About the middle of Dec of 2009, one of my paddling friends, Tony, told me that he had been in his kayak over 100 times up to that point in that year (his final count was 115 by the years end). He did not tell me this fact in an arrogant manner, but rather disclosed it almost embarrassingly. I was amazed at that feat. I was even more amazed by that fact that the bulk of this number was on the ocean, with some on the pond near his house.
I mentally recounted the number of times I was in my kayak in 2009. I estimated I was in my kayaks 75 to 80 times. This included some 25 paddles that I could clearly remember (paddling an estimated total of some 300+ km), with the rest being from pool sessions, pond practice, St. Philips Thursday evening practices, and a couple times on the river in my whitewater kayak. I decided that was a fairly impressive count for me, considering I work full time hours, and other than pool sessions, the first time on the water was in April after I bought my drysuit. And so I decided to up my game and set some lofty goals in 2010.
I set two goals at the start of 2010. My first goal would be to endeavor to be in my kayak(s) at least 100 times in the year in some way, shape, or form; which would include actual paddles, Thursday practices, pond practices, pool sessions, and on the river. My other goal would be to paddle at least 500 kms which would only be tallied from actual paddles, not practices.
Jan 1st started with the annual tradition of welcoming in the New Year with a get-together of local kayakers at Quidi Vidi. This was not a paddle, but more of a ‘get the boat wet’ event to usher in the new year. By the middle of January, the Saturday and Tuesday night pools sessions were underway so it was easy to start cranking up the number as I was getting to the pools usually 2 times a week. On top of that we had a mild winter and we paddled almost every weekend during the winter months. By the end of May I had managed half my goal with 50 times in my kayak.
As summer came near the pool sessions ended, but they were replaced with our regular Thursday evening practices at St. Philips. We were still getting out on weekends too. August was a slower month for me. I ended up doing some work on my house and kayaking had to take a back seat. September was not a whole lot better as a trip out of town and a bit more work on the house kept me off the water.
By the end of October I had a tally of 81 times in my kayak(s). I was starting to wonder if 100 was too much to hope for. I knew I had to put a push if I was to meet my target. By the end of November I hit 90 times. There were two weekends back-to-back in December that I got out on both Saturday and Sunday, and with a Tuesday night pool session between them I cranked off five times in those 9 days; it was a good boost toward my goal. By December 19 I had 97 times. Three more left and I knew it was going to happen.
We had planned a Christmas Eve paddle but the weather did not cooperate and we cancelled it. Christmas day was a bust, of course. On the 26th (Sunday) there was no sign of anybody paddling so I got up in the morning and headed to the marina at Long Pond CBS. I had paddled there before by myself a few times. It is well protected, gives you access to the ocean, and has lots of room to paddle around in. It was too windy and the waves were large and breaking as the came into the marina but behind the break there was just wind to contend with. I paddled the perimeter, then zig-zaged to put the wind on the beams and quarters, then played briefly at the entrance to the open ocean and managed to catch a wave that surfed me 60 or 70 feet back into the marina. As I was by myself I decided it prudent to not push it farther and slipped back to the relative safety inside the break.
On Monday one of my paddling buddies, Tony, was going to the pond near his house to try out his newly altered
Greenland paddle. Sounded like a good plan so I joined him for a couple hours. We talked about the pros and cons of Greenland paddles and other general kayak stuff. On Tuesday the weather was cooperative so Tony, Sean, Gerard, and I paddled from St. Philips to Portugal Cove for my 100th time in my kayak for 2010. The temp was about 8 degrees, there was sun, and we had a very relaxed, pleasant paddle. Gerard did make it interesting though.
I had some things to do the next couple days after that so couldn’t get on the water. Friday came (Dec 31st) and I thought I might go out for a paddle to get my paddling distance up over 700 for the year. But I know if I had included the paddling distance covered during practice sessions I would be easily over 800 kms. But I was content and decided to let things sit as they were and just enjoy the day; tomorrow will be the start of another year. There will be lots of paddles, pools sessions, practice sessions, and maybe a couple times on the river.
Here is my tally for 2010:
41 ocean paddles totaling 687 kilometers
31 pool sessions
20 St. Philips practice sessions
5 pond practice sessions
2 times on the river in my whitewater kayak (those damn eddy lines!)
1 New Year’s Day paddle that started off the year
100 times in my kayak(s) for 2010
I'll have to decide on my goals for 2011.