to upper body strength, and it sure doesn't lend itself to flexibility. And of course those last two qualities are major plusses for kayaking.

So tonight one of the guys on my floor, one of the aforementioned kayaking studs, convinced me to go to another pool session, the first in months. The last time I went I almost swore off the sport completely. But tonight I got off a couple of clean rolls, and if you can roll an Inazone 230, you can roll any boat out there. I still don't have the C-to-C roll down totally, and without improvement in the flexibility department it won't improve anytime soon. But at least I'm getting a better idea of how the paddle is supposed to move after the initial setup.

And hey! If any of the Dearest Readership has a Dagger Outlaw for sale, I'm willing to trade straight up for my boat.


Blogger Leta said...

You must absolutely promise me that when you attempt to roll an aircraft carrier *someone* will videotape the effort for me. I would really hate to miss that.

3:22 PM  

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