Friday, December 19, 2008

First Ocean Paddle

Today was one of those landmark days in my kayaking journey as I left the relative safety of the protected waterways and paddled out into the Atlantic Ocean. I will say, first off, I would have never attempted this without Scott and Mary Ross at my side, but it was still a day that opened exciting new paddling horizons.

I will always love paddling the quieter waterways of this awesome area, with their unique wildlife and natural beauty. However, I found that when you leave the safety of land and paddle straight out into the Atlantic on purpose it is a surreal experience like no other.

The waves were not huge today but they were challenging to me. I was able to practice paddling through breaking surf, bracing, and even a little surfing. I accomplished my first true combat roll after a wave knocked me over. I did have to swim once, when I missed my roll, but my winter paddling gear protected me while Scott helped with a rescue.

We finished the day with an ocean paddle back up the beach to our launch site. It’s hard for me to describe the feeling of being one-half mile offshore or so, in a sea kayak, but suffice to say it was humbling and awe inspiring at the same time. I truly felt at one with my boat as on no other paddle I have done.

While this is not an activity I would recommend for beginners, once your paddling skills develop -- to where you are comfortable bracing and have some knowledge of advanced rescue and paddling techniques -- it is some of the most fun you can have in a kayak. On top of that you will gain personal confidence in your abilities and an appreciation for the oceans natural beauty and raw power.

I’ll sign-off with thoughts of my next ocean paddle and I hope you can join me.


1 comment:

JustSteve said...

Sounds like a great time Wm. I've been out there; been rolled; been rescued... But it's been a while and I am looking forward to trying again now that I'm a stronger paddler... Have to say, I may wait for warmer weather!