Saturday, June 08, 2019

It's Always the Wind

I'm not late when I get to the parking lot, but I'm not early enough that everyone should still have kayaks on their roofs either. I park and find everyone huddled on the beach in the more than light wind pondering if we should move to a more sheltered location. This is supposed to be a level 2 paddle...
We decide that we can paddle up the Bay and stay near the shore for protection.
Kayaks are unloaded.
Clothing choices are made. It is too nice for dry suits, although the water is still cool, but windy enough to warrant a paddle top...
By the time we are on the water, the wind has dissipated a bit. As we meander up north, deeper into the Bay there is enough of a breeze to keep me cool in my paddle top, but not enough to really notice.
This is fine by me. There are plenty of old friends to catch up with. I chat with Tim M. for a while; I chat with Carole for a while; I chat with Rick for a while; I chat with just about everyone for a while. It is nice to see everyone and do an analog Facebook timeline search.
The paddling is easy and rhythmic. When I'm not chatting, I focus on the rhythm and feel of my forward stroke; I try a few different types of maneuvering strokes; I get reacquainted with how the kayak feels when I shift my weight around.
Lunch at Rome Point was nice and sunny. Tim and I talked about how this was just about the perfect paddle to open the season. It was nice and relaxing, but I get restless. My opportunities for ocean play are limited and I often crave the more exciting paddles. Tim was right though a nice relaxing distance paddle was the best way to get a feel for the being back on the water. It also provided plenty of much needed social time and stress relief.
The paddle home was not quite as pleasant as the paddle to lunch, but it did offer new learning opportunities.
The wind we had hoped would push us home had died. I started getting a little toasty in my paddle jacket. Just a bit of paddle spray on a polypro jersey would have been heavenly.
I got to paddle with a fancy new bent shaft full carbon Lendal Kinetic XT. Tim wanted to have one of the newer paddlers try out a shorter paddle shaft and offered up my ancient Lendal spare. As part of the discussion about why I had a spoon for a spare and not another stick, I goaded Tim into trying out my stick.
I'm not sure who had the better go of it. I am pretty quick to adjust to a normal paddle, but the bent shaft was a little funky. The carbon paddle was a lot stiffer than my stick and over time I could feel the extra effort I was expending to dig through the water. On the flip side, the big scoop did mean I had a little more immediate power for crazy turning strokes and quicker acceleration.
Tim adjusted to the stick pretty quickly as well and found a nice rhythm to keep up his speed. He didn't seem to certain about his ability to do much more then paddle straight in calm water though.
The guy using my spare probably got the best of the switch. He got to use a much better paddle than he was originally using and one that was properly sized for he and his boat. He also didn't have to do a paradigm switch; he was going from scoop to scoop instead of scoop to stick.
Afterwards we all repaired to Fuel for some post paddle caffeine and more yakking.
Hopefully, I'll get back on the water again soon.