On tuesday I finally had what I consider the start of summer in my paddling season. I'll explain.
I don't stop paddling when the weather gets bad or gets cold. In fact, I seek it out. I live about four hours from the coast. My regular paddling and the instruction I do is on lakes. This is actually very convenient because I generally don't have to worry about conditions. They are almost always safe and controlled which is a good learning environment. It means when I am working on skills or when a new student is working on the forward stroke neither of us are fighting wind, waves and currents. The water is a nice stable platform for mastering new skills.
The problem with this is when I want to play in big water it isn't readily available. So I seek out bad weather. When it is windy, and paddlers are sitting in coffee shops I go paddling. When it is cold out, and people have found 'winter' pursuits, I put on a dry suit and go paddling. I stop paddling when the water is frozen. That's the only time.
Tuesday had two things occur. I had my first student of the season. A young women who is considering taking part in the next expedition. She has minimal kayaking experience but in a conversation a couple of weeks ago she said she had watched Paddle North and was inspired to do a trip like that. She then came up with all the reasons that people come up with to not do a trip like that. I challenged her and told her the only thing that keeps people from going on expeditions is themselves. It is very easy to come up with reasons - that may be very valid - why a trip like that can't occur. My work, my spouse, my dog, my money are the big four, and not necessarily in that order. So she is starting to paddle and thinking about it. But the addition of a new student doesn't mean that summer is here.
For me, summer has arrived when I start rolling without a dry suit. rolling for pure fun. I did a handful of rolls - the first in many months - and they felt pretty good. I think the first was actually the best, proving that thought only makes a roll worse. Just relax and roll. Which brings me to my summer project. While the beginning phases of planning have occurred for the next expedition - I am not ready to divulge it yet, but I can say that Sarah from Paddle North is doing everything she can to take part (insert those reasons here) and emails and discussions are flying fast and furious from my coast to hers. - My summer plan is unrelated. Here is my plan.
The Greenland roll. I have always loved the grace and fluidity of the Greenland roll and I have been searching for some time for someone to teach me. I have found no one, and so I am ordering "This is the Roll". We are going to see if someone can learn to do a Greenland roll on their own with just a DVD. We are going to find out! It should prove to be an exciting summer! I will be doing updates here on the summer project, but if you want to follow it closely you should head over to my Facebook page where I will be doing more frequent updates on this topic. If you want to take part, I encourage that too. Work on your Greenland roll and lets compare notes on what does and doesn't work on Facebook.
So that is summer plan! What are you doing this summer?