02 August 2013

Time to Kayak

Welcome back. Not sufficiently challenged by the farm, volunteering, filling a vacancy on the town zoning review committee, convincing Wisconsin that she was an EMT in Virginia, running, cooking and removing ticks, Vicki bought a kayak. Being a dutiful husband, I helped…sort of.

Vicki’s new, blue kayak
and her sister’s kayak.
Kayaking and Me

If the orthopedic surgeon who installed titanium strips in my lower back didn’t date the history of my back problems to my teenage years, I would readily have blamed kayaking.

It matters not that, like any adult, I’ve fallen, lifted wrong, pushed cars and done far too many sit-ups. I know that the torture I endured while kayaking, albeit only twice, placed the final straw on this camel’s back.

Canoeing never bothered me. Perhaps that’s because I was taught to kneel when paddling a canoe regardless of how comfortable the seat might appear. Looking at different websites on kayaking, I find there are kayaks that can indeed be paddled from a kneeling position, though the typical kayaks are sat in or on to paddle.

More relevant to my yak back, I also find that I was supposed to have stretched before and during kayaking and maintained good sitting posture. My stretching began years later with the physical therapist’s attempt to thwart the titanium; and if my elementary school report cards haven’t been expunged, you could discover that I received my only really bad grade in “Posture.”

Since I lack even a drop of Inuit blood, for my kayaking expeditions, the kayak or I should have had a back rest, preferably a high back rest, to guide and assist my sitting upright.

My personal feelings aside, there’s something to be said about a sport where one how-to site recommends taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to minimize pain at least one-hour before kayaking.

Buying the Kayak

I’ve gone overboard about me. Clearly, Vicki and her sister, Kayaking Cam, don’t share my structural deficiency.

When Vicki mentioned an upcoming bird-watching lake tour for which she was thinking to buy instead of borrow a kayak (given the oodles of time she would have to use it), I rushed to the Internet to supply her recommendations, reviews and prices. She quickly decided that the cost of the better models was way beyond an occasional splash, and I shifted to used kayaks.

Taking advantage of my car-selling experience with Craigslist (see Selling the Car), I found two used kayaks for Vicki’s action. She was late on one, but the second was promising. After coordinating with the seller, she took the pickup truck for a two-hour drive to a trial-run rendezvous and happily consummated the purchase.

Bored, Vicki photographs her attempt to
ram her sister’s kayak on the birding tour.
Wrap Up

Silly me; I just assumed that the watercraft would come with a paddle. On her return, Vicki began research on paddles--length, weight, construction, materials, shape, feather (angular offset of blades). Finding only paddles wanted on Craigslist and rushing to be ready for the birding tour, she bought one new in a local outlet and, project complete, headed for the creek that crosses the farm.

Me? I’m just waiting for the ticks and the next project. Thanks for stopping by.

P.S.

Here are some of the websites I visited. The focus is pretty clear from the link.
www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/kayak.html
www.paddleshack.com/tips/tipsonselect.html
www.roguepaddler.com/choose.htm
paddling.about.com/od/technique/ht/How-To-Sit-In-A-Kayak.htm
www.ehow.com/how_7899057_kayak-lower-back-problems.html
www.newenglandkayakfishing.com/content/articles/60-think-safety-lower-back-pain-and-kayaking-or-yak-back.htm
paddling.about.com/od/gearequipment/a/Choose_Paddle.htm

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