Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Paddling Clothes

I saw another paddler on my lake today. Up until now I've either been alone or in the company of a few fishermen trolling quietly along. My fellow paddler was noticed some distance away going in the opposite direction from me so I didn't get a chance to meet up. His or her boat appeared to be a rec boat and the only article of clothing I could positively identify was what seemed to be a straw hat...

I'm still wearing my neoprene gloves and drysuit, the water is that cold and today's air temperature was a chilly 15°C. I'm hoping the straw hat was covering up something warmer. There wasn't much wind on the lake, but I knew a front was expected during the day and that often brings in sudden wind shifts and unexpected gusts.

In the end, I paddled back up the lake to try and locate the person. I wanted to make sure they were properly outfitted and would be able to get home safely. While driving home, I saw the boat making it's way down the lake. I guess the person made it, but I don't like it when I see people out in conditions which could lead into trouble. We kayakers need all the good press we can get!


Silbs said...

Tell me about it. These folks drive us nuts on Lake Michigan this time of year. We fear for their safety and how a bad event gives us all a black eye.

Anonymous said...

I too (also an NC paddler) have continued to use my drysuit. I bought it this year as I go to Alaska every summer to paddle, and decided it was time to bite the bullet and make the investment.

The beauty of kayaking is the ease with which people can get into boats and just go. Unlike something like rock climbing for example, that has a steep learning curve, and expensive failure.

The downside of this is that most people think that means they NEVER need instruction. and so most paddlers I see aren't very proficient. And don't understand basic safety.


Pierre Côté said...

I saw 2 girls on Lake Memphrémagog yesterday afternoon with no spray skirt, no wet or dry suit.

Talk to them before they go: “Girls, you know the water is cold… We are used to paddle. How about used to cold water?

They went strait to the middle of the lake for a couple of hours.
I try to keep a eye on them as i was paddling.

They came back safe during my roll practice at the launch site.


Richard Hayes said...

God looks after fools and...

Most of the time, that is. A number of years ago, woke to the radio with news of "Two people are missing after a kayak capsized on Paddy's Pond", a favorite after-supper paddle spot of ours. Very early in the year, no skirt, no thermal protection, not wearing PFDs, inexperienced, etc., etc., etc...what you don't know can kill you P.D.Q. around the water.

Drysuits, PFDs, skills, knowledge, judgement, - that's the price of reducing your risk as much as possible in paddling. While there are inherent risks, to see people die needlessly out on the water is terribly frustrating and infinitely sad...