February 2018
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Kids will be Kids

My wife, Susan, is trying to sell her collection of bee-keeping (apiary) equipment and the husband of one of her farmer’s market friends arrived this afternoon to take a look at the collection with his two children. While we waited for Sue to arrive the kids played with the dogs, went down onto the dock, dangled their tootsies in the water and generally killed time while he and I chatted.

The apiary equipment is located in two places. In what’s left of the old shop (the one that burned up and was subsequently torn down (you can see that shop in the background of one of the muthah-ship articles) and in the rental storage cubicles we acquired right after the fire. I gave the kids an option to stay here and I’d put them into a kayak. They both jumped at the chance but the girl was less than enthusastic about getting into a kayak. So Sue and their dad drove off and I carried the F-1 down to the dock where the kids waited.

The F-1, like my old Mariner Coaster, is a perfect boat to introduce kids to kayaking (although mine is bigger than a Coaster). It’s wide enough to have a lot of initial stability but can be edged easily; and it is directionally stable but turns quickly enough to be easy to maneuver. Eight year old Hailey paddles it all the time and both these kids were older than Hailey.

The boy was first and he dropped easily into the boat and sat there in the cockpit while I showed him how to hold the greenland paddle and then pushed him out. The basics of paddling a kayak – going straight, turning left and right, and stopping – are pretty

At this age paddling a kayak comes naturally

At this age paddling a kayak comes naturally

intuitive and he paddled out and around and back. Then I showed him how to do a basic side-scull to draw the kayak in to the dock.

Then his sister decided that she wanted to give it a try. Apparently since her brother had survived the fun index went up.

So he clambered out and she delicately climbed in. It didn’t take much more instruction for her than for him and soon she was taking some tentative paddle strokes and getting the hang of it. Before much longer she was paddling down the lake and then back; maneuvering around the dock where her brother and I sat in the shade watching. You know… it looked like she was having a good time!

So she maneuvered up close to the dock and I caught her bow and she traded places

And apparently not much at this age either.

And apparently not much at this age either.

her brother who this time hung around practicing scull strokes. So I coached him through a bracing stroke and showed how he could put his weight against that paddle in case something caught him by surprise. He liked that and tried it a few times.

About this time Sue and their dad showed back up and he could demonstrate his prowess with the boat and paddle and it wasn’t long before his sister wanted another go at it. But dad had other ideas and she had to take the PFD off and go back home.

It doesn’t take much to introduce two willing and intelligent kids to kayaking. They learned that you can build your own (they were, after all, paddling in a boat that I had built), that even a kid can make it work, and that it’s fun. They also learned that you can take the same kayak they were sitting in and paddle it to Alaska. That got their attention; what kid doesn’t like adventure?

A great couple of kids and it absolutely made my day to let them paddle my F-1. If you get a chance to introduce someone to kayaking don’t pass it up.

It’s worth your time.

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